There has been such an entertaining competition running on BBC. It’s my favourite kind of show, similar to Idols, where talented and some not so talented folk try their luck at fame and fortune. This time around it was a search for the Last Choir Standing with some amazing amateur choirs making it to the last knock-out stages. What fun it turned out to be.
What usually gets to me and I’m sure most of the other viewers, are the personal stories behind the scenes and woven into the show. We get to glimpse personal lives and people’s ambitions and dreams for the outcome of the competition. And of course the stories chosen by the show’s organisers are the ones destined to tug at our heart strings.
The final winners, a boy-band so to speak called Only Men Aloud veritably transformed themselves from a bunch of homegrown lads, into quite the glamour dudes. It’s amazing what a bit of television style make-up and some funky clothes can do. Checking out their photo on their website and the visuals on the last TV show makes for interesting comparison.
As much as I thought they were fabulous, I would have been inclined to think that their opponents in the final session, a young school age choir, should have knocked them off the winner’s podium with their last effort in the competition. One wonders whether women vote more during these kinds of competitions?
However, talking about the final two competing choirs, it is of some interest that they both were from Wales. Having had the pleasure of a Welsh father-in-law, I had been introduced and advised of the irrefutable claim to the fame of Welsh male choirs many years ago.
The question that one could pose would be one of self fulfilling prophecies. With other words, because Welsh choirs are considered to be world class, Welsh men join choirs more readily than men in other countries where choir organisers often groan at the shortage of male voice participants. They might also work harder and with greater focus to ensure they lived up to the reputation.
Would this be the same in other areas such as sport for instance?Â Having just enjoyed the Beijing Olympics one was surely amazed at the short distance runners that successfully represented Jamaica.Â Equally entertaining were the skills exhibited by the Chinese gymnasts and divers and Kenya and Ethiopia again showcased their winning long distance runners. And who would have guessed at the final medal count ofÂ the British cycling team never mind the GB Olympians placing fourth in the overall medals count.
And yet, it does not seem that reputations are cast in stone. The top sprinters, in the past few Olympics came from the USA. The African-Americans were awesome in general collecting large numbers of medals in the short distances, hurdles and long jump track and field events. No longer. And in times before that, the Russians sparkled in similar fashion.
So what changes in the mindset of the people of a country that within a long – as in Wales – or short – as in Jamaica – period of time, champions are born?Â What makes a tiny Wales take two choirs to the final of a national competition? How does an almost as small Jamaica with 56 Olympic competitors win 11 medals, never mind the super achievements of a Usain Bolt.
Then I look at my old home country, South Africa, the power house of Africa. It came 71 in the medal count, with one silver medal to its name. South Africa has a proud history of successful sports competitors across the board with huge talent alone in long distance running.Â Where are they now? Interesting question. In the meantime, treat yourself to some fabulous choir singing, that is if you enjoy that kind of music. Boy-band on steroids…