Societal

X Factor producers are deliberately creating crueller twists because viewers are becoming ‘immune to the sob stories’, claims psychologist

By  Anna Hodgekiss

PUBLISHED: 11:29 EST, 8  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 14:03 EST, 8 October 2013

The X Factor producers are forced to create  cruel twists to the competition because viewers are becoming immune to sob  stories, a psychologist has claimed.

Chartered psychologist Dr Rick Norris  believes that programme makers have to keep shocking the audience to keep up  high viewing figures.

The X Factor has been heavily criticised for  introducing a new ‘musical chairs’ style selection process to the  competition.

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The X Factor producers are forced to create cruel twists  to the competition because viewers are becoming immune to sob stories, a  psychologist has claimed. Pictured are judge Nicole Scherzinger and contestant  Hannah Barrett

 

 

The new format sees 100 contestants battling  it out for just 24 places where each of the four judges give their favourite  contestants one of their six seats.

But in a cruel twist they are allowed to  replace them later in the show with a better singer.

The new format was blasted by a number of  viewers, with some branding the system as “cruel” and “disgusting”.

Dr Norris, author of Think Yourself Happy,  said: ‘These type of shows are playing with people’s emotions, hopes and  expectations.

‘On the X Factor, all of the contestants are  asked ‘how much does this mean to you?’ and almost every contestant cried when  answering.

 

“It’s actually an irrelevant question and it  seems as though we’re becoming obsessed with a sob story rather than someone’s  genuine talents and passion to become a singer.

“Some people do have incredibly harrowing  stories but after a while you are less likely to sympathise with them because  you’ve heard so many.

“This is why TV producers keep upping the  ante and adding these cruel twists to their shows.

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Psychologist Dr Norris said: ‘These type of shows are  playing with people’s emotions, hopes and expectations,’ such as 16-year-old  Nicholas

“Television programme makers are placing an  emphasis on getting high viewing figures and distasteful acts like this will do  just that.

“The viewing figures don’t lie. This is what  people want to watch.

“We’re constantly seeing people being put in  awkward situations and that evokes certain emotions within us as an  audience.”

The psychologist cited a number of other  shows, including Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, where set  ups are used to provoke arguments between contestants.

Dr Norris added: “Big Brother is a classic  example. In the earlier years everyone got on very well and it made for some  pretty dull viewing.

“As a result, producers started to set up  situations that would provoke arguments between contestants and these set-ups  get worse every year.

“The Apprentice is just the same. Contestants  slag each other off just to avoid being fired.

“We have found that there is a lot of  entertainment to be had in watching things that are quite cruel and distasteful  which is why ideas are getting worse every year.”

Only Fools and Horses star  Nicholas Lyndhurst recently voiced his concerns for the state of British  television, condemning the “cruel bedlam” of reality TV shows.

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