Apart from the glory of outrageously vulgar Christmas lights, I also enjoy the X Factor on ITV1 on a Saturday evening. Yes, in the UK, whether you are a “Strictly Come Dancing” or “X Factor” person is a debate about which class you put yourself in. Annoying.
Why do I bring it up? It’s one of the contestants. I am a supporter of the unpopular Kitty Brucknell.
She seems to have upset the voting public. She has got blamed for overly raunchy behaviour and the English no-no of “showing off”! She has been seen at a nightclub, pole dancing according to the Daily Mail (with much tut tutting). She has attracted criticism with her choice of scanty clothing. Not a family entertainer then.
Why do I have time for her? I see her as an intensely creative and imaginative person. As Gary Barlow, one of the judges said last Saturday, “You are the only contestant who is trying to say something through their music. You’re creative, innovative.”
I also see her as very anxious, sensitive and uncertain of herself. In fact, I think the real problem is that her nerves and anxiety are getting in the way of her connecting with her audience. Those nerves are pushing her to exaggerate her behaviour to grab attention, impact. She is making the mistake of trying to be significant as a substitute for being loved.
There are far less talented artists on the show who, because they have captured audience engagement, are going through to the next round with ease. They are vulnerable in their performance. They reach out to communicate.
Anxiety means that you are constantly watching your own performance. You are busy watching yourself so you don’t know what’s really going on with your audience. You imagine your audience is critical and judgemental. To protect yourself, you shut them out with the hard, glossy exterior and the shiny smile. You cultivated that exterior to protect yourself from the hurt of that judgement.
Louis Walsh, her mentor reports that Kitty constantly phones with original ideas, suggestions and inspiration she wants to run past him. She is committed, dedicated and willing to do what it takes. All that hard work and effort that has driven her to become excellent at what she does. However, the anxiety that has driven Kitty to all this effort keeps people away. It can irritate and annoy.
As Kelly Rowland so astutely observed, “Tonight you delivered vocally but you have got to remember, the same people you want to sell records to have to love you. You have to get them to love you.”