The Big Debate: The Voice vs. X Factor

Which of the singing competition shows reigns supreme?

The Big Debate: The Voice vs. X Factor

There’s something unusual going on right now in the Reality TV world. Gone are the days when all we had to complain about was American Idol. Now we’ve added The Voice and X Factor to the list of singing competition shows. And in a particularly unusual move, two networks decided to put their shows on during the same season. And on a few occasions, the shows have gone head-to-head.

In the end, the ratings battle will decide which of the two shows reign supreme, but we’ve got our own battle going on here. Reality Nation writers Branden Barker and Jana Waring cover the two shows week after week, and a recent idea about which show is the better of the two lands us here. In the middle of an argument. The topic is simple: which show is better? Defending The Voice is Branden and defending X Factor is Jana. Time for a throwdown.

The Argument

The Voice is better than The X Factor by Branden Barker

Branden Barker Debates: The Voice vs. X Factor



There are two types of people: those who watch The Voice and those who watch The X Factor. And then there are crazy lunatics who watch both. Like me. So, since I suffer through both, I feel like I’m an expert. So when I say The Voice is a better show than The X Factor, I think you should listen. Ha.

I have a number of different points and will break them down in categories. Here goes nothing.

The format: I love that The Voice only gives us serious contenders and none of those idiots dressed in bird costumes like X Factor inherited from American Idol producers. I also love that The Voice has different stages of competition (Blind Auditions, Battle Rounds, etc.). That means the show refreshes itself every few weeks. And that’s important to me.

The coaches/judges/mentors: The Voice calls its panel coaches, which in itself is less offensive than “judges.” Being judged sucks. Being “coached” has a better ring to it. I like that The Voice doesn’t force their coaches to bicker and spat like like the X Factor panel. Instead, we get hot homoerotic tension between Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. You cannot beat that. And you can count on some Xtina cleavage and a parrot on Cee Lo’s head. Now that’s fun for the whole family.

The host: Carson keeps his job simple. He introduces the acts and that’s that. He doesn’t have his nipples hanging out, nor does he flash his A.C. Slater dimples. He knows he’s not the star and he’s not fighting the contestants and coaches to be such *cough* Khloe *cough*

The contestants: And finally, the most important part of any singing show is the talent pool. I prefer The Voice contestants because they actually sing. They’re artists. They’re not some factory-made pretty face that will spend their careers relying on auto-tune, half-naked back-up dancers and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink production. And what’s with EVERY contestant on X Factor claiming this game show is their last shot at life!? I mean, even the 12-year-olds are saying stuff like “OMG if I don’t win the X Factor, the bank is going to foreclose on my house and my six kids will be taken away.” You’re 12! Go to school if this doesn’t work out! Geez.

Final thoughts: I like that The Voice keeps everything toned down. The production numbers are tasteful, the contestants wear clothes instead of costumes. Let me just say you won’t see this:

X Factor 2012 Jason Brock

… or this:

X Factor 2012 Paige Thomas

… on The Voice. I rest my case.

X Factor is Better than The Voice by Jana Waring

Jana Waring Debates: The Voice vs. X Factor



Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. I once was a fan of The Voice until I became bored to tears, which occurred some where in between Cee Lo stroking his fat, white cat and then his becoming a perch for a peachy-keen parrot. Like the movie Christmas Story on Christmas Eve, the episodes just seem to go on and on and on and never does there seem to be an end in sight. Even after Branden challenged me to this talent show face-off and I went back to NBC in attempt to watch one last episode of The Voice, I found myself switching channels to Dateline by the fourth contestant. Dateline! The only show that awards single people comfort and justifications for a lonely lifestyle because it’s always the spouse that is guilty of murder. And so while I can admit X Factor has flaws, at least it is a show I can watch from start to finish, episode after episode. It’s also a show I appreciate and continue to be entertained by with each new, surprising performance. I’ve read your complaints Branden and let’s see if I can address them properly.

Here is my case for why X Factor is a much better show than The Voice.

The X Factor Breakdown:

The Format: It’s no secret that The Voice has had better ratings than X Factor ever since the start of this season. However, the season is not over yet! The Voice has taken too much liberty with it’s new prime time ratings and are now milking every second of TV possible. For example, take a look at the long drawn out audition phases. First the coaches XTina, Blake, Adam or Cee Lo must turn around while the contestant auditions. Then the contestant has to pick a coach, which goes on until each coach has a team of 10-12 contestants. Next, the coach picks two of his or her’s own team members to compete in a boxing ring in order to ultimately send someone home and reduce the team to its best performers. Although–wait–at the end of this round of battles any coach can save a couple contestants, only to add more rounds of battling in the boxing ring later. And then it’s battles, battles, battles until the end, if there’s ever an end. Once second it’s like, the contestant is in! Then it’s like, no he’s not. Then it’s, wait he’s been saved! Only to finally learn, no he’s got the boot once again. Are you exhausted yet? I am.

Cody Belew-ing his chances to win.

The constant push and pull process to attain The Voice’s Top 12 takes up too much time. And who wants to spend weeks, months even, getting to a know 40 contestants? It seems more exhausting and stressful than an extended family Thanksgiving dinner. X Factor simply cuts and moves forward (with the exception of returning contestant Diamond White). And while the X Factor may take risks with crazy costumes and stage dynamics, at least each performance is creative and entertaining. A dude standing in front of a crowd giving a mediocre karaoke performance is not, like for instance Cody Belew’s performance of “The Best” last night (and yes, coincidentally that’s his real last name). Now that the contestants are down to the Top 12, I’d argue the format of both shows are somewhat the same. It’s the production that is much different–and I just happen to prefer newer songs and sometimes an explosive, glittery performance. Wouldn’t you?

The Coaches/Judges/Mentors: If The Voice coaches are so wonderful why must they bring more recording artists in to validate the show? The truth is all The Voice coaches are simply muscians that have been through the music industry grinder. So can they offer advice? Yes. Coaching? It’s debatable. Having two legends in the music production side of business, Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid, brings a bit more credibility to the X Factor process. It’s true that the judges (who were necessary to wade through the riff raff) have shifted to mentors now that America has the vote, but it’s been fun to witness the judges become mentors–it means they get to have a competition of their own. I don’t think the mentor disagreements are acts of “being forced to bicker” like Branden says, but instead the result of a bunch of egomaniacs wanting to win first place. Love him or hate him, Simon Cowell’s brutally honest comments to the contestants are often hilarious, unlike the carefree comments from Blake Sheldon and Adam Levine. Can we agree that those two are less concerned with the contestants and more worried about taking digs at each other to gain Twitter followers?

The Hosts: At least X Factor is an equal opportunist show. For the men there is Khloe Kardashian, pointy nipples and all. For the women, there’s Mario Lopez… that is if you’re into the AC Slater Saved By the Bell kind of fantasy. Me personally, I’m more of a Zach Morris kind of girl. So while I can agree that Lopez’s dimples are too much, Carson is just one more weight watcher meal from having the same dimples in his cheeks, just in more sunken in, I’ve-lost-too-much-weight-kind of way. What is more distracting than deep dimples is Carson Daly’s fake celebrations backstage with parents. The high-fiving, jumping around and giving hugs to strangers like he cares. Please. He knows–just like we do–the backstage family interviews are a step backwards from his glory days at MTV’s Total Request Live, back when he used to interview the hottest musicians and actors in Hollywood. C’mon Carson, there’s no reason to pretend a nobody’s parents are the coolest people on the planet. Let’s turn the enthusiasm down from brown nosing to being earnest and hopeful.

Carson has dimples too, kind of.

The Contestants: I think it’s fair to say both shows have a deep talent pool. What X Factor has done that The Voice has not is capture the younger demographics. You can not tell me that 13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar and Diamond White are using auto-tune. Both girls have serious chops and are bringing in a younger fan base with each performance. X Factor also does a good job at choosing contestants of every music genre. Rarely is hip hop featured on The Voice, nor is creative mash ups of current pop hits. Which leaves me wondering what demographic does The Voice cater to? The forty-somethings, the might-have-beens and the missed-opportunities? What a snoozefest.

Final thoughts: The Voice is the perfect show to watch if you’re having trouble sleeping. While X Factor may be extravagant at times, there’s no denying it’s entertainment between the extraordinary talent and the high-dollar stage productions. Add Khloe’s nipples, Simon’s horniness, Britney’s craziness and Demi’s naivety and that’s an exciting LIVE show, simply because you never know what might happen. Britney could pull her weave out or Khloe could makeout with Simon. Stranger things have happened to these people.

In conclusion,  X Factor is the better show on air to date because it has more well rounded, qualified mentors, a wider variety of talent and a bigger budget for creative performances. The Voice, while not awful, will never reach the same caliber as long as they continue to confine their talent to that lame boxing ring. If perhaps the super sexy Adam Levine starts coaching in the nude, then call me. Only then will you have my undivided attention Branden.

I, too, can now rest my case.

Now it’s up to you. Tell us which show is better. Share your thoughts in the comments section below and in our poll.


  • gma

    Thanks Branden for making your case without cutting down the people that enjoy the X-Factor more. I like both shows but if I had to choose I would choose The Voice. The judges are more talented (except for Ceelo) and act more professional. I enjoy the “good natured” jabs. I enjoy the judges performances and the other artists they bring on the show to change it up. Britney has no clue where she is and Demi thinks she got the girls to dress them up like Barbie dolls. Simon knows what he is talking about and L.A. is just there to discredit Simon.

  • Cat van Zyl (in B&W)

    I have to side with The Voice in this debate. I personally find the over-production of the X-Factor distracts from the singing and is overall very “manic.” The two photo examples Branden provided in his argument show exactly what the X-Factor is doing wrong. I like the chemistry between the judges on The Voice which simmers with a subtle amount of delicious tension. It will be interesting to see how the new judges on the upcoming season interact. I also like how the Blind Auditions and Battle Rounds on The Voice switch things up as our menu of singing competitions has become stale.

    Fabulous article!

  • Sarakatherine

    Couldn’t agree more Brandon!

  • Real Housewives News

    The X Factor is a better show. The Voice is full of has beens and failures, and I do not know the name of one contestant. Well, that Juliet chick. But she was dropped from LA Reid’s label.

    As an artist, I would choose to audition for The X Factor because I’d rather have the guys who made Leona Lewis, Pink, One Direction, Justin Bieber, etc. stars behind me than the guy who made Survivor. Let’s face it, a superstar will NEVER come out of The Voice. The judges will never let a contestant outshine them, not only that but I’ve seen every song choice and performance on that show done on Idol before. I’ve never seen something creative. You’d think these mentors would take the time to study up and figure this stuff out like the X producers and judges do.

    Also, on The Voice, they never give an honest critique and contestants who would never make it past bootcamp on Idol and X make it to the finals. It’s insane, but that’s why The Voice is a simple TV Show and The X Factor is a superstar making machine. By investing 5 million dollars, they’re saying they believe in their contestants and need them to succeed.

  • Gaborrr

    Completely agree on why the format is better Branden!! Yes the positive reinforcement of coaching is way better!! I do like the 2nd picture in your final thoughts though Haha Yes Jana that is why the format is refreshing!! A Good voice is so much better than a glittery performance ;) I prefer singing legends over production legends.. And who is more hungry for ratings that Ol’ Simon Cowell & his bickerings!! :D Branden Wins this Battle!!!

  • Samantha42

    The voice has better singers and better coaches and doesn’t do the crappy American Idol like rounds. Also the Voice doesn’t pick people based on their appearence. Case closed, Voice wins. Demi Levato is too young to be relevant, and brittney isn’t even a great singer, just a performer, Simon is funny, and I don’t even know who the fourth judge is. Christina is one of the voices of our generation, Adam is an extremely successful rock singer with a great voice, Blake Shelton is the Country Entertainer of the year, and Cee Lo represents hip hop, indie, and just having a unique voice in general. The voice has pop, rock, hip hop, r&b, and country covered. X-Factor has Pop, that’s it.

  • Julmeljen

    X Factor is catering to the young vote? How young? These 12-13 year olds should be in school. Not on the X Factor stage. Who in the world hired Khloe K., she is horrible. Mario is at least, a professional. Production messes up too much. Demi Never! should have been given anything but the babies. She has ruined any chances all of her contestants would have had. The Voice is full of fun. I laugh at some of the antics of the coaches. I have to admit that the final women contestants are like cookie cutters. Most seem to be just like the next. But the talent, as a whole, is great. The pace of The Voice does bog down at times, but so does X Factor. Between the two shows…The Voice comes out on top.

  • Lynda Perky

    Only watched The Voice last year. I was dissapointed with the:
    1. Talent most of which had very poor stage presence making me feel bad for them all the time
    2. Sound system, the music and backup vocalists could be heard but not the contestant
    3. Xtina and her need to have everything be about her. She was so rude to one guy who was on MMC with her years ago and wears costumes more than clothing
    4. The lighting shoots out from low and behind making it difficult to see contestants

    This year is my first year of XFactor and I am enjoying it more due to:
    1. More good talent and all but two feel comfortable on stage making me less nervous for them.
    2. No Xtina
    3. Sound system is great I can hear and understand the contestants
    4. Costumes are fine but the stage setup is tooooooo busy distracting from performance
    5. The production and videography of the different audition cities was very refreshing compared to Carson interviewing in a room.
    6. Simon Cowell is sometimes too harsh, but he is brilliant and gives critiques that are actually helpful and true. I also like the others just fine. The judges seem to be watching the show and not tweeting like Xtina always did.

  • Dulce_kathy24

    gosh Jana wrote a lot jeje But Branden’s was short simple and right to the point THE VOICE IS WAY BETTER :)

  • Josh

    The Voice looks for good singers, X-Factor looks for stars (voice, looks, performance, etc). really depends what you’re looking for, but I’d much rather go to a Paige Thomas concert than a Cody Belew one

  • wonderfulbliss

    So far, The Voice contestants/winners are going nowhere (with luck, Tessanne Chin will make it far, but there’s a 50/50 chance there) so maybe The Voice needs to re-evaluate their show,and figure out why they aren’t creating stars, the way the XFactor or Idol does.
    True, The Voice has the higher ratings, and I think that’s mostly because the popular coaches have large fan bases, and the format of the show keeps you at the edge of your seat with battles and all, but in the end, what are we watching? A bunch of incredibly talented contestants fighting for something that leads them nowhere. Pretty unfair.

    On the other hand, Xfactor may have the lower ratings, and may have too much action and jazz going on stage, but at least they have good judges (including Simon Cowell, who 90% of the time KNOWS what he is talking about) In order for a contestant to grow and be successful they do need some judging, or constructive criticism, and that’s what the Xfactor offers.
    + like Jana said, at least this show keeps you truly entertained with all the things going on onstage.
    About the hosts- Seriously Mario Lopez’s dimples? It’s not like the guy can help it that he has amazing dimples, he does a decent job hosting, and on the plus side, Khloe was gone this past season (must admit, that was a train wreck)

    About the contestants- In the end, the Xfactor does gather some pretty great contestants. AND they also accept younger contestants and groups, something that The Voice limits.
    If Xfactor didn’t accept young contestants, we would have never been introduced to the amazing 13 year old Carly Rose Sonenclar of season 2, who garnered over 60 million views, at the least on her Xfactor performances alone (It’s too bad she’s taking way too long to release her album)
    AND if Xfactor didn’t accept groups, or formed groups we wouldn’t have popular Fifth Harmony girl group, who have over 15 million views on their first single’s music video.

    More than just a voice, the Xfactor seeks for- THE XFACTOR.
    Something beyond the voice. A future star’s gotta have the whole package!

    So anyone can put down The Xfactor’s format or shenanigans, but in the end I would much rather watch a singing competition where I get to see the contestants grow from their auditions, and possibly see a star be formed!

    And the icing on the cake? The Xfactor will forever take pride in creating One Direction- the biggest boy band of the decade. It’s stuff that goes down in history.

    I don’t hate The Voice, but I have to agree with Jana, it can be a snoozefest. I liked the upgrade with Shakira/Usher though, but even with those two, the show has still to produce a true star. Once that happens, The Voice might be worth the watch, because in the end I’ll know that all my votes for my favorite contest counted for something!