Watching Popstar To Operastar, I sometimes imagine how a polar bear must feel, sitting on a block of ice that's breaking into ever-smaller diminishing blocks, drifting along in a faceless oceanic void. Choosing the biggest block is simply staving off the inevitable - ending up in the drink. Such is the way I feel about trying to take Popstar To Operastar seriously. I could already see the show splitting up: do I take seriously the acoustic art usually rendered in hour-long segments; or do I pay attention to the two-and-a-half minute televisualised bursts? I told myself to ignore the 'opera' component of the show (despite the enormous OPERA hoarding dominating the back of the set) and hop over to the platform operating as showbiz telly. But then I find myself on a smaller, drifting block of TV-ice splintering further into 'reality show', 'talent show', 'chat show' and 'entertainment show'.
Of course the production team is adept at skipping onto the next chunk of expedient 'ice' when the one they're on buckles under the weight of unfulfilled expectation.
"A reality show? No, not really - look everyone knows these things are staged now, right?", says the producer, hopping off the doomed format-iceblock. It's not the Noughties any more.
But he doesn't stick about on the talent block for long, because that's manifest slush. "After all it's not really about current talent but the opportunity for industry figures to discuss their work." (etc).
The counter-argument is a glass-half-full construct which says that it is all things to all men. Real people, exhibiting their talent in a genial, chatty arrangment which is entertaining to all. This is the positive way of looking at the show. Hey, enjoy yourself. Or, even better, simply enjoy.
I'm no pedant, and though this positive argument is an appropriately botoxed arrangment I can live and let live. I'm not going to meddle with a bear fixing its grin, dealing passively with existential disaster.
The unignorable fact of the matter is that the programme cannot conceal its own shortcomings. But for an inventive producer, the whole sorry mess would have disappeared up its own larynx. You see - even in failure the producer gets some warped credit.