Episode 411: Potemkin Sausage Factory

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we discuss what makes reality singing competitions wonderful… or terrible. And we wrap up our coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016.

We discuss some of the stranger aspects of a contest that tended more toward pop homogeneity in 2016, the arcane voting system, why some live performances have better production than others, and then attempt to arrive at an explanation of why we love some reality competition shows… and can’t stand others.

→ Download the Overthinking It Podcast (MP3)

Become a Member of Overthinking It

Support the site you love and get cool stuff in return, including free access to the latest editions of The Overview, on Tim Burton’s Batman and the Christopher Reeve Superman.

Subscribe to the Overthinking It Podcast

Want new episodes of the Overthinking It Podcast to download automatically?

Subscribe in iTunes
Subscribe with RSS

Tell us what you think!

Email us
(203) 285-6401 call/text

Your Panel

7 Comments on “Episode 411: Potemkin Sausage Factory”

  1. Chance #

    The Jury Show is the night before each semi and then the final (so the first semifinal has a “Dress rehearsal” the night before that is close circuit broadcast to those juries and so on).


  2. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    I wonder why they do it that way. Is it the need to have those votes recorded and tallied before the show itself?

    Anyway, guy I worked with loved Poland’s song. Maybe I need to rewatch it with fresh eyes and try not to think of Weird Al.


  3. Crystal #

    Well actually (sort of), there are many Swedes involved in kpop. I recently read The Song Machine by John Seabrook and it’s quite the fascinating look into the production of pop music. Highly reccomended! Pretty much all the music on the pop stations is by the same handful of producers, even with more “authentic” artists (though this is more of a TFT conversation).


    • Crystal #

      Ah, I spoke too soon. This is the same book Matt mentioned, though I think I read a more recent version. There’s a whole chapter on Kelly Clarkson. She hated working with Max Martin, hated all the Max Martin hits. She even begged her label not to release them. That is what I get for commenting before I finished the podcast. I’m also reading Let’s Talk About Love: Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste by Carl Wilson and it makes frequent reference to Eurovision and how Celion Dion is an artist made for Eurovision.


  4. robertsharp #

    On Ivan and other’s use of holograms, I wonder whether this sort of self-interaction is part of a wider trend driven by internet culture.

    For example, a huge proportion of the content posted on Vine is of a ‘conversation’ where a single person plays both characters – a trope that has arisen from the quick way in which Viners want to turn their thoughts into content, but also a solitary way to create.

    There are also YouTube stars like 80Fitz and Jon Cozart who produce music with multiple versions of themselves beatboxing or harmonising.

    And don’t forget Beyonce’s SuperBowl performance in 2013 which featured multiple projected representations of the artists – something that, if I recall correctly, you Overthinkers analysed at length on the podcast.


  5. cat #

    On the larger question of why people watch reality TV while being aware of the falsehood…

    I trend towards competition shows. X Factor, American Idol, Project Runway, Top Chef, etc. With a lot of these more popular shows, there’s an informal infrastructure of critique around them that is part of the experience for a lot of people. It’s a network of podcasts, blogs, message boards, etc. that thrive on that lie. To some degree you want to see how people can manage to succeed or fail within the system and on another level, I suppose you’re critiquing the narratives the way you might dissect any work of fiction.


Add a Comment