Adapting Idols: Authenticity, Identity and Performance in a Global Television Format: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Adapting Idols: Authenticity, Identity and Performance in a Global Television Format

1st Edition

By Joost de Bruin

Edited by Koos Zwaan


252 pages

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Since the first series of Pop Idol aired in the UK just over a decade ago, Idols television shows have been broadcast in more than forty countries all over the world. In all those countries the global Idols format has been adapted to local cultures and production contexts, resulting in a plethora of different versions, ranging from the Dutch Idols to the Pan-Arab Super Star and from Nigerian Idol to the international blockbuster American Idol. Despite its worldwide success and widespread journalistic coverage, the Idols phenomenon has received only limited academic attention. Adapting Idols: Authenticity, Identity and Performance in a Global Television Format brings together original studies from scholars in different parts of the world to identify and evaluate the productive dimensions of Idols. As one of the world's most successful television formats, Idols offers a unique case for the study of cultural globalization. Chapters discuss how Idols shows address particular national or regional identity politics and how Idols is consumed by audiences in different territories. This book illustrates that even though the same television format is used in countries all over the globe, practices of adaptation can still result in the creation of unique local cultural products.


’Adapting Idols is a rich and complex world tour of the Idol phenomenon in a variety of forms and across a range of topics, from fan activities in the Netherlands and China to the role of ethnicity in Australian and Czech adaptations. This collection is a valuable resource for scholars and students interested in the glocalisation of television brands, media convergence and the production of authenticity in popular media.’ Bethany Klein, University of Leeds, UK 'Given the demonstrated and continuing importance of music-based reality television (think One Direction), this book is a timely and solid contribution to the topic. The chapters provide a wide range of national case studies, each tied into a broader organisational scheme that is both effective and engaging.' Charles Fairchild, University of Sydney, Australia ’… a wide range of fascinating case studies, thereby showing not only the relevance of studying global television formats to grasp the complex processes of globalisation but also the richness of the material in spite of the format’s rather superficial and generic character … we can only look forward to more of such inspiring research'. Necsus, the European Journal of Media Studies

Table of Contents

Contents: Adapting Idols, Joost de Bruin and Koos Zwaan; Part I Adapting the Global Idols Format: Strategic behaviour in the international exploitation of TV formats: a case study of the Idols format, Sukhpreet Singh and Martin Kretschmer; How media system rather than culture determines national variation: Danish Idols and Australian Idol compared, Pia Majbritt Jensen; Articulations of national, regional and ethnic identities in official Idols websites, Joost de Bruin; The search for an Asian Idol: the performance of regional identity in reality television, Jinna Tay; ’Accept no limitations’: expressions of diasporic identity in Nigerian Idol, Tess Conner. Part II Politics of Identity in Idols Shows: An idol against his will? Ethnicity and cultural inclusion in Czech Search for a Superstar, Václav Å tetka; The power of imitation in Music Idol: popular music and cultural agency in post-Socialist Bulgaria, Plamena Kourtova; Does race matter to generation Y? The politics of identity in Australian Idol, Henk Huijser; Superstar and Middle Eastern political identities, Mary Ghattas; Fandom, politics and the Super Girl contest in a globalized China, Jeroen de Kloet and Stefan Landsberger. Part III Producing and Consuming Idols: Can a zero become a hero? Comparing personal characteristics of audition and live show contestants of the Dutch Idols, Koos Zwaan and Tom ter Bogt; Are you a musician? The rock ideology and the construction of authenticity on Australian Idol, Nicholas Carah; Gender performance in American Idol, Pop Idol and The X Factor, Ruth A. Deller; Watching without voting: Norwegian child audiences questioning Idols’ ethos, Vebjørg Tingstad; Our own Idols: appropriations of popular television in Dutch festivity culture, Stijn Reijnders, Gerard Rooijakkers and Liesbet van Zoonen; Appendix; Index.

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Rock