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Why the 'x factor' is A licence to print money

Elton John has labelled it a "cruise ship show". Folk veteran Richard Thompson says it "lacks musical intelligence". R&B star Usher says it is "killing music". There is no shortage of music heavyweights ready to lash out at The X Factor, but love it or loathe it, there's no stopping this cultural juggernaut.

From now until the season's end on December 12, The X Factor will be essential weekend viewing for a large chunk of the population here and in the UK. Irish interest has been heightened by the fortunes of 50-year-old Dublin supermarket employee Mary Byrne.

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