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The X Factor as a platform for exposure

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The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby GBlack » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:38 pm

After a recent debate with some people I wondered what people on here think about the X Factor career wise.
Is it helpful going on there or could it be damaging?
Does it dis credit people going on there?
I ask as some people I speak to seem to be giving up on other avenues as they see the X Factor as the Holy Grail so to speak.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby narcoman » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:29 pm

Unless you win it absolutely will ruin any chances of any other work. I have worked with two people who later went on to be short term successful with XFactor - down to the last three etc. They can't get ANY work now as the more serious producers (etc) laugh at them and the pop producers consider them has-beens.

Only do it if that year in the sun is the only year that matters to you and DEFINITELY don't do it if you expect to be taken seriously by anyone in the biz.

If others want to do it - I say let em. It shows their true aspirations as fame hungry brats.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby VOLOVIA » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:30 pm

I never, ever understood the problem some 'musos' or people in the music business have with shows such as the X-factor.
Back in the middle ages I used to run a production company with a friend of mine and we were basically running the same. Just worse.

You know, auditioning new singers by first asking for a 'tape', then organising an open day at a good rehearsal studio, while my partner and I sat 'marking' the performance and personalities etc.

I remember going to the auditions of the 'Big talent show' with Jonathan Ross. Not being selected by a very large panel group, but my then best friend nearly won the competition, got second place, beaten by a ventriloquist. Well... back to the point...

Think about that: if you had a recording label looking for singing, SINGING I stress, talent, wouldn't you love to see your quest scaled up to a theatre environment, with your potential customers (buyers) telling you on the spot what they would like or don't, and then BUY what they choose?

Dream for any business.

Sure, these shows are not meant to ascertain the music potential of new art-combo groups. Just look at the early performances from groups such as U2: no public would have voted for them or bought any early singles (dodgy singing, awful image, not particularly catchy songs). Then they morphed into a rock butterfly (regardless of what we think of them musically) and dominated the world for a few good years. But for these kind of pop-rock you need bands with lots of faith and drive, plus, as importantly, investors (managers, labels, etc.) with long term investment vision. This part of the business is fast disappearing. And that's the tragedy.

But talent shows for GOOD SINGERS, what's new or wrong with them?
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby Phil O » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:06 pm

bugiolacchi wrote:

But talent shows for GOOD SINGERS, what's new or wrong with them?

Firstly, as you have said Rob, XF is not really a talent show, it's a TV show and the creation of 'watchable' telly is the primary objective. Why else would the 'no hopers' get broadcast time otherwise?

I agree with Narco, if the 15 mins of fame thing is what you're after, then it's as good a vehicle as any.

Secondly, the total loss of control (both commercially and artistically) is a huge price to pay for a serious musician. Witness the Steve Brookstein debacle.The production company pretty much owns you. Even those who don't win have to sign contracts which cover the 12 months following broadcast completion.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby desmond » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:22 pm

Interesting topic, as one of my (very talented and already independently successful) mates was on it this year purely as a branding exercise, to see what he could make out of it (although I haven't watched any of it).

It's a very tricky one to pursue, as X-Factor is a reality TV show and producers are *very* wise to self-promotion.

Personally, I advised against doing it, but he had a very "well, let's give it a go and see" attitude. My attitutde is that if you're good, work hard, get out there, let people discover how good you are, use those things as stepping stones to work with better people, and you will carve out your career path.

It takes a brave, smart (or foolish) man to try to manipulate a juggernaut like reality TV and bend it to their own ends and make something permanent out of it at the other end...
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby GlynB » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:40 pm

narcoman wrote:Unless you win it absolutely will ruin any chances of any other work.


I don't follow it, but understand there are folk who didn't win it outright who have gone on to become minor celebs (Chico, Cheeky Girls, for example?)?

Maybe if it turned out to be a disadvantage later, you could always stop reminding people you were ever involved? Let's face it, unless you won or got down to the last few who's going to remember some X factor person from a few years ago, there must be hundreds of 'em out there by now?

Seems to me if 'all' you can do is sing well, look pretty, and have zero contacts in the business, does X Factor provide a way to try to get noticed above the thousands of others who sing well and look equally pretty?
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby narcoman » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:20 pm

GlynB wrote:
narcoman wrote:Unless you win it absolutely will ruin any chances of any other work.


I don't follow it, but understand there are folk who didn't win it outright who have gone on to become minor celebs (Chico, Cheeky Girls, for example?)?

You'd want that as work?


GlynB wrote:
Maybe if it turned out to be a disadvantage later, you could always stop reminding people you were ever involved? Let's face it, unless you won or got down to the last few who's going to remember some X factor person from a few years ago, there must be hundreds of 'em out there by now?

Its not about the public. It's about being found out. When you work with building an artist for a top line career there are constant questions of "what skeletons are in the closet". Your career follows you no matter what and this biz is all built around a lot of undefinable shenanigans...
GlynB wrote:
Seems to me if 'all' you can do is sing well, look pretty, and have zero contacts in the business, does X Factor provide a way to try to get noticed above the thousands of others who sing well and look equally pretty?

I guess it does - but if fame is your goal then you burn your credibility bridges. May not matter - but a low end career in a credible art area could last a lifetime. This si the "candle burning twice as bright" thing.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby balvenie » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:53 pm

it is down to who you knew before you went on...
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby Gary_W » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:16 am

I know next to nothing about the music business - I record at home and play live for charity things and have no aspirations for it to be anything other than an incredibly rewarding hobby. So consider this to frame my comments

As a music fan and buyer, I would go out of my way NOT to buy anything put out by the X-Factor. Which may well be complete snobbery on my part but frankly I don't care.

I despise the show because it does not allow anyone to grow in a natural way. Going on there and being told you're wonderful and having way too much exposure for a few weeks before being kicked in the nuts and discarded is just plain wrong. How many potentially decent artists have I been denied listening to because they went the 'easy' route of x-factor and didn't quite cut it for the show's ultimate goal of selling music at Christmas to people who don't normally buy music? For the poor sods going on there, 99% of them are cannon fodder. They make 'good tv' (well, not in my book but folks watch it). That's it.

If you want to do this for a living, learn to play an instrument OR learn to sing and really work a room. Start it with small rooms. If you're good, you'll get bigger rooms. Repeat to fade. If you do make it, cynical old buggers like me will happily buy your music.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby hollowsun » Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:37 am

If you do enter and progress through the heats, pray to God that you don't win - that way lies obscurity.

No... seriously! Apart from a few ... well - one - Leona Lewis - the winners have all but fallen off the face of the planet under Cowell's tutelage. It's the runners up who tend to fare better and tend to make a 'career' out of the opportunity - Ray Quinn, Rhydian, JLS, Olly Murs, Rebecca Ferguson and One Direction have all done better than the winners of their respective years...

Rhydian has a creditable semi classical/opera career, JLS sell out tours and have won MOBOs, Murs is an affable enough presenter and troubles the charts sometimes with his ditties, Ferguson is doing ok, been in ads and making records and the barely post pubescent lads in One Direction have recently been buying £3 millions pads in trés des res parts of London (as well as knobbing some shagworthy celeb lasses). Even Stacey Solomon is the darling dippy Essex girl made good and pops up here and there (didn't she become the new face of Iceland at one point?).

Steve Brookstein (*), Shayne Ward, Leon Jackson, Alexandra Burke, Joe McElderry, Matt Cardle, Little Mix ... the 'winners' ... where are they now?

And to continue the same story, Susan Boyle (SuBo) didn't win Britain's Got Talent yet she has gone from strength to strength.

(*) Actually, Brookstein's fall from grace is well documented. He put his foot down to Cowell with a firm hand. He was ok about doing the obligatory Christmas covers album to fulfil his part of the deal but then wanted to do his own material (as a long standing singer/signwriter) and Cowell dropped him like a stone. Contract terminated, he's now back doing the pub circuit. I gather he's happier as it's a more honest living (and he made enough from the X-factor to buy a house and a van) but I think there might be a hint of resentment ... though I am not sure ... just what I've read.

These shows are frothy TV entertainment and should be taken as such. Don't take them too seriously, they can be a bit of fun and light viewing. They might provide some exposure and give you a bit of a jump start but I fear it's not the right kind of exposure if you want to be taken seriously in the long term.

As an example, my daughter's no slouch on the fiddle and piano (Grade 8 in both with distinction by the time she was 12 or 13, now doing diplomas and secured scholarships, won several competitions, plays in orchestras who tour, played with the Beeb orchestras, played at The Proms, etc.). She's diminutive and cute and could probably wipe the floor in BGT with her eyes closed and one hand strapped behind her back - violin one week, piano the next, whatever - the great unwashed would see her as a multi-instrumentalist marvel, but ...

She would lose ALL credibility in her chosen career in the classical field and would never be taken seriously and any professional aspirations she may have would be well and truly over for her. She might get her 15 minutes of fame, earn a few bob at that, etc., but it would be short lived - she would be sneered at by her teachers, shunned by her peers, never taken seriously at auditions for orchestras or in any competitions, etc.. Too high a price to pay...

Best just knuckle down and work it the hard way for the long term.

Unless, of course, she lost BGT and people would be queueing up to sign her!
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby The Red Bladder » Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:45 am

Anatomy of a talent show -

I have judged large regional talent shows, organised talent shows, with the star prize being a slot on a major televised festival and given studio time and recording contracts as prizes to winners and publicity for our business. I can't speak for big, international franchised shows like Germany/Britain/America/Canada/Uzbekistan/Lichtenstein has got Talent or The X Factor, etc., but I watch them and they seem to do things the same way, ever since 'Star-Search' and 'Opportunity Knocks' and all the other shows since the invention of radio and TV. Talent shows have probably been an integral part of show business since the Stone Age. ("Come on Granny, bust a few moves around the camp fire and we'll all vote if we throw you into it or not!")

Here are some key things for anybody entering such shows to remember -

1. The show is the product. If someone can earn a career and make some folding on the back of it, well, that's fine. Perhaps you can sell them on to some management company, but the show is the product. When the show is over, the TV station, the promoter, the festival and the sponsors are no longer interested in you, as they have to focus on next year's show.

2. Because it is vital to have talent at a talent show (nothing is worse than having a show where all the acts suck!) the promoter/producer HAS to approach 'ringers' who are already known to him or his scouts. These may be great bands, these may be kids that have graduated from some music college, these could be gigging acts that are already out there. They do not go through the grind of lining up and signing release forms, etc. They go straight onto the stage, to be 'judged.' In a larger show, most of the finalists will be 'ringers.'

3. You absolutely HAVE to have deluded idiots who have no idea just how funny and hopeless they are. The best we ever had, was a family band of four brothers who were ridiculously fat and all wore coloured jump suits, each a different colour. Not only were they rubbish, but they tried to dance (they looked like the Teletubbies on crack) and when the bass player did a solo, he pulled an unfortunate face that had the first five rows of the audience making pig-grunting noises and some started throwing stuff at the stage. As I was one of the judges, I managed to hold a straight face, until the grunting started. At that point, I lost it completely and had tears streaming down my face.

4. Larger talent shows have to be very careful about who wins and how they win. If you make it absolutely and completely fair (i.e. no focus groups, no discussions beforehand, no careful placements and better staging and better costumes for the 'ringers', no putting of backing tracks just outside of a singer's range) then you can end up with weird and undesirable results. If you don't show up a bad singer as being a bad singer and allow them to always pick easy songs that the audience will love, then a crap singer, or a granny on spoons, could win and spoil the result and therefore the show itself. In other words, you have to rig the show to some extent, to make it fair and have the result make sense to the audience.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby GBlack » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:36 am

I pretty much agree with all the comments made here.
I see no point on going on such a show unless you want to be famous and don't write your own material. I think the only acception is James Arthur, he's very good but why on earth he did not just write an album and do some leg work instead is beyond me. But that's his choice and not for me to judge.
I got flamed on facebook as I disagreed with a female singer who said ''anyone who said they would not go on the X Factor if given the chance is not being honest''. I said as a singer songwriter I would most certainly not go on there as I find no credibility in doing so and I do not need to be famous and that its not the be and end all so many people make it out to be. I was called a liar!!
I pointed out there are a lot of musicians out there getting on just fine without the X Factor.

These people are like obsessed vultures its unreal and very shallow what they equate ''making it'' as without any thought of artistic respect for themselves.

I wonder if it is an instrumentalist mindset to stay credible as you play and spend years learning where as singers jump on a cover and then call themselves a vocalist because they can sing along.
Oh dear I am sounding long in the tooth!
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby blue manga » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:38 am

The X factor is the best start, any career in the music industry (or any industry in fact) can have.

I would have thought that was obvious.

Next.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby GBlack » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:49 am

blue manga wrote:The X factor is the best start, any career in the music industry (or any industry in fact) can have.

I would have thought that was obvious.

Next.
I will give you 3 votes so you get a chance to show us what else you have got!
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby The_BPP » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:08 pm

Why do members with the lowest number of posts present the most controversial topics?

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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby GlynB » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:07 pm

hollowsun wrote:If you do enter and progress through the heats, pray to God that you don't win - that way lies obscurity.

No... seriously! Apart from a few ... well - one - Leona Lewis - the winners have all but fallen off the face of the planet under Cowell's tutelage. It's the runners up who tend to fare better and tend to make a 'career' out of the opportunity - Ray Quinn, Rhydian, JLS, Olly Murs, Rebecca Ferguson and One Direction have all done better than the winners of their respective years...

Rhydian has a creditable semi classical/opera career, JLS sell out tours and have won MOBOs, Murs is an affable enough presenter and troubles the charts sometimes with his ditties, Ferguson is doing ok, been in ads and making records and the barely post pubescent lads in One Direction have recently been buying £3 millions pads in trés des res parts of London (as well as knobbing some shagworthy celeb lasses). Even Stacey Solomon is the darling dippy Essex girl made good and pops up here and there (didn't she become the new face of Iceland at one point?).

Steve Brookstein (*), Shayne Ward, Leon Jackson, Alexandra Burke, Joe McElderry, Matt Cardle, Little Mix ... the 'winners' ... where are they now?


Well YOU still remember their names !!

To go from obscurity on the club/pub circuit to being talked about as some sort of 'failure' by people who otherwise would never have heard of your name...isn't there some contradiction here?

Like it or not, there are loads of folk around making a living in show biz as a direct result of these shows who otherwise wouldn't.

As for it ruining the chances of a serious artist to be taken seriously later, probably true, but then would a 'true' artist go in for this type of show in the first place?

The level of success might fade after the initial show and tour, but the test is whether they then end up working back in an office (etc) or continue to work in show biz in one guise or another (even if it's just panto)....

Then there are some who take one look and don't like the lifestyle....

Is Brookstein still singing for a living?
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:17 pm

GlynB wrote:Is Brookstein still singing for a living?

http://www.stevebrookstein.com/#/

seems to be.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:46 pm

hollowsun wrote:As an example, my daughter's no slouch on the fiddle and piano (Grade 8 in both with distinction by the time she was 12 or 13, now doing diplomas and secured scholarships, won several competitions, plays in orchestras who tour, played with the Beeb orchestras, played at The Proms, etc.). She's diminutive and cute and could probably wipe the floor in BGT with her eyes closed and one hand strapped behind her back.

I don't think she would at all, plenty of classically-trained and very talented musicians have tackled X-Factor and not even made it through to the televised stages. You have made the quite incorrect assumption that the more talented your are, the more likely you are to succeed on X-Factor: this is simply not the case.

On the other hand, if she had the right image she'd quite probably succeed on X-Factor, they have just about every decent session player on their books to help out with violin, piano, fiddle duties.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:52 pm

hollowsun wrote:Steve Brookstein (*), Shayne Ward, Leon Jackson, Alexandra Burke, Joe McElderry, Matt Cardle, Little Mix ... the 'winners' ... where are they now?

Well, Shane Ward is in the West End, and has been for the last year or so, playing the lead in a performance that you'll struggle to get tickets for.

The attitude towards these people is more a reflection on the embittered attitude of other musicians: if someone had said to me that I'd be able to perform music, for a living, be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle doing what I loved, I'd have snapped their hand off. That's exactly what Brookstein is doing, yet oddly he's still the centre of amusement for some people because he's not selling 100k's of records every year.

If record sales, or fame, is a true reflection of achievement then 99% of classical/session players can consider themselves to be failures: this is clearly not the case.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby desmond » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:05 pm

TheChorltonWheelie wrote:You have made the quite incorrect assumption that the more talented your are, the more likely you are to succeed on X-Factor: this is simply not the case.

Indeed. Anyone whe *really* thinks X-Factor is a talent show doesn't really understand how TV works.

X-Factor is a reality TV show. People get airtime based on a whole combination of factors - and sometimes that can involve "talent". But it's only one small piece of a bigger whole, which is to provide an entertaining show with the right ingredients and format. And the way that is managed throughout the process might surprise the more naive TV viewers out there...
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby JM27 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:57 pm

For what it's worth, I co-produced a track on an album released on Cowell's label from an act that came third on X Factor a few years ago. Not the kind of act that were even going to be credible, but album sales were OK (not as expected though), and from doing the Butlins and PA circuit, they made enough to buy a few properties where they're based. They pretty much managed to give themselves finanicial security through doing the programme.

But let's face it, it's never going to be a platform for "credible" acts and, as pointed out earlier, it's a Saturday night TV programme - the main aim is not to break artists.

I've also had work playing on a previous similar series' winner's release as well as performing on backing tracks used for the acts to sing over, so I'm not really going to bite the hand that feeds me!

I'd say the X Factor has another year in it. The public aren't bothered about it anymore.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby GlynB » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:52 pm

JM27 wrote:... They pretty much managed to give themselves finanicial security through doing the programme.

But let's face it, it's never going to be a platform for "credible" acts and, as pointed out earlier, it's a Saturday night TV programme - the main aim is not to break artists.

Exactly. The bland singer 'losers' who go out very early and don't make the final run of shows are forgotten anyway unless there's something odd about them.

The ones who make the final run of shows and appear for a weeks on national TV can exploit that if they're savy to make some money and maybe kick start a singing career of sorts (with no major ambition/expectation to become the next global superstar). So they also end up benefiting from appearing on the show.

To go from stacking shelves in a supermarket to earning a living singing in pubs and clubs (or Butlins) for the next decades and pay off a house might be a fantastic triumph for some folk let's not forget.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby Scramble » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:59 pm

>album sales were OK

What number of units are we talking (presuming that's not top secret)?
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby Beat Poet » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:10 pm

TheChorltonWheelie wrote:Well, Shane Ward is in the West End, and has been for the last year or so, playing the lead in a performance that you'll struggle to get tickets for.

I wonder what the acting community thinks of music talent show winners/losers turning to acting after a couple of years and getting the big roles! The same with them becoming TV hosts.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby hollowsun » Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:53 pm

GlynB wrote:Well YOU still remember their names !!
Wikipedia was my friend!!

Before that, it was Steve wossisname, Wayne ... or was it Shayne ... thingemibob, etc..

GlynB wrote:Like it or not, there are loads of folk around making a living in show biz as a direct result of these shows who otherwise wouldn't.
Absolutely true ... which is why I can't be too hard on the the programme.

And whilst it's being made, it employs a LOT of people in this business. An old muso chum of mine gets his annual call and that's his year's income pretty much taken care of.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby hollowsun » Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:10 pm

TheChorltonWheelie wrote:Well, Shane Ward is in the West End, and has been for the last year or so, playing the lead in a performance that you'll struggle to get tickets for.
Ah. Didn't know that. Last time I heard, he was big in the far east and (I think) Germany but kind of fell off the map a bit.

Good for him. I know that Pop Idol loser, Darius, did well in London's west end

TheChorltonWheelie wrote:The attitude towards these people is more a reflection on the embittered attitude of other musicians: if someone had said to me that I'd be able to perform music, for a living, be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle doing what I loved, I'd have snapped their hand off. That's exactly what Brookstein is doing, yet oddly he's still the centre of amusement for some people because he's not selling 100k's of records every year.
Oh - don't get me wrong. I admire Brookstein for standing up to Cowell. Not that I dislike Cowell per se - he's a damned good businessman.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:29 pm

Beat Poet wrote:
TheChorltonWheelie wrote:Well, Shane Ward is in the West End, and has been for the last year or so, playing the lead in a performance that you'll struggle to get tickets for.

I wonder what the acting community thinks of music talent show winners/losers turning to acting after a couple of years and getting the big roles! The same with them becoming TV hosts.

The West End has always relied on the draw of the main stars to sell tickets, there are very few shows that'll sell tickets regardless. You could argue that Shane is more suited to the singing roles, given that he's a singer, rather than an actor that can also sing. You could argue that musicians also help support the West End, look at the ticket sales for "We will rock you" as an example.

Everyone knows that the chorus line of most West End shows would knock the top-10 X-Factor finalists into a cocked hat.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby Phil O » Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:07 pm

hollowsun wrote:Not that I dislike Cowell per se - he's a damned good businessman.

Is that an Oxymoron ?
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby OneWorld » Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:26 pm

As far as 'star' quality X-Factor is at the Red Giant phase of a star's life. It's about to hit the buffers, it's feeding off itself now and doesn't cut it even for entertainment value from the perspective of a committed sofa slug, it's dull as ditchwater, though good while it lasted and it has turned out a handfull of charting acts.
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Re: The X Factor as a platform for exposure

Postby OneWorld » Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:32 pm



GlynB wrote:Like it or not, there are loads of folk around making a living in show biz as a direct result of these shows who otherwise wouldn't.


That's a good point
OneWorld
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