Yes, he’s good, but…

There’s a show on Zee TV that’s very popular right now, called Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs. It’s American Idol with kids under 15 and with no Simon Cowell. In other words, the judges are all nice folks who always tell the kids how good they are, even if they have to point out minor flaws. Now, to be fair, from what I’ve heard, the kids are all amazing singers. That’s not in question. What I do have an issue with is the way people treat one of the three grand finalists in particular, Diwakar Sharma.

Diwakar is blind. Totally. Completely. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s a very good singer. In fact, the first time I heard him sing, what struck me wasn’t so much the quality of his singing as the quality of his voice. He wasn’t the best singer, but I thought he had a beautiful, clear voice. It’ll be sad when puberty hits.

Now, a lot of people believe that he’s still in the competition (and leading, last I checked) because of sympathy votes. Again, I can believe that, and I’m ok with that. I wouldn’t have voted for him, but I can understand why people would have. And I can also understand that his parents are proud of him, because he is handicapped and yet is succeeding in a large competition. What bothers me is how people keep fawning over the boy “because he’s blind and yet he’s singing on stage in front of so many people, and how brave he is, and how he is very blunt and straightforward with the judges, etc.”

Granted, I don’t know what it’s like to be blind. I can only imagine what it must be like to not have the use of one of the more basic senses.

*p.s. The grand finals are actually going on as I type this. Shah Rukh Khan is going to be presenting the award. I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated as things progress. )*
*p.p.s. Shah Rukh Khan has become a real advertisement whore these days. I kid you not, he’s in something like 30% of all the commercials on TV these days.*

Still, I fail to see the correlation between eyesight (or lack thereof) and singing. Maybe I’m just being obtuse and amazingly stupid, but how does the fact that he’s blind make it any more special that he’s a good singer and can sing in front of large crowds of people? In fact, I could make the argument that he probably has a sort of advantage over the other contestants, because he CAN’T see the crowd, and so is less likely to suffer from stage fright.

What annoyed me even more was when Shiamak Davar, the show’s dance choreographer (more on that later) kept emphasizing how “special” Diwakar was, and how we should all thank God for giving us someone as special as Diwakar. Shiamak is a well-known modern dancer in India, and gifted Diwakar with a gift certificate to his dance academy (which I thought was also weird).

Don’t get me wrong. I think it takes immense guts to get on stage in front of so many people and perform. And I also have a good deal of admiration for Diwakar for not letting his handicap slow him down, and leading a normal life. But in terms of being a contestant on a singing show, I don’t think he’s any more or less special than any of the other kids who made it to the finals.

Now, regarding the choreography… you know how, in Indian movies, the songs frequently have backup dancers? During the grand final show (which so far, has been going on for over 3.5 hours), there have been perfomances by all the other finalists who were eliminated earlier, as well as the final three. And during each song, there were backup dancers doing their thing. But here’s the funny part. They were all kids. And when I say kids, I mean they were all under 15. Turns out, they’re part of Shiamak Davar’s Junior Dance Company. But it was still weird seeing these kids doing the kinds of moves you’d associate with people ten years older. Lord knows I’ve never seen a thirteen year old dance like that.

Another funny note. When these kids were doing their performances, they were kinda sorta dancing along with the backup dancers, while singing along flawlessly. That automatically set off some warning bells, and I started watching closely. Those kids were lip-synching! I mean, they had sung the songs originally. They just weren’t singing during those particular performances, since they weren’t competing for prizes anymore. Mom didn’t believe me at first, but after a particularly bad bit, she stopped saying anything.

*Show update: Diwakar came in second. The winner was a girl named Sanchita who was definitely the better singer. In my opinion, this was the best possible result. The best singer won, but the “blind kid” did really well. And no, I’m not cynical. Why do you ask? *

In other news, we took a look at the new house today. But this post is long enough. More on that tomorrow.

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