The Indian Idol finale airs tonight and although I do think the show is pathbreaking in many ways, the SMS voting is beginning to resemble the Great Indian Political Tamasha more than a talent hunt.
Yesterday, Midday frontpaged a report on how the BMC worker's unions have pledged their support to Abhijeet Sawant - the contestant whose dad works with the corporation.
100,000 workers X average of 5 family members = 5 lakh possible votes. OK - so maybe all will actually vote but some may send in several entries and it all still adds up.
Meanwhile ads are apparently appearing in Chhatisgarh papers urging people there to vote for Amit Sana...
The point is: Talent Hunts are based on the 'may the best man wins' concept. So if I honestly believe X or Y is 'better' - sure, I should share this opinion with the world and even urge you to vote for him.
But simply asking for votes because I am from your city/ caste/ school - this is no different from what Indian politicians do. And the results are clear for all to see - the 'best man' usually doesn't even get nominated! The likes of Manmohan Singh are too educated and too unpopulist to get voted to office - but the like of Laloo can keep getting elected.
Coming back to Idol, Indians appear to be rating 'humility' more seriously than whether the singer has star quality. No doubt both Abhijeet and Amit are good singers - but personally, I don't think they possess the 'X factor' which is mentioned by the judges in every episode.
The odds appear to be stacked against Amit Sana - he is singing under medication, and also the fact that Abhijeet is from Mumbai is likely to influence votes in his direction.
Yet, I would urge junta to vote for whoever they think is 'better' - whatever your definition of better may be. As long as it's related to talent and not something vague like 'at least he's Maharashtrian'.