Monday, 2 November 2009

X = ?

As I am a "fan" of Derren Brown on Facebook, I receive notifications when he updates his blog. I enjoy reading what he has to say, as Brown comes across as an intelligent and free-thinking individual through what he writes. The subject matter for his blog today however surprised me somewhat: Brown revealed his passion for The X Factor. As I've had to experience in some way this show since it began earlier this year, I was intrigued to see what Brown had to say. The majority of the blog post, whilst written in Brown's usual charming and witty style, is pretty much an account of his appearance on the ITV2 companion show The Xtra Factor; his opening paragraph, however, is one of the most keenly observed descriptions of the show I've ever read.

I'll let you read it for yourself, as there's little point in me simply regurgitating it here. Most of what Brown talks about I can empathise with a great deal, even though he considers himself a fan of the show whereas I would probably label myself more of a passive and cynical (and piss-taking) recipient. At the end of the paragraph, Brown states that he "[loathes himself] for moments when [he wants] someone kicked off the show, or for sharing in an ounce of that hostility". I think this is something that pretty much anyone would become part of if they were subject to the "reality" that The X Factor shoves in your face. You forget that the contestants ultimately are just people, as they become heroes, villains, underdogs, victims - essentially they are boiled down to the stories that can be told through them, rather than who they actually are and, more importantly, whether they truly offer something worthy of winning a singing competition.

Just before I finish, I also found it fascinating that Brown even related elements of The X Factor to the things that he is well known for. Comparing the public phone vote to a massive event of misdirection is an inspired idea.

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