x-factory integrity

5 11 2010

There are some things in life that wind me up that really don’t matter. Especially on the telly box. The Queen Vic serving food on an occasional basis for years despite having no kitchen nor any kitchen staff (until finally this week a kitchen appeared!). Newsreaders’ obsession with saying each others names twice at the end of each report. People entirely unqualified to judge talent contests managing to be paid to do it still bugs me. Katie Price. None of these things really matter, not enough to lose sleep over.

Some things do matter though. At least, I think they do. Those lucky enough to be in my company during the X-Factor shows know that I get a bit wound up sometimes. Yes, by lots of things that don’t really matter.  Pantomime judges with their paint-by-numbers clichés, OTT lighting, voice-overs and stage-managed ‘drama’, or covering over the worse singers with heavy backing vocals… These are the things that don’t really matter. It is just TV entertainment and secretly I quite like it.

striving at the cole face

Other things actually matter. I think it is a question of integrity that when you have guest acts performing live on a live TV singing talent show they must – must! – sing live. They don’t need a live band, it can be ‘live’ karaoke… but the singing and instruments must be live. And surely surely surely when one of the judges – who is a judge because of their singing career – performs her new single ‘live’ on the show she must sing it live. Surely?

Of course to many it doesn’t really matter. It’s just telly blah blah. But the X Factor has a huge influence on culture and on pop music, and claims to be looking to find the pop stars of the future (like Leon and Shane, for example). I think that the greatest test of whether a singer or band are any good is whether they can do it live, whether they can do their thing without hiding behind producers and re-takes. Not whether they can lip-sync to someone playing their CD in the background. We can all do that. And some of us do most every night.Or is that just me?

If you are to have any integrity as a producer of the show, or as a judge within the show, then live must mean live. Otherwise it is just pretending, or actually it is lying and deceiving, it is manipulating the public into believing something that isn’t true. There is a well-used cliché in my line of work, almost worthy of a Louis Walsh accent, that as a follower of Jesus and especially as a church leader you have to ‘walk to walk, not just talk the talk’. I cannot imagine standing up in front of my church lip-syncing to a sermon someone wrote for me earlier. I cannot imagine the music groups or organists in churches across the country pretending to play along on a Sunday whilst really miming to a CD. We wouldn’t stand for that. So why accept it on a TV show from the ‘professionals’?

People who are the supposed masters of their art must really be so. It’s the shock of Milli Vanilli all over again (!), yet this time there is no attempt to pretend the voices are real… is this ironic post-modernism, or lazy producers banking on an apathetic audience weaned on low-expectation telly?

pantomime cliches

Like it or not people look up to Cheryl Cole and others like her, and yet they know she does not sing live on a live singing talent show on which she is a live judge. Ergo, you don’t need talent to be famous as long as you look good. Ergo, shallow culture of fame-hunters blissfully unaware that not having a talent actually is a problem. Mind you, if they realised the X Factor auditions wouldn’t be such fun…

So, if you love the X Factor, make a fuss about it. If you love Cheryl Cole, make a fuss about it. If you love integrity, make a fuss about it. It probably doesn’t matter, it won’t change the world, there are more important things. But please, at least, notice. Then I’ll be quiet.



7 responses

5 11 2010

but she’s so pretty!

6 11 2010

I don’t think she can be miming. Surely she’s only pretending to mime, otherwise she would be better at it, wouldn’t she?

7 11 2010

You have a good point there edgsoni. I salute you. And take back all I said.

7 11 2010
Dai Adem

Surely Christians mime all the time? The lives they mime to on Sunday don’t really match up to those they live at work or down the pub do they?

I don’t know how we get a bit more honesty into Church without it becoming embarrassing but I do think that we sometimes need to look at the plank in our own eyes before the sawdust in others. Not you of course Kevin but some of the rest of us. Actually I suppose that should be just me, I mustn’t judge others.

7 11 2010

Do we mime, or are we singing a different tune to that which others expect…?

8 11 2010

Is this where I get to mention taking the plank out of our own eye and using it to build a bridge over troubled waters?

15 11 2010
Simon Copley

Is it me? Or have most of the guest artists on Strictly CD results show been absolute pants? With the exception of Annie Lennox (who was a bit wobbly to start but recovered) and…Alice Cooper (lovely girl, nice voice).
Robbie Williams hollered through Rock DJ, Peter Andre did a pathetically weak rendition which wasn’t even a competent mime, Brian Ferry was unintelligible and flat and Neil Diamond commited murder on That Midnight Train to Georgia. Do stars think they can get away with serving up trash just because they are “stars”? If so, mediocrity is thriving and true quality has all but disappeared. Live singing (some of it) but dreadful!

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