ROME — Does Italy have “Talent”?
The Italo incarnation of Simon Cowell’s “Got Talent” franchise debuted Dec. 12 on Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset web Canale 5 and quickly drew fire from TV critics.
Crix blasted it for blatantly aping “Britain’s Got Talent” by putting on a frumpy, middle-age singer in the style of Susan Boyle, the British show’s Scottish singing sensation-turned-pop-phenom.
Carmen Masola, a decidedly non-photogenic former newsstand agent, competently belted out the “Casta Diva” aria from Vincenzo Bellini’s “Norma,” leaving co-host Gerry Scotti teary-eyed.
Masola, 38, who trained as an opera singer, says her career had been blocked because she was “too fat” and cited Boyle and her frump-to-fame rise as her role model.
But Corriere della Sera columnist Aldo Grasso echoed many critics when he complained the talent show had “no experimentation, no research, no new ideas: They are just mechanically adapting this foreign format to an Italian context.”
A local viewer who identified himself as Marco, lamented on TVblog.it that “the substantial difference between Susan Boyle and Carmen is that the first one can carry a tune.”
Despite that, ratings for “Italy’s Got Talent” bow hummed. It scored a 26.6% average share to win the evening’s primetime crown, peaking at a 42% share while Masola was singing.
And Masola, like Boyle, is also scoring plenty of traffic on YouTube.