I used to love The X Factor. I won’t say it was my favorite show on television, but I watched every episode live or at least the night of for the first two seasons and the beginning of this one. I was not only super on board that ship, I even wrote numerous articles defending everything from hosts to format changes, but over the past few months, I’ve ever so slowly changed my tune, to the point where I’m now ready to admit what so many have long thought: The X Factor is a complete mess that needs change desperately.

There are simply too many problems to overcome, and even worse, those in charge don’t seem to recognize what those problems are. Despite offering several new ideas to the larger singing competition genre, the show puts out a product that, more often than not, is frustrating, repetitive and sophomoric. It’s just not good television and rather than steadily improving, it’s bizarrely getting worse almost by the episode. Simon Cowell has assured fans the program will be back for round four next year, but at this point, I’m not even sure that’s a good thing.

Here are 6 gigantic, X Factor-sized problems producers need to solve immediately if they want the show to stop pissing off fans and start building a wider base of supporters.

Way Too Many Pauses
You know how reality competitions love teasing who is about to go home and then saying, “You’ll find out after the break”? X Factor does that constantly. Even worse, the producers seem to have instructed the judges to take at least three minutes each when figuring out who to eliminate. They hem. They haw. They make all kinds of apologies to who they’re about to eliminate, even when the right decision couldn’t be more obvious. Sometimes one of the judges will even pull this bullshit when he or she is choosing between one of their own players and someone random.

Are you kidding? Honestly. We all know you’re going to choose the singer you’ve mentored for the entire season. Just vote to send the other contestant home and move the fuck on. The dramatic pause only works if the ending is in doubt.

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