"X Factor factor" is growing force in British pop

Mon Nov 2, 2009 11:32am EST
 
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - She had poor reviews and Michael Jackson in her way, but singer Cheryl Cole swept all aside to hit the top of the album charts and underline the influence of "The X Factor" TV show on British pop.

Cole, who rose to fame as part of the Girls Aloud girl band, is a judge on the singing talent show, which regularly boasts peak viewing figures of over 10 million people.

"Record labels have been using it more and more in the last two to three years, it has grown in influence and is now reaching the peak of its powers," said Martin Talbot, managing director of the Official Charts Company (OCC) which compiles the weekly pop rankings in the world's third biggest market.

The show helped Cole, 26, record the fastest-selling single in Britain so far this year when "Fight For This Love" sold more than 290,000 copies in the week ending October 25.

That followed a performance of the track on the X Factor show which drew widespread criticism followed by lukewarm reviews for her debut solo album "3 Words," released by Universal Music's Fascination Records on October 26.

Pete Paphides of the Times gave the record two stars out of five and wrote: "If this is really the best that her 'team' can do, then another 3 Words spring to mind. Sack them all."

JACKSON ECLIPSED

In addition to the poor critical response, the album was released in the same week as Michael Jackson's posthumous record "This Is It," which Sony Music promoted as a tie-in to the heavily marketed concert movie of the same name.   Continued...