Yes, the season for pointless talent competitions is back in full swing and everyone appears to be still loving it. After ten years of them being on air, the producers’ foot is still firmly on the gas pedal. But what is it that keeps the shows alive and fighting? How do they manage to rake in so many views and votes each year? Even though reviews describe X Factor as ‘televised karaoke’ and comparing Strictly to ‘watching paint dry’, the public still can’t seem to get enough.
X Factor is one of my favourites to watch and despite the somewhat unorthodox approach of hauling tone deaf contestants in by the hundreds, you can’t deny how entertaining this stream of endless humiliation can be. Until recently, I’d only watch the show until the embarrassing auditions were over and then I wouldn’t bother again until next year. But something about their use of emotional music and sob stories for certain contestants really gets you rooting for a favourite, soon the addiction kicks. But with The X Factor creating talented new stars with awful personalities like James Arthur, and churning out winners which are carbon copies of the previous years winners, it’s hard to see why so many people still enjoy the show. Of course they have their ways of spicing it up: adding new judges to the panel and leaking more and more dramatic snippets of tantrums and tears. Television garbage is television gold; everyone obviously wants to find out if heart-of-stone Simon will say yes or what Mel B’s razor sharp tongue will say next. And thanks to social media, finding out about these outcomes is literally unavoidable.
Strictly Come Dancing, although successful and loved mainly by those middle aged and over, could be used as a reliable method of torture. I don’t think I’ve ever been so painfully uninterested in anything else on telly before in my life. As far as I know, it’s just about a bunch of mediocre celebrities learning how to dance – which they’ll probably never do outside of the show – just to gain some extra publicity. It’s frustrating to watch because these celebrities enter the show with zero dancing history or experience and still manage to guilt trip us into voting for them… They won’t lose anything, they’re still rolling in cash and it isn’t exactly an unfulfilled dream to be a dancer so why do we vote? Why do we vote for our favourites on The X Factor? Every year it’s rigged to some extent, how else would absolute trash like Rylan and Wagner have survived so many weeks? The British public dedicate so much time to find out who’s in the bottom two on X Factor and whether the couple danced well enough to get a ‘ten from Len’ on Strictly. We are suckers for television and as long as there’s something to get excited about and something to watch whilst we eat tea off our knees, shows like these two will be immortal but I still can’t decide if that’s a good or a bad thing.