Sunday, November 01, 2009

The X Factor

'You should see it,' said my wife, '15 million people watch it.'
'But,' I protested, 'they are 15 million bad people.'
I watched it. Here are my observations.
1)The oiky estate agent presenter should take out a restraining order against his tailor.
2)The instrumentation was sluggish and horribly arranged and the miking was so bad that the sound stage was utterly flat making it an effort to hear the singers at all.
3)'Cheryl Cole' wore a dress from the wardrobe department of the original series of either Doctor Who or Star Trek. Simon Cowell's haircut was redolent of the Mercedes G-Wagen, very flat-sided. The function of the latter was to pass through narrow gorges; I cannot imagine the function of the former. His cleavage was unwise.
4)The other judges presented as severely bi-polar.
5)All the singers I could hear were flat.
6)Amusingly, the twins John and Edward were accused by Cowell of being flat. As they were performing Queen's monotonous chant We Will Rock You, the charge of being 'flat' seemed beside the point. They were the only act that managed to overcome the sound stage problem.
7)None of the singers understood phrasing. Or melody. Or rhythm.
8)The conceptual problem of the show is that it makes the performers pathetic supplicants - before the judges, the voters and the coaches. It is impossible to be a supplicant and command the stage. The twins pulled it off.
9)All the dramas involving the judges were patently rigged. The whole thing was cynically manipulative to a degree I would not have believed possible.
10)The 15 million viewers are not bad. They are cattle.

21 comments:

  1. 'Cattle'? I wouldn't underestimate how many regular viewers would make the same observations as you but as a consequence find it all a bit of a laugh.

    It does have its tragedies, I grant you, but aren't these the ones inherent in the show we call biz? Here's a bit more on that.

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  2. Commercial television's very own assisted suicide dept.

    Are you out there AAGill.

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  3. But other than all that you thought it was OK?

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  4. Moooooooo....

    This isn't cos I took the piss re Cheryl, is it?

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  5. Sounds as if you didn't really want to like it. I've never seen the X-Factor which may be a bit sad but there we go. My impression is that the point with these proggies is that they are modern fairy tales, complete with sinister old crones and dodgy gents lurking along the poor traveller's path with enticing but fatal offers of free cleavage time. Oh well, back to wondering how on earth these viewing figures are arrived at. How do they know?

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  6. But you'd like to be a judge, surely? You could out-grump Cowell, become a mega-celebrity, invite the acts to your pad in LA.......

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  7. Anyway, Bryan, by deigning to bring your sage-like attention to single show as if it was a lame cabaret, you fail to observe the two key elements of The X Factor's appeal (and hence its huge viewing figures. I'd say 15m was conservative).

    First, the whole series, from the initial auditions via the extremely exploitative weeping stage, through the interminable live shows to an ultimate mega-hyped final, is a narrative in which a single winner goes from being a waitress/receptionist/binman to a popstar. Thus the inability to understand phrasing and stage presence in the early stages is part of the point. Eventually, through the criticisms and tutelage of the Cowell, a star will bloom, and thus Anyone Can Do It If They Only Believe in their Dreams. (It should be noted that this is largely fake since half the contestants are stage school types; and also the hit rate is very low - the only proper talenrt to emerge has been Leona Lewis).

    And second, you miss the point of the interactivity: the 15 million 'cattle' are in charge - they get to choose the hero of the story.

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  8. Due respect to Brit's authorita on this but the whole show looks supplicant to Simon Cowell's supplicant ideas of AMERICA. I can't get past that exceptionally hideous knuckleduster logo. Which didn't stop Simon Cowell appearing in my dream a few nights ago to say something like, "There are no global British pop stars now - none United Records would sign, apart from Kelpo & maybe Chris Martin." United Records? Kelpo? 'Maybe Chris Martin' was quite good.

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