The God Factor
I don't feel so bad about watching The X Factor now that I know God also watches it.
In his "first interview since victory" to The Guardian (yes! The Guardian! Somewhere, some PR person will be hailing this as a "counter-intuitive marketing strategy"), Leon Jackson said: "I've been thrown a lifeline by God. I believe in God, and this was destined in my life.....he wrote it for me."
Now it so happens that 80 of the runner-up Rhydian's fans have complained to OfCom that the vote was rigged. Putting the two stories together raises the awful possibility that it was God what rigged it.
The allegation of rigging seems to be based on no more than people getting the engaged tone at times of peak voting. However, the engaged tone began when the call centre was reached and before someone added the digits that identified the contestant.
I have to sheepishly admit I know this because I got the engaged tone when attempting to vote for Leon. I was motivated to do so to avoid feeling a tiny portion of blame if any of Satan's Children had won the contest. Of course, I wouldn't have bothered had I known that God had already arranged for Leon to win.
It's remarkable that a supreme being with so much on his plate should find the time to ensure that a young Scottish shop assistant wins a TV talent contest. It's multi-tasking on an epic scale.
But maybe the 'prioritising' is a lttle bit dodgy.
There are all those billions of prayers to be answered, or more often not answered. There are the Catholic McCanns, among others, praying for the return of a missing child. There are the millions praying for deliverance of themselves or a loved one from a terminal illness.
Then there are the contradictory messages. He told George Bush to invade Iraq. He told Tony Blair to join him. Then he told the Pope to condemn the invasion. With the Archbishop of Canterbury it was a case of "Sorry God, I'm on a train. You're breaking up. I think we're in a tunnel." But eventually the Lesser Bearded One seemed to get the same message as the Pope, in so far as one can ever be sure what Rowan Williams is saying.
But if we rule out the possibility that Leon was actually talking about Simon Cowell, then God had chosen The X Factor for a direct and unequivocal intervention.
I think this was ill-advised. He may now find himself investigated by OfCom and Michael Grade may commission another Deloitte Touche report into the affair. The channel may even have to broadcast a new announcement to viewers: "Recent irregularities in telephone voting on The X Factor were caused by an Act of God. Viewers who feel they suffered a financial loss should take a copy of their telephone bill or satellite/cable television statement to their Parish Priest, Rabbi or Imam. Thank you for your continued support."