But last night’s episode with a weeping 12 year old, has attracted plenty of comment today. Rejection is a big part of auditions, and a big part of Reality television. It’s probably maximised when you are a minor and when the audience you are singing to has their backs to you.
Judges Mel B., Delta and the Madden Bros were quick to offer their shoulder. But a camera crew could be seen swirling around them to capture the moment too.
Nine’s own Karl Stefanovic weighed in this morning.
“I don’t want to see a child crying on national TV in school holidays,” he said on Today.
“I think it could potentially do more damage than anything else to that child. There’s a need for more protection in that situation.”
Psychologist Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg said to news.com.au, “What was the point?”
“I’m actually really cross with Channel Nine. Maybe ratings are more important to them than the psychological wellbeing of this contestant, but the whole thing could have been avoided.”
Fairfax critic Michael Idato asked “Who decided to include the segment in the broadcast, and why?”
The parents of the child have said, “Romy had never done anything like this before. She sourced the (application) forms herself, ensured that we would be available to do the audition, collated her submission and the rest is history.
“Romy would have been very upset and disillusioned with us if we had stood in her way. Children who enjoy this process are driven by their passion and while we want to protect her we also didn’t want to stand in the way of her pursuing her passion.
In truth it may well be a damned-if-you-do / damned-if-you-don’t situation. Would it have been more upsetting not to air her segment at all? Perhaps.
Kids have won and lost on talent shows for decades, but bursting into tears on television as part of the storytelling is as tough as it comes, and it’s possible to re-record the moment so that the outcome is kinder, without having to change it.
Maybe the answer is to have a minimum age (a poll on that very question is now running on TV Tonight).
A spokesman for Shine Australia said, “All singers on The Voice Kids have ongoing access to a clinical psychologist. They also have a talent team dedicated to supporting them and their families through the process.
“Shine Australia’s duty of care to the singers is paramount and we have a continuing care program beyond the broadcast date of the show.”
The segment ended with Joel Madden insisting Romy re-apply next year, but in the cold world of warm television, it may have been the biggest crime of all.
What will we tell Romy if Nine decides not to return the show next year…..?