Steve Jones’s weird hosting can be blamed on “producers screaming in [his] ear”

The X Factor host Steve Jones says that his barking hosting and weird demeanor is to blame on producers who feed him directions via an earpiece.

When the Fox competition started, I really liked him as a host, primarily because he was the anti-Ryan Seacrest, never making it about himself. I also appreciated how he policed the judging panel, and wouldn’t just let, say, Paula Abdul blabber on forever. But as the season unfolded, that turned into an oddly robotic, dictatorial host who just barks orders and seems unaware that he’s often disrupting reality as it unfolds. Also, he’s not good at asking the contestants questions, usually because he acts like interviews are something to check off once a contestant says a few words.

But a large part of that is the fault of the show’s producers, Steve said, because he’s a robo-host Appearing on Ellen DeGeneres’ show, on which he took off his shirt to try on a deep V shirt Ellen gave him, Steve explained:

“The producers screaming in my ear. I’m wearing an earpiece and there’s about five people screaming, ‘Shut Paula up. Shut her up now. Move on. I’m going to have hearing damage in this ear by the end of series. I feel terrible because I feel on occasions I’m coming across as rude and abrupt and that’s really not me. I cherish every word that comes out of Paula, for instance’s, mouth. But, you know, it’s a two-hour long show, we’re in limited time, and we need a conclusion, otherwise it will just kind of end and nothing will have happened.”

Ellen was sympathetic (“It’s a hard thing as a host to keep things going like that”), especially about Paula Abdul, and Steve joked, “She just talks and talks and talks, doesn’t she? Where’s the off button on this woman? Off! Next, please.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.