"X Factor hopeful talks exclusively to us about the show!"
"Coming up, the latest X Factor act to be booted from the show talks to us about their time on the show!"
These are two phrases that have characterized my autumn so far. It seems inevitable that if you switch on the television at any point before 7pm, some dried-up X Factor contestant will be smiling back at you, desperately trying to extend their fifteen minutes of fame (Rylan Clark, I'm looking at you).
This is not to say that I have always been an X Factor cynic. On the contrary, I used to try to convince my parents to watch the show every Saturday night so I was always up-to-date with what was happening and knew who got voted off. In the days of Joe McElderry and Cher Lloyd, the X Factor was different and fresh. There were acts you loved that got voted off, and acts that shouldn't have even made it past the auditions that were in the semi-finals due to the public. This, paired with likeable and knowledgeable judges - who didn't feel the necessity to add 'balls' to every sentence - the X Factor was, on the whole, an exciting Saturday night television experience.
What first made me skeptical about the show was the concept of 'judge's choice' when it came to voting acts off. Instead of the public's vote ultimately deciding who left the show, it became up to the judges to choose. Now, that all seems quite fair: they're supposed to know what they're talking about, they know what's going to sell etc. However, the issue of act-allegiances threw off what was considered fair and who was the most talented, and was replaced with the egotism of the judges. Each judge ultimately wanted to 'win' the show with the acts in their category, and so instead of the farcical Rylan getting voted off, we said goodbye to mini-Adele, Ella Henderson.
After the colossal disappointment of last year's series, I was dubious about whether the X Factor would ever replicate its former glory. What did make me slightly hopeful was the return of fiery, former judge, Sharon Osbourne. Her glass-pouring antics and brutal honesty were TV gold in earlier seasons of the show. Yet, as I watched the first few shows of the series, my doubts were confirmed. The monotonous judgments of Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh's overenthusiasm for every act, Nicole Scherzinger's irritating neologisms, and Sharon's reluctance to do anything Sharon-esque, left me bored and unwilling to continue watching.
Viewing figures would seem to suggest that I am not alone in my abandonment of the show. The X Factor's BBC rival, Strictly Come Dancing, is consistently getting three to four million more viewers per week. The dancing show peaked at 11million viewers on 2 November, leaving its ITV counterpart trailing with 7.65million viewers. In comparison with earlier series, where the show was averaging 13million viewers, it's clear that the X Factor has lost its appeal.
The uninspiring and carbon copy acts of this season leave much to be desired. None of the acts have the Twitter presence that One Direction did in their X Factor heyday, none of the acts have the soulful tones and genuine marketability of Leona Lewis, and none of the acts have the loveable personality that Olly Murs did. Now, I find myself reaching for the remote to switch the programme off, rather than sit in anticipation for it to begin, as before.
Simon Cowell's TV talent-show format has grown tired and exhausted. There are only so many accusations of fixing results and sob stories the nation can take. Cowell's vow to 'shake up' the show for next year begs the question: will anyone care enough to watch it?