These days upwards of 10 million people watch talent shows like X Factory every week but back in the day, auditions to get on TV and radio were far more straightforward but just as silly in the judges' final choices.
A new BBC Radio 4 documentary called Auditioning For Auntie due to air next week looks at some of the very wrong decisions taken by the Beeb’s talent spotters over the years.
One of the hopefuls who turned up in 1968 to perform for the BBC’s Talent Selection Group was one Elton John but, according to new just-released documents, he was rejected for “Pretentious material sung in an extremely dull fashion without any feeling and precious little musical ability. He writes dreary songs and he sounds like a wonky singer.”
The boys in the lab coats and Oxbridge accents were just as scathing about David Bowie, who they wrote off as "amateurish and out of tune".
The Rolling Stones were rebuffed in 1963 as “unsuitable for our purposes”.
The Who turned up in February 1965 but were deemed “Overall, not very original and below standard.”
Simon and Garfunkel and Nick Drake impressed, but Marc Bolan’s music was described as "crap, and pretentious crap at that."
It makes you feel a whole lot better for the man from Decca Records who told The Beatles that they had "no future in show business” and that “guitar bands were on the way out.”