Daily Archives: November 3, 2011

Packaging Talent: Thoughts on X Factor

I’m finally checking out The X Factor, now that the live shows have begun, and as much as I’m impressed with the talent, now that they’ve weeded out the chafe from the wheat to give us a Top 12, I can’t help but feel there is so much PACKAGING going on, and I’m not sure I agree with the marketing.

It’s like trying to “Bottle” magic, even though their main sponsor, Pepsi, is promising to do just that:

Funny, it’s pretty clear that a “girl” is going to win (Drew or Melanie), even though the commercial hints that the “next” big winner will be a guy.

Be that as it may, I can’t help but feel they’re packaging Drew to be the next Taylor Swift (and that has unfortunately taken the shine off her for me, even though she’s miles ahead of TS in terms of her vocal ability) and Melanie to be the next Leona Lewis.

Why, in trying to find the next “X Factor,” are they turning out the same old models?  I mean, Simon even went so far as to encourage someone like Stacey Francis to sing “church” style because “church sells,” and I’m sorry, but there is nothing CHURCH about Stacey Francis.  Big Voice singing does not a Church Voice make.

Heck, David sounds more “church” than Stacey will ever be!

So, I’m a little queasy watching this whole thing.  One guy, who I definitely saw as bringing something original, Chris Rene, they’ve already ruined him by reducing him to a derivative Bruno Mars, which is all kinds of foolish, IMHO, because Chris Rene can bring a “survivor-of-the-streets” hardness to such an act.

I’m just not liking the packaging at all (and the overglossy, big digital stage effects are beyond gimmicky).  Why can’t we just have some downplayed scenery and let the singing and showmanship speak for itself?

Oops! I forgot that such things don’t define “the next superstar!” 🙄

Of course, when I found this early performance by the young rapper Astro, it really points out the difference between raw talent and the “hot ghetto mess” that he’s being “packaged” to do on X Factor:

Poor Astro had to suffer a remix of “Hip-Hop Hooray” and “Get Your Freak On,” songs that aren’t old enough to be “old school” and not current enough to dazzle.

Sigh.  In actuality – since it’s clear someone like Astro doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning this show – the young guy is just there for “street credibility” entertainment fodder (which sucks because those from the real hip-hop scene deserve to have their talents taken seriously).

Astro makes me wish Jay-Z and Kanye would get together and launch a Hip-Hop Star reality TV show (I’m sure BET or VH1 would eagerly pick that baby up) and feature different artists in different categories – from emcees like Astro to spoken word poets to deejays to B-boy and B-girl dancers.

Lil’ Kim, Mos Def, and one of the Beastie Boys (for diversity sake) would be the judges, of course.

I would watch that show 4 REALZ! 😀

*Note to L.A. Reid: that’s how you get the mainstream public to embrace a potential hip-hop star, not put him in the same competition line-up with diva belters and singer-songwriter types!

Anyway, at least I’m curious enough to watch the next episode.  No one has bowled me over yet, but at least no one remaining is a turnoff either.