X Factor 2011, Week 5: Laughter and Tears Mean There’s Hope For Humanity Yet

It's all too easy to mock the X Factor for the cynical number one single spewing machine that it is, but this week the laughter and tears of common people show that there may just be hope for humanity yet...
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It's all too easy to mock the X Factor for the cynical number one single spewing machine that it is, but this week the laughter and tears of common people show that there may just be hope for humanity yet...

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It’s very easy to sneer at the X Factor. It’s run by a cynical number-one-single-spewing machine; auditionees are pre-selected to entertain us either with their talent or their weakened mental health; and it’s got Louis Walsh on it.

However, I’ve done more than enough sneering this week, and tonight’s show was a fantastic example of what comrade Paul Young described as the ‘love of the common people’. There were laughs, there were tears, there were more tears to the point of hysteria – moreover, there were gorgeous stadiums full of hope. And there’s no better antidote to a world full of sneering and expectation than a great big shiny load of hope. These were my hopeful highlights:

Natasha the Flasher

Gifting the lovely Gary Barlow with a glimpse of all her valleys, Natasha from Swansea didn’t hit one note during her audition. The audience and all the judges laughed at her, and, like curry sauce in the wound, the girl from N-Dubz asked her why her family hadn’t told her that she had no talent. But, unbroken, Natasha was adamant that she did, in fact, have the ‘X Fact-oor’, and that Gary Barlow was going to be ‘avin it’. Top marks to the girl for giving it a go, and for leaving the stage with a smile, and the knowledge that Barlow has seen her nips. Nonetheless, Tulisa had best not be showing her face down Swansea Oceana’s anytime soon.

Hotty Maths Teacher

Viewers at home were given a big clue that we’re going to be seeing a lot more of cutie John Adams with the introductory VT of him teaching algebra in Aberdare (“if Y = U and U = I, then how do you pronounce LL?), and then being given a bit of pre-match fluffing by Dermot O’Lovely. He wowed the crowds, and the judges, with a note-perfect rendition of Damien Rice’s song about cunnilingus which brought the stadium to their feet, and induced proper manly tears backstage from his Dermot-nuzzling entourage. I’m looking forward to hearing more of Mr Adams, if only so that I get to see more fit Welsh men hugging and crying without having to watch any more of the World Cup.

Performing a Whitney Houston karaoke classic about settling for a rubbish husband, with a passion that only an Irish mum-of-four could lend to such a song, she brought the audience to their feet

Mammy Michelle

Irish mum-of-four Michelle – with her Irishness and mum-of-four-ness most prominently displayed before her – is clearly another one through to semi-finals. Performing a Whitney Houston karaoke classic about settling for a rubbish husband, with a passion that only an Irish mum-of-four could lend to such a song, she brought the audience to their feet, and Tulisa to unsettlingly personal tears. “You remind me of my mum”, she told the 31 year old woman in front of her. The lovely Gary Barlow moved his chair as far away from the proceedings as possible, and told Michelle she was ace. She was.

Essex girls 2 Shoes

A couple of orange, shoe-obsessed Essex girls with eyelashes like slugs and a bubblegum pink Fiesta – we were set up to hate these two. But we didn’t. They played the game: acted the part of dumb bimbos; left a brassy blonde mum backstage to engulf Dermy in tears and bear hugs; but, more to the point, they sang really quite well. Thumbs up from all the judges, except Kelly Rowland, who they told ‘never mind – we still love you Kelly!’ And I love these girls.

John Wilding’s spray-on jeans

Undeterred by having been turned down by Dannii Minogue last year, John Wilding returned with more pluck, tighter trousers, and a stronger voice. It takes balls to come back after being knocked back, and if it’s one thing his trousers proved tonight, it’s that John has balls. Best of luck to them all.

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