Monday, September 16, 2013

The X Factor

Have spent a number of evenings looking on YouTube at auditions for The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent, Australia’s Got Talent, etcetera It seems to be happening all over the world now and I suppose all over the world there are thousands if not millions of wannabes all with hope in their hearts and ninety-nine percent of them having those hopes dashed. Every kind of human being seems to want his or her moment of fame: tall, short, fat, skeletal, black, white, Asiatic, children, seventy year olds, groups, nearly all of them talentless, hopeless and pathetic. It really is very sad if one allows one’s feelings to run in that direction especially if an auditionee is so bad he or she has the judges in uncontrollable hysterics and some of them simply will not accept rejection, will not accept they just haven’t got it in any shape or form. A contender will appear all bright and breezy and the auditions that take place in a room with no accompaniment might seem daunting and a little unfair (Stay in tune! Stay in tune!) but you are there to give your all so, ‘Hello.’ ‘Hello.’ ‘What’s your name?’ ‘Pete Smith.’ ‘How old are you?’ ‘Twenty three.’ ‘And where are you from?’ ‘Birtwhistle on Tweed.’ ‘Ok, and what do you do for a living?’ ‘I’m a bricklayer.’ ‘And what are you going to sing for us?’ Now this is where the rot starts. Pete, looking just a little worried, gives the title of his song, to me usually unintelligible but Simon seems to know it and, giving his approval, also gives the go ahead, possibly with a ‘Good luck.’ A transformation immediately takes place. From being that bright and breezy Pete with something of a personality, if not much, Pete’s face is now totally bland, expressionless. Any personality that might have been there has totally disappeared. It’s a death mask. He gets to the end of his song, if Simon allows him to do so, receives his three or four no votes and either (a) defiantly stands his ground and wants to argue it out or (b) quietly leaves the room.
If it is (a) Simon might say something like, ‘That was without doubt the worst audition we have heard today. You really do not have a voice. You were off-key and inaudible and I didn’t understand a word you sang.’ Or it could be something like, ‘To be a recording star it is necessary not only to have a good voice but to have personality, charisma, charm. You have none of these things. I’m afraid it’s a no.’ And this assessment, apart from a singular lack of talent, must surely apply to more than ninety percent of the contestants some of whom come back for a second or even a third go with the same result.
A great many seem to think the louder they sing (sing?) the better they are, while others are virtually inaudible, and all have problems with their diction.
Well it might be simply awful for many but it still makes for good television I suppose and I take my hat off to Simon Cowell. He knows his business and who would want to sit all day through act after act that can be summed up in one word, ‘tripe?’ He’s earned his millions.

There is another interesting aspect to this global phenomenon. When the auditions take place in a large venue before hundreds of people it would seems that something akin to religious hysteria sets in. The audience which appears to be predominantly young female will erupt with screams, whistles and yells for apparently very little if any reason. A contestant appears on stage and if, for some reason, they like the look of him or her – the first roar of approval goes up. He/she then opens his/her mouth and emits the first note. This elicits screams and yells and a standing ovation. Oh, come on now! A standing ovation on the very first note? Do me a favour – please!

No comments: