Is “x factor” missing its own x factor?

December 20, 2011
  Avery Webster


So, last night was the grand finale of the televised talent show, “X Factor.” Did you know? Probably not. Simon Cowell, the famed talent-finder behind bands like the Spice Girls and the show “American Idol” put together this show, the “X Factor” after leaving Idol last season. But the show has already fallen prey to all of the traps that I think cost Idol its grandeur.

The first season of Idol was truly spectacular—it felt like all of America was watching and was invested in the outcome. As every season came and went, it lost some of its appeal… and viewers. Sure, there was hype, but it was entirely self-contained. X Factor has already succumbed to the same meta-hype—the only people excited about the show are friends of the contestants and fans of the judges. The rest of us? Couldn’t care less.

Additionally, the contestants have very little broad appeal—the consequence of which is that now that the season is over, none of us will care about them or invest in their careers. I won’t, because I was never interested to begin with. But, neither will the few viewers of the show, who watched for the stunts and “wow” of the expensive-to-produce show. Was anyone really watching because they cared about h contestants? Maybe a handful of friends, but for everyone else, the stories of the contestants, even the winner, ends with the season.

So, what’s the point? Revenue for Cowell and the network, but at the expense of perhaps talented artists, who have wasted their shot on a self-sustaining self-promoting talent extravaganza. Just like Idol, the X Factor will continue not because it offers anything to the contestants (other than cash prize and maybe a short-lived recording contract) but because it’s lucrative to the producers.  That’s just not worth watching in my opinion.

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