Simon Cowell announced a crackdown on poorly constructed judges’ comments on X Factor today, after revealing that he has sought the advice of classical Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle in an attempt to boost ratings in forthcoming Series 14.
‘There’s nothing we can do about the talent pipeline, or the absence of any obvious baking or ballroom dancing elements to the format,’ announced Aristotle, aged 2400, and founder of the entertainment consultancy ‘it’s All Greek to me’. ‘But the comments from the panel consistently suck. Take Louis’ stock line, “You look good, you sounds good, you’re gonna be a star”. There’s no credibility, no logic. Where’s the use of emotional appeal? With the return of Nicole and Sharon, I’m really worried. Things haven’t been this bad since I quit the Lyceum Factor in 330 BC.’
Stress tests of the show’s key components revealed that few of the judges’ comments from Series 13 complied with all 5 of Aristotle’s Canons of Rhetoric, noted the duo. Indeed Louis failed to achieve a single observation that was strong on all the elements of invention, style, arrangement, delivery and memory.
In contrast, many of Simon’s wise words were given a clean bill of health, particularly his iconic “I didn’t like it, I loved it”. ‘This is a classic of the genre,’ gushed Plato, ‘enhanced by years of repetition and delivered with an increasingly mischievous sense of irony. Going forward, it’s mission critical that all judges now develop the bandwidth to reach Simon’s benchmark level.’
The duo have also recommended a series of other innovations for improving ratings. Plato has suggested a return to the Socratic method, with judges posing questions to contestants for up to five hours to ‘get to the fundamental truth of each act’, although he has remained silent on how ad breaks will be incorporated into this approach. Aristotle, ever the pragmatist, has proposed a higher specification car in the viewers’ prize draw and ‘even tighter trousers for Dermot.’
‘Listen, I found these guys surprisingly persuasive,’ admitted Cowell, ‘although they could start an argument in an empty room. They also suggested that some sort of shaming for poor oration, like you used to see in Ancient Greece, might motivate the judges. I told them not to worry on this count, as public humiliation was already written into the DNA of the show’.