Source: BBC 6 Minute English
0 In singing talent shows contestants
A are well-known artists.
B don’t compete with each other.
C want to become famous.
1 According to Neil,
A the format is successful.
B the music is generally bad.
C these shows suit his favourite music.
2 Simon Cowell
A is pleasant to the contestants.
B makes a lot of money out of the shows.
C used to be a successful singer.
3 Putting someone down is
C usually done on TV.
4 Producer Pete Waterman believes Simon
A thinks a lot of himself.
B is the biggest talent in the world.
C is obsessive.
5 What motives Simon is
A artistic ambition.
B great music.
6 According to George Ergatoudis, winners of the show
A are successful for two or three years.
B don’t even have a successful album.
C don’t have a long career.
7 The oldest person to audition for the X Factor was
Photo: BBC 6 Minute English
Kate: Hi Neil.
Neil: Hello Kate
Kate: Well Neil, I know you're quite a big music fan so I wanted to start the programme today by asking you what you know about the TV singing talent shows that everyone seems to be talking about.
Neil: Well, I think you mean shows like 'The X Factor', 'Pop Idol' and numerous others. They are basically singing competitions or talent shows which are aired on TV. Talent shows are events where people compete to show how skilled they are in a particular area – and here it's singing. Many people who are aspiring pop stars or performers try to impress judges with their musical talent in the hope of getting a record deal, fame and fortune.
Kate: Yes, it seems there are a lot of people out there who want to be pop stars! So we know that TV singing talent shows are very popular but what do you personally think of them, Neil?
Neil: Well it's certainly a winning format where people audition and the judges and audience voters gradually eliminate them and until there is just one winner left. This works very well so we can call it a winning format. But although many people seem to find it compelling viewing, I'm afraid I find the music too mainstream, unoriginal, predictable, and accepted by most people. It doesn't interest me at all. The type of music I like I'm afraid doesn't really feature in these shows.
Kate: Well, the man behind one of these shows 'the X Factor' is someone called Simon Cowell and he has sold his winning format to more than 40 countries worldwide including Denmark, Italy, Spain, Russian, Colombia and India.
Neil: Yes, he's been very successful – he is a judge on the actual shows, the owner of the format and the person who profits from the sales of the music after the show has ended. He is also well known for being incredibly rude to the contestants.
Kate: Let's hear an example of how he speaks to people who are auditioning:
You can't sing. Not very good and incredibly annoying
I just think you should give us a chance
But a chance to do what?
Yeah - Girls we have weeks not decades
Neil: Comments like these can be called put downs. You can 'put someone down', which means that you are rude them and insult them as a person or their ability to do something. Not a very nice thing to do.
Kate: Now let's hear what one of fellow producers, Pete Waterman says about him:
He's got an ego – the biggest ego in the world. Simple as that. He's driven. He sees an opportunity and he's built it into the world's biggest format. Quite incredible.
Kate: So what is it do you think it is that drives Simon Cowell – money perhaps? The desire to make great music or maybe it's just down to artistic ambition? Let's hear what Pete Waterman says about this:
Artistic ambition! Give me a break – it's about being famous!
Kate: But what about the winners' musical careers after the show has ended? Next we're going to hear from someone else in the music industry. George Ergatoudis, Head of Music at BBC Radio 1. Do the artists or singers go on to have long or fulfilling careers?
A lot of the artists that have come through his show have pretty short lived careers. You know, they have a bright moment following the show perhaps 2 or 3 successful singles or a successful initial album and the story kind of starts to wane….'
Kate: Well this doesn't seem to stop people wanting to take part in the show and watch it.
Kate: And lastly the answer to the question I asked you. What age was the oldest person to audition for the X Factor?
Neil: I said 101.
Kate: I'm afraid they weren't quite as old as that. The oldest person was actually 84 which is still quite good going. That's all for today. Thanks for joining us today. Until next time. Goodbye!
1C 2B 3A 4A 5C 6C 7A