Reality singing show Indian Idol is into its tenth season, but what is it like to audition and perform on the show? A Twitter thread of the experience of a man who auditioned for Indian Idol in 2012 has gone viral and it raises questions about how reality shows treat their contestants.
Nishant Kaushik tweeted that the reality show was ‘a perfect platform to destroy your dreams as opposed to its common perception as a breeding ground for talent’. Kaushik described his experience from when he arrived in Mumbai to audition for the show in May 2012. Kaushik, who was there just to audition for fun, said he encountered a 2 km-long queue outside the venue, in this case, a Mumbai school playground.
He said there were different types of people waiting in the queue with him, some of whom were serious aspirants, while few others had come to audition, like him, for the fun of it. There were some people who had been accompanied by family members, and others who had travelled alone.He spoke about how he joined the queue at 7 am, but there were people who had arrived before him and others who had camped at the venue overnight thinking they’d be ahead in the queue and it would allow them to audition first.The gates to the venue opened only at 1 pm, and Kaushik said that on entering they found that there were no accessible toilets at the venue, and it lacked drinking water or food stalls. And people were still scared of leaving the queue for fear of losing their spot.
Even at 1 pm, the wait wasn’t over and the crowd was ushered towards a stage on the ground, where the crowd had to cheer as an ex-contestant of the show lip-synced to a song.Kaushik described how the camera crew, who he called ‘vultures’ chose some contestants as bait and make them dictate scripted statements. Some people were offered the lure of ‘an early audition’, but never actually got one.Kaushik said this continued till 8 pm without any sign of auditions. But before the auditions, the crowd was made to loudly cheer and shout slogans for a montage on the show. One angry contestant stood up to check where the judges were, but one of the crew members charged towards him and slapped him in front of thousands of other contestants.
A scuffle followed and the aspirant was asked to leave the show. In the meanwhile, the crew began randomly picking people to sing a few lines and those who sang badly were sent to rooms with cameras to record them. This process soon was repeated in front of the judges also, who mocked contestants who sang badly, he said. The mockery was so bad that it left one of the contestants in tears.Kaushik was evicted in round three of the auditions, close to midnight. Instead of being dejected, kaushik said he was happy and satisfied about being able to go back home. He said that even the labourers who were hired to assemble and disassemble equipment at the venue were harassed by the crew.