The X Factor was undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated shows to premiere this fall season. The return of Simon Cowell to a singing competition was almost enough in itself to send fans into a fit of hysterics and adding Paula Abdul to the judges’ panel was just the icing on the cake. In theory, the show should be a reality bullseye and has already gained international popularity. Simon himself predicted that the show would reel in 20 million viewers, but instead the show is averaging around 12 million – almost half of what Cowell expected. So what is it about the show that’s making fans tune out every week? Having recapped the entire series thus far, I happen to have a few theories as to what might make viewers switch to another channel.The network saw a bit of a bump during the first live shows, but if they want to keep it that way, they might want to think about making a few adjustments before it becomes an (e)x-show.
These are the top five reasons you’re not watching The X Factor…
1. Simon Is Too Nice
When did this happen? How did this happen? I want an explanation as to why my favorite ex-American Idol judge is no longer making degrading, hurtful comments to the contestants. All summer long I was eagerly anticipating his return, but now I’m surprisingly disappointed. I expected his wrath to come back in full force, but he’s constantly winking and smiling at the contestants while offering words of – wait for it – encouragement! The best part of Idol was watching Simon knock people’s egos down a peg or two and give them the blatant truth when they just can’t sing. So now that we have a nice Simon on our hands, I can’t help but wonder…what’s the point? Maybe if he still had some of his famous one-liners that would shut even the likes of Charlie Sheen up, then perhaps viewers would seem a little more interested in the show. But until then, someone please arrest whoever has been slipping him Prozac because I just can’t stand all the happiness!
2. It's Just Too Complicated
I know this show doesn’t want to be compared to American Idol, but I’m sorry, they have A LOT in common. You audition in front of four judges who decide if you’re good enough to be put through to the next round and then the top contenders eventually perform on a live show where the world will vote as to who is the best of the best. That is an accurate description for both of these reality shows – the only difference is that Idol keeps it simple whereas The X Factor makes things way too complicated. For Idol, if you make it through to Hollywood then you’re put into different groups and sing in front of the judges once again. The same thing happens for The X Factor except they included a huge group dance number (which we never really saw) and a series of group challenges that went by so fast you weren’t even sure what was really happening. Some groups were even skipped altogether. Then contestants were put into categories: girls, boys, over 30s, and groups and each judge was assigned a particular set. Then they performed at the judges’ homes so each judge could decide who would be part of the top four in their perspective category. If you haven’t seen the show before then you’re totally lost by what I just said, right? It’s just way too much to try to cram in. When I watch a show I want to feel like I can relax, not like I’m studying for the SATs (doing that once was enough). They just need to simplify the audition process a little; it would make it so much more enjoyable.
3. The Emotions Feel Fake and Cheesy
Since this is a reality show you know there’s bound to be a few tears – both of happiness and sadness. For some, this is a dream come true and for others (who don’t make it) it’s a huge letdown. Most of the time you’re able to sympathize with the contestants and really develop a connection with them, but in this show it all just seems a little overdone. The pleading looks from the contestants, the sappy smiles from the judges, all happening as a wave of inspirational music plays in the background – it’s all too much! The show is trying to amp up the emotion so much that it makes it look corny and fake. I know this is an exciting time for the potential stars, but they are crying way too much to be normal. At this point it’s not sweet or endearing…it’s just awkward and I have a hard time believing that the emotions are genuine. Viewers want to naturally develop a liking to the singers, not have it forced upon them through tears and cheesy music.
4. Product Placement Overload
This show goes through so many product placement gimmicks in the course of one episode it’s insane. Pepsi has never looked so un-appealing -- and that’s saying something because I'm a Pepsi drinker (sorry Coke fans). But once again, they take it too far and force viewers into experiencing an overload. The judges are constantly holding some form of Pepsi container wherever they are be it the judges’ panel or even at their own homes. Sometimes the judges will even be giving comments as they go to take a drink, and we get a nice long look at the logo so we know that’s their beverage of choice. I understand this is all because of their partnership with the brand, but it shouldn’t go so far as to be a distraction on the show. We get it, you like Pepsi. Let’s move on. This just further proves to me that the show cares more about the partnerships and the franchises than the actual search for star material. Kinda like how a corporate company can take over a small-town shop – it may have the money to dominate your time, but it has less heart.
5. I Still Have No Idea What “The X Factor” Is
Simon is always talking about how he’s looking for contestants who have that “X Factor” quality about them, which translates to star material, but I still have no clue what that means. I guess that means he’s looking for someone that can do more than just sing. So, is he looking for a person who can also dance and have an all-around great stage presence as well? But we haven’t really seen the contestants do much dancing so far and the stage presence seems to be something that develops more into the live shows than just the auditions, so what does he see in these people that makes them qualify for “X Factor” material? It just seems a little vague and doesn’t offer viewers much insight as to why someone stays and someone goes (the fact that Dexter Haygood made it to the final four in his category is proof that their decisions aren't based solely on talent). Speaking of which, does anyone else find the separate categories a little unfair? What if more solo singers are more talented than any of the groups? Did they cut talent in one group in order to make the categories balance out? The most talented overall should win – not just the most talented in each separate group. So how does the “X Factor” play into all of that? It’s just really confusing and makes me less willing to participate in the show, so the judges need to give us more of the 'X" if they expect us to keep coming back.