X For Cynicism

“You are the X Factor”. ”You are a star”. The emphatic statements of X Factor reality show judges Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh to twenty-one-year old Shayne Ward, in Saturdays final, after his last song showdown with fellow finalist, forty-one-year old Andy Abraham. At that moment, Cowell and Walsh collaboratively sealed the fate of both finalists: Shayne the winner and Andy runner up.

Yes, the public were given the power to decide this year’s winner. Over 10 million people voted for the acts. But the X Factor is about clever manipulation. Playing the role of music pundits like the real life positions of Cowell and Walsh, voters were encouraged to think like them and make Shayne the victor, in the hope that the shop assistant from Manchester can replicate the commercial success of Pop Idol champion Will Young. Ward has the necessary criteria: a young white male who could occupy the mainstream position in the British pop market, attracting a lucrative teenage fan base of both girls and boys. Andy, older, black and equally, if not more talented, did not.

The X Factor show sets it self up as a vehicle for discovering talented singers with exceptional appeal and propelling them to long term stardom. It has been a phenomenal hit with viewers. An estimated 9.3 million of them watched the finale. However, the programmes credibility is in doubt with the failure of last year’s winner, Steve Brookstein, to make an impact as a recording artist. Cowell and his team have shortened the ladder of opportunity for some contestants in a desperate bid to turn out a reproduction of a ‘chart star’. This year’s competition had less of the X Factor about it and more of the Will Young Factor. Next years model may be new ‘pop princess’ Charlotte Church. 2006 competitors beware.


3 Responses to "X For Cynicism"

Gary Roberts

Sat, 01/28/2006 - 18:54
Despite the fact that talent show winners often fall at the first hurdle (Brookstein released only one single), there should be no doubt that Shayne has changed the record. <p> Shayne's debut single, That's My Goal, will soon break the million-copies sales barrier. This has not been seen from a TV winner since Will and Gareth both shifted seven-figure tallies in 2002. </p> <p> Shayne has the right image, the right voice and the right attitude to succeed long term in the pop industry. In previous show winners who have failed, at least one of those assets has been missing. Michelle McManus - soon to make a comeback (beware) - was missing the right image.</p> <p> That is a miserable, yet established, truth of the industry.</p>
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contribs editor

Sat, 01/28/2006 - 18:55
It was predictable that the song which was a by product of a show which attracted viewing figures of over 9 million should achieve the desired success of a number one spot in the charts. What is less certain is that a singer who eptomizes the essence of mediocrity even by British pop standards can repeat his debut achievement without the X Factor stardust.


Sat, 02/04/2006 - 15:54
<table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" width="100%" border="0"><tr><td>Authored by: <a href="/users.php?mode=profile&uid=17">pauwy</a> on Tuesday, January 24 2006 @ 10:40 PM GMT<br /></td></tr><tr><td valign="top"><<br /><br />Agreeably; Andy did not tick all of the proverbial boxes. Shayne, despite my feelings of revulsion and resentment towards him, did. He has the right style of voice, the right image and fits the criterion of being an attractive caucasian male who is ambiguous enough in terms of sexuality to appeal to all. <br /><br />We all know that the cruel truth of the industry. Marketing counts more than talent. Andy may have had a better vocal range and better vocal talents than Shayne, but he simply could not appeal to mass demographic. Shayne could.<br /><br />The programme's credibility is in no danger. It sets out to find someone with the X-Factor (for that read: Someone with mass marketing appeal) With Shayne it accomplished this skillfully. With Steve last year he did not appeal to the wide demographics, hence his spectacular failure. Also, the fact that he became a stagnant artist who found it exigent to cover other peoples songs badly did not endear him to the public.<br /><br />To say that a show like this is in danger of having its reputation marred is a silly thing to say. It does not try to establish a reputation, it simply sets about finding someone who can appeal to a wide range of people and make a lot of money making music; it accomplished this perfectly with Shayne Ward. It has not tried to birth a Will Young doppleganger, the two artists are worlds apart in terms of their style, vocal abilities and presence. <br /></td></tr></table>