Tag Archives: X-Factor

ITV…Is The X-Factor in danger of becoming The Ex-Factor?

14 Dec

When The X Factor first hit our screens way back in 2004 the world was a different place,  “twerking” and “selfies” were unknown to the masses,  Facebook had just been invented and pretty much no one outside her family and friends had heard of Nicole Scherzinger.

With its ability to create instant success and celebrity, its unashamed and relentless use of the “sob story” to try to create emotional connections with the contestants, and the unleashing of Simon Cowell’s pantomime Mr Nasty persona, the basis for a Saturday night blockbuster were laid.

The first few series achieved good, but not sensational ratings , it still needed something extra, a winner that could step out of the shadow of the show to become a credible artist in their own right. In 2006 the show hit jackpot when it discovered London receptionist, Leona Lewis, who went on to wow the X-Factor audience, the nation and the world. The X-Factor had produced the global star it desperately wanted.

This also proved to be the fillip needed to create a breakout in ratings for the show as it went from strength to strength trashing all comers in the TV ratings battle. So dominant was the show between 2007 and 2011, that for many Saturday night became simply The X-factor night.

The peak of the show in audience figures terms, but not necessarily in quality, was the  Matt Cardle’s triumph in 2010 where the final show saw a TV audience of 19.4 million, a staggering 30% of the UK’s entire population, tuning in.

Those were the glory days, since then by its own very high targets the show has waned, changes to the show’s format, and tinkering with the judges and contestant selection has failed to stop the drift. While it still pulls in an average of 9.57 million people each week, a figure that would make any other show on UK TV envious, it is failing to fulfill its reason for existence, to dominate prime time Saturday night TV.

This year’s final featuring prison office and favourite to win, Sam Bailey , dreadlocked west country singer Luke Friend and the petite Nicholas McDonald are a trio that would probably be loved by grand-mums and grand-dads across the nation, but being one of the plainest set of finalist ever they are unlikely to reverse the declining trend.

ITV’s contract allows for three more series but it remains to be seen whether the show has enough steam to last that long.

X-Factor’s Average Audience Ratings (2004 – 2012)

Series 1 (2004) – 7.4 million
Series 2 (2005) – 8.73 million
Series 3 (2006) – 8.27 million
Series 4 (2007) – 8.57 million
Series 5 (2008) – 10.51 million
Series 6 (2009) – 13 million
Series 7 (2010) – 14.13 million
Series 8 (2011) – 12.36 million
Series 9 (2012) – 9.63 million

TV Advert : Sky’s new broadband advert is class

20 Oct

I not a marketing guy and have no idea if it will get Sky new customers for their BroadBand service. Whether it does or not I think it is a cracker.

I don’t know if it has been showing for a while, but I caught it for the first time during Sunday’s X-Factor Ad breaks. I first thought it was an advert for Toy Story IV, but only clicked it was a Sky Broadband advert. It had all the regulars, Woody,  Buzz Lightyear “to infinity and beyond…”,  Mr Potato Head and The Green Aliens.

It was nicely done but I suspect it would have cost Sky a few bob in copyright fees.

If you haven’t seen it, it is below. Enjoy.

Strictly versus X-Factor…Whats’s the nation watching

6 Nov

It is now an autumn TV tradition now. The head to head battle between Strictly Come Dancing and X-Factor.  For years X-Factor bigger, brasher and more “glittery” won at a canter.  Strictly though was a dogged foe, it was tenacious and arguably delivered a more consistent level of entertainment and it seems it is making a difference as Strictly has squeezed past, and stolen a lead on the X-Factor as the infographics below shows.

 

Strictly Come Dancing v X-Factor

Strictly Come Dancing v X-Factor

Lucy Spraggan exits the X-Factor

3 Nov

Lucy Spraggan has left the building! Well it was not totally unexpected. She been ill, She’d fallen out with the Producers over her antics with Rylan Clark and she had pretty much used up all her self-penned songs.

In a statement this evening. The X-Factor production team said

“Lucy isn’t well enough to perform this weekend so she has decided to withdraw from the competition.  We are all sorry to see her go and wish her all the best for the future. She has been a fantastic contestant.”

Lucy also released a statement saying

 ”I am gutted not to be able to continue on this journey but I’m not well enough to perform. To accept another free pass having missed last weekend would not be fair on the others in the competition. I wish them all well. I would like to express my thanks to everyone who has supported me. There is no way that this setback will prevent me from fulfilling my ambition. You’ll be hearing from me again very soon.”

The success on ITunes of the her songs which she performed during the auditions means she will probably have more chance than most to get a record deal. We’ll see how that develops.

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X-Factor…Can we use Twitter to predict this week’s results?

3 Nov

One of the biggest developments to come out of the slew of reality TV programmes we have had over the last few years is the engagement between TV and social media. One of leaders in this regard is the X-Factor. In contrast to the traditional view of TV programme makers, this programmes have has gone out of its way to leverage all the outlets offered by digital and social media to reach out to its target audience.

All the contestants have Twitter and Facebook accounts they actively use to engage with their support base, at the end of programmes all the performances are loaded to YouTube to allow the audience relive the moments, and the programme strongly encourages its audience to interact with the show using Twitter and Skype. It is a positively 21st century show in this regard.

As the programme promotes itself with social media, but can I also use social media to find more about the programme. In particular can I use social media to predict the relative popularity of the contestants?

I have tried a little experiment for tomorrow’s progamme, to determine the most likely contestant to be in the bottom two on Sunday. The experiment data gathered mainly from Twitter is outlined below

No of Followers: I compare the number of followers each contestant has, this is the major input we use to determine popularity but it is not the only factor.

No of Tweets: I use the number of tweets to determine how much the contestants interact with their fan base. A higher level of interaction would encourage loyalty and loyalty is a strong indication of the willingness to vote.

Daily Mail mentions: This is an odd one, but I have to take into consideration that there are fans that are not active on social media and are influenced in other ways. In general these will be mainly from the older generation, a generation more in tune with the sensibilities of the Daily Dail.

We apply our formula to turn these into points by giving  a different weighting to the number of followers, the number of tweets posted, the dailymail mentions and  taking into consideration groups versus indivduals and this gives us the table below

X-Factor - Can twitter predict results?

X-Factor – Can twitter predict results?

Now this is only indicative and does not take into consideration the performance on Saturday night which can change the the popularity stakes significantly, but we are taking our measure before Saturday to see if popularity is a greater inidicator of who wins than actual performance.

By our reckoning the bottom two will come from Christopher Maloney, Kye Sones, District 3 and surprisingly Ella Henderson. Unexpectedly Rylan Clark looks very safe. It will be very interesting to see how accurate our prediction model is.

X-Factor…Is James Arthur, the UK’s Adam Lambert?

28 Oct

Any serious fan of the X-Factor and the genre in general will have fond memories of this performance. It is from American Idol Season 8 (2009), this performance of the ‘Donnie Darko’ verion of Mad World lifted Adam Lambert out of a contestant pool of saccharine similarity into being a real contender.

It was stripped back of any distractions, it was technically proficient, it was edgy, and it took you away from the fact that you were listening to a performance on a reality show into a heart of an emotion laden tune. Simply put it was damn good! It also got the only ever standing ovation from Simon Cowell ever in all his years on American Idol.

 

 

In James Arthur I see the same potential. He isn’t there yet but he will get there. His performance yesterday of Eurhythmics’ Sweet Dreams put me in mind of Adam Lamberts performance it had a similar haunting edginess to it.

 

 

It is the X-Factor, so I am not going to predict that he will go on to win. In many ways winning would do him a big disservice, with its commitment to release record after record of teeny-pop drivel. Some name recognition and the ability to his own thing it what he needs and I hope that is what he gets from the show.

X-Factor..It is “Rylan Style” as he is officially crowned this season’s clown.

14 Oct

We all know good clowns are entertaining, we also know the X-Factor is an entertainment show so no surprises that every season the series needs to anoint an entertainer to ensure that people don’t mistakenly label it as a serious music show.

In the past we have had Jedward, Wenger and Chico all X-Factor legends who fulfilled this role admirably. So this season’s big question was who will step into the role.

Well truthfully, it wasn’t really a big question as we all knew who the anointed one was. Step forward Rylan Clark . If we had any doubts he was the One, his performance at the Judges house when he was told by Nicole Scherzinger he was through, erased any doubt

In a cringing 2 minutes he showed himself to be the Drama Queen’s favourite Drama Queen as he wailed, cried, rolled on the floor in a display of shock, surprise, happiness, shtick and crassness. To call it over the top would be seriously downplaying it.

Rylan’s Oscar moment

If he was anointed at the Judges House, yesterday’s live show was his coronation. The “entertainers” are always given big productions, stage props, dancers and lots of glitter all purposely designed to hide the fact that the “entertainer” can’t sing for toffee.

Yesterday Rylan was given his first big production. He opened with a few seconds of Take That’s Back For Good to Gary Barlow’s initial despair, but that was just a tease it was going to get worse for Gary.

An X-Factor “entertainer” is not bound to a single song like other contestants. His or her weapon of choice is the mashup and that’s what we got, a mix of Groove is in the Heart, Gangam Style and Pump Up the Jam and the resulting attrocious concotion has been  appropriately dubbed “Rylan Style” by his fans.

A reluctant world is introduced to Rylan Style. The only highlight of that clip is Nicole Scherzinger dancing gangam stlye.

Like Marmite, it possible that some people actually love Rylan, if you are  one of those poor souls let us know.

X-Factor ten more things you will hear over the coming weeks

6 Oct

We are now at the live shows and for the next few weeks we are going to see some great musical moment popping up between a relentless stream of cliches. To get you ready here are our top ten live show cliches to look out for

“That was not the performance of the night … that was the performance of the series.”
This makes it appearance from about the third week, but a definite one to look out for

“You know what?…”
The opening phrase “You know what” is a sure fire sign that a cliche is on it’s way. Favoured by Gary Barlow.

“The thing about you is you can really sing”
So you took them through the auditions, boot camp and the Judges Houses and you are only finding this out?

“The whole of XXXXX will be picking up their phone for you tonight”
Insert Wales / Ireland / Scotland or anywhere the judges think people are so amazed to see one of their own on TV they don’t care how good or not they are.

“I want to win this for my son/daughter and give them a better life”
At least one of the contestants will remind us that how coming on the X-Factor is the only way to ensure your kids don’t end up in some Victorian poor house.

“You made that song your own”
And Madonna, Luther, Nirvana, The Beatles are never going to get it back…ever!

“People like you are what this show is all about.”
As well as the millions in revenue from adverts, text and phone voting, the tour after the show etc…

“You look like a pop star, you sound like a pop star…you’re a pop star!”
A Louis Walsh favourite, accompanied by jabbing his pen in the air.

“You have the whole package”
Often to the better looking contestants, a reminder that they don’t have to be that good to get far.

And the top cliche of them all is a favourite of the cliche-meister that is Louis Walsh

“You remind me of a young…..”
End as a appropriate taking in to consideration their race / hair colour / weight etc.

X-Factor ten things you will hear tonight

30 Sep

…cos you hear them every bloody year at the Judges Houses

  1. “It is not good news….[dramatic pause]….it is great news!”
  2. “[With pleading puppy eyes] This means everything to me…”
  3. “[Also with pleading puppy eyes] I have wanted this more than anything…”
  4. “[Look of professional concern from years in the industry] I am not sure who will buy your records…”
  5. “[Look of professional concern from years /months /days as an X Factor judge] I am not sure who will vote for you…”
  6. “I’m sorry….[dramatic pause]….but you’ll have to do it all again in the live shows!”
  7. “You’re such a risk….[dramatic pause]….but I am ready to take a risk tonight!”
  8. “I just don’t think you’re ready…[While gently holding the hand of the rejected contestant]“
  9. “[Earnestly raised eyebrows] What does this mean to you?”
  10. “[Through tears and an occasional runny nose] This could be my last shot….”