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The X Factor judges take their work home with them

On Wednesday night, Boot Camp officially ended and the top 24 contestants descended upon the homes of their new mentors.

By Jodi BradburyContributor / October 11, 2012

Judge Simon Cowell poses at the season two premiere of the television series The X Factor at Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California September 11, 2012. On Wednesday, Simon learned he would be mentoring the Group Category this season.

Mario Anzuoni / REUTERS

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The final day in boot camp showed the judges hard at work as they toyed with, what they have each emphasized on multiple occasions, the most important moment in the lives of the contestants. Of course, such hyperbole is far easier to believe when they are referring to someone like 13-year-old Reed Deming, but when one applies that statement to Tate Stevens, its accuracy starts to seem dubious. Surely the birth of his children, if not his wedding day, must supersede this X Factor moment? 

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Nevertheless, the importance of this most recent decision by the judges could not be more ignored. As L.A. Reid so poignantly put it, "This is either the first day of the rest of your life, or it's not." Hmm, unless not putting a contestant through to the next round also imposes immediate termination of said contestant, it would seem as though each day is the first day of the rest of one's life, regardless of whether that day includes moving into the posh home of a celebrity judge. But no one can blame the judges for starting to believe some of their own hype. If you repeat something enough times, regardless of its accuracy, it starts to become universally accepted as the truth. Just ask the presidential nominees. 

So after serious deliberations the judges got down to their task of assigning individuals or groups to the 24 slots available. This year, those slots were broken into the following four categories: Teens, Young Adults, Over 25s and Groups. (Am I the only one who noticed that last year's "Over 30" category had been traded in for the younger "Over 25?") This category process is an inherent flaw in The X Factor selection process since it places more importance on a contestant's demographic than their talent. The judges tried to compensate for this by taking those contestants who were not picked because of space limitations in their prospective category and forming them into groups and filling the remaining three open spots in the group category. This essentially means that although they still have no chance of winning, viewers still have the pleasure of watching their futile struggle to attain a goal that is unreachable.

The last order of business, after whittling it down to 24 acts, was to assign a mentor to each category. Reluctantly the judges handed the reigns over to the producers who would decide which judge would serve as a mentor for which category. Simon Cowell was assigned the group category, which essentially means that his chances of winning again this year have been vaporized. But Simon took it in stride, stating that he was at least happy for the contestants who received him as a mentor. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Mr. L.A. Reid who basically threw a temper tantrum when he was assigned the geriatric, or "Over 25" category. Both Demi Lovato and Britney Spears were grateful for their assignments, young adults and teens, respectively.

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