Cesko Hleda Superstar 2005: Round 4

From the day the show started last year, many of the decisions made by the Cesko Hleda Superstar judges have been questionable. Last night’s round showed them at their worst. Their decision not to let a 21-year-old Roma contestant named Daniel advance in the competition was shocking. Daniel performed a phenomenal set combining R&B and beatboxing, like a hardcore Bobby McFerrin jamming along with a jungle DJ. He obviously blew the judges away (they actually applauded) but they rejected him because his talents were not mainstream enough.

Bullshit. As much as I enjoy CHS, decisions like this piss me off. They give ammunition to the show’s detractors and lend credence to the argument that the Czech music industry and the people who support it want their superstars to be cash cow puppets. Aneta Langerova looks like she’ll be able to go her own way – although the goth space cadet image she’s got now is a bit ridiculous. Last year’s runner-up Sarka Vankova, on the other hand, is clearly on her way to becoming yet another TV Nova whore.

The panel’s decision to reject Daniel would not have irritated me so much if it hadn’t been for the fact that the four judges gave marginal thumbs up to two people based on their looks, and admitted as much. Svetlana, a 21-year-old blonde model, had judges Ondrej Soukup, Michal Horacek and Eduard Klezla drooling as soon as she walked in the room. Her singing was nice, but nothing special; Soukup even told her that she looks better than she sings. Gabriela Osvaldova, the lone female on the panel, grudgingly let her advance as well. The same could be said for the next singer, Adam, an 18-year-old Ken doll. In fact, that’s how the judges see them packaged – as Ken and Barbie.

The panel also let three people through on pity. First there was Karel, 27, who sang a cringe-inducing rendition of We Are the Champions, then barely made up for it with a Czech song. Later on, Jan, a 19-year-old spiky-haired kid who looks eerily like Jack Nicholson’s Joker – or Laura Bush – also got through by the skin of his teeth. The third of the pity party was a 25-year-old mother of two named Zuzana, whose life is so disgustingly perfect that it seemed fitting that she should advance. If she makes it through to the point where the public decides, I’m sure that good old Czech envy will eliminate her quite early. And rightly so – the thing that Ken, Barbie, Karel, Jan and Zuzana have in common is the fact that their singing is nothing special. The kind of people you want around the campfire, but not on heavy rotation.

The judges managed to make one good decision yesterday. Nadezda, 25, came in looking like a nervous Ziggy Stardust (well, that’s what her pencil-thin eyebrows brought to mind) and blew the judges away. Osvaldova looked like she wanted to give her a big sloppy kiss; Horacek said that her voice had lots of colour and perfume. Just like the Ewok from round two, Nadezda broke down when the judges told her she’d advance.

Last but not least, was this year’s potential Dajdou – David, a gangly 26-year-old who sang something that sounded like it came from the Czech version of the musical Cleopatra. David’s singing was barely good enough for a karaoke competition. Judge Klezla, a singing instructor, told David straight up that he didn’t have the voice to be a singer. David got lippy, saying that his instructor and many famous singers have said that he can sing. For a minute it looked like security would have to be called in.

While David was clearly psychotic, in a way I could see where he was coming from. As qualified as they are to sit on the panel, the four CHS judges screw up from time to time (Standa Dolinek being a prime example). With the exception of Nadezda, if they keep picking mediocre divas (and that’s what most of them are, even the guys), CHS fans are in for pretty lame finals.

Jan 31, 10:47 (Filed under: Culture )

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