There is something that all of these shows have in common. They are produced in a way that leads viewers to become invested in not only a contestant's talent, but also their story. A few episodes into the season, we know that they are an amazing singer, or dancer, or comedian, and on top of that, we know about their past...where they come from, what their hardships were, who shaped their lives, everything. These people wear their hearts on their sleeves in front of the entire nation.
Whenever I watch these types of shows with other people in the room, I hear more and more comments about how certain contestants are just getting by on their "sob" stories. "It should be about their talent," they say. "This is a talent competition, not a pity party." It seems that viewers are afraid of seeing someone who they believe is more talented lose to someone who America falls in love with because they have a sad story and an endearing personality.
Something about this way of thinking bothered me. After thinking about it for a while, it hit me. People's stories do matter. What we have faced in the past has literally made us into the people that we are in the present. Divorces, the loss of loved ones, injuries, homelessness, poverty...all of these types of hardships are important. They aren't just content that we store in the back of our minds to use to get us ahead when necessary.
As for these individuals sharing their stories on a competition show...it just helps the audience understand why they are so passionate about their talents. In all my years of watching dance and theater and musical performances, I have learned that those performers with the most raw talent are usually the ones who have an amazing story to share. Many average people harbor their past hurts and failures and try to forget about them, but artists use those things to create something beautiful. When we see contestants share their stories on these shows, they don't want us to feel sorry for them. They want us to understand where their passion for their talent comes from.
This applies to us in the real world too. With a little soul searching and reflection, we may be able to find the drive to do truly amazing things. We all have a story. We may as well use those chapters instead of trying to throw them into the wind.
( I said the other day that I would have a giveaway up today. Due to certain circumstances, it will be up next week instead! Sorry for the confusion!)