Does The X Factor really need a host?


As I watched these last few episodes of Fox’s ‘The X Factor,’ I realized that something was different. Then I realized that what was missing was the incessant meta-chatter in between auditions — in other words, there was no host. And I kind of liked it that way.


As I sat down to watch my three DVRed episodes of The X Factor yesterday, I noticed that there was no host for these past few episodes. I’d known Steve Jones was removed, and I like that decision because I though he was pretty robotic. I’ve heard rumors floating around about new hosts (Kardashian? ugh) as well as Mario Lopez (who I quite liked when he hosted America’s Best Dance Crew – although he’ll always be Slater to me).

But I actually liked the “no host approach” to these auditions. It felt a little more like a narrative without the annoying voiceover repeating things that have already been said, and there is less wasted time with the host onstage — meaningless banter, unnecessary announcements, repetitive interviews with contestants, and grating personalities.

However, what I found a little creepy was that the portions of the show happening in between the singing had that Real Housewives/The Hills/”scripted reality” show feel. The contestants talking smack about one another was dumb. Yet, I found the judges’ conversations in the dressing room/makeup room kind of endearing.

I guess when the host(s) return, I’ll be able to better see what I prefer. But I put this question out to my fellow Clackers: do you prefer The X Factor, or any talent competition really, with or without a host? Is a host actually needed when there are now tons of judges, all with unique (and sometimes clashing) personalities of their own? Here’s what they had to say.

Jeremy: I have found these episodes far more watchable than the first season — but the backstage stuff is really hit or miss. Sometimes it’s about the obvious villain setup which can be a bit tiresome, but the dynamic of the judges is a lot more interesting than with Nicole the Black Hole of Charisma.

Carla: I only watched the first episode last year and then a few minutes here and there. I’ve watch all of this season so far and I love the judges.

When the show moves to the live format it will have 2 hosts. Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez are the favorites, but Khloe’s running into contract problems with E! The other potential host is Corbin Bleu.

Me: Yeah, I actually really like Britney and Demi – more than I thought I would.

Tara: I covered this show last year. Here and there, I’ve caught moments, but I sat and watched it tonight.

Anyway, I guess I’m in the minority here, because Britney and Demi leave me cold. I guess anything is preferable to Nicole, as Jeremy pointed out. But Britney looks half dead even with twelve tons of makeup on, and I wonder why I should give a rat’s ass what Demi Whoever says.

The “Camina Burana” music in the background causing needless drama, and the canned and edited responses of the audience give it an even more false feel for something that was taped live. (The girls in the audience crying when they see Britney is just over the top.)

The absence of Steve Jones is welcome, I agree.

And even though I’ll love Simon forever, he seems like he’s trying to talk me into believing they’re finding the next “star” here. There’s no driving force here. Nothing to keep it moving and exciting. That’s why a host is desperately needed. Say what you will or won’t about Crusty, but he can keep you interested. Lord help us all if it’s a Kardashian. I’m not understanding host or judge picks for most of these singing shows lately.

I’m liking The Voice a lot better than this show. The blind auditions are fun.

Me: Tara, I feel exactly the same way about the music! That’s one of the main reasons I stopped watching The Biggest Loser.

Michael: Between The Voice and The X Factor, there sure is a lot of monkey business going on.

Hosts sometimes make the grandest of impressions … usually unintentionally.

  1. “Welcome to Skating With The ***** … !!!” Vernon exuded while spreading his hands out wide as could be and effectively losing his voice in the process for lack of a mike at the last word.
  2. “If you like watching stars fall over — and who doesn’t? — you’ve come to the right place!” Vern gushed at the start of the show.
  3. “Still standing — so far, so good!” Vern noted part way through!
  4. “Tune in next week for Round Two!” Vern cried as he held up all five fingers of his left hand

Shows need hosts. Please.

When Kardashian comes on, I don’t expect anything from her. I’m reserving judgment. I have no point of reference when it comes to those folks.

P.S. The Voice is killing me right now, what little I’ve seen of it. Christina‘s chest is falling out all over the place, Cee Lo is pointless, Adam is annoying as all get out, Blake is verging on ridiculous. I’m with Tara — thus far, Britney and Demi are lethargic and verging on Ellen Degeneres on Idol.

What do you think, viewers? Is The X Factor better off without a host, or would something crucial be missing?

Photo Credit: FOX

4 Comments on “Does The X Factor really need a host?

  1. I think having no host is more than fine during the auditions but once you reach the live shows I don’t see how you can’t have a host. Someone needs to introduce the contestants and even more importantly say who is going home and who wins. I can’t imagine a judge doing that.

    • That’s true. I guess my thought process didn’t go past these few episodes. Eliminations and introductions would be hard without a host. But I wish they would cut all the excess talking and wasting time …

      • Have you watched the X Factor? The host does not do contestant introductions. The host goes to the judge who puts up one of their acts. So NO you do NOT need a host to do introductions. The only thing you need the host for is to announce who the bottom 2 are that will be singing in the sing off, to announce who received the lowest number votes if the judges go to deadlock, remember the judges vote on the bottom 2 after they perform a sing off, and if the judges vote 3 to 1 the person who got 3 judges votes is eliminated. So if the judges ever got split down the middle you don’t need the host, another reason you might need a host is to cut the judges off when they talk to much, and to announce the winner. So the host is not really needed expect for 2 or 3 key reasons.

    • Have you ever watched the live shows on X Factor? The judges introduce the contestants. Not the host. The host goes to one of the judges and ask which act or contestant if you prefer that is performing so you don’t need a host for that. The only thing you need the host is to announce the bottom 2, cut the judges off if they are talking to much, to read the public vote of who is going home if the judges go to deadlock and to announce the winner.

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