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from Fan Fare:

“X Factor” hits wrong note

Cheryl1Britain's "The X Factor" has struck a bum chord, even before the main knock-out phase of the hugely popular TV show begins. Judge Cheryl Cole has incensed thousands of viewers with her selection of three finalists from a shortlist of eight contestants. Hopeful Gamu Nhengu, 18, was rejected by Cole, despite impressing with her audition and being among the early favourites to win the show.

One reason for the strength of the reaction -- nearly 90,000 people have already leant their support to a Facebook page supporting Zimbabwe-born Nhengu -- is that Cher Lloyd went through to the finals, despite being able to sing barely a note due to a sore throat. Katie Waissel also succeeded, despite failing to impress many who watched the show at the weekend. Only Cole's choice of the accomplished Rebecca Ferguson was universally popular.

One fan summed up the mood with a blog post on the ITV show's official website: "Oh well, no more X-factor for me then! My husband agrees. To put through Katie and Cher, and send Gamu home was confirmation that the show is rigged. What a complete farce. Did Cheryl take instructions from Simon Cowell on who she should pick so that none of the girls would win? Gamu was far and away the best of all the girls. I will never watch the x-factor again."

Of course, the controversy and headlines it generates are likely to boost ratings when the competition proper gets underway, so suspicions of a set-up are rife. Bookmakers are already offering odds on Gamu being allowed back on to the show as a "surprise" wild card, and she is among the favourites to win. If that does come to pass, doubts about the show's integrity are bound to grow.

from Fan Fare:

UK’s X Factor gets off to rocky start

cowell3The 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.

from Raw Japan:

Boyle-san’s got tarento

USA/Struggling musicians have long made dubious claims about being "big in Japan" in a bid to compensate for weak record sales at home.

But Susan Boyle, the 48-year-old who swept to fame in Britain and the U.S. after an appearance on reality TV, looks to be genuinely on the cusp of becoming a household name in the suburbs of Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo.

Raging against the X Factor machine


Simon Cowell says the Internet campaign to keep X factor winner Joe McElderry from the coveted Christmas No. I  spot is aimed at him rather than the type of music the show produces.

He calls the campaign stupid.

But critics of the show loathe what they call the “karaoke” of X Factor and thousands have backed the push to get an anti-establishment track by American rockers Rage Against the Machine up into the top slot next week.

from Fan Fare:

Simon Cowell FiXing it for X Factor’s Joe?

Yes, that word "fix" has come back to haunt the X Factor in Britain, where Lloyd Daniels, the teenager who appeared to struggle with the basic skill of singing in tune, got booted off at the weekend.

Attention has now switched to who will win this year's competition, with four contestants still in with a shout -- Olly Murs, Danyl Johnson, Stacey Solomon acherylnd Joe McElderry. The smart money is on Joe, with Simon Cowell, the dominant figure on the judging panel and powerhouse in televised singing shows, naming him as the act to beat.

from Fan Fare:

With Jedward gone, has X Factor lost its X factor?

BRITAIN/So, the “terrible twins” from Ireland, John and Edward Grimes, have been booted off the X Factor, ending their skin-of-the-teeth, tip-of-the-fingernail existence on the show.


Once again in the bottom two of a public vote, Jedward were up against Olly Murs, the singer from Essex who was many tipsters' favourite to win the show … at least until last night.

from Fan Fare:

It’s X Factor “Deadlock” … again

cowell2Another week, another contestant down, another ratings triumph for ITV ... oh, and another Deadlock.

The weekend's X Factor shenanigans did not come close to the previous vote's controversy, but there were still plenty of harsh words for the four-member judging panel for once again taking the final decision on who gets the boot to a Deadlock. When the judges are split 2-2, the result is decided by which of the two nominated acts got the fewest public votes.

from Fan Fare:

Sting calls X Factor “appalling”

stingBritish singer Sting has waded into the X Factor debate. In a week where the show's most famous judge Simon Cowell came in for some fierce criticism for what British viewers saw as a cynical ploy to fix the results, Sting has called the popular television show "preposterous" and "appalling".

In an interview with London's Evening Standard, ostensibly to promote his new CD "If On a Winter's Night", the Police frontman-turned-solo star launched into the music talent contest which regularly attracts peak audiences of more than 15 million in the UK.

from Fan Fare:

The X Factor or “The Fix Factor”?

cowell1X 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.

Speaker election gets X-Factor makeover


The winds of change are sweeping through a dusty Houses of Parliament as the race to succeed the Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin hots up.

With MPs trying to get their house in order as the expenses scandal rumbles on, the election procedure for the new Speaker has had a makeover, with election hustings to take place for the first time.