The hilariously awful first auditions, bootcamp stage, and judge’s houses are all out of the way. It’s that time of the year again, when people happily relegate both precious Saturday and Sunday evenings to angrily criticising/silently weeping over a bunch of oddly dressed people on a stage.
This year marks the much lauded (not) start of ‘X Factor: The New Generation’, which Dermot has been shoehorning in for all he’s worth. Things were looking up – the old guard had vanished, save Louis Walsh, who is still clinging like a barnacle to the oversized cruise liner of the X Factor. In came Tulisa, she of the brassy hair and street slang; Kelly Rowland, over emotional and yet strangely earnest, and Gary Barlow, who…well, everyone knows how I feel about Gary.
It started out looking incredibly promising. My issue with previous series had been the way the judges hyped up the contestants, bloating them with undeservedly excellent feedback, then choosing one or two acts to really lambast, just to feed the public appetite for blood. The other reason I lost faith last year was Matt ‘Who?’ Cardle. Jesus….but the less said about that, the better. The show seemed to become increasingly fixed, overstyled, overproduced, and out of touch with any sort of reality. I’m sure a common complaint up and down the sitting rooms of the country was ‘are those judges hearing the same thing I’m hearing?’
I liked the new wave. They were all honest with their acts, with Gary even telling Frankie ‘Seven girls names tattooed on my bottom’ Cocozza he didn’t think he was ‘the best singer’. Ace, I thought. The judges are actually saying, you know, proper things. That normal people think. People keep claiming they want to see Simon Cowell back, as he’d really tear them to shreds. I disagree – I think he became one of the worst offenders of over-hyping, and those ridiculous misleading, crowd-manipulating sentences. ‘I have to say…..we’ve made a huge mistake choosing you…..a huge huge mistake…..because……I SHOULD HAVE JUST GIVEN YOU A RECORD DEAL STRAIGHT AWAY BECAUSE YOU’RE SO BLOODY BRILLIANT’.
For once, I had high hopes that we’d get the honest feedback that is so essential for making X Factor compulsive viewing. Words cannot describe my horror when the aforementioned Frankie sailed through with glowing praise after the most disgustingly bad version of Ed Sheeran’s ‘The A Team’ I’ve ever heard. I must also take the time to mention the styling. My old fave, Grace Woodward, used to be responsible, and a bloody good job she did. Lord alone knows what’s happened this time – I can only assume a truckload of glitter intended for a drag queen convention had collided with a truck of glue, and attached itself to half the contestants. Frankie (sorry, I clearly have a huge issue with this poor chap) looked like an earlier, underwritten version of Vince Noir.
I feel so dispirited writing this that I don’t think I can cope with much more. I’m so so disappointed that the show is exactly how it used to be before; much too long, over the top, a complete assault on all the senses, and pumped full of contestants who previously wouldn’t have made it past the first few rounds, let alone to the live stages.
By the end of the Saturday marathon, I felt completely overwhelmed, nerves frayed, and like I never wanted to see another dairy product in my life. I don’t even know why I’m blogging about it. I suppose it’s really just to make some recommendations. The only way I found it bearable was by doing both of the following:
- Following @themanwhofell on Twitter. He live Tweets it, and is convinced that Louis is sexually obsessed with the moon. It’s the kind of abstract humour that is much needed when watching a hulking megabeast like the X Factor.
- Reading Stuart Heritage’s live blog on The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2011/oct/08/x-factor-liveblog-first-live-show
I have to stop writing now. I need to go and take a shower and wash away the X Factor-y remnants than are covering me in vainglory. Buh bye.
Pictures from the luminous Google images. Thanks, guys.