Earlier this afternoon I caught myself, alone in the staffroom, reading The Sun. Simon Cowell has X-PLODED because two million people have turned off X-Factor because they’ve finally realised it is rubbish. And is my Facebook news feed any less full of impassioned commentary? No. The thing is, nothing else has brought about the sense of a “Saturday Night In” since Noel’s House Party. And getting hacked off at Kelly Rowland for just being so unfair I can’t believe she would do such a thing does she not have ears (string of excited and quizzical punctuation marks) is part of the package.
X-Factor is one of those shows. Like a soap, but more colourful. I don’t actually have to watch a single episode (and I haven’t this year) and still I know what’s going on. Simon need not worry; no matter how far down the drain his sensationalised talent show goes, people will still watch it. At worst, it’ll move to Channel Five. We have been changed. We are all seeking recognition for that something special inside of us. We are who media moguls mould us into.
Yes, it might be true that many individuals have and will find limelight they – without X-Factor – would never have found, but we never had a lack of tv talent shows. That was never a problem. When we didn’t have them, no-one missed them. What we continue to lose out on are channels for self-expression and creative development during our early education and into adult life. Performing arts courses – even drama at school level – is massively underrated and undersubscribed. We are a creative country; surely there are better ways to cultivate this than televised talent shows?
If Cowell put a fraction of the money from his X-Factor budget into a formal training programme, he could fund several scholarships for talented individuals. ITV can start making good telly again, Kelly Rowland can continue not being Beyonce, Gary Barlow can carry on reinventing Take That, Tulisa can, well, who are N-Dubz anyway? And Louis? What would Louis do?