The X Factor is at the centre of a fresh immigration row, after a Panorama investigation revealed that British hopefuls are being turned away from auditions due to a flood of immigrants seeking fame and fortune in the UK.
Traditionally, The X Factor is a breeding ground for new British artists with the many going on to successful careers in 'Heat'. However, international contestants have become a regular feature on the show over recent seasons, with several non-Brits making it to the main shows, as well as large numbers appearing on the sister show 'The Xtra Factor' which is historically the stomping ground of Britain's mentally ill. As a result, Panorama argues, hundreds of thousands of highly talented British singers are being forced to consider prostitution and in some extreme cases, actual full-time employment just to support their children.
The programme, to be shown this week, follows the progress of several former auditionees whose path to stardom was denied by foreign entrants. Alison Watson, an unemployed singer from Basingstoke, took part in The X Factor in 2005 and 2009: 'It makes me sick seeing them coming here with their cute accents and sob-stories about genocide and poverty. Doesn't Uganda have an 'X Factor?! I know Chico was technically Welsh, but don’t even get me started on Jedward.’
‘There is a genuine risk that some of Britain’s most talented nieces and grandsons will go undiscovered and may actually be forced to finish their A-Levels,’ according to Prof. James Lowe of the Institute of Fiscal studies. ‘We need to work to protect opportunities for British-born singers, otherwise we will lose them to the seedy unregulated underworld of pub-singing and karaoke. Or even worse, to the world of children’s TV.’
Whilst Endemol, the company behind The X Factor admitted that they are restricted by current anti-discrimination laws and the immigration system, a spokeperson from the Home Office stated that the attraction of The X Factor is causing major concern: 'We welcome immigrants who bring their valuable skills to the economy. But there has to be a limit. As it stands, there are literally millions of people without adequate housing, no grasp of English and no concept of good music. And that's just the Brits.'