The X Factor Voting Snafu Forces Top 13 Performance Redux: Seriously, Simon?

X-Factor-Voting-Snafu-Carlito-OliveroTurns out Paulina Rubio’s string of verbal gaffes weren’t the biggest disasters on Wednesday night’s installment of The X Factor.

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As the result of a graphics error (incorrect voting numbers were displayed onscreen) during the performance recap at the end of Wednesday’s show, each of the Top 13 acts will break out their “Save Me” songs on tonight’s episode (airing at 8/7c on Fox), which will now be a second performance installment instead of a results show. Wednesday night’s vote tallies, meanwhile, will go the way of Melanie Amaro’s major-label debut CD.

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The results of Thursday’s re-vote will then be revealed at the start of next Wednesday’s X Factor, officially eliminating one act prior to the Top 12 tackling hits from the 1980s.

Perhaps coincidentally, tonight’s X Factor will be going head-to-head with The Voice‘s Live Playoffs results telecast (8/7c on NBC). The cynic inside me wonders if Simon Cowell figured a high-stakes performance telecast (with time-sensitive votes attached) might be a better way to stave off the competition than a results show (which, by its nature, is 59 minutes of fluff, with about 30 seconds of news).

If by some chance the phone-numbers glitch was a deliberate way to generate more buzz for Fox’s struggling singing competition, can you really blame Simon? After all, when X Factor had a rare head-to-head battle against The Voice (for its second hour) last Tuesday, the final ratings tally was lopsided: 11.4 million and a 3.5 demo rating for The Blake Shelton-Adam Levine Bromance Spectacular versus 4.8 million and a 1.5 for The X Factor.

I’d almost feel better if X Factor‘s botched graphics were deliberate: Otherwise, it means nobody’s paying attention to what’s arguably the most important ingredient to the show’s (and frankly, any reality competition series’) success: the integrity of its voting process, and an assurance that its implicit promise that its viewers hold the power is carried out.

Not to pile unfairly onto X Factor, of course, seeing how Dancing With the Stars had its own non-elimination week due to a voting snafu in October. Here’s hoping, however, that we’ve seen the last of such voting irregularities for the current TV season. I mean, surely there are a few good math geeks in need of jobs in this economy. And if there’s not room in the budget for hiring ’em, maybe Simon could skim $10,000 off Paulina’s paycheck every time she messes up a contestant’s name or hometown.

What do you think of The X Factor‘s latest blunder: Simple mistake or shrewd competitive move? And which show will you watch tonight at 8/7c: X Factor or The Voice? Sound off in the comments!