The new official X Factor app lets you be the show's 'fifth judge' – so as well as cheering along and shouting abuse at the screen, you can use the app to cast your judgement and watch the reaction online.
This official X Factor app is a second screen experience for a singing contest – possibly the nation's favourite singing contest, although 'the nation' has never witnessed Life of Android doing Karaoke so you can take that with a pinch of salt. The app gives you the chance to impart your judging expertise in real-time alongside the esteemed panel of four – in fairness, you're probably as qualified as Gary Barlow, the senile irish one, the Osbourne one and, errr, the other one.
To the app's credit there is a wealth of information and additional footage here for fans of the show to get stuck into. As well as the 'fifth judge' element, you can catch up on the week's performances and gossip, as well as videos from backstage and clips from the Xtra factor. There's also a quiz each week based on what happened, so you can sign-in via Facebook and test your knowledge against your friends. All of this is easily accessible via the sidebar, alongside a Twitter feed so you can get a feel for what's being said online. Only official X Factor sources are included in the Twitter feed, though, so you're better off using your Twitter app if you're after anything that doesn't tow the party line.
Despite our initial cynicism, you can usually find us dragged along to an X Factor Final party come the end of the year – fully invested for that one evening, only to watch the eventual winner fade into the distance as their Christmas number one dwindles down the charts. But that's all part of the fun, we suppose, whereas this app somehow feels unnecessarily tacked on. Perhaps there's something in it for super fans, but this feels like an example of when the 'second screen' might detract from the social experience of watching the show itself.
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THE BOTTOM LINE
The X Factor app is packed with content and interactive options, but adds little to the viewing experience. One for the die-hards, but otherwise give it a miss.
Current version: 4.0
Requires Android: 4.0.3 and up