James Arthur says ‘X Factor’ winners look and sound ‘like puppets’

The programme produces "karaoke singers" say former winner

Former X Factor winner James Arthur has criticised the ITV talent show for producing male winners that are not “believable” and look “like puppets”.

Speaking to Interia.tv in Poland (via BBC), the musician said that the programme has good intentions to find “real talent” but usually ends up producing “karaoke singers”.

“For me, watching The X Factor over the years, they just haven’t got it right,” he said. “The male winners that they’ve had, haven’t been that believable. They look like puppets, they sound like puppets.”

The singer, who won the contest in 2012 and is currently signed to Simon Cowell’s management company Syco, said that he wasn’t “in love” with his second single ‘You’re Nobody ’til Somebody Loves You’ and felt detached from his self-titled debut album, which was released in 2013.

“I’m really just looking forward to my next record because although I thank my first album for what it’s done for me, I feel a little bit detached from it now because it felt like there were so many influences on it,” he said. “I’d rather just be left alone to make my art and make my music.”

He also hit out at the music industry as a whole, saying that since winning the contest, he now has “people telling me what I can and can’t do, what music I can make, what music I can’t make”.

He added: “People that aren’t artists don’t think about creativity and art, they think about money…That’s why when you ‘find fame’ or you get signed to a record label it’s not what you imagined because what you imagine is they would just have 100% faith and trust in you in an artist and unfortunately that’s not really the case.”

Last year, Arthur was forced to apologise and cancel a number of promotional activities after making homophobic comments in a rap. Rapper Micky Worthless recorded a track mocking the X Factor winner following his appearance on 1Xtra’s Fire In The Booth in November. In response, Arthur laid down a diss track of his own, in which he called Worthless a “fucking queer” and compared him to the Taliban.