X-Factor Competitors – How Young Is Too Young?

in Culture, Editor's Corner

Rachel Crow X-Factor

When Rachel Crow collapsed onstage during last night’s X-Factor episode, in a heap of complete devastation, tears welled in my eyes. I wasn’t sad because she had been eliminated – my favorite has always been Josh Krajcik and Chris Rene is growing on me week by week. Both of them are still in the competition.

I had tears in my eyes because I was saddened by her reaction, which I strongly feel is the exact reaction a normal 13 year old would have. And that’s the problem. She’s 13 years old.

She’s 13 years old, competing for a $5 million record deal with adults. Maybe that’s no big deal, but I remember being 13. 13 is pretty young, and I think as a society we are so enamored with the talents of the young that we refuse to accept the idea that they may not be able to handle the lows that come with the territory.

The reality is that only one person is going to win. One. Whether you go out #5, #4, #3, or #2, the fact remains that you are not number one and you are not the winner.

When Rachel Crow collapsed in tears, my belief is that it was out of shock that she was indeed not the winner. And that was too much for her to handle. Her tears and cries were massive – as if something or someone had died – and hearing her cry, “Mommy! Mommy!” absolutely put me over the edge.

At that moment, she was a small child and what she had just experienced was a little too adult.

Another Young Emotional X-Factor Collapse – Astro

Rachel Crow wasn’t the only youngster to fall apart on the show. Just a few weeks ago, another young X-Factor competitor, Astro, exhibited a similar immature reaction to discovering he was simply not considered the best. He hadn’t even been voted off (yet) when his youthful colors began to show. He had simply fallen into the bottom two that week, and he pouted, and almost refused to sing for his life.

During the auditions, young Astro did refuse something – he refused to dance along with the other contestants because that “was not his thing.” For whatever reason, he made it through.

How Young Is Too Young?

I understand why producers and creators decided to open the X-Factor to such young competitors. It’s sort of like Star Search – which lasted for years and years. Surely, many young tantrums were had behind the stage. Children are still children. But in Star Search, there were categories, and if you won your category, you were a star.

Maybe the X-Factor ought to adopt categories – where there is an actual winner – or, they ought to create a whole new show just for the younguns.

As a parent, I feel they’re too young. I don’t like the idea of reducing them to their talent already. Rachel said something so disturbing that I will never forget it. She said of her fans, tearfully, “Without you, I am nothing.”

Dear Rachel – not quite. The X-Factor competition is a brief moment in your life. You were a beautiful, talented young girl before this and remain one now. Your fans have nothing to do with that.

I hope she and her mom have a long conversation about this and that she takes some time off before being recreated by Hollywood talent sharks. Let’s let her grow up a little bit, shall we?

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