What is it about X Factor that makes millions of people watch it on a Saturday night when they could be out actually having a life instead?  I mean you could even go out and watch proper musicians who write their own songs and can play them live without the help of dozens of session hacks.  Within a 5 mile radius of the X Factor studios in Wembley there are dozens of venues where great bands are playing to tiny audiences while a bunch of minimal-talent C-list wannabes are performing to a live audience of hundreds and a TV audience of millions.

So, what’s the point of X Factor?  Is it to give someone the chance to become pop star?  How many previous winners are in the charts at the moment and how many can you remember? Can you remember the first winner in 2004? It could be about trying to get a guaranteed Christmas No. 1, but they haven’t always managed that; if anything, the show has made bands and the public get online and creative about beating the X Factor acts to the Christmas No. 1 slot.

What it’s really all about is viewing figures on Saturday evening and you get those by giving the public what they want; bread and circuses.  In this case it’s bland processed bread full of unhealthy additives and a circus featuring a bunch of inept clowns (and that’s before we even get to the contestants).  It’s the same as any other reality TV show and it takes its lead from Big Brother; the longer it goes on, the more outrageous the participants and the content have to be.  It was bad enough with Jedward (they’re twins called John and Edward, see) but this year we’ve had judges falling out and contestants involved in sex and drugs scandals.  Look out for Phil Spector and Gary Glitter as judges next year; it should be fun when they fall out.  It might be interesting to see Phil Spector’s motivation techniques at work during the boot camp section.

Be honest with yourself, you watch it because it’s car crash TV.  You want to hear deluded egotists who couldn’t carry a tune if it came shrink-wrapped telling snide judges that they don’t have a clue and that they can become stars without X Factor.  I’d love to see a follow-up study on those wannabes.  And once you’ve got those out of the way and you’re left with the ones who have some knowledge of the concept of melody (and way too much knowledge of vibrato – thank you very much Mariah and Whitney) being given totally inappropriate material to work with by their “expert” mentors.  What we’re being sold here is nothing to do with music; it’s a soap opera with characters that change year by year.  Even Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke are pretty difficult to spot these days and they were really successful during their 15 minutes in the spotlight.

Do yourself a favour, go out and watch a band this Saturday; you might even like it.  And, on the off chance that you care, the winner of the first X Factor was Steve Brookstein.  How many of you will remember Little Mix in 2018?

Merry Christmas.


One Response to “Isitjustme…”
  1. Steve says:

    Spot on, if unkind, as ever.

    I can’t help feeling that as things Get Worse, we will be in for more of the loaves and the fishes.

    If you must listen to covers only, have the good grace to listen to Seal’s new album Soul 2. Tooth – rottingly good. To think they pulled his cover of ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ because the X Factor Vibrato choir had just released it as a single, when Seal’s version was picking up radio plays all over. Go ‘Is It Just Me?’ Name names and Nail the bastards.

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