Midseason report card: Trying to make sense out of ‘The X Factor’ USA

There are some shows that we still cannot comprehend no matter how hard we try, and at the moment, the American version of “The X Factor” is one of them. You have all of the money you could want to create a hit show, and yet what you still somehow find a way to end up with is something that is completely bloated, overly dramatic, and feeling like a carbon copy of almost every other singing show.

While we’re going to get into some more details, the best way that we can describe the third season of “The X Factor” is that it was best watched when you muted all of the judging / hosting, and then just watched the performances … most of them. You could have also muted some of the early ones during the live shows.

What worked – Alex & Sierra. The best winners since the show began here in America, and by a pretty wide margin. They are hip, extremely current, and have good voices. With the right album, they could even get on the radio. These two made the live shows worth watching, or at least for a few brief clips on YouTube. Also, Kelly Rowland was a great judge with real opinions, funny one-liners, and a genuine affection for her acts. The best of the bunch by a mile.

What didn’t – The fact that you could watch a few videos online of the show rather than sitting through it and be more entertained is not good. Mario Lopez felt like a lifeless host with no attachment to anything; meanwhile, Paulina Rubio was a dreadful judge, Simon Cowell repeated himself a billion times and stuck to his shtick, and Demi Lovato didn’t really feel that connected this time around, either.

Also, should we talk about the editing, and how repetitive and dramatic it was? The show refused to let anyone have a good time, and the obnoxious staging hardly helped. At times, it felt like Simon and the producers designed it for 12-year olds, and not sophisticated viewers that want something more out of their singing competition.

Overall – Groups like One Direction are the best and worst thing to happen to the show in that while it proved that there can be huge stars from this franchise, it also brainwashed producers into thinking that they need to cater the show to teen girls, and not really bother to make it something that everyone can enjoy. The show became too transfixed on the future that it forgot the present. Also, that annoying juice segment in the finale showed that either the producers are really cruel to try to make light out of Demi drinking some mystery subject, or they simply didn’t think this through. In some ways, this is a microcosm for the production this year as a whole. They got lucky that there was a great winner, but that alone doesn’t save the show. Grade: D+.

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