BBC Newsbeat have reported that at least half of this year’s twelve X Factor finalists were scouted before the show and asked to audition.A spokesperson for the show told the BBC that all acts had to go through the same process but that some had been asked by researchers although producers insist that the judges were not told which of the acts had been invited to audition.
This year a new rule was introduced into the show’s online application process which the show claim has helped producers source new talent.
The terms and conditions stated: “please note that outside of this application process, acts may also be invited to audition for the programme by researchers acting on behalf of the producer.
“Such acts will be required to go through the audition process and normal programme rules will apply.”
The show have also confirmed that producers held earlier auditions to scout new talent outside of the public application process. However they stress that these acts were not guaranteed to get through to later rounds.
Finalists are now free to reveal whether or not they had been scouted before X Factor 2012. So far only Jahmene Douglas and duo MK1 have admitted that they were approached. MK1 were made aware of the auditions by their record company.
Contestants were also allowed to have had management deals too in this year’s competition with singers Kye Sones and Melanie Masson among those with previous professional music careers.
Another change to the present X Factor series is that artists can now perform their own music rather than just covers. In fact, some of this year’s entrants have made it into the finals on the back of their own strong, individual songwriting voice.
Sheffield based singer songwriter, Lucy Spraggan, is one of this year’s most popular favourites thanks to her heartfelt songs about real life, and has enjoyed comparisons with the likes of Frank Turner. She has also had to take her music off sale online as part of the terms and conditions of the show and audition process.
Controversy and criticism have never been far away from X Factor and similar shows in the past.
Earlier this year, a contestant Zoe Alexander, who works as a Pink cover singer, flew into a rage claiming she had been set up and asked to sing songs by the Just Like A Pill singer for her audition.
Previous series have also been hit with accusations of auto-tune, lip-syncing and claims of vulnerable contestants having their mental health exploited for entertainment and ratings.
Some critics also claim that shows like the X Factor are often less about the talent of contestants, focusing more on emotive back stories and tabloid popularity.
Defenders of these shows however point to the careers of Will Young, Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke who all got their breaks in such contests. Previous X Factor finalists, One Direction, are currently being lauded as the biggest pop band in the world after conquering the US charts.
With finances tight and opportunities scarce, many musicians are increasingly throwing their lot in with reality TV shows to try and grab the professional music careers they dream of. Following the launch of the Live Music Act, could there soon be a renaissance in local, live music events and gigs as a platform for exciting new talent?
What do you think of X Factor and other TV music talent shows? Are they a force for good and a route to success for talented members of the public or a negative influence on the music industry, real musicians and grassroots music making?