First up: I don’t hate the contestants. I like them. I like Rebecca and Matt and t’others, I just don’t like the process they are caught up in.
Whilst 20 million viewers might be enjoying the final I can only see this.
Ring in and give us your money. Not for charity, but to make some impossibly rich people even richer (yes that’s you Simon Cowell). Not content with the advertising revenues a top-rated show generates (when else in the week do you ever see that Yeo Valley advert), you the audience must ring in and pay to vote for your favourite, oh and whilst you’re at it, ring again and answer some daft question for a quid to win a trifling phone. And at the end of all that, don’t forget you can now buy the X Factor magazine. Distasteful as this wholesale fleecing of the mug public is, that’s not really my beef.
The premise of the show is the “transformation” of some ‘umble Pygmalion type singer into a world-class act, along with all the prestige and dough that goes with it. But what we are getting is a parade of Aunt Sallys. This is not an equal relationship, wherein the contestants are able to fulfill their undoubted potential. It is a public doing to of voice coaches, stylists, song choices and an artificial environment of control, all culminating in the weekly public criticism from the judges and the damnation or elevation of the public vote. Is this what I especially hate I wonder?
No, I think it is even more subtle than that. Having a talent is to use that talent in your own way. If you are singer or a musician the achievement of that potential has to be driven from within, then the external approbation hopefully follows on. X Factor seems, once past the audition stage, to be the wrong way round. It is all about what we can do for you, not what the contestants can do for themselves. Elton John made a good point about this show the other week. He talked about material, what material do these X Factor contestants have. What material can they take, as artists, into the public domain. How can they stand on their own two feet in the industry?
I haven’t watched it all by any means but I have observed the quality of individual performances plummet over the last few weeks. The factory farmed method for singers taints the product. Matt has a permanent sore throat, Rebecca looks as overwhelmed as usual, Cher in her own private deal with the devil has dropped her authentic stroppy teenager act, to which she is perfectly entitled to at her age.
Simon Cowell’s machine is not creating stars, it is creating a dependency in artists that will generate business further revenue. There is no personal transformation that I can see. No increase in self-belief or personal fulfilment, just a grinding down of talent and potential in a myriad of televisual tears, until like at the Colosseum, the public shows a thumbs up or down. The show’s previous winners may be doing what they always dreamt of doing, but at what cost? Who rules their destiny? Who of us would want to be one of the winners or losers?
If you are thinking of parting with another quid or two to ring in and register for next year’s X Factor, I would say, be very careful what you wish for.
I also noted the female stars that popped in for last night’s shows to flog their wares felt the need to dress like they had escaped from a bordello. Take That and Will I Am managed to get dressed properly, but that’s a whole other post.
Apparently not according to one of my acquaintances, despite being a Man Utd supporter.
The thing is, they said, is that Ferguson just thinks he is the referee, whereas Simon Cowell knows he is.
Perhaps Simon could take up Sir Alex’s spot when he is serving his ban for being rude about Mr Wiley.
Apologies to the many of you who won’t know what the hell I am talking about!
I am no big fan of either, but I suspect they both know what they are talking about…