Television shows that feature singing competitions have been prevalent within popular culture for over ten years now. T.V. shows like American Idol, The X Factor, The Voice, and The Glee Project, have been and continue to be a significant feature on television screens all across the world. Although ratings have fallen in recent years, these shows seem to have a special ability to avoid the axe of cancellation by network executives. With cable-tv.com, singing competitions are still thriving.
Beginning in 2002, American Idol introduced the United States to the singing competition television show. Immediately, the show was a ratings juggernaut for Fox and launched a number of successful singing careers, while reviving the careers of judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. However, before becoming big stars, contestants on Idol had to endure the relentless barrage of criticisms from the show’s most famous judge, Simon Cowell. Until his departure in 2010, Cowell’s unique brand of constructive criticism made some contestants cry and others rage with fury.
Once his stint on American Idol was over, Simon Cowell started the U.S. version of The X Factor. Although in many ways similar to Idol, The X Factor varies in that its grand prize is five million dollars (Idol’s is one million) and that the contestants spend time at the judges homes to be mentored by one of the judges. The X Factor also allows groups to compete against individuals which American Idol does not allow.
Unlike American Idol and The X Factor, The Voice airs on NBC and features a significant difference in format for the contestants. In keeping with its title, The Voice begins with all three judges sitting with their back to the contestants and picking them solely on their ability to sing. However, once the competition begins in earnest other qualities are measured by the judges and the audience. In the same way, The Glee Project judges contestants based on every element of performing. As it is a gateway to appearing on the Fox show Glee, contestants on the show are put through rigorous auditions to prove their ability to handle the demanding nature of working on Glee.