I had the unusual experience recently of watching two TOTP's on consecutive weeks. It's unusual for anyone, come to think of it, as they've stopped broadcasting it, but this was the Xmas chart, and the "Best" of 2009 chart.
In the main, it consisted of stuff that I didn't like. But, watching with an objective head on, it was quite interesting to see what had sold. Or what they had somehow persuaded us to buy. They being the record company/promotion company. I saw people that I'd heard of, but never actually seen.
One singer was Alexandra Burke, doing a fairly involved dance routine to a song called, I think, "Bad Boys", who apparently were always catching her eye, or some such. Now, she's an attractive woman, she can sing, and there's nothing wrong with the song in that it sounds current and is catchy. I still thought it somehow didn't work in some way though, but I wasn't sure why.
It took the Doc of Rock to put her finger on it, when we saw her on the second TOTP. "Not very convincing, is she?", she observed. I instantly knew exactly what she meant. That was why I'd thought something was amiss before. I just didn't believe her when she sang "the bad boys are always catching my eye".
Perhaps it worked for other people. For me (and The Doc) though, the performance just wasn't believable, which kind of invalidated the whole thing. I've seen the same thing at live gigs and open mics in Edinburgh many a time, when performers failed to convince. Perhaps they were trying to imply they were a life-weary old traveller who'd seen everything, when in reality they were a fresh-faced youth from Penicuik, and the limit of their travelling was the bus to Edinburgh.
But sometimes people are convincing. That's when the magic starts happening, and you believe for a moment what they're telling you, that they really were in prison for loving someone, or they had made time stop, or the character in the song really had kept racing pigeons, or whatever.
Where this convincing-ness comes from, I have no idea.