Filipino ‘X Factor’ and the originalBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Now that the new “X Factor” season is being aired on local TV screens, we have the opportunity to more perceptively note how the recently concluded Filipino version of the singing tilt compares with the original.
The American “X Factor” show makes it a point to choose only outstanding singers for its finalists. On the other hand, the Pinoy “X Factor” departed from that golden rule by choosing some finalists who didn’t sing all that well, but were more “colorful” and “idiosyncratic,” and thus appealed more “quirkily” to local viewers.
In their defense, the local “X Factor” jurors said they were “expanding” on the meaning of that mysterious element that separates the potential star performer from everybody else. In their view, it meant not just exceptional singing prowess, but everything else that goes with stardom—charisma, unique selling proposition, a personal “something” that viewers can relate to, etc.
Of course, we disagreed and, in due time, so did the show’s local viewer-voters, as a result of which, all of the tilt’s top three finalists weren’t of the weirdly “idiosyncratic” sort. But, for a moment there, we feared that a mediocre singer could end up as a top contender.
Another point of departure between the two versions of “X Factor” is the American edition’s greater objectivity, as compared to the local show’s jurors’ more “personal” approach to the talents they were evaluating and mentoring. Why, some of them even broke down as they reacted to how their bets were faring in the course of the competition—something that Simon Cowell would never dream of doing!
Yes, Cowell is quite full of himself at times, but his focus is on the contestants, not on himself. Hindsight therefore tells us that, if the local “X Factor” tilt is going to be held again, its jurors have to understand that it’s about the finalists, not about them.
It’s also productive to note that, even if a singing star is celebrated and vastly experienced, that doesn’t necessarily make him or her an astute judge and mentor of new singing talents.
To teach well, you need to focus on your student’s potential, not on your way of doing things. It may have worked for you, but your ward is another person entirely, with his own plus and minus factors. So, your inputs may not prove to be effective and productive for him or her.
Finally, there’s the age factor. Aside from Charice, the local tilt’s jurors and mentors were decidedly on the “other” side of 30, or 40, or more. Relative to the youth of many of the contestants and the show’s audience, therefore, there could have been a telling disconnect.
That could explain why Charice’s wards tended to do better in the competition, and the tilt’s top winner was her bet.
Is there a lesson waiting to be learned there?
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