I’m supposed to be all proud that X Factor winner Shayne Ward’s a Mancunian, but one thing he certainly doesn’t have is an x-factor. Listening to him on Chris Moyles was predictably tedious. The breakfast DJ was working really, really, really hard but all poor old Shayne could mange was ‘yeah right… ha, ha, ha… I spose’.
It’s no surprise. As John Robb says: ‘X Factor is more about the judges than the singers’. I didn’t watch a single episode but I knew all about the judges antics; like when Sharon threw water over Louis and he walked out and returned. But I hadn’t heard of any of the acts until the day of the final.
What’s great about X Factor is that it provides good honest Saturday night entertainment for all the family. But it’s got nothing to do with music and that’s why the winners are doomed to disappointment. Success goes to those who capture the spirit of the age; those who are in touch with the zeitgeist and either have something to say or simply express the way things are. Being toughened up by the world beyond television is what gives someone an x-factor.
The middle of the road easy listening nonsense that a show like X Factor must pander to in order to appeal to all, will always struggle to do that. Exceptions like Girls Aloud and Will Young succeed by offering pure kiddie pop or something for the mums and those markets are pretty much sown up. Sadly there’s no room for Shayne… but there’s comfort to be taken in the knowledge that the music moguls haven’t bottled the real x-factor yet and never will.