The miscellaneous writings of Mark Bridgeman

God The X Factor has gone shit

In short it’s a zombie program, kept alive only by the TV networks willingness to show it. The last couple of years it has gone down the p*sser a bit, but lately I just can’t believe what I am seeing…


They do the audition, then they do the audition again in front of four thousand people in Wembley arena, next they go to bootcamp, where they do another audition in front of four thousand people again this time though they get given a chair to sit on.   Now when someone else sings they get kicked of that chair and go wailing along to the stage door exit.


Then they go to Judges (pretend) houses, where they sing again by a swimming pool in front of some clapped out z-list celebrities that haven’t done that well themselves, or indeed have been known to sing that well!


I don’t care about the humiliation, or the feelings of anxiety and shame (that I get after watching it) but what’s really p*ssed me of this year is the fact that we don’t actually get to hear that much f**king singing!


I mean two or three people will sing a full song, next someone comes along and ten seconds into their performance the camera cuts away to an interview they did earlier in which they tell us how much getting through to the next round means to them, like I give a f**k!  All I want to hear is them singing, not telling us how much they’d like to be a star so that they could treat their granny properly and give the old dear a sunset cruise before she dies.  


The other one that p*sses me off is the mention of the small child, ‘I need to win this competition so that (insert name of miscellaneous five year old) can have a really good life.  Yeah I’m sure he’ll have a fab time not being brought up by you when you’re off touring and filming videos for months on end…   


People should be honest and just say ‘I think I can win this, I want to win it for me, it’s high time that I got the recognition I deserve, because believe it or not I can sing, I can perform and I think I can do it better than everyone else.’  I would respect that because I like people with ambition, as long as it’s not ruthless ambition though.  Nice people with talent deserve to win, that’s how I feel.


Other priceless gems in these cut away segments involve ‘I’m thirty two years old, this is my last chance for greatness….’


Well I’d hazard a guess that unless they do something stupid there’s plenty of life left in front of them, possibly another forty to fifty years.  There’s plenty of time to make all of the chances you need for greatness.  All you’ve got to do is work at it instead of trying to shortcut the system by doing what used to be a talent show.  


The original season of the X-factor was excellent, back in the day when Simon Cowell was Mr Evil and surprisingly Louis Walsh was actually rather nice.  Very few people remember that he used to berate Simon for being nasty to the contestants and came across as a genuinely nice man.  The following year he transitioned into the man we know and love today.   


I also remember that at boot camp the contestants used to get coaching from the various and many voice coaches and choreographers.  It was interesting to watch because it gave you a glimpse into the contestants characters.  You could see how they interacted with their fellow contestants and make a value judgement on them.  You could also see them working hard to follow their dream, dripping in sweat after a dance class or laying aside rivalries to team up for a group challenge.   Most importantly though some effort was made by the producers to develop the contestants talent.  That doesn’t happen any more!


I also remember the whole audition episodes being devoted to a region.  Saturday it’s all Manchester, Sunday it’s all auditions from Cardiff, Next week It’s Edinburgh and London.  It made it much easier to support people from your country or region.  Now this is so dumbed down I haven’t got a f**king clue where anyone is from.  Other than ‘that guy has got a northern accent’ I am pretty much f**ked.  Is there even anyone in it from Wales this year.  I honestly don’t know as I can’t recall any Welsh accents.


Then there was the live shows, do you remember when visiting celebrities would do a master class spending the day with the contestants teaching them little things that helped polish their act.  In the last few years no one has done that.  I think Whitney Houston was the last!  They’ve just turned up to promote their new album or whatnot whilst (miming to a backing track) on the live shows.  It also p*sses me off how every visiting artist gets a standing ovation from the judges even when they are really, really sh*t!


Also what happened to big band night and the orchestra night.  Any opera singer will tell you that you need to be really talented or skilled to sing with an orchestra or a band.  These events were rites of passage for the contestants and separated the men from the boys and the women from the girls.


To return to form it’s the cut out segments that have really got me wound up, they sign a shortened version of the song, we get the mini interview about the cat/dog/kid/granny and how they want to win to look after it/him/her properly meanwhile their singing is faded into the background whilst they look all sad and wistful despite being in the midst of beautiful surroundings in LA (not Lower Amman) or the Mediterranean (not Pwll) and guess what we the people are not actually f**king hearing it!  As such we cant decide whether they deserve to go through or not.  We’re not informed enough to actually support Timmy from Hull or Samantha from Staines as we’ve only heard about ten seconds of singing in a clip that is no more than thirty seconds long.


There’s not enough time to build a relationship with any of the contestants that they want us to care enough about to vote for and that’s why the x-factor continues to disappoint


Did anybody else spot last nights shameless product placement?  I did.  Louis, Shane from Westlife, Sinitta and Nicole Appleton all clustered around a samsung tablet and looked on intently as louis played them the audition clips from the first round.  That scene felt artificial and crowbarred in, but they’ve got to pay the bills.  


We know from X-factor history that a lot of people can’t sing, but think that they can sing and a lot of people tune in to see how sh*t these people really are, so obviously humiliation pays the bills hence this business with the seats and people being given a seat then being kicked of that seat if someone else sings better than them.  This is clearly an attempt to add drama and up the ratings, but I’ve got a better idea!


Simply we listen to them all sing, next we allocate seats, then when someone sings better than them we pass around a tray of freshly minted dog sh*ts (direct from Mrs O’s lawn).  Whoever eats the sh*t keeps their seat!


This brilliant idea would keep the ratings high and obliviate the need for any product placement, likewise for those who refuse to eat the sh*t and lose their seat they should be lead away by big beefy security guards, a sad song song should be played in the background as their forced into a steel chamber with the doors locked and sealed and we’re forced to watch their demise through a plexiglass window as the room gradually fills with the collected tears of every other x-factor contestant in history!

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