Shows featuring children can be stomach-churningly awful.
And those that pit talented children against each other can do a lot of damage.
But what if a show decided to take a totally positive approach, remove the competition element, and just celebrate unique and unusual talents that children have?
That’s the premise behind Little Big Shots, Channel 7’s new offering for a Sunday night family timeslot.
Developed by American media stars Ellen DeGeneres and Steve Harvey, the Australian version is hosted by genial media personality Shane Jacobson.
He has such a sunny, open personality that you can’t help but be charmed by him. Shane is never patronising to his young co-stars and he shows genuine interest and admiration for what they can do. He is comfortable in front of the camera and displays a quick wit, able to respond to whatever unpredictable answer the kids may surprise him with.
There is freshness about this show, and the conversations between Shane and the children will make you chuckle. And, there’s no need to fear having to witness an eight-year-old singing about love and lust. These little big shots are natural kids who just happen to do something remarkable that shouldn’t make anyone cringe.
Headlining episode one is five-year-old country boy Charlie, who tells Shane that he has been shearing sheep “for 20 years”. After a chat about what you need to be a good shearer, a sheep pen appears on stage, Charlie’s dad comes up from the audience, and Charlie grabs the clippers to prove he is the real deal with a live sheep.
Alexsa is a six-year-old power tumbler, who will surely score some Olympic medals for Australia in another decade. Watching her try to teach Shane the gymnastic exercise of ‘planking’ is a hoot.
The third Australian little big shot is 12-year-old Jayden, a likeable young man who just happens to be Australian snooker champion, and his coordination with the cues and the balls is remarkable to watch.
The international focus of the show adds to its appeal, with Rubik’s Cube whiz Jianyu from China demonstrating his skill, a young interpreter on hand to help.
Seven-year-old drummer Eduarda hails from Brazil, and has a huge personality, exuding great warmth as she bangs out a Led Zeppelin number.
My own favourite is Akshat from Mumbai, a lad who is a brilliant Bollywood dancer who finds doing the splits and standing on his head easy stuff. He has a real joie de vivre, and lists his favourite things in life as food, dancing and making people happy. He does that in spades.
Give Little Big Shots a go—it might be one of the few programs that the whole family really can sit down and enjoy together.