The X Factor

X Factor Mary Byrne

X Factor Mary Byrne

By Alana Mc Mahon

It has battled malaria, had a baby, endured front-page controversy and fought deportation, but The X Factor live shows have finally returned to our screens, and with record viewing numbers.

The first live show drew in 13.5 million viewers, over half the total viewing population that night, but surely 13.5 million people didn’t actually enjoy the two and a half hour live assault of karaoke singing and stage school dramatics.

The theme of the first show was unclear; supposedly it was “Number Ones” but there wasn’t one Jedward cover so what exactly is the point? Isn’t that the standard of number ones these days?

Nonetheless, the contestants pulled up their socks and gave it their best shot at being half as ridiculous as Jedward, yet only a quarter as entertaining.

Opening the show for the first, and last, time was boy band F.Y.D, followed swiftly by Essex dreamboat Matt Cardle. However, as the show dragged on all the contestants started to blend into one another and the only memorable performances of the night were Cher(yl) Lloyd, Katie Waserface, home grown talent Mary Byrne and an over-excited Louis Walsh, as entertaining as ever.

However, they were memorable for nearly all the wrong reasons. Hasn’t anyone realized that the title, The X Factor, would imply the search for something original and special yet the only people who make the headlines and anyone has any interest in seeing are the poor man’s Cheryl Cole, Lady Gaga and Susan Boyle?

Singers like Mary Byrne are rare and special but is there really a niche out there for a new Shirley Bassey? Susan Boyle does have the underdog market covered, and the middle aged eccentric market, so sorry Wagner Carrilho.

The remainder of the contestants all blur into one long montage of high notes and key changes but if you feel the need to refresh your memory, all the performances are available on iTunes, if you can remember their names. (Like Paije, remember Paije? No? Me neither.) Yet undoubtedly this new feature of The X Factor will be the money-making scheme Simon Cowell is hoping for.

It seems like the real draw of the show lies in the judges, and there is more attention on the trend-off between Cheryl Cole and Danni Minogue, and Simon Cowell’s ever confusing hair. Imagine being upstaged by Simon’s imaginary parting. Showbiz is a cruel mistress.

So two and half hours of viewing completed and all of 15 minutes is committed to memory; think of what could have been achieved in that two hours and fifteen minutes lost forever to reality television.

But the viewing public shows no signs of growing tired of The X Factor anytime soon as the show is now in its 7th season and only increasing in viewing figures.

Perhaps it’s the blatant mix of humiliation and vanity or maybe people genuinely love the “talent” but it is near impossible to find someone who doesn’t watch The X Factor for some reason. Whether it’s a love-hate relationship or not, no-one could argue but that it’s pure unadulterated entertainment and not going away anytime soon.

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