8   +   7   =  

the x factorThe X Factor has attracted thousands of applicants and millions of viewers over the years, but what actually makes it so special? Every year we see the same delusional, tone-deaf and desperate hopefuls auditioning, some even managing to go through to the live shows, whilst more talented acts are denied their dream of becoming a singer and given the boot.

In its ten years of existence, the show has produced chart-topping acts like Leona Lewis, One Direction, Alexandra Burke and Little Mix, but it’s also responsible for placing Jedward, Chico and Frankie Cocozza in the spotlight. It has become vapid, predictable and gimmicky – is it possible for this series to entice its lost viewers?

In an attempt to win us over, the contest has undergone a format change for its big birthday: the room audition is back, and successful candidates are invited to the arena audition, where their stage presence and confidence are put to the test. The judging panel has also been slightly altered, and Sharon Osborne is taking Tulisa’s position. Are these adjustments enough to make compelling television? Probably not. Sharon may be fabulous, but her brilliantly Botoxed face doesn’t change the insipid, over-sentimental happenings of the competition.

The Xtra Factor has a new recruit this year as well: comedian Matt Richardson, who is replacing ex-presenter and former contestant Olly Murs. Matt’s back-stage antics with Caroline Flack have been more entertaining than the main show, so at least the producers are doing something right. Dermot O’ Leary remains charming and lovely, keeping a straight face when meeting talentless auditionees and later offering a shoulder for them to cry on.

The return of the longest-running singing tournament doesn’t look too promising thus far, as there has been a mere handful of standout acts amongst the painfully embarrassing contestants. The terrible performers provide us with a few cackles of mirth, but it’s unlikely that they will keep us entertained until Christmas.

It seems that the X Factor is still concerned with sob stories, squabbles between the judges and giving viewers cheap laughs by mocking people. Nicole Scherzinger’s likeable craziness and Gary Barlow’s wise Northernisms may keep us hooked on the auditions, but it’s obvious that boot camp and the live shows will be as cheesy and irritating as ever.

A considerable amount of acts from the competition have achieved success in the music industry, but it’s more than likely that this year’s winner will be mercilessly thrown into the pit of talent show flops.

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