Entertainment behind the scenes
UK’s X Factor gets off to rocky start
The X Factor, one of Britain’s most-watched television programmes, has got off to a rocky start this year with its integrity called into question after it came to light that some contestants’ performances had been enhanced using computer software. A spokesman for the show, a pillar of ITV1′s annual scheduling, admitted that post-production work was sometimes necessary due to the number of microphones used during filming. But he also told British media that judges make their decisions during the audition stages based on what they hear live, and that later shows are all genuinely live.
The revelations have prompted negative media comment and online complaints from some fans, although few people expect them to have too much of an impact on viewing figures. The first episode of this year’s series was watched by 11.1 million people, up from last year’s figure of 9.9 million.
Making matters worse, the show’s producers issued a statement on Wednesday explaining why Shirlena Johnson, who sang an oddball version of Duffy’s “Mercy”, was kicked off the talent show aired on ITV1.
“It has been decided by both Shirlena’s GP (doctor) and The X Factor’s own medical experts that it is in Shirlena’s best interests for her not to continue in the competition. The welfare of our contestants is of paramount importance to us — Shirlena was informed of the decision in person by the show executives in the presence of a psychologist.”
It appears the show, which is masterminded by music mogul Simon Cowell, wants to avoid the kind of negative publicity that surrounded the mental condition of Susan Boyle, a contestant in another Cowell project “Britain’s Got Talent” who was admitted to a clinic for emotional exhaustion after surprisingly losing the final last year. Mind you, Cowell presumably made a princely sum from the Scottish singer, whose debut album stormed charts around the world and was one of the top-selling records globally.