The eleventh series has returned to our screens and Thames has nailed it.
The X-Factor is back in a big way, and the format’s had a refresh…
- Simon’s back, along with Geordie Cheryl, Yorkshire lass Mel B and Irish Louis, to make up a formidable all-star regional panel to guarantee the ratings.
- ‘First’ round auditions are back in the private studio, watched by other would-be contestants from a big screen in the waiting room, providing a bank of reactions to heighten tension and evoke a sense of communal support.
- Digital technology is integrated into the show; text-box tweets and messages spring up from phones and a new app allows viewers at home to ‘rate’ talent, providing predictions for the popularity of contestants in future live episodes.
- Oh, and the talent is outrageously good.
Cowell and co. have perfected the formula for a successful talent show. Personal assistants, school teachers and the boy from the local fish and chip shop, throw their desperate voices to the nation, as cameras hone in on the backstage tears from the mums and dads and nans hugged around each personal journey. And the crowning glory is that each episode focuses on a different area in the UK, appealing to a passionately regional Britain wanting to celebrate their born and bred talent (the North was bringing it – see some of the successful candidates below).
The X-Factor is a textbook exemplar of audience manipulation, filling out each episode with backstage antics from judges and contestants and emotion-filled personal stories, giving each audience member an intimate glimpse into the production and people behind this firm establishment of Britain’s TV schedules.
Let’s hope the live rounds pack as much punch.