It’s the next day, and it’s still hard to move past the trauma we witnessed Rachel Crow going through last night on The X-Factor. It wasn’t just her trauma, either. It was clear it was being felt by everyone. Nicole Scherzinger perhaps was the one person who was nearly as visibly upset as 13-year-old Rachel. This is the second week in a row we have witnessed such a thing. It only makes everyone uncomfortable to watch it, but how do we solve it?
The overall problem with this is, of course, the entertainment value. Reality TV falls under entertainment. It’s not news, and it not informational. It’s supposed to be entertaining. While I was definitely entertained during the performances on Wednesday night, there wasn’t anything entertaining about watching a young girl break down sobbing and screaming. Absolutely nothing, and it makes me enjoy it that much less the next time.
Last week’s elimination was similar, although the disappointment of Drew was masked somewhat by Simon Cowell’s anger at the situation and his fellow judges. It came out later that he was somewhat blaming himself, as he had been choosing the songs for Drew himself, and the other judges were telling him he had to mix it up. He declined, and she was voted out.
The X-Factor doesn’t have a lock on dramatic eliminations. American Idol has become known for them. They make it dramatic on purpose, as they know it brings up the water cooler talk the next day and heightens the excitement. Sometimes it can be quite cruel, but the youngest person going through it is 16, not 13. They stopped making it quite so dramatic, and it could have been because of public backlash. Separating performers into groups and telling a single person they are safe, and telling them to guess which group they belong with is just flat out cruel.
During Rachel’s original audition, Simon explained they spent a long time deliberating how low to make the age minimum, and she was the reason why they made it the right age. He warned we should remember her name, as he knew we’d be hearing more about her. He also told her to get ready for a new bathroom.
This makes me wonder how Simon is feeling about that decision today. While he was one-hundred percent correct that not lowering the age would have prevented us from hearing Rachel’s amazing talent, it also means it would have prevented her from being slaughtered on live TV. That’s exactly what it was like, a lamb in a slaughter. I can only remember myself falling to my knees and sobbing one time in my life, and it was after a death in the family. Is that how devastating this was to Rachel?
I certainly don’t want to slam any parents, but I do have to question allowing your child to be subjected to this. I understand wanting to help your child pursue their dream, but if you knew this could be the outcome, would you still do it? My son tried to get me to let him audition for Idol. He’s a good singer, and wouldn’t be made fun of, but also wouldn’t have made it through. If he did, it would have been on his personality. I couldn’t allow him to be subjected to that, and when I said no, he called me a bad mom. I knew better. However, if I had a child with Rachel’s talent, would I have said no? If my son wanted to try out for something he was exceptional at, like comedy, would I have let him?
L.A. Reid had mentioned hearing rumors about Hollywood circling their wagons around Rachel. This very well could have hurt the vote for her Wednesday night, as people may have thought she didn’t need the record contract and the $5 million. Has there already been irreparable damage done, though? Will this girl ever feel the same about her talent? Will she be able to retain that same spunk?
I also keep thinking about Nicole Scherzinger. She struggled to make that decision. While she’s been extremely emotional throughout, it might not have been the only thing holding her back from a decision. She and Paula Abdul received death threats last week after they voted out Drew. It would have been hard to say goodbye to Marcus Canty, and that seemed to be the easy answer here, but Nicole chose to leave the decision in the hands of the viewers. Was it because of the death threats? She voted out Rachel only to make it a split vote and force the person receiving the lowest amount of votes into going home.
Every person there, it seemed, figured Marcus would be going home. Whether that’s what Nicole thought is unclear, but it’s certainly what Marcus thought. His eyes opened in wide disbelief when Rachel’s name was called as the act that was leaving. Being that it was his third time to the bottom two, it was assumable that he had the lowest votes. Is that what Nicole thought? Did she think she’d let the public tell him to go home instead of doing it herself? Simon believes that Nicole definitely was trying to soften the blow for Marcus.
Maybe that’s where we need to look for answers to be assured that it doesn’t happen again next season. While it makes for some fun competition between the judges to have them mentor their acts, maybe they need more than a celebrity judge for this when it concerns a child. It’s nothing against Simon, but is there more he could have done with Rachel to prepare her for this? He’s not a parent, and probably didn’t understand completely the impact it would have on her. He cared for her a great deal, but could he have done something more to help her be ready for possibly being eliminated?
Another possible answer could be not having the judges responsible for eliminating the acts if there are going to be young contestants involved. That at least gets Nicole out of having to make that horrible decision. Why not leave it up to a group of nameless viewers? That’s apparently what she decided to do in the end. It would have lessened the blow slightly if she and Marcus would have just been brought to the stage to receive the news and be done with it. It would have been better than the drama of being bottom two, singing for their survival, listening to every judge struggle with their decision, etc.
At first I thought I heard Rachel telling her mom who had rushed the stage that she had promised. I was worried her mom had promised her she wouldn’t be eliminated or something. Watching it back, it seems she is asking her to promise her, and this is after her mom is telling her it’s going to be okay. She wants her mom to promise her it’s going to be okay.
Is it going to be okay? I hope so. Certainly Hollywood will be circling their wagons even tighter around her, and that’s if Simon doesn’t get her signed to something before anyone else can get to her. She’d be perfect as a Disney star with that cute personality. I just hope she hasn’t been permanently damaged because of this and that she’ll be able to find the same enjoyment in entertaining others.
Rachel told her fans at the end, through her tears, that without them she is “nothing.” I certainly hope she doesn’t really believe that. While it definitely boosts her confidence, she is an amazingly talented, beautiful girl with or without the fans. When she sang I’d Rather Go Blind, she had so emotion packed into the performance. It seemed she was saying she would rather go blind than leave the show, and that was before being eliminated.
I don’t think any of these questions will be answered by next week, but I do know that I will find less enjoyment watching The X-Factor.