Performing is a sport for some, which makes The Voice Kids perfectly acceptable.
Before The Voice Kids debuted on Channel 9 a friend of mine posted on Facebook:
What kind of twisted masochist is going to sit down and watch The Voice Kids? After a tough workday the last thing I want to watch is an hour of other peoples smelly tot’s warbling their way through a selection of insufferable pop, I want to treat myself for head lice just watching the trailer!
I was the first to reply —“Ahem … me!” And I am watching the ADORABLE tots, sometimes twice. I wish I could say it was because of my two-year-old, but no, I watch it for me. You see, I wish one of those kids were me, or my kid, but mostly I wish I could go back in time and be one of them.
Arguing with a friend over the merits of going on such a show and the worrying consequences for some of its young contestants, he brought up his concerns — the depression, anxiety and sense of failure on a national stage when they don’t win.
As a child who was raised on a stage, performing in Eisteddfods, musicals and Sunday school concerts, I don’t see a problem with it at all. I think some people forget that performing, for some, is their sport.
We never question a parent who drives their talented little swimmers from swimming carnival to swimming carnival in the hope that one day they may swim for Australia. Nor do we judge the parent of the boy with the awesome kick that sits in the car every afternoon while their teen trains in the feeder team for their favorite rugby league club. So why is a stage or talent contest in which a performer trains in the same way an athlete trains any different?
For every parent sitting on the sidelines indulging their child in their passion, there is a similar parent sitting side of stage doing the same, and yet all of a sudden they are called ‘stage parents’ and are likened to a Lohan. I say “baloney”.
Sure, most young athletes aren’t exposed to a national stage until they are competing for Australia and yet Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett have both recently struggled with health issues, and for every great rugby league player, there is a Todd Carney.
And sure, we should never push our children to do anything until they are able to deal with the pressures that might arise, but then there would be no swimmers like Melanie Schlanger, or performers like Taylor Swift or footy players like Corey Parker to aspire to be.
So when my daughter Millie watched 10-year-old Olivia perform Katy Perry’s Roar for the third time and then said “I want to sing like Olivia in front of those boys” (meaning the Madden Brothers), I could not have been more proud of both her desire to follow in my footsteps and of her choice of judge.
I would have picked Joel and Benji, too, if I had the chance.