The Voice: Kids crying was “uncomfortable”

vkidUntil now much of The Voice: Kids has been pretty playful, as pint-size popsters step into the spotlight for their five minutes of fame.

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, “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…..?


  1. SwaggyPenguin

    Please don’t worry. Its a ‘reality show’. I am a parent and keenly aware that kids get rejection in life. I think it’s good to show that television and the entertainment industry aren’t some fairyland where bad things don’t happen to kids. And lets face it, as far as ‘bad things that could happen to kids’ goes, not being selected for a singing competition does’t even register on the scale. I am sad Romy didn’t get on but she’s young and will bounce back. I celebrate the idea that ‘The Voice’ had the guts to show this scene, knowing there would be criticism. I am sure they thought long and hard before doing it. And I think the words from the coaches about all their failures and how success didn’t come to them overnight (as most kids these days seem to believe it does) were wise and genuine.

  2. once-upon-a-time

    My question to all concerned, what would ‘you’ have done/expected/controlled if this was one of your children or other children of your own extended family, close friends or supervisors/higher management???

  3. One would hope that the Nine Network paid this girl and her family extremely well for allowing them to release the vision. I can see no other reasonable allowance for putting a minor in such a situation. It would be very interesting to see the contract that must be signed before they go on. If the contract signs away rights, or is in favour of the Nine Network rather than the child, then the network could face a whole lot more pain than that inflicted upon the child. If anything, cases shown in this distressing light should be paid much more than the winner, including a scholarship. In that way, the failures will be the real winners.

  4. Shine’s “duty of care to the singers is paramount”. You have to laugh. These shows exploit children and the crying moments are like gold to the producers and network. The kids like all these shows get paid nothing and the parents often are powerless amidst the machine of production or indifferent or ignorant as to the impact on their own children. The winners are always the producers and the broadcaster. It really is the dark side of television.

  5. I think the best person that handled it was the girl herself the comments she made after it aired.

    They cant put every child through as Delta stated the other night.

    What interests me if you watch the parents who are already in tears themselves when there child is singing begging for the judges to turn around. I get they want there child to go through but I wonder if sometimes its about them.

    I will never forget an AGT series where a girl came out on stage and was just frozen and Kyle asked her if she really wanted to be out there and she said no her parents did.

  6. This show is a disgrace. No child should be exposed to this environment. It is undoubtedly sponsored it some way by talent agencies, with parents seeing that their kids will be famous if all they had to do was push their kids to Brent street (a Sydney agency) at 4 yrs of age. The show, not that I’ve endured an episode, should probably show more rejections… Then kids will know that not all get thru with their fantastic talents

  7. Most children cannot understand rejection through lack of maturity, this comes with age, agree with Ms.K let children enjoy doing things they enjoy but not let them be judged for it, there is plenty of time when they are older and can understand more, plus their voices can get stronger and they have more confidence in themselves. Don’t expect them to be like adults because there not. Most children’s voices change anyway during puberty, so what do they expect to gain from this show, apart from trying to boost their ratings?

  8. What a hot potato! I’m a 3rd generation vocalist and I am so glad I was never thrown into the hot pit of performing as a child.I did do some bits here and there,only when it suited me and never to be judged.I have a teenage daughter who is simply beautiful and many have suggested modelling,no way,never.My problem here is the parents.When I listened and watched this online (I would never by choice watch this show) my thoughts were that this little girl doesn’t have the vocal range of a natural singer and her dress sense for the show was inappropriate for her age and size.This is where being a parent comes into it.I just watched the ACA interview and yeah I can see why this has happened,the parents let her row her own boat and have those “starry eyes” that you see on American pageant shows.These shows could not be good for children so young.So called stars (except for Delta)…

  9. I purposely chose not to watch this show purely for the fact that children are not mature (emotionally) enough to handle this type of show.

    We hear enough bad reports from those coming out of XFactor, Voice and even Idol who complain about the lack of support offered after being ousted…can’t imagine it’d be any different for these lot even if they are kids.

    While the start was all fun and friendly and pretty much everyone made it through, it is good to hear that yes, there is a downside to this type of show, and this happening just proves that this age group is not suited for it.

  10. Now you might want to sit down for this, but it seems that Romy (first name only required) will be on ACA tonight. I think without realising it, Nine is dragging this story out and cashing in even more. I’m sure this is not the intention though. It’s really about telling this important story, not network cross-promotion.

  11. Learning to lose is apart of growing up and the poor little girl was heartbroken, but of course she should have been allowed to try. Did Channel 9 need to broadcast anymore than a moment of her disappointment, I don’t think so. They used it to show how nice their judges are at the expense of the child.

  12. I found Mel B’s comments to appropriate about rejection, and it will make you stronger.
    I mean this is a competition and no doubt there will be contestants that won’t make it so I really don’t see it being a bad thing.

    Is the issue that it might be embarrassing for the child to have it televised as it might lead to some not so nice comments by schoolmates?

    I did find Joel’s comments to be a bit amusing seeing as though a next season isn’t always a guarantee.

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