Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

What is the X factor in The X Factor? What makes it different from, say,  American Idol or The Voice? What makes this show special?

Ummm …

OK. The format's different at least. Way different. Granted, it does still feature a whirlwind of auditions at the front end of the season and high-stakes competition toward the back end. But in the middle they send X Factor hopefuls off to boot camp where they're mentored by the judges. Wild! Why, if it hadn't been for The Voice, that mentoring thing would've been an incredible innovation. And instead of the viewing public determining who stays and who goes home, this time it's the judges who do the actual judging. Sometimes. Unless it's one of the rounds where the viewing public determines who stays and who goes home.

And then there are the judges. It's not stylish music producer Randy Jackson on this show; it's stylish music producer L.A. Reid. And to completely cloud things up, snarky Brit Simon Cowell moved from Idol to X. First season singer/dancer celebs Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger have been replaced with Britney Spears and Demi Lovato.

There are scads of other differences too. You know, like Pepsi being the sponsor instead of Coke.

Oh, who am I kidding? The X Factor isn't much different at all. Singers sing. Some sing badly. Some soar. Some improve. All but one get cut by the finale. The singers who sing the sweetest songs and have the best stage presence snag scads of simoleons. What else can you really do with a singing-based talent show?

Well … you can add in some shock factor to the X Factor. In Season 1, the premiere featured a contestant dropping his drawers and flashing Paula while giving the program's trademark "X" a whole new meaning. The Season 2 premiere proffered a male cross-dresser prancing on stage in a wedding gown/lingerie combo.

But this competition has its heartwarming moments too—as all these shows have. Singers sometimes cry their eyes out onstage, and are given hugs from the judges and standing O's from the audience, sometimes as much for their backstories as their performances. On The X Factor, vocal talent walks hand-in-hand with likability, and even a form of secular morality.

Take the Season 2 premiere, in which 19-year-old Jillian Jenson breaks down before she ever even sings, telling Lovato she too got a tattoo that reads "Stay Strong" after almost succumbing to bullying. Then she belts out "Who You Are" by Jessie J: "Tears don't mean you're losing/Everybody's bruising/Just be true to who you are."

Jillian didn't have the best voice that night. But she had the best story, and that story saturated every note. "When you sang, you broke my heart," said Lovato (who also suffered from bullying and has "Stay Strong" tattooed on her wrists), and even Cowell admitted to getting a little misty. Their "yes" votes were votes for Jillian's talent of course … but they also sent a message to all those bullies at home—watching Jillian take her star turn on TV, as Lovato said—that they were wrong and should be ashamed of themselves.

And then, right off that emotional high we see clips for the next episode, with Spears mimicking a sheep while telling someone they're "baaaaad" and Cowell saying, "The last thing you should ever, ever consider is a career in singing." Part of me wonders whether Jillian might've been told the very same thing by her bullies.

Back to business as usual for The X Factor.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

XFactor: 9-12-2012
XFactor: 12-15-2011
XFactor: 12-14-2011



Readability Age Range



Simon Cowell; L.A. Reid; Britney Spears; Demi Lovato






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!