Little Mix says they insisted on following up on applicants on their reality show, after seeing how the music industry treats young artists.
“We didn’t have that, really, on the show we came from,” says Leigh-Anne Pinnock, referring to the band’s tenure on The X Factor.
“We want to make sure they are properly taken care of and support them,” Jade Thirlwall adds.
The group was open about the effects of celebrity on their mental health.
Nelson wrote an award-winning documentary last year explaining how cyber bullies who criticized his weight and appearance shook his self-confidence, leading to a failed suicide attempt.
Pinnock recently opened up about her personal experiences with racism in the music industry, while Perrie Edwards revealed that she struggles with anxiety and panic attacks.
Speaking to the Radio Times earlier this week, the group said they were essentially on their own after winning The X Factor’s eighth series in 2011.
“You’re immersed in it without a second to think about anything, which can be a lot to deal with,” Nelson told the magazine.
“We never had anyone watching us to see how we were doing mentally, everything was just go, go, go. Personally, I didn’t feel like there was anyone who cared. “
“When we won, we weren’t even allowed to spend time with our families to celebrate,” added Pinnock.
“There’s a lot more mental health awareness now, but people only see the pop and the smiles and the stage, and they don’t really understand what’s going on. ”
After these experiences, Little Mix says they will be more involved in their show, The Search, which will be released on Saturday.
“We can really be honest with them about the things they might go through along the way,” Thirlwall said. ” [We] have been there and have been and can talk to them and be a shoulder to cry on – which is so essential.
“Also in terms of social media, we can teach them what it takes to have thick skin – because as soon as you step into the limelight, you’re going to be judged. “
‘Not too much ego’
The Search sees the Brit Awards winners form a series of groups, which will vie for a supporting slot on the Little Mix Arena tour next year.
Contestants are auditioned in a pastel pink studio, with Little Mix offering advice on diction and stage presence before deciding who will move on to the next round.
In the first few episodes, some of the male contestants are incredibly confident. “Can I come and give you a kiss?” asks Adam, an electrician, who maintains direct eye contact with the band while singing Lewis Capaldi’s Hold Me While You Wait.
“I feel sassy,” Promise, 25, said during her hearing; while another hope declares: “You are all hotter in real life”. Adam, a waiter, even arrives at his audition with a tray of cocktails for the group.
“I’ve never seen such confidence in my life,” says comedian Chris Ramsey, who will host the show’s live episodes. “Some of these guys are 16 and they wink at you, they work in the gym. ”
“The eye contact was so intense,” Leigh-Anne admits. “It was like, ‘Oooh, OK“. But we love it, especially for a boyband. They must be charismatic. Not too much of an ego, however. ”
“There’s a fine line,” Jade admits. “And you have to make sure they stumble over the line and don’t cross it.
“But I also think for us as mentors it’s really important to put them back in their place if we have issues with them. “
Having gone through the TV talent show process themselves, Little Mix took their role as judge very seriously.
“There is nothing worse than showing up for an audition,” says Jesy Nelson. “It’s terrifying – to the point where, my first audition, I can’t even remember it because it got blurry. I was so scared.
“So it was so important for us to make them feel as relaxed as possible. ”
For Jade, it was important that candidates who did not pass the auditions were not left behind.
“We have been turned away several times [so] we want to make sure they are properly taken care of and support them. ”
“We want to encourage them to try again and come back,” adds Leigh-Anne. “Just because you get a no, it doesn’t mean it’s over in any way.
“We really give constructive advice and criticism. I feel like they have a good experience on the show even if they don’t succeed. It’s something they can take with them. “
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Modest TV, which produces the group’s talent show Little Mix: The Search, has confirmed that contestants will have access to “a full-time wellness team and clinical psychologists” before, during and after filming .
Once they live in “bubble families” for the live shows, they will also receive online meditation sessions and social distance workouts with personal trainers. Psychological support will also be offered after the show ends.
A BBC spokesperson added: ‘Care planning for members of the public attending and participating in our programs is always at the heart of our production process and we have editorial guidelines from the BBC to help protect participants. . ”
The plans cover everything “from initial casting to pre-production, to post-transmission care,” they added.
The research was originally scheduled to debut on BBC One in March, before the coronavirus pandemic struck, thus excluding live broadcasts where winners would be determined.
However, the auditions had already been filmed and the bands were formed months ago. As the show is set to resume, Perrie is hoping the contestants have put the downtime to good use.
“They could use it to get more chemistry and repeat [or] record stuff for the fanbase they’re about to create. If you want to, you have to work hard now, no matter what. ”
After five successful albums and record sales of over 50 million, “hard work” is the band’s mantra. And that’s one of the three key things they were looking for in their new charges.
“Chemistry is above all, above all,” says Jade. “That’s what’s interesting about this show is that they auditioned [and] they’ve got crazy voices and then they’re put into a group dynamic and they just don’t click. ”
“If you’re in a group, the dynamics just have to work,” adds Leigh-Anne. “We were very lucky to get along with each other. It doesn’t always happen – it’s the only thing that scares me. ”
“So there is chemistry – and of course you have to be prepared to work extremely hard.
And the last of all? “No big ego. ”
“If you’re going to be working in a group, you can’t have one person who consistently wants to be better than everyone else,” Jade says.
“When we first got together we made a conscious decision to always be equal, and I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve lasted so long – no one is trying to outdo others. “.
Little Mix: The Search premieres on BBC One at 7:00 p.m. BST on Saturday, September 26.
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