Having the ‘X’ Factor; is it a replacement for individuality?

I thought I’d lead on from my last post discussing so-called ‘Celebrities’ on TV, to the chain of shows that create most of them in the first place; The X Factor, Britain/America/anywhere else with a TV station’s Got Talent, Pop Idol etc.

Now these used to be one of my many pet hates, mainly because the entire country if not most of the world jumped on the bandwagon and became obsessed with watching someone try (and usually fail) to show off their various talents in front of a panel of ‘expert’ judges, only for them to then be insulted and usually run off crying. Now this is funny for a short while, but after a while gets a little repetitive and just plain sad. I was of course one of the many who rejoiced and was all too happy to support Rage Against The Machine in beating the X Factor winner for Britain’s Christmas number one in 2009.

Plus I don’t think Simon Cowell, Louie Walsh and the rest of them wouldn’t know talent if it jumped up and bit them. Especially Sheryl Cole, uuuurrrgh *shudder*.

Anyway, after my few years of hatred I decided to give the show a chance (if you can’t beat them, join them) and watched the majority of last year’s series with my housemates. To my surprise I thought the show wasn’t too bad, however as it got further on I started to notice something rather concerning. I would consider myself a musician of sorts (I’ve played in bands composing our own stuff for years) and from my time on the music scene I’d say that a band or artist’s main unique selling point is just that; being unique and not sounding like everything else out there. But to me it seems like these shows do exactly the opposite, producing year after year of samey, identically talentless pop musicians who churn out one generic album and then disappear into obscurity until they’re seen on Big Brother or a documentary on ITV4. Those who I did see in the first auditions with genuine talent and an individual sound all seemed to either be put through the grinder and turned into a generic sounding pop artists, or kicked to the curb early into the show. By the last couple of rounds, it seemed to just be a popularity contest of who could cry the most during the eliminations, and who did the best job of butchering cover songs.

So here’s where I hand it over to you, the public. Would you agree that these musical talent shows just seem to take musicians and mould them into what they think we want to hear over and over again on the radio? Do you think like me that there should be more shows that actually welcome musicians of different genres, or look more towards bands or instrument-based music? Or do you think these shows should just be taken off TV completely?

Oh, and just to show you what happens when a somewhat talented musician gets re-moulded and the process goes wrong somewhere along the way, here’s last year’s X Factor runner-up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdbyG2MrBHk&ob=av2e (Sorry for anyone trying to forget this song exists, but hopefully this will highlight just how bad the situation has become.)

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About alexdunmyer

Just a British graduate with a lot of things on his mind.
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