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Views and opinions: Singing talent shows not new, but again improving

As I have said before, I am not a huge fan of these singing competition shows where a panel of famous musical industry judges wade through an ocean of superstar wannabes hoping to find that next big singing sensation who will follow in the footsteps of alumni such as Kelly Clarkston, Carrie Underwood, or Scotty McCreery.

It’s not that I don’t like the concept or enjoy some of the music – it’s just never been my cup of tea.

I will say I did get pretty interested when this craze first began. But for all you folks who are above the age of 40, you might remember one of the earlier versions called “Star Search,” hosted by Ed McMahon of “The Tonight Show” fame.

And for those folks who remember television from the late 1940s, the “Original Amateur Hour” began the careers of a many of top stars, including Gladys Knight. My point is, this kind of entertainment isn’t new.

But I must say, my interest has been re-piqued this season, perhaps because there’s nothing else to watch in these specific time slots, or my wife wants to watch and my digital tablet needs a charge. Either way, I have been pleasantly surprised at the kind of talent I’m seeing, although it shouldn’t surprise me.

As a fan of local talent, I have seen countless acts that were incredibly talented never make it out of the garage-band circuit. I have performed in local venues with singer-songwriters who never “made it” to the big time, even though their musical abilities were just as good as anything you hear on the radio.

So, in jumping off my soapbox, I have heard some young talent so far who are among the best I’ve ever heard from the amateur ranks.

In fact, I’m shocked that so many of them are still waiting to hit it big. At the risk of sounding like a paid spokesperson, which I’m not, there is one show, “American Idol,” that has come roaring back from near-obscurity to feature some of the best.

In saying that, I should note much of my appreciation of this particular show in this particular season is focused on the panel of judges who have taken the reins of this experience and gelled like chicken does to dumplings. Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan are showing some crazy chemistry that keeps this show rolling, so far, in this young season.

If you haven’t tuned in to this or one of the other talent search shows lately, I would recommend you too give it another try and see what you think. The next big superstar might be waiting in the wings to take off, and I would hate to miss it.


Bluegrass Johnson comes from a long line of country music performers and enjoys a passion for the rhythm and melody. From the hills of Kentucky, he will offer his opinions on a variety of music. Readers with questions or comments may write to Johnson in care of this publication.