X Factor

Will rumours of a ‘fix factor’ raise the ratings for X Factor…?

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As people blast X Factor judge Louis Walsh for taking the vote between who to save to deadlock – we ask is this sort of controversy the way to get the programme more viewers? X Factor

Millions of viewers watched as following a sing-off, Louis firstly chose to save Carolynne Poole over Rylan Clark – but then at the last minute changed his mind and said he wanted to take it to deadlock.

The result was Rylan ended up going through – causing Carolynne’s mentor Gary Barlow to storm off. He had, he said, turned down Rylan at the beginning of the auditions and didn’t understand why he was there.
All good TV you would think – after all little bit of controversy has never done X Factor any harm before. And today, yes, lots of papers have articles on what happened.

Many question whether X Factor Producer was whispering to Louis Walsh into an ear piece to take it for deadlock. Could even Gary’s walk-off in disapproval be stage-managed? We can imagine the producers rubbing their hands in glee – what a great idea to start the live shows with an upset as this. Surely, everyone will be tuning into X Factor to see what exciting controversy happens next?

But could the whole fiasco backfire?

A few weeks ago I wrote a post, Why TV mustn’t treat viewers as fools. This post was mostly directed at another TV reality show The Bachelor, which unfortunately I watched for weeks until I realised right at the end it truly wasn’t ‘real’ at all. Call me a fool – obviously I am for watching it – but the problem was I was led to believe by the TV producers that Spencer Matthews was really looking for love. So I felt duped when he picked the last girl you would imagine he would ever fancy in real life – and then I read in the papers that since the final they hadn’t seen one another at all..

Now I’m worried that X Factor is making a fool of me too. A few weeks ago I said I wasn’t going to watch it – but I’ve reneged on my promise and here I am, feeling an idiot because I thought this was a genuine show and now it appears it might not be…

And I fear that I won’t be the only viewer X Factor – which has steadily increased its viewing figures recently – could lose over this. The issue is, as I said before, viewers are not stupid. We do not like to feel we are being manipulated by a TV show. We like to believe that when we are watching a ‘reality’ TV show then it truly is real. Real life is why we watch these shows in the first place.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a ‘real life’ journalist and go to such lengths to check stories out and ensure they are accurate and absolutely spot on before I even offer them to a magazine, newspaper or TV. Therefore I expect these reality TV shows to have gone through the same rigorous process – ie: they are genuine.

But whatever the reason why I feel so disappointed again over a TV programme, I believe it’s a great shame this has happened, especially on the first live show. Because we’ve seen all the fixes before and we’re all tired and fed up with them. Perhaps Louis Walsh truly couldn’t pick between the two singers. Maybe he didn’t get any whispers in his ear. Who knows. But had I been the producer, knowing rumours of fixes do not sit well with a fickle public, I’d have been doing my utmost to ensure this sort of thing did not happen.

Find out more: X Factor

What do you think? Let us know below…

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Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website Featureworld.co.uk, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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