Rating The Acts! How To Actually Rate Them!

This is an extraordinary edition of my weekly ranking of the X Factor acts. After recent events, I felt the need to write something about the current state of affairs the X factor has entered.

This year has been plagued (?) by more scandals than ever. Simon and Cheryl left, Dannii was pushed (allegedly walked off), Cheryl was sacked by the US version, Kelly, Gary and Tulisa entered the competition as judges. On the contestants’ front, Jade, Carolynne and John weren’t chosen, The Risk was formed and reformed, Goldie walked off, Sami reentered, Ashley left The Risk, Ashthon came back, Frankie stayed, Tulisa insinuates that Misha is a bully, Kelly leaves the UK for an alleged sickness, and lastly, Frankie is forced to get out of the competition for breaking an as-of-yet-unknown rule. Correct me if I missed something.

And, one of the results of all this drama, a level of drama that Latin telenovellas salivate after, is that X Factor is slowly but surely losing viewing figures. I know that Simon encourages this kind of press, and maybe I am wrong in my assertions, but I am under the impression that the public is smart, and it understand when someone is artificially creating buzz just to keep something afloat, or in our case, to make it the only sailing boat. What people seem to think is that the show is slowly transforming into a farce, something that is so deeply artificial that summons the most cynic of attitudes in the public.

Let’s get something straight. I love this kind of show. I love singing competitions, because I love hearing original spins on old favorites, or new spins on new tracks, or even because I just love a different voice singing a song I have heard and loved. I think this competition has the hidden potential of finding musical gems, like the amazing Leona Lewis I am listening to as I type, but, I repeat, this show has just the potential. Not the ability. To find someone who is an artist and is not signed or other wise engaged is a tough business, and it clearly shows: out of 7 years the show has barely produced three acts that can stand their own into musical charts. So, to recapitulate, I love the show, but I love it as a show, not as a singer-discovering-and –launching platform.

Which brings me to my point. The drama must end. When Misha B ruled her audition, people called her cocky instead of talented. When Kitty nearly fell off the stage at boot camp, because of her shaking and crying, people called her fake, instead of emotional. When Johnny singed, people called him a joke instead of original or different. When Tulisa insulted Misha, she was called evil and manipulative instead of honest. I myself called Frankie a disgrace to music, when he was just a young man, who was doing the same exact thing every one of us would do, if we were given the chance (The fault for Frankie lies with Gary Barlow, who gave him unrealistic hopes and a way to make a fool of himself).

What I would suggest to do, dear readers, you who were kind enough to read till the end, at this point, is to just judge the singing. Leave the drama behind. So who cares if Janet is shy? If you hate her performance, don’t vote for her. Who cares if Misha is called a bully? If you love her performance, vote for her. Who cares if Kitty is a diva? If you like her crazy stage antics pick up the phone and vote for her. This is the only way a winner is picked. I remind you that you voted for cute-as-a-box-full-of-babies preteens Leon and Joe, and now they have no career to speak of. The X Factor is, but it shouldn’t be a popularity contest. If you love singing and music, do the smart thing. Vote for the best singer.

My rant ends here. I hope you’ll keep the berating to a kind minimum. Keep in mind that I am not affiliated with the X Factor in any way, and I wrote all of this because that’s what I wanted to do. I am immensely bored of reading stupid, attention grabbing headlines instead of just looking forward to the music. If you do agree with me, then that’s awesome. If you don’t, that’s fine, because I couldn’t care less. Now I’m off because Anatomy isn’t gonna study itself.

Silvio, out!

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  1. ThatOne

    I was going to comment on some factual errors you made.  Then I saw your use of an expletive and your credibility collapsed.  Swearing in speech tells me the speaker has insufficient vocabulary to express their thoughts.  Swearing in writing is particularly weak and inexcusable because there is time to gather thoughts and find the right words.

    Sorry. I’m a right old eccentric, but I do have principles.

    1. Silvio R

      Well, when you’re right, you’re right. I removed the word. But since we’re talking about principles, I think you forgot the one that say ‘writing is personal’ and that writing usually expresses momentary feelings. I censored my work because I felt I had to, but being politically correct and being truthfully expressive is definitely a slippery slope.

    2. Gerard McGarry

      Hi ThatOne! I take your point about swearing undermining an argument, but sometimes I feel that a swearword can also be a valid form of expression whenever one is frustrated or upset. My personal feeling is that swearwords – like them or not – form part of our language and language is how we express our feelings and communicate.

      Which leads me back to Silvio. A great post, Silvio. I’m like you, I watch X Factor in the hope of finding a talent that the UK music industry has either ignored or not yet discovered. But for the last 3-4 years, X Factor has been all about the BIG SHOUTY HEADLINES and sensationalist approach. And we judge the contestants by the way the show in conducted.

      What we’ve got are aspiring singers – some good, some not so good – who auditioned to be on a show hoping to have their talent discovered. What they actually found was a tabloid press ready to delve into their every murky secret, and a television production that removes every inch of their individuality from their performances and replaces them with slick visuals and group dance numbers. Sometimes you’d be hard pressed to find the singer on stage for all the dancers milling around them.

      I think another aspect of why the show is ailing is that they’ve swapped out the judges. Big names like Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole and a respected judge like Dannii Minogue have all gone, and they’ve been replaced by other judges saying exactly the same words.

      1. Fighting between judges? Tulisa hates Kelly. Gary hates Louis. Check, check, check.
      2. Ghasty judging cliches all round: You took that song and made it your own. Check.
      3. Female judges glammed up like Barbie had rolled around on a bed of sequins for the last half hour? Check, again.

      What I’m saying is that this year – with Simon Cowell off in America doing exactly the same thing but with actual singers – The X Factor has been exposed as the machine that it is. We’re not being served anything original here – it’s a cookie-cutter syndicated format that’s being repeated all over the world. Right down to Gamu’s version of Walking On Sunshine being copied for American audiences.

      People are stupid. They’ve bought this nonsense for years, and they’ll continue to buy into it as long as the soap opera element continues to please them. But with Cowell away, the messy inner workings of The X Factor are on display and people feel defrauded. It’s like discovering the Wizard Of Oz is just a little bald man hiding behind a curtain after all.

      1. goingbonkers

        Contrived, here are just a couple more examples.The film crew had been to most of the finalists houses and filmed them there, or filmed them in the crowd/holding room BEFORE the live auditions.To put all those people in to boot camp and then chuck a load out the next day – purely to get TV tears is abysmal – you think MichaB is a bully? – try the X-factor management! I can only imagine the antics of the media circus, certainly the acts don’t have a say in any of it, unless it is orchestrated ‘say’ or as rope to hang themselves – i.e. Janet’s song choice.

        Now that I can see the wizard for what he really is I wonder if it has always been this way or got progressively worse as (p)Syco get more desperate for attention!!!!!


  2. slaneyvalley

    A brilliantly written accout of how you see the X-factor Silvio R and summed up so well that you seem to read the thoughts of many viewers. And Gerards comments add to that summing up.

    Personally I believe X-factor is past its sell by date. Year in, year out we have the ‘same old, same old.’ We know what to expect, regardless of who the judges are. When shows like X-factor, Strictly Come Dancing etc, become more about the judges, who seem to have bigger egos than the contestants, then we are loosing the fundamental basics of what a singing or dancing competition is supposed to be about. It was so unprofessional for Tulisa to suggest from the judging arena (as it was of Louis) that Misha B was a bully. Much the same as Cheryl did with Wagner last year regards something printed in the press. They should have had a quiet word back stage or to one side out of earshot of others. But anything for ratings and the public buy it.

    I think the X-factor series (any year) goes on for too long. By the 4th of 5th week most of us know who are our favourites and we don’t like to see them subjected to theme weeks where, I believe, many a potential winner has been voted off. I also hate the fact that X-factor winners claim the No’1 Christmas spot (apart from one year when the internet went mad and ensured another artist – forget who right now – took that spot). Christmas is a festive time, I don’t want to keeping hearing, in the background of a shopping centre the latest number one which is not even Christmassy. Bring back the good old days when we had Slade or even the ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ which was a dreay song but reminded us that we were in the festive season. My interest in X-factor is wan(e)ing each season. In simple terms all I want to hear and see are good singers who deserve opportunities to pursue a career in music without having to go through a charade of circus acts like the X-factor has become.

  3. ThatOne

    The X Factor, as a show, is on its last legs.  That’s why Cowell has not visited the show at all, concentrating his efforts on the newer XF USA.

    But I sort of watch it, and I can get quite passionate about some of the contestants. “Sort of watch it”? Yup! When the auditions start I visit YouTube to see if any interesting new talents are liable to make the live shows, and I follow just those select few.  That selection was only Rebecca Ferguson last year, and is only Misha Bryan this year. Rebecca made it to the final, but if Misha is eliminated before the final I will stop whenever she does.  Quite why anyone should watch a singer they don’t like is beyond me, but if no-one did watch singers they did not like there would be no XF, so I am grateful to the viewers who are not capable of not watching the whole thing.

    Ahhh, the joys of YouTube and a good download software…

    Confession: If the whole show has to be on to satisfy the majority I will sort of watch, just enough to get an idea of what the other contestants can do, but I find it pretty depressing! This year there was Johnny, who can sing but was “managed” as a comedy routine, and there is Janet who is a terminally boring, whispering one trick pony but is taken dead-pan serious by her fans.  And so on…

    Confession, (2): There are opportunities for some shameful Schadenfreude.  This year Marks and Spencer invested early on in a TV ad that we now know includes or included a probable benefits cheat and a definitely unsavoury male teenager.  All that money just to get the wrong image, all that furious re-editing… Exquisite.

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