Dec 12

Sic Transit Gloria Barlow

FT///42 comments • 1,592 views

When Was The X-Factor’s Imperial Phase?

I got bored with the recent series of the X-Factor, and I was not alone: the ratings this year have crashed by a few million. The post-mortems are beginning: the editor of the Radio Times wasted no time in crediting the Olympics and its awakening of a public desire for real heroes who train and sweat and ACHIEVE and BELIEVE. Stage school is no picnic, honey, you might reply – but the claim debunks itself anyway. The ratings crash this year is no one-off – it’s now a trend, after an even more dramatic tumble in 2011, a year with no whiff of gold.

Oct 12

Barlow Is A Feeling

FT/5 comments • 395 views

X-Factor 2012 Live Shows, Week 3

“Club Classics” week – but what could this mean, in the land of the X-Factor? If you guessed maximum rave alert, go to the back of the class. If, however, you guessed ballads and acoustic guitars, you win, and your prize is the approval of BARLOW, whose benedictions this week were in exact proportion to how unlikely you were ever to hear the music in an actual club.

We’re still in the “shaking out the no-hopers” phase of the proceedings here: it doesn’t, in the show’s narrative, matter in which order District3, MK1, Christopher, Rylan et al get the push, but drama there must be and so drama there will be.

To the disco!

Oct 12

Taking The Positives

FT/11 comments • 565 views

X-Factor 2012 Live Shows, Week 1

Last year I managed only two weeks of this before the faffery and tedium of the AGE OF BARLOW drove me away. So let’s see what happens this time. As usual I haven’t watched a second of the auditions, judges’ houses, etc – this is my first encounter with all the contestants.

The narrative around the X-Factor this year is one of decline – the show’s losing viewers, the format (apparently) feels tired. Also, while it’s the biggest entertainment TV draw in the UK just about, like Premiership football it took a bit of a moral hiding this year from sanctimonious Olympics-inspired columnists, keen to elevate people who run and jump over people who sing and dance. (Big secret: you can like both). Against the Real Role Models Of Sport the show ranges its usual parade of worthies and wasters – perhaps fewer of the latter this time, though. It also converts “Heroes Week” into “Heroes Week (Inspired By The Olympics)” though nobody does “Bonkers” so it’s no Olympics *I* remember.

So what happened?

Oct 11

X-Factor Live Shows: Week 2

FT/6 comments • 586 views

(Crossposted to Tumblr)

This week – “Love and Heartache” – or as I anticipated DAWN OF THE BALLADOSAURUS. But was I correct? Well, not entirely…

Oct 11

X-Factor Live Shows: Week 1

FT/2 comments • 549 views

(Originally posted on my Tumblr)

Tiny background detail: as with last year I’ve studiously avoided previous episodes, press coverage, etc, so I’m coming to these acts (and three of these judges) fresh with no knowledge of who’s who in the narrative around the show. Not that they don’t make it obvious! Here goes –

Feeble theme this week: “US vs UK”, a body blow to the many X-Factor acts who sing Ghanaian or K-Pop tunes. “Sing whatever you like week” fits the ‘twist’, viz each judge will have to vote one of their own acts off. Presumably the judges have a fair idea what their decision will be in advance, so the tension would come with favoured acts fucking up. But do they?