X Factor 2011, Judges Houses: Bring Out The Gimps

There was an elephant in the room (steady on -Ed) in the shape of Beyonce and Louis could barely hide his contempt at being lumbered with Sinitta. And as for Robbie, he just can't help himself, can he?
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There are many eternal answerless questions in life, but a major one has to be why there’s never been a plane crash on the way to judge’s homes. You might have thought that in the seven years of the programme’s history, there statistically should have been at least one close shave. Sadly, all contestants arrived fresh-faced and healthy in their respective countries of Greece (Tulisa), amazingly not Ireland, but Barcelona (Louis), Miami (Kelly) and LA (Gary). There wasn’t even a case of DVT, which you might have thought Samantha would have been a prime candidate for. ‘I’m a bit worried I’ve got too much luggage’, she laughed. No Samantha, you’ve got too much skin. There’s a difference.

Now I’m quite happy to sit with a bottle of QC and a bar of Old Jamaica watching X Factor of a weekend evening, but I truly fucking hate how dramatic they make this programme. Phrases like, ‘this means everything to me’, and ‘this is just life-changing’ literally make my bowels contract and bile spew out of my arse. And really, what’s the point in asking any one of these contestants, ‘how bad do you want this?’ It’s not as if they’re going to have a sudden epiphany, staring up at the sky as though someone’s written, ‘don’t do it, you’ll look like a cock’ in the clouds. It’s not life-changing. If you do any worse than actually win the fucking thing, you’re still going to end up back in office trying to sell printer cartridges to disinterested middle-aged men whose businesses are on the brink of disaster. There’ll be stories about the time you went to the 24-hour garage in a ball gag in Heat and The Sun, everyone you’ve ever known will sell your arse and you’ll live forever in this weird Z-list celebrity status where you’re turned away from Chinawhite, but have Christopher Biggins as your ICE. It’s not worth it. But then, the more I see of Kitty, the more I think that would be a favourable outcome for her (as opposed to being, say, shot). ‘She’s just so….fascinating’, gushed a bewildered Sinitta as Kitty plunged into the pool after singing her audition song. No Sinitta, the word you are definitely thinking of is ‘cuntish’. Nothing annoys me more than people declaring themselves as ‘crazy and controversial’. You don’t need to do your own PR thanks, that’s why Max Clifford has a yacht and you probably eat beans and sausages straight out of the tin as a Friday night treat.

Singing like a woman whilst looking like a smackhead isn’t a niche market, as far as I know.

The most exciting part of this part of X Factor is, of course, who the judges have brought in as their ‘advisors’. Actual tears of joy were shed by the groups when they were faced by Jesse J, dressed in one of Big Daddy’s legwarmers, as Tulisa’s wingman; ‘I can’t look at her or I’ll faint’, sobbed one young lass, presumably in reference to the possibly of light refracting off Jesse’s pallid face and potentially blinding her. Gary brought in Robbie Williams, inexplicably dressed in bandages and palm leaves like he was still posing for a 1996 Poundstretcher calendar. The best decisions belonged to Kelly and Louis however; to be fair, if you had Kelly as a mentor you’d probably be thinking, ‘It’s Beyonce. We’ve got Beyonce. Oh my God, Beyonce’. The utter joy of eight girls trying not to show bitter disappointment as Jennifer Hudson walked out was brilliantly memorable. Yeah, the ‘these are tears of happiness’ line doesn’t work. I tried that once when my mum knitted me a gollywog jumper for my fourteenth birthday, and she subsequently made me wear it to my birthday tea at Burger King. Stoic achievement is the ultimate aim.

Louis of course, had Brian McFad….oh, hang on. No, it’s Sinitta. Poor Brian, strong-armed out of a lucrative advisory role by Cowell’s ex-fuckpiece. ‘I was hoping for Cilla, but I’ve got Sinitta’, twittered Johnny Robinson. ‘I can’t really complain’. No, really Johnny, you can. But this is also the man who earnestly declared that, ‘everything could be riding on this’. I hate to tell you Johnny, but it really probably isn’t. Singing like a woman whilst looking like a smackhead isn’t a niche market, as far as I know.

Nonetheless, the auditionees came thick and fast. I can’t be too cynical, especially as someone whose voice sounds like a cat pissing through a brush; obviously some of these people can really sing. Highlights included ‘2Shoes’, a female duet dressed as a pair of Jacquard pelmets and ‘Nuvibe’, a group of lads who want to win because - (desperately searching for a story that’ll win over public affection) – ‘It means a lot to us. We used to be naughty’. Well, that solves that problem. That’s a grand reason. Tell you what, let’s round up the twats who stole my gran’s Sat Nav and put them in a hip hop group. That’ll do the job. Twats. I’m no expert, but most of the other contestants actually sounded quite good; I mean, we’re not talking Stevie Wonder, but they could probably win a few pints on karaoke. If anyone from the NME is reading this, I’m available any time.

Of course, we’re all waiting for the one auditionee who has a Vanessa Feltz style meltdown, and this show belonged entirely to Luke from Margate. Bad enough he bears a striking resemblance to Tubbs, but it was increasingly difficult not to hide behind your hands as the poor fucker hit notes that brought expression to even Barlow’s waxy façade. Expressions of distaste, disappointment and pain, specifically. Though you sort of suspect that he’ll be put through purely on ‘likeability’, plummeting out in the fourth week after an ill-advised performance of any young Michael Jackson song. He’s got a lot to look forward to. Printer cartridge, anyone?

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