Monday, July 22, 2013

12 Things I hate about X-Factor

Note: this was written a few days ago, when it was slightly more current, but Ruaumoko had other ideas.

1. The host. I'm not sure what look Dominic Bowden is going for, but if it is slick smug sarcastic insincerity, he's got it nailed. Oh, and the paaaaaussssinggg.

2. Moments like this:

Man, that Stevie Nicks dude wrote some great songs back in the day. . . If you are going to judge material, at least pay the courtesy of fecking knowing it.

3. The X-factor they are looking for isn't talent. It is marketability. In some of the few moments of actual honesty on it, the judges near constantly refer to their charges ability to sell records to the "market". They stop short of referring to the performers as "units", but it isn't far away. It's not about making music. more about making money. It has nothing to do with good music, nothing to do with learning and honing your craft, of doing all the hard and unsung work, and it's hard not to see it as insulting to the musicians and performers that have paid their dues. It's designed to create an instant disposable product for an audience that generally doesn't know any better musically. I wonder how many in the rent-a-crowd studio audience knew who The Manic Street Preachers were without having to be told. Probably too busy waving their elbows as directed to care.

4. The show itself like most of its kind is a disposable product, designed to do nothing more than generate revenue for it's sponsors. Both the show and the performers it produces are intended to be short lived , the details forgotten by next season so they can do it all again. Whoever wins it will be a figurehead for whatever campaigning follows the show. If they are really lucky they might have a career afterward.

5. It's not reality. It's insincere, scripted and contrived at every turn. "Look, here's one of our hopefuls at McDonalds. Who happen to be one of our sponsors! And look, they happen to be talking about the show! How lucky it was our camera crew was present to capture this spontaneous moment!"
Let alone all the banter, arrangement, song selection to favour or disfavour a performer and pretty much everything else.

6. It doesn't find artists. It creates disposable carbon copy performers, to fit in a narrow mould. When they let contestants write and perform their own material rather than soullessly butchering other people's in a sort of hyper karaoke I'll be much more interested.Which brings me to point 7.

7. Butchering actually good classic songs and turning them into two-minute cheese-fests.

8. The public voting system is dubious at best, since it doesn't appear to be transparent, and there seems to be nothing stopping the producers from just making up the numbers anyway. Even if it is legit, it further reduces the talent factor, by way of turning the thing into a popularity contest. Not to mention raking in the cash at $1 a text.

9. It promotes the fantasy that the NZ music market is big enough to sustain pop mega-stars for more than a few singles. Bowden can say "living the dream!" as often as he wants, that doesn't make it true.

10. "Taking it to the next level". Etc.

11. The hype. It's inescapable. Inescapable enough that I can mercifully write this without having to watch too much of the show itself.

12. It's just wrong. Hey, no-one said this had to be rational. Like all rant lists, the objectivity is all mine.

1 comment:

Not Kate said...

I like #3 and #9.

I didn't watch a single episode of this. At least the judges on The Voice (Australia) have some credibility as artists. That's my show!