15 March 2013 11:00 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

As The Voice and Bgt returm, we ask music and TV experts whether the format's days are numbered

Whack "slams TV talent shows" into Google and a procession of varied names pops up, each with their own opinion. There's Elton John ("Brain-crippling"); Julie Walters ("People's real vulnerabilities are being exploited"); Des O'Connor ("I don't like people who trample on dreams"); Ne-Yo ("They don't know what it is to bleed"); and Shirley Bassey ("Lives are ruined"). Even Pop Idol winner Will Young insists that talent shows are "cynical and manipulative".

These criticisms have been flung at the format for over a decade, and they routinely bounce off armour-plated behemoths like The X Factor, a show with all the too-big-to-fail swagger of a twatty bank, particularly when they could claim that they were giving unknowns a chance at stardom. But in 2012, both The X Factor's season launch and season finale ratings »

- Peter Robinson

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"American Idol" (2002)
"The X Factor" (2004)
"The Voice" (2011)

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