How popularity trumps talent in most ‘contests’ nowadays

Popularity contests seem to have taken a new turn in the last decade. It has become literally, just about being “liked”. Forget about working on your talent or congeniality. Joining a contest takes less effort than that. If you have no problem with shameless self-promotion, you can win just about anything.

Gone are the days when one wins a contest fair and square on the basis of merit. Nowadays, you need to gather everyone you know and everyone you don’t know to vote for you in order to win. The winner gets to be decided on the basis of the number of “likes” received on social networking sites. It doesn’t really matter if you are the prettiest or the most talented contestant, if you don’t have the numbers to back you up, you lose. And here I was thinking that political elections are the only thing that got automated. Apparently, the judges in most other contests have all become automated too. It looks like the new generation has lost their ability to stand by their decision.

Take beauty pageants for instance. The contest is already in itself a superficial exercise, catering to man’s primal instincts. But the advent of social networking sites has taken the activity to a new level of shallowness. Contestants of local pageants are now being asked to spam forums to solicit votes from members. Whatever opinion I have about beauty contests, I still think that it would be a shame if a deserving contestant lost just because she didn’t get the right amount of “likes” from Facebook. Not fair at all.

On national television, those who have the best voice can sing their hearts out; those who are overweight can lose all the kilos they want and those “masterchefs” can cook the best dishes of the lot. But at the end of the day, the one who gets to win is the one with the most number of audience votes.

These days it is harder to pick out the Elton Johns from the sea of manufactured “talents”. Someone did say that it does not matter how you make it but what matters is what you do after you make it. In other words, we all have to start somewhere but what separates those with real talent from the wannabes is the ability to sustain the audience’s interest. Unfortunately, judging by the number of “idols” who come and go every year, it seems like it is easy come, easy go.

Now where can we find the next Andy Warhol whose popularity can last for more than 15 minutes?


Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

Leave a Reply

13 Comments on "How popularity trumps talent in most ‘contests’ nowadays"

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Tattaward Reject


Dr. Noh

ah well, whatever brings in the ratings…
nothing like a little “audience participation” to hook in more viewers. it makes people feel, umm… “empowered”.

@PFarol – all you need is a little media stunt to turn you into tomorrow’s trending topic, and next thing you know, you’ll be in next year’s running 🙂 I’ll vote for you if you get in the running.

Tattaward Reject

I used to think it would be cool to win a Blog Award, but then I realized I cared more about my stats and the quality of my back links.

Also, you can see all the credit grabbing that goes around when it comes to “who started this trending topic” or online outrage. It’s kinda sickening.


Actually, this “blog awards” scene is starting to look like a microcosm of Pinoy society — a small clique of mutual-backpatters congregating around an award body that rewards on the basis of votes. 😀

Dr. Noh
oh be still my heart… celdran isn’t the ultimate ballbuster after all, Lea Salonga got the win. How’s that for a plot twist? Careful guys, dont want to appear like you’re sour-graping in front your faithful readers, would you? 😛 Stay classy, we still love you, prize or no prize. But back to topic, there was an article I read a few months back about the current social relevance of the various award shows for music – the Billboard awards, MTV awards, Grammies… they each have their own distinct criteria – some base it on sales figures, airtime play, number… Read more »