19th September, 2013 saw the launch of one of Pakistan’s highly awaited TV shows, Pakistan Idol. Modeled after the popular television franchise “American Idol”, the series was aimed at identifying solo artists across the country and further their careers via a mix of training and competition.
The initial auditions were met with humongous response and contestants started pouring in from all walks of life. Rich and poor, young and old; all types of people were enthusiastic about it. After all, the show was scheduled to launch in 2007 so the masses hoped that it would be worth the wait.
Pakistan Idol has three judges Bushra Ansari, Hadiqa Kiani, and Ali Azmat. Tese choices were somewhat controversial, as apart from Ali Azmat, neither of the other two were that well established and certainly not qualified enough to be judging many different styles of singers.
In a country where politeness is an art form and saying what you really think is the height of vulgarity, the judges’ “Simon Cowell” moments have brought an angry backlash. In one notorious exchange, Ali Azmat, lead singer with the band Junoon, mocks a male singer’s high pitched voice and then starts dancing with his head and hands in a style more generally associated with troupes of performing transvestites across South Asia.
Social media have been abuzz with condemnation and a public petition has attracted almost 1500 signatures demanding a public apology from the show’s makers for humiliating contestants. The appalling attitude of the judges has been witnessed by everyone on mass media and will surely bring about a bad name for Pakistani media.