Parents' Guide to

The X Factor

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Simon Cowell's Idol follow-up lags behind original.

TV Fox Reality TV 2004
The X Factor Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 18+

Professional Scammers: Not Contest. It's a Reality Show

The X-Factor (and I wouldn't be surprised if it was all similar shows) is a overglorified scam focused on creating drama and embarrassing vulnerable people (some of these people also include the disabled). A lot of it (if not every single part) is faked. One big example is the case of Zoe Alexander (the girl they said looked like Pink - her story can be heard on YouTube) Professional Scammers: Not Contest. It's a Reality Show

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
age 14+

All about the judges!

The new lineup of Judges has ruined the show for me. Robbie Williams clearly doesn’t like the limelight to be on anyone else but him. His wife is just another opinionated American and Simon Cowell is boring. The only seemingly genuine one is Louis. I tried to watch because I used to love the stories behind the participants but I will be turning off for the rest of the series.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7):
Kids say (13):

Let's face it: The fact that this series looks and feels so much like the granddaddy of all talent competition reality shows proves that although Cowell left Idol in the dust, he saw no need to fix what wasn't broken. But even though the audition and weekly performance process is nearly identical to Idol's, this copycat show lags behind in production value, giving it the feel of a small-town talent show rather than a large-scale, multi-million-dollar competition. To its credit, it's a nice change of pace to see singing groups in the mix, and the fact that there's no upper age limit on contestants makes it seem slightly less superficial and image-driven than Idol is.

Of course, part of the draw to these reality competitions is the posturing that goes on at the judges' table, and the fact that X Factor contestants are assigned to a panelist's team means that there are bragging rights at stake here as well as a contract for the winner. This fuels the fire for judges' comments, which can be brutal, and opens the door for even more bickering over opinions among the pro's. The bottom line is that The X Factor is designed to entertain the way Twinkies are designed to quell hunger. There's not much of value to it, it's not going to satisfy you for very long, but for some inexplicable reason, you're left wanting to come back for more. This is fine for adults, of course, but is it really what you want your kids spending their screen time consuming?

TV Details

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