Thursday, 12 November 2009

'Stinging' Attack

With a pretentious name like Sting, it's a tough call to say that the X Factor is 'TV Karaoke'.

He may have a few gold albums, Grammys and whatnot under his belt, but Sting doesn't seem to know his music after all. He has launched a pretty scathing attack on the X Factor branding it a 'soap opera with has nothing to do with music'.

He sort of gets it but he doesn't. The X factor, as everyone knows, has nothing to do with music but everything to do with a few people making a very great deal of money.

The fact that the public funds the entire contest plus the advertising over the endless monotony of each series, culminating with the play off between two acts guaranteed to get hit singles as the public has to maintain its loyalty, seems to elude him. The acts are just the fodder for the public and should any of them have an iota of talent, they signed away the rights to any real earnings at their applications for the first audition. None are expected to last - that's not the point as the next series provides the ongoing revenues. Why should Cowell care if anyone is actually any good?

Yes, it is about Simon Cowell self promotion and, no, it isn't about helping kids fulfil their dream. It is a rock solid formula to exploit the public's fascination with the sad spectacle of, and participation in, human competition, embarrassment and rejection. The cynical exploitation of Susan Boyle nearly ruined a genuinely sweet person's life but it has helped maintain a long forgotten career of a person who avoided the 'ugly stick' mainly thanks to the skills of a good plastic surgeon.

The formula is repeating in all formats from Strictly Come Dancing, to the ice skating version, and much more. But like it's forerunners of talent shows they all come to the end of their line - as even Big Brother did. By then, Simon Cowell will be very, very wealthy and, hopefully, forgotten. The one legacy will be that youngsters will think that success can come on a plate and last when it really doesn't. Will Young has shuffled away after his monotonous rendition of the classic soul song 'Come on baby light my fire' which was an embarrassment as well as an insult and it shows that while there is a voice, it does not mean you have talent. The lack of creativity is frightening as the performers even get told what to wear, steps to dance and how to behave. I somehow long for someone to bring back the days of wrecked hotel rooms, dead chickens and drug-laced blank interviews.

Sting needs to get a life and maybe prolong his career by doing a cover version of Jedward's first hit single. Which will probably be a cover version of one of his song's but only he will spot that.

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