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Reality TV – officially dead?

Surely the genre jumped the shark several series ago, but I think this is getting close to the death knell. No, I take that back. I’m sure there’s something left to exploit. Here’s the latest bit of family entertainment.

He loves pizza, baseball, hockey — and the inspirational, uplifting music put forth by church choirs. That’s why Michael Ilitch, owner of Little Caesar’s Pizza, the Detroit Tigers, and the Detroit Red Wings, has launched “Voices of Joy“, a modified reality television program that hopes to find America’s most exciting church choir.

Ilitch says Voices of Joy is more than just a competition for church groups. “It is an inspirational reality show-based series of live events and television programs for the entire family,” the highly successful American entrepreneur shares. “But the beauty of this competition is that, unlike other reality shows, every one of the finalists wins something.” And those winnings are substantial. More than $1.3 million in educational scholarships will be awarded to choirs as they advance in the competition — and the winning choir will receive a half-million-dollar prize.

Eight church choirs from within a 100-mile radius of 12 key U.S. markets will compete against one another before a panel of judges, with the winning choir from each of those markets advancing to a nationally televised competition this fall.

I’m sure that there is an audience for this, probably on PAX or CBN, and they are giving out educational scholarships. And it will be a big deal for the participants.

The live events and subsequent High Definition television programs, CDs and DVDs promise to be a series of upbeat and exciting concerts featuring the music of America’s best choirs.It is our goal to present viewers with the sounds of America’s best choirs representing denominational and non-denominational churches, singing a variety of Christian music genres. The music will range from gospel, to traditional four-line hymns, to contemporary Christian music.

Oh, so it appears that only Christian groups are eligible to participate. Let’s look at the rules.

The Ensemble and the Soloist will each be required to perform one (1) song, which song may be no longer than three (3) minutes. The Ensemble and the Soloist may perform either a contemporary Christian song or a traditional Christian song. However, the Soloist may not perform a song in the same style of church music as the song performed by the Ensemble. If the Ensemble performs a contemporary Christian song, then the Soloist must perform a traditional Christian song and vice versa.

Hmmm. What if a pagan, earth-worshipping group wants to participate — is that a no-go? Just asking. Think up some other possibilities that might rock this program’s world.

Hey, reality-TV producers managed to get a few misguided folks to tune in to Britney and Kevin: Chaotic — they should have paid the audience to watch.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding