X: My “X-Factor” Experience and the Reality About Reality Television

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X   Okay, I’ll admit it. I watch reality television shows, and I actually like it.

Let’s face it – as annoying as they can be, it really is entertaining to watch regular, everyday people take on extreme challenges. And it’s even more entertaining to hear what’s going through their head the entire time!

Which is why when Simon Cowell’s new reality show for singers, The X Factor, taped a session in Dallas and opened it up to the general public for free, my wife and I joined the thousands of other viewers in standing in a line which wrapped around an entire sports stadium. As we passed by the dressing room trailers, I even saw Simon Cowell walk by just a few feet from me (he was very kind to the screaming fans, but was a lot shorter than he looks like on television, and his pancake makeup made his face look extremely orange).

But Simon wasn’t the biggest let-down. Once inside, we were excited to watch the singers compete and to have a part in voting for which singers would move forward in the competition and which singers would be sent packing. But that’s not the way it actually worked.

Before the hosts stepped foot on stage, a director came out and started calling out months. When he called your birthday month, you were supposed to jump to your feet screaming and clapping to show how excited you were to be there. Later, the producers of the show would use that initial footage to splice in a “standing ovation” from the audience wherever – and for whomever – they saw fit.

And yes – the hosts reviewed a script before filming each scene. A script. On a reality show? You better believe it.

I learned an important lesson that night. In actuality, there’s nothing“real” about reality television. And knowing this almost ruined reality television completely for me…

Almost.

What are your thoughts on reality television? If you’re a fan, which one would you want to appear on?

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12 thoughts on “X: My “X-Factor” Experience and the Reality About Reality Television

    1. Well there you go! Though with all your travel experience, I bet you and your husband could do really well in something like “The Amazing Race,” where you race around the globe competing for big prizes… I’d root for you guys!

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  1. Interesting. I kinda figured those singing shows didn’t work out quite the way they edit them in TV and I know in other more drama based reality shows they edit how they want to to make the viewers like/dislike a person and up the drama.
    My fave reality show is So You Think You Can Dance and the one I’d like to go on would be Amazing Race. (I actually did Reality Shows for my R post)

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  2. I had a friend who is a very good singer and she tried our for American Idol when Cowell was still on there. She said that she didn’t even audition for the hosts and that the audience turnout was so poor that they stuck everyone in the same section of the auditorium and kept shooting that same section to make it look full. She said they also did stuff to get the audience screaming by playing games. Lol. Not so real I would agree

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  3. I watched Simon in a couple of American Idol episodes, but can’t say I’ve seen his new show. Reality TV — a friend told me — is like chocolate candy. I know it’s bad for me but can’t stop myself.
    I have little time for TV, otherwise who knows?
    Silvia @
    SilviaWrites

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  4. Like you, I confess that I watch some reality TV. I’m a big fan of Survivor and I’ve enjoyed clips from the X-Factor. I’ve always thought there was probably some “directing” and “scripting” going on behind the scenes, but I never wanted to believe it. I guess the true reality of reality TV is not such a happy reality!
    Thanks for sharing this story. It was very entertaining!

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    1. Survivor was the first reality show I really got into, and I remember my mom taping the finale for Survivor Australia since we had church, but letting us get our sleeping bags and camp out in the living room so we could watch it late that night…who wouldn’t love that? Good times…

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