And yet that same programme can give a national platform to a 17 year old from South London with a voice like Nina Simone.
Part of The X-Factor's banalisation of pop music is the idea that simply by singing a song, someone 'makes it their own'. Nonsense. What that really means is emotionally inhabiting a song and technically bending it to your own re-imaginative will. It's an aesthetic as well as a technical judgement.
And that's Hannah Barrett.
So, against the odds, The X-Factor has thrown up someone who is not just a great voice, but a potentially great interpreter of songs. This might have contributed to her relatively early exit (quality will quite literally out) but she did hang in long enough to get to the live shows. And hopefully it will mean she can find a set-up sympathetic to her talent.