X-Factor Musings

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If you follow my Twitter stream you will be either highly amused or highly annoyed by my free-flowing commentary when it comes to X-Factor.  But something is troubling me.  It's time for my annual thoughts about X-Factor and this year my theme is "Disillusionment".

The finalists are where they are because of public votes and only the tiniest bit of judge's manipulation.  If you don't ring in and vote, then shut the fuck up about the unfairness of certain people still being in the show.  The more you tweet about it and the more you discuss it on Facebook, the more publicity it is getting.  For free!

The constant negativity surrounding Christopher Maloney is embarrassing now.  No, he's not my cup of tea but there's a place in the entertainment business somewhere for him.  He may seem like a weird hybrid of  Daniel O'Donnell, Jane McDonald and Joe Longthorne but, you know what, those guys are still packing out theatres up and down the country and if that's what floats boats then it's fine by me.

Each X-Factor finalist was chosen on merit.  That doesn't mean they were a great singer, but that they would make great television.  Do TV channels really care about content any more or is more about who is winning the ratings war?  Should every single mainstream show concentrate on fake-bake tans and semi-scripted scenes?  Should 'popular music' be defined by how loud the teen generation can scream when someone walks on stage?  Should we really be allowing our listening pleasure to be determined by identikit pop songs.  Not sure what I'm on about?  Axis of Awesome explain it perfectly.

Remember when we used to get a daily half-hour update at around 6pm?  These gave us a chance to connect a little bit more with the singers and to see that they were actually in the studio with their mentors and coaches rather than sitting poignantly on some stairs, plugged into an iPod, miming.  I don't want to see them falling out of nightclubs, signing tits or getting their roots done.  But, again, this says a lot about what stories and photographs are being bought by the British media to fill endless online pages with non-stories.  

It's all about the Warhol-esque 15 minutes-worth of fame taken far too literally.  I truly believe that Lucy Spraggan has more talent in her little finger than the whole of the previously eliminated X-Factor contestants put together but I don't think this was the right platform for her.  It's too easy to call her "the next Victoria Wood" and dismiss what she is good at.  The crowd went wild for her audition song, "Last Night" because it hit a chord with a great many people.  And, as was very obvious, the votes for Rylan were hugely hilarious... until he proceeded to the next round in favour of Ella Henderson.  You see what I mean?  At the end of the day, Rylan has got what he wanted - FAME!  People now know him by his first name only.  He doesn't need his surname and that is the way that people succeed off the back of shows like this. 

Yes, a great singer should win a singing show but as has been expressed on a number of occasions the winner needs the likability factor and standing on a box doesn't do that for me.  I've yet to see Jahmene Douglas move around the stage, performing in the way Jade or Rylan did week after week but standing on a box hasn't prevented him from garnering votes to get that all-important place in the finals.

James Arthur is very possibly the most talented X-Factor contestant I've seen since the audition doors opened way back in 2004 (and possibly including its predecessors) but, as much as I adore his style I don't want him to win simply because his talent will not be allowed to flourish under the money-making machine that is SyCo.  Unique doesn't sell quick enough for a fast turn-around.

So forget the behind-the-scenes manipulation.  Ignore the negativity in the press.  Watch the show for what it is... a bit of a launchpad for a career.  It doesn't matter who wins - they'll get an album deal and notoriety.  What they choose to do with that is their prerogative.  Maybe if we were more interested in seeing people succeed, then we wouldn't get such a shock when the votes for the underdog come rolling in.