Radio Sandwell Music

X Factor: Nobody should be shocked at Ella's exit

2012-11-19 20:36:53

Ella Henderson

Let's get two things straight from the start. Firstly, Ella Henderson is a brilliant young singer who, as Gary Barlow informed us a few weeks ago, can hit a soprano F-sharp descending and has a bright future in the music industry.

Secondly, The X Factor is an entertainment show.

Right. Now we've established that, it's relatively simple to explain why she was voted off in one of the biggest upsets this series has ever seen.

And it does require an explanation because everyone seems bewildered by the result that saw Ella and James Arthur, by a country mile the two best singers in the completion, wind up in the bottom two.

Put simply, despite what the judges believe, X Factor is first and foremost a Saturday night television programme whose primary aim is to get people watching.

Only secondary to that is its grandiose ambition to find a global recording artist.

That's why so much effort is put into the production, the sob stories, the staging, the pyrotechnics, the choreography, the semi-naked girls writhing around in giant cocktail glasses while Rylan Clark camps it up, the thunderous voiceover, the huge, in-your-face on-screen captions, the controversy, the arguments, the petty jibes such as Gary calling Tulisa "Fag Ash Breath", and the drama of deadlock.

Oh, and then there's the actual singing, which for a singing contest is pretty low on its list of priorities.

What this programme is not, is The Voice. It's about practically anything but the voice.

So the most talented singers - like Ella - don't have much of an advantage over, say, the novelty acts - the Wagners, the Chicos, the Jedwards - who are chosen to stir things up, divide opinion and, most of all, entertain... what with it being an entertainment programme.

This year's novelty was supposed to be Rylan. However, it's Christopher Maloney, a Joe Longthorne for the Xbox generation, who has taken over that mantle and is reportedly storming it in the public vote every week.

In previous years, the best performers still reached the final while the comedy turns would get only so far.

But now there is a worrying trend that's sounding alarms bells for The X Factor, and it's something that Sunday night's result merely reflected; people don't care anymore.

That's right. I said it; people just don't care. They. Do. Not. Care.

A viewer vote with either Ella or James in the bottom two would have been careless; to have both indicates the public no longer give a monkey's.

The ratings are two million down on last year and a whopping five million compared with 2010.

And if that many have switched off completely, those left watching are no longer bothered about who wins. JLS, One Direction, Olly Murs, Diana Vickers, and Cher Lloyd have all shown it doesn't matter. None of them won, and the people watching at home are fully aware of this.

They know their vote is meaningless in the long run - commercial acts will succeed and the Steve Brooksteins of this world will be discarded eventually, irrespective of whether Dermot O'Leary raises their hand in victory two weeks before Christmas.

Widespread viewer apathy has created the very real possibility of a Christopher Maloney victory, which would be a disaster for Simon Cowell.

It's why, together with the judges saving Rylan on more than one occasion, the show's credibility is plummeting.

It's why the show is in deep trouble. And it's why Ella Henderson, the rightful winner of X Factor 2012 from the very first audition, was voted out in sixth place.

Written by Adam Postans. Adam Postans is a journalist and commentator on all things celebrity, showbiz, television and music. Twitter: @couchpotatoadam.


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