I watch plenty of reality shows but I avoid talent competitions like the plague. Yes, there’s something about following the journey of hopeful artists who can’t do anything but put their best foot forward that’s inspiring. But when things don’t go as planned it can be heartbreaking for the contestant and I get all emotional and upset, too. So my participation in the talent search process has mostly been limited to the early stages when the worst of the worst are being eliminated; once I start taking elimination decisions personally it’s time to turn the television off, because I will cry real tears for these people and it can be rather draining.

Case in point: the untimely elimination of Rachel Crow from the singing competition X-Factor. I’d seen a clip of this little lady with the huge voice singing “If I Were a Boy,” and she is quite amazing and actually made me cry even then. When I started seeing tweets about how emotional her elimination was, I had to break my own rule take a look. This is difficult to watch.

See? Now I’m all sad. And along with everyone else in America, I kind of hate Nicole Scherzinger right now.

I don’t put much stake in the competition itself or whether the judges made the right decision. The way I see it, Rachel Crow has so much talent that someone out there is working on turning her into the next Raven Symone or figuring out how to get her a record deal. As she said, this is not her ending. But the devastating nature of this elimination got me thinking about how trying it is for children to compete for approval on national television. Even Showtime at The Apollo took the hint after too many young people got booed off of the stage during amateur night and created “Apollo Kids.” Why hasn’t the more
recent wave of reality television followed suit?

Should reality talent competitions exclude children? Or is this level of rejection just part of the business of entertainment?

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