THE SHOT has undergone a number of changes and developments over the years, particularly the decision to open the competition to anyone age 16 and over from anywhere in the world, but this year’s latest may be the biggest yet.
The Shot has continued to be Canada’s fastest growing platform for aspiring talent, but amid the rise of other singing competitions — both independent and televised, the show has had to adapt its format if it’s to keep up its success.
Last year’s installment of the hit competition saw producers allow, for the first time, video auditions to be submitted in order to open the opportunity to audition to a broader array of applicants.
The biggest upcoming change, producers say, is that Season 6 will have a greater emphasis on mentorship and the development of artists. No longer will singers need to wait until the mid-way point of the program to find out which judge will mentor which group of hopefuls or to start the mentoring process. The judges will be informed of which category they will mentor at the end of auditions, the announcement will be made at the start of the Callbacks and mentorship will begin immediately. In addition, the judge/mentors will have autonomous control over how their groups develop and which acts advance to future stages of the competition in contrast to past seasons where advancements were decided by the judges collectively in closed door deliberations.
Producers also acknowledge that the perception of The Shot has been a challenge and that if there’s a comparison to be made with one of the many television concepts, it isn’t with shows like The Voice, American Idol, The X-Factor or even CTV and Scott Borchetta’s new platform The Launch. Instead, Season 6 of The Shot will have more of a Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank feel to it.
Auditionees for Season 6 will find their auditions to be more oriented toward having the judges get to know contestants, asking more questions and diving deeper into an artist’s journey and where they are or see themselves going in their music career. Similar to the business pitch competition shows, participants in the auditions phase will be pitching their product: their personality and their talent. While the vocal performance will still be the ultimate determinate for advancing to the next round, how a candidate responds to questions will also play a part in the final decision.
“It’s called the music business for a reason,” says executive producer C.J. Allen, “and everyone knows it’s not easy. It’s arguably the hardest business to get into; to be a break-out artist, to get people to pay attention to you — whether your goal is to get signed to a label or go DIY, you need to be able to express to people … a label, a manager, an agent, even your fans or potential fans … what sets you apart and makes you different from everyone else. It’s an incredibly important skill to have: one that I think many artists struggle with and so for many of the performers that come in to audition, it’s going to be a challenge but one that they’ll learn from and be all the better for when they’re actually in a real deal situation.”
The change to the concept is also set to create a balance between the art and the business. While the judges won’t be dishing out multi-million dollar investments, they will be using their experiences and expertise to help finalists prepare for that possibility. The Boot Camp weekend, for example, which has been traditionally used to set a series of challenges and tasks for participants, will be dedicated to preparing the artists for the brand new Showcase event where the finalists will have the opportunity to perform for an audience of music industry professionals including label representatives, agencies and producers who have been invited by the judges.
The new Showcase event also adds a new twist to what used to be the “Finale”: no longer will the judges deliberate to determine a ‘Top 4’ selection of finalists followed by an audience and online vote for a winner; instead, online voting will open immediately following the Boot Camp and will stay open for two weeks in order for a ‘People’s Choice Artist’ to be chosen and announced at the Showcase. The judges will also choose a ‘Judges’ Choice’ award recipient and all finalists will receive a token of recognition for their success. The ‘People’s Choice Artist’ recipient will also receive a VIP pass to Canadian Music Week 2019 which includes access to networking events, keynotes and workshops at the annual week-long conference.
The Showcase will culminate with a post-show event that will offer artists the chance to be introduced and personally meet-and-greet industry insiders and explore the possibility for future collaborations.
“This is the sort of platform artists have been looking for,” said Allen, “a genuine ‘kick at the can’ that doesn’t promote itself as ‘discover[ing] music’s next wave of superstars.’ It’s not that simple. Artists need a dedicated team, a community around them to achieve success and that doesn’t come from a show that only works to serve its own interests. The Shot is unique, nothing like this has ever been done before; it’s about opening doors and creating opportunities for everyone in the business: the artists primarily but we’re also an awesome, free scouting vehicle for the labels, for the agencies, for producers looking for exciting new acts … we do the work of scouting, finding and to a small extent prepping the talent during the month we have to work with them, but the endless possibilities and opportunities are in the hands of the artist and the business.”
Hopefuls looking to take their ‘shot’ can submit video auditions now or apply to perform for the judges at the Live Auditions on September 8th, 2018.