Birmingham Stage Company


25 August 2007

I confess to being a fan of most reality shows in their early days. One of my favourites was X Factor and normally I would be watching the new series.

I enjoyed discovering the fantastic new finds and also uncovering those whose 'talents' were more hidden. I was constantly surprised at how shocked the singers were at discovering that Simon and his group didn't like them. There was always that flash of amazement on their faces, which had often puzzled me. Surely they couldn't be so foolish as to think he was going to like them?

Now I know why. I feel naive!

A friend recently told me that Simon and his gang only see people who have already gone through two rounds with the junior producers. Not only are they putting through the talented newcomers, they are also putting through those individuals who are going to 'entertain' us with their awful singing. Yet these hopeful people are unaware that they are being promoted to provide 'entertainment'. For obvious reasons, they will assume that their abilities are finally being recognised. They will have phoned their families, boyfriends, wives, to tell them the fantastic news. Support will be building. The family turns up for the third round. This could be their big chance.

Finally they meet Simon, who after just a few seconds tells them they are perhaps the worst singers he has ever heard in his life. And now I understand the look of bewildered shock on their faces. "But I got through two rounds".

It's acceptable for someone to be thrown out of the first round with Simon's withering words in their ear: everyone knows what these shows involve. But to put them through this rollercoaster suggests a degree of deliberate cruelty. Leaving a nasty taste in the mouth of this disillusioned, if naive, ex-fan!

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