The X Factor is one of those things that you either love or hate. Unfortunately, I downright loathe it. Okay, so you might find the auditions entertaining, but most of the time I just want to give the misinformed ‘I’m a great singer’ contestants a hug. You know, the seventy-something year olds who don’t even have a chance from the moment they walk on stage. X-Factor unfortunately highlights the shallowness of our population every single Saturday night. It’s almost as if the criteria stands at: be appealing to a large audience through being attractive, and it doesn’t matter if your voice is only mediocre. (Take the 1st contestant of this week’s show: Frankie. With 7 girls’ names tattooed on his arse and his marginally attractive looks, everyone saw past his extremely poor voice).
Something else I absolutely loathe about X-Factor is that it is purely about the voice. Wow, because what the music scene needs right now are more singers who are just that: singers! We’ll get someone else to write their songs, play their songs, autotune their songs. That’s definitely the way to narrow down real talent, let’s push aside those artists who put so much hard work into writing their own lyrics, creating their own music, working their way up through small venues… and instead just dominate the chart with someone who entered a TV show and just got lucky! I reckon with Simon Cowell’s help even I could end up sounding half decent on record, and that’s saying something. It’s depressing that something so narrow minded receives such a big audience, where as a show that looks for original, boundary-breaking artists (such as Orange UnsignedAct, which churned out artists such as Tommy Reilly and Scarlet Harlots – who write their own music and perform it live! Shock horror!) barely gets a look in. Or even artists who don’t go through TV programmes in order to get fans and play shows! Crazy, right?
Half of the X-Factor seems to be based around the sob-stories of the contestants, I mean, if they haven’t had a relative die recently or a terminal illness in their past then heaven forbid should they win! Surely, it should be about the music they make. Not the songs they cover. Don’t even get me started about how the abysmal covers always reach Christmas number one and generally seem to dominate the charts all year round. So JLS have a new song out about how their going to die if they don’t get back together with their ex girlfriend, that’s extremely poignant and original, isn’t it? (I mean, would Cher Lloyd’s Swagger Jagger really have reached number one if she hadn’t been on the X-Factor, in fact, I reckon it would have (deservingly) received a worse reaction than Rebecca Black’s Friday).
I’m not saying that these people don’t deserve a chance of success, I’m just suggesting that maybe there are artists and bands out there who are more deserving of success. Besides, half of them seem to just go on X-Factor for the fame that they might get out of it. (Take the girl who I just saw on tonight’s show, who immediately getting through the first round started gushing nonsense about paparazzi and selling her autograph on ebay). Of course, some of them do have raw talent, but it does make you wonder: when did music turn so far away from purely being about music?
In the words of Lily Allen, “It’s everything that I detest about modern western culture… I’ve better things to do with my time than feed the nation with the notion that doing cover versions will sort your life out.” Oh, those cover versions. It’s disappointing how many people think Alexandra Burke was the original singer of Hallelujah, and in fact have never heard the original (or even Jeff Buckley’s cover of the original, neither of which she does not even closely give justice to), or that ‘When We Collide’ is actually called Many Of Horror and is definitely not a true depiction of Biffy Clyro’s music. Who knows how long it will be before they ruin an absolute classic like This Charming Man or Love Will Tear Us Apart. Or maybe those songs don’t fit commercial voices – silly me, I mean practically half the nation must be able to sing the song and we’ll pick a winner from that line up. Never mind, we have autotune to perfect it!
All in all, I think I’ve got better things to feed my ears with than regurgitated pop songs. Let’s just pray that this isn’t a show that lasts forever and continues to dominate the charts. In the mean time, can’t we have a new Rage Against The Machine moment and try and get Our Bovine Public by The Cribs to Christmas number one? No? But it seems so fitting…