X Factor’s singing and hosting: what in the hell?

Since the early days of American Idol, I’ve argued that it–along with other talent competition series, from Top Chef to Project Runway–aren’t primarily talent competitions, especially when the public’s vote is involved. They’re popularity contests for which talent is, at best, one data point, and that’s what makes them reality shows rather than mere talent competitions. Everything from personality to backstory to hotness plays a role.

Yet I was still blown away by the lack of talent on The X Factor‘s first live performance show last night, both in terms of the contestants and new host Khloe Kardashian, who couldn’t have seemed more out of place if she was wearing a Steve Jones mask for Halloween.

The singing was, at best, medicore, and at worst, atrocious. And I like shitty pop music! The worst offender was the final act, Emblem Three, a trio of hot teenage guys who act goofy and take off their shirts a lot. After they performed, L.A. Reid dropped his anti-Simon act and said the performance was a success, and Simon Cowell said, without a single bit of irony, “remember this night, because you are seeing a future superstar here.”

Really? This group? Because of this song?

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.