Friday 23 March 2018

Serena Davies: X Factor: is this the end?

Ella Henderson on The X Factor
Ella Henderson on The X Factor

Serena Davies

As Ella Henderson gets booted off the ITV show, are X Factor voters no longer interested in talent at all.

This weekend the two most talented performers in this year's series of the X Factor – correction, the only talented performers in this year’s series of the X Factor – came bottom of the public vote. This meant that one of them, Ella Henderson, probably the most talented of the two, had to leave the show, because she had got the least votes of all.

The X Factor voters have made mistakes before. Misha B, for example, went out early last year when she should have won, but it looked like judge Tulisa Contostavlos had determined her fate by accusing her of being a bully live on air. X Factor voters have always supported gimmicky, rather daft acts in the past (the albino, preposterously camp Rhydian Roberts from the 2007 series springs to mind). But never before have they made quite such a moronic decision as they did this weekend.

The argument often runs with TV talent contests that the reason good people sometimes go is because the public thought they were "safe" and so didn’t bother voting for them. This didn’t happen with Leona Lewis, though, did it? Or Alexander Burke. And the double whammy of both Henderson and the excellent James Arthur being snubbed in the same week does push one to the conclusion that the X Factor voters are no longer interested in talent at all.

Instead, they vote for the ridiculous. Still in the competition are the mouthy, show-off, Essex-boy Rylan Clarke, who by his own admission isn’t much cop at singing; and Christopher Maloney, the uncharismatic Liverpudlian who on Saturday night sang in front of a giant pixelated image of his face from which blue laser beams shone from his eyes, giving him a demented, satanic air.

In this feverish passion for spectacle, the X Factor’s voters have kicked its credibility out of the studio. They appear to vote with an air of mockery and irony that would be better suited for I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

A large portion of the X Factor's audience has always been teenage girls (hence the other two remaining acts in the show consisting only of teenage boys), but viewers across a wider demographic dip in and out and even start watching regularly when a fine performer is found. These viewers are now likely to switch off to this series en masse, signalling what may be the death knell for a show whose steadily declining ratings this autumn have already put a very large question mark over its future

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