The X Factor and Reality Television: Beyond Good and Evil

Graham, Stephen. 2017. The X Factor and Reality Television: Beyond Good and Evil. Popular Music, 36(1), pp. 6-20. ISSN 0261-1430 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Reality television gets a raw deal. Despite huge popularity and lasting cultural impact, shows such as The X Factor, a British music competition that started screening in 2004, are seen by many as a cultural nadir. But I argue in this article that, whilst reading reality television as an index of an increasingly superficial, market-based culture makes a great deal of sense, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Using the particular music-based dramas of The X Factor as case study, I explore ways in which both this show and populist reality television in general might be seen to embody both the predicaments and potential pressure points of contemporary neoliberal culture.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Popular Music Research Unit


1 June 2016Accepted
13 December 2017Published Online
1 January 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

17 Nov 2016 17:52

Last Modified:

19 Nov 2019 13:06

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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