ABBA’s Ulvaeus: ‘Reality Shows Are Killing Music’

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August 15, 2010 | 6:30pm EST

ABBA star Bjorn Ulvaeus has hit out at Simon Cowell’s music reality shows, branding the TV contests “cruel” and guilty of producing “mainstream” acts.

The singer/songwriter is not a fan of the music mogul’s shows, including American Idol and The X Factor, and has urged budding pop stars to avoid auditioning.

He tells Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper, “It is very cruel and very often the contestants are given the wrong sort of advice. I don’t like the way a young person is standing there and is sometimes humiliated.

“And then they are given advice by someone who is not an expert in any way. Maybe they get the impression that this is the way it had to be, which is wrong. Everyone should pursue whatever is original in oneself. That’s the way for a long life in music.”

He also accuses the reality series’ makers of killing originality in music: “Such shows want to polish off anything that is original. They want to polish off the corners to make them all smooth and mainstream. I think that’s wrong.

“There was nothing mainstream about The Stones or The Beatles, who were our big influence when we started out as ABBA. This way of picking people by audition is very different from how ABBA started out in the music industry. We grew organically.”

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