The X-Factor SA should have been the best show this show. It tried very hard every week, but it didn't reach it's full potential. And we blame SABC 1, writes Buhle Mbonambi.
The X-Factor franchise is one of the most popular around the world. Along with the Got Talent show, it's almost always big news which ever country gets hold of the rights to screen the show.
|Host, Andile Ncube.|
PIC: SABC 1/ The X-Factor SA
We were elated when word broke out that SABC 1 had secured the rights to stage the show in South Africa. Rapid Blue, the production company headed by Duncan and Kee-Leen Irvine, had purchased the rights to the show a couple of years back and had been shopping the show to the public broadcaster for some time. They could have easily gone to Mzansi Magic or M-Net for the show to be broadcast in those channels, but for it to be truly successful, they needed it to be on the biggest channel in South Africa and that happens to be SABC 1.
So when the show was announced, with much fanfare, including entertainment industry style launches and parties. A great host in Andile Ncube and surprising choices in Arno Carstens, Zonke Dikana and Oskido as judges, yet we soon made peace with that. After the promise that the show will be the best thing on our screen this year, we expected the show to be fireworks from the beginning. Alas, it wasn't.
There's a chance that the pool of talent on the show wasn't as great, especially in the beginning. However, having been to auditions, boot camp and the live shows, there were more than enough talented contestants to make the show a success. While the judges did make some questionable decisions (especially Zonke) there was enough talent on the show for it to compete with Idols which is the benchmark on talent shows in South Africa right now.
|X-Factor SA mentors, Arno, Zonke and Oskido|
PIC: SABC 1/ The X-Factor SA
It was a ratings success. For a 6pm on a Saturday, the show could have gotten more than 3 million viewers, however it's a weekend and unlike Sundays, where people are more relaxed and a preparing for work, Saturdays are a pretty hectic day. Yet if SABC 1 had a played a greater role in making sure the show was a success, including going on a PR blitz for the show, making sure that their contestants are featured on all their popular shows on sister channels, from the morning news and talk shows, Morning Live and Expresso, a Top Billing, Na Week and Selimathunzi feature. How about to tease the upcoming performances on another SABC 1 show, Live Amp?
By not being involved, the channel basically made the show a damp squib, which is not only unfair to the talent on the show, but to the viewers.
On the PR side of things, they let Total Exposure handle the publicity for the show, yet they didn't have someone from the company on hand during the live shows. There was nobody from SABC 1 on hand to assist whenever the media needed to interview contestants who had been eliminated after the show. Did the show even register to some of the SABC 1 PR people? It's disastrous the way they handled it.
|The X-Factor SA Top 9 finalists|
PIC: The X-Factor SA/ SABC 1
To make matters worse, they weren't at the finale last night. In what was supposed to be a moment of glory for them, they weren't even there. We expected to see all the SABC 1 head honcho's, like Maijang Sam Mpherwane (he was spotted in the audience, wearing a red t-shirt) and even SABC's Head of TV, Verona Duwarkah there. They should have been on stage during the final moment. yet they weren't.
Even at the press conference after the show, Mpherwane left for some private SABC party at the Hilton Hotel. Questions on whether the show will return for a second season, couldn't be answered because no one from the channel was there.
It's clear that SABC 1 didn't care much for the show. While it had great ratings (for Saturday) it didn't reach its full potential and the blame is lain squarely at the feet of SABC 1.
Oh and, where were the Top 10 contestants of the show during the finale? :/
Shame on you, SABC 1, shame on you!