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The Voice vs. The X-Factor: A Fair Comparison

In the UK, X-Factor 2016 ended a few days before the new year emerged. Some days after 2017, The Voice started. I have been watching talent shows for more than 10 years and now I feel the need to compare these two music competitions which currently are the most popular in the world. The X-Factor preceded The Voice chronologically during the years and this is not their only difference. Some of the fans who like both shows know well the differences, but I will write them down for those that these differences aren't distinct, with examples from the most recent editions. I characterise my comparison as fair, because I love both shows the same, so there is no subjectivity from my part.

The Differences


The X-Factor is more of a reality. This was overtly present in 2016. We saw how Bratavio managed to enter the show after drawing the attention of the viewers with their argument due to an under-cooked chicken (by the way, I just hope that chickens were not cooked by anyone, but rather be surrounded with love from all humans). We saw Honey G intriguingly promoting herself in her appearances and her performances. We saw the relationship of two X-Factor contestants Ryan Lawrie and Emily Middlemas become public. The Voice cares more for the music itself.

Art and Entertainment

The Voice is more artistic and endorses all kinds of music. X-Factor focuses on entertainment and is more limited to music that sells. Singers who take part in The Voice are usually deep into music as an art rather than a medium which entertains people. The latter is an element that is more overt in the X-Factor. Of course, art and entertainment can be combined and this combination can be found in both competitions.


The Voice is like a prolonged audition as a whole, while X-Factor is more of a show. X-Factor does have auditions too, but they are only a small part of the contest, at the start of it. The Voice uses the same stage and almost the same process, with alternative versions, for its total part, so it is like making auditions a big production.


The Voice gives more chances than the X-Factor does to all singers regardless from age or any other characteristic that differentiates people. There is no classification to categories, something that may put doubts to the audience over an artist's potential. X-Factor seems to be designed to mostly promote the youngsters; Simon Cowell's show has two categories for singers under 25: girls and boys, and these categories contain half of the finalists. While The Voice is more open to anyone who has talent.

The Winners

The Voice hasn't produced enough winners that have made a huge career, while The X-Factor has succeeded in it many times. Leona Lewis and James Arthur are two of the X-Factor winners that left their mark in the music industry. Even non-winners, the third-placed One Direction had a huge impact in the crowds. Of course, X-Factor has a longer background and this might be an explanation of the above outcome, but this is the fact right now.

The Similarity

Beyond all these differences, both shows have had contestants with value and all their winners have merit and deserved to distinguish through these talent competitions. Despite the fact that some people disregard those shows - and it is true that the process is hard and harsh, yet this is how life is too. The X-Factor and The Voice have something important to offer to both the singers who participate in them and the music which acquires the talented individuals.