The new season of The X Factor has started, and with it comes talent, drama, and the U.S. version of the show. Simon Cowell, creator of the successful reality TV show, decided it was time to take The X Factor across the Atlantic, and so The X Factor (US) was born.What makes this show so successful? It has proven to have an impact on the viewers in the United Kingdom, but what makes Cowell sure it will do the same in the United States? These questions can be answered by looking at cultural diffusion, and the unwritten rules of the shows subculture.
The X Factor (UK), broadcast on ITV1, consists of four celebrity judges, and the contestants. The contestant must be at least 16 years old to audition. After the auditions, each judge is given a certain category to mentor, Girls, Boys, Over 25s, or Groups. The U.S. version of the show differs slightly form the original format, with the age of the contestants starting at 12, and the Over 25 category extended to the Over 30 category.
We can say that The X Factor is being culturally diffused, because the show is a subculture that belongs to a different society and it is being adapted by another society. By taking the show to the Unites States, Cowell is diffusing the subculture amongst another group of Westerners. How is it being diffused? It is diffused through mass media, of course. The show is broadcast to a large audience and is sending out a message to them. The message can be seen as entertainment, competition, or going after one’s dreams.
Within the subculture of The X Factor there are certain unwritten rules of the show that have remained the same in both versions of the show. This could be due to a secret formula that seems to attract audiences in the Western world. There are always those with the touching stories, and the freaks who are talentless but are put through for the sake of audiences. The contestants are all competing against each other, and so are the judges. Everyone wants to be the winner, and from what I’ve seen that is an outlook that is very popular in the Western world. I doubt North Korea would want to have its own version of the show promoting the ideology of winner takes it all.
The X Factor has disseminated its culture to the United States, and the reason why is because it has adapted to their interests. At the same time the show didn’t change drastically, this could be due to the fact that both shows are from Western countries, but nevertheless it was altered to fit into a different society.