Entertainment behind the scenes
The X Factor or “The Fix Factor”?
X Factor judge Simon Cowell faced accusations of rigging the result of last night’s X Factor vote as the tabloid newspapers, so often the champions of the hugely popular show, began to turn on the man they like to call “Mr. Nasty”.
Twin act John and Edward Grimes (aka Jedward) survived a popular vote while singer Lucie Jones was shown the door. The two acts ended up at the bottom of the heap in a phone vote, and it was up to the judges to decide which one to throw out. But if the judges are split 2-2, the results of the public vote come back into play. Cowell had the deciding vote with the panel split 2-1 in Lucie’s favour, and he decided for the twins.
The Daily Mirror’s headline (because the X Factor has long been headline news in Britain) was “Farce Factor” while rival The Sun wrote: “‘Ward a Load of Cobblers“. Quoting fans, the latter newspaper added: “Cowell’s gone too far … show is ruined.”
Readers may reasonably ask if any of this matters. Well, it may matter to Cowell, who has become one of pop music’s most successful managers through his appearances on X Factor and similar singing competitions here and in the United States. It may also mean something to ITV, the channel which airs the show in the UK. With peak audiences approaching 15 million, its advertising revenue from the biggest show on British TV must be healthy to say the least.
For those who follow the show, and care about it, many feel that Cowell’s decision to refer the decision back to the popular vote, rather than voting off Jedward, smacked of a stitch-up. He had been Jedward’s most vocal critic for weeks, and popular opinion would appear to support the argument that loser Lucie had far more talent than the twins, whose performances have been variously described as “bizarre” and “ridiculous”.
Theories abound as to why Cowell might decide to save the twins. The most popular is money — like them or loathe them, the twins seem to get the crowds going and Cowell might be looking ahead to the X Factor tour when the show is over. The removal of strong vocalist Lucie may also remove a potential threat to the singing acts on the show which he endorses.
Will his decision backfire? Will less people tune in to the show because they feel the whole thing is rigged? Or has Cowell pulled it off again by ramping up the stakes and getting the nation talking about the show again? It wouldn’t be the first time.