X Factor returned to our screens at the weekend with producers hoping this series will be the most exciting yet. If Danyl Johnson's first audition is anything to go by, ratings should continue to rocket, writes Phil Matthews.
Whether you agree with a show like X Factor or not, it's rather difficult to avoid its hypnotic effect, especially when someone like Danyl Johnson walks onto the stage and gives a flawless first audition. The dance and drama teacher from Reading blew the audience and judges away with his rendition of With A Little Help From My Friends, and it's little wonder he is tipped to win the show.
I feel like I'm making a new show now,” says Simon Cowell. “And I like doing new things.”
The format of the programme has changed this year with preliminary auditions being played out in front of a live arena audience, a set-up that has worked nicely for the Britain's Got Talent show. The man at the top, Simon Cowell, told Holly Willoughby on the Xtra Factor that he was keen to get audience feedback from the start, hoping that their response would raise the game of the contestants and create an exciting atmosphere. “I feel like I'm making a new show now,” he said. “And I like doing new things.”
The decision to advance the format is a good one, not least because it invites audience involvement from the start. Yet I'm guessing the show's critics will have plenty of fuel to fire up reasons why such a format further exploits the deluded who believe they can be the next big thing, when in fact it's clear from the outset that producers showcase their abysmal performances to encourage compulsive viewing.
Many of my friends adore X Factor for this very reason. They bypass the good, adore the bad and worship the ugly. I have to say, I'm getting over it… Well, almost.
Many of my friends adore X Factor for this very reason. They bypass the good, adore the bad and worship the ugly. I have to say, I'm getting over it… Well, almost. That's not to say that I hold any sort of sympathy towards the bad and the ugly, in fact I rather admire their moment of boldness. It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of the judges, an arena packed with critics and a national audience of 10 million. They surely know what they're letting themselves in for and the worst offenders are certain to profit at some point.
For me though, it's following the journey of talent that counts. The production team have a knack of clever editing that gets me hooked every time. Although 27 year old Johnson may have prepared his next term at school preferring to take the competition one stage at a time and avoid taking anything for granted, it's clear his path is about change direction enormously. And there's no better inspiration for his kids than what he pulled off on Saturday's show.
Missed it? Watch Danyl Johnson’s first audition now.