Everyone remembers the year that Rage Against the Machine’s oh-so-festive ‘Killing in The Name Of’ reached Christmas number one in 2009. To hear that X Factor competitor Joe McElderry was pipped to the post through the collective power of a mere Facebook campaign was both triumphant and exhilarating. A symbolic and collective challenge to the usually accepted fact that X Factor will endeavour to gain Christmas number one regardless, it raises the question of whether anyone actually cares about X Factor any more?
Although the great campaign happened two Christmases ago now, it stood as an example of the undeniably mundane predictability behind the X Factor and how through its repetitive qualities society was finally beginning to see through its superficiality. Always die hard anti-X Factor, I saw like many others, but not enough others, a despicable popularity contest based not on musical talents but simply quirks and drama surrounding the contestants. There’s always the rumours that the X Factor is fixed and of course we will never know for sure, but it increasingly feels as though the X Factor is a show that is so consumed and reliant upon drama and not talent as its main selling point. Quite often this drama it is not limited simply the contestants these days, it is the judges also. It has come to the point where the X Factor has stooped beyond the level of a mere popularity contest between deluded, wannabe singers pathetically eager for their moment of fame, so much of the controversy and hype is now based around the judges also. I remember the claims that Irish judge Louis Walsh only let duo Jedward through due to them too being Irish. In this sense it would seem that the phrase “Any publicity is good publicity” holds strong with the X Factor.
Society will always follow controversial hype and X Factor loves its controversial hype. It is really, the only thing that is keeping it alive these past couple of years as the viewing figures continue to fall. The feigned emotional moments, the faked smiles, the bright lights, it can all only continue for so long before society eventually tires and moves on to the next big thing. Having the “X Factor” is essentially being aesthetically gorgeous or quirky be that at the cost of true talent. True talent doesn’t sell when it comes to the “X Factor” as shocking and crazy as this is. X Factor’s 2012 contestant Rylan Clark neatly summed up the superficial mindset behind the X Factor through the line “Personally I think that if you try your best to look good, you should do alright in life.” The real test will be the battle for Christmas number one 2012. Will society finally tire of this cyclical tradition or will they continue to be dazzled by the bright lights and drama?