Shailesh Kapoor: Get Ready For A Deluge Of Singing Reality Shows

06 Jan,2017

By Shailesh Kapoor


It’s an interesting new year for Hindi GECs. In an extended period when new fiction shows are failing to make a mark, the focus, temporarily at least, has shifted to non-fiction content. An immensely successful first season of Super Dancer ended on Sony last month. The Kapil Sharma Show (‘non-fiction’ that’s somewhere between non-scripted and scripted) is doing very well for the channel too, establishing Sony as a clear No 3 over the last few weeks.


Season 10 of Colors’ Bigg Boss may not be a ratings blockbuster, but it has managed to sustain well over the last few weeks. In a bold and experimental move, commoners were used as a differentiating element this season. And the move has worked alright. The commoners are headlining the show, and this could set the template for Bigg Boss over the new few seasons. After all, it’s an option that’s a lot more commercially lucrative than a celebs-only show.


But the big non-fiction highlight of the new year is going to be the sudden influx of shows in the singing reality genre. There are as many as five such shows around, at various stages, from promotions to post-launch.


The second season of The Voice India launched on &TV early December. Indian Idol made a solid comeback on December 24, with the original jury helming the show this time. The show has opened to very encouraging ratings. The presence of SonuNiigam adds significantly to the franchise’s credibility. While a drop in ratings post the audition episodes is par for the course, the show is set to have a good run over the next quarter.


This weekend, Star Plus will launch Dil Hai Hindustani, a singing reality show featuring NRI and foreign participants singing Bollywood songs. It’s an interesting differentiator, though it’s difficult to say how engaging the content can be, if centered only around this promotional premise. This weekend should tell us more.


Colors is promoting the International format Rising Star, based on live audience voting, heavily. Zee TV will be banking on its pedigree show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa as a trump card to win back the No. 3 position. The show is currently in its auditions phase.


That leaves only Sab TV and Life OK out as Hindi GECs that are currently not engaged in singing reality content. Sab TV doesn’t dwell much into non-fiction anyway, and Life OK is in a reboot phase with fiction being the focus currently.


So, five singing reality shows will be on-air at the same time, a few weeks from now. All on the weekends, some head-on against each other in the same slot too. Even though they come with their individual strengths and differentiators, it wouldn’t take much to guess that some of these will outshine the others.


Singing reality has been a genre that has gone through its fair share of fatigue in the 2000-2010 period. Multiple seasons of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and Indian Idol were punctuated by several other attempts, many of which never even entered a second season. Unlike dance reality, which is a visual genre, singing reality tends to get technical and low on entertainment. The average viewer cannot distinguish good singing from average or bad singing, especially when these shows reach their gala stages. The inspirational backstories and the jury banter then take over as key hooks.


Indian Idol’s strong opening suggests that the fatigue factor has eased out a bit. By March, we will know who the winners and the losers of this unique five-way battle are.


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