ITV will not face action from TV watchdog Ofcom over X Factor performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera, despite the Daily Mail's insistence that the pair punted filth to wide-eyed kiddies.
The two artists appeared on The X Factor Final on Saturday, 11 December. Rihanna performed What's My Name "in a dress which was removed by a dancer during the performance to reveal a strapless top and high waisted pants".
Aguilera offered viewers Express from the film Burlesque, featuring "the singer with a number of dancers performing in a burlesque style of dance and dress".
Both acts appeared before the 9pm watershed, prompting 2,868 complaints that the two "performed in a very sexual manner" and the content "was too sexually explicit and inappropriate for the young audience of this show".
Before considering whether ITV was in breach of Rules 1.3 and 2.3 of the Code ("Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them", and "In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context", respectively), Ofcom pointedly remarked:
Approximately 2,000 of the 2,868 complaints about this programme were received following coverage about the performances in a daily national newspaper. The newspaper coverage reported on concerns that the performances were too explicit for a family programme, and included a number of still images of the performances.
However, from a comparison of the images it is clear that the photographs that were published in the newspaper were significantly more graphic and close-up than the material that had been broadcast in the programme, and had been taken from a different angle to the television cameras. Readers of the newspaper would have therefore been left with the impression that the programme contained significantly more graphic material than had actually been broadcast.
The Daily Mail's rabble-rousing failed to convince Ofcom that the X Factor had left thousands of traumatised children in its wake.
Regarding Rihanna, it ruled that "the performer and the dancers were in Ofcom's opinion adequately dressed with clothing covering their buttocks".
It added: "The part of the dance routine which featured some gentle thrusting of the buttocks by Rihanna was in keeping with her performing style, suitably limited and brief in duration, and in Ofcom's view was suitable for a pre-watershed audience."
While Aguilera's performance was "at the very margin of acceptability" for pre-watershed broadcast, Ofcom considered there was "editorial justification for the type of costumes that the dancers were wearing, and the style of the dance routine overall".
Accordingly, the watchdog ruled that both performances were "not in breach of Rules 1.3 and 2.3". The full-fat adjudication can be found on page 30 of this pdf. ®