The X Factor uses the "cruelty of rejection" to entice millions of viewers to tune in each week, an academic research study into the show has claimed. Professors at the University of London with quite a lot of time on their hands decided to see why viewers tuned into the show.
The report - titled The X Factor Enigma: Simon Cowell And The Marketization Of Existential Liminality - claims the broadcasting of bad auditions was key to the programme's success, since its launch back in 2004.
One of the authors explained: "The X Factor writers play up the contrast between success and failure in extreme and dramatic ways.
"The cruelty of rejection and the humble, unhappy or unsuccessful biographical details of the finalists are set against the bling and wealth of the judges' cars and houses, the no-expense spared stage sets and the possibility of unlimited wealth and stardom for the winner.
"The contrasts of low to high, nobody to somebody, talent and not-talent give the show its emotional charge and tap into a human need for rituals of change and transformation."
And there we were thinking it was just a bit of good light entertainment for a Saturday night...