The performance last week on AGT by Bir Khalsa has flamed the often reoccurring fire: Should we have a specific talent show that respects and showcases danger stunts?
We’ve seen a lot of TV talent shows hit the airwaves over the years. There are shows like World of Dance and So You Think You Can Dance for dancers. Last Comic Standing and now Bring The Funny have both provided a platform for up-and-coming comedians to show their stuff. Magicians even have Penn & Teller: Fool Us. And, of course, American Idol, The Voice, and countless other shows have introduced us to tons of music stars.
However, there’s one talent that hasn’t really found it’s groove on TV quite yet: danger acts.
Escape, stunt, and other danger acts are welcome to compete on variety shows such as America’s Got Talent…but how welcome are they actually? These kinds of acts aren’t generally as well-received by the audience (and in some cases, the judges) as others, even when they’re well-put-together. Take Bir Khalsa Group and Bello Nock as examples.
Both acts competed on America’s Got Talent, but were eliminated in the first live round without even a chance at the Dunkin’ save despite putting on acts that looked more “Vegas-ready” than most of the others they were competing against.
Some people are turned off by Danger Act and don’t want to see them on any talent shows
It’s totally understandable why a lot of people are turned off by this type of act. They’re scary, and a lot like horror films, they are just not as “universally palatable” as other genres of performance. And don’t forget, sometimes accidents do happen too, remember the man who died on survivor in 2009?
Accident on ‘AGT’ that almost killed a contestant
That being said, danger has its own audience
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an audience at all for danger – after all, Fear Factor was a big hit – and much like the other genres of performance that have their own shows, these acts deserve a platform where they’ll be respected and embraced. But what would a program like this look like?
Listen up NBC: Here is what a danger talent show line-up would look like.
First off, the judging lineup would need to consist strictly of people who not only “get” danger, but are into it. Too many talent show judges refuse to watch these types of performances, hiding their eyes and turning away. That’s already bad on variety talent shows (they’re getting paid to judge all the acts properly!) but it would flat-out ruin one focused on risky situations (or the illusion of them). It’s hard to say who those judges would be, but at least one person with experience working or performing in the field would be vital.
The format could easily copy that of World of Dance or Bring The Funny, both of which consist of a hodgepodge of genre-based acts (dance and comedy, respectively) competing against each other. However, there are some flaws with this style of competition; when it comes down to it, it’s pretty much based on the personal preferences of the judges because of how wildly different some of the acts are (yes, World of Dance has a scoring system, but that’s what it pretty much boils down to). Instead of the judges being the sole factor in deciding who stays and who goes on the danger show, the studio or at-home audience could vote, the former option being akin to the elimination process on The Masked Singer.
So, what else should our theoretical danger performance competition do differently?
Model the competition not off of the aforementioned programs, but off shows like Skin Wars and The Great British Bake-Off. On these shows, everyone gets assigned a new challenge every episode to do and the weakest link is eliminated.
In the case of a danger show, each act might have to come up with a performance incorporating a different element each week like chainsaws, animals, swords, etc. And for the finale, contestants could be given the freedom to come up with any kind of danger act a la the “freestyle” dances the finalists do on Dancing With the Stars. Finally, the grand prize could be a sum of money and/or a performance contract.
I realize this style of show might not work for network television since it would be fairly niche, but much like the aforementioned Skin Wars, I think it would have the potential to do quite well on a cable channel.
What do you think? Should we have a talent show dedicated to danger?