Operación triunfo (2001– )
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Bravo `Gestmusic'. You got it just right: get some nice wholesome young people together to captivate audiences, and success is inevitable. Now well into its third year, `O.T.' has gone through the unsubtle process of domineering unconsciousness, so as to maintain its singular untouchable reign over TV audiences in Spain. Not even `Big Brother' and other contrived so-called reality shows, such as famous people on a desert island, among other idiosyncratic hypocracies, could ever cope with the highly professional skills involved in producing a magnificently concocted plate of tripe. Even the onions are present: plenty of tears are guaranteed.
But as the great majority of the masses of the humble population of any country in the world has an intellectual level barely reaching that required for following football avidly or basketball resignedly, it should be evident that such a show as `O.T.' was going to capture large slices of the viewing public. And did so, which never surprised anybody capable of anything remotely resembling common sense as a minimum of cerebral ability. As should be apparent, `O.T.' is nothing more than a money-spinner. Remember that on commercial TV stations the more popular the programme, the more advertisement space you sell. And this programme sells so many spots you could have a three-course dinner in the interval, or pop out and find a cigarette machine in the commercial break. But that itself is not enough. Now we have, with the changes incorporated into the programme since its inception to the present day, any number of telephones and mobile (cell) numbers which people can call to vote for or against the supposedly best or worst singers. Therein lies the catch. Firstly, the general public could not tell the difference between a good singer and a good fried egg. The fact that the majority of those who call are senseless teenage girls who vote for the masculinity of one or other participant evidently does not help the female participants, whether they be better singers or not. The fact that the telephone and mobile (cell) numbers are at over one Euro a minute and that there are millions of calls each week, is another source of hypocracy, which might well be - and should be - called daylight robbery. Half is for the telephone company (who in themselves are highly experienced thieves) and the other half is nice clean profit for RTVE, the Spanish State TV Company. If to that legalised pickpocketing we add the fact that the `winner' is to represent Spain in Eurovision, I dare to add that in no way neither `Gestmusic' nor RTVE are going to let the vote of a load of teenagers make any kind of mistake, and so the vote will be manipulated so as to make sure that the truly best of the participants get through to the final. Thus, all those expensive phone calls are a pure waste of time and money, but keep the public on their toes and voting `a toda pastilla'.
This year there is the `panel of experts' who talk to each one of the participants; more hypocracy, as their comments on the performance of any of the participants just do not add up to any sense at all, barely influence public opinion, but make people take it all the more seriously. Which keeps people addicted to the process, which in turn produces more Euros, and keeps the responsible companies happy and whistling down to the bank.
On top of that, the CDs which come out of this programme - now around one a week! - represent nearly 50% of all CDs sold in Spain. Strategic Brain-Washing Marketing Department has done its job well.
Not much can be hoped for when you realise that those responsible for serving up the menu are just as likely to have a participant gurgling rap at one moment and eschewing `salsa' at another, irrespective of the type of voice he or she may have. The result is very much an `O.T.' product style, such that there is negligible difference between any Bisbal and the other brave lads. The same goes for the young ladies taking part in the charade. There are, of course, good moments which stand out head and shoulders above everything else, for the few of us fortunate enough to have memories capable of going back more than a couple of weeks. In the first year Rosa López - `Rosa de España' - showed she has a tremendous voice - when allowed to sing what was appropriate to her voice, that is, authentic Andalucían songs with which she has been nurtured since birth. At the other end of the scale you have the impressive performance by last year's winner - Beth - of Bonnie Tyler's classic `Total Eclipse of the Heart'. I feel certain that if Ms. Tyler had been present she would have given a standing ovation to the young girl.
But apart from that, everything else is pathetic drivel, more so now in its third year as mechanisms step up the heavy feelings slogging their way across the screen week after week after week.
But what lies beneath this good mood is just a marketing operation: the songs sung by the cast are the more mainstream you can ever imagine... there's no place for anything innovative or personal here. For months, we've suffered through the tearing of classics like "Nothing compares to you" and even the "Lady Marmalade" version of Moulin Rouge!
Of course it has sold millions of records, the concert tour all around the country was sold out even before it started, and the show got a record of 14 titles into the top 20 billboard album charts...
However, it is not as pointless as "Big Brother", "Survivor" and other similar shows. At least here we see people doing positive things to win, instead of fighting each other.
But, then I remember of how fanatic and hysterical are some fans of the show... and how did the producers almost killed any willing of the singers to do their own music. It is like they created sixteen Britney Spears and Ricky Martin wanna-bes.