News hit our screens last week that a rebellious and rather untalented contestant on this year’s X-factor has been axed for breaking a “Golden Rule.” Rumours are now flying around that this is due a conversation about a sex-fuelled cocaine session which was overheard back-stage at the show.
From the start of his journey on the competition, it was apparent Frankie Cocozza would not take it seriously, boasting the only reason he wanted to succeed was for girls and fame. The self-admitted liability revealed all in his first audition exposing the tattoos of seven girls’ names on his behind. From this moment alone it was clear that music was not the key motivator for him being in the competition. The recent actions of this cheeky chap resulted in him receiving the boot from the X-factor bosses, which begs questions regarding the aims and actions of talent shows such as X-factor and Britain’s Got Talent. Surely these so-called talent shows should be just about that?
Simon Cowell boasts each year that this is a quest to find the next big thing for the music industry, yet X-Factor is essentially a profitable competition which provides entertainment, and a bigger bank balance for some. My friend Sarah Browne quite accurately describes the show as “just a money-making machine” which certainly has an element of being fixed because “genuinely good singers get knocked out in the early stages to make way for people whose behaviour will get them in the papers, generating more publicity for the show.” When asked about the situation in terms of Cocozza she said “he did his job well for the X-factor; another example of a bag singer who’s bad boy persona has created a massive story which the show can only benefit from.”
The show has undeniably discovered talents which have had their fair share of success such as Alexandra Burke and Leona Lewis, but the majority of those who enjoy a career with any longevity are often runner-ups including JLS and Olly Murs. The set-up of the show is clearly designed to increase viewings achieved by televising humiliating auditions which, in turn, boosts the revenue of the show. In addition the final of the show features ‘the best of the worst’ performances as supposed entertainment. Cocozza is not alone when it comes to talentless fame-hungry acts on the show. Jedward, Chico and Wagner all join the 18 year old in my personal list of worst acts on the X-factor, a competition which should undoubtedly only be exploited by those who want to take their career seriously rather than for the fame and fortune alone.
Britain’s Got Talent also suffers from similar issues. Having no age limit on auditionees encourages children to seek stardom from a very young age; children should be able to lead the lives of children rather than acting as show-ponies on stage in front of an audience of some 11 million viewers. This point was proven in 2009 when 11 year old Hollie Steel got through to the live shows. The only memorable feature of her performance though was her tantrum over forgetting the lyrics. Other ethical issues were raised from this show when the talented Susan Boyle, or SuBo, was discovered, who was admitted into the Priory days after taking second place in the 2009 final, when her mental condition seemed compromised after several reports of her erratic behaviour; perhaps a result of her overnight success in the initial stages of the competition.
When considering Frankie Cocozza’s time on the talent show, mentor Gary Barlow insinuated his act was on the show for reasons other than his voice adding that the 18 year old should “calm down.” Despite this, Frankie continued to brag about his drinking and socialising antics which have ultimately resulted in him being axed.
While a show understandably needs viewers and revenue to continue, surely there should be a stronger focus on the reason they are commissioned which is essentially for the talent. This said, the show is a great guilty pleasure for many, myself included, all of whom will tune if religiously most weekends.