Is it time to pull the plug on The X Factor?


Has The X Factor lost its way? Can it make it back on track? And is it time to scrap the talent show that used to take over our Saturday nights?

Since The X Factor came back to TV screens across the country on the 29th of August, its popularity has been highly questionable. The once hit talent show that used to easily beat its competitors in the ratings war seems to have fallen significantly since its heyday. Now the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing is attracting the most viewers while ITV’s The X Factor appears to be left behind as a thing of the past.

The ratings battle was brought into the lime light at the end of October after The X Factor only attracted 5.4 million people to watch whereas Strictly Come Dancing, its main opposition, averaged around 10 million viewers on its Halloween special. Even though this was a significant drop in the show’s ratings, The X Factor has managed to draw some of its audience back. In last weeks Saturday show, the talent contest averaged around 6.4 million viewers. However Strictly still had far more – over 10 million of us tuned in to see the celebrities battle it out on the dance floor.

This leaves many to question why there has been such a vast and obvious drop in the amount of people watching The X Factor. Is it because of the new judging panel and hosts? Was it not helped by the disastrous live judges’ houses segment? Or have people had enough with, supposedly, fixed singing contests?

One of the elements that seems to have gone wrong with this series is the obviously staged performances that occurred during the auditions. When looking back on Bupsi’s audition in front of the judges, her sudden change in song choice, which took her from shy and innocent to sexy, controlling and ‘nasty’ seemed forced and put on. It appeared very coincidental that the singer’s backup song happened to be ‘Rock Me Baby’, which was, unsurprisingly, exactly what Simon Cowell was looking for.

Another mishap that occurred was during the results show last weekend where Olly Murs announced Monica Michael’s exit before the deadlock. This has prompted fans to believe that the show is fixed and that their views are not always accounted for. It would seem as though this mistake will be unlikely to help the show gather more viewers, or their respect.

With speculation in the air about whether ITV will be axing the show after its next series, Simon Cowell recently said in an interview with the Mail on Sunday that The X Factor‘s “excitement is still there”. Maybe Cowell can still see and feel the thrill of the show – but the viewing figures would seem to suggest otherwise.

Perhaps The X Factor will be able to redeem itself towards the end of this series or in next year’s show. However, for now, it would seem as though people are starting to have enough of a rigged talent show contest where all the winner can hope for, at best, seems to be to go on and achieve a lead role in the touring production of ‘Joseph’.


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I'm in my second year studying English Literature. I specialise in easy reads and you will probably find me in Hartley library engrossed in a picture book.

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