A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the contestants in this competition -- which is yet another fluffy entry in the American Idol school of reality TV -- test their mettle in the areas of singing, acting, and dancing. Most are good at one of the three, but none are good at all of them, which means that they often come across as foolish and can become the butt of the judges' snide stares (and viewer mockery).
What's the story?
In each episode of MTV'S LITTLE TALENT SHOW, seven contestants with diverse gifts compete for $500 in front of a panel three judges. Unlike other reality competition shows in which the competitors show off a single skill or talent, in MTV's Little Talent Show, the mostly teenaged contestants have to sing, dance, and act in a series of three preliminary rounds. In the singing round, all seven contestants perform the same song; in the dancing round, they're all challenged to perform freestyle moves to three different types of music; and in the acting round, they go head-to-head in a scene featuring a visiting celebrity. After the preliminaries, the contestants are rated by a rotating panel of three "celebrity" judges; members of the panel have included American Idol's Kimberley Locke and Constantine Maroulis, Days of Our Lives' Brian Datillo, The Bold and the Beautiful's Sean Kanan, and former Fly Girl Laurie Ann Gibson. The two contestants with the top scores go on to the "triple threat" round, in which each must act out a skit that includes more singing and dancing.
Is it any good?
While the contestants seem to be having fun on stage, some are so bad that it's easy to laugh at them instead of with them, which makes MTV's Little Talent Show a little mean-spirited. And while the judges give constructive criticism for the most part, the cameras also catch them making faces as the contestants flail onstage. Parents should be sure to remind younger viewers that it's important to respect others and that it takes a lot of courage to chase a dream and perform in public.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what goes into nurturing a talent. How do you figure out what you're good at? Do you have to be innately skilled at something in order to succeed at it, or can practice really make perfect? What's the difference between pursuing something creative (acting, singing, arts, writing, etc.) as a hobby versus as a career?