The Bedlam factor

I wrote ages ago about the freak-show nature of the auditions for reality shows like X-Factor. I’ve since discovered that those who appear on what purports to be the first round of filtering have actually already been through a selection process, so there is no doubt that the hopeless losers have been deliberately included by the producers for some comic relief.

I was thinking about this after reading the tragic story of Paula Goodspeed, who was found dead in a car parked near American Idol judge Paula Abdul’s home in Los Angeles, apparently a victim of suicide. Ms Goodspeed had reportedly auditioned for the US talent contest in 2006, and had not gone down well with the panel, to put it mildly. (No doubt the clip is a favourite on YouTube right now, but I don’t feel like searching for it).

It is of course folly to speculate on someone’s state of mind when all one has to go on are reports in the popular media which vary greatly in detail and luridness, and I suspect that there were other, more personal, reasons for Ms Goodspeed’s actions that were more significant than what happened on a TV show years ago, but even so it does raise questions about the exploitative nature of some of what passes for entertainment these days, and the potential human cost for those who submit themselves to the reality TV industry.

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