Novelty talent tilts appeal to niche markets

Our channel-surfing adventures last month were particularly fruitful in terms of the unusual and even bizarre novelty talent competition that we unearthed: “Face Off” turned out to be a truly spectacular showcase for the expert skills of prosthetics and makeup artists, whose phantasmagoric creations wowed viewers in a major way.

The contestants honed their skills in fantasy or horror movie productions that required them to create all sorts of far-out characters, so they were more than qualified to do full justice to the week’s challenge: To transform a group of dancers into a ravenous and predatory pack of—zombies!

The models they worked on were dancers because, after the transformative makeup and prosthetics process, the zombies were made to frenetically prance around, to prove that the makeup artist’s work was secure.

Viewers interested in becoming “movie magicians” would do well to watch the “Face Off” competition on a weekly basis, to get valuable pointers to make the “impossible” a “fantasticating” reality, not just for TV-film productions, but also for fun family or barkada events!

Another unique novelty challenge, “Hair Bottle Spectacular,” is similarly impressive to watch, because it makes its contestants come up with wondrous tonsorial confections involving hairstyles of all sorts, literally the sky’s the limit!

Some of their crazy creations are so tall and heavy that they have to be propped up, but the models love showing them off!

It turns out that, aside from the tilt’s “fantasticating” factor, there’s a lot of planning, construction and science involved in the skilled contestants’ creations, since the tilt’s jurors love to painstakingly and even scathingly point out their mistakes.

They chide the “extreme” hairstylists for getting carried away by their showstopping concepts and not paying enough attention to practical considerations, thus making their creations look messy or even ugly.

Finally, there’s another talent tilt also involving hair that is particularly conceptualized for—dog groomers! A different set of requirements and objectives is operative in “Groomer Has It,” including the fact that some animals aren’t as tractable as professional models, so the groomers have to know some “dog psychology” on top of their technical skills!

It’s interesting to note that the mentors and jurors of this third tilt are every bit as demanding and even persnickety as the evaluators in the first two competitions. Yes, the subjects being groomed are “only” pet pooches, but they and their owners require the very best service, too!

These three far-out and “niche” programs show how specialized US TV programming has become, to service the United States’ huge viewership.

The niche audiences that these specialized challenges attract may be smaller than more “mainstream” shows, but even a viewership of a few hundred thousands is enough to make a production a going proposition, especially if the advertisers the shows attract are selling products and services that cater to A-listers and big spenders!