X-Factor – just pantomime?


Simon Cowell at the National Television Awards...

Apparently, you can see those teeth from space


It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? The evenings are drawing in so the schedulers try to glam up our Saturday nights with X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing.

The dancing . . . oh, I just can’t watch it. All those spangly costumes and all that twirling. I mean, come on. That’s too much glitz for me. It’s just garish isn’t it? And the idea of seeing Paul Daniels doing anything on my TV again just fills me with dread. Nasty.

As for the X-Factor, well, usually I stop watching when we get past the initial auditions. I like to have a few laughs, see. I love seeing the people who, quite clearly, do not have what it takes to be the next cloned, polished, made over, manufactured X-Factor winner. Remember the Michael Jackson wannabe rolling his eyes in a deranged manner and saying ‘There’s a lot of nagativity in this room’? Or the one dressed as a tiger. They’re just there for the laughs aren’t they? It’s entertainment, not music. That’s why they are allowed to stand up on that stage. Surely.

And I love the rehearsed set-up passed off as spontaneous, when Simon Cowell turns and raises a hand, bringing the proceedings to a stop so he can give the auditionee the old ‘No, you’ve got this all wrong, this isn’t what we’re looking for, can you sing something else?’ Because Simon knows best – notice how two of the groups he selected to go thorugh to the live finals were the two he put together? Of course you did – Then, the interruption is followed by a brilliant rendition of something more ‘suitable’ (see, Simon did know better) aaaaaand cue the uplifting music, the teary parents/family/children standing backstage and the sad story about how they’re doing it for their Nana. But really they’re chasing the money and the fame and the fortune, just like everyone else.

Some of those finalists are very talented, though. Actually, they all seem talented to me – someone who can’t hold a tune or dance a step. But there’s this idea that they’re somehow entitled to fame and fortune. 16 year olds are crying that their life is over because they haven’t been selected for a talent show. They don’t know how to take rejection, maybe because they’ve only ever ben told they’re fantastic. We live in an age when people think they deserve something they haven’t earned.  It’s the old ‘if you believe in your dream it will come true’ concept. How many times do we hear people say that? ‘If you believe it, it will come true.’ Films, books, TV programmes. They all say it.

But it is, of course, absolute bollocks.

If you have a good dollop of talent, a pinch of nous, you work hard and you have a lot of luck – THEN your dream might come true. But even then . . . (imagine a sharp intake of breath through clenched teeth)

Mind you, if Cheryl (lovely Cheryl) is your judge, then apparently it doesn’t matter if you forget your words, break down mid song or walk away without finishing. You can still be picked.

It’s all just pantomime really, isn’t it? Mind you, having said all that, I’m still watching.

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