AdelaideBound...that's the whole point, which is why I don't watch these shows like X-Factor and "Got Talent" (whatever TOWIE is ?! You'll have to entertain my lack of knowledge).
Australia is very similar (take a look at the amount of 'celebrity / sportsperson worship' in the mass media for both genders), and the water cooler / lunchroom talk that goes on (at least at my workplace) among the Aussies that "XYZ was voted off show PQR last night...their feature room on that Reno show didn't win and it was so much better" and they take it SO seriously, like it is an affront ! Example - I have been outside tending to the garden some nights, and from across the road, huge cheers or boos from the lounge opposite...I came inside and flipped the channels over because I had my suspicions....it was "X-Factor".
To me, a lot of it is "manufactured", "saccharin" or just "junk food entertainment" (bread and circuses) and it just doesn't appeal to me. Popular music is the same, so many good bands who never get a chance (like the documentary on the metal band "Anvil") because they "were too old" or didn't play the music that "people wanted to hear"...no, the music the producers wanted to GIVE them and make the most money from as quickly as possible (before they faded away), because it had the widest appeal and hence highest "return on investment". Will the winners of these shows or their music still be around in 20 years like Status Quo, Lionel Ritchie, Rod Stewart, Sir Elton or Bryan May ? I don't think so.
I watch SBS history docos instead, my Grandad used to say to me "you might learn something !") - but try telling friends, family or the average person back home (who WANT to think such junk TV has a degree of believability and that their constant SMS voting really does sway the polls as much as they think - illusion of control) and you are fighting a losing argument with them, much the same way as many Aussies staunchly think British people from either end of the country "drink warm beer" (hello to a certain beer commercial on the radio). Like politics, many such shows are a popularity contest.
They have already closed their minds to any rational discussion. The same family / friends who believe this tripe are the same ones who haven't even been here to visit me (despite offers of free accommodation) and think that a journey from Manchester to Birmingham is "a long way" (anchoring bias)....wait till you get on the plane then !
You cannot really blame them for thinking like this when the sources of where they get their information from - on which they form their views - perhaps lack credibility (by your own admission) or at best, present one side of an argument (sound familiar ?).
In psychology, "Confirmation Bias" tells us that people gather evidence and remember information selectively, and interpret it in a certain (biased) way - we form an opinion and unconciously, our brain rejects information that disagrees with that hypothesis and accepts information that reinforces it, e.g. sources that affirm the existing attitudes. That's why I don't even bother trying to sway them from their viewpoint.