Monday, March 3, 2008

Chelsea, meet American Idol

This is a singing competition, not a dancing competition! Oh wait, no, it's a football competition. Dribble more and call us in the morning.

As anyone working in an entertainment industry might know, trying to find talent is hard. Simply, there aren't enough hours in the day to go out, search, solicit and canvas for fresh faces and diamonds in the rough.

To remedy the problem, they create shows like American Idol and America's Got Talent, whereby the undiscovered brilliance comes to them! That way you do less work, you get to make fun of the oddballs, and occasionally you might find someone incredible who you can immediately take credit for unearthing.

It's a phenomenal system, and Chelsea's finally cottoned on, with the news this morning that they're setting up a reality show in China to find the next big Asian soccer star. And, the top 4 get to come to Stamford Bridge!


According to the Times Online, Chelsea will give trials to four Chinese youngsters after agreeing to partner with the Super Soccer Star programme, broadcast across the region on Guangdong TV Sports Channel.

They're desperate to get some presence in the world's most populous nation, as well as boosting their profile across the whole of Asia with this move. It seems a little cynical that this might be the answer, but, as we know, it's all about media management these days, and the possible drama that could come about when hundreds and hundreds of aspiring soccer players try out for Chelsea brass. I'm not entirely sure how much involvement the Blues will have over the show until the winners come over to the UK, nor just how they're going to be associated with the program besides having their fucking badge plastered everywhere.

The show will start airing in Southern China next month and take place over 13 episodes. It's open to players aged between 14 and 16 [sorry, distant Asian relatives of Danny Almonte], and the four most talented players will then get coached at Chelsea's academy at Cobham.

Peter Kenyon, obviously aiming to fill Simon Cowell's shoes, gives a wonderful soundbite:

"We are delighted to be involved in such an innovative project that helps us deliver on our continuing commitment to promote grass roots football amongst youngsters in China."
[I might believe that if TV cameras weren't rolling while you deliver on that "commitment".]

I wish I had a subscription to Guangdong TV Sports Channel, so I can watch the fun take place without having any idea what's being talked about. Chelsea could find the next Drogba. Then again, they might find the next Shevchenko.

Which outcome carries better ratings?

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