Australian Associated Press entertainment writer Darren Cartwright is calling out reality talent shows for their use of professionals. Among the examples he cites of fairly successful professionals appearing on TV contests are Raymond Crowe and illusionist Michael Boyd, both on the current season of Australia’s Got Talent. He does not fault performers for trying to broaden their appeal (and perhaps collect a little prize money) by appearing on such shows, but he does seem concerned that amateurs are being squeezed out of the running. You can read his article here.

Cartwright’s point is valid in the United States, too. In America’s Got Talent, for example, established professional magicians such as Kevin James, The Pendragons and Nathan Burton have all graced the AGT stage. This is not a problem simply limited to the Got Talent franchise. Several contestants on various singing competitions had already been signed record deals. In the current season of The Voice, for example, actress and singer EG Daily (arguably best known as Dottie in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and shown above being interviewed on American Bandstand) is competing even though she has had Top 100 and dance chart hits as well as several songs on film soundtracks.

If this trend continues, where will it leave the truly unknown performers who audition for talent search shows? This is a particularly important question for magicians and other performers with limited opportunities on such programs.

  • HAL

    I think the show’s title “Got Talent” explains it. It doesn’t specify known or unknown, it’s how much talent you have. There are many more unknown contestants. And, the three magicians you mention didn’t win. And, it should be “read the article”. Let’s be magically correct.

  • Chezaday

    Let me just say that I was extremely disappointed when some of top professionals in our field started showing up on AGT. Of course it’s not fair but, then again the show isn’t a real contest anyway. It’s all about publicity and that’s the name of the game … plain and simple.

  • HAL

    Why are no comments being posted? What did I do?

  • Snow White


  • Michael Lauck

    Fixed the typo… but I actually mentioned SIX magicians, not three HAL!

  • HAL

    Just kidding about the typo’s, I screw up all the time. I always thought Pendragon was one of the best. His 25 Showgirl vanish years ago was really good. But, even his near death story on AGT didn’t get him to the top. BTW: They had a ‘magic’ category on Jeopardy the other night, Copperfield was one of the replies.

    And SNOW: The first two Angel episodes are on Tuesday on Spoke. I guess you’ll miss them with your $19.95 HD Antenna? It lists the ‘Cement Escape’, I’ll bet that will really be the ‘Cat’s Meow’. I still predict we’re waiting for another ‘Mindfake’.

  • Snow White

    Hal: lol…IT’S NOT A 19.95 ANTENNA! Yes, I’m cheap, but I demand quality I tell you! That antenna is massive and awesome. I love that thing. I always enjoy watching what Angel produces. It’s good entertainment specially for the magically uneducated, but even somewhat for those who are. He’s a great showman you’ve got to admit that?. Can you record it and then upload to YouTube for me to watch? Too bad we can’t break down the frames like the ol days. That was a much needed respite at the time.