Entertainment, Music, Television

Is The X Factor really THAT bad?

“I can say I haven’t watched a single episode of that crap this year!”

“If we all buy Star Wars music we can stop their awful single making Christmas number one again!”

“The X Factor is ruining music!”

Alright, I’ve never been a die-hard fan of The X Factor, but I’m getting quite tired of hearing about how ‘crap’ it is in and around social media.

I’ve been watching it on and off this year, more than I have any other year and I became quite invested in some of the singers from start to finish. Louisa Johnson, 17 years of age and the current nation’s sweetheart won over Wembley last night with her rendition of Forever Young (Winner’s Song) and became the latest star born from The X Factor.

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A winner’s tears

How far she goes within the music industry is irrelevant and a lot of people seem to have taken the show as a personal insult to their music taste. With attacks on The X Factor flying left, right and centre, it’s enough for a fan of the show to sink to their knees in despair.

In defence of the show (which I have quite enjoyed over these last few months) there are some things that seem to go straight over people’s heads when they impose their rants upon the world.

It’s just crap, trashy TV

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The Tapper Family, from Channel 4’s Gogglebox

It might not be as classy as your Strictly Come Dancings or your Great British Bake Offs and it might not hold as much weight as the likes of University Challenge or Newsnight, but it’s good, easy entertainment. Watching it allows you to relax, sit around with friends or family and discuss what’s happening. After a week of working solidly, some people want to switch off and watch something fun, rather than continue to actively engage with media.

It ruins the true Christmas Number One Chart

We live in a day and age where Christmas songs are already deeply engrained into our minds; they’ve got a deep-rooted sense of nostalgia that resonates with us and for some reason, we can’t let go. We find it difficult to welcome new Christmas songs into our etched-in-stone digital playlists because they just don’t feel…well, Christmassy. The X Factor winners have had 7 Christmas number ones in the last 10 years, the other three including one defiant selection in 2009 called Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine, which I’m sure we all remember. It’s interesting to think that maybe The X Factor have successfully pushed their winners to the top because they are popular with a lot of the British public, unless it is all fixed as some rebels claim.

It’s just about Simon Cowell making money

The music industry itself is worth £4.1 billion in the UK as of 2014 and
Simon Cowell holds a net worth total of £325 million, which is a 7.2% contribution to the industry (if that’s where all his money went or came from). These big numbers account for the fact that Simon Cowell is a big, big name in music and has simon_cowell-426617been responsible for the greats that have come out of The X Factor. So, if he is making a lot of money but at the same time creating popular and legendary artists, then let him do his job.

It’s destroying the integrity of music

There is a reason that Beethoven isn’t in the charts today. Popular music changes with time, society and technology. It reflects who we are as people and goes with the flow of what has been popular before, transforming and changing in a way that nobody could explain. I accept that as the show reaches its 11th year running, it feels as though they are just looking for the best cover artist or karaoke singer. However, as they use and revamp current music, it’s unlikely that The X Factor will ever die.

Ultimately, The X Factor is harmless and does more positive than negative. Think of all the budding filmmakers / media workers who want to get a foot in the door and work on the show. Then there are the people that the show is made for: the singers. It gives them the opportunity to become the star they always wanted to be; whether they are successful or not is up to them in the end. It makes people happy who watch it and are involved in it and it brings music artists together. Last night we saw One Direction, Adele and Leona Lewis singing to the Wembley masses and it was stunning.

Just think of the artists that have been squeezed out of the millions who applied for the auditions – Olly Murs, One Direction, Little Mix, JLS, Ben Haenow etc etc… Some of them vanish into the depths of nowhere, but enough have made their way in the industry for it to be credible.

We are not ‘dumbing down’ as a nation, and we are not losing our integrity in regards to the music industry. The X Factor as I see it is a viable solution to escaping some of the hardships of life and allows us to enjoy music together, while at the same time creating new artists. Whether they are any good or not and whether they succeed is again down to the public – we are encouraged to believe.

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