Published on November 23rd, 2015 | by AlexandreG.0
The dubious pleasures of X-Factor
Every autumn, a worryingly large proportion of the British population huddles around their television screens to watch the ‘talent’ show that is X-Factor. For over ten years, the show has been providing a chart-topping musical format that has split the music world into people who think it’s harmless entertainment, and those who believe that it’s something a little more insidious.
And just like the current crop of respectable music stars who’ve recently fallen for pop icons, many serious music fans have found themselves seemingly unable to change the channel when X-Factor comes on the television.
The fact that X-Factor has become a staple of Saturday night television is a symptom of Britain’s newfound love of reality TV, rather than any particular musical sustenance. The show has introduced to the world the musical force that is One Direction who may be adept at creating newspaper headlines, but are unlikely to trouble the likes of Lennon and McCartney in terms of songwriting excellence.
In fact, it’s the sheer absence of artist-led creativity or rebellion on the show that has led many to find it being little more than part of the Simon Cowell-created corporate music machine. And whilst this may be considered just ‘harmless entertainment’, it can have far-reaching effects upon homegrown UK culture that has already seen many small UK music venues closing down as audiences turn to their televisions for musical entertainment.
Instead of relying upon any element of musical innovation, the show has had to rely upon familiar ‘reality TV’ tricks in order to quell flagging audience figures. These have seen the introduction of an X-Factor shared house and hastily-organised promotional tours that seek new ways to boost revenues.
Interestingly, many of the more innovative moments surrounding X-Factor have come from outside Simon Cowell’s tight range of control. The introduction of X-Factor betting through sites such as Coral has provided a way for viewers to add a much-needed dose of excitement to the events happening onscreen. And similarly, the numerous gaffes from the hapless presenters such as Olly Murs have also provided hilarious entertainment, as well as increasing evidence that the show could be fixed.
So whilst anybody looking to X-Factor to deliver the next homegrown talent capable of producing an album as good as any of these might be disappointed, the reality is that this show is merely another in a long line of anodyne and lightweight entertainment that’s merely used to sell advertising and soft drinks.