My DVR’s got the X Factor!

Yes, ITV’s The X Factor is back in full swing now that we’ve got to the live shows, and I’m watching it in spite of myself. I accept that shows like this need to do what they can to capture the lion’s share of the primetime Saturday night TV audience, but X Factor (and, by the way, its U.S. cousin American Idol) have gone way too far in bigging the show up. What is in essence a talent show is bulked up, fluffed up, and gift-wrapped for the viewer with bucketloads of glossy, shallow, over-the-top glitz and superstar lifestyle imagery.

Its time... to face... THE MUSIC!!!!

"It's time... to face... THE MUSIC!!!!"

The celebrity judges (including Simon Cowell) jet in in their individual helicopters to personally mentor their charges in their multi-million pound holiday homes on the Riviera, the show’s title sequence has more bangs and flashes than a Star Wars dogfight, and all the while we hear the same predictable simpering drivel from the mouths of the contestants:

“Yes Dermot, singing means absolutely everything to me it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do I’ve been singing since I was five if I don’t get through this stage my life will be over….”

Irritatingly the show is quite good once you cut through all the shiny wrapping and get to the meat of it. I love to watch the audition stages and also enjoy seeing the finalists blossom from talented unknowns into real star material, but I hate, HATE everything that goes before, after, and in between. It’s all I can do to restrain myself from throwing my laptop at the TV screen.

What to do? Well, as usual technology saves the day. Just use your DVR (Digital Video Recorder: in my case V+ from Virgin Media) to record the show. Then you can watch it at your leisure and just fast-forward through all the guff (and the commercial breaks). Once you do that you’ll find you can get all the “real” content from the two-hour show in about 40 minutes.

Gotta love gadgets.


About Chris Neal

Personal Technology Consultant. Tailored services and advice for people who want more from their technology.
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