Sassavillian Reviews: The X-Factor
Any TL;DR posts shall be reported.
This is a tag team review, written by Sassafrass and VaudevillianVeteran.
Thanks to VaudevillianVeteran for her part in this review.
Thanks to Google for images.
Thanks to Youtube and the users who posted the videos.
If this seems in a different style to my recent reviews, that is because this has been a long time in the making due to other commitments and some horrendously bad luck. Plus, it is a tag team review so it shall of course be slightly different in style.
Well now. The X-Factor. A TV talent show that was formerly known as Pop Idol. A TV show that, like Big Brother, spawned numerous spin offs in several countries over the world and probably has its own version somewhere in space where aliens try to appease an alien egomaniac with his waistband around his nipples. Oh, OK, I will turn down my hatred for Cowell for this review. Otherwise, I'd just be like Yahtzee and god forbid anyone would want another him around.
This is what I think of the X-Factor. Oh, alright, I will give it a fair chance.
Let us start this review of with the format of the show, how they pick the contestants and weed out the poorer ones, etc etc. It is actually a simple and entertaining format, if a little cringe worthy and annoying due to the MASSIVE, and I shall reiterate that point again, MASSIVE amount of ego-tripping the judges and even some of the contestants seem to do. The show and judges travel from city to city, auditioning people who
have little to no talent at ALL! turn up and believe they can be the next big thing. The producers of the show then pick the ones they deem good enough to stand in front of the judges. They then go into a small room with the four judges, or as of 2009, go onto a stage in front of 2000 people and the judges and sing their hearts out, hoping against hope they shall be liked by at least three of the four judges, who will either say yes or no. 3 'Yes' votes gets them onto the next round, which is Boot Camp.
The Boot Camp. Which either takes place in a hotel or a small studio, away from the nasty shouting people dressed in army fatigues. Which would make for a better show but this is nay the time or place for that sort of inane rubbish. It is here, in the confines of a building of which no one actually knows about, the people that have been picked for Boot Camp sing to a judge and at times, a special guest from the world of music to judge them and give those tips on their performance. After they have done this, they then move it to the judges houses where they cut down the number of contestants to 12 from a number that is higher then twelve but less then 24 but around an even number. I think. It may have changed since I last watched this.
*Sighs* If only they did that to the axed contestants faces...
After this stage, we move on to the live shows!
Which are cr-! HUZZAH!!! Now, the live shows serve the purpose of letting you. Yes you. *Points at the smuck reading this dear reader* vote off the person they don't like. And before I forget to mention, each of the four judges, who shall be named later on in the review, have taken control of a certain group of people. This tends to be done on age difference, gender and whether or not they are in groups or not. However, enough of the trivial and boring stuff. These shows tend to be done every Saturday night and run for two hours. Here, the lucky contestants sing in front of the judges, who are now only there for criticism purposes, the live studio audience and about 15 million people in the UK who watches and then phone a number which puts money straight in Cowell's wallet to vote for their favourite act and the person they'd like to save from a bleak, dull and otherwise normal existence. By normal, I mean weird. And by weird, I mean somewhat strange. And by strange, I tell you to leg it.
Overall, this part of the show, the auditions through to the live shows do at times, make good comedy TV. For example, watching the auditions can make you almost wet yourself laughing at the person trying to sing Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and actually making it sound like they are drowning a hippo before the anger kicks in, making you realise they have murdered a classic song and must, therefore, now be shot in the face and put in an unmarked grave. Therefore, what I am saying is, it can be funny to watch 'til someone murders a song you like. In addition, the two-hour live shows are not really needed to be that long. An hour would have been enough, I think. To sum up better, watching the show is OK 'til the murdering of songs begins and the boring monotony of the live shows hits.
Now onto the review of the judges section, which VaudevillianVeteran shall present. Who isn't being paid for this. Because I am cheap and like to exploit people like this.
Hello Ladies and Gents, VaudevillianVeteran hired by Sassafrass here to give the brief overview on the judges
for no money because Sas is cheap as hell and he's chained me to a radiator and forced me to type this out of the goodness of my heart and in debt to my reviewing partner.
Now, failed banter aside, throughout the 6 years of the show, there have been five judges, these being; Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh, Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue.
So...Are you bowing yet?
Now, Sharon will not be getting much note in this review as she left the show the 2008 and was replaced by Cheryl. But seeing as I dare not risk that the crazy woman is somehow reading this and is getting excrement ready to be sent to me via post, she deserves a valid note.
Hey, it says an official badass-I ain't taking my chances.
Sharon's role as a judge was mainly to mollycoddle the most delusional and doe-eyed little contestants and gently nudge them out of the door while we repaired our ear-drums and/or windows from the shrieking performance they just gave...or just put the iron hammer of justice down on the crazies who wanted to throw water at the other two judges while shrieking that they're a star in the making. Looking at her husband, she has had practise with both. However, Osbourne left a few days before filming season five without leaving an comment as to why
"If I have to spend another season with those two imbeciles I'll choke a bitch!". However, she returned this year to be a guest judge.
Anyway, within 4 days of this sudden and unexplainable leave from the fourth judge, Cheryl Cole, singer from popular girl group, Girls Aloud, and now ex-wife to Ashley Cole, a professional footballer, took over. She did not exactly take over her predecessor's role as the tough but caring side to the judges. Aside from being the eye-candy of the group and having what seems to be weekly fashion wars with her fellow female judge (Perhaps Simon too but no he always has that smug look on his face so...no further comment), Cheryl makes no real impact on her judging style aside from "Wow..." said either sincerely or ironically. However, to her credit, she is often kind to the biggest delusive weirdo to step into the auditions and often attempts to pull Simon off his pedestal. ...Attempts is the key word here, but at least she tries. She is seemingly easily to move to tears too, often crying during the auditions or even the live shows. Cheryl probably has the most active fanbase because of her career outside of the show and is probably one of the most liked of the four.
Louis Walsh however can be either put as top of the most liked list or the very bottom. And trust me, some people hate this guy.
This is the effect that Walsh has on people sometimes.
Having been on The X Factor since the very beginning as one of the original three judges, he has seen more oddities and brought more ungodly music to the public eye than you have probably had hot dinners. Even before the show, he was a manager to boybands such as Take That and Boyzone - That's right, he was built for this show. His judging style is both blunt and he knows what he likes, but he seems to say 'yes' to groups just to piss Simon off at times. Oh the hilarity! Although this would earn him points but his unholy alliance to Jedward has pushed him too deep into the depths of hell and cannot be salvaged. During the live shows, he has a tendency to select similar songs for his mentees which does not show off their voices and (If any) skills. A good example of this would be Mary Byrne during this season who was the Irish answer to Susan Boyle. A great voice and a lot of talent. However stunted to only perform slow, soulful songs sometimes not fitting with the weekly genre and not able to keep up with the younger and more energetic competition. Suffice to say, only one of his mentees has won under his wing, which was Shane Ward in the second season.
A fourth judge was also brought in during 2007: Australian singer, actress and Australia's Got Talent judge Dannii Minogue. Cowell hired Minogue after viewing tapes of her judging on Australia's Got Talent, and because of her 30 years experience as a singer and performer. Surprisingly, she has been called out multiple times, questioning her judging and mentoring credibility.
Haters gonna hate.
Again, there is not much to be said about Dannii's style of judging. She does not really stand out much, more than being another vote and someone to be Cheryl's competition. There is little more to say about Dannii.
And finally, who can forget the one thing synonymous with this show?
Ant & Dec? Louis' Bow ties? Singing so bad that you have an aneurysm? No! Simon Cowell!
Yes, Sir High-Trousers himself has been there since the beginning and he's not just synonymous with this show, but every talent show you can think of! Using his own production company, he created The X Factor and started what has been 'actively damaging and distorting the UK music industry from day one'...Apparently. So, what is he known for? Having trousers up to his tits? Having teeth so bleached you could clean your bathroom with them? Being so blunt that he can make the manliest star-searcher crumble? All of these things. I mean, what makes a man like him so popular that he is revered as a 21st century messiah? His judging style is both good and bad. Good that he finally tells tone deaf morons that they can't sing and shouldn't even attempt but bad that he goes on a tirade against any down on their luck commoner trying to get stars in their eyes. It was entertaining first, but after 7 seasons of him picking on the negatives like a vulture picking at the meat of some animal lost in the desert, believe it or not, it gets old.
Pictured: The face that will haunt your dreams for weeks.
None the less, the man has more ego than you can imagine. I think the term power mad is coming close to- Wait. What's this? He is not coming back for the next season of X Factor? Nah, he's going off to work on Pop Idol but he'll be coming back to work on the other train wreck, 'Britain's Got Talent'. Joy(!)
So, what kind of people turn up to be contestants on the X Factor? ...A question I do not think you want answered really. Mainly as it would make you feel sorry for the judges sometimes and we can't have that!
But as the show moves all over, the UK we meet a whole menagerie of characters desperate to show the world what they have and that they have star potential. ...Or not. Most likely not.
And some look like the love child between Jack Sparrow and a crack donkey.
Pictured is Ariel Burdett, an auditoner from the 2008 show. Her singing was average but... she was...terrifying. Simply type in 'X Factor's worst auditions' into Youtube and you will see her audition in all it is glory. In fact, you will see many auditions in their glory. If we are honest, we do not really want to see people who can sing, we want to see the crazies. The 80-something old Granny trying to sing 'Fuck Da Police' or the officer worker in drag singing to 'I Want To Be Free'. Of course, some performances are awe inspiring, moving, touching, whatever you want to call it, but when I do manage to sit down and stomach this show, the best part is the auditions with the nutjobs.
Although Ariel is from a few years ago, it is not just the older auditions that will make your ears bleed. This is an audition from 2010 and during the first show.
Seriously. Look at the audience's reactions.
This is Jahm. With a 'h' to emphasise the Jahm. Yeah, I don't get it either. Anyway, this was a group who met online, auditioned together via the phone and Skype and well...it shows. Surely if you're going Public TV with all your friends and family watching, you would at least have a practise in the dressing room so you can go down with a bit of grace.
But I can't focus on only the negatives, for every 10 basketcase that turns up, there is at least 1 talented singer who wants a start in a showbiz career,
The poor fool sometimes even without a sob story! For example, we have had great acts this year such as Rebecca Furgeson and Katie Waissel and the years before there have been more than a few success stories.
The 2010 show was fairly entertaining this year, had a lot of colourful and...interesting characters...(Wagner, I'm talking about you, you sexy bastard!) and the British tabloids had a field day. But all in all, it culminated in a sing-off between Matt Cardle and Rebecca Ferguson. Every British teen girl's vote- One Direction snagged third place. But it seemed that Dannii had used her witchcraft or something and Matt Cardle stole the first place spot ruining Cheryl's 3 year winning streak with Rebecca. Matt focused mainly on acoustic singing while Ferguson could be compared to Aretha Franklin. This year, it was a close call, both were...actually very talented and deserved to win. So! Let us raise a glass! Enjoy your 15 minutes in the spotlight and best wishes for the future Mr. Cardle!
Ah, thank you, VaudevillianVeteran for that riveting read. Now, shall we move onto the contestants? Yes, I think we should, before Vaudevillian
uncuffs herself from the radiator and goes to the police. ends up doing the whole review for me.
To make a good reality show, you need good reality contestants. And they need to be either talented, crazy or just plain untalented and have delusions of their 'talent'. Happily, for the viewing public,
you can mute these people most of these people do provide a laughable experience, along with cringe worthy and an expression I like to call 'Oh my God, who raped my ears?' Now, while there are many examples of the people that can rape your ears with their music, none of them have ever really caught on and have generally been forgotten. None of them, with the exception of Jedward.
Now, Jedward are something of a mystical force. They are popular, richish, good-looking chaps from Ireland and have the weirdest hairstyles known to man. Think 'There's Something About Mary', Cameron Diaz and you should know what I am talking about. However, while they have all this going for them, they are widely hated amongst pretty much all of the UK and Ireland, the only exception being my mother. Who is, to be blunt, mad. The reason for the worldwide hatred is thusly. They cannot sing at all! And the songs they have sung and that I have actually had the displeasure to listen to have been terrible and an insult upon one of the greatest bands in the world, Queen.
Just listen to the first minute or it will kill you. Actually, just listen to the first 30 seconds.
Now. If you are still alive and not forming a hate mob at my door, you will see why they are hated. They have no talent. At all. My little finger has more talent and I can say that with supreme confidence that I cannot be proven right or indeed, wrong. But honestly, who thought that song would be a good idea? Jedward? Cowell? Satan himself? Who knows, all we know is they are terrible, talent less and the most hated musicians in history. Except after any rap artist. However, there is the rare time, and I mean extremely rare, like a one in 855,451,787 chance kind of rare, the X-Factor produces gold. And the only gold from the X-Factor so far, for me, is Leona Lewis.
Now, with Leona Lewis, we find someone who, whilst not being everyone idea of good music, is someone I find a good singer with a great voice. Admittedly, yes, I don't actively seek out her music but I would listen to it if it came on the TV, Radio or indeed the game I was playing at the time. One of the few success stories, well, actually one of the only real success stories of the X-Factor, aside from Alexandra Burke, Leona Lewis an example of what happens when you actually have talent. A worldwide success who hasn't let the fame go to her head, someone with a singing voice that doesn't sound like a flock of chickens clucking through a vuvuzela and someone who has some sort of talent.
So, with all that in mind, would we recommend the X-Factor to you as something to watch? Well, yes and no. It can be at times, the funniest show on TV, what with all the deluded wannabes, judge spats and endless scope for laughing at Cowell for having high trousers. It also helps that some shows showcase some genuine talent too, leaving you in awe that someone could sing like that. But at other times, it can be torturous viewing. The judges spats can get irritating after a while if they drag on, the egos would make a few self-confessed egomaniacs egos look small and tiny, plus there is around a 99% chance of your ears being heavily offended by the tripe you could hear. Really, to enjoy this show, you have to catch it during one of its mad moments which happen not often enough for my liking, You'd be better off watching some other show on another channel. Try Dave, they tend to put good shows on. And won't make your ears bleed from horrible singing.