The situation is similar. Hundreds of thousands of wannabes turn up in the hope that their few minutes in the spotlight will change their lives. What we see on the programme is highly edited of course, but it is quite clear that the good shine out. What is also clear is how many completely deluded people there are out there:
People who don't practice before coming.
People who don't learn the words.
People who are aggressive.
People who can't sing in tune.
Then, when they get turned down:
People who blame the microphone/the audience/the backing track/the judges.
People who plead for a second chance, promising that they'll improve next time.
People who have a complete tantrum.
The people who shine are usually quietly confident. They perform a song that they've obviously practiced many times before. They've had positive feedback from people other than their immediate family. They are polite. They always sing in tune.
It's really not that different to writing. You should be professional as possible. You write and re-write. You've had sensible feedback from a variety of outsiders. You have belief in yourself and your writing in a quiet, non-pushy way. You're taking the opportunity seriously.
The good news is that, as the X Factor shows, there are enough delusional people out there who make the good ones shine even more brightly. The bad news is all the people they don't show on the television programme. The ones who weren't laughably bad, who were actually quite good but not good enough to shine. I suspect there are an awful lot of people who fit into that category.
But more good news! Unlike the X Factor, your writing life isn't based on just one audition and one panel of judges. You can send out, re-write, improve, send out again, and again. And more good news again - sometimes there are people who might not be able to sing with the best, or dance with the best, but who have a certain something that entertains the socks off us. Jedward, anybody?