With the ITV talent show currently airing its fourteenth series overall, is it time that the programme is given the axe? 

Reality shows and talent shows are now a long running fixture in the yearly television schedule. Big Brother, The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing are just a few of the shows families sit down to watch together. However, has the age of talent shows now come to an end?

Strictly Come Dancing attracted 9.3 Million viewers for its latest episode on Saturday night – a massive 45% share of television viewers overall that evening. Meanwhile, ITV’s singing extravaganza is rapidly losing its following with just 4.9 million viewers. Why is The X Factor struggling to gain viewers? And why is it losing its ratings battle with Strictly?

The X Factor has a long running reputation for creating “one hit wonder”s stars. Think Shane Ward, Leon Jackson and Sam Bailey – while the show has created some global superstars, its seems to lack that fizz to make lasting impacts. However, it’s not the format that The X Factor is getting wrong. The format itself is tried and tested and works well for both the production company and ITV.

Viewers love being in control – being able to vote for their favourite acts and being able to decide the ultimate result of the programme. So, what is it that actually makes viewers turn off? The quality of acts? Or just boredom of the same thing on the television each year?

The X Factor in recent years has been had more joke acts than actual talents. Viewers of the programme don’t like to be taken for granted. Viewers like serious acts who contribute to the show. A joke act is all well and good every so often, but not every show. The show has an obsession with having novelty acts, to the point that it’s feeling more staged and manipulated.

Comparing the show back to its original three series which were more natural – the show is no longer the stripped back format. In an attempt to appear younger and more natural to younger viewers, the format has been moulded in different ways, in such a way that it no longer resembles itself.

Viewers like having someone to relate too. Using Little Mix as an example of this, they were the first group to ever win the competition. Viewers were able to get involved and follow their story throughout, and this is valuable for a production like The X Factor. The programme was once a flagship format for ITV and drew in viewers without any effort. Can it recreate this success?

The X Factor continues Saturday/Sunday on ITV
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday/Sunday on BBC One 

By Jarrod Jones

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