“You Told Me To Sing Pink!!” How X Factor Producers Set Zoe Alexander Up
Ella Ferguson will steal the headlines with her heart-melting performance in the first episode of this year’s X Factor (we totally had something in our eye by the way) but the prize for best stage exit must go to Zoe Alexander.
The Welsh Pink impersonator threw her mic to the ground, launched a stinging four-letter tirade at the judges, attacked a camera and shoved over an X Factor producer as she stormed off the stage.
Her reaction was outrageous, but she has explained that what we didn’t see was the way that X Factor producers strung her along for over a month and set her up for a fall. There’s no doubt it was captivating television, but was it made for the right reasons and should we feel comfortable watching someone exploited in such a way for our entertainment?
Gary Barlow & Co. explained told her that they were looking for a star of the future and not a tribute act, which is understandable. At this week’s launch event Louis protested that “we gave her two chances!” and that “she came dressed as Pink!” yet the Doublespeak on display was clear for all to see.
When one journalist pushed the judges on whether Zoe had been set up, they denied any involvement (completely plausible as the show has a string of preliminary judges who decide who goes forward and who doesn’t) and some ITV stooge explained that they’ve talked to her since and “she’s fine” before ignoring follow-up questions and moving on. Yet it wasn’t difficult to read between the lines. Dermott explained that it was her choice to sing Pink, but it’s clear that she was strongly encouraged to do so by producers. It’s a bit like your lawyer ‘advising’ you to plead guilty and claiming it was “your choice” when you get life.
Alexander’s reaction was obviously unacceptable (she was eventually cautioned by police for assaulting a producer) yet it if what she says about the way she was manipulated behind the scenes is true, it’s not hard to empathise with her on some level.
“When the judges rejected me I realised I had been manipulated by the X Factor for the previous six weeks,” she told The Daily Mirror in June. “They lured me in, coaxed me and even chose my song all with the intention of setting me up for a fall. I am really shocked at the lengths they will go to to set people up for humiliation.”
“They knew I had a bit of attitude on stage – which is nothing like I am in real life. When Gary Barlow told me I was just a Pink tribute act I was stunned – that’s exactly what the producers asked me to be. They mocked me and made fun out of what I do for a living.”
Some will say that ITV are in the business of making an entertainment show and people know what they’re signing up for (or at least they certainly should by now!) but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.