Opinion: A death has occurred in the reality television show family – gasp! The X Factor (USA) was kicked to the curb – CANCELLED! Dun dun dun!!! Normally, being the reality television enthusiast that I am, I might be upset by the ending of the show. However with the cancellation of X Factor, I don’t really give a flip (and yes you know what I mean instead of “flip”). I’m not the only one who does care – few others care either judging by the ratings. X Factor just didn’t connect on the level that American Idol did when it first came out and even with Idol sagging in the ratings now, it’s still more ‘relevant’ than X Factor ever was. Sure, the series’ loyal fans are probably hurt to their soul, devastated by its ‘untimely’ ending, but personally, I never connected with the show.
Perhaps the main issue with X Factor was its relevance, particularly compared to the competition. The format always felt too similar to American Idol, despite extra care to try to distance itself from it competitor. Sure, there was a different means of doing things, but X Factor felt as if it arrived too late to truly compete with the juggernaut itself, or even NBC’s own popular singing competition, The Voice. With Idol still getting some ratings and The Voice coming up, there was no room for X Factor to co-exist. Remember that short-lived Duets show when ABC decided they wanted a slice of the singing competition pie (Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Robin Thicke, and Jennifer Nettles)? Or what about the revived Star Search, how did that go? Fox returning with mean judge Simon Cowell on a different show with similar ends just didn’t work AT ALL!
Another facet of the relevance argument is the success of the victors. I struggled through the first season of the show, mainly because there was one voice that really tickled my fancy. That voice was Melanie Amaro, who had absolutely ridiculous pipes. Deservingly, Amaro won, but her singles didn’t go anywhere; commercial success and wining a competition are not one and the same. Even though significant duds clouded her commercial fortunes, there has yet to be an album by the winner of the first season of the U.S. version of the show. It is never good when the winner’s album never materializes. Still, finalists Josh Krajcik, Chris Rene, Marcus Canty, and Rachel Crow would release efforts, all with limited relevance. That last part is an understatement by the way. Record companies certainly didn’t profit off those releases.
Season two would see some shake-ups and even an even more casual viewing from me. Judges Paul Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger exited, as did host Steve Jones. Total bummer – NOT! The replacements seemed interesting enough with Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, however, Spears ended up being a total dud, much like the sales of eventual winner Tate Stevens’ debut album. The acts most interesting were Emblem3 who epitomized the contemporary boy-band and third place finishers Fifth Harmony. Stevens won, but Emblem3 had more success with their album Nothing To Lose. That said, despite its top ten debut, it didn’t exactly light up the charts either. Of course more turnover would occur before the third season, with boring Britney Spears leaving as well as L.A. Reid. As for the third season of the show, well, I bounced too. I did hear Demi exited following what turned out to e the final season. That probably didn’t help matters any.
Essentially, there need not be a memorial service for X Factor at all – no graveside eulogy. X Factor is sort of like Super Ted (the teddy bear) – “made all wrong from the start.” All Cowell saw was dollar signs, but instead, all the audience got was a less enjoyable American Idol. Be thankful for its demise television watchers because its cancellation truly is no loss. And with American Idol losing its own audience and edge, there is more than enough karaoke to tide us all over.