X Factor telling contestant Lucy Spraggan to remove Little Mix-bothering single from sale exposes holes in show’s power
Today it emerged that X-Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan was asked by the show’s bosses to remove her single ‘Last Night’ from iTunes, where it had reached number two in the charts.
Though bosses assured that the reason for their request was to keep things fair for all contestants and leave them on a “level playing field”, it was widely speculated that it was really because Lucy’s track – a witty Lady Sovereign-meets-Arctic Monkeys acoustic lament on the morning after the night before and the subsequent #beerfear – was “humiliating” last year’s winners Little Mix and their pursuit of the top spot with their debut single ‘Wings’, also out this week.
Lucy humbly obliged to the producers’ requests, not wishing to gamble her X Factor future, saying “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get somewhere in life.”
But in doing and saying so, was Lucy missing the point?
After only one televised audition and performance, the song had managed to climb to the silver medal spot. All she needed to get that far was the exposure to an audience as opposed to any form of financial or technical backing that the show’s winners walk away with. The fact that Little Mix – who, judging by the new video, appear to have received all their wages thus far in Topshop and Claire’s Accessories vouchers – were at risk of losing out to a relative nobody with an acoustic guitar and a self-released demo surely shows that the show’s backing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
And this is before we begin to discuss the pit of obscurity that the majority of previous winners have since disappeared into. (The last time I heard, Steve Brookstein was trolling showbiz correspondents on Twitter about HIV; there’s no such thing as bad publicity, I guess.)
While those sickeningly good-looking, pubescent Ken dolls One Direction, the twit in a trilby Olly Murs and All Saints mannequins JLS might have done all right on the back of the show, we must remember none of them were winners. Curly-haired casanova Harry Styles was famously caught saying to Matt Cardle “think how much p***y you’re going to get now” on learning the result of the 2010 final. Au contraire, Harry, it seems in this case, the winner does not, in fact, take it all – just ask Caroline Flack.
One Direction, Olly Murs and JLS have all reached the heady heights they have done because they struck a chord with audiences during the show, rather than because of any record deal awarded after succeeding in the final.
Granted, like Lucy, none of these artists would be anywhere without the exposure that the X Factor gave them, but they have all proved that winning the contest is not the be all and end all.
It seems that the show’s creators are cottoning on to this as well, and in some hellish Frankenstein-esque scenario they have been forced to kill a beast that risked killing off its creator.
Over the last couple of years Justin Bieber (just the 27 million Twitter followers) rose from a mere YouTube cover artist to one of the world’s biggest pop stars, and similar artists, such as the UK’s Bieber equivalent Conor Maynard, are slowly showing that the DIY ethic once favoured in more leftfield genres is starting to payoff for mainstream pop as well.
Would Lucy have been a surefire success had she said “stuff you” to the bosses, released her single regardless and been axed from the show, pipping Little Mix to the post in the process? We’re not to know.
But it would have been nice to see someone sticking a middle finger up at Cowell and co, the fat cats who had snookered themselves by actually inviting someone with some authentic talent into their grimy corporate machine.Tagged in: caroline flack, Harry Styles, Justin Bieber, Little Mix, one direction, X Factor
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