UPDATE, 4:07 PM: Several readers commented that a similar thing happened toward the end of Thursday night’s X Factor, when the Stereo Hogzz quintet appeared to be singing five-part harmony at one point without having microphones near their lips. And this was during an elimination, or survival, song performance. An X Factor spokesperson revised slightly an earlier statement, with the new one noting: “All competitive songs, including survival songs, are performed live to a backing track. Due to the finalists’ extensive preparation for their Wednesday night performances, the opening ensemble number on the results show is pre-recorded, the same as on other shows.”
PREVIOUS, 11:44 AM: The first-year Fox song competition hit The X Factor has acknowledged that one of its contestants, Leroy Bell, was caught singing along to a pre-recorded track during the opening number on Thursday night’s episode. It became obvious when Bell’s voice was embarrassingly heard singing a couple of seconds before raising the microphone to his lips. A show insider was quick to point out that there’s “a big difference” between singing to a recorded track and lip syncing, though viewers might have trouble distinguishing it. “They are still actually singing, just with a track.” The show released the following statement: “All survival songs are performed live, with just a backing track. For the group ensemble performance, the vocals are pre-recorded to allow acts to concentrate on preparing for their own live competition performances on Wednesdays. This is also no different to what other competition shows do for ensemble performances.” What perhaps gives the incident added resonance is the fact that the original UK edition of X Factor was twice rocked by scandals involving the tweaking of singer’s voices using Auto-Tune enhancing software. However, that show’s producers stressed that Auto-Tuning never was used in the live editions of the show where votes are cast.
Today, the Academy giveth and taketh away. The new Academy Award campaign regulations announced earlier are clearly a mixed bag, significantly relaxing some long-standing rules and creating a good deal of freedom pre-nominations while really tightening and restricting activities by nominees and studios post-noms. Essentially what the new regulations do is try to encourage members to see films the way they are meant to be seen, in a theatrical setting. To that end, Oscar consultants can now freely invite members to Q&A screenings and in the pre-nomination period, even hold food and cocktail receptions before or after. It’s almost like the Academy realizes members need an incentive to get out of the house and the lazy habit of watching contenders on screeners. Previously, as noted in the Academy’s press release, members were not permitted to attend screenings that had filmmaker Q&As and/or receptions attached. Consultants got around this by inviting guild members who also happened to hold an Academy card (clever consultants). Now, no problem, although after the noms are out, members can only go to screenings and Q&As, not receptions. Whether this will open the floodgates and have the desired effect of encouraging members to get their butts in those theater seats is anyone’s guess since Acad members who wanted to go to Q&As and receptions went anyway with their guild cards. Still, it is a nice admission by the Acad that their previous rules had gone too far. I am told by one member of the Academy’s PR committee that this all came up due to a Deadline article I posted Jan. 7 about the Oscar party circuit. “I think it’s what we’ve all been talking about,” said one studio consultant. “The important thing is to get members to see the movies, preferably on the big screen. Rules are one thing, but it’s nice to see the Academy realizing they can sometimes be to the detriment of the goal we are all trying to achieve. It’s clearly a new era at the Academy with Dawn Hudson.” Read More »