Why Irish TV has the cringe Factor
X Factor has changed the face of television. So it was inevitable RTÉ would get around to foisting its own half-cocked tribute on us in the shape of the All Ireland Talent Show.
As is often the case, when Irish TV can't come up with any decent ideas of its own, it has a look at what is doing well in the UK and cobbles together a cringe-inducing home-grown version.
From Mrs Brown's Boys to some of the oddballs rounded up for the Front Line audience, RTÉ is very good at creating TV that makes you vaguely embarrassed to be Irish. But it surely outdoes itself with The All Ireland Talent Show, a televised karaoke contest that isn't so much X Factor as T Factor -- as in Father Ted.
Featuring tap-dancing rural types, twinkly-eyed mountain dwellers and more folk bands than you could wave a plastic shillelagh at, the programme does a convincing job of living up to every negative stereotype foreigners have about this country.
Mystifyingly it also borrows its format from the GAA championships. Why not simply hand out hurleys and let the contestants go at it like Tommy Walsh in a bad mood?
It wouldn't be pretty -- but it might be vaguely entertaining.