October 4, 2010

What’s the X Factor anyway?

Posted in Art & Culture tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:49 pm by potofcallaloo


Does Gamu Nhengu have the X Factor? Does Cher Lloyd have it? What about Katie Waissel?

Well with all the quibbling going on about who the judges committed grave injustices against, I’d like to briefly explore what this ‘x factor’ is and look a bit closely at what I think transpired last weekend.

Wisegeek defines the x factor as “a certain undefinable quality which may promote one candidate over another in the eyes of his or her critics or examiners…candidates who possess it are more likely to survive early cuts during the culling process.”

So we perceive the X Factor to be merely a singing competition. In fact, who said it was anyway?

As the name suggests, The X Factor seems to be deviating very little from the above definition.

Undefinable quality?

We could safely assume the so called “undefinable quality” that gives a contestant the upper edge on the show in question, is a superb singing ability. Or can we?

I doubt it highly.

Last year, we all witnessed Jedward ease through all stages right up till the finals. What was their “undefinable quality”? I think it was the ability to entertain and trigger laughter.

After all, they didn’t win, but they’re still on our TV screens aren’t they?

That said, based on a number of factors including previous judgements, I’m going to highlight what I think are some of the qualities the judges are looking for in contestants in contrast to what has been offered thus far.

You must have…

● At least a basic ability to sing. This ability need not be superb, the judges will settle for average, although they welcome extraordinary talent like that of Leona Lewis’s.

● An ability to sing the genres that dominate the current market. Even better if you can dance while you sing.

● An image and physical appearance that appeals somewhat to a mass audience. Don’t take my word for it, take a look at the music videos showing on your tv screen daily.

● A personality (with particular traits) that attracts people, leaves them mesmerised or evokes strong emotions. Think about eccentricity, humility, vulnerability or simply being over the top.

● Something different from everyone else. This could range from an unusual life story (with emotional appeal of course) to an unexplained likeability that puts you in everyone’s good books though you can’t sing to save your life.

Final Verdict?

All that said, does Gamu have the X Factor? You tell me! She can obviously sing and performed well during all stages of the competition. So why didn’t Cheryl put her through?

Don’t be too shocked by these seemingly illogical decisions made by the judges. This isn’t just a singing competition. It’s reality TV and the producers want high drama!

High drama means eccentric personalities, unreasonable judgements and contestants whose singing abilities you question.

So the betting shops are counting on Gamu to return next week when the judges announce a wild card for the first time. She’ll probably return, but you’re still musing on how Katie and Cher got through, when Katie didn’t sing and Cher made a mess of things.

Katie/Madonna want-to-be is a chance for high drama. Cher has an x factor, but got unlucky with a sore throat though she did declare it long before her performance. Not to mention, I think Cheryl sees a bit of herself in Cher. Either way, Cher has something, the fact that she took a song like Turn My Swag On and made it sound good, speaks volumes.

What say you?

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