I’m probably (definitely) not the best candidate for writing about XFactor, I don’t like it. But I’m partial to scar-free self harming and if slagging off TV you don’t like is good enough for Charlie Brooker, it’s good enough for me. Next I’ll be marrying a Blue Peter presenter (Richard Bacon, if I have to) and getting 2 minutes of tabloid fame as a result. Show me the boob job.
So let’s get down to business, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about here – as with all talent searches, it’s all about revenue. With Butlins it’s incentive for the Mums & Dads to buy more Bacardi at Maidenhead whilst they wait 4 hours to find out if their sequin clad mini Britney has won a plastic trophy, with XFactor it’s about £1 texts, phone calls, mobile apps, website hits, product placement, advertising revenue, tours, merchandise, sponsorships and giving Louis Walsh somewhere to go for a night out.
It’s bonfire night. As the theme tune kicks in, I wait in anticipation for explosive pyrotechnics devices, sadly there’s not even a glimpse of a sparkler let alone promise of a rocket up Gary Barlow’s arse. Dermot’s on fire though, his Redbull drinking, Sushi eating, probably empty-inside-by-now script writers have been linguistically lactating over themed phrases like ‘Explosive show’ and ‘Devilish double elimination tomorrow night’.
Now time for the judges to walk out vaingloriously through backlit and dry-iced double doors, just like Stars in their Eyes... Louis, Kelly, Tulisa and Gary have been chanting ‘Tonight Matthew, I’m going to come in my pants each time I get a close-up.’
Cue a high five between Tulisa and Kelly who apparently have been feuding all week (but I thought Kelly has been ill in America? Umm), can’t keep up with the ‘news’ from tabloids contracted to 3,875 pages of XFactor related content weekly to hit advertising revenue targets. But don’t worry, Kelly’s all better now: “I feel wonderful, I am so happy to be back in the UK”. You go girl. Why live in Beyonce’s shadow in the U.S. when you can be an A-list celebrity in Britain. A Godsend too, considering Alexandra Burke’s been on standby to smother us with Jeremy Kyle slogans for a 2nd week running.
Next a bunch of edits showing various judges walking down a runway (corridor) with pearls of wisdom such as ‘The only thing stopping you is you’. Well, not technically. A few million people shouting “Kitty, if you were my dog I’d brick you” at the TV may have a bit more pull that a contestant’s determination.
I don’t want to be unkind about this very sweet natured, lovely, utterly camp 45yr old darl. For those of you who don’t know who I’m referring to – try to picture a startled Orville, skinned, starved for 3 months, surrounded by flashing lights and sexy dancers before being injected with Methamphetamine and told ‘GO!’, singing Madonna’s Hung Up mega-mixed with Dead or Alive’s Spin Me Right Round on a rotating podium cut out to the shape of a 12” vinyl with Johnny Robinson printed on top.
He’s living his dream, that’s what counts. I’m sure there’ll be demand for him in Tiger Tiger, G.A.Y, advertising agencies’ Christmas Parties and such. Johnny, I like strange little songbird creatures, you can come and live with me; I’ll feed you and take you to Karaoke every Sunday down The Packet in Cardiff Bay. The offer’s there.
I’m not sure I can bear to watch anymore of this programme. 8 acts to go. Right, here we go...
The lights go up and we see Janet singing Jackson 5’s I Want You Back with a 7-piece troupe of Performing Arts graduates miming playing instruments made over like the Brady Bunch
Mentored by Kelly ‘if you don’t know who you are, no one else will’ Rowland. We see Janet request no gimmicks or dancers “it takes away from the singing”... Kelly congratulates Janet for being strong. The lights go up and we see Janet singing Jackson 5’s I Want You Back with a 7-piece troupe of Performing Arts graduates miming playing instruments made over like the Brady Bunch. Janet catches a glimpse of some overly animated bongo drumming and forgets her words. Judges console her ‘You tried, but stick to what you know’.
No, love. Go back to Ireland and play in local rustic pubs with tin whistles and a bodrum. Have a nice life. Meet a nice man. Have babies. Be happy. Get away from all these cunts, they’ll turn you into Nicola Roberts, you’ll develop a coke addiction, forget your mother’s name, have a boob job, shave your hair off and walk the streets wearing bloodstained ballet shoes. Run, pixie flower child, run!
Mentored by Gary ‘let me tell you something’ Barlow. Let me tell you something, Gary Barlow... Marcus can sing, has been in bands since he was a kid, is a popstar in a tin, yes we agree his rendition of Reet Petite by Jackie Wilson showed brilliant vocals and great showmanship. Job done. But why am I thinking of John Legend types, the type who write songs, put together stunning arrangements for full bands and orchestras, play instruments and are, well, original.
Perhaps Marcus is all those things, but this show doesn’t let that show. I think that’s fundamentally my beef. People bang on about XFactor being Karaoke - if you’re listening Simon Cowell, it’s because it is. Let performers do their own material. Get bands and actual singer-songwriters through in the auditions, it’s not like there’s a shortage of incredible talent looking to get signed. Fuck off covers.
The 2nd of Gary’s acts. Craig is a bit like Keane’s Tom Chaplin. Like Tom, Craig started out with a chubby face (Gary’s sucking at it weekly to help get it taut). Craig can sing, he’s a belter. A lovely, normal, podgy bloke – perfect boyfriend material for sending down to Asda to pick up washing powder and Always Ultra when you’re too busy drinking custard from a tin whilst taking a shit.
This week he’s told he is to dance for the first time. After his strong acapella intro we’re treated to a brilliant live vocal and a bit of left right left right movement. Production values recreate a frenzied stage show in Soho’s G.A.Y club. He’s finished off with Kelly Rowland banging on about how much she appreciates and respects everything. She’ll be thanking God next.
Mentored by Tu ‘rapping with those pikeys is behind me, I want to be proper famous now’ lisa, The Risk are treated to meeting global phenomenon male boy band, Beatles for a hooded generation, JLS. The boys (very sexy, as a side note) ask their idols JLS “Is there a gap on the market for us” and are told “you’re not filling our gap” followed by a quick producer-prompted recovery: “there’s a place for everyone”. Yep. We’ve all seen those CDs for £1.99 in petrol stations. Helping bored drivers everywhere make a start on their Christmas shopping. Before parting they’re given some invaluable advice from JLS: “Stick together, it’ll help you survive”. Again, not technically true.
Brought to us by the manager of Jedward, this little ex-stripper kitty has definitely been ‘inspired’ by Madonna, Britney, Christina Aguilera and more the likes of Florence and the Machine and Lady Gaga. That’s the problem with these Gaga types, they make it seem all so accessible to wannabes everywhere.
But unfortunately for Kitty, it takes a little more than wearing a cape, drawing zigzags on your cheeks and moving your lips like Britney to make it big. If you were fitter , could sing, play piano and dance better than Lady Gaga then maybe you’d be in with a chance, but the reality is that you are a watered down version of these popstars, and that’s said with sincerity.
I genuinely feel sorry for girls who sing Aguilera’s Dirtaaaay in their local bingo hall to be told by their family ‘You should go on XFactor’. Simply cruel. Credit to her for appearing on the VT without make-up, mind. Very brave girl. Perhaps I’ll draw to a close by quoting one of Kitty’s visions: “I think it’d be cool if at the beginning, I was, like, dead”.
I’ll give them 6 months before all their tits and teeth are done and the chubbier one has taken a scalpel to her tummy. I feel sad.
A mini Robbie Williams that will actually listen to Gary Barlow, this is a match made in heaven for Gary and he doesn’t want to loose his new companion. But he’s going to. Louis Walsh sums it up “You’re not a rockstar, you never will be a rockstar and the only thing big about you is your hair”.
Kelly Rowland points out that you should never tell somebody what they’re not going to be, which is fair enough but come on love, I’m never going to marry Gerard Butler, a spade is a spade.
Louis fights back with “At least I’m honest, I’m not playing up to the cameras like you, Kelly”, Gary buts in “Just shut up”, Louis “No, I won’t shut up!”... Tulisa puts into practice her media training to keep her chav history in the past and says nothing. Dermot looks depressed and cuts to the adverts.
Can I go home now? Oh, I am.
Another belonging to Kelly ‘I’m so proud of you’ Rowland. Misha B is potentially the UK’s answer to Missy Elliot, she sings, she raps, she’s cool, and there’s nothing I like more than watching very large thighs in tight shiny leggings to make myself feel better about my body for 5 minutes. They go to town on the fact Misha is from Manchester, banging on to ‘pick up your phones’. Yes, Manchester, are you listening? They want your money. Hurry now, they’ve even shown you Misha’s grannny crying, where’s your conscience you tight bastards, hurry and give Simon Cowell your dole money, quick!
Well, when the phone lines go live. Which by the time I write this will be. So if you’re reading this vote NOW. God, I’m exhausted. I want to stop writing now, but I’ve started so I’ll finish. Only 20 minutes to go. 21:20pm. Not stop-tap until midnight. Do people endure this weekly?
Right. And finally...
Tulisa’s again. We’re treated to stories from each of the girls, telling us where they are from and how when they were little they’d sing Annie in the laundrette and get 20p off passersby. Destiny. The USP of these girls, apparently, is that they are real girls that real girls can relate to. Normal girls for normal girls to like.
I guess they’re normal in the way that Girls Aloud were normal before they were pumped, dyed, sucked and groomed into robots. All varying in physical beauty, height, weight, blah... I’m thinking All Saints. Spice Girls, those annoying Irish twats (what were they called, Bewitched?). I’ll give them 6 months before all their tits and teeth are done and the chubbier one has taken a scalpel to her tummy. I feel sad.
So that’s all 9 acts done. It’s been emotional. And now I’ve got Dermot doing what can only be described as a ‘Build-a-well-in-Africa’ face as he pleads with us to vote to help govern who is ‘safe’ and who will ‘survive’.
As terrible as this sounds, I wouldn’t be upset if there’d been a transmission interruption stating that the X Factor studios had been bombed. Better there than on a tube where everyone already has the life sucked out of them as I just have for the last 2hours. That’s 2hours of my life I’ll never get back. And if you’ve spent time reading this article, that’s time you’ll never get back too. Sucks, doesn’t it.
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