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 World's Best is a talent competition that's reminiscent of shows like The Voice and America's Got Talent. The vibe is mostly positive and enthusiastic, with judges generally praising contestants effusively and acts performing happily. Most acts are on the G-rated side: singers, martial arts performers, musicians. Some edge into material that's slightly racier or more violent: dancers with sultry moves in suggestive costumes, a sword swallower who looks like he's doing dangerous stunts. Parents may want to drive home messages of perseverance and teamwork by pointing out to young viewers how long it takes to become an expert like the ones they're watching, and how much these artists and athletes depend on their partners/teammates. Messages of inclusion and unity also come through, with acts and judges from all around the world featured, and short segments showing the towns contestants are from. This is a good whole-family show, but sensitive viewers may feel pained watching acts that strike out with judges.
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What's the story?
Together with American celebrity judges Drew Barrymore, RuPaul Charles, and Faith Hill and a group of 50 expert judges from countries around the world, James Corden is looking for THE WORLD'S BEST -- talent, that is. Hailing from all over the globe, singers, musicians, dancers, and performers of all stripes do their act for the judges. If their scores add up to the right total, acts move on in the competition, with a $1 million prize for the ultimate winner.
Is it any good?
With international acts and judges interjecting a positive note of diversity, this talent competition is gentle enough for whole-family viewing. There's no language, drugs, or sex (save for suggestive dances in brief costumes) in the acts; and only the mildest violence, like a sword swallower who looks to be in danger of injury from his sharp and/or heavy props and an escape artist who performs an underwater stunt that he explains could kill him. Judges are almost uniformly positive about contestants and their abilities -- "Wow!" and "Oh my goodness!" are typical reactions from judges when watching a singer or dancer do their thing, and whenever Corden moves over to the "Wall of the World," the international judges have more of he same unqualified praise. Not every contestant moves on in the competition though, which young and/or sensitive viewers may find a bit painful to watch.
Corden in the role of host is as charming as always -- he often ends a segment by asking if he can give a talent a try, gamely attempting to break a stack of wood or sing a few notes along with a Filipino boy band. Hill, Barrymore, and RuPaul are given less to do; mainly we just watch them watch contestants, which isn't even as thrilling as it sounds. Still, it's always amazing to see someone truly talented in a performing art, which is why reality shows like The World's Best have proliferated. In a CGI age, real people doing real, difficult things can be awe-inspiring, and may convince young viewers to sharpen their own talents -- or that watching from the couch is a lot easier.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes each of us uniquely talented. What would your kids' talent be if they were on The World's Best? Why is it important to cultivate something we're good at?
How can critiques be helpful to those who want a career in the music industry? What's the difference between constructive and destructive criticism? What type of criticism are contestants on this show getting?
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