“Thank you for this platform”–Lessons from an X Factor Diva

First, I have to say I hate X Factor. Hate.

The shows run ridiculously, unnecessarily long, sandwiched by overstretched commercial breaks. And they fill it with empty banter from a British and unnecessary not-Ryan-Seacrest, rehash the same clips about the contestants each week, and ask stupid questions that get the same generic questions from all of them (How badly do you want to win X Factor? Really really bad!).

You can watch every episode and still not know how the big picture is going to play out. They give you only the next step. I swear they did this on purpose so they can change it at whim.

And the judges. They’ve obviously been coached to heckle each other, but it comes out awkward and forced. Because there’s very little to heckle about. Simon’s a horrid actor, so when he has to create moments for the camera (like when he realized he’d “made an awful mistake” last week), it’s really obvious. And LA Reid continues to do his best (horrible) Simon impression by saying really inappropriate things. Like that time he told a 14-year-old girl her audition made him want to slit his wrists. Mhm.

But it drew out some amazing talent, and I’m in love with them (Drew! Stacey Francis! Astro!), and I can’t stop watching. So last night, instead of reading and going to the gym, I sat and watched two and a half hours of X Factor antics.

Last night each category (boys, girls, over 30s, groups) had to make cuts after live performances. Then the loser had to stand on stage and have a conversation with not-Ryan-Seacrest and answer questions like “How do you feel?” I think I can guess.

Of course, people are people, and that makes them unpredictable. So there were a few I could not have guessed. The sweet little Brewer Boys apologizing to Paula for not living up to her expectations (You exceeded them! she cried). Dexter stating that he felt confused. Confused?

And Simone Battle. Simone who said simply “Thank you for this platform,” and announced she was launching her first original music video on YouTube that night.

For about five seconds, I was put off by her confidence. We’re not used to seeing people confident in the face of rejection. And this was a huge, public rejection.

But then a second wave came over me. You go girl. Simone’s move was bold, and it was smart. She knew that she didn’t need to win X Factor to become a star. She needed to build an audience to become a star. X Factor was a great tool to build that audience whether she won or not. She planned ahead, prepared for all possible outcomes, and made the very most of the opportunity in front of her.

Because as an artist, that’s what you do. Not everyone will love you. Not everyone needs to. You make the most of every opportunity you get. You learn everything you can. You keep on going, you keep on creating.

And besides, she did say thank you. She didn’t tell anyone off, she didn’t get all “You just made a huge mistake, eat my dust.” She just wasn’t going to let it phase her.

Now, that’s a true diva. Rock it, Simone.


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