Being an unashamed fan of TV talent shows I usually write something about X Factor
). People have strong feelings about the contestants so this is always guaranteed to upset some readers.
Right. Let me start as I mean to go on. This week's special guest was Mariah Carey. I had never seen Mariah Carey before. Her first song was tedious beyond belief. If she'd been a contestant the judges would surely have said "you're going to be in trouble tonight
." But the judges gave her a standing ovation. She said she'd written the song herself. If I'd been her, I'd have kept quiet about that. Simon Cowell said she is the biggest star in the world today. If so, then the world's gone fucking mad.
, Dermot O'Leary managed not to upset her. Last year he managed to upset Celine Dion by saying she talked too much. There was a wonderful shot of Miss Dion standing behind him scowling and shaking her head. One longed for Dermot to turn round and say "Why the long face, Celine?
" But even Dermot isn't that stupid, even if he thinks 'hyperbole
' is pronounced 'hyperbowl
If you are Dermot or any of the new generation of presenters you must address the audience as 'people
'. Whatever happened to 'Ladies and gentleman'
(or as Mel Brooks always said when addressing showbiz audiences: 'Ladies and Jews'
As a viewer, I resent being addressed as 'people
'. I'm one of the third of households in single occupancy. The plural is inappropriate. I am a single person, or saddo, who is spending Saturday night watching junk TV presented by morons.
Talking of which, ITV2
's Xtra Factor
is presented this year by Holly Willoughby. Although less irritating than last year's Fearne Cotton (you'd rather spend an evening with Dot Cotton than Fearne Cotton), Holly still struggles with some of the minor details of the presenter's craft like reading the autocue. Or getting the name of the guest artist right - she recently called last year's winner 'Leo
' instead of 'Leon
My biggest problem this year is Cheryl Cole, the new judge. Today's Observer
has a full page profile of her headlined "The nation's sweetheart
." Well, count me out on that one, sweetheart.
I can't bear to look at this woman with her sickly, patronising smile. A smile that perfectly matches her patronising comments which are typically something like: "you're so cute. And you've got a lovely little voice
." I've just glanced at the article in the Observer
, a paper that boasts some of the best writing, and I alighted on this:
"When Daniel, 38, revealed that his late wife had urged him to try out for the programme before she died, Cole's tears glistened fetchingly on her beautifully bronzed cheekbones. She cried. We cried. But she looked prettier than us when she did it
No, I don't mean Hello?
I mean Hello
as in Hello
, - celebrity mag rags. Has the Observer
gone fucking mad as well?
What of the contestants?
Well, last night we had a 'first'. A contestant was too ill to perform. The good news was that it was Diana so it's an ill wind. The bad news was that the producers exempted her from the elimination vote. But she is inexplicably popular. She forfeited my vote at the beginning by performing bare-footed. Not only do I consider this a silly affectation but I dislike feet. Put some socks on or put a sock in it.
To put it bluntly, most of the girls this year are shite. Last night, both Rachel and Alexandra were off key though, astonishingly, none of the judges mentioned this.
The Spanish bird, Ruth, is a good old-fashioned belter but as Louis Walsh said, 'not so much Mariah Carey as Mariah Scary
is staying in on the sympathy vote and also because a key voting sector are those old enough to yearn for a new Max Bygraves or Val Doonican.
Eoghan Quigg, the youngest contestant, has the Aahh!
Factor and is always rather better than you expect him to be, though surely not good enough to win. But remember that the last time a contestant's name began with the letters Q-U-I he made it to the Final. (Raymond Quinn, oh ye of short memories). Next year I'm going to enter under the name of Clarence Quince.
The best of this uninspiring bunch are the boy band JLS. 'Boy band'
is the wrong term because they hark back to a much older tradition of vocal harmony groups like The Four Tops
. They're already the complete package, ready to go into the studio tomorrow and record their first album. Louis Walsh is clearly hoping they have the Obama Factor and referenced Obama last night. And I get the feeling that Simon Cowell is secretly hoping they're the act he'll be signing.
All of which means that the public will probably choose yet another wailing Mariah Carey wannabe with the personality of a partially defrosted plate of scampi.
I'm sorry, people. It's best to prepare for the worst. And please God, let it soon be over so we can move on to Britain's Got Talent