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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links for Thursday, February 21

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Rewarding conventionality.

Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Hi, Hoddlers!

Every single time I look at Fernando Llorente, ABBA’s “Fernando” gets stuck in my head. I have a problem.

Ramble of the Day

I’ve accidentally watched, but thankfully not gotten invested in, a few episodes of CBS’s new reality show, The World’s Best. It’s essentially a talent show with a panel of judges from the United States — Drew Barrymore, Faith Hill, and RuPaul — who, for whatever reason, have more power than the 50 judges from around the world. There’s nothing particularly spectacular about it, but I did come away with the sense that the definition of talent all of the judges have might be limited.

Let me start by citing an example. On the second episode, football freestyler and Guinness World Record holder Iya Traore was on the show. He did the things that football freestylers do, and something that no one else on the show would do. Everyone appeared engaged, but ultimately, the American judges gave him a score of 35 out of 50, and the rest of the judges gave him a 29 out of 50, missing the 65 points necessary for the next round by a single point.

I won’t make an argument that anyone should either consider football freestyle an art form or that anyone should be into it, though I believe it obviously requires talent. I’ll explain why I bring up Traore in a minute, but first I’ll tell you about the act that followed him up, Sister Cristina Scuccia. She’s a singing nun, and she sang Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” impressing the judges. I recall Barrymore in particular being particularly excited by this performance, and commenting about how she was shocked that a nun could accomplish this. Scuccia eventually picked up 78 points.

I was peeved by this development. I felt that Barrymore had a very small-minded belief about nuns, because being a nun and having talent aren’t inherently mutually exclusive. More importantly, I found that she was easily impressed by anyone who sang a song, and that perhaps the rest of the judges were like her. Anyone who did something traditonal — song, dance, magic — made it in without question. There were definitely some weird rejected acts, like the man who swallows swords and the woman who hypnotized a dog, and some less conventional acts that made it in, like the light puppetry and the hand balancers, but the fact remained that convention was in.

It probably turned me off the show immediately, but it’s not like I planned on watching following episodes anyway. It reminded me that the few talent shows I went to in my school years were similar: the conventional singing acts were plenty and popular, and everything else was hit and miss. I became unimpressed, feeling like everyone involved lacked some creativity; I don’t want this to be America’s Got Talent, but I didn’t sign up to watch a singing show, either, even if the Mongolian man who sang a country song perfectly without understanding a word of English was enjoyable. Again, it all just seems so small-minded and shows a lack of innovation and creativity.

tl;dr: A limited definition of talent, as presented by CBS’s The World’s Best.

Links of the Day

Cardiff and Nantes have agreed to delay the due date of the first installment of Emiliano Sala’s transfer fee.

Sadio Mané house was burgled while he was playing in Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The LA Galaxy will begin stocking free feminine hygiene products, becoming the first professional sports team in the United States to do so.

Netflix will release a documentary about Antoine Griezmann on March 21.

Today’s longer read: Catherine Osborn on the questions facing Flamengo following the fire that killed 10 youth players this month for ESPN