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1 item from 2017


When good TV goes bad: why X Factor lost its way with One Direction

13 March 2017 5:59 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Once, tales of ordinary folk achieving stardom enthralled the nation. But smooshing its contestants into reluctant boybands revealed its true cynicism

In 2004, when The X Factor started, the show’s premise was simple: find talented but overlooked people and help them realise their dream of pop stardom. The contestants were mentored by the people who’d nurtured the musical endeavours of Westlife, Ozzy Osbourne and, er, Zig and Zag – Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell respectively – and who would repeatedly tell them that the key was working hard and trying their best every week.

For a while it worked. Series three winner Leona Lewis became a genuine pop star. She had legit talent, making at least one banger (Bleeding Love), breaking the Us and becoming, briefly, a celeb that even your nan might recognise. Embarrassing as it is to think about now, the show was a national phenomenon: X Factor parties happened every weekend, »

- Issy Sampson

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