The X Factor: time to scrap the app?

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The X Factor: time to scrap the app?

November 29, 2016 - 13:03
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Imagine being able to squander five free votes on not just one, but up to five of your favourite acts, whether you’re rich, poor, 94 or 4 years old. Hmmm...4 years old.

The X Factor

By Anna May @AnnaMayMight

I’ll be honest, I thought I’d enjoy this year’s X Factor more than previous years. I looked forward to the judges being their usual selves, with Louis being generally irritating with his standard phrases like, “You made it your own,” or “You’re like a young Michael Bublé,” which no-one ever is…because I’m old enough to remember Frank Sinatra. Not a bad thing to have a voice like Sinatra, but he did it first. There, I’ve said it.

I think my problem this year is that Simon is ‘just there’. He’s so flat and nice and bland and pleased about everything now that I just don’t feel I’ve had my fix of ‘Mr Nasty’ this year. If anything, Nicole’s stepped up to the plate and not only tells it like it is, but backs it up with experience.

Sharon? Well…she’s a bit mad and says what she likes, when she likes…so you never really know what’s going to come out of her mouth next. Good. Carry on, ‘cos I’m done with all the predictable shit.

The thing is, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. However, if you’re like me and you just can’t stop yourself, you’ve nobody to blame but yourself. I blame the kids. They make me do it (they don’t…I’m just weak).

Every year I want to love it…but, as it gets into the finals, the acts who have been kept in for novelty value become the focus and we’re to believe the more talented performers are somehow on a par with them. I mean, they’re all in the final so they must be the twelve most talented performers picked from auditions…right? Surely they haven’t been shoved into the final just to stop us getting bored with the ‘real’ singers. No…I won’t believe it!

So…in every final we have acts that the majority of people think should have been booted out long ago during the selection process, but then the general public vote for them and they stay in. Who are these people spending their hard-earned cash on phone votes? Hmmm?

Well…probably nobody. You see, the X Factor app (yes, I downloaded it, shut up) has a very handy option of being able to vote five times for absolutely nothing! Let’s be clear about this. You get five free votes each week. Also, when the bottom three were being announced near to the beginning of the finals, you could quickly tap in a free vote for your favourite to avoid them going out.

Free votes, though. Five free votes for anyone and everyone who owns a phone or tablet etc., so how many people do you think might just tap in random votes in an effort to make a mockery of the X Factor results?

That said, it IS nice to get something for nothing. Imagine being able to squander five free votes on not just one, but up to five of your favourite acts, whether you’re rich, poor, 94, or 4 years old. Hmmm…4 years old.

You see, I have a very young child who absolutely loves Honey G. No, I will not have her seen to, she has a right to her opinion, just the same as anyone else sitting in front of their TV, wearing Hello Kitty earmuffs and a slanket with a mermaid tail, whilst drawing on their forehead with a glitter pen.

My point is…any child old enough to have their own phone or who has access to their parents’ phones can vote…five times from each phone. So when I hear my child dabbing down the stairs for her breakfast in the morning, rapping, “I say Honey, you say…” I can pretty much guess why Honey G managed to stay in the finals for as long as she did.

Also, there’s no getting away from the fact she was rapping to some great old school choons, so her performances were always full of energy and, I don’t care who knows it, I really enjoyed them.

Compare those punchy performances with the dreary down-beat songs some of the others were churning out and the fact that the backing tracks were SO LOUD they drowned out a Hell of a lot of tuning issues. I mean, Ryan was even able to take the mic away from his mouth one week and STILL sing in tune…and it wasn’t only Ryan they did that to. Once I’d seen that, I found myself watching every single contestant’s lips, ready to spot how many times their perfectly produced backing track actually filled in for them.

Yes, I know it’s all about making money and that sales on iTunes will be more likely to rocket if the contestants’ covers sound as near to perfect as possible, but how does that help us to decide who to vote for? More to the point, how insulting for a singer to know they’re being carried by a backing track, rather than supported by it.

Let's not forget the live backing singers either, who appear to have their mics turned up far louder than the contestants do. What are their names, because I think I'd rather like to vote for them instead.

Annoyingly, those still left in the competition can probably sing very well in their own style and in their own comfort zone, but drowning them out with a commercially viable backing track JUST to ensure sales undermines them as the raw talent they’re supposed to be.

As soon as Relley C was voted off weeks ago my heart sank, because I realized it was just the same old X Factor again…reduced to a level of sincerity that invites nothing but ridicule and indifference towards a group of anxious hopefuls who are genuinely trying their very best to win the competition. It’s those people who have been let down the most this year.

Finally, I really have no clue as to why we were subjected to Ryan and Emily’s heart-rending goodbye. Not sure I needed to see him pack his teddy bear. Not sure I feel sorry for Emily being on her own in the house with no boyfriend now either…seeing as that’s how it’s been for EVERYONE ELSE in the X Factor house throughout the whole process!

Even my teenage daughter hid behind a cushion and squealed, “Omg no! Oh cringe!” Similarly, I do the same during every Matt Terry performance as she screams, “My husband, my husband, my husband!” at the screen. It’s a bloody good job I love my kids!

***The X Factor final is on December 10th and 11th at 8pm.