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Monday, 2 November 2009


Reality shows. Musical reality shows. Undoubtedly, a great concept of unveiling fresh talent. But then the shows are not designed to be immune from manipulation or are they?

The judges come with their own subjective views and you can't blame them, because that is what they are being paid for. And then comes the audience. The people behind the show would want it to appear as if this audience controls the outcome of the show by inviting them to vote for their favourite person.

These two scenarios lead to a possible clash between the two judging elements in the reality show or at times, even a strange collaboration bordering on a conspiracy.  The judges can give harsh criticism on a particular act and as a result, sway the public into voting for a particular person. Or the judges can even be under instruction from the producers of the show to eliminate certain acts only for them to encounter tough resistance from an unrelenting audience.

But at least most of the times, the judges make reference to certain qualities that they know would give credence to the objectives of the show, in identifying the best talent. It is not that simple however, when it comes to understanding, why the audience votes to retain or eliminate a certain act. Woe unto the performer, who has excellent talent but cannot find acceptance with the voting public.

This is what happened in a recent episode of ITV's X Factor. Even the judges were dumbfounded as to why one act, (which incidentally had an an African identity), ended up on the elimination segment. And after the deciding tie breaker performance, it was clear to everybody, it seems, that one act was far better than the other and yet the better act ended up being eliminated.

So what influenced the public's decision because by all intent and purpose, it was certainly not based on the performances.

Is there another factor at play other than the sought X-factor in this show?

A look at the past elimination pattern in this season's show offers valuable clues that can as well point to the audience's preference of deserving talent.

But like one judge summed it up, it is all about the audience and their taste and if they don't give you enough votes, that is worth noting about how you rate in their eyes, but certainly not why. For that, you need to read between the lines.

I rest my case.

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