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Sunday, 27 November 2011

The X Factor - A Break From Tradition

Yes. I know. I haven't yet posted about last week's X Factor, let alone penned anything about this week's. Well, I won't be. Because I think I've finally flipped. I think the show has finally lost me. Not the talent (for there is some) but the set up and format of what is, essentially, a big moneymaking scam, if you ask me.

I'd like to talk a little about what I think is the worst crime the show commits every week, without anyone even noticing, apparently. I speak of "this week's theme is...".

The show is called The X Factor. To me that means that each and every person who makes it to the live shows should have something very unique about them to get them there. Misha B has The X Factor. Janet has her own X Factor. Even coke-fuelled shag-machine Frankie Coccozza had it. In his own way. So why, then, do the judges, coaches and producers do all they can week on week to force these so called "unique performers" to act the same as each other? If a contestant is chosen for the live shows based on her wonderful country singing, why should she then be made to "diversify" and cover an ABBA track? 

Do you really think anyone said to Ozzy Osbourne, upon his being discovered as a talent, "You know what Ozzy? You're great... but how are your Beatles covers?" Nonsense. If I was in control of the show then I would let each contestant sing whatever they wanted to sing, as they wanted to sing it. And it would be the judges job to facilitate their wishes and help them or guide them when required. Instead, great singers are being made to perform "outside their comfort zones" as though anyone would want to buy an album made up of one ABBA cover, one Queen song, a song from a movie, a song by their "hero" (usually someone whose music is nice and popular - nobody ever says "my heroes are The Knife, let's sing Behind The Bushes!). Let them sing what they want and BE who they ARE.

Because audiences - especially teens, who tend to have the deciding vote in the household - are fickle and not at all loyal. If Janet fans - those who like her singing her YouTube hits - hear her singing Waterloo by ABBA, badly, then they're likely to think "you know what? She's become shit. I'm not voting for her". It's not fair. 

So here's my take on how the show should be scheduled over a weekend:

SATURDAY: At 8pm the show begins, the judges are introduced and the first act comes out. He/she sings (and plays an instrument, if they can) whatever she chooses. Then the judges give their opinions and there's an ad break. Then, two more acts come out and do the same, then another break. And so on until all the acts have sung and received criticism (constructive or otherwise) and comments from the judges. Then, at the end of the show, the lines open. The show lasts about an hour to an hour and a half depending on the number of acts competing. (Although, there was only 34 minutes of actual singing in a two-hour show once...).

SUNDAY: At 8pm we get a bit of behind the scenes footage from last night, showing how nervous they all were etc, etc. Then the judges are brought out again and we're told which two acts received the lowest number of votes. Ad Break. The lowest scoring acts both perform another song of their choice. The judges comment and decide which act is best. If there is no clear loser then the one with the lowest number of votes leaves the show. The entire programme lasts half an hour, 45 minutes at the most. There is NO NEED to drag it out with celeb performances and false-comment from the judges.

This happens each week until there are just three acts remaining. Then, all three sing two songs each; one cover song of their choice and an original song, which will become their winner's single. The judges have no say here and the public vote for who they want to win. This means that each week the most popular acts remain, and remain based on their personal talent and style, not on any manufactured image thrust upon them by the show. The show is, then, essentially, a showcase for undiscovered talent rather than the "build a pop star" kit it has become.

Though I fear I've wasted my time typing this out. Nothing will ever change, will it? Bastards.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The X Factor Live Shows - Week Six

Wow! Sorry this is late but I've been a little busy in real life. But WOW! The X Factor saw a lot of drama last weekend. After Frankie left in shame it was up to us - the public - to vote back in one of our previously booted off folk. 

The show began about 12 minutes or so later than scheduled, due to power issues at BT Tower. Fair enough - the show must go on and all that... 

But it's odd, then, that the result of who would return to the show was posted on the X Factor website about 12 minutes or so before the show announced the result. No problem, if the show was recorded and shown on a slight delay, sure. But what of all the people voting up until the closing time for a returnee? 

Whatever. Quite-Hot Amelia-Lily was our favourite and rejoined The X Factor with a dazzling performance at the end of Saturday night's show. She's now bustled herself into my Favourite Three To Reach The Final, along with Marcus and either LittleMix (I hope) or Craig Colton (I think).

But it wasn't all about Amelia-Lily's return! Last week we also lost the one person I believe had been improving vastly week on week; Kitty Brucknell - which was a shame.

Sunday night saw Lady Gaga and some schoolboys performing. Gaga, particularly, was sad to see Kitty go. Running out on the stage as the result was announced, Gaga hugged Kitty - who she is said to have "taken a shine to" - and comforted her, but not before Kitty showed Misha B and the judges how Born This Way should be sung. Taking the mic from Dermot and launching into an acapella version of Gaga's hit Kitty wowed the audience and proved herself to be a stayer in the British music industry. We shall see her again, you mark my words.

It was a good week! But all of a sudden the show feels chaotic and unpredictable. Kitty and Misha B in the bottom two? Arguably the finest performances of the night. Next week is Movie Week and that is always my favourite. I like trying to guess what movie the song is from. I shall look forward to it. 

I'm backing LittleMix to win, but think it will probably be Marcus or Craig. However, Amelia-Lily has really shown that she should have been here all along and is now fresh in the minds of the voting public. Those getting bored or Craig's warbling or Marcus' jigging about, or LittleMix's consistent and exciting performances (wink) may slide their vote over to Amelia! She could win. She could. We'll see.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Frankie Booted Off The X Factor

So Frankie is out of there! After allegedly boasting about cocaine-fuelled sex sessions and weeks of bad behaviour, he has been asked to leave the show. It was only a matter of time, I suppose. 

So what happens now? Well, one rumour floating about is that The Risk are to return, but this is more than likely a joke about their seemingly infinite number of lives. Another is that a selection of ex-contestants from this series will be "put to the vote" and the most popular will return. Yet another is that nothing will happen and nobody will go this coming weekend. That would, however, mess up the Sunday night results show, leaving show-makers with even more dead air to pad out. Maybe they could still do that thing where they read out who's staying in the competition, still take twenty minutes to do so, but just read everyone's names out. 

Or how about this: Get them all to sing a song of their choice, then put each performance online available for download, as normal. But this time, whoever gets the most downloads is immune from elimination next week. Or something like that. 

One last question: despite him being a bollo role-model, how long do you think it will be before some group of arseholes launch a "Frankie For Xmas No1" campaign? Sigh.

Monday, 7 November 2011

The X Factor Live Shows - Week Five

Straight in to my Top Three this week - Marcus takes the top spot with his rendition of the cleverest choice of the week, Reet Petite - VERY classic. And he was wonderful. Followed closely by the ever-reliable Misha B in second place singing and looking like Tina Turner while singing her TT song Proud Mary. 

But this week's third place goes to Craig Colton who, despite being very good, is really boring. Yes, he's a wonderful singer, he's always got a smile on his face, he's very popular in the house - but I think he's boring.

Here he is, look. Looking a bit like a Miami Vampire. "Oh, he's a bit fat and probably gay, he's smiley and scouse... He's SO funny". Um. No he isn't! He has made maybe one or two jokes the whole series long and is riding a wave of Adele-like warbling hype, probably all the way to the final. I loved him to begin with, but now he's boring me a lot. Sorry Craig. I'd rather spend my hard-earned honk on an album by a pratdigger like Frankie Coca-Cola than on your poor-man's-Adele-tribute-album. Harsh, maybe. But it's true.

I was going to talk about how many adverts there always are during The X Factor but I loved that X Factor M&S advert so much this weekend that now I can't bring myself to assault the world of advertising in any way*. And this week, I've finally grown to love Kitty! Which IS confusing and means I can't write what I planned to write about her either.

So let's look forward to next week instead. Now we've lost The Risk and Johnny Robinson there are almost only "purely talented people" left (even Frankie has a following - this is The X Factor, not Pop Idol, remember!). It's going to be really difficult from here on in to choose who to kick out and who to keep. It really will have to be based on their performance that particular week. But then, everyone has bad weeks which, the following week, they have recovered from totally and are seen to be 100% back on form, so that wouldn't really be very fair. 

And next week our seven remaining contestants are rumoured to be taking on the songs of Lady Gaga (which should suit Kitty, since that's her job, isn't it? Sing Gaga, Britney and Madona songs?), which started a marvellous game of "who'll sing what?" in our house.

So, for your consideration, here are what me and @tlchimera think each contestant should sing:

  • Kitty Brucknell should sing Edge Of Glory
  • Frankie Coca-Cola should sing Bad Romance (this arrangement)
  • LittleMix should sing Just Dance
  • Craig Colton should sing Speechless
  • Janet Devlin should sing Paparazzi
  • Marcus Collins should sing Dance In The Dark
  • Misha B should sing Pokerface
NEXT WEEK: We'll see if we were right about the above, Why I think there should be no "Themed Weeks" at all and... you know what? I probably won't talk about what I plan to talk about, so what's the point. Thanks for reading :)

* This Is Sarcasm