The X Factor Final
ITV1, 11 December 2010, 19:00 (repeated 12 December 2010, 09:30)
The X Factor Final was the climax of the seventh series of this popular talent show.
While viewers waited for the voting to be concluded and the announcement of the name of the act which had made it through to the Sunday final show, the
programme featured two well known singers. One, Rihanna, performed her latest song, What's My Name , at 20:32 in a dress which was removed by a dancer during the performance to reveal a strapless top and high waisted pants. Later at 20:47
Christina Aguilera sang the song Express from the film Burlesque in which she stars. This featured the singer with a number of dancers performing in a burlesque- style of dance and dress.
Ofcom received 2,868 complaints that the
performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera were too sexually explicit for broadcast before the 21:00 watershed. Some considered that The X Factor was a family show and that the content of both performances was not suitable for children
to view before the watershed. With reference to both performances complainants commented that they [Rihanna and Christina Aguilera] performed in a very sexual manner and the content was too sexually explicit and inappropriate for the young
audience of this show . With specific reference to Christina Aguilera's performance, complainants expressed concern that: the dancing, costumes and tone were sexually explicit and at odds with the watershed which should seek to protect children
from sexualisation and there were extremely revealing background dancers performing indecent dance moves .
Approximately 2,000 of the 2,868 complaints about this programme were received following coverage about the performances in a
daily national newspaper. The newspaper coverage reported on concerns that the performances were too explicit for a family programme, and included a number of still images of the performances. However, from a comparison of the images it is clear that the
photographs that were published in the newspaper were significantly more graphic and close-up than the material that had been broadcast in the programme, and had been taken from a different angle to the television cameras. Readers of the newspaper would
have therefore been left with the impression that the programme contained significantly more graphic material than had actually been broadcast.
Rule 1.3: Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is
justified by the context...
Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach...Just...
In considering this case, Ofcom took into account that The X Factor is a Saturday night programme which many families sit down together to watch.
With reference to Rihanna's performance (which commenced at 20:32), Ofcom noted that she began in a long wrap-around dress and approximately half way through the routine the dress was removed by a dancer to reveal a strapless top and high- waisted pants.
Rhianna's dance routine had some mildly sexual overtones and included images of her gyrating and rocking her buttocks. However, it was largely shot at a wide angle to show all of the dancers on the stage and from a distance. Where there were close
ups of Rhianna, these focussed on her front or her head and shoulders, not her exposed back. Additionally, the camera panned quickly and continuously throughout the performance, resulting in the shots of the individual dance movements of both Rihanna and
her dancers being very brief.
Ofcom was therefore of the view that, taken as a whole, the performance by Rihanna was presented in a style which would not have exceeded the likely expectations of the audience either on 11 December between 20:30 and
21:00 or the following morning from 09:30. With reference to the content, the performer and the dancers were in Ofcom's opinion adequately dressed with clothing covering their buttocks. The part of the dance routine which featured some gentle thrusting
of the buttocks by Rihanna was in keeping with her performing style, suitably limited and brief in duration, and in Ofcom's view was suitable for a pre-watershed audience.
Ofcom concluded therefore that this material was appropriately scheduled
and the broadcaster complied with Rule 1.3.
Christina Aguilera's performance
Ofcom considered that this performance taken as a whole was sexualised in nature to some extent. The outfits of some of the dancers were revealing, with limited
coverage of the buttocks, and were of a sexualised nature because they were based on lingerie such as basques, stockings and suspenders. The outfits, taken together with dance positions featuring thrusting buttocks and women bent over chairs, resulted in
a routine which aimed to reflect the essence of burlesque but contained sexualised elements. Taken individually, some of these images may not be uncommon in programmes broadcast pre-watershed. The routine however had a number of simultaneous, sexualised
elements concentrated into a relatively short period of time and there was therefore a cumulative effect.
We note the explanation given by Channel TV that its control over the detailed nature of the performance itself was limited in this case. In
such circumstances, broadcasters must take particular care to employ other measures to retain independence of editorial control. In this case, we acknowledge that Channel TV had sought to minimise the potential for offence by taking other measures, such
as particular camera angles. Therefore, while the dancers did adopt some sexualised positions intermittently as described above, Ofcom noted that shots of these poses were fleeting, as is expected in a fast paced routine. Additionally, the performance
was largely shot at a wide angle to show all of the dancers on the stage and from a distance – minimising the potential impact.
Importantly, throughout the routine there were no close-up shots of individual dancers so the viewer was not drawn to
any one dancer's clothing or actions in detail. The dancers were in effect a backdrop to Christina Aguilera, who was not wearing similar clothing or following the same dance routine. For all these reasons, the impact of the dancers on-screen was
Ofcom considered that there was editorial justification for the type of costumes that the dancers were wearing, and the style of the dance routine overall. They reflected the burlesque-theme and storyline of the feature
film Burlesque in which Christina Aguilera starred, and which was shortly due to go on general cinematic release at the time of this broadcast. However, the overtly sexual nature of the burlesque-style routine of the dancers was, in Ofcom's view,
nevertheless clearly capable of causing offence to some viewers and we considered that this content was at the very margin of acceptability for broadcast before the 21:00 watershed, and especially when broadcast on 12 December 2011 at 09:30. However, on
balance, and taking all matters into consideration, including the steps taken by Channel TV to minimise the potential for offence, Ofcom was of the view that this performance was not in breach of Rule 1.3 of the Code.
Ofcom concluded however that
the performance was sufficiently justified by the context in which it was presented. In particular the performance was within the likely expectations of the audience for pre-watershed programmes. The broadcaster therefore applied generally accepted
standards and Rule 2.3 was not breached.
Ofcom will shortly be issuing new guidance about the acceptability of material in pre- watershed programmes that attract large family viewing audiences. We will also be requesting that broadcasters who
transmit such programming attend a meeting at Ofcom to discuss the compliance of such material.
Not in Breach of Rules 1.3 and 2.3
Offsite Comment: This is what Ofcom calls 'acceptable'
One blonde dancer is dressed, if that's the word, in a low-cut basque while striking a lewd pose that leaves nothing to the imagination. Another in skimpy bra, suspenders and stockings leans provocatively over a chair while others leer suggestively into
The scantily-clad women formed part of the sleazy performance by Christina Aguilera during last year's controversial final of ITV's X Factor. Family friendly? A blonde dancer strikes a raunchy pose that leaves little to the imagination
TV watchdog Ofcom this week ruled that explicit routines by Miss Aguilera and fellow pop star Rihanna were at the limit of acceptability for broadcast before 9pm for a family audience.
But, to the astonishment of many, the media
regulator said they did not breach broadcasting rules.
Instead, the regulator rebuked the Daily Mail, saying that some 2,000 of the 2,868 complaints it received followed our coverage of the sexual content of a programme which horrified parents and
politicians. Ofcom claimed the Mail used images that suggested the talent show contained significantly more graphic material than had actually been broadcast . Now readers can judge for themselves.
During the last 10 years, it seems the watershed has quietly been
eroded. So much so, that Christina Aguilera's sexual X Factor routine was recently cleared by the broadcasting watchdog of being inappropriate for a young audience.
Ofcom did say it was 'at the very margin of
acceptability', but it does make you wonder what they would have to do to breach the guidelines. The argument goes that society has changed and, therefore, what's acceptable on television has changed.
recent years, far too much emphasis has been placed on 'freedom of expression' with little or no emphasis on the corresponding responsibilities.
The next time you see Christina Aguilera on The X Factor, she will likely be dressed as a nun (and not the perved-up Lady Gaga variety).
Christina-gate is big news in Britain,
where Right-wing commentators are of the view that an entire generation risks being corrupted by the sight of Aguilera slow-grinding up against a chair. Which raises the question: has anyone in the UK ever heard of the internet?
The notion that the most scandalous image a young person is likely to see today is a semi-clad pop singer is beyond ludicrous. Five minutes trawling the web will reveal images that make Christina look like a Saturday morning TV
presenter from 1979.
Ofcom has launched an investigation into the X Factor final after thousands of viewers whinged about sexy performances from Rihanna and Christina Aguilera
Ofcom has received 2,750 complaints with an additional 1,500 being registered directly with
The TV censor will look at whether the show broke the broadcasting code which seeks to protect children. In particular it will look at rule 1.3 of the broadcasting code: Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from
material that is unsuitable for them.
The ITV show aired between 7pm and 9pm and the producers have said that they were confident the performances given by our guest artistes ... were appropriate for the show .
The X Factor nonsense escalated as the Inequalities Minister warned that the raunchy performances should never have been shown to children.
Lynne Featherstone said that the 'sexualised' routines, which have now sparked 3,000 complaints from
viewers, were unsuitable for the show's young fans.
Featherstone said X Factor bosses should have made pre-watershed performances by American pop star Christina Aguilera and Bajan singer Rihanna less raunchy .
It was a bit much because so many young kids – seven and eight-year-olds – watch it.
She spoke out last night as pressure grew on the TV censor Ofcom to launch a full-scale probe into the routines as the regulator said it was
still assessing complaints.
There have now been 1,500 calls of complaint made to the censor, with a similar number made to ITV. Up to four million children are believed to have watched the show on Saturday.
Dr Linda Papadopoulos, who wrote
a Home Office report on the 'sexualisation' of children, accused ITV and show producers of behaving irresponsibly. She said: What is happening is that sex seems to have become the most important thing. Christina Aguilera and Rihanna are very talented
singers and yet the whole performance is not about skill, it is about being sexy. Children are being bombarded with the message that being sexy and being sexual is the way to be appreciated or to be validated. This is a terrible message to be sending
out. [But being sexy is a skill too. Surely the whole range of talents should be available for people to excel at. Why disallow one? Jealousy maybe?]
A spokesman for the Mothers' Union said: Do you want a society where young people think
their worth is defined by sex appeal – because this is what is being normalised. Its president, Reg Bailey, has already been asked to chair an independent Government review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.
[Not showing any bias at all then! This is a worthless report before it's even started]
Last night an ITV spokesman said: We are confident that the performances given by our guest artistes on Saturday were
appropriate for the show.
"Christians have something unique to contribute to the discussion"...The same old bollox
The Christian Institute has voiced its 'alarm' over the plummeting standards of decency in broadcasting after lewd performances by US pop stars Rihanna and Christina Aguilera.
Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute, said ITV had made a
catastrophically bad error of judgement in allowing the production to go out before the watershed. He expressed concern over the effect of such performances on young people in particular.
Lots of people are concerned and parents are
particularly concerned about the effect this kind of thing has on their sons and daughters, he said. Daughters are made to feel that this is a normal way to behave in public and sons are taught to expect women to behave like that. It is very
Calvert said the level of concern expressed over the performances ought to both encourage and challenge to Christians: It shows we are not the only ones to be concerned about the plummeting standards of decency in broadcasting.
Christians have something unique to contribute to the discussion. As Bible believing Christians, we believe in values like dignity and virtues like modesty and we ought to be more courageous in advancing these values and virtues, whether
it's with the neighbour over the garden fence or from our pulpit.
ITV faces a backlash after thousands of viewers protested about lewd performances on the X Factor final.
Critics called on TV censor Ofcom to launch an inquiry into why disgusting routines were shown before the watershed.
challenged whether the performances by U.S. pop stars Christina Aguilera and Rihanna broke Ofcom's broadcasting rules.
'Horrified' parents also accused ITV of breaking the bond of trust with viewers by failing to tone down the performances for
By last night ITV had received about 1,000 complaints about the routines with Ofcom understood to have received a further 1,000-plus.
During her Saturday night performance of What's My Name , Rihanna shed her gown and
cavorted around the stage in underwear, performing a series of suggestive dance moves.
She was surrounded by an army of dancers who performed in a similar way. This was then followed by Aguilera's performance which saw her in an extremely low-cut
black dress writhing around the stage with her troupe of scantily-clad dancers.
The TV pressure group Mediawatch UK said it too had received complaints from the public about Saturday night's final. Director Vivienne Pattison said:
I don't think it was suitable for a pre-watershed broadcast, I think that's quite clear.
It was the simulated sexual stuff, that was the problem. I think Ofcom should look into this. Whether the X
Factor like it or not they are commanding audiences of more than 19million. They are role models whether they like it or not.
She added: We have a broadcasting code that expects certain things to be post-watershed and
I think that one crossed the line.
Former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, who appeared on this year's Strictly Come Dancing, said: It is before the watershed so parents are entitled to some consideration from the TV
bosses. I think it is a pity. It isn't necessary and it should be a family show. If you are going to that sort of thing they should put it on after the watershed and it ceases to be a family show. I think Ofcom should take it seriously. What is the point
of having a watershed? I think Strictly by comparison is serious family fun.
Not so Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster said: One of the routines was particularly inappropriate and it may lead a number of
parents to consider whether or not next year's show is something that their younger children watch. It was unnecessary and I think they should have toned it down. I just think it went a step too far.
A spokesman for the programme maker
Talkback Thames said: We are confident that the performances given by our guest artistes on Saturday were appropriate for the show.
An ITV insider said what was aired on the show was no worse than much of what goes out
on dedicated music TV channels during the day.
It was also claimed that Aguilera's routine, based on her movie Burlesque , had been toned down from what was in the film, which has a rating of 12A. The source pointed out that there was no
swearing or nudity in the routine.
The X Factor is a popular talent show contest broadcast weekly from late summer until Christmas. A panel of four judges and viewers' votes decide which
act wins the prize of a recording contract. The early stages of the series are pre-recorded with the final stages broadcast live.
During the first live programme, broadcast on Saturday 10 October 2009 from 20:00, the contestant Danyl Johnson ( Danyl
) performed part of the song And I'm telling you I'm not going which was originally composed as a female lead vocal for the musical Dreamgirls.
The introduction to Danyl's performance included a set of video-taped interviews with Danyl,
the judges and one member of the behind the scenes team which supports the performers. These interviews made clear that Danyl was going to perform a song originally written for a woman
In her critique of Danyl's performance, X-Factor judge
Dannii Minogue made the following remarks: Danyl, a fantastic performance, a true X Factor performance turning a girl's song into a guy's song but, if we're to believe everything we read in the papers, maybe you didn't need to change the gender
reference in it?
In response to this another judge, Simon Cowell (the mentor of Danyl), said: What? What did you say? Dannii Minogue then turned to Simon Cowell and repeated what she had just said: I said if we're to believe
everything we read in the papers then he didn't need to change the gender reference in it .
Turning to the audience seated behind her she said: No? Don't believe it? Simon Cowell did not respond immediately to Dannii Minogue's remarks.
Instead, Cheryl Cole gave Danyl her critique of his performance after which Simon Cowell then said: I think I'm missing something here? I think I just heard one of the best performances I ever heard in my life… (turning to Dannii and pointing a
pen at her) you can forget playing any of those games with him, I'm not having that, this guy deserves a break. He sung his heart out, give him some credit.
During the following evening's Sunday Results programme, the judges were
provided with the opportunity to comment on the previous night's events. Dannii Minogue and Simon Cowell said the following: I just want to say sorry to anyone that I may have offended last night with my comments. They were only said with humour and
Danyl and I had been joking about it before the show…he definitely was not upset by my comments and I just wanted to let everyone know .
Simon Cowell: …I've got to say, I probably over-reacted a bit in the moment. You get very, very
protective about your artists. I can say this on behalf of Dannii, she is the last person in the world who would ever do anything offensive like that, seriously…I spoke to Danyl afterwards, he took it in the spirit, it was fun, there was no offence
intended and I think back to the show, it's over.
In total Ofcom received 3,964 complaints about the Saturday night broadcast. In summary, the majority of the complainants were primarily concerned that the remarks made by Dannii Minogue to
Danyl were malicious and homophobic and based on newspaper reports about Danyl's sexuality. Others were concerned that Danyl was publicly embarrassed and humiliated on television. Finally some complainants expressed concerns about the fact that Dannii
Minogue seemed to make a reference to a contestant's sexuality in a family programme broadcast before the watershed.
Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which
may cause offence is justified by the context. Such material may include, but is not limited to…humiliation, distress…violation of human dignity.
Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach
Ofcom noted that the
complaints about Dannii Minogue's remarks on this edition of The X Factor fell into three categories: some complainants were offended by what they said was the homophobic nature of Dannii Minogue's comments; some viewers were offended on behalf of Danyl;
and others were concerned that the subject of Danyl's sexuality was referred to at all on a programme like The X Factor.
Remarks allegedly homophobic and malicious
In considering these complaints under
Rule 2.3, Ofcom considered whether in its view any potential offence caused by the broadcast of the remarks was justified by the context.
The X Factor is a competition in which performers voluntarily submit themselves to a critique each week by a
panel of judges. This format is well established and often exposes contestants to criticism by the judges, sometimes accompanied by the audience's response. Ofcom also notes that when participating in the finals of the programme contestants voluntarily
share to some extent certain aspects of their life stories with viewers. In Ofcom's view, it was not outside the established nature of the programme for an X Factor judge to make such a comment as Dannii Minogue's, especially in circumstances where the
performer had placed information about his sexuality in the public domain.
In Ofcom's view Dannii Minogue's remark queried whether there was any need for him, as someone who had openly discussed his sexuality, to change the lyrics to the song.
Ofcom did not discern a pejorative or homophobic intent behind her comment. Ofcom did not therefore consider that the degree of offence likely to be caused by the broadcast of the remarks was sufficient to bring into question compliance with the Code.
Viewers offence on behalf of Danyl.
A number of viewers were concerned that the remarks made by Dannii Minogue caused Danyl public embarrassment and humiliation and were unfair to him.
these complaints appeared to have been made on behalf of Danyl. While Ofcom's Code contains rules to protect people participating in programmes from unfair treatment and breaches of privacy (see Sections 7 and 8 of the Code), such complaints can only be
brought by the person affected , i.e. the person or organisation alleged to have been treated unfairly or to have had their privacy infringed. In this case, because Danyl, or someone acting on his behalf, has not made a complaint to Ofcom, it has
no grounds to consider the complaints in relation to Sections 7 and/or 8 of the Code.
However, Rule 2.3 of the Code envisages that offence can be caused to members of the public by the broadcast of humiliating and/or distressing material (or
material which violates human dignity), which may arise from the alleged unfairness to, or infringement of the privacy of, others. Such matters relating to the alleged unfairness to, or infringement of privacy of a third party, can therefore, in some
circumstances be considered under Section 2 of the Code without a complaint from the person involved as required under Section 7 or 8.
In considering Rule 2.3, Ofcom regarded the confirmation by Channel that the remarks by Dannii Minogue were not
in any way pre-planned and were completely unscripted, as significant. Any evidence that there had been a concerted attempt by the programme makers to raise the issue of Danyl's sexuality on the live programme would have concerned Ofcom. It would have
revealed a failure to consider the potential offence to viewers that such a discussion could cause. In the event, once the remarks were made, Ofcom found that Channel, the broadcaster and the programme makers were immediately alert to the potentially
offensive nature of the material and took steps to limit the offence.
Further, it is the case that The X Factor is a well established programme, watched by millions of people. Contestants, particularly those who perform well and reach the final
stages, become well known overnight. Details of their performances and personalities are analysed both on television and online, in chatrooms and webforums. Contestants can expect to undergo a degree of personal scrutiny which will become
increasingly intense the further they progress in the competition.
In this case however Ofcom accepts that, although not obvious to every viewer, details of Danyl's sexuality were sufficiently in the public domain before the remarks were made by
Dannii Minogue to justify her references by context. Taking these factors into account, in the particular circumstances and context of this edition of The X Factor, the comments by Dannii Minogue were justified.
to Danyl's sexuality
Ofcom considered that the remark by Dannii Minogue referred to Danyl Johnson's sexuality only indirectly. In Ofcom's view this reference was not likely to cause widespread offence, be understood by any young
children who were watching, or shock viewers who came across this material unawares.
Dannii Minogue has apologised for a quip about a finalist's sexuality live on X Factor as fans called for her to be fired.
The judge sparked 'outrage' with a comment about contestant Danyl Johnson. The teacher had finished a version of
Whitney Houston's I Am Telling You when Dannii referred to reports that Danyl is bisexual.
Talking about the lyrics, she said: No need to change the gender references, if we're to believe everything we read in the press.
comment on Saturday's show 'stunned' Johnson and 'incensed' Simon Cowell.
Thousands of fans logged on to the X Factor forum to vent their 'anger' while a survey showed more than 80% of fans wanted her kicked off the show.
One fan said: Forget the Strictly row, Dannii is the one that needs to be sacked. She was live on air and set an extremely awful example to our children.
Many said they had complained to media watchdog Ofcom.
Dannii said on her Twitter blog she meant no offence and said she was happy to apologise publicly. In a statement, she said: I want to clear up exactly what happened on Saturday
night's X Factor show and post my sincere apologies to anyone who took offence. It was meant to be a humorous moment about the fact he had an opportunity to have fun with his song. An openly bi-sexual guy singing a song that is lyrically a girl's
song. Danyl and I were joking about the very same thing in rehearsals on Friday, so it carried on to the show. I'd like to apologise to anyone that was offended by my comments, it was never my intention.
Danyl said he was not offended: We're completely cool about it and chatted after the show. I wasn't upse
The TV censor Ofcom has
now received almost 3,885 complaints from members of the public about The X Factor judge Dannii Minogue's comment about contestant Danyl Johnson's sexuality on Saturday night.
Johnson changed the lyrics of Jennifer Hudson's song I'm Telling You
, in which the lyrics refer to a male, so that the song from the point of view of a man singing to a woman. Minogue subsequently made a joke with Johnson, who has been the subject of tabloid stories suggesting he is bisexual, saying that there was no need to switch the gender reference in that song
The regulator has not yet decided whether it will launch a formal investigation into whether Minogue's comment represented a breach of its broadcasting code.