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Singapore Idol: Consuming Nation And Democracy

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Chapter Summary

The Singapore Idol competition, a national televised pop singing contest, is a spectacular example of the global culture industry at work. This chapter begins by locating the popularity of the first season of Singapore Idol in 2004 within the genre of ?reality television? and then explaining specifically the commercial advantages of producing a show such as Singapore Idol, including the positive spin-offs for the rest of the culture industry and indeed the capitalist economy itself. It then discusses how the first season of Singapore Idol performed ideological work by reflecting and thereby reinforcing dominant ideas about meritocracy, democracy, the nation, multiracialism, and the stereotypes that inform Singaporeans? everyday understanding of their society. Finally, the chapter considers moments and opportunities for ideological resistance and negotiation, concluding that this first season of Singapore Idol was the most vivid contemporary example of a product of the culture industry in one-dimensional Singapore.

Keywords: capitalist economy; democracy; global culture industry; one-dimensional Singapore; reality television; Singapore Idol

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