Live acts by musically prodigious children have been featured on variety shows and short segments on talk shows ever since I can remember. Yet even in the wake of the popularity of American Idol, full shows with such young savants have been very successful. One would assume that this is due to the rarity of finding such qualified children rather than a lack of interest from the public. There is actually a strong “cuteness factor” which makes videos with young children popular. Perhaps not so popular as videos of cats, but the idea is similar – show something cute doing anything and the views will come.
Pequeños Gigantes overclocks this marketing gimmick and the result is a very over-heated and unstable, if attractive, machine indeed. What we get here is something like the America’s Got Talents of the world it is a variety talent show, showcasing the singing and dancing skills of the young contestants. No expense seems to have been spared on the set production. The set is huge and the lighting effects are on par with those of American Idol. There are respectable singing and dancing talents for the professional shows done between rounds or to back-up the infantile vocalists. This is not a show that cut corners in the set to make money.
However, the less said about the actual competitors, the better. The children are usually not musically talented by any stretch of the imagination, some of them barely able to belt out the chorus of songs. The singing and dancing portions are often equally cringe-worthy, with only a few of the children (mostly in the dancing portions) at all passable. On what grounds the contestants are selected is a big mystery, as some of these tykes aren’t even confident in front of the crowd. This doesn’t matter to the judges, of course. They never have a word of criticism for any of the contestants and the lowest score the prompting screen beneath their desk is able to give appears to be an 8.3 out of 10. This is nothing more than an elementary school talent show on a very expensive stage.
Yet the low skill level of the participants does not seem to affect the show’s popularity. The cuteness factor of having young children dressed as salsa dancers, rockers, or banda musicians prevails over whether or not the performance is good on a technical level. The show currently holds a 6.1 out of 10 on IMDb. This is a decent score and doubly surprising since Spanish-language shows, except for telenovelas, rarely receive enough votes on internet ratings sites for them to even display a score.
More important (and shocking) are the actual viewer ratings. How many people does PG draw in per showing? In its 2nd season in 2012, it was a contender for top broadcast show for Sunday, gathering almost 5 million viewers in its evening time slot. Its premiere in June 2012 was top show in certain demographics, even beating out the English-language television stations. Not only that, but it was also very popular abroad as well. In Portugal, it beat all the domestic singing competition shows and became the most popular reality show in its class during its run. Gigantes was able to overcome the humble abilities of its tiny reality stars and justify its namesake in 2012.
While its astonishing success is difficult to fathom, even more inexplicable is the fact that all this success has been met with an anaemic follow-up. The network decided to keep it dormant for four years, with season three only coming back in 2017. The 2017 edition will also be quite different from the Mexican 2011 – 2012 era of the production, with contestants being sourced from the pool of Spanish-speaking US citizens rather than from all of Latin America. Furthermore, the format hasn’t been adopted too wildly on an international scale. It appears that, despite the good return on the investment, entertainment executives are still wary of going forward with the talent show reality television program.
Season 3 of #PequeñosGigantes has already been announced this month, and Univision is conducting auditions for children ages 6 – 11 near its Miami campus. If the show is able to keep the awkward charm of the original, then it will surely get the ratings to survive on a very long-term basis as does La Voz and other competitive singing shows. Sign up for your email notification list down below to discover the news about #PG. We’ll be sending out a short email to subscribers if future seasons are officially announced. If a cancellation of
Did you watch the first two seasons of #PequeñosGigantes 4 years ago? Are you following the careers of the children who performed in those years? Who do you think will be the judges for season 3 of the show? Do you think limiting the show to Miami will make it a much more Cuban show? Give us your opinions down below.