If you were going to create the conditions for a show like the Vision Bombing Game Show to succeed, you’d probably ask for a rain shower five minutes before the show started, to ensure that the big top you were performing in was full; you’d have a popular local artist with name recognition involved; you’d have a show with games that required audience participation, and you’d have a host that was magnetic and engaging. The Vision Bombing Game Show had all of that and yet, for a variety of reasons, it didn’t work. A show that started with a packed audience was three quarters empty halfway through, the viewers delivering a harsh but fair judgement on the show.
The show is billed as “Hip Hop meets A Question of Sport meets Mock The Week, meets The Krypton Factor but a lot more fun and daring”. It’s a bold claim, but at the start, they almost managed it. The host, Ty Chijioke, selected two children from the audience and, after having them dance with the other hip-hop performers on the stage, made them captains for the red and blue team, dividing the audience and making for the kind of good-natured competition that all good light entertainment shows have. Chijioke was full of energy and an effective master of ceremonies; in my notes I wrote that there was a good balance between moving the show along and keeping the audience entertained.
Then the first event started. It was all downhill from there.
There’s nothing wrong with a question and answer segment in theory. Done correctly, it can engage the audience and be a solid way to start a show. But when the questions are niche, you forget to involve an audience that is predominantly made up of young families and teenagers and it goes on way too long, you have a brewing disaster on your hands. To give an example, one of the questions asked who directed Too Fast, Too Furious. Is it any surprise that neither the preteen team captains nor the young people in the audience knew the director of a film that was released sixteen years ago? In fact, I was the only member of the audience that knew the answer. That’s a problem because I don’t think I was the target demographic for the show.
There were too many examples of little things going wrong: Chijioke realised that the q and a segment was going on too long and asked the technical team if he could move on to the next event. When he was told no, he seemed to lose energy, and noticeably stopped trying to get the audience involved; the technical team kept getting ahead of the questions so the answers were on the screen before the questions were asked and it was unclear what the score was.
Again, the issue wasn’t with the idea but the execution.
The next event was another missed opportunity. It was a game where two people were joined together with bungee lines and tasked with getting balls from the top of traffic cones and despatching them in bins. Instead of asking the young audience members to come up onto the stage to take part in the game, they used the adult hip-hop curators instead. It was at this stage that the first wave of audience members left, presumably because the children were bored at not being involved.
And on and on it went. Good ideas let down by poor execution. It was a frustrating experience because it should have been fun. Hip-hop is one of the biggest musical genres in the world; hip-hop culture is popular culture. Look at the prevalence of dances like the running man and flossing, which helped make Fortnite the gaming phenomenon it is today or goal scorers who dab. Heck, thanks to Megan Thee Stallion and Lizzo, we’ve just experienced our first hot girl summer. A show that combines the popularity of hip-hop culture with a light-entertainment format will be very successful. With some effort, the Vision Bombing Game Show could be that show. But as the nearly empty big top highlighted at the end, it has a long way to go.