The X Factor?

August 21, 2010, 1:19 AM GMT+0

A new year's worth of X Factor fever is nearly upon us, and almost half (43%) of British adults plan to watch the popular reality show when the new series returns to TV screens this Saturday, a survey has found. However, nearly a third (32%) believes that the programme, which launched the careers of Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke, serves merely to mock the eccentric, and more worryingly, the vulnerable.

The show, which sees celebrity judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole decide the fate of thousands of young hopefuls dreaming of superstardom, looks set to receive a warm welcome back from the public with so many planning to watch it. Interestingly, results indicate that it is more popular among women and young people, with over half of British adult females (57%) say that they are planning to watch the show compared to just 30% of men. While 53% of 18-29 year-olds say that they intend to tune into ITV at 7.30pm to see the first auditions, a smaller 34% of over 60s do.

Despite the show's huge popularity, some people have criticised how auditions for The X Factor are broadcast, accusing the programme of deliberately humiliating people and mocking the eccentric and vulnerable. However, others think it is legitimate entertainment, and that all those who audition for The X Factor choose to do so in the knowledge that they may be criticised by the judges. While the majority (51%) of the British adult population believes that there is nothing wrong with The X Factor auditions and that it is legitimate entertainment, a significant 32% agree that The X Factor auditions are actually just ‘a modern day freak show’, which ‘mock vulnerable or eccentric people’.

However, there’s no denying that The X Factor is clearly very popular. With the new series beginning this weekend and set to run up to Christmas in anticipation of the yearly battle for Christmas Number 1, it remains to be seen which aspiring songster really does have ‘the X factor’. Watch this space.

Survey details and full results

(Incidentally the prediction of Will Young’s win on The X Factor’s predecessor Pop Idol was YouGov’s first poll subject in 2002. We correctly predicted, against all odds, that Will Young would pip runner-up Gareth Gates to the post.)