Audience votes add suspense element to TV reality shows: Shaan

Dubai, Oct 5 (IANS) Do audience votes really help in identifying the actual singing talent in television reality shows? Views differ, but what audience votes do is to add the suspense element to such shows, according to well-known Bollywood playback singer and reality show host Shaan.

"Left to the judges, they can listen to everyone three or four times at the most and they can tell you that he or she is your best singer," Shaan told IANS here in a freewheeling interview.

"But that sense of uncertainty, that sense of suspense... Who is gone this time? What is going to happen? It all stems from this audience voting," he said.

The singer was here to perform along with Pakistani band Strings at a concert organised as part of the 'Eid in Dubai' festivities.

He dismissed notions that channels gain financially through the SMSes by which viewers send in their votes to choose their favourite singer.

"A lot of people think that revenues have come to the channel and that is why they have started this SMS system. But that's not true. The channel gets no money. It's only the SMS people (mobile service operators) who get the money," said the host of such popular reality shows like 'Sa-Re-Ga-Ma' on Zee TV and now 'Star Voice of India' on Star Plus.

"But it (audience vote) leaves that little window of suspense and climax at the end," he said.

The audience voting system also helps in the longevity of such shows, which usually run for three-odd months or so, Shaan added.

Asked whether winners of such reality shows actually find a place in the music industry after the show gets over, Shaan said the participants sometimes found themselves in an ironic situation.

"It's a very ironic situation that occurs once you become a popular name through reality shows. You have become popular but in a way you have not attained success because you have not made your own music.

"A lot of people want to be successful so that they can drive big cars and buy a nice house and do lots of shows and be popular and sign autographs.

"Now, a reality show winner does that without a single song, you know, without a solid repertoire of music of his own. But where is the thirst, where is the want? The fringe benefits are already there," he said.

So, what would be his advice to such participants?

"The passion and the thirst has to stay. If you feel that you are in music for the popularity, for the name and the fame, then it's not going to help.

"It has to be that spirit, that thirst to do something musical, to grow as a musician and that should be your connection with music right from the beginning to the end."

Asked how many of such reality show participants have actually found a foothold in the music industry, he said: "Lots of them."

As examples, he named 'Sa-Re-Ga-Ma' winner Debojit Saha, 'Indian Idol' participant Rahul Vaidya and Toshi Sabri, who came fourth in 'Star Voice of India'.

He also made a special mention of Irfan Ali who had lost out in last year's 'Star Voice of India'.

"Irfan - there is a boy I have a lot of hope for to come and do better later," he said.

But if there is one singer Shaan will really bet on, it is Debojit Saha.

"I think Debojit is fantastic. He has got a brilliant voice, a brilliant range, he is a complete singer. If I have to take one bet, I think it is Debojit," he stated.

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