Vanuit het perspectief van een toeschouwer:
It was Sam’s 15th birthday, and Michael invited him onstage to sing Nina Simone’s Feeling Good. But when the teenager joined in, the singer was blown away by his voice and joked: ‘Holy s***. I’ve got about five years before Sam appears on The X Factor and drives my career into the ground.’
Sam was subsequently interviewed by American entertainment channel E!, who christened him ‘the next Justin Bieber’. It didn’t take long for BGT scouts to track Sam down and ask him to appear on the show.
‘We were quite shocked,’ says family friend Sophie Davies. ‘We didn’t realise how manufactured it was.’
Before Sam had even decided whether to take up the offer of an audition, a contract with a time slot to audition was sent to his house.
The four-page document states that if a contestant progresses past the first audition stages they agree to an exclusive worldwide recording agreement with Simon Cowell’s company Syco as well as ‘an exclusive publishing agreement’, ‘an exclusive touring/tour merchandising agreement’ an ‘exclusive management agreement’ and ‘an exclusive agency agreement’.
None of the agreements has a time frame — so the contestants could be tied in for their entire career.
‘It would have really restricted Sam,’ says Sophie. ‘Our understanding is that it would have even meant that he couldn’t perform at school or his weekly pub gig.’
Sam and his family decided that the pressure was too much — and he declined the offer. [bron]
Een anonieme executive van Sony vertelt hoe het er achter de schermen van de Talentenshow van Simon Cowel aan toe gaat:
Recording contracts are legally extremely complex and usually require input and advice from very expensive, specialist contract lawyers. SYCO knows that such legal advice goes well beyond the means of most contestants. As one senior SYCO executive said to me recently. “These people are mugs. They’ll sign away their own mother just to get on tv. It’s a fucking turkey-shoot and then we own their arses!”