18 December 2013

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The X Factor Final

The end of the year in Britain is now always celebrated with three homages to excess – Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the X Factor final. Whilst the more traditional festivities still seem to be going strong, the X Factor has been suffering from a deficit of viewers this year and I don’t think the final will have done anything to revive its fortunes.

The Commercial Breaks
I watched the entire event unfold via a recording on my Sky+ box because I simply cannot take the constant intrusion of the advertisements during the live broadcast. You can’t even get to the point of someone actually singing without a commercial break and there is another one after every song which puts a hatchet to the atmosphere. If you run through the adverts you can reduce a two hour marathon to a pleasant one hour spectacle except that it wasn’t even that this year.

The Star Guests
I thought that the final might be rescued by the star guests but even that all went terribly wrong. Katy Perry wailed her way through a quite awful number, Brandon Flowers of the Killers proved that he can’t sing and is the most awkward celebrity on the planet to interview and even the duet delivered by Gary Barlow and Sir Elton John was pretty flat. One Direction were fine but of no interest to anyone over the age of 18 and the whole show was a major disappointment.

The Singing
As for the contestants well the first songs were OK but really nothing special and then we had the much vaunted duets which are frankly what everyone is always waiting for. In past years true giants of the industry have stepped on stage to accompany the contestants but something went horribly wrong with the choices for 2013. Shane Filan sang well enough with Nicholas McDonald but it was all just a little bit saccharin and underwhelming. Nicole Scherzinger was amazing but totally took over the stage from Sam Bailey which can’t be right! Luke Friend and Ellie Golding came across like a pair of buskers in a tube station. This was a giant faux pas as the judges had made such a big deal of the fact that Luke was indeed a busker! I applaud the duo for at least playing their guitars but the song wasn’t big enough for the occasion.

The Back Stories
Naturally we also had to endure the blubbing from the relatives, the emotional back stories and the judges’ over blown sentimentality but I used the fast forward function to escape that tyranny before arriving at the moment of the big denoucement on the Sunday night show. I was by now feeling that Sports Personality of the year would have been a decidedly better viewing option as I genuinely didn’t know who would win that one and the X Factor winner was inevitable. Sam Bailey was crowned the victor, but the victor of what I asked myself.

Something has to be done about this programme which has the potential for greatness but which is rapidly descending into a formulaic exercise which serves up the inevitable. If we could only see contestants doing their own thing rather than enduring Disco Week and the grappling with Beyonce songs the whole series would be all the better for it. The show is supposed to deliver us a star which it usually does but it is rarely the winner or the celebrity contributors. This series has been poor and the final very poor but there were three stars who will go on to make a big mark and I am not talking about Sam Bailey, Nicholas Macdonald, Luke Friend or any of the celebrity guests. The real winners will be Rough Copy. They will make a fortune which I fear the X Factor will not unless big changes are made.

About Today's Contributor
Sally Stacey is a keen writer and busines owner who divides her time between writing and running her shop.

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