Return to Saturday Nights In

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Five minutes after the Olympics end and everyone’s feeling inspired, here returns The X-Factor.  It’s just what we need in a time of relatively high spirits; a talent(less) show to remind us how desperate we are to live a celeb life getting stalked by the press, and how our dreams hang on the opinions of a few twits. In fact, these so called “judges” are chosen on a personality basis so that they argue with each other to rank up those Saturday night ratings.

Not only do these talent shows lower the standards of our perception of what actually makes a star, it just paves the way even further for people to be deluded that they actually have talent, and that the “stars” in the limelight are actually living a dream. Being a music artist, whether real or manufactured trash, is a hard living, and it should not be based on whether Simon Cowell thinks you can sing. I can sing, so can many other people. There are Susan Boyles all over the country singing in their local pubs that should probably stay there. There is something not quite right about turning an “ordinary person” into anextraordinary star overnight. It is border line abuse of human rights, in some strange under-handed way.  

But we all still watch it. And then there’s that emotional moment, when a young boy comes on stage with a guitar and everyone winks at each other, and he sings his little heart out about how he didn’t get the girl, strums a few averagely played chords, and suddenly he gets comments like: “You’re the next Paul Simon”. And he probably thinks to himself, “Who’s that?” Let’s face it; serious singer songwriters aren’t going to go on X Factor, are they? He’s seen that ginger haired boy, and thought, “I can do that.......”

His crap guitar must have been found in a tip, and his songs do not stick out like an old fashioned thumb. With his barely post-pubescent stubble, lack of smiling, or any stage presence, he gets a lot of mileage out of those C and G chords, so what is so special about Ed Sheeran? It is, scarily, as if all his fans, who must be (should be) below the age of 15, have never seen anyone (by seen I mean on TV or in the charts) play an acoustic guitar before, which could explain why many on Twitter thought that his performance of Wish You Were Here at the Olympics closing ceremony was his own song. That is more than a generation gap. Enough said.

Oh, joy. I’d like to ask Joni Mitchell what she thinks, as she is listed amidst a suspiciously put together set of influences. Sheeran has come at a time when we are so saturated with people prancing around with birds on their heads and pompoms stuck to their eye balls that everyone thinks he is a refreshing change. Lucky Sheeran.  Here’s to the probability of someone young with a guitar winning X-Factor. I suppose the singer-songwriter genre is something they have yet to decimate. Maybe they’ll get Bob Dylan to come and do a spot on the show...

Sarah Smout

I have a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from UEA. When I'm not writing articles or poetry, I'm writing songs or cello-ing it up in my band. I tend to have the odd glass of rose when I write for creative purposes only. I bake good cakes, too.

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