back to article Ofcom investigates X-Factor debacle

Media watchdog Ofcom today confirmed that it will be investigating more than 2,000 complaints it has received from X Factor fans who have been crying into their beer mulled wine Bacardi Breezers after Welsh opera-singer Rhydian Roberts lost out to surprise victor Leon Jackson. A row kicked off immediately after the live final …


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  1. Mark

    As in..

    .. Here's an easy crowd-pleaser than makes us look like we take issues seriously.

  2. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    I'm always amazed.....

    that there are *still* people stupid enough to call.

  3. Duncan Hothersall

    Geographic issue

    As they surely must already know, the issue is geography. Because of the Welsh support for the blond one and the Scottish support for the dark haired one, there were pockets of high call frequency in specific areas, and it was in those "home town" places where reports of failed calls were highest. So the problem is self-evidently one of local capacity of whatever telco people were using, rather than anything at the receiving end.

    On a related note, though I wouldn't dare to criticise how the great unwashed choose to waste their money, it seems to me the ultimate display of stupidity to pour cash into the coffers of a TV company in order to enable another pop act to be manufactured for the sole purpose of extracting more of your money from you.

  4. Justin Case
    Paris Hilton

    Vera City of Claims

    Whatever the final result, I think we should be told if Dermot's little line about the 1% was correct at the time he said it...

    Also, there are issues about the placing of the commercial break, allowing all of Leons little fans more time to vote after having heard his final song than Rhydian's.

    What is more - if ITV really were serious about validity of votes they'd restrict it to one per phone number - wouldn't they?

    And finally - I think I should get a life.

  5. Yves Kurisaki

    Vote-rigging or not...'s a bloody awful Christmas single,whoever got to sing it

  6. Kate Menzies
    Black Helicopters

    Poor Max

    I think it a darned sham that after people finally found out that Max Headroom was a great opera singer he had to have victory cruelly snatched from him

  7. Bayleaf

    How can this be?

    If the phone lines were jammed, then surely as many fans on one side would be unable to get through as the other. Or are they implying that the voting company knew what the person's vote was and blocked those who wanted to vote for Rhydian?

  8. abby

    my opinion

    i think rydian was gr8 on da x factor he shud av wun not leon he was auful n not worthy of winin de x factor or dat million pound contract

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Not that I care, or have ever watched the X factor, but surely if they are dropping calls, it will be done in ratio between the two numbers? (I'm assuming that they will have paid for a certain ammount of lines that will be shared dynamically between both numbers, maybe not though?)

  10. Vernon Lloyd

    OH NO..........

    Rhydian Lost......

    If 7 million managed to get through and 2000 couldn't. That means an outstanding 0.028% got the busy line. I think ITV could not have done better than that. If Leon won through votes HE WON GET OVER IT.

    If I had a choice of a lad off the street and one with 5 years vocal training, I would vote for the natural, not taught talent.

    What makes me laugh is that there were 7 million people who paid 10p per call to vote. Thats £700,000 minimum from the final alone.

    That £700,000 would have done a lot better going to people who at this time of year need shelter or food.

    Come on people that are more important things at Christmas than who won a REALITY SHOW. GROW THE F**K UP and stop your whinging

    El Reg...I appologise for using the soon to be Non-PC word Christmas, however being an Englishman the PC prats can roast like chestnuts on an open fire.

    Now wheres my coat...scarf.....gloves.........!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    who cares?

    honestly, who cares if one talentless idiot gets the prize or another? they'll vanish into obscurity in 18-months and not appear until 10 years later they're invited onto I Used To Be A Z-list Celebrity, Please Kill Me And Put Me Out Of My Misery

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Every vote counts"

    I always used to wonder whether they were telling the truth in these things when they said "it's really close". I think a lot of people have started to get a bit suspicious that they're lying to try to get them to vote multiple times, just for the money.

    Given the recent brouhaha over rigged phone votes and the like, I don't suppose that they really want to risk being done for hauled up for understating the difference.

    The natural solution is to choke down the phone lines to anticipated volumes. The result is that the popular lines are ringing at capacity, and the less popular ones are only a vote or two below capacity. Cue a "1% gap" (the only possible result) and lots of continued calling right up until the last minute.

    The TV folk don't care who wins and the recording industry don't either. Once the lights go out on the Grand Final, the show's over.

    X-Factor is only entertainment, after all.

  13. Lucky

    Who Honestly Here...

    ..Give's a sh!t about a competition that makes money out of morons?

  14. Mark W

    So What?

    If only the people who voted in this karaoke competition actually voted in something that mattered (such as a general election) then maybe we'd be getting somewhere.

    Oh. Actually. On the other hand, maybe it's a good thing....

  15. Oli Wright
    Thumb Down

    Data losses

    If only someone would lose two CDs with the personal information of all the people who voted then we could form a vigilante group to go and cut their fingers off.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Busy busy busy...

    The point that nobody seems to be making is that people across the board experienced difficulty getting through - not just the Rhydian fans. I know this because my girlfriend tried to vote for Leon, and couldn't get through (honest, it was my girlfriend, and not me..).

    Even if all the Rhydian votes were cast, it may not have affected the result, as there were probably many votes for Leon not cast, judging by the experience of my girlfriend (and not me).

    Everybody had the same amount of time to attempt to vote, and given that phone companies don't have unlimited resources to throw at bandwidth, there is nothing unfair about the voting mechanism.

    That said, I'm sure the Leon fans would be making the same kind of complaints, had the vote gone the other way...

    To be fair to Rhydian, all he's really missed out on is the chance to have a failed attempt at christmas number one - given how awful the song is. There's no doubt he'll get a recording contract doing the kind of music he loves... Reggae.

    It's really not that important.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    Has anyone actually checked if any of Leons calls didn't get through? Anyone calling to vote for the winner is unlikely to complain are they as it wouldn't make any odds.

    Also it amazes me that people get so carried away that they a) phone to vote, paying for the privilege of doing so and then b) complain when they can't get through. The tv company should be paying them, without the callers they wouldn't have a show!!

    Perhaps the winner should refund all the losing callers phone bills from his £1 million deal?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great way to stay in the headlines

    So your program is over and everybody is about to lose interest. What greater way of staying in the tabloid media a couple of extra weeks by generating some "controversy"...

    Anybody remember the same happening a couple of years ago when Javine was "shockingly" knocked out and we all had to sit through weeks of this drivel. What was the result of the investigations then? Was a conspiracy uncovered? No...

    Turned out she had just plain lost!

  19. Colin Millar
    Black Helicopters

    OFCOM should really step in here..

    ..and insist that would-be celebutard show phone in lines all have ANR with a link to the Soylent Green raw material collection despatchers office.

  20. Bill Coleman

    wollies bargin bin and obscurity ...if only

    I'd love to believe that the torture inflicted by Simons Fuller & Cowell et al on the masses by way of badly written, poorly arranged, barely produced, melodically challenged pop drivel was by rule consigned to < 12 months per act. However the fact remains:

    Girls Aloud started life as "Pop Stars the Rivals" winners 4 or 5 years ago

    Shane Ward has NOT GONE AWAY (why oh why lord)

    Yer Wan from last year is still on my tele thinking she is Whitney

    I'm just f**king grateful that "Same Difference" didn't win. Oh, the humanity!'s to hoping the Pogues take this year's Christmas no 1 slot (it's the small victories)

  21. Spleen

    Electoral reform

    Maybe people should be allowed to either vote in reality shows, or in general elections, but not both. Do we really want people who ring premium rate phone lines to vote on karaoke competitions to decide the future of the nation?

    Don't see Labour introducing this reform of course, they'd never get into power again.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @Mark W

    Yes but as usual with these things and with general elections we probably don't want the morons voting in the first place, never mind multiple times!

  23. Morely Dotes

    Settling the matter.

    "Media watchdog Ofcom today confirmed that it will be investigating more than 2,000 complaints it has received from X Factor fans who have been crying into their beer mulled wine Bacardi Breezers after Welsh opera-singer Rhydian Roberts lost out to surprise victor Leon Jackson."

    Perhaps those complaining should be offered Darwin Awards in compensation.


    Those who have the time to waste even watching this shite are not contributing to the betterment of mankind (unless they are watching in lieu of breeding).

  24. Louise


    There has been a lot of complaints about Rhydian not winning because of the phone lines. However, they should know that it wasnt just one phone line that was down, I couldnt get through to vote for Leon either. So there was obviously the same problem for both contestants, so Leon winning is not unfair, both phone lines were equally jammed so I dont think that it would have much of an impact on the final count.

  25. Webcrawler2050

    Who Really Cares?

    Do we care seriously? I mean, theres enough singers coming into the business most of the time - the fact that their voices will be made to sound better by some machine - just tops it off.

    However, people that still watch the X-Factor, must be joking when they are moaning abotu aline being engaged? Surly people have betetr things to do at thistime of year than to moan? Maybe not

    Personally, I say scrap the whole lot of them - waste of time and money!

  26. Nathan Parkes

    I don't understand

    what all the fuss is about, it was one of the very few fair voting systems held just recently, and the problem was on the customer end. And i love the way everyone thinks Leon's getting £1 million from this. He'll still be paying the million back way into his third flop of an album

  27. Anonymous Coward

    X- what ???

    We're talking about X-Factor here ? I haven't seen it, nor Big Brother (although I read the book ... both of them...), nor I'm a 'whatever' etc. Saying that, I don't watch television. I actively stop my kids from phoning these stupid excuses for entertainment (I can't stop them watching it - I now understand that 'other' generation crap as well. Ahh the Irony).

    This is what's known as 'news'. If only all such talent shows were so avidly watched. Reminds me of Butlins summer holidays (never went on one of those either, but I had reports.) Funny that, this whole place seems like it's run by a bunch of Hi-de-Hi's. Britain: Butlin's to the World ! says it all really.....

    Got my coat (again) - exit backstage left.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Vernon

    Thought is was 35p per call, which makes it £2.45 Million, gonna be the same people voting week in week out (takes a certain breed to waste your money on total trash)

    over 12 weeks (or however long assuming the same 7 millions votes are cast) Made ITV £30million ish, and probably cost them 2-3 million, talk about a good money maker wonder how many out there spent more than £50 each casting votes?

  29. Webcrawler2050

    Jesus Chuffing Christ

    Its all just one big con... Yes he may get a million quid, but when you think he has to pay for is unreal, such as: Moeny to label for making his CD, money to staff for "Looking after him"

    The easyiest thing to sort this out

    Ban the whole friggin show and Ban it from TV - i think Ofcom should spend their time more wisely - Seems to me a big pile of dog muck!

    Jesus christ.

  30. Scott

    Its all about control

    The reason that these people ring these programs is that it gives them a feeling on control. You know I hold your future in the palm of my hand and I have a phone and I'm not afraid to use it.

    They are upset because their feeling of control was taken away and they realised they are just a sad pathetic git sitting at home, wasting money on a crap tv show.

  31. Tom


    ...this is what our tax money gets spent on now? an investigation into the outcome of a talent contest? wow.

  32. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    Pot calling kettle...

    Ok, so OFCOM really shouldn't be wasting money looking into something like this - if there were only call losses on Rhydian's side, and there was >= 1 % between the two, then with a total of 7million votes, Rhydian would have had to have lost around 70,000 votes....

    However, what makes me laugh is all you people saying "X-Factor is rubbish", "Can't believe people waste time watching this...", "Idiots wasting their money", "Wish they'd vote in elections like they do in reality TV shows", etc...

    A) So *you* think it's rubbish... the people who vote probably think the same about the stuff you watch (trains, perhaps?).

    B) Wasting time - what do you think replying here is doing?

    C) Wasting their money - they probably don't spend it on the latest tech gadgets - it's their money, not yours, to do with as they wish.

    D) Number voting in elections - would be nice - however, to make an informed opinion on a government takes rather more research than listening to someone sing and deciding if you like the sound.


  33. Anonymous Coward

    So much for Christmas spirit

    I never thought I'd be embarrassed to be a Register reader but what a miserable bunch of sanctimonious kill-joy bastards everyone is on here.

    It doesn't particularly float my boat, but if a vast number of people get a bit of enjoyment watching mildly good looking young people singing a song or two, so what? What makes them 'miserable gits', or 'morons'?

    Or should we just ban anything and everything that may charge people for offering them entertainment. Right, so that's all betting, theme parks, theatres, sporting fixtures, cinemas, in fact pretty much everything, cast into history because Register readers consider themselves above such light-hearted amusements.

    Really, get a grip. Let people enjoy themselves. They're not actually coming into your houses to steal a pound to fund their bloody phone call are they?

  34. Anonymous Coward


    "because Register readers consider themselves above such light-hearted amusements." Sacnctimonious = True

    "Or should we just ban anything and everything that may charge people for offering them entertainment. Right, so that's all betting, theme parks, theatres, sporting fixtures, cinemas" kill-joy bastard = True

    But you definatly made your own critera for being a register reader, happy xmas scrooge ;)

  35. lisa fee

    well done leon

    I cant believe people everytime the public vote is used their is always a mix up.

    Leon has won i voted for him several times an couldnt get through i had to keep trying until i got lucky,so he lost out on votes to.

    I am from wales but i voted for who was the best not someone to represent our country!

    Well done Leon u were brill!

  36. Steve

    Phone numbers

    Even though the same phone numbers were used nation wide there's no guarantee that they all terminated in the same physical place. These days it is trivial to ensure that all calls to, say, 0900 123456 in Belfast get counted in a Belfast exchange, while calls to the same number from Edinburgh could be counted in Edinburgh. There's no point in saturating the whole network just to route all calls to one place where they'll get dropped.

    Of course, that presumes that the organisers bothered to organise this with BT...

    BT learned this lesson may years ago when a newspaper (Daily Mail?) ran a bingo competition and printed the wrong number on the last day, leaving thousand of people across the country thinking they'd won. It jammed the trunks right down though central England as thery all tried, and failed, to get through to London. The result was development of a technique (back-busying? it's been a long time) by which the calls could be turned away locally before they even get to the trunk network, if it is clear that they have no chance of being completed. That way the destination exchange doesn't become so saturated that it drops other unrelated calls.

    I suppose that, if the latter situation happened, a geographic bias could result in an unbalanced rejection of calls to one or other number.

    Incidentally, what's the X-factor, and who is Leon?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    No rigging involved!

    I can't believe with all the far more serious issues Ofcom could be investigating (such as broadband usage) and they've opted for Xfactor instead! What nonsense!

    I couldn't get through to vote for Leon FOR-AGES - a good half hour of continuous trying, hanging and trying again!!! And had to keep trying and trying. I ALSO kept on getting the same message of 'lines are busy, please try again later' as the Rhydian fans. There was no con... he won because he had the majority of votes.

    Both were good, but I liked Leon's voice better.

    And YES, I'm one of those saddoes that did vote! Nothing wrong with X-Factor... if you don't like it, DON'T WATCH IT, but then you can't criticise either ;-P

    There are so many other crap programs out there that I can't believe people are focusing on this one and it happens every year.

    What about all those other crap programmes out there: Coronation Street, Eastender etc which are on THROUGHOUT the year? If those aren't mind-numbing, depressing and utter nonsense I don't know what is! At least X-Factor is brief, light and entertaining. If you want to watch depressing programmes like the formers then switch channels :-)

  38. Xpositor

    The Real Con... the fact that the UK has to pay to register their votes on this show. I caught some of American Idol whilst in the States last year, and their voting lines are toll free (to use their terminology).

    Then again, consider the difference in cost between picking up the phone and placing a vote, and sending ye olde postcard in. Not a lot in it, just the new way of doing things.

  39. Stardog
    Jobs Horns

    Rhydian was useless anyway

    Rhydian's vibrato is like a machine gun. I'm surprised he's had a singing teacher because the first thing they should've taught him was how to control it and slow it down. Some people are far too easily pleased when they here someone with a somewhat operatic voice. Paul Potts is also a distinctly average singer.

    Leon's voice is far smoother and has a better vibrato.

  40. GEMMA



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