X Factor becoming crueller because we're bored of sob stories, psychologist claims

Standard-issue sob stories just don't cut the mustard anymore

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The Independent Culture

The producers of The X Factor are forced to come up with cruel twists because viewers have become immune to the usual parade of sob stories, according to a Chartered psychologist.

Dr Rick Norris claimed that innovations such as the X Factor's recent 'chair' feature are introduced to maintain high viewing figures.

ITV's flagship autumn show was criticised recently for the 'chair' twist in the boot camp stage.

Acts had to sing in front of a live audience, and if they did well, they were invited to take a chair at the side of the stage.

The six chairs were filled with good singers, but as more contestants came out to perform some unlucky hopefuls were booted from their seats.

Lily Allen commented on the twist, saying: "X Factor has got fully mean," while Strictly Come Dancing's Craig Revel Horwood branded it "inhumane".

Lydia Lucy, a contestants who was booted out of her chair, said: "If Simon Cowell was in front of me now I'd tell him to change the format back to how it was. This way is like dangling a carrot in front of someone and then taking it away."

Dr Norris said we might complain about the twists, but "the viewing figures don't lie".

He told the Daily Mail: "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.

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