Popular British reality singing competition "The X Factor" aired in the U.S. Sept. 21 to a TV audience of roughly 12 million, all tuning in to hear the raw pipes of undiscovered talent. But the studio audience, judges and Fox TV viewers got more than they bargained for, when an unassuming contestant let it all out on stage.
Much in the vein of American Idol, "The X Factor" show is a reality singing competition in which a panel of judges (including Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul from the original "American Idol" panel) determines which singer or group has "The X Factor" and can continue each week based on their live singing performances.
For comedic relief, producers allow a handful of not-so-talented contestants to get through the initial rounds in order to embarrass themselves in front of the audience and judges. In the spirit of American Idol, it makes for great TV. (Who doesn't remember "Pants on the Ground"?)
But the judges and audience members were shocked and outraged when contestant Geo Godley performed an original song titled "I'm a Stud" with accompanying pants-less choreography. When Godley got to the chorus and sang "I'm a stud! Roll out the red carpet, I'm a stud!" he dropped his pants and wiggled around, his crotch exposed, on stage for approximately 50 seconds.
No one attempted to stop him. The music continued for more than a minute. The camera showed audience members covering their mouths and eyes wide. Others were seen walking out.
One of those who refused to watch was judge Paula Abdul. An appalled Abdul pushed back her chair, stood up, and left the theater during Godley's performance.
At least the TV audience was spared actually having to see Godley's genitals; an "X Factor" logo blocked them on-screen. The original studio audience wasn't so lucky.
If Godley had dropped his pants and exposed his private area to a random passerby on the street, he'd be arrested. But when he was on stage at FOX, he was celebrated as a crazy contestant. "Factor" producers knew children were present, (even hosting a 13-year-old competing against Godley!) and yet they allowed the behavior to continue, uninterrupted for close to a minute - long after any genuine "surprise" in the act.
What's worse, producers not only allowed him to continue beyond a reasonable expectation of the performance being a genuine but they then aired the full performance to viewers during the season premiere. This "The X Factor" aired at 8 p.m., to more than 12 million viewers, and boasts contestants as young as 12 years old.
After Abdul's protest 45 seconds into the routine, the first bit of verbal reprimand came from judge Antonio "L.A." Reid, a full 56 seconds after Godley's performance ended. "Ok so listen," Reid began. "That was offensive. Disgusting. Distasteful. Upsetting. Get him outta the building, please." The audience cheered Reid's remarks, but Fox didn't find it "disgusting," "distasteful" or "upsetting" enough not to air the pre-taped performance.
The Parents Television Council filed a protest with the FCC. But, as of 24 hours later, the silence from the media was deafening. FOX aired the indecent exposure of a man's genitals to minors during a prime-time season premiere, during which viewership is high, and they have faced no scrutiny from the mainstream media. Is the liberal media that jaded?