X Detractor

November 16, 2011

“The X Factor” (Fox, Wed. and Thu., 8 p.m.) wants to convince America that televised singing competitions matter more than ever. In fact, there are so many televised singing competitions that none of them matter much at all. Can you name the winner of the last “American Idol”? Or “The Voice”? Me neither. Still, props to “X,” the most overblown sing-off yet.

Prize: It’s a $5 MILLION recording contract and the chance to star in a Pepsi commercial. Prize, you are too big! Do you require the winner to provide his or her soul as collateral? Why would anyone do a Pepsi commercial if he or she has 5 million bucks?

Stagecraft: Backup singers gyrate. Backup dancers leap. Vessels spew fire. Lights flash, possibly triggering seizures.

Audience behavior: They are the noisiest booers and hissers in
the history of booing and hissing audiences.

Host and judge phraseology: “Game-changer.” “Toughest decision so 
far.” “A massive, massive shock.”

Philosophizing by judges: Paula Abdul describing a 13-year-old contestant’s impact on self-important Simon Cowell: “I’m so glad that you’re teaching this man humility.”

Marc Silver has been watching TV since the days when people wrapped aluminum foil around TV antennae to improve reception.
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Clinton Yates | November 16, 2011