The X Factor returned to our screens last Saturday, for its unrelenting 14th series. Once again the brilliant and the bizarre from far and wide will be paraded on stage for the viewing pleasure of the Great British public. But despite its viewing figures plummeting in recent years (a lowly 6 million tuned in last week compared to nearly 11 at its peak) the reality show shows no signs of surrendering its Saturday night spot. Considering Cowell and co haven’t produced a relevant recording artist since James Arthur in 2012, is it time for us to bid farewell to the X Factor?
Where are they now?
You can’t deny that the X Factor has produced some of the most successful acts of the 21st century. From JLS to Little Mix via some band called One Direction, the show has generated some of the best pop music of recent times. But contestants from recent series have struggled to make an impact on the scale of earlier successes.
The fact is the show is no longer the bastion of hope for wannabe popstars. Once the most powerful vehicle for discovering new talent in the UK, the X Factor has been usurped by the internet. With a wealth of opportunities for emerging artists just a few clicks away, why face the ignominy of a soap opera every week?
Over the years, the negative impact of the show on some of its contestants has been plain to see. Frankie Cocozza recently admitted the show led him into a spin of alcohol and drug abuse while recent winners Sam Bailey and Ben Haenow have been left in the showbiz wilderness after being dropped by Cowell’s record label Syco. With such a limited window to make an impression and no let up for those who don’t, it’s no surprise so many former contestants are sucked into unfulfilling careers.
Tried, tested, turgid
Another reason for the show’s demise is its mind numbing predictability. There’s the aging hopeful, who at 27, is aiming their last shot at stardom, the lovable rogues who might just be the next Union J, 5 After Midnight or Candy Rain and of course the stubble laden family man. Cowell himself has even admitted to the show’s stagnancy.
‘If you just make the same show every year, it becomes boring and predictable,’ he has said, ‘so you try and make changes for the better; not everything works, but some ideas we’ve got for the live shows are going to be good.”
But with fewer and fewer tuning in every week, the evidence suggests the show’s audience has seen it all before.
So if you haven’t already, I implore you to switch off for good this year. Instead, support the grassroots of the industry by seeking out some local live music. It’s cheap, it’s authentic and best of all, there’s not a Louis Walsh in sight.
Will you be tuning in tonight? Tweet us @ArtKompetes and let us know.