Jump to content

Brooker on the new X Factor

charlie clown

Recommended Posts

I didn't see it last week but read this this morning. He raises some interesting points about the new format. And it makes me laugh:


Screen Burn clickety-click


Animals, all of us: dying, desperate animals, alone in our skulls, in our souls, quietly tortured by our foreknowledge of death, wandering a mindless rock, baying with pain or killing each other. That's the working week. Come Saturday we crave relief. Slumped defeated in the corner, our flagellated cadavers scarcely held together by the gentle cocooning pressure of our armchairs, wearily we pivot our milky, despairing eyes in the direction of our television sets, seeking consolation or distraction or maybe just a little inconsequential merriment: a dab of balm to spread on these anguished bones, this empty heart.


And this is what you give us, universe? You give us The X-Factor (Sat, 7pm, ITV1)? The X-Factor is broken. They've changed the audition process. Bye bye claustrophobic rehearsal room, hello cavernous stadium. The wannabe singers used to perform a cappella in front of four poker-faced judges; now they have to perform karaoke in front of a thousand mooing w*****s. The programme may have been a cruel machine before, but at least it worked. This latest build is a mess.


For starters, they've deleted the show's one joke: that the bad singers don't realise they're bad until the judges break the news. Now an ocean of cackling dimwits almost drowns them out the second they open their mouths. Consequently, the panel's comments come as no surprise. The mob's already beaten the contestants to the ground before Cowell can deliver his death blow.


What's more, the crowd's very presence amplifies the cruelty of the format to such a degree, even the smallest of guilty home chuckles is strangled at birth. In the first week, an overweight girl explained she'd been living in her car for six weeks because her family had been evicted from their house thanks to her dreadful singing. The audience tittered throughout. Even Cowell looked embarrassed as he eventually dismissed her from the stage after a few half-hearted insults.


Speaking of leaving the stage, the biggest absurdity of all is that the traditional moments of "candid" note-comparing chit-chat between the judges, usually conducted as soon as an especially bad or good contestant vacates the room, now have to be performed panto-style, with raised voices, so they can be heard over the general audience hubbub.


"Y'know, I really liked him. That kid's got potential."




"I said he's got potential."




"No, POTENTIAL. And he's pitch-perfect."




"No, no - stop crying Dannii, what I said was ... oh FORGET IT." [EXITS RIVERDANCING]


Aside from shattering the relatively intimate dynamic betwixt act and judge, holding each audition in a massive live venue has the added anti-bonus of making each conversation less enjoyable even simply from a technical perspective. Editing it must be a nightmare, what with crowd noise leaking over every comment.


Another thing: it pre-emptively wrecks the live shows. How can the viewer possibly salivate at the prospect of watching a successful auditionee cope in front of a live studio audience when they've already seen them slay an entire stadium in week one? Where's the jeopardy going to come from? Unless ITV suddenly reveal they'll be singing live in a Thunderdome, dodging cudgel blows as they belt out the best of Elton John, there'll be little or no sense of peril at all. Even watching the "good" performers is worse than ever. In X-Factor world, you're only considered "good" if you ostentatiously bend every note like Mariah Carey folding a theremin in half. Now each vocal boast is met with an instant standing ovation from the horde of oinking dumbos cramming every aisle. To tune in is to witness a shocking mass rally devoted to the slaughter of basic melody that sets music back 50 years. The X-Factor not only fails to provide consolation for the futile horrors of human existence - it's not even as good as it used to be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...