Could it be readers? Could our favourite show in the world actually be one big lie? There have always been rumours loitering around The X-Factor USA about possible “planted” contestants – and no, we don’t mean cacti with brilliant vocals. Celeb Dirty Laundry did some sneaking around and we came up with several remarkable X-Factor secrets.
First, let us define the definition of “planted contestants”. A planted contestant would be a vocalist who is included in the audition, boot camp and live rounds. These contestants are usually planted by the producers of the show in order to: 1 – Up the production value of the show with a specific back story. 2 – Offer a melting pot of vocalists and personalities to the audience at home. 3 – Create drama on the show (Kaci Newton). 4 – To put the control back in Simon Cowell’s hands and deliver an eventual winner which he pre-chose for the show to bring about amazing record sales for Syco.
Are these mere conspiracy theories drummed up by fallen pre-audition contestants? Are these “plants” made self-aware of their plant status (Plants vs. Zombies)? Are there any pre-mentioned clauses in their “plant” contracts? Is this the Little Shop of Horrors? It could be.
What could this mean to the integrity of our favourite show on the planet? Well, firstly, it’s fraudulent to dupe viewers into believing they’re “changing someone’s life”. Secondly, this completely takes the “reality” out of reality television. Lastly, X-Factor just isn’t picking up in the viewership numbers, so if these rumours were to be more cemented, it could be the final death blow to Simon Cowell’s television career.
Let’s take a look at the other side of the argument. There were rumours during the first season that the gospel-infused-wailing-scream-eyed Stacy Francis was actually one of these planted contestants. Popdust wrote an article about this conspiracy and made it glaringly obvious that Stacy Francis was not a plant, “So when people call Francis a plant, what they’re really saying is that they don’t like what they’ve been shown of her personality; that she isn’t what they think an ideal contestant should be. She’s too effusive, too emotional, too much of a diva. ‘Plant’ has always been shorthand for ‘contestant you don’t like.’” They make a valid point and we so wish to believe them, but we’re not too sure anymore. Celeb Dirty Laundry found the spoiler list of contestants for this year and we’re not going to affront you with a surge of names and goody-two shoes promotional images, but one thing we know for certain, several of these “contestants” seem too good to be true. Several of these contestants seem to be pulled straight from a Hollywood casting call and most of them have resumes which span for centuries. One of the final contestants in this season was a member of the now defunct inTENsity, a group which failed so miserably during season one that not even Simon Cowell, in all his glorious wisdom, could save them. They were a super group which left early and died in the death rattle of over-stylized pop tunes. Is this a case of second chances? If we’re not mistaken, most reality television talent shows have a “live round” and/or “top 12” clause in the contracts, which states that a contestant may not audition again if they made it to a certain point in the competition, otherwise the talent pool would be recycled every year. Why did this specific contestant then get another chance? Yes, we know he made it through as part of a super group after auditioning solo, but does this clause then not apply to him? He was still “an act that made it through to the final live rounds”. Was inTENsity so miserable and relentless that the producers decided to toss one of their fallen members into the second season mix? We can just imagine how this contestant’s back story might be produced in the future episodes…
We’re not blaming it on her, nor are we saying that she is a “plant”, but 21-year-old Paige Thomas made it through to American Idol’s 10th and 11th season Hollywood rounds. Yes, we do understand that the talent pool is divided by The X-Factor USA, The Voice and American Idol, but doesn’t someone also smell some Fantasia Barrino boogie? Fantasia was 19-year-old, with a daughter, at the time of her American Idol win. Simon, having production and casting agent connections on both Idol and X-Factor, might have reached into the historic reality television pool and whipped out a very familiar back story.
We’re not saying yes, nor are we saying no, but it is definitely something to think about when we’re watching the future episodes of The X-Factor USA. Even if it were completely and solidly true, we’d still be watching every week to see the “plants” sing their crying little blossoms off. Let us know in the comments below what you think. If you auditioned for X-Factor USA this season, please also share your war story in the comments.