A couple of years ago I got hooked on a series of The Apprentice and wrote a Blog Entry on it. At the end of that series I felt a bit disappointed with the outcome as it wasn’t representative of the skills the participants had demonstrated throughout the series. Now I find myself feeling the same way about the X-Factor.
I have never watched the X-Factor until the late stages of this series and I’d always assumed that it was about singing. I continued to believe this in the early programmes I watched but as the weeks went by it slowly became clearer to me that this simply isn’t the case. The X-Factor isn’t a talent-spotting show, it’s a commercial-potential spotting show. By letting the public decide the outcome, the punters gain a good insight into what will sell, and what sells is not X-Factor, it’s Cute-Factor, Nice-Arse-Factor and Cry-Factor. Of course, getting the public to vote also generates massive revenue. News reports indicate that the phone lines were completely flooded and frantic voters couldn’t get through. That’s a lot of calls at 25p a time.
Another strange thing with the British public is that they love the underdog. Lets face it, Leon Jackson really isn’t out of the top drawer when it comes to singing talent. He’s not bad bad, but he’s just not up there with those who have made music a career based on their own merits. Career singers rarely make a success of singing flat. In true British tradition, once the press, bookies and X-Factor judges proclaimed Rhydian Roberts to be the almost certain winner, they sealed his fate. No way were the British public going to stand for the best performer winning, that’s just not cricket old chap! But hang on, forget cricket, that’s English. We aren’t particularly patriotic here in England which is why pitching the Scots against the Welsh was a stroke of commercial genius. Nicely engineered X-Factor!
Well anyway, that’s the second time I’ve dipped my toe into reality TV talent-spotting and both times it’s left a bad taste in my mouth. They make popular viewing and no doubt generate massive revenue but they fail in one serious way; they’re a scam. All of us watching the X-Factor just puts money in rich peoples’ pockets. My good luck and best wishes to Rhydian, he was the best singer and I hope he makes a living out of it. He’s a great example of why we need to get British music back on track because programmes like the X-Factor are killing it.