The X Factor – Should It Still Be On Television?

Quick answer, no. Thanks for reading.

What’s that? You want more? Fine, this would be a short article otherwise.

First, a brief history. The X Factor started in 2004 with the intention of finding a great singer and making them a star. Not a bad concept and I will admit that I was a watcher for the first few years. Not an avid watcher but I didn’t hate it. However over the years, this show has degenerated into the most distasteful kind of television that cons the public into making them believe it’s something that it’s not.

Let me explain.

The first lie the shows tells you is that it’s all about the contestants… wrong. It’s all about the judges in whatever line-up they appear in. The first line-up is a good place to start. Lets start with Simon Cowell who has made untold millions from creating the show and being the one with the least ethics. Louis Walsh found Westlife and Sharon Osbourne is married to a rock star, all perfect people to judge whether or not someone is good at singing. In later years, the other judges were mostly pop singers which should have told the audience exactly what this show was about. Even Cheryl Cole was a contestant of a TV talent show and was put in the girl group that she ended up with, I honestly can’t remember which one but they’re all the same anyway.

So if anyone with low enough confidence and the biggest need to sell their soul to ITV wants to audition for the X Factor, what hoops would they need to jump through? In doing research for this article (because I’m a professional) I couldn’t find one definitive process which the applicants have to go through. I did however discover several different methods of getting into that patronising room.

The first step would obviously be to fill in an application form online. These forms are put up months in advance due to the sheer number of people who apply. 50,000 people applied for the first series, 75,000 for the second series and the numbers only get bigger from there. Once the numbers exceeded 200,000, the potential applicants were given different ways in which to apply. They could apply through Facebook or by uploading a video of themselves, presumably singing plus a mobile audition van was sent around the country therefore the numbers became astronomical. Question, if the numbers of applicants were heading upwards, why would they go to this amount of extra effort? It would only make their lives harder.

The minimum age for applying was initially 16 years old but was reduced to 14, probably after one girl lied about her age and did really well but couldn’t go forward because of her age. She was brilliant but probably wouldn’t have won because if I remember rightly, she was an opera singer. That’s just too much class and too much diversity, she’d have been wasted.

An applicant wouldn’t necessarily need to apply. They can just go to an open audition where any random johnny can show up and are almost immediately seen by producers after 8-9 hours.

But lets say some starry eyed youngster applies via an application form. They show up at the nearest venue and wait with the other few hundred thousand fame seekers. They get in, get a number and begin a hearty round of the waiting game. This is the round that separates the men from the boys. Those who get sick of waiting eventually give up but this youngster is not only hungry for attention but also determined. Their number is called and they have to sing for a lowly member of the production team, probably the one that drew the short straw. The youngster does well and is put forward for an audition with a senior producer. This youngster has been preparing for months and passes through the audition with flying colours. Only applicants who pass though these auditions actually perform in front of the celebrity judges.

Did you actually think that the celebrity judges audition all those people? Wrong. That’s another lie. What actually happens is that a film crew shows up to the auditions before the series starts and they film the shots of all the brain dead hyenas holding up their arms crossed and they just splice that in with shots of the celebs getting out of cars. All these shots are placed in with the celeb auditions to give the illusion that they are auditioning all these people.

So what happened to our starry eyed youngster? Well they get up on stage and sing for the judges but they get made a mockery out of them because they are singing some weird foreign version of a pop song that the producers told them to sing. The applicants do get to choose their own song in theory but they are subtly changed to include one pop song preferably from that year. Turns out our youngster didn’t apply for the X Factor at all but was scouted by the production team who found their YouTube channel and thought it would be good entertainment value. Yes, a small percentage of the people that go on the X Factor didn’t actually apply but have a unique taste in music or a particular style such as the 1920’s or they really like J-Pop. So they agree to come on the show because they think it would be good exposure for their channel but end up getting the piss taken out of them. Can I just say that dragging in people from YouTube or people who already both have a career in singing and have never considered going on the X Factor is cheating and completely misses the point of the show. So our youngster who has a unique personality and alternative taste in music gets overlooked by some screeching false identity with
false nails, hair extensions and looks like she’s been painted orange. They claim to want diversity but that is my biggest rage point of all and I will get to it at the end.

Once the judges multi-million pound houses are out the way, the live shows are where the fun really happens. On average, there are around 10 live shows on the run up to Christmas where the judges and the public decide the fate of the contestants and it is also where reality ends on this reality show. Now the contestants aren’t normal people on a quest for fame, they’ve already got it. The same could be said for the mentalists who get pushed by their friends and family into going on TV and make a right tit of themselves. It doesn’t matter if they win or don’t have any talent at all, they’re already famous. This doubly counts for the lucky few who get to the live shows. They are now cartoon characters who gradually get all individuality stripped away until they are sufficiently bland enough to be crowned as the winner. The winners eventually disappear or end up on Coronation Street whilst the losers have wonderfully successful careers and that makes me seethe with rage.

Here’s a question, do the public REALLY decide on the fates of the contestants? Those of you with good memories will remember that in the paragraph before last I mentioned that the X Factor might have a  problem with musical diversity and now I will clarify. Back in 2007 whilst I was still a watcher, there was a bloke on there called Rhydian Roberts who had a very unique voice that was made for the Opera. He was wonderful and I was sure that he was going to win. However in the final, it came down to a choice between ultra fantastic Rhydian Roberts or bland Leon Jackson. Leon won. I was stunned and was positive that the fix was on. Little did I know that 10 years later, I would find out that I was right to be suspicious. In the days following the final, OFCOM received around 1900 complaints from viewers saying that they tried to ring in and vote for Rhydian, but were unable to get through. The subsequent investigation showed that 99% of Rhydian voters could get through unlike the 100% of Leon voters. Even though the investigators said that this complication wouldn’t have affected the outcome, Rhydian was clearly at an unfair disadvantage. Complaints from phone voters seems to be a running trend with that very trend repeating itself over the several of the series. Frankly, I’m not surprised they
are having troubles. Using Series 7 as an example, nearly 15.5 million people voted throughout the 10 live shows and 11 voting opportunities. Divide 15.5 by 11 and you come out with 1.409. With 1.4 million people voting over a very short period of time, there’s no wonder the phone lines jam and then shut down.

I want to finish with my main problem with this show. I was raised correctly with the right moral principle that everything in life has to be earned. You want stuff? Go get a job. You want recognition? Teach yourself how to play the guitar, that’s what I did. Every single person that I admire has gotten to where they are by hard work and putting in the hours, not by going on TV and having it all handed to them on a silver plate. It’s insulting to the wonderful and creative artists out there who have 20-30 years in the industry going to dark, dank clubs, begging people to let them play and building up a fan base to have some prick or 2 pricks or 5 pricks in a group as the case may be, to swoop in and have a more successful career in a year or two. These pricks on the X Factor may have all the fame and money, regardless of whether or not they won but there is one aspect that comes along with fame and money that they will never get from me… and that’s respect. I will never respect someone who takes the easy route and thinks that is the best way to get what they want. By going on this show, any contestant is immediately saying that they don’t care about the music and just want the money and the recognition. I can guarantee that any successful artist will say that they don’t do it for the money but because they enjoy it and it’s the best way they know to make money and that is the difference. All the fame and
money that hard working musicians have is just a sign that they deserve to be where they are. Anyone on the X Factor doesn’t deserve to be where they are because they don’t appreciate the industry.

If someone were to ask me why I do what I do. It’s not for money and judging by my traffic, I definitely don’t do it for the recognition. I do it simply because I enjoy it and also as the great Robin Williams once said, ‘It’s cheaper than therapy’.

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