Rock star Sting has blasted the X Factor, claiming the reality TV show had “put music back decades” and was little more than “televised karaoke”.
The singer hit out at the programme's judges for appearing to show more concern with their own careers and for having “no recognisable talent”.
The star, who rose to fame with The Police with whom he notched up five Grammy Awards and two Brits, said real musical flair was to be found in pubs and clubs rather than on a “preposterous” talent show.
“I am sorry, but none of those kids are going to go anywhere, and I say that sadly,” he told London's Evening Standard.
“They are humiliated when they get sent off. How appalling for a young person to feel that rejection. It is a soap opera with nothing to do with music. It has put music back decades. Television is very cynical.”
The singer said he had kept an open mind to begin with, but added: “Basically, I was looking at televised karaoke, where they conform to stereotypes.
“They are either Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston or Boyzone and are not encouraged to create any real unique signature or fingerprint.”
An X Factor spokeswoman declined to comment on the interview, saying Sting was entitled to his opinion.