The American version of “The X Factor” is, at this point, something a little bit closer to a tragedy than a celebration. This is a show that came on the air tooting its own horn and promising 20 million viewers, and it forgot along the way that it needed to make a good show instead of just presenting contestants that teenagers on Twitter would want to get behind. The fact that last night drew just a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic, anemic no matter how you cut it, is a major warning sign that the end could be near.
It wasn’t until this week that we figured out what this show really was in the farm system of singing competitions. If you are older than 25, you have to hope for a miracle to have a shot on it. This is where you can find talents that are by no means developed, and then groom them to be superstars someday. You don’t see people on here who come in necessarily looking like they are going to be stars. That’s why we sit here week after week and say that while “The Voice” may not be built for artists to have a lot of commercial success, it is a more entertaining show. You don’t get that same sort of fun from watching a show that takes itself so seriously, even if you do get a sense that acts are being set up well for a good career if they catch Simon Cowell’s eye. For a few, it’s a golden ticket, and for everyone else, it’s the boulevard of broken dreams (to quote Green Day) in the same way as every other farm system out there.
“The X Factor” is probably done after this season, as it should be. It’s just not that interesting to watch, and you don’t get the sense that any judge not named Simon really matters. If you do bring it back, we’d like to offer the following solution to turn this into a viable show that people want to actually watch:
1. Air it once a week, maybe on Fridays.
2. Like “MasterChef,” tape it months in advance, and have Cowell be the major person you want to impress while a pair of other advisers trying to offer him some feedback.
3. Rather than making the show all about product placement, fan voting, and bright lights, focus more on the growth process and give us both performances and more personality.
4. Set it up so that albums can be released mere weeks or months after the finale, and not a year or so down the line.
5. Remember that America doesn’t need to pick you as the winner. If the edit is done correctly, they will want to buy your record anyway.
This may not be a guaranteed success, but think about it: It’d be far cheaper to make, look different than the other shows, and allow us to see more of the artists’ personality and how the music is made. Even if there were some accusations of “rigging” or whatnot if Simon had a particular favorite, remember this: Even if there is a voting component, Simon may still not want to support a singer. Plus, it’s not like America has picked artists the past two seasons that have gone on to be the next Katy Perry in the first place.
Do you think there is any way to fix “The X Factor”? Share below, and be sure to click here if you want to read our full review for yesterday’s episode.