The talent show hit our screens on Saturday night and has already come under fire for suspected use of the tuning-tool on favourite auditionees
Uh oh. The X Factor was back on our screens on Saturday night, but the annual talent show has already come under fire for suspected use of auto-tuning on the judge’s favourite contestants – to make their voices sound
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Complaints started pouring in after the show’s broadcast this weekend, with hundreds of angry fans posting messages on Facebook, Twitter and the official X Factor websites.
And now politicians and music industry experts have been left fuming, after a spokesperson for the programme admitted that sound is ‘edited and dubbed’ in post-production.
‘The judges make their decisions at the audition stage based on what they hear on the day, live in the arena,’ they said.
‘The footage and sound is then edited and dubbed into a finished programme, to deliver the most entertaining experience possible for viewers.’
Suspicions of voice-doctoring first arose with judge’s favourite, 18-year-old Gamu Nhengu, from Zimbabwe – who’s rendition of Walking On Sunshine seemed noticeably different from original preview tapes.
Other contestants including G & C’s Caroline – who was forced to ditch partner Peter in order to get through to the next round – and Shirlena Johnson, who performed her take on Duffy’s Mercy – are also thought to have been tweaked with auto-tuning to make them sound more favourable to audiences.
‘What a con’, one angry watcher wrote on Facebook. ‘Do the producers think our ears are that easily lied to? The whole point is to disseminate the good from the bad.’
‘Thank God I’m not the only one who’s noticed this,’ posted another. ‘To be honest it shocks me how a ‘singing competition’ can deceive it’s listeners in this way.’
Another X Factor spokesperson also conceded that tampering had taken place, saying: ‘This is not used in the live shows but purely for the audition phase. It has always been part of the show for pre-recorded items.’
‘Whether people are more savvy to auto-tuning now than they have been, we’re not sure. Every contestant is treated in the same way, if they have a dreadful voice, they still have a dreadful voice.’
Auto-tuning technology is commonly used in studios to improve the sound of vocals, by correcting pitching mistakes.
One music industry insider has said that the technique is often used on American television talent shows in particular – but that normally the audience wouldn’t be able to tell, unless it was used in a particularly obvious way.
What do you think of the X Factor’s apparent use of auto-tuning? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below!