The ninth series of TV’s biggest talent show, The X Factor, hits our screens tomorrow night. It divides the NME office just like it divides the nation: some love it, some hate it, some hate it and watch it anyway. Will you be switching on?
YES: Ailbhe Malone
Every time someone says that The X Factor destroys music, a 7 inch single cries. If I hear one more conspiracy theory about how Simon Cowell actually owns XL, and that Transgressive should be getting number one records, and that actually Jesy Little Mix was made to put on weight so she could lose it quicker, I will scream. It feels like defending watching The X Factor is explaining why I like to eat bread, while those who forsake gluten for ‘environmental reasons’, or whatever, look smugly on.
Do you know what? I don’t care. I am massively looking forward to blaze and bombast (I really hope there’s a duo who pick that as their name this year), to fire curtains, to ridiculous over-styling, to gymnastics in place of vocal range, and to muddled-together medleys. I can’t wait for singers taking the steps one foot at a time, trying not to tangle their gown around their ankles. I can’t wait for someone ad-libbing over The Beatles. And, more than anything, I can’t wait for the moment during the auditions when an incredible voice comes out of an unlikely source, and proves exactly how The X Factor puts the ‘talent’ in talent show.
NO: Dan Stubbs
Can The X-Factor really be back already? Does it get earlier every year or is it just psychological, like the nagging thought that your favourite chocolate bar is smaller than it was when you were a kid? I’m not too proud to say I’ve been sucked into The X-Factor before. It’s TV crack. But this year I must resist. Remember when Saved By The Bell turned into Saved By The Bell: The New Class? That’s what the X-Factor panel is these days; a couple of pale new faces and Louis Walsh hanging around like sad, old Mr Belding.
Then there’s the diminishing standard of contestants. The sponge of British talent has been wrung dry. Every single person in the country has already auditioned. Then there are the show’s other sundry crimes: Jedward. Popularising the phrase “smashed it”. Ad breaks that last forever. Olly Murs. The parade of dead dogs and dads ‘inspiring’ contestants. The faux ‘rivalry’ between judges. The endless Adele covers at ‘boot camp’. The fact that the winner always does worse than the runners-up in the long run. Fucking Jedward. It makes me so angry I could take my TV and ‘smash it’. So, uh, what time’s it on, then?