How To Fix 'X Factor's' Live Shows

The Insider

Weeks of auditions have all led to ..... this?

The X Factor went live last night as all the contestants performed for America's vote (but not really because the judges are in charge of eliminations this week) and I was hugely, massively, profoundly, underwhelmed. I mean, it's incredibly telling when a show's biggest headline the next day is about the co-hosts perky nipples.

PHOTO - Britney Roleplays in Sexy New Ad

But lets get constructive about the show's two most problematic elements:

1. Overproduced
One of the biggest complaint fans had about season one was the unnecessary amount of production that went into every performance. From dancers to smoke machines to stage decor, every performance was like the final song at on Lady Gaga's biggest tour to date. You've got to earn a full gospel choir.

I had hoped season two would scale back a bit on the spectacle, at least in the beginning. Well, we learned this would not be the case the instant Paige Thomas opened the show dressed as Sorceress of Castle Grayskull from Masters of the Universe.

Honestly, my friends and I wondered if the whole show would feature the contestants in Halloween costumes.

2. Overprotected
Simon Cowell has never been one to coddle contestants. So imagine my surprise to see all four judges biting their tongues and doling out questionable compliments to the less-than-stellar performances that assaulted our ears last night. Does Sister C really fill a void in the industry, Demi? And Britney ... oh my beautiful Britney, we have to talk.

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All my pre-show fears were realized last night as Miss. Spears came off as stiff, uninteresting and blander than a kale cleanse in the live environment. Even in areas where she'd grown comfortable during the auditions (critiquing contestants), she regressed and spent the whole night dishing out the same post-performance reviews.

Also, I know the arena is loud (another note for the producers, somehow keep the screaming to a minimum because it's annoying to those of us at home, too) but how can Britney seriously wear earplugs all night long when she's judging a singing competition. Granted, the plugs kind of explain her irrelevant critiques since she probably couldn't hear anything in the first place, but if you spend all this money to get Britney on the panel, craft the live shows to work with her "disadvantages."

Am I abandoning The X Factor? Of course not. I'm still invested in the futures of Jennel Garcia, Diamond White and a few other contestants, but the show needs to tinker with the formula, because at this moment, X gets an F.

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