Reality Check

There comes a point in any reality TV show’s life when it becomes less interesting. I’m not really a fan of reality TV – I have to hold my hand up to The Apprentice and X-Factor (this year) – but generally I watch them to see people make arses out of themselves. X-Factor loses most of its draw for me when we get to the live shows because by then most of the bad stuff is behind us (Wagner excepted). The live show is just a continuous stream of people singing other people’s songs moderately well. It becomes a kind of Saturday night variety show where the public can spend their money by giving it to Simon Cowell voting for someone who will eventually be kicked out, or by downloading mediocre songs. I mean, seriously, Wagner? He’s never going to be a pop star is he? It just highlights the fact that the show is about entertainment, not music or finding future stars. So maybe that’s why he should win – that would put the cat among the pigeons, expose the X-factor for what it really is, and give Simon Cowell’s manipulation of the music industry a kick up the backside.

The Apprentice has the same kind of curve, with the first few episodes spotlighting those who are going to give us the most TV worthy moments. Stuart ‘The Brand’ Baggs please stand up. But then they either cotton on to the fact that they’ve been marked and so keep their heads down and stop saying idiotic things, or they get fired and are gone from our lives forever. And so the show settles down, the candidates are evenly matched and the chances to laugh at other people’s mistakes falls away – and that’s what we watch for, right? We don’t watch it to see their business prowess, we watch it to see them screw up. We want to see them bicker and bite and battle in the boardroom where, apparently, all bets are off.

And as for Strictly Come Dancing? Ach. Too spangly for me. That whole thing feels like it’s going to melt my eyeballs.

So what have we got to expect from X-Factor and The Apprentice? More of the same from X-Factor, I reckon. Matt will sing a high pitched one, Cher will do hip-hop with a wonky dance, Katie will do quirky, Wagner will do a Margarita Practan medley, the sulky one will do a sulky song . . . But the Apprentice? Well we’ve got the advert to look forward to – remember ‘pants man’? – and we’ve also got the excruciating interviews in the near future.

I can’t wait.


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