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‘Sing,’ ‘Black Mirror,’ And More: The Best Fake Talent Shows In Movies And TV

Jill O'Rourke

Jill O'Rourke

Sing movie 2016

TV talent shows are such a massive part of pop culture, it’s no surprise that a number of movies and television series have depicted their own fictional versions over the years. From all-out parodies to glimpses into our dystopian future, popular titles such as Black Mirror, Sing, and Hannah Montana have all offered their own unique take on the genre.


Check out some of our favorite examples of fake talent shows below. It’s too bad we can’t watch all of them in real life. (Except for Black Mirror. We don’t want that one.)

1. Sing

This 2016 animated movie told the story of a koala who hosts a singing competition to save his theater. Various animals, from pigs to elephants, take the stage for a shot at stardom. The film had a star-studded voice cast, including Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, and Scarlett Johansson. Taron Egerton, star of the upcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman, even got a chance to sing “I’m Still Standing” as Johnny the gorilla.


2. Black Mirror

The first season of this dark anthology series, originally broadcast in the UK, featured an episode titled “Fifteen Million Merits.” In a dystopian society, a talent competition called Hot Shot offers contestants the chance to escape a life spent riding exercise bikes. Jessica Brown Findlay of Downtown Abbey fame co-stars with Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya in this disturbing story that may make you look differently at your favorite talent shows.


3. Hannah Montana

Before she was coaching singers on The Voice, Miley Cyrus played Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel. The show featured a couple of fictional talent shows during its run. In one episode, Miley offers a mean girl at her school an opportunity to perform on Singing with the Stars, hoping to humiliate her. In another episode, she judges her friend Oliver on the show America’s Top Talent. You can probably guess what real-life shows inspired those titles.

4. Scooby-Doo

If you’re more familiar with the classic Scooby-Doo cartoons, you may have missed the 2013 release Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright, in which the gang solves a mystery on the competition show Talent Star. Ariel Winter of Modern Family fame lends her voice to Chrissy Damon, a contestant on the show who has a mean disposition — to put it lightly.

5. 30 Rock

Who could forget America’s Kidz Got Singing? In the sixth season of this NBC comedy, Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) becomes a judge on the children’s singing competition, offering up mean critiques and the legendary catchphrase “Go jump back up your mother!” John McEnroe and D’Fwan (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Tituss Burgess) round out the judges’ table.

6. That’s So Raven

The second season of this Disney Channel show featured a fake talent show called Undercover Superstar. It featured talent scouts going undercover to discover new performers. Psychic Raven has a vision about a janitor at her school being a scout, leading all the students to try to impress him. As you probably guessed, her vision wasn’t exactly accurate, leading to a cameo from American Idol judge Paula Abdul.

7. Mad TV

We wouldn’t object to the fake spin-off show All Star American Idol becoming a reality. Real-life Idol stars Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest, Brian Dunkleman, and Kelly Clarkson appear in the sketch. Michael McDonald portrays Simon Cowell, and other member of Mad TV‘s cast play celebrity contestants like Whitney Houston and Courtney Love.

8. American Dreamz

You may have forgotten about this 2006 satire that latched onto the popularity of shows like American Idol, as well as the current political landscape. Hugh Grant and Mandy Moore starred as host and contestant on a talent competition show called American Dreamz, with Dennis Quaid offering his best George W. Bush impression as the fictional president. One of the show’s contestants also happens to be involved in a terrorist plot. Do you remember it now?

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About the Author

Jill O'Rourke
Jill O’Rourke is a contributor at Talent Recap, writing news stories and recaps for shows like ‘AGT,’ ‘The Voice,’ and ‘American Idol.’ She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and Film Studies, and has been writing about pop culture since 2012, with previous bylines at Crushable and A Plus. Jill spends her free time binge-watching sitcoms and daydreaming about life as a hobbit

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