x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

X Factor irrelevance

Cheating in a reality TV show barely merits a yawn.

Each one of us has a special talent that the world is just yearning to applaud - that, at least, is the premise that reality television is trying to sell us. Today's programmes such as Arabs' Got Talent, American Idol, X Factor, their spin-offs and approximations fill the world with D-list celebrities, water-cooler gossip and laughably bad performances (as well as, we admit, a few very good ones).

Since viewers do not really tune in to such shows for excellence, it may come as a surprise to some people that one such programme has been caught allowing performers to lip synch while a better (or, in some cases, adequate) studio-recorded version is played.

The slip-up came on the US Fox TV network on Thursday, when one X Factor performer was heard singing before he opened his mouth or raised his microphone. So much for the excitement of live performance.

The show's producers chose to brazen it out: sure, the producers' spokesman told inquiring media, we do arrange for lip-synching for all ensemble numbers, though not for solos. What's more, other competition shows do the same.

Who knows? The result of this unshocking scandal may even be a new "reality" show in which audio engineers and camera crews compete to deliver the least-obvious lip-synching. But we won't be watching: we'll be reading a book - neither making noise nor moving our lips.