PUBLISHED: 11:29 EST, 8 October 2013 | UPDATED: 14:03 EST, 8 October 2013
The X Factor producers are forced to create cruel twists to the competition because viewers are becoming immune to sob stories, a psychologist has claimed.
Chartered psychologist Dr Rick Norris believes that programme makers have to keep shocking the audience to keep up high viewing figures.
The X Factor has been heavily criticised for introducing a new ‘musical chairs’ style selection process to the competition.
The X Factor producers are forced to create cruel twists to the competition because viewers are becoming immune to sob stories, a psychologist has claimed. Pictured are judge Nicole Scherzinger and contestant Hannah Barrett
The new format sees 100 contestants battling it out for just 24 places where each of the four judges give their favourite contestants one of their six seats.
But in a cruel twist they are allowed to replace them later in the show with a better singer.
The new format was blasted by a number of viewers, with some branding the system as “cruel” and “disgusting”.
Dr Norris, author of Think Yourself Happy, said: ‘These type of shows are playing with people’s emotions, hopes and expectations.
‘On the X Factor, all of the contestants are asked ‘how much does this mean to you?’ and almost every contestant cried when answering.
“It’s actually an irrelevant question and it seems as though we’re becoming obsessed with a sob story rather than someone’s genuine talents and passion to become a singer.
“Some people do have incredibly harrowing stories but after a while you are less likely to sympathise with them because you’ve heard so many.
“This is why TV producers keep upping the ante and adding these cruel twists to their shows.
Psychologist Dr Norris said: ‘These type of shows are playing with people’s emotions, hopes and expectations,’ such as 16-year-old Nicholas
“Television programme makers are placing an emphasis on getting high viewing figures and distasteful acts like this will do just that.
“The viewing figures don’t lie. This is what people want to watch.
“We’re constantly seeing people being put in awkward situations and that evokes certain emotions within us as an audience.”
The psychologist cited a number of other shows, including Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, where set ups are used to provoke arguments between contestants.
Dr Norris added: “Big Brother is a classic example. In the earlier years everyone got on very well and it made for some pretty dull viewing.
“As a result, producers started to set up situations that would provoke arguments between contestants and these set-ups get worse every year.
“The Apprentice is just the same. Contestants slag each other off just to avoid being fired.
“We have found that there is a lot of entertainment to be had in watching things that are quite cruel and distasteful which is why ideas are getting worse every year.”
Only Fools and Horses star Nicholas Lyndhurst recently voiced his concerns for the state of British television, condemning the “cruel bedlam” of reality TV shows.
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