X Factor part of the problem?

The X Factor could be seen as one of the causes of our celebrity obsessed, must have it now culture. Just look at the tens of thousands of people who turn up for the auditions, not because they have any sort of talent, but because they just want to be ‘famous’.

Tonight’s show was a perfect example of what is bad about the programme and how it encourages even the most talentless to think they might have a chance. One 18 year old from Brighton, who for some reason the panel thought had talent, was particularly nauseating. When asked why he was there he replied, to get more girls. He even went on to display his backside, expressing great pride in the fact that he had the names of half a dozen girls tattooed on his cheeks. Apparently these were there as a record of his sexual conquests during a season spent in a Spanish holiday resort.

What made this display even more disgusting (to this particular grumpy old man) was the fact that his mother and father were in the wings, applauding his behaviour and comments to the judges. I suppose the father’s reaction should come as no great surprise, boys will be boys and all that. However, the mother, celebrating her darling boys grubby sexist bravado, what does that tell us about the upbringing this male slapper has had? Even the female judges thought he was wonderful!

Another boy came on the show, apparently to clear his name after a disastrous audition with a group on a 2009 show. Despite being two years older now and claiming to be more mature and more ‘together’, when told he was still rubbish and still talentless, he reverted to his previous foul-mouthed and aggressive behaviour. This was no doubt considered to be great TV by the producers, in the post rioting and looting world we now live in. You can be pretty sure the viewing figures for next week’s show will also confirm this cynical view of what makes good TV these days.

All that said, the performance of one 16 year old girl from Ireland was mesmerising. If she can keep that quality of performance up, then she could clearly be a winner. That’s what actually makes the programme even more annoying. As well as encouraging the hopelessly untalented, it does occasionally produce people, like Susan Bolye, who would probably never have been discovered. The question is, does the chance of discovering a few talented people, justify having a prime time TV programme that encourages our young people to see celebrity as the only thing worth aiming for?