X Factor, the television bomb that destroyed musical talent, television, opinion, fair play and ambition with heresy, disrespect for fellow-man, confidence destroying brain rot.
I have always been a lover of music with a varied taste ranging from Faure, Al Jolson, Dream theater, Queen and even some contemporary pop. The fuel for this post came while I was watching a movie called Ray, a movie based on the life and work of Ray Charles. I became deafeningly enraged.. Channel hopping during the adverts I was bombarded with X factor brainwash! To settle curiosity I watched a few seconds of the so-called best-of-Britain, yet I was met with a cringe worthy pain caught the back of my throat which compelled me to throw myself out of the nearest third story window.. If only just the leave a giant splatter of protest on the pavement below on the West-End-fat-cats of Glasgow’s badly parked cars.
What happened to the days when people had to be talented or extraordinary to become a success? Or to be worthy of worship and appreciated because they have dedicated their life or to live and die by their art; Freddie Mercury, (as much as it pains me) John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Mozart, Ronnie James Dio or Franz Schubert. All of these artists made a difference, stole and inspired the hearts and were worthy of admiration; many of these faced adversity purely for being in the public’s eye, labelled as mad/evil. It’s a simple fact in my mind, anyone who is extraordinary will appear bizarre because they don’t think the same as us ‘normal’ people, this comparison doesn’t end with music or art – we have all the science around us thanks to these extraordinary minds. All facts beginning with crazy theories that our small average brains could not even begin to fathom.
All of these ARTISTS have common denominators, dedication, passion and vision! Aspects and virtues X Factor does not.
The ground breaking television show is similar to the idea of watching a monkey dance. Sitting in our homes from the comfort of our couches loudly ridiculing some perhaps possibly mentally ill people performing for mass audiences to be humiliated on worldwide television. There is a simple structure to the program, any person who gets the time for a ‘sob story’ (perhaps to something ‘all-inspiring’ such as Coldplay’s – Fix You) clearly has a minor glimmer of talent and will result in gaining a gob-smacked expression and a few gushy compliments from a panel of failed/washed up musicians.
I know a talented young person who applied for this travesty of a talent show. This young woman has made a career by her passion, sheer determination and raw talent. She has been performing for many years to welcoming audiences who applaud, scream and howl for more: not by sounding like someone else. On her journey she has always remained true to create her own music her own sound and is poorly compensated for her skills. She applied to x factor and gained a call back after an excruciating audition day of waiting around listening to every blonde with a cheap tan’s version of Lady GaGa’s notorious Poker Face, just to fall at the last hurdle before the main audition for the judges.
In all arts we are to take INSPIRATION from our hero’s; not to mimic and sound like a cheap elvis impersonator with gimmicks only the original made and will ever make famous. This RAW TALENT is the ability to be ORIGINAL.
Clearly this MUSICIAN never met the criteria, not a good enough sob story, no heart-warming tear jerking backing track to her tale of how she came to be there other than having confidence in her own extraordinary talent. Perhaps she didn’t meet the two extremes which only seem to appear of this demoralising programme; embarrassingly awful or minorly attractive with a voice that sounds like the current music scene. Yes I understand the publicising of this business is aimed at a target market or overweight-brain-dead-drones who park themselves in front of a television on a Saturday after a hard week of claiming their job seekers allowances. The premise of the programme is to A) Gain money B) Capture and exploit the worlds imagination public with emotional blackmail or C) The overwhelming selfish need and want to be rich D) Public participation i.e. public votes (as though they actually have a say).
The world is made up of such evils. Not just anyone who has faced a life time of heart-break and refusals should be so lucky.
Over the last few years I have guiltily subject to myself to this programme in the vain hope to see someone with genuine ability prevail, instead I am met with 60% mentally deranged, 35% passable imitators, 14% of past contestants wanting yet another attempt and 1% originality which never usually sees it past the preliminary stages or ‘Boot camp’.
If we are honest we all have the dark guilty pleasure of watching the terrible auditions where we can be grateful we do not also live in a cave or lick windows. This brings me to one of my most important of points, our detached responsibility for common decency. In room encasing a horde of seething people breathing contempt and hate on someone who looks less than conventional. This program has given us a GUILT-FREE-PLATFORM to judge other less fortunate. Since when was it acceptable to still throw tomatoes and rotten vegetables in others faces all for the glee of the public?
One of my favourite topics to discuss. We all know the story of poor old Susan Boyle of the Lothian district who was a contestant on a similar show Britain’s got talent. She waddled on stage looking like the typical hopeful that would get the rows roaring with laughter at the entertainers expense. And then..
She opened her mouth and sang, yet there was not shrieking, barking or any farm-yard noises to heard. We were met with a mediocre in-the-shower voice. No distinct talent yet a false voice attempting to sound like her idols. Exactly the same as any wannabe on x factor. HOWEVER! Susan had something any other contestant didn’t -the audiences embarrassment. The entire auditorium had pre-judged her as someone who would be terrible and were ASHAMED of their judgement when she produced something which sounded more difficult than it actually is but it was different. Her success was a way of the entire nations apology, there is nothing extraordinary about her and her average voice other than she looks like the wrong end of a horse. I have a theory good-old-Susan is smarter than she looks and exploited the whole programme in her favour. I was glad to read she was beaten by a dance group who WERE talented without smoke, mirrors, gimmicks or a karaoke voice.
The most inspiring thing prompted by x Factor was the Christmas number 1 protest in 2009. Rage against the Machine Killing in the Name became Christmas number one because there is a strong element of this nation who were sick of this machine of generic pop star maker. From a small facebook petition to an inspiring reminder that this industry is still defined by the pubic in its entirty, a kind of war-time solidarity was created. I remember many of my friends spending their last few pence on buying the track on itunes as a giant middle finger to the industry and Simon Cowell.
Download festival 2010 Rage Against the Machine headlined the main stage of Donington Park, I stood proud with a lump in my throat listening to Zack de la Rocha speaking about how shocked an impressed he was of the Call to arms! United in our goal of not letting the mass-produced white noise industry to win yet again.
We need more occasions where we are reminded that money and television does not dictate everything we see, hear, discuss or advocate.