James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

America's most talented kids

Michael Jackson's death (I'm sorry if you haven't heard about it) brings to mind the dumbest tactical error in the history of contests. And I saw it happen twice.

Some years ago I watched a few episodes of The World's Most Talented Kid with my nieces and nephews. The show had a weekly winner of "most talented" kid.

One of the weeks, a 15 year-old girl came on to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

On another week, a 12 year-old boy came on to sing the Jackson 5's I Want You Back.

Stupid, stupid, stupid! I'm not blaming the kids, but I am blaming their parents/managers for extremely poor advice.

Neither of them won. How could they possibly win?

They were good, and the judges had kind words for them. But the judges couldn't possibly have been comparing them to the other kids performing on the show.

The 15 year-old girl invited comparisons with the 16 year-old Judy Garland.

In the same way, the 12 year-old boy invited comparisons with the 11 year-old Michael Jackson.

Had the two contestants been substantially younger, like seven or eight, the judges wouldn't have compared them with the originals because the comparison would not have been fair. But because they were around the same age as when Garland and Jackson performed those songs, these kids were forcing the comparison, which hurt their chances of winning against the other contestants. Again, the kids were good, but they weren't Garland or Jackson, who were the two most talented kids of all time.

They should have chosen different numbers and provided their own signature.

Speaking of Garland and Jackson, it is interesting that both of them died young - Garland at 47, Jackson at 50. They died 40 years and three days apart. (I looked that up; I am definitely not a "Judy Garland fan" and all that may imply - not that there's anything wrong with it.)

They are also connected by the Wizard of Oz: Garland playing Dorothy in the original, Michael taking the Scarecrow role in The Wiz.

No comments:

Post a Comment