When The X Factor launched itself onto our screens in 2004, with Simon Cowell leading the panel of industry experts Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne, the message was clear: finding fresh musical talent. Nine series’ and 10 judges later, it seems that the judges of today are more concerned about bickering between themselves than giving someone a well-deserved break in the tough industry.
After a showdown between Nicole Scherzinger and Gary Barlow, during which she called him “an old grumpy fart”, and Louis Walsh’s controversial change of heart which lead to Gary storming off backstage, the main thing people are talking about is the judges. For a show that’s meant to be about finding singers, has the focus shifted in order to get more people talking, in order to bump up the desperately low viewing figures? There’s always been a comedy element in the judges’ dramatics, which Cowell himself was at the heart of before his departure. Since employing loud, opinionated stars to take his seat, things have taken a turn for the worse, with slanging matches on the panel almost taking up more time than the acts themselves.
The latest drama circulates from Louis gonig back on his decision to save country singer Carolynne Poole over “comedy act” Rylan Clark. Having backed such acts as Jedward and Wagner in the past, the choice to take it to deadlock in the hope of saving Rylan didn’t come as much of a surprise, but that didn’t stop the audience booing Walsh as he announced he wished to take it to ‘deadlock’, after Gary and Tulisa voted in favour of Carolynne, and Nicole’s loyal vote backing Rylan, in her category. As presenter Dermot O’Leary announced the audience’s vote, a disappointed Carolynne shut her eyes in dispair, missing out on all the action as Barlow, her mentor, stood up and stormed off backstage in disgust.
Speculation as to whether Walsh, the only remaining original judge, will be axed from the panel, has been rife amongst viewers for years. Will this be the straw that breaks Cowell’s back?