Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Culture shocks... in little bouts

I've been watching American Idol for a few years now and been an avid viewer of the UK version 'X Factor'. Sad to say I missed it completely in 2006 due to my travels around the world. I love Simon Cowell - I love his honesty and his typical Brit sarcastic wit! Although would hate to actually be criticised by him!

Anyways, so when I returned to spend a few months in Sri Lanka this time, I have been watching the Sri Lankan version - Sirasa Super Star. Although both highly enjoyable programs for purely its entertainment value, by comparing the two programs you can observe the cultural differences between Sri Lanka and the States.

1) Songs sung/voices present in candidates -

In American Idol, you are guaranteed to be blown away by some people's voices and reduced to giggles (or barrels of laughter) in other cases. Even the worst singer, entertains. Some dance, some scream, others howl and some are incredibly good singers. They sing anything from Marvin Gaye to The Pussycat Dolls! In SS, the female voices are perpetually similar. All high pitched and the only variation being some grate on your nerves whilst others don't. They all sing old songs from the by gone era without considering any of the new songs that artistes have released (and that are more suited to the younger generation's voices). The males generally have a range of pitches and keys therefore a little more enjoyable to listen to. Thus being the reason that in the previous season, the final 12 contestants were all male.

In this case, you can see a nation thats stuck solely in the past. Younger generation in order to connect with the judges (who are all singers in their own right) sing that generation's songs. This is not condemned at all by me however we must try to lift up from the sycophancy and through challenging the normal order can we progress as a nation.

2) The judges and attitudes towards judges

In X factor as well as Idol, you see Simon as the 'mean judge' (who usually states the truth without honey coating it), Paula Abdul as well as Sharon Osbourne act as a pacifier and generally thinks all contestants are 'fabulous' (especially by the last round) however I love both judges. And Randy (who I won't compare to Louis since I reckon Randy is far better than him!). Anyways, these three judges go onto judge in excess of 50,000 candidates.

In SS, last year there were three judges for 7000 candidates, but this year the applicants have increased to 50,000 therefore they have taken on a group of 18 judges to rotate themselves amongst the rounds. This shows the general lacadaisical approach to life by Sri Lankans - although you really can't blame them - who wants to listen to 25,000 screeching female voices to find 12 good ones. (NOTE: Some girls are actually incredibly singers, I dont wish to detract from their talents because of the majority bad ones). Not only does this rotation of judges prove that Sri Lankans can't handle the load but it also hinders equal opportunity towards the candidates. We each vary in the way we hear things therefore if I judge your singing and someone else judges it, we are bound to hear two different things depending on our tastes and therefore you are at a disadvantage. It is a lottery as to whether you'll get a judge who likes your singing or not. As a science graduate, I must definitely show this as a limitation of this experiment :D

Anyways, as far as approaches to judges go, the Sri Lankan reaction shows the innate sense of hospitatility, courtesy that we have. Hardly any leave the judging room without a smile full of humility on their faces. Even if the judges rip their singing, they come out and say they judges know best. Only a mere 2% or so actually comes out and criticise the judges decisions. It shows that we still have respect for those that know better than us. This is a most admirable characteristic in our culture. However, most problems in Sri Lanka tend to come from the fact that sometimes we don't stand up for our causes. We sit back and elect rubbish politicians to handle the war or the economy and smile and take it when they make a mess of it. We bear our problems with a mere shrug and a thought that this is how God intended it.

All in all, both shows are thoroughly enjoyable and the ones that come out at the end are incredible singers. Sometimes moving us to tears with some of their renditions. I am a big fan of a few of the previous SS contestants. Both shows - whatever the composition of canditates or outlook on life, provide an unparalleled opportunity for otherwise unnoticed talent to shine and allow us to experience this talent!

And for this, we are grateful!

4 comments:

Blublood said...

I had no idea about Super Star. You really have covered all that I didn't know and surely put me in the know. I would love to see that version and now will look it up. Simon is also my FAV and believe that he does people good by setting them straight. Some people need a good firm HELL NO to realize that there are other things for them in there life and not destroying songs and perhaps there throats along the way.

Good Post Rane as always...

As Randy would say...Good lookin' Out...

Later...

Rane said...

haha.. im loving the new season of IDOL though - there are some right oddballs out there dont u think?!

Thanks for readin my posts blu - my one subscriber! haha xx

Blublood said...

There some oddballs but without them it just wouldn't be any fun....

I am not your only subscriber, I am just not afraid that's all...

Later Rane...

Angel Feathers Tickle Me said...

Love To All...