There are rumours currently floating around that X Factor Australia will not be returning in 2017, but does that really come as much of a surprise? The 2016 series of the “hit” reality TV show was plagued from the very start with a messy new format, cringe worthy host and lacklustre judges. The show desperately needed a revamp but just how drastic they took it has ended up burying it. Let me give you a breakdown of where they exactly went wrong.
1. The Format
Dubbing this season as “The Next Generation” they teased about unexpected twists, an underdog judge and an exciting line up of talent. The way the show worked this year was that they only had 5 weeks of live shows (usually there is 10) including one 4 act elimination, a double elimination and a top 4 grand final. This made the show’s length very similar to competitor The Voice and ended up sharing its same flaw; it was too short. It didn’t allow enough time for you to have any emotional attachment to the acts and made it feel very rushed. Half the time I was convinced the producers were just winging it and making up the format as they were going. The underdog judge concept came out of nowhere, and with the hype you were led to believe it was going to be ground breaking. But it just turned out to be Mel B who was a judge earlier in the series lifetime and originally got booted off as she tried to join Australia’s Got Talent. However, the underdog category was a great addition as it ended up being one of the strongest categories talent wise.
2. The Cast
I was super excited when I saw the addition of Adam Lambert and Iggy Azalea to the judging panel, as well as the return of Guy Sebastian. However, Iggy totally flopped and quickly turned Australia against her with her lack of personality and basic critiquing. Now don't get me wrong, I have loved Iggy for years and was one of the first people to start writing about her music, but this show just showed a flavourless side to her which has been damaging to her career. Whereas Adam Lambert did the opposite and killed it impressing with his insight and gained a lot of new fans. Guy Sebastian was great as usual but maybe it was time to re-cast him and give him a break because Adam undeniably outshone him. And for Mel B, it was a tad anti-climactic with her arrival but she’s always been a great judge to have on TV. Jason Dundas joined the show as the host and his awkward attempt to be funny and pure ignorance made him unlikeable and brought a level of unprofessionalism. It was his ad-lib comments to the contestants and judges that made you cringe and question “why are you even hosting this show”.
One thing you may not have been aware of was a situation that happened at the live shows towards the end of the series. During the ad breaks while the judges and contestants have producers come over to chat to them the studio audience is “entertained” by a MC called Dave. His humour is crass and he’s always been a bit rough around the edges. On this particular night one of the young tween girls in the crowd heckled him which he didn't take too well to and jumped into the crowd. He stood over her, surrounded by the rest of the crowd in the standing section and started verbally abusing her. “I have been having a hard night and don’t need your sh*t,” he said. It was uncalled for and very aggressive. This encounter was captured on camera and uploaded to social media where it did the rounds but classic X Factor slid it under the rug. No apologies or acknowledgement of the abuse. It’s very concerning because in the entertainment industry and live shows you must be level headed the whole time and embrace hecklers. It’s going to happen in any environment and she's a tween girl who didn't know any better and was just excited about the night’s special guest performers. Just remember, when you have poor supports of course the whole house is going to come tumbling down.
3. The Talent
There was a lot of potential for this year to be a solid and memorable year after last year’s forgettable season. But, I’ve come to accept that nothing will compare to the fiery 2012 season. In the first week where four contestants were eliminated we were blessed to lose the terribly harmonies of “Time And Place” and the pure forgettable Maddison Milewski and Timmy Knowles. However, the show’s first flaw was shown with the elimination of powerhouse vocalist Natalie Ong. Then we lost the fiery girl group AYA, unique duo Brentwood and one of the series most talented additions, Beatz. How they got eliminated before the final still confuses me. Yeah, their harmonies were sometimes off but as a package they are the most commercially ready act. They have their image, choreography and vocal production perfected. And then we get to one of the franchises most embarrassing and snooze worthy Top 4 in history. Isaiah Firebrace was the clear winner next to your local RSL’s favourite new regular Davey Woder, Vlado who needs a serious vocal lesson and the boring and too young Amalia Foy who should stick to school and not follow the same disastrous road as 2014 winner Marlisa.
The show has always been plagued by rumours of it being rigged and this year ignited them back up. How the eliminations perfectly worked for their storylines is too coincidental and I would really like to hope Australia isn't so tacky with their votes. All you need to do is Youtube the top 5 performing with Little Mix to see just how bad it was. The best vocals in that performance was from Beatz who coincidentally got eliminated that episode and the rest were out of tune and disastrously bad.
4. The Production
With half the time and I’m guessing half the budget, the production was quite low and saw a lot of the previous seasons props and costumes being re-used. The lack of innovation was upsetting because X Factor has always lead the pack with their live shows and even dug the grave for the Idol franchise. But this year they dug their own grave and jumped right into it.
From that brief overview, I think you can gather that this year’s season of The X Factor was not the strongest or best representation of the show. It was plagued from the very beginning and the fact it’s not scheduled to make a comeback in 2017 is no surprise. Maybe it’s time for a break from the “talent formats” with The Voice following its lead because let’s be honest, have they even had a success story in the charts after producing 5 series? Maybe they should just bring back Big Brother because at least that was entertaining to watch.
Written by Thomas Bleach