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“Surely a great experience” – Representative study of 6 to 17 year-olds on what they think it is like to take part in a talent show

For years, talent shows have been top of the list of favourite television formats among 10 to 17 year-olds. For the first time, 1,230 girls and boys aged between six and 17 in a representative sample were asked what they thought the experience of taking part in a talent show was like for the contestants, and whether they themselves would like to take part.


  • 80 % of girls and 60 % of boys regularly watch talent shows; the viewers frequently come from educationally disadvantaged families.
  • Talent show fans assume that taking part is the best chance the contestants will ever have in their lives, that they are treated well, and that the contestants lead happy lives after the show.
  • Whereas those who tend to reject the genre also question the documentary character, talent show fans assume that the programmes always show the viewers exactly what really happened during the castings and in the workshops. Likewise, they assume that the contestants in real life are exactly as they are presented in the programme. 
  • Dieter Bohlen is the most well-known judge. Particularly boys who like watching talent shows believe that watching Dieter Bohlen teaches viewers how to give criticism. Sarah Connor is the most popular judge. Among girls who know her from television, nearly one in two would like her to be their mother.
  • Among talent show fans, around half of girls and around a third of boys would themselves like to be a contestant in a talent show. Taking part in a talent show is connected with the desire for a great experience. They assume that they would become famous, that all their friends would see them on television, and that parents, teachers, etc. would then finally see their potential. In educationally disadvantaged families especially (but not only there), talent shows are seen as an achievable route to success and fame.

The results of this study point to an urgent need for the promotion of media literacy.

Press Release:
The dream of taking part in a talent show