The 9th season if Indian Idol is being telecast after 4 long years, viewers had lost interest in the stage managed and over the top show. They have roped in the original judges and are trying to recreate the magic they once had.
Anyway, I was selected to the top 100 of Idol this season and having seen how pathetic the show is first hand I really thought I need to pen my experience to save future aspirants time,money and dissapointment.
To summarise: Idol`s focus isn`t to select the best singers but to create maximum drama, all they care is TRP and the organizers couldnt care less for artists- from lying blatantly to being extremely unprofessional these guys came across as one of the biggest low lifes I have seen across industries.
No, this isnt a rant by an artist who dint get selected, scores of contestants would tell you the same but for the NDA the organizers make you sign or simply because most artists dont know how to protest.
In the following paragraphs I shall take you through a behind the scenes tour of the scam that Indian Idol is.
Couple of months back I got a random call from these guys asking me to participate in the “silent auditions” taking place in my city. Yes, if you think that anyone can get selected you are wrong 🙂 . These guys have scouts and because I had a minor amount of musical fame I was preselected for this. The long queues are mainly in a couple of cities for the camera(mostly mumbai), lot of people return home without a single hearing.
Next we had selections in my city where members from their crew do 2–3 rounds of selection. Again, its not the celebrity judges that select you at this stage but a set of second rung judges.
This is where I was told I have qualified for the top 100 and I need to come to Mumbai for the next round. We were told that the next round would be a 3 day event where on day 1 we would be groomed by their inhouse music experts and on the next day we would perform in front of Anu Malik, Sonu Nigam and Farah Khan.
We had to buy our own tickets to Mumbai and had to organize our own stay. Whats more these guys wont even tell you where the shoot will take place. If you arent familiar with Mumbai you will be in for a rude shock at how expensive hotels here can get.
We had people come for this round from really small towns from far away.
Once in Mumbai they basically make us stand in lines pretending to be contestants auditioning for the first time (we are told to wear the same dress on all days). Whats more we start to realize that not every one selected for this round can actually sing, some of these guys have been called all the way just to be made fun of . The drama begins with these staged interviews where contestants are asked lack luster questions like “aap indian idol kyoun banna cha ha tey hain”, “kya aap ko lagta hai aap mein woh qualities hain indian idol banney ki” (these are the same questions they have been asking for the last 10 years :P) . But the worst are the technical questions they ask to contestants they know are not trained just to make them look foolish on camera like “aalap kya hai”, “murkhi kya hai” — they would never ask these questions to trained singers.
All this takes close to 3–3.5 hrs in the hot sun (for just 100 odd people)
Once these interviews are over we are asked to go into the college building (most of the initial rounds are in a college), once inside there are multiple rooms where different rounds of selection are going on (including the initial rounds for the contestants from Mumbai), most of the operations on ground are by under paid clueless teenage interns who have no clue of what to do, so contestants were being sent to wrong rooms.
Anyway, we are finally made to wait in one big room, the wait continues for couple of hours and we are all expecting to be trained.
At some point I see a commotion outside and one of the contestants is arguing with the staff that instead of being trained he was asked to sing and was eliminated on the spot. At this point we realize that these low lifes have lied to us and are doing another round of elimination.
To add insult to injury we see some people come in to our round directly through connections, we see a lady bring a girl to the contest , she seems really pally with the staff and the usually rude staff indulge her.
We wait a few more hours and most of us havent eaten all day waiting for out turn, around 2:30 the sidey judges decide to go for a long lunch keeping us waiting even longer. Lot of the contestants got their turn around 4–5 ish having stood in the sun and waited for hours without any food. By the time our turn comes we are completely exhausted, but we muster all the energy we can, put on a smile and walk into the audition room. Once inside you hardly have 2–3 minutes to sing, their in-house “music expert” tries to play on the keyboard continually playing wrong notes, the guy plays so horribly that the other sidey judges judges ask him to stop, but he gives a goofy smile and continues none the less.
So there it was, 2 minutes of singing time with the cacaphony on the piano and we are done. Few minutes later the results for our batch are announced and to our amazament we see the guys who couldnt sing to save their life selected and some really good trained singers rejected. That girl I mentioned earlier was the only one selected in her batch.
Most of the bad singers who were selected in most probability would be insulted in front of the cameras by the celebrity judges. If you find yourself wondering how some of these really bad singers happen to come on indian idol to get insulted, be surprised no more, its all scripted, these guys are hand picked to give cheap thrills. The sad part is that these guys take the spot of deserving contestants, but the organizers couldnt care less. “Talent ko ek maukey ki zaroorat hai” and all that bull shit is eye wash, all that matters in TRP and money , period.
So heres the deal, if you are a singer and think all you need to do is get on indian idol and get heard by Anu Malik, forget it. Most singers dont even get to see him during the course of the show. You will spend a lot of time and waste a lot of money to be given a pathetic 2 minutes in front of a bunch of nobodys acting high and mighty.
If you are a viewer then you now know the behind the scenes story of all the drama. For all the ill will these guys have generated among artists I really wonder how the show could get any form of success. I hope other artists come forward with their experiences and strip these guys.