X – 3 hours (ish)

So in 3 hours’ time (give or take) the much hyped live shows will begin for this year’s X Factor circus. By the time the programme starts I imagine I will be through the best part of a bottle of wine and a little bit reality TV’d out after watching the Widdecombe salsa on Strictly. But X Factor is car crash TV at its best, a true guilty pleasure. I know I shouldn’t watch it and shouldn’t have strong opinions about the puppets/contestants – but I do. I just can’t help it.

This year the run up to the live shows has been dominated by “Gamu-gate” – the elimination of sweet little Gamu Nhengu, the contestant from Zimbabwe who first came to our attention when her initial audition was autotuned – unnecessarily, if the clips of her singing with her gospel choir on You Tube are anything to go by. Anyway, turns out sweet little Gamu’s Mum is a benefit cheat and is being thrown out of the UK. As Gamu is only here on her Mum’s visa, she goes too. This means nothing to the hoardes of X Factor fans who have launched social media campaigns demanding her reinstatement on the show. Gamu, of course, is just a plot device (a bit like the hideously one dimensional Danielle in Eastenders) – she has a nice voice and a nice personality but she really isn’t all that special and doesn’t radiate the sort of star quality you got from the likes of … er … Steve Brookstein and Leon Jackson (oh …). The real issue is that Cheryl “Queen of the Nation’s Hearts” Cole put through two girls who are not particularly likeable and who have a tendancy to fuck up their auditions. Step forward Cher Lloyd (an anagram of her name is Old Cheryl, which is ironic as to me she seems like a young Cheryl – faux street attitude, not particularly bright, too many tattoos, not enough pies and a very weak singing voice), and Katie Waissel (an anagram of her name is e swastika lie, which is also ironic as she has been portrayed as the reincarnation of Hitler since making it through to the live shows).

What we all tend to forget is that the judges are not looking for the best singer, they are looking for an act they can market and that act needs to fill a gap in the market. Do we really need another young black girl with a huge voice like TreyC or Annastasia (2 other girls to fall at the final hurdle) when we have previous X Factor winners Leona and Alexandra? Personally I’d rather see our Chezza put through 3 girls with amazing voices but I can understand why she (well, the producers) went for the girls who would generate some press interest. Cher certainly has “something” – it might be right up Cheryl’s street but it certainly isn’t up mine, but there’s something there that’s quite interesting – she might do something amazing on the live shows or it might be the most cringeful (tm Apprentice) live performance since Amy Winehouse discovered vodka. Katie does baffle me I have to admit. She seems to be a fairly average singer, over-styled to the point of being a joke and with the sort of self-important soundbytes that she’d be better off on The Apprentice than a singing contest. My particular favourite is the one where she says she wants to be a star of stage, screen, medicine … for an act to be marketable it has to be likeable and so far Katie is about as likeable as syphillis. It could all be down to the edit of course but the damage is done.

With all the attention on these 2 rather average young girls, the other 10 contestants (14 if the wildcard rumour is true) are largely being ignored. So, ahead of tonight’s show – here are my first thoughts on them:

The Boys
Matt – probably the best singer and an obvious early favourite – I like him but his vocal style might grate after a couple of weeks. He seems a bit over-humble to me as well and I’m getting sick of the painter and decorator back story – anybody with access to the internet knows he’s in a band.
Aiden – Joe McElderry, but not such a good singer and a little less gay. Next.
Nicolo – my favourite at the moment. He has a good voice, a quirky style and a wicked sense of humour that I hope isn’t stifled. He’s being portrayed as the diva, the Rhydian character and it might have worked had Katie not revealed herself to be a pantomime witch. His twitter updates make me laugh on a daily basis and he’s a breath of fresh air on this over-scripted programme. I think he might have been stitched up with a Lady Gaga song tonight but we shall see …

The Overs
Louis has been well and truly stitched up with this group, which should have hot favourite Matt in it. But as the age ranges were all moved around, he was left with a group so weak it almost made you long for the return of Chico and that bloke who was doing it for his dead wife. Almost, but not quite.
Mary – Subo without the mental health issues. She should have gone on Britain’s Got Talent
John – we know nothing about John, so he’s probably quite good. I shall reserve judgement
Storm – Cowell hates him, Louis loves him. I think he’s just a middle aged guy who sings rock covers and now he has stupid hair.

I’m not very interested in the overs this year.

The Groups
This is where the real disgust should be focussed – yet again some good groups who have worked hard on their harmonies, images and have produced some really strong auditions have been rejected in favour of a bunch of kids who are not good enough to be soloists but who are malleable enough for Cowell to see pound signs. The girls have something and I can see why Simon picked them above the hard-faced Husstle but the boys are shocking. We have

Belle Amie – four bland girls who will no doubt appear tonight as uber-sluts after their make overs
One Direction – or Wand Erection as I like to call them – 5 Justin Bieber wannabees who don’t have the voices or personalities to cut it as soloists. The tweenies are already supporting them and saying “dey is da best coz dey iz sooooo fit innit”. We haven’t really heard them sing yet but apparently that doesn’t matter
FYD – another group I don’t know much about them. Cowell wasn’t sure about them but musical genius Sinitta said they were great so there they are. I think they will be early cannon fodder.

And finally we have Cheryl’s remaining girl – Rebecca, a down-trodden bluesy type who I just don’t “get”. She’s got a pleasant enough voice but zero charisma and stage presence. Oh and she cries all the time. But then if I was sharing a bedroom with Cher and Katie, I’d probably cry too.

So, bring on the live show and an early exit for one of poor Louis’ acts …

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