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So what IS the X-Factor?

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So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby In Search Of... » Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:55 pm

Surely it is incumbent for the makers of the X-Factor to identify exactly what the X-Factor is? But I feel the programme is falling way short of its remit in that it is merely developing marketing commodities. Is this supposed to be the 'X'? Surely the 'X' should be a performance attribute that has an indescribable quality. Of course, one can still identify the indescribable - you only have to think of Jackson Pollock's paintings. Certainly, they have the X-Factor and this quality is indescribable but easily identified.

I am reminded of some wise words by Brian Clough who said:

"...the X-Factor is something that's either there in a player, or not. I can always spot it - it's the guy that not only scores with either peg, is comfortable with heading and has a strong positional sense, but it's also the guy that is the essential ingredient - the heartbeat of the team if you like. Like the bread in a bread and butter pudding."

But I watch the X-Factor and I don't see any 'X', but then again, what am I looking for? I probably don't even know that myself but I would probably know if I saw or heard it. Who knows what subtle differences separate one artist or band from another? What separated Genesis from Gentle Giant? Dusty Springfield - she had the X-Factor, in abundance, but Lulu? Whilst a good and talented singer, I don't think anyone would disagreee that there was no 'X' to her performances or material. Reliable? - check. Charismatic? - check. Feisty? - check. But X-Facor? No.

Does Leona Lewis or Will Young have the X-Factor? Well, record sales would say yes but I don't see in them an indescribable magical quality. Perhaps I am naive and the 'X' after all is just about sales and money. And I find that to be a rather sad state of affairs.

What do you guys think is that magical X-Factor? Who does it for you?
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:23 pm

In Search Of... wrote:Surely it is incumbent for the makers of the X-Factor to identify exactly what the X-Factor is?

You're thinking about it far too deeply: the X-Factor is, on colossal scale, paid advertising to launch as many acts over the 6 month period as it possibly can. It's not about finding a "single winner", which you'll notice has now been dropped from the speil, "A £1m recording contract", it's about using the 2 hours each Saturday evening to push and promote as many of the acts as they can.

The notion of finding a star with that "something" was never, ever a consideration on the show.
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:26 pm

In Search Of... wrote:Surely it is incumbent for the makers of the X-Factor to identify exactly what the X-Factor is?


No.

I feel the programme is falling way short of its remit in that it is merely developing marketing commodities.


The programme is about raising money for Simon Cowell's many and various companies and advertising revenue for ITV. While it's doing that it also provides a level of voyeuristic entertainment for the mindless majority and false hope for talentless wannabees, and promotes the live tours in which those unfortunate to become embroiled in the circus are forced subsequently to participate.

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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby Blaze-In » Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:33 pm

As a record label executive in A&R, an American living in Sydney, Australia, I think that there is good and bad in the TV karaoke contests. The pro side: we get a glimpse into vocal talent. The con side: people think that in order to get a record deal, all you have to do is win the karaoke contest.

My professional opinion is the true measure of a singer is throwing them in the deep end and make them write, produce, record and perform an ORIGINAL song. If they aren't songwriters per se, meaning they can write a song using an instrument (writing without the means of an actual musical instrument garners you the title of lyricist--I don't care what anyone else thinks--I stand firm on that!) they should be a part of the process of crafting a song written for them.

Now think--when you're watching the karaoke contest, they are singing covers. They are being judged on the performance of the original, not their performance.

What the music industry is missing and I'm doing my best to fill the void, is development. I run music workshops in Sydney, Australia. What I teach is the business side of the music industry, give them some tools the help further their careers and give them education in ALL facets of the industry. You can usually weed out the ones who are serious and the ones who thought, "I didn't think it was that much work!" And those are the ones who's work ethic is crap anyway.

The X-factor can be defined many ways but how I see it is: work ethic, commitment, work ethic, punctuality, work ethic and THEN talent. Notice that I mentioned work ethic a few times? Reason being is simple. In Australia, the population is roughly 24 million, in Sydney about 4 million. You might come across 500,000 vocalists that are on par with Christina Aguilera and Ne-Yo. But their WORK ETHIC could suck like the vacuum of space! You can throw a rock and nearly hit talent here, but can you get them to stick things out until they get where they want to be? It remains to be seen...

May or may not be on topic but that's my 0.02 dollars worth. Thanks for your time and thanks for letting me vent!
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby BJG145 » Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:29 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:While it's doing that it also provides a level of voyeuristic entertainment for the mindless majority and false hope for talentless wannabees, and promotes the live tours in which those unfortunate to become embroiled in the circus are forced subsequently to participate.
So who do you want to win then? ;)
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby sthum » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:13 pm

.


I nearly ignored this thread because you included the words 'x-factor' in the title! I mean just that says it all.....

George Best had the Z.. Factor (I'm sorry... I just can't type those words anymore)!

He was so f**king cool... Had amazing talent and flare on the pitch. Gorgeous looking guy (im not gay) Looked like a Beatle too.. In fact I'd go as far as to say even cooler! And I'm not even a fan.

That's the factor you talk about.. A real honest to goodness original...

And if we're talking about the music side of things then thats easy... two words... Bob Dylan! Nuff said!




Sthum.........
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby * User requested deletion 2 * » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:22 pm

sthum wrote:Gorgeous looking guy (im not gay)

Why do you need to qualify your statement by saying you're not gay? Is there something wrong with being gay? :?
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:29 pm

sthum wrote:And if we're talking about the music side of things then thats easy... two words... Bob Dylan! Nuff said!

Bob Dylan has absolutely no charisma whatsoever.
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby In Search Of... » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:32 pm

ex-reid wrote:
sthum wrote:Gorgeous looking guy (im not gay)

Why do you need to qualify your statement by saying you're not gay? Is there something wrong with being gay? :?

I agree. A curious thing to write indeed.

As someone who lives with a gay person, a very nice person who does alot of work in the community, I should point out to the poster that comments like these are unecessary and redolent of a bygone era. The qualification implies there is something wrong with being gay.
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:53 pm

In Search Of... wrote:As someone who lives with a gay person,

As in "I'm not gay, but my husband is"? :-)

a very nice person who does alot of work in the community

I AM sorry. Hope he gets a proper job soon.

I hope you have proper Health & Safety certification for that high horse you're riding :-)
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You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont. Go fishing instead.


Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby Gary M » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:03 pm

In Search Of... wrote:
ex-reid wrote:
sthum wrote:Gorgeous looking guy (im not gay)

Why do you need to qualify your statement by saying you're not gay? Is there something wrong with being gay? :?

I agree. A curious thing to write indeed.

As someone who lives with a gay person, a very nice person who does alot of work in the community, I should point out to the poster that comments like these are unecessary and redolent of a bygone era. The qualification implies there is something wrong with being gay.

I don't think the poster meant it in a hurtful way. I think he was more or less saying that g best was good lookin and he don't normally rate men. Probably could have chosen words more carefully.

Anyway back on track, the X Factor to me is a time filler on a Saturday night. It's about a promo of up and coming manufacturers acts done in a big brother style way. Rather than spending he advance on posters and tv advertising they pump the money into a TV series where the very people that will go out and buy this music get to know the artist before they have heard what they have got to offer.

Love it or hate it but it does work and probably will continue to work until people get sick of the format and they change direction again. It's just a modern take on new faces, or Saturday night at the palladium.

The x factor is what sell the most records at any one given time, it's not to everyone's taste but it pushes more buttons than the person hat made number 2 in he charts. Simple. The Beatles were he x factor once, eminem was the x factor, rage against he machine was even the x factor!
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby The Red Bladder » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:09 pm

Before you all rush out to spend £1 or whatever it is that it costs to vote, let me assure you that the whole thing is pretty much decided beforehand. You may call it 'rigged' but it is not rigged in the conventional sense, the votes are real, the people are real.

However, you can't have someone winning who is not going to toe the line and sell records. Focus groups have already established which types of contestants are going to create the greatest emotional proximity with the record buying public and throughout the contest, further focus groups identify which contestants will optimise viewing and subsequent sales.

Never forget that the show is the final product. The record sales are the icing on the cake, but the real money is in the television rights, not a few downloads! For this reason, it is vital that the final few contestants make the whole thing into a real nail-biter!

You also need to have real talent 'hidden' in the thousands of social misfits that apply for this rubbish and make fools of themselves on national television. That means having 'ringers' just like at a fair ground boxing match or a local farmers horse race. Outside talent that has been identified, usually via agents or through some of the better talent schools, is 'invited' to participate. That is, however, not how the whole thing is properly fixed. That is done through the music and the arrangements, as well as clothing and running order.

The arrangers, beavering away in ProTools and/or Logic, are asked to reconstruct the songs for the losers, so that one or more crucial notes are at the very edge of the contestants range. In extreme cases, when the contestant is just too good a singer, the whole tune has to be taken out of key, so that any viewers who do not have a musical education, just assume that the singer is weak. We saw this on last week's X-Factor, with Marcus Collins having to sing one of his songs well below the key it was originally written in.

The arranger is given a map of the singer's voice and asked to re-pitch the song, so that key notes in the song are also the weakest in that person's range. This is usually does at the same time that it is that contestant's turn to be right at the front of the show. At the same time, perhaps the costumes are not as good as the might have been.

The great thing about fixing these shows this way, is that you have not really fixed them in the classical sense and even the contestants do not notice. They are even told that the arranger is 'working around their range to get the best results' and they actually assume that poor notes are just their own fault! The viewers at home who are stupid enough to waste a Pound to vote for the person they think did the best job, have no idea that the contestants have been set up to perform well or badly.

This week and next, Amelia Lilly is going to get wonderful power ballads and up-tempo songs right, slap-bang in the middle of her range, whereas Marcus Collins and Little Mix will be strangely weak a couple of times.

Amelia Lilly is going to win, not because she is the best, she is not. She is actually quite weak, vocally, but her 'type' will provide the best viewing experience and sell more records.

How do I know?

Don't ask!
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby ken long » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:29 pm

^ Conspiracy theory ahahha.. I'm not saying that doesn't happen, as does poor in-ear monitoring, but it's not the reason why the show is perceived as a fix and I very much doubt they could get away with that [ ****** ] for almost 10 years (remember Shane Ward? He didn't *play the game* as you've described it and he still won).

The only thing that we don't see is the stats.

So earlier in the week, when HMV let it slip that Amelia was the winner, this wasn't based on insider knowledge of fixed results, but rather access to stats which show that she is miles ahead of the rest in terms of votes. And, though they may be giving her the better arrangements and suitable keys to sing them in, her success is down to the British condition. Everyone loves the underdog (Ameila was sent home already).

It's a shame they don't develop the real talent (on or off stage).

Case in point - this kid didn't make it past boot camp and he could probably out perform everyone on there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=238m-IEtpa0
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby sthum » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:34 pm

.




ex-reid wrote:
sthum wrote:Gorgeous looking guy (im not gay)


Why do you need to qualify your statement by saying you're not gay? Is there something wrong with being gay? :?



Your quite right ex reid.... I was'nt thinking! Absolutely nothing wrong with being gay!
My 11 year old was watching me type up that post... so it was more for his info than anyone's!

Absolutely nothing meant by my comment at all... And I openly and sincerely apologise to anyone if offended.



Back on topic.....

Bob Dylan may not have much in the way of charisma... but isn't that what makes him interesting.. a closed book so to speak?

His stature as one of the greatest song writers of all time more than makes up for anything else he lacks.....

The 'X factor' clearly means different things to different people? The actual talent itself should be all that matters, not how they look or how they talk.


Sthum.....




.
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby In Search Of... » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:25 pm

sthum wrote:.




ex-reid wrote:
sthum wrote:Gorgeous looking guy (im not gay)

Why do you need to qualify your statement by saying you're not gay? Is there something wrong with being gay? :?


Your quite right ex reid.... I was'nt thinking! Absolutely nothing wrong with being gay!
My 11 year old was watching me type up that post... so it was more for his info than anyone's!


As adults, it's us who should be setting the example.

And we complain about the youth of today! :headbang:
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby In Search Of... » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:27 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:Before you all rush out to spend £1 or whatever it is that it costs to vote, let me assure you that the whole thing is pretty much decided beforehand. You may call it 'rigged' but it is not rigged in the conventional sense, the votes are real, the people are real.

However, you can't have someone winning who is not going to toe the line and sell records. Focus groups have already established which types of contestants are going to create the greatest emotional proximity with the record buying public and throughout the contest, further focus groups identify which contestants will optimise viewing and subsequent sales.

Never forget that the show is the final product. The record sales are the icing on the cake, but the real money is in the television rights, not a few downloads! For this reason, it is vital that the final few contestants make the whole thing into a real nail-biter!

You also need to have real talent 'hidden' in the thousands of social misfits that apply for this rubbish and make fools of themselves on national television. That means having 'ringers' just like at a fair ground boxing match or a local farmers horse race. Outside talent that has been identified, usually via agents or through some of the better talent schools, is 'invited' to participate. That is, however, not how the whole thing is properly fixed. That is done through the music and the arrangements, as well as clothing and running order.

The arrangers, beavering away in ProTools and/or Logic, are asked to reconstruct the songs for the losers, so that one or more crucial notes are at the very edge of the contestants range. In extreme cases, when the contestant is just too good a singer, the whole tune has to be taken out of key, so that any viewers who do not have a musical education, just assume that the singer is weak. We saw this on last week's X-Factor, with Marcus Collins having to sing one of his songs well below the key it was originally written in.

The arranger is given a map of the singer's voice and asked to re-pitch the song, so that key notes in the song are also the weakest in that person's range. This is usually does at the same time that it is that contestant's turn to be right at the front of the show. At the same time, perhaps the costumes are not as good as the might have been.

The great thing about fixing these shows this way, is that you have not really fixed them in the classical sense and even the contestants do not notice. They are even told that the arranger is 'working around their range to get the best results' and they actually assume that poor notes are just their own fault! The viewers at home who are stupid enough to waste a Pound to vote for the person they think did the best job, have no idea that the contestants have been set up to perform well or badly.

This week and next, Amelia Lilly is going to get wonderful power ballads and up-tempo songs right, slap-bang in the middle of her range, whereas Marcus Collins and Little Mix will be strangely weak a couple of times.

Amelia Lilly is going to win, not because she is the best, she is not. She is actually quite weak, vocally, but her 'type' will provide the best viewing experience and sell more records.

How do I know?

Don't ask!

So, as I expected. The elusive 'X-Factor' is bankability. Sad.
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby Paul Farrer » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:06 pm

Simon Cowell reminds me of Henry VIII.
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby ken long » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:21 pm

sthum wrote:

Your quite right ex reid.... I was'nt thinking! Absolutely nothing wrong with being gay!
My 11 year old was watching me type up that post... so it was more for his info than anyone's!

Are you implying there's something wrong with not being gay?

By the way, no root key changes at all in the final, Bladder.
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby Tony Raven » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:51 am

Actually, that's one of the points that's been bothering me in the U.S. version -- fetishising the best-known recording. The performances often stick slavishly to that key, even if it finds the singer scraping bottom or screeching about wildly.

(Occasionally, both, which ought to be a broad hint of all-round talent. I'm not a pro singer by any means, yet when warmed-up I can cover three full octaves.)
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby In Search Of... » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:20 am

Exalted Wombat wrote:
In Search Of... wrote:As someone who lives with a gay person,

As in "I'm not gay, but my husband is"? :-)


To quote Sir Edmund Blackadder: "I thank God I wore my corset, because I think my sides have split."

Have you any other gay jokes you'd like to share with us Wombat? I'm sure we'd find them most amusing.

As in the above joke.

Which was hilarious.
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby * User requested deletion 2 * » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:33 am

Exalted Wombat wrote:
In Search Of... wrote:As someone who lives with a gay person,
As in "I'm not gay, but my husband is"? :-)

a very nice person who does alot of work in the community
I AM sorry. Hope he gets a proper job soon.

I hope you have proper Health & Safety certification for that high horse you're riding :-)

Why the attempt to police other folks expressing their opinion? Quite apart from your post having nothing to do with the topic of the thread, it just comes across as snide bullying. Is that your intention?
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby Gone To Lunch » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:09 pm

As explained here by a "Politician"
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby Soundseed » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:46 pm

This has nothing to do with the TV show, but neither does music really, so here's somebody with the X Factor... part 1) the ability to write words, melody, music, which are notable for being emotive yet completely unaffected and unforced.... part 2) tie them into a song and perform them simultaneously, live, solo, with no airbrushing, lighting, edits, auto-tuning, beat mapping, flex, and make the entire thing seem like little effort is required doing something that sounds simple but is utterly beyond 99.99999% of the population.

Robin Adams - Catapult - The Close Sessions

----------------
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby In Search Of... » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:05 pm

ex-reid wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:
In Search Of... wrote:As someone who lives with a gay person,
As in "I'm not gay, but my husband is"? :-)

a very nice person who does alot of work in the community
I AM sorry. Hope he gets a proper job soon.

I hope you have proper Health & Safety certification for that high horse you're riding :-)

Why the attempt to police other folks expressing their opinion? Quite apart from your post having nothing to do with the topic of the thread, it just comes across as snide bullying. Is that your intention?

I prefer not to comment ex-reid. Best just to let his words hang in the virtual air like a bad fart. Perhaps that will shame him into an apology but I won't hold my breath.

It's a shame the thread has been derailed by a few, shall we be tactful and say antiquarian, views.
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby In Search Of... » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:06 pm

Soundseed wrote:This has nothing to do with the TV show, but neither does music really, so here's somebody with the X Factor... part 1) the ability to write words, melody, music, which are notable for being emotive yet completely unaffected and unforced.... part 2) tie them into a song and perform them simultaneously, live, solo, with no airbrushing, lighting, edits, auto-tuning, beat mapping, flex, and make the entire thing seem like little effort is required doing something that sounds simple but is utterly beyond 99.99999% of the population.

Robin Adams - Catapult - The Close Sessions


I would agree that this chap has the X-Factor for sure. Good call!
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:14 pm

ex-reid wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:
In Search Of... wrote:As someone who lives with a gay person,

As in "I'm not gay, but my husband is"? :-)

a very nice person who does alot of work in the community

I AM sorry. Hope he gets a proper job soon.

I hope you have proper Health & Safety certification for that high horse you're riding :-)


Why the attempt to police other folks expressing their opinion? Quite apart from your post having nothing to do with the topic of the thread, it just comes across as snide bullying. Is that your intention?


No, just carrying the joke on! The original parody of a member of the PC thought-police objecting to someone stating he wasn't gay WAS a joke, surely? Nested within another parody - of someone who thinks X-Factor is worthy of discussion. Nice one, both of you!
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You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont. Go fishing instead.


Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby thefruitfarmer » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:35 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:


The arrangers, beavering away in ProTools and/or Logic, are asked to reconstruct the songs for the losers, so that one or more crucial notes are at the very edge of the contestants range. In extreme cases, when the contestant is just too good a singer, the whole tune has to be taken out of key, so that any viewers who do not have a musical education, just assume that the singer is weak. We saw this on last week's X-Factor, with Marcus Collins having to sing one of his songs well below the key it was originally written in.

The arranger is given a map of the singer's voice and asked to re-pitch the song, so that key notes in the song are also the weakest in that person's range. This is usually does at the same time that it is that contestant's turn to be right at the front of the show. At the same time, perhaps the costumes are not as good as the might have been.

The great thing about fixing these shows this way, is that you have not really fixed them in the classical sense and even the contestants do not notice. They are even told that the arranger is 'working around their range to get the best results' and they actually assume that poor notes are just their own fault! The viewers at home who are stupid enough to waste a Pound to vote for the person they think did the best job, have no idea that the contestants have been set up to perform well or badly.

This week and next, Amelia Lilly is going to get wonderful power ballads and up-tempo songs right, slap-bang in the middle of her range, whereas Marcus Collins and Little Mix will be strangely weak a couple of times.

Amelia Lilly is going to win, not because she is the best, she is not. She is actually quite weak, vocally, but her 'type' will provide the best viewing experience and sell more records.

How do I know?

Don't ask!


I am not going to ask how....

Interesting though, I thought they were cherry picking the candidates with singing problems that they could easily fix in boot camp, and present the illusion of a magical progression in ability. Simon Cowell was a vocal coach after all.

I saw it last weekend and I thought that it looked like they had been drilled in boot camp, gone over every single sylable so the performances lacked emotion, all correct but cold. I noticed the low notes sounding a bit weak too.

I am not at all surprised to hear you say their approach is in fact even more cynical than I imagine.....

I never really liked the programme on the grounds that the message is that it is the music industry that controls and defines what talant is, it is the music industry that makes our choices for us. It is no wonder people complain about the lack of talant when so much of what is presented to us as talant is merely illusion.
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby hollowsun » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:34 pm

Watching it last night, the irony was that all but one of the ex-X-factor people participating to pad it out were all, ermmm, those that didn't win in previous years but have gone on to do better than those who 'won'!

Damned shame Amelia got kicked off in a way - would have been nice if the winner wasn't the usual, clichéd, melismatic faux R&B Whitney/Christina wannabe. She's also bloody gorgeous.

But she'll likely do better than the winner ... as seems to be the case most of the time. She may even be relieved and has something in place already. She certainly didn't seem devastated so....!

Good luck to her. Nice girl, good voice, looks the part.
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Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby Guest » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:08 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:

The programme is about raising money for Simon Cowell's many and various companies and advertising revenue for ITV. While it's doing that it also provides a level of voyeuristic entertainment for the mindless majority and false hope for talentless wannabees, and promotes the live tours in which those unfortunate to become embroiled in the circus are forced subsequently to participate.

hugh

Man! you are on form this week.
Guest

Re: So what IS the X-Factor?

Postby Guest » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:50 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:...Amelia Lilly is going to win, not because she is the best, she is not. She is actually quite weak, vocally, but her 'type' will provide the best viewing experience and sell more records.

How do I know?

Don't ask!

How do you know?
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