So this year’s X Factor saw James Arthur take the crown as 2012’s winner.
Now whilst millions of people across the UK are rejoicing at Arthur being crowned the winner due to his ‘real talent’, and are ‘laughing in Simon Cowell’s face’, I wonder how many people remember 2010’s ‘real talent’ winner, Matt Cardle and what he’s doing now.
Like Arthur, Cardle was tipped as the viewer’s favourite back in 2010 for his authentic style and originality, and was destined for big things.
But here we are in 2012, and we haven’t heard a peep out of old Cardle, let alone any repeats on the airwaves of his cover of Biffy Clyro’s ‘Many of Horror’, retitled ‘When We Collide’ after the lyrics in the chorus, to make it more memorable for mother’s and grans wanting to buy his single.
On the surface, it would appear that if you’re aiming for a bubblegum pop career, such as Little Mix or Olly Murs, X Factor really is the place for you.
If, however, like James Arthur, you have any ounce of real song writing talent or musical skill, whilst X Factor could help you in terms of exposure, musically it’s all downhill from the moment you’re announced as the winner.
Really, had Jahmene been announced as the winner, and James Arthur in second place, this would have put Arthur in a much better place to launch his career. Jahmene could have gone on to record and release an album of songs that your aunt would probably listen to whilst washing up, whilst Arthur would have had the creative reign to take his music in the direction he wanted to go, as he wouldn’t have been bundled into the X Factor winner’s manufacturing machine.
We have already had a glimpse into how his first few singles are looking to sound just by listening to his winner’s single Impossible which is a cover of the original by Shontelle. It is an upbeat, catchy song that has been mixed and engineered to within an inch of its life.
As well as following a pre-programmed framework for his music, I’m sure we will see the endearing qualities of Arthur’s appearance stripped away to fit the popular music artist model. Only today an article was released in which Arthur was ‘quoted’ as saying “I’m going to get my teeth sorted out. I’ve always thought I’m pretty ugly” – I’m seriously wondering whether this has come from the mouth of the puppeteer whose arm I’m sure is already firmly up his back.
First it’ll be the teeth straightening, and whitening to a Simon Cowell level. Next will come the Topman/Grunge styling that isn’t really grunge at all, and will be followed by fixing whatever else is deemed ‘unacceptable’ for a celeb-figure to be seen with.
How long will it be before James Arthur blends into the void of other forgotten X Factor contestants?
It really is such a shame that in order to be successful, you now have to fit a mould that is seen as acceptable in the general public’s eyes. Judging by the reception Arthur was receiving on the X Factor, I’m pretty sure the screaming young girl’s like him just the way he is, and this mythical mould that Syco and other labels work to, seems to be completely irrelevant.
So what does the future hold for this year’s young winner, James Arthur?
He can be sure of 6 long months of manufactured songs pre-written by someone else under the watchful Syco eye and a UK tour consisting of multiple backing dancers and James Arthur miming his little heart out.
All I can say is good luck to the guy, and I hope in 6 months’ time he has the opportunity to finally release something that he can call his own, and something that he is proud of.
Let’s see which poor sucker gets spat out of the X Factor-Syco factory line next year.
You can find @LeanneLeveaux on Twitter.