Fed up with talent shows that take advantage of their contestants for good telly? There’s a new show in town, anyone in the world can enter and it’s the antidote to all that’s wrong with the status quo on reality talent shows.
“Now Thats Entertainment is a new, unique, and ground breaking online competition, with a simple easy entry process”, says the creator, James Alton, who set up the competition up after a bad experience on X-Factor. “We want to create a fairer and more respectful platform for gifted and talented artists. NTE is less limiting, less prejudiced, we don’t pigeonhole anyone. We want our contestants to feel empowered and appreciated.”
The online variety talent show is now in its second year and includes singing acts, dancing, magic, comedy and a variety category. This year it had 400 entries, which have now been whittled down to thirty, and are now up for the public vote which closes on 1 July. The competition runs throughout the year and concludes near the end of the year when the live finals take place in November.
“I’m so passionate about it,” says James. “Now Thats Entertainment goes across all types of performance. We want everyone to enter, they don’t have to be UK based. The judging is done solely on the entry video and the judges review the videos on camera – so it really is like GoogleBox but a talent show version. And yes the missing apostrophe is on purpose.”
“NTE is far more respectful than other competitions - we let the talent do the speaking. You shouldn’t be voting for someone because they have a sad history. Yes it makes engaging TV, but this is about talent. In the NTE live shows you can tell the public your story because you’ve earned your place and doesn’t give you an unfair advantage over anyone else.”
What does he have to say about his experience on X-factor? “It was seven auditions before I got to the judging panel. Travel, waiting around for hours - it was gruelling. Overall, I want to say it was a good experience, because I learned a lot, but I know if I had got further, I would have been an amazing showman type of contestant.”
Does he feel he could have been treated better? “No, it was a bit demoralising, but they treated me well overall. I do think there is some fixing and pre-meditation though – they know who they are putting through, even in those early stages, it’s so well vetted.”
“And that’s why I’m really proud of NTE, it’s a very authentic, real competition for talented people who want to be discovered and take part in something truly genuine. There are some who will say that you can fake a video, but you can’t fake being a real entertainer, and anyone faking something like their singing through auto-tune will fall down in the live shows anyway.”
“Now That’s Entertainment is open to everybody throughout the world. There’s hardly any cost involved, not the sort of outlay you have to give for one of the major shows. And if you get to the live performances and travel is involved, well at least you know you’re a serious contender by that stage.”
The competition takes place throughout the year with three public votes spliced intermittently between judge’s rounds. Contestants submit new videos as they make the next round until eventually one act from each category goes through to the finals in November.
The winner will receive £1,500 in prize money, will perform their act in LDNTV's live lounge, in Manchester's at Bar Pop, and Sapphires Nightclub in Blackpool. They will get access to our industry contacts, be interviewed on 5 Towns Radio and secure a guest spot in one of NTE judge Steven Yallop’s shows.
The Judging and Mentor Panel
The Magic Judge: Don Nouvelle
Don auditioned last minute for Luton Mela Talent Quest in 2016 when he went as part of the audience, and ended up the Grand Final. That year he was called back by the producers of Britain's Got Talent for a second shortlist audition, and went back for auditions in 2017 and 2018. He’s now a full-time Magician and Entertainer, a member of The British Ring of The International Brotherhood of Magicians, and a regular at The Blackpool Magic Convention.
Variety Judge: Viva La Diva
Viva La Diva (John Hamilton) has spent 30 years working the Nightclub and Cabaret scene with a plethora of entertainers worldwide. Now based in Manchester with her own cabaret bar, Bar Pop, boasting the largest Entertainment Team on the club scene in the North of England.
Singing Judge: Steven Yallop
Steven was a Judge on Series 1 of BBC’s All Together Now with Rob Beckett and Geri Horner, and runs his own theatre company. He is a director and producer of major productions, as well as being a musical theatre performer himself.
Comedy Judge: Rick Sheehan
Rick is an award winning entertainer who has worked across every medium in the business 42 years. He started drumming at 14, and later became a DJ in many top venues. Comedy was always his passion though, and his show, Tribute to the Stars, has now been going for 30 years taking him around the world.
Dancing Judge: Aaron Blackmore
Professionally known as ‘Az’, Aaron is a choreographer and professional dancer. He provides industry professional training within commercial and urban contemporary to aspiring dancers, crediting Fleur East to his name.
Presenter: Jamie Lowe
Jamie has been a presenter on TV and Radio since 2015. Starting in Bristol where Jamie was the face of local TV channel Bristol TV. More recently Jamie has worked for Channel 5 and has just returned from Norway where he hosted a documentary for international travel channel Travel XP.
Live finals for Series Two take place on 2 and 3 November 2019.
James Alton was interviewed by Jade Zienkiewicz at Phlashweb.
The entry process for series two of Now Thats Entertainment is now closed. Series 3 submissions open on 1 January 2020.
The public vote is now live: take part and help decide who goes the judges panel - closes 1 July 2019.