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  • Danny Harrington

Why X Factor Winners aren't successful


©ITV / SYCO / TALKBACK THAMES

The X factor a truly one of a kind competition, except you know, Pop Idol, Popstars, Fame Academy, New Faces, Opportunity knocks and whatever passes for the Eurovision entry nowadays.


The X Factor for those of you who don’t know is a British reality television show designed to find the next pop superstar and is supposed to be a platform to launch your music career into the stratosphere.


Currently the most successful winners seem based on current reputation, Little Mix although they’re no longer signed to Simon Cowell’s label.


But now the meat of the piece, the winner use to receive a one million pound recording contract, however since according to an article in the Guardian has not been the case since 2009, with winners getting £150,000 advance on their first album according to the sun. This figure increases but just under £100K with every album, most only get a few albums before being dropped.


The decline of record sales during the 2000’s and the move to digital downloads and streaming is definitely factor pardon that pun with a fall of around a 50% fall in sales before 2014. In addition X Factor’s winner’s song is barley breaking into the top 10 of the UK music charts anymore.


X Factor at the peak of its power was with its second winner Shayne Ward his song that’s my goal spent a whopping 23 weeks in the charts, followed by James Arthur’s impossible in 2012. Whilst more recent winners Louisa Johnson and Matt Terry spent 3 and 4 weeks respectively with their first post X Factor singles they also have the unfortunate honour to be the first two X Factor winner to get to number 1 with their winning singles.


Less and less people are watching the X Factor on ITV which means less exposure for the artists which defeats the object of going on the show, there’s also less press coverage as there’s way to much reality TV and talent shows in general.


Even the celebrity version which was there second crack at that format in 2019 achieved just 2.95 Million just a fraction of what the main show achieved. The X Factor: The Band which would form a new Girl or Boy Band (which is also what Popstars did but that had the decency to last two seasons) according to the Daily Mirror the show use to achieve 19.4 Million in 2010.


But the biggest reason for X Factor winners not being successful is because it’s not a music show, it’s a show that uses music but it’s about the personalities, will Sharon Osborne throw water in Louis Walsh’s face, how low will Simon Cowell’s shirt be buttoned down and of course what granny will sing a song about having a gang bang (yes that happened).


It's a reality TV show, like Big Brother they even took their second presenter from Big Brother's Little Brother, it’s all about the personality it’s about who wins over the audience not necessarily who is the best singer and once the show is over nobody cares. Who is the most marketable and not all winners are the most marketable because they're music genre is considered niche. Look at the most marketable artists One Direction sold more records than the Beatles but importantly they didn't win the show.


Look at Jahmene Douglas runner up in 2012, he’s from my home town, I was at the same college he went to at the time he was a contestant, and there were posters all over the place. Jahmene became a point of pride for the town of Swindon, however in a video on YouTube which I will link to, he said “X Factor isn’t a singing competition, it’s a reality TV show, They didn’t care about my singing, they care about the story behind you.







But hey on a positive note X Factor at least your winner have their 5 minutes of fame, could be worse you could be a winner on the Voice who disappears after the show wraps up.


That's my thought on why the X Factor winners aren't successful let me know your thoughts below.

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