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Six Steps to Saving The X Factor

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It's been a rum year for ITV's rendered pop factory due to dwindling audiences, an uninspiring line-up of contestants, and North Korea's ruling elite slamming Louis Walsh's decision to not take Poisonous Twin into the live shows.

All dear old X needs are a few changes to pep up the format, and these six will safeguard everyone's favourite ITV show called The X Factor.

1) Change the categories

We all know 'The Overs' is a category as welcome to judges as a sudden outbreak of finger herpes at a canapé trade fair. We all know that no-one from 'The Overs' will win.
Therefore tweak the categories into Male Artist, Female Artist, Boy Bands, Girl Bands, and Brian Friedman's Fantasy Playbox. This final category will be home to the less fussy contestants, who are just glad to be there. The sort who won't argue if they're forced to sing 'Unchained Melody' while inside a giant dishwasher, as dancers dressed as plates and bowls load themselves in before giant hands reorder them into more efficient washing positions.
We could have that. Every week.

2) Replace Judges' Houses with Beekeeping Week

Rather than whisk contestants to Dubai, Los Angeles, or Penge, where they perform in front of a judge and someone else who wasn't available for the show's entire run, take them to rural beekeeping farms. There the wannabes can show the public a side they haven't seen before - their attitude towards bees, a trait overlooked by the series so far.
This would form a vital aspect of the public's view of each contestant, such as: what do they look like in one of those netted hats? Are they the sort to mistake a wasp for a bee? And, crucially, how many of the bees' names from each hive will they remember?

3) Remove singing from Deadlock

The problem with Deadlock is that we've already heard them sing. Tension would instead be heightened if each of the acts in the bottom two had to throw wooden hoops around the judges' necks. First to three wins and the runner-up is given a goldfish.

4) Hire a supernatural creature to be a judge

From True Blood to The Walking Dead, and The Vampire Diaries to University Challenge, undead beasts ravenous for human flesh are hot right now. However The X Factor has always been about setting trends, so it wouldn't ape these well-established programmes.
What the show could do is capitalise upon its multi-platform presence and host a live occult invocation on ITV2, hosted by Olly Murs and Caroline Flack, where viewers can vote which demon they would most like to possess TV chef Rosemary Shrager.
The show would, of course, be called The Xtra Factor.

5) Tone down the sentimentality

Far too often during the finals, the parents of those participating are asked how they feel about their children performing live on TV and if they are proud of their achievement.
Proceedings could be hustled along by removing this part of the show and replacing it with a live news ticker that displays all up-to the-minute familial affection news.

e.g. 'BREAKING: FAMILY EMBARRASSED BY CHILD MISSING KEY CHANGE, WRITTEN OUT OF WILL'

6) Seriously though give that bee one a bit of thought

Because a recent poll showed 84% of the British public have seen a bee in the last year, and that's some serious brand recognition waiting to be tapped.