I recently got a glimpse of season 2 of “The X Factor (U.S)“, another “star making” vehicle filling Simon Cowell’s retirement fund. The show is hosted by Mario Lopez and Khloé Kardashian, it features 16 acts that are mentored by Britney Spears (teens), Demi Lovato (young adults), L.A. Reid (over 25s) and Cowell (groups). The winner will receive a $5 million recording contract and instant stardom..at least for a few months.
Right now three acts remain: a 37year old country singer, a group act consisting of 15 to 19year olds and a 13year old named Carly Rose Sonenclar. The latter wasn’t even the youngest in her category as 3 out of 4 teen acts were 13years old during filming. The girl has a beautiful voice no doubt there but i can’t be the only one who thinks putting 13year old children on television is wrong and harmful? I remember when i was thirteen we could still play and have fun and be silly whereas girls now seem to have to and want to look and act like lolitas. There comes a point when it stops being cute when kids try to look and act like grownups and it becomes downright creepy (and fodder for pervs).
I refuse to acknowledge the counter argument (made by adults) that some kids are just mature for their age and can cope with the pressure cause even brain development actively continues until you are in your mid 20s, so you are not even physically and definitely not mentally ready for it. Recently a nurse in England committed suicide after being prank called by two DJs, the media attention that followed was too much for her..and she was an adult many years into her profession. And lets face it, media attention has become a double edged sword, for every “I love (insert name)” page there are another two “I hate (insert name) and i wish they were dead”. In the 21st century Internet age where image is everything a gorgeous voice does not shield you from scrutiny about your appearance or in fact anything you ever say or do. Additionally, the process of other people phoning in every week to decide if you are good enough to continue or you were the worst, can easily shatter the self esteem of even an adult. Kids don’t see shows like “The X Factor” as stepping stones to enhance their public visibility or simply give their best, for them it is all or nothing, winning or losing. If she wins, the pressure to perform according to expectations will be overwhelming, if she loses than she was not good enough. A lose-lose situation.
Let us live by example: Britney Spears was cast in “The Mickey Mouse Club” at age 11 and signed a record deal at age 15 and she has coped well with the pressure, didn’t she? Demi Lovato was in rehab at age 18 and said publicly that she quit her TV show “Sonny with a Chance” as “(her) eating disorder would make (her) nervous being on camera every week”. You can always claim that they would have had issues no matter what but i can imagine all the attention didn’t help. Oh and don’t forget Khloe Kardashian, while it is true that her claim to fame was mostly due to her sister making a sextape, the 5ft 10inch stunner has been called fat ever since the name Kardashian entered pop cultural vocabulary.
I am just saying that if a contestant can’t access their price money due to their age then they are too young to have taken part in the first place! Why the hurry? Sonenclar is young, talented and a child. Therefore she should be allowed to have a childhood as normal as it is possible in today’s society. Her dreams won’t run away from her but education and the chance to learn and cope with life’s little things will. No one can stop her taking on the pressure that comes with being a celebrity in five years time but until then i cannot enjoy shows featuring kids as young as her.