Popster!

Who will be the next Dutch Puppetry Star?

Popster! – the title means “puppet-star” in Dutch – is a talent competition show in The Netherlands that debuted on Friday night. The series features amateur and professional Dutch puppeteers competing with each other each week in a format that’s very similar to shows like American Idol and the international “Got Talent” franchise. The show even has a puppet character as a judge, Miss Izzy Doll, performed by Lenette van Dongen.

The videos on the Popster web site are geo-restricted to the Netherlands, but thankfully there are lots of clips available on YouTube:

As you might expect with a show like this, the quality of the puppetry varies, but some of the skits in the first episode were really good. For example, this segment was performed by members of the Dutch cast of War Horse:

A couple of North American production companies have been trying to get a show like this off the ground for a few years now, but this is the first time I’ve heard of one going in to production (excluding Japan’s long running Kasou Taishou). Popster! is produced by Endemol, the production company behind international unscripted franchise shows like Big Brother and The Voice. If the series is a success in Holland they plan to franchise the show internationally. Friday’s premiere was reportedly watched by 1.8 million people – a fantastic rating in a country of just 16.8 million people – so here’s hoping we’ll soon be searching for Popsters all over the world.

Popster! airs in the Netherlands Friday Nights on SBS6. For those of us who live elsewhere, highlights can be found on the Popster! YouTube channel each week.

A huge thank you to Lejo for sharing this and providing some background information about the show!