Off the fence
Over the course of the last eight years, X Factor has become ratings gold. But as successful as the UK reality-based show is, the jury is still out on the show’s purpose to society.
For some, the thought of having fame handed to a person on a plate angers them deeply and for others, degrading a young child on a live show in front of millions of viewers makes them question the show’s morality.
Contestants are put through rounds where they have to prove to a panel of judges that they ‘want it’ or in other words ‘have the X Factor’. After thousands of people get thrown down the dump, the show is shortlisted to a small group of contestants who then have to battle it out to win the ultimate prize.
However, because the show is for the most part, people covering other’s songs (or work, if you will) there has been quite a lot of controversy towards the show’s winners over the years and their credibility and contribution towards the music industry. And you know what, I completely agree with the naysayers. Take the scottish rock band Biffy Clyro for example. Here is a group of friends who came together to form a band and worked very hard to get to where they are today. From playing ‘ghost town’ like venues to headlining a full sold-out 10,000 strong Wembley Arena, this is a band who have worked very hard for their success and quite frankly, earned it, spewing their own blood, sweat and tears into their own original music.
I’m just not quite sure the same could be said for the majority of those ‘hopeful souls’ on The X Factor. You can’t deny that some of its offspring over the years have had exceptional talent and have gone on to bigger things. Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke and JLS are three examples, but for the most part, whether people like it or not, The X Factor is a show that sets out to exploits people’s weaknesses in return for financial benefits.
And then on the other side of the spectrum, the talent show has been blasted by many people for degrading people (particularly young) on live TV. A good example of this can recently be traced to the US version of the show when an innocent 13 year-old girl, broke down in tears after being told that she didn’t make the cut. Is it ethical to do this to minors?
But when it comes down to it at the end of the day, from producer, to director, from advertiser, to television network, no one gives a crap about the people. Of course, the humorous irony of all of this is that we all admit to tuning into the show every once in a while when nothing else is on the box. However, this doesn’t hide the fact that this is a show of corruption, greed and lacking in moral virtue.
Luke Dunne is a student of Media at the Castlebar College of Further Education. He was on work experience with The Mayo News.