The X Factor 2011, Week One: Dig The New Breed

They're back! Sort of. Gary Barlow seems to be trying too hard to emulate Cowell, Louis is as annoying as ever and Tulisa is much better than Cheryl...
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They're back! Sort of. Gary Barlow seems to be trying too hard to emulate Cowell, Louis is as annoying as ever and Tulisa is much better than Cheryl...

The return is X Factor is sort of like waiting for the local Dial-a-Ride bus to come down your street. You know you shouldn’t look, you know it’s wrong, but the lure of people chewing on their faces and banging their heads against the window is somehow, wrongly, irresistible. You can only watch from behind the relative safety of glass, thankful you’re not driving the fucker. Besides that, it’s the only show where you can hear someone say they want to be ‘bigger than Adele’ without a hint of irony.

This year is a little different however. There’s a ‘new generation’ of judges, with only Louis Walsh remaining as token cox. Cowell’s gone to America, Cole hasn’t and Minogue has disappeared into the ether, otherwise known as experiencing marriage problems and hosting Australia’s Next Top Model. Brian McFadden will also be glad to know that Walsh, now flanked by Kelly Rowland, Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos, has got ‘new batteries’ for this year. Because he’s worth it. Ah, if only those flames were real. And we had no fire brigade. Or water.

But oh, there’s nothing like X Factor to showcase the cheek and innocence of youth. Take eighteen year old Frankie from Brighton, for example.  He’s on the show to ‘get more girls’ and ‘be famous’. He could indeed be the ‘next big thing’; if thing means cunt, and involves getting your arse out to show tattoos of girls names scrawled all over your scabby pre-pubescent chuff.  Kelly Rowland liked him though – ‘I frickin’ LOVE the UK!’ - and Gary Barlow compared him to a young Rod Stewart, and then a young Robbie. Inexplicably. Leon Jackson anyone? No? Steve Brookstein? We’ll move on.

George has manned up over the past two years, and now, and the ripe age of nineteen, has come back to show everyone ‘The Real George’.

Let’s face it, the audition process is mainly about people making massive twats of themselves and the audience enjoying them making massive twats of themselves. And, as usual, they come thick and fast with various ‘acts’ comparing themselves to Prince and Lady GaGa, hurtling around the stage – which they totally own - in some kind of weird epileptic rain dance. Note – though this may just be my thought - if you ever compare yourself to any seminal artist before you sing, you’re going to struggle. It’s like me saying I’m like Stevie Wonder and getting up to sing ‘send the buggers back’ in front of 4,000 people.  It doesn’t work.

The incidental highlight of the show was Louis ‘I don’t bum boys, honest’ Walsh telling Tulisa to take her heels off – ‘because you’ve got to be comfortable’ – while they waited for a contestant to finish hurling her guts up backstage. Goldie then came on to sing that well-known classic, ‘Copper Bell’, while mounting Gary Barlow like a small shar-pei pissing up a lamppost. The panel agreed that she was a ‘breath of fresh air’ and wanted to see her again. A breath of fresh air from Sellafield, you can only assume. However Gary, having been mildly sexually assaulted, disagreed entirely. It was sort of worth it though, purely for the look on his face as she was voted through like he’d just been served a dog shit pie from his runner.

And then came Janet, lovely Janet from Gortin who spends a lot of time in her room, reading and singing to herself. Shaking with nerves as she was pounced on by Dermot O’Leary to tell her story – which is that she spends a lot of time in her room, reading and singing to herself - you instantly you know she’s going to be great, and you – or I – am willing her to succeed. What is it about an underdog? There’s something so endearing about someone who isn’t aware of their own talent, not full of the precocious, ill-advised ‘I’m brilliant and I want to be famous’ cockshite. Whatever you think of shows like X Factor, it’s hard to be spikey about young self-deprecating kids believing in being a singer. And being bloody good at it in an introspective, waif-like sort of way. Though I’m sure we’ll find out in The Sun that she’s been groomed and mentored for the past five years by Will-i-am.

We finish with George, who was last seen as part of the group ‘Triple Trouble’ in 2009. Where he threw his microphone, told Simon to ‘shut up’ - for which, to be fair, he can only be wholly commended – and had to be escorted off the stage by five fat yetis. Now, however, he’s come back to clear his name to the nation. George has manned up over the past two years, and now, and the ripe age of nineteen, has come back to show everyone ‘The Real George’. The man who has matured his music and truly come of age. This seemed like a genuine sentiment until he opened his mouth and he was shit, circumnavigating a terrified audience like a rapist at a Radio 1 roadshow. And then progressed to calling Tulisa a cow and slipping her a cheeky finger. Not in a good way. Seems the ‘Real George’ really is as much of a cunt as he was in 2009, but apparently it’s just his ‘vibe’. Like Derrick Bird’s vibe was to shoot people.

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