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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.