X Factor, Pop Idol and American Idol. They've all been responsible for taking talent, sucking any originality out, and spitting people to their destiny as bland manufactured pop stars.
There are arguments that these shows are creating a generation who believe that fame is instantaneous and that being famous is a desirable career choice. Simon Cowell is the svengali at the centre of the phenomenon, and has made his fortune creating pop success. So are the programmes a bad influence - or an inspiration?
Not long ago I was ready to call for the end of X Factor due to the negative effect it has on people's aspirations. But wise words from my coach has steered me in another direction. She pointed out that Simon Cowell's talent actually lies in building up people's belief in themselves. He understands that the key to achieving anything is a firm vision of success. Those contestants that do not have 100% confidence in what they do inevitably do not make it through to the final stages.
Strong visions are not to be confused with cocky arrogance. Last year's contestant Olly Murs is case and point - he frequently stated how much had to win the competition. But his belief in himself was not supported with a clear understanding of why he wanted it - simply put, he just wanted to win.
What is interesting is that the audience understands this subtle clue. The contestants that they are most supportive of are not necessarily the ones that have the best voices - but the ones that are most beliveable in their determination to progress. This is where Cowell's production genius comes through - his ability to reinforce the story of the artist and their dream. These are the moments that have the critical emotional impact that keep viewers tuned in - rather than the performances themselves. The likability factor is built around how genuine the audience feels the intentions of the artists are.
What Cowell can teach us all is how powerful these visions are, and how critical they become to earning success. No matter how talented you are, and whatever your business, career goal, or aspiration is - without the firm belief supported by your intention, your chances of achieving your dreams are limited.
Image by skip-rat from Flickr