Homegrown superstars hold special appeal in Bhutan(Read article summary)
Bhutan's version of American Idol, called "Druk Superstar," stands out for being a locally produced program in a country whose airwaves are dominated by regional productions.
â€˘ A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.
In Bhutan, television viewers have been glued to their sets for the past four months watching â€śDruk Superstar,â€ť the local version of â€śAmerican Idol.â€ť Here, where TV was first introduced in 1999, the viewing diet is rich with Indian soap operas and South Korean music shows, so any home-grown program in the national language, Dzongkha, is embraced with enthusiasm. In particular, â€śDruk Superstarâ€ť featured traditional songs Bhutanese people have always sung.
By international standards, the look of â€śDruk Superstarâ€ť was modest: The stage was a small platform on the studio floor draped in red carpet, while a flimsy sheet of plastic printed with the showâ€™s name and logo formed the backdrop. There were no designer outfits; rather, everyone was dressed in traditional Bhutanese garb. There are no official ratings, but each week the show received up to 100,000 text-messaging votes from viewers watching at home â€“ in a country of just 750,000 residents.
â€śPeople enjoy watching our own people singing traditional songs,â€ť says Kencho Dorji, the programâ€™s producer.
â€śEntertainment in Bhutan has been dominated by Bollywood and Western music, so we came up with the idea of our own people singing our own songs on television,â€ť he says.
The winner, Ulab Leki, a popular comedian, beat out 27 other contestants.