Manufacturing Stars On UK Talent Shows


The concept of the manufactured pop star has been with us for many years now. Whether it be the 1960s group The Monkees who were carefully selected by a TV studio, or even the likes of The Sex Pistols who were brought together by Malcolm McLaren, the manufactured musical artist can provide many joys and horrors for the modern music connoisseur.

But it's the rise of 21st century talent shows such as Pop Idol and X-Factor that have really galvanised the manufactured pop star, and so here's a look at some of the more credible artists to emerge from this popular TV format.

Girls Aloud

When the five girls from the north of the UK were brought together on the talent show Pop Stars: The Rivals in 2002, many were keen to dismiss them as a mere imitation of previous talent show has-beens Hear'say.

But thanks to some canny marketing and great songs such as Sound of the Underground and No Good Advice, Girls Aloud managed to create an exciting blend of pop sass and streetwise charm. Although all of the girls in the band came from relatively unglamorous backgrounds, it proved the point that even without a strong background in music, even the most unlikely candidates can become betting favourites on sites like, as the final performance will not be based on how they are initially perceived, or how likely they are to win. Already there are some interesting odds offered on the site, with early favourite Hannah Kilminster showing strong potential to win.

One Direction

Another globe-conquering talent show sensation was One Direction. Love them or hate them, the London-based boyband have managed to overcome some critical misgivings to top the charts in dozens of countries with hits such as What Makes You Beautiful, Steal My Girl, and Live While You're Young.

But despite the band reckoned to be worth over $50 million as a business empire, they've had a tough year with Zayn Malik leaving the band due to stress leading to One Direction deciding to take next year off.

Will Young

As one of the original talent show breakthrough artists, Will Young is the perfect example of somebody who came from nowhere to become one of the nation's most-loved singers.

He rose to prominence in the first ever series of Pop Idol in 2002 where he was seen as a rank-outsider to the more-popular Gareth Gates. But it was Young's vocal delivery that won over the nation's hearts that led to a highly successful and lucrative career in the music industry. Although many of the talent shows' stars have struggled to maintain the momentum of their careers, Will Young has released several multi-platinum albums, with his latest 85% Proof album gaining top position in the nation's charts.

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