Belfast Telegraph

‘Killing off’ X Factor contestants a modern sacrificial ritual

By Stephen Brown

The X Factor is like a 21st century version of ancient sacrifices to the gods. People are selected for sacrifice and are treated beautifully and have the best of things up until the point when they are unceremoniously killed off.





The programme has become a metaphorical version of that for contemporary consumption.

Simon Cowell was interviewed recently and he stated quite clearly that as far as he was concerned,The X Factor is not a music show or a talent show, it’s a soap opera.

I think that just sums it all up. It is like all human life is here, all human drama, and everything is grist of The X Factor mill.

Humankind has always had this need for sacrificial beings and this is just simply a contemporary version of the same thing.

To me, it’s more like the 19th century freak shows.

It’s an old idea given a 21st century reboot. Some people would call it exploitation, whereas others say it is a great opportunity for the contestants, they are treated magnificently and their natural talent is enhanced and improved.

Then they are essentially sacrificed until one person is left standing at the end. And that person is usually not around for very long as a pop star.

Stephen Brown is professor of marketing research at University of Ulster

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