Talent shows are supposed to be real, I mean that’s quite literally the requirement. But, everything today feels like it’s staged and scripted – based on what will get people talking. This dose of drama is already exceedingly high in daily soaps, so it’s hard to watch reality shows do the same thing.

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Growing up, we could actually sense a lot of honesty in these shows – which were entertaining because they were ‘real’ and not scripted. They were a lot about the talent and skills, unlike shows nowadays that are about everything else, but art.

These videos are proof of the good times:

1. Shreya Ghoshal helping a contestant with her diction.

In one of the snippets from Indian Idol Junior, Shreya Ghoshal was seen explaining proper enunciation to a contestant. She also mentioned that she picked it up from the legendary singer, Lata Mangeshkar, and felt like passing on whatever she’s learnt on her journey.


2. Rahul Vaidya and Neeti Mohan’s duet.

During a duet performance on Amul Music Ka Maha Muqabla, Rahul and Neeti were supposed to sing Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar. While Neeti Mohan picked the chorus, there was a point where she fumbled with the lyrics, and Rahul immediately used his presence of mind and improvised. He was able to realize that these things happen on stage, and chose to do the right thing for the co-artist and the performance.

3. Sunidhi Chauhan pointing out the need to feel the lyrics while singing.

The Voice India used to conduct blind auditions as the first stage of selections, and contestants could choose between the mentors. In an episode, Sunidhi Chauhan pointed out to a contestant that there was a sense of emotion that was missing, even though there was nothing wrong with the performance technically. This felt like a very honest and important opinion, given that these contestants hope to learn from the judges as well.

4. Dharmesh’s audition for Dance India Dance.

Dharmesh Yelande, who’s a well-known dancer and choreographer now, had participated in Dance India Dance. During his audition he had shared how some of the contestants who auditioned before him, and got shortlisted, were his students. His journey is surely inspiring, but this moment was extremely pure – something only reality shows were capable of.

5. When Vishal Dadlani was concerned about a kid singing an item song.

‘Item numbers’ are problematic in all ways, but their impact on kids who are exposed to media is deeply concerning. Hence, during the auditions for Indian Idol Junior, Vishal Dadlani talked to a kid’s parent about song selection. It was not only great advice, but the way he handled the situation was also commendable. Shreya Ghoshal also added the need to not expose children to such lyrics.

6. Remo D’Souza and Rajeev Surti’s performance on DID Doubles.

There was a time when judges on most reality shows used to be relevant to the art form that the shows were about. Now, it’s mostly about TRPs and who’s trending more, even if they do not know a lot about the field. During a DID Doubles’ episode, Remo and Rajeev did a dance-off just for fun, and also shared about the their journey as dancers.

7. Shaan getting a photoshoot with his team on The Voice India Kids.

Unlike a lot of reality shows today that pay more attention to promotions and celebrities who attend as guests, shows used to be more about the participants. In a wholesome video from The Voice India Kids, Shaan got a photoshoot with his entire team, which actually focused on the spirit of the competition.

8. A compilation of Sonu Nigam being the perfect mentor.

Sonu Nigam, without a doubt, has given us some amazing songs that live in the head rent free. But, he’s an equally inspiring mentor as he’s a singer – at least for the contestants who get honest yet gentle feedback. A compilation of his review on performances in the reality show, Super Singer is proof of it. And it’s honestly what viewers and even contestants expect from judged who have more experience than they do.


We need the reality in reality shows.