What Makes the Difference? Pop Music Stars and TV Talent Show Contestants in Adolescents' Judgements

Lothwesen, Kai and Müllensiefen, Daniel. 2005. What Makes the Difference? Pop Music Stars and TV Talent Show Contestants in Adolescents' Judgements. In: Kari Kallioniemi; Kimi Kärki; Janne Mäkelä and Hannu Salmi, eds. History of Stardom reconsidered: The refereed proceedings of the inaugural conference of IIPC, University of Turku, 9-11.11.2006. 1 Turku: International Institute for Popular Culture. ISBN 978-951-29-3472-0 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This paper summarises the approach, empirical methodologies, and part of the results of an empirical study that was conducted in early 2004, when musical TV talent shows reached their peak popularity among young media
audiences in Germany. Our primary research interest was in the similarities and differences that the adolescent
target group of this TV format might perceive between contestants in TV talent shows and real or ordinary pop
music stars. Shows in this TV format all seem to assume that adolescent TV viewers eventually appreciate suc-
cessful contestants as music stars just as their favourite pop music artists. And record sales and media ubiquity of
the shows’ finalists rivalled that of other successful pop stars at least during a certain period. But does this really
prove that talent shows actually achieve their ultimate marketing goal, which presumably consists in constructing
a real pop music star in the short course of one TV show season? Do adolescent viewers really buy the message
that a music star is mainly characterised by its musical and performance talent and that a suitable TV jury can
discover one talented individual among thousands in a few weeks? Or do the young viewers somehow know that
these contestants may be omnipresent in all media channels, but that there still is a difference from pop musicians who have been for much longer in the music business? These questions merge with Richard Dyer’s diagnosis, that “economics alone cannot explain the phenomenon of stardom.” (Dyer, 1998: 12). Whether it is any kind of manipulation via the machinery of production or a uniqueness of individual abilities that evokes the adolescents’ conceptions of stars – the TV format itself seems to be the crucial factor for this topic.

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Book Section

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Available as an eBook at http://iipc.utu.fi/reconsidered/

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Date Deposited:

13 May 2014 11:04

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:59



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