X Factor is real, honest

I love a few things about the X Factor.

Convenient the cameras were there to record the tears, eh?

Firstly, I love the way that people who have no understanding that all of TV is a lie, get taken in and believe what they are being told and shown.

Secondly, I love the way that it also leads to outrageous conspiracy theories and suggestions from the madder of the fans.

The thing is, television isn’t real.  It never has been.  It’s television.  The X factor is just the latest TV show to exploit the unreality of the whole medium.

Look at all those lovely nature programmes over the years, with cameras getting close-ups of grubs and weird things, or looking at life from afar through extremely long lenses.  There was no sound recorded with the pictures, so what did they do?  That’s right, the ‘foley artists’ sat in a studio making-up noises to accompany the pictures. A grub-thing sitting on a leaf eating it?  Yep, the audio is of somebody biting through celery in time with the munching caught on camera. It’s not real.

The video of Tony Blackburn in a studio opening up Radio One is something that excited me and thousands of other radio anoraks.  Yep, the whole thing was mocked-up and recorded the day before he actually opened the station for real.  So, even on the news we witnessed the unreality of television’s ‘representation’ of the news of Radio One opening.  It wasn’t real. It didn’t actually happen like the recording makes out it did.

TV News had for a very long time misrepresented events.  An interview with a politician would have the camera pointing at the interviewee as they answered questions.  Then, once they’d gone, the camera would be pointed at the interviewer who would then be recorded asking a different set of questions, or the questions phrased in a different way.  Once edited into the interview, with large parts of what the interviewee said removed, then a totally different slant on their responses has been created and presented to us as ‘factual’ news television.  It isn’t real.

Back at the nature programmes, as the techniques got better, so there was less and less need to film anything.  It could all be produced inside a graphics program.  Ok, it was obviously not real when the show was about dinosaurs, but when bits were being added on to enhance actual footage of current ‘nature’, that’s when once again TV disappeared into its own world of rules and unreality designed to misrepresent reality.

Look closely at supposed reality TV shows from America, like, as an example, Supernanny, where some interfering child expert descends on a household with unruly and out of control children and over a few weeks fixes them without killing them.  The credits will say that parts of the programme were re-enacted to represent events.  In other words, they were not real.  They were made-up.  They got the kids to scream, and to shoot their parents, or whatever evil it was they did, in order to make more watchable TV.

In this country, we’ve given up on pretending reality TV is real, and the ‘stars’ of ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ will openly explain how everything is set-up by the production company, and they have to improvise to a given scenario.  Yep, it’s not real.

So, when it comes to the X Factor, the show is very cleverly built on as many television lies as they can get away with.  In the weeks of initial pre-recorded auditions that we get to see, there’s careful editing between the initial huge crowds that come in order to spend 90 seconds in front of producers before being picked to see the next producers on a different day, and then with a bit of luck being picked to be seen by the judges on yet another day.

However, it’s made to look as if people just turn up, register and then wait and get to see the judges straight away.  The reality is that even the awful acts, the ones we cruelly have to mock and laugh and point at for being crap, have been seen by the two previous processes before coming back to perform to the judges.  The awful ones have been deliberately picked for us to call wankers.  No wonder they’ve no idea how bad they are.  How cruel is that?  But, it’s done because it’s television.  It’s not a real contest, it’s all fabricated for TV.

Now, there are rules these days about how public votes must be run properly.  They cannot cheat and just pick who makes better television, they have to announce who has actually won.   And, this was the case when this week they brought back somebody previously rejected, after they’d had to fire a coke-head who couldn’t sing and was glamorising sex and drugs and alcohol, which is illegal before the watershed.  The public had to vote one act back in from a selection of four all previously rejected.

This they duly did, and a girl was voted back in who’d previously been ‘mentored’ by one of the judges, Kelly Rowland.  When the announcement was made, Kelly leapt from her chair with the excitement of the result.

However, by a mysterious quirk of fate, the Scottish version of the ITV website had accidentally published an hour earlier, and before the public vote had officially closed, who had won and that Kelly had leapt from her chair at the result.  Whoops.

Well, ahem, obviously, the vote hadn’t been rigged, because there would be serious trouble with Ofcom had it been.  So there must have been another explanation.

The official explanation is that four different stories were pre-written, and that completely by accident they just happened to pre-publish the story about the correct winner, and the tale of Kelly’s chair leaping.

Well, what a stroke of luck that Kelly eventually leapt from her chair exactly as described by the pre-written piece. She’s just so damn predictable.

Or could it be that this was a scripted action that she was intended to do on hearing the result, eh?  Maybe if Gary Barlow’s act had won, he was scripted to punch the air, and the pre-written article that didn’t accidentally pre-publish mentioned he punched the air.  We’ll never know, will we?

Well, whatever the explanation, whoops, the X Factor has been busted.  But busted for doing what?  Busted for being part of television and so therefore not real?

However, this strange ‘co-incidence’ has largely passed the X Factor viewers by.  They were distracted instead by the 15 minute late start of the show.  Instead of accepting that a major power outage in London (probably from scum stealing more copper cables) cut the feed from the studio to the network, they’d rather believe that there was a fight backstage or a big strop from one or more of the judges walking out.

Nah, silly silly fans and their conspiracy theories, eh?  Had such a spontaneous event occurred it would have been published on the Scottish ITV website a few hours earlier.

One comment

  1. Several years ago, as a result of my Radio Caroline connection I was approached by a TV production company and I soon met with some bright young things called Adam and Justin and Suki and Samantha etc etc. They enthused about a commission they had been given for a fly on the wall documentary where Harvey Goldsmith mentored a struggling radio station and essentially saved it by his brilliance. They wanted Caroline to be said struggling station.

    They were astonished and quite annoyed when I turned them down. How, they said, could I refuse such an amazing offer of free publicity.
    I told them that their programme would be based on confrontation. If I met Mr Goldsmith and we got on famously, this would not be good TV. Further, Goldsmith had to be the hero, so by definition we would have to be portrayed as idiots.
    Station Big L, were approached and agreed to take part. After getting 120 hours of material in the camera, the TV company completely and utterly slaughtered them.

    I am not saying that the staff of Big L did not risk ridicule by their behaviour, but I am sure that even before filming started, an editorial decision had been made to select every negative thing filmed and condense it down in to a 55 minutue hatchet job. When I was invited to a preview screening, I took perverse pleasure that Big L were being taken apart, rather than Caroline. For a variety of reasons, Big L soon crashed and burned.
    The world of TV is occupied by utter scum playing on the desire of most people to have their moment of fame. They don't care what they do or what lies they tell to get a juicy bit of footage. Regardless of their sincerely delivered assurances, they are totally unscrupulous and as soon as the red light goes out on the camera for the last time, you cease to exist in their eyes.
    Years ago I fell for this a few times. Eventually I got wise.

    Peter Moore


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