Monday, March 16, 2015

When Criticism Goes Too Far

Very rarely am I compelled to write immediately after reading/seeing something.

Today is the exception.

There is a musical reality show called "The X Factor" which, like "American Idol," has shows in different countries all over the world.

While I have watched American Idol I have not watched The X Factor so I cannot really say much about the show.

I do know both shows have judges who critique aspiring singers.

Most singers do understand that by going to auditions and perhaps making it to the actual show their singing will be criticized.

This is sometimes difficult for those singers whose families and friends have been telling them for years what WONDERFUL singers they are all their lives when in reality they are not very good at all.

Criticism comes with the territory of the music business.

This is a given.


Early on I did watch American Idol - the Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson seasons.

I admired the usually constructive criticism that the 3 judges would mete out. 

Simon Cowell would always get boos for his comments, but professionally/musically-speaking he was often dead on with his critique.

While he did lack tact many times, his critiques - though seemingly harsh - were usually music-based, not personal attacks.

Sure, he made comments about someone's appearance or weight, but in the music business those, sadly, are a reality.

[Sometimes I long for the early day of radio when musicians were  lauded for their voice and their abilities because appearances were not relevant.

I was just commenting about a radio host's appearance on a TV news channel and how coiffed he looked for, stereotypically, radio personalities are not concerned about appearances.]


Today I read about two judges, a husband and wife team, who had been fired from their jobs judging New Zealand's show of the X Factor.

The two have been accused of bullying the contestant. Calls for their firing swamped the TV network that broadcast the show which, in turn, called for their removal by the production company.

The article quoted excerpts of each one's critique of a contestant. Though the excerpts seemed harsh I, wanting to give the benefit of the doubt, wanted to see them within the context of when they occurred so I turned to my trusty friend Youtube. 

The video below is what I found. What do you think?

As for me I am HORRIFIED and SICKENED by how they attacked the singer.

And I'm just watching a video after the fact.

I felt the singer handled himself quite well during the onslaught.  As incredulous as I felt watching the video I cannot imagine being the one standing there at that moment.

The video does not include the singing, but regardless of how the singer sounded, a professional, competent judge should never respond the way these two judges did.

The old saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything." is not always possible in the role of judge.

However, there are ways to get one's point across without overstepping the boundaries of professional criticism.

These two - who I won't mention here because they do not deserve any further publicity - went too far.

The singer - oh, his name is Joseph Irvine.

You can see his audition for The X Factor here.

This makes me think that his performance was probably quite passable.

[You'll also note that the same judges who tore him apart in the first video actually gushed about him over and over in this video.

That also sickened me.]


I do not believe a person should be led on to believing they have talent when it is lacking, but I do believe there are kinder, gentler ways to impart negative critiques.

These judges showed how NOT to critique a performer.

There you have it.

One of the few rants you will see on this blog.

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