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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Thursday Thought - Has The X Factor lost it's 'X'?

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It's launch in 2004 saw an innovative programme on the hunt for someone special, someone with 'The X Factor'. Yet fast-forward seven years and try to list all of winners success and you might be disappointed. 

The two exceptions for me are Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke. While Leona may not have the same stage presence as Alexandra, her voice is incredible - definitely X Factor worthy. Yet the other 'winners' seemed to have lost as far as the fame game goes. Series one saw Steve Brookstein crowned champion - where is he now? From what I've read, singing on cruise ships and pub gigs (not that that's anything to snigger at). Series two winner, Shayne Ward had a much longer sell-by-date but still didn't make it 'big'. And then  you have the likes of Leon Jackson and Joe McElderry who were a quick blip on the radar before fading into the fame background. 

Contestants are set up for success with the seductive prize of a contract and a Christmas number one being dangled in front of them, yet the aftermath doesn't always live up. There have been an array of characters who, if I'm being honest, were heavy on humour but tight on talent. Take Wagner, Goldie Cheung, Same Difference and Diva Fever - sure they were 'fun' to watch but were they singing sensations? Not really. To me, while 'The X Factor' combines not only talent but personality, confidence and stage presence - ultimately for me, it should be about singing. Yet some contestants like this year's Frankie Cocozza have become more known for their off-stage antics than their performance power. His charm with the ladies (putting it nicely here!), party lifestyle and recent alleged drug incident saw his popularity grow for the wrong reasons associating the show with the wrong morals. He left the show on the 8th November stating that his behaviour had become out of control and did not deserve his place in the competition. While I was personally never a Frankie fan, I applaud this decision, after all the show is meant to be about launching someone's career which is a serious deal.  

So has the show lost it's sparkle? Ratings are dropping and it seems the show is having to bring in new drama (mixing up groups, judge fighting, bringing contestants back) to desperately cling onto viewers. 

...But it's not all doom and gloom. It seems the success stories of the show have sifted through from runners up. 2008 saw boyband JLS scoop second place but their success has been anything but. Essex gave us Olly Murs and Stacey Solomon who have both had media success in presenting, advertising and music collaborations with other artists. And I'm sure girls across the country will agree that One Direction have 'The X Factor'. With their good looks, cheeky charm, catchy songs and talent - the future is most certainly bright for these boys! 

While I still watch the show, I don't get the same buzz of excitement I used to get years ago. The show may not be thinking of calling it quits anytime soon, but I'm beginning to question whether my interest will last much longer. 

Do you think The X Factor still has 'it'? 

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