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TV3 plays down revelations from X-Factor Tom

What is real? And do we care?

NBR staff
Sun, 21 Jul 2013

On the eve of the X-Factor final, TV3 is playing down revelations from voted-off contestant Tom Batchelor.

A Fairfax story this morning quotes the top-seven finalists saying he felt uncomfortable with aspects of the show, including being told to mime playing his guitar. 

"I had to mime the guitar part for Feeling Good and it made me feel disconnected," the Cantabrian says.The article continues:

Batchelor said he didn't feel he was portrayed accurately through song choices and that he and his judge mentor, Ruby Frost, would choose songs together only to have them dumped by show producers.

"It was always ‘no, they wouldn't work well for the market'." Producers would tell Batchelor "you should really be doing this song" in order to fit the format.

The article also reveals:

Documents released under the Official Information Act reveal the show follows an Australian production "bible", which includes scripts for key aspects of the series.

(And you thought there was no use for the OIA).

"Tom wasn't actually interviewed for that particular story - the way his quotes were presented does leave it open to interpretation as a new interview, but it looks like the journo has selected comments Tom made as part of a previous elimination interview - or possibly more than one - given to either Stuff or someone else in the Fairfax group," MediaWorks publicity manager Rachel Lorimer told NBR.

Was Batchelor talking to media without permission? Are contestants free to talk to whoever they like.

"In general terms- and as is the case with all our programmes - all media interviews are managed by the publicity team," Mr Lorimer says.

"Our philosophy tends to be that the contestants are free to give their opinions within certain guidelines which are to do with professional standards, confidentiality and commercial sensitivity."

There are, apparently, no hard feelings about the comments that appeared today.

"Tom has been a great member of The X Factor family and has been hugely positive about the experience - the quotes used reflect a mature understanding that The X Factor is a television competition with a set of rules," Ms Lorimer says.

 "We are looking forward to having him back on The X Factor stage as part of Monday night's show."

Shakespeare analogy
And what of the revelation the show closely follows a "production bible" which includes sections of scripted dialogue? (Sadly, the Fairfax article does not say if the bible mandates the length of Dominic Bowden's pauses.)

"Production bibles are a standard tool of television production, and every single format television show, whether it involves cooking, DIY or music has it's own bible," Ms Lorimer says.

"They are the documents which outline the unique elements making up a particular format, and are the cornerstone set of instructions for the programme in the same way that a score, and the staging notes it contains, is for an opera or musical.

"You could say that the bible for The X Factor contains the DNA of the format; the things that make it such great television - and that make this format different to - and in our opinion better than - other format shows in the same territory, like Idol, The Voice, and Got Talent, all of which come with their own bibles," Ms Lorimer adds. 

"Each different production of The X Factor worldwide puts its own mark on the format, just as there are many interpretations of Shakespeare's plays from the same script.

"Obviously production bibles are interesting to those outside the industry, but their existence isn't a secret and they're not exactly news to anyone who has anything to do with television production."

NBR staff
Sun, 21 Jul 2013
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TV3 plays down revelations from X-Factor Tom