I’ve written before about how and why I love “Glee” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” I’ve also talked about why I keep watching “American Idol.” I haven’t mentioned “The Voice” and “Project Runway” in this blog, but by now you probably get the idea: I like shows where you get to see artists who’ve got the goods but not the audience get the audience too.
So you’d think I’d like “X-Factor.” After all, it’s got some of the judges from “American Idol”, and it’s got experienced but so far not-very-successful artists competing for recognition and a recording contract–all the stuff I like on every show in this genre.
The problem is that X-Factor makes the biggest mistake you can make in this genre. It buries the artists beneath a mountain of showbiz excess–huge sets filled with flashing lights, armies of dancers dressed in stupidly overdone costumes performing lackluster dance routines, judges yelling at each other in a desperate attempt to create drama. The artists themselves struggle to get their personalities across, singing other people’s songs in strikingly unoriginal arrangements that do nothing to put across the singer’s unique personality (assuming the singer has one). It’s utterly depressing. Want some real drama? Let the artists be heard. That’s drama.
But the ultimate message of this show is that the singer does not matter. You can put anyone up there on that stage, surround that anyone with dozens of mediocre dancers and a truckload of flashing lights, and make him or her into a star. That’s the central conceit, no matter how loudly the producers claim otherwise. And it sucks in at least two ways. First, it’s not true. And second, it destroys whatever was original about the contestants by forcing them into the standard crap showbiz formula. (Even Bruno Mars was buried by the light show on tonight’s episode.)
This show takes the worst parts of all the talent contests out there and amps them to the max. I’ve watched it for the last time.