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The X Factor: A Valentine assembly

To reflect on love and identify love as that ‘indefinable something’ of which we are all capable.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 3


To reflect on love and identify love as that ‘indefinable something’ of which we are all capable.

Preparation and materials

  • Optional: image of The X Factor’s logo (check copyright).
  • Gongs, cymbals or any other loud percussion instruments.
  • Bible reading from 1 Corinthians 13.1–8a.


  1. How many of you watch The X Factor? Not surprising really, as in 2009 audiences for the TV show peaked at 19.7 million, that is 64 per cent of the viewing population.
    For those of you who don’t know, The X Factor is a British TV singing competition, contested by aspiring singers drawn from public auditions, which started in Sep 2004.
    Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole have the unenviable task of auditioning thousands of hopefuls in almost every large city in Britain. Some of the best (and at times it seems some of the worst) get through to ‘boot camp’, where they are trained to sing better, look better, dance better and even behave better!

    It is very exciting and positive to see opportunity knock on the door of very ordinary people and to see them have a chance to develop their obvious love for singing. But in among all the good is a huge dose of emotionalism, pride and bickering for position. The good can also bring out the worst in people!
  2. So what is the ‘X factor’? The ‘X factor’ of the TV show is ‘the indefinable something that makes for star quality’. Cheryl Cole puts it as ‘something you can’t quite put your finger on’. Difficult for us to know if we have it then!
  3. The apostle Paul in the Bible might have been a good judge to join the X Factor panel. He came across people who could speak all sorts of languages, who could tell the future with incredible accuracy and who had great wisdom; those that had so much faith that they could make anything happen including mountain moving; and people who had given up everything they had to go and care for the poor. Sounds good doesn’t it?

    Sound gongs, cymbals and anything else that makes a noise!

    That is what Paul thought of it all!

    Read 1 Corinthians 13.1–8a (as above) (a student could read this):

    ‘If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

    ‘Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    Love never ends.’

    For Paul, the X factor is love. All the other things will pass away, he said, much like our memories of the contestants and winners of the 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004 X Factors.
  4. Does the word ‘love’ fit with the two definitions of the ‘X factor’?
    ‘Love . . . is the indefinable something that makes for star quality.’
    ‘Love . . . is something you can’t quite put your finger on.’
    If it does, then I think I know lots of stars. How about you?

Time for reflection

Reflect on anyone known to you whose love has made a big difference to your life.
Have you got the ‘X factor’ that Paul talks about?

How about cultivating it!

Thank you that there is within us enormous talent to love and care for others.
Thank you for those people whose ‘X factors’ have touched our lives in such positive ways.
Help us to seize every opportunity that comes our way to develop the gift of loving.


You could download one of the tracks that an X Factor winner has recorded on the theme of love.

Publication date: February 2011   (Vol.13 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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