The X Factor. Never mind the talent, it’s all about the sob stories and those golden oldie judges

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The X Factor. Never mind the talent, it’s all about the sob stories and those golden oldie judges

August 28, 2016 - 21:06
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Some bloke from Bolton steps into the newly recommissioned audition room and starts singing in a fake American accent about country roads taking him home to West Virginia.

Christian Burrows on The X Factor

Some bloke from Bolton steps into the newly recommissioned audition room and starts singing in a fake American accent about country roads taking him home to West Virginia.

“This is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he explains. What, pretend to be John Denver? How strange.

Yes, The X Factor is upon us again and we’re being assailed by the usual selection of delusional dorks with dead-end jobs doing woeful impressions of Rhianna, Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran. If these idiots all make the grade there’ll be no one left to stack the supermarket shelves.

In fairness, not many wannabes try to copy John Denver. The trouble is that West Virginia isn’t the place where 19 year-old Christian Burrows belongs. He belongs behind the bar of the nightclub he works at in sunny Lancashire. He’s singing a song that’s about as relevant to his life as space travel. Absurd.

Suddenly, in that totally spontaneous way we’ve come to know and doubt, Simon Cowell holds up his hand and stops Christian in mid verse. Turns out Barman Boy writes his own ditties and, on balance, Uncle Sime thinks it would be better if he performed one of them.

“I’ve got a song I wrote for my brother,” he says. “Who passed away when he was young.” Bingo! A dead relative. Brilliant. Absolutely no suspicion of course that Cowell and the gang hadn’t already gleaned that and this entire emotional interlude was shamelessly staged. I mean, who do they think they’re kidding?

Anyway, Christian’s musical tribute to his tragic sibling who died at the age of two is milked for all it’s worth. It goes without saying that Nicole Scherzinger begins to weep and tears roll theatrically down Old Ma Osbourne’s surgically reconstructed face. Deeply moving.

Once again, The X Factor is playing us like a fiddle conning us softly with its carefully choreographed sob stories. Naturally, thanks to his heart-breaking humdinger, Christian gets four yeses which - in a break from tradition – are neither big nor fat.

Pass the Kleenex, there’s also a guy with severe dyslexia who lives in a caravan. After he took his driving test he claims he had to ask someone in the street to find out he’d passed. You’d have thought the examiner might have mentioned it.

And, always a favourite, a girl who was bullied at school. A fierce opponent of bullying, Cowell tells her: “Do you know why people get bullied? Because they’re good.” Another reason people get bullied is because they’re crap and The X Factor humiliates them on a national scale.

While Louis and Sharon double up in hysterics, Nicole informs security guard Zak Devan that she loves his mullet. Why does Cowell think this arrant cruelty is funny? Watching the patronising panellists giggling at tone deaf losers is a truly uncomfortable spectacle. Leave ‘em alone!

As for the talent, nothing much to write home about. But full marks to 16 year-old Samantha Lavery for being the first to play the grandparents card. Her grandad Ernie had to give up his singing dream to work down the pit. “He’s like my inspiration,” she sensationally reveals.

“I can’t believe you’re only 16,” gasps Sharon. Nor can I. She looks about 30. But she’s not a bad warbler in derivative kinda way. She’ll make the finals. But could she ever be globally renowned? Could any of this year’s wide-eyed hopefuls? That is the question that will haunt this series. Unless it finds another Leona Lewis or One Direction, The X Factor is in a danger of matching The Voice’s abject inability to discover a star.

This is series 13, unlucky for some, and after the disaster of 2015, it needs to be a hit. But if their underwhelming first weekend back in the hot-seat is anything to go by, the reunited golden-oldie judges look set to struggle. At 38, Nicole is by far the youngest. The ancient others have a combined age of 184. Down with da kids.

Just minutes into the over-long 90-minute opening episode, Sharon tells life-sapping boy band Yes Lad: “You’ve got the likeability.” Oh God, how many times have we heard that?

Talking of clapped out clichés, Old Father Walsh can hardly complete a single sentence without one. After Finland’s Saara Aalto slaughters Chandelier, Louis parrots: “You owned that song.” Not that again! Duffer Louis is clearly just there to make Simon look youthful and knowledgeable. But it’s not working.

So far, no you-nailed-its, no owning the stage and no you-look-like-a-popstar. But, following bullying victim girl Caitlyn’s song to her cry-baby dad, Cowell triumphantly dusts down the horribly hackneyed: “This is why we do this show!” No it’s not. They do this show to make pots of money from advertising revenue.

In other news… that ludicrous Honey G rapping woman must surely be a comedienne playing a trick on a talent search that is way past its sell-by date. Beyond parody. And when Cowell keeps drooling about the good looks of Scottish pub crooner Eddie Lee it’s frankly a bit weird.

Memo to the Dark Lord… don’t do comedy. It doesn’t suit you. But don’t forget folks… there are four long months of this ahead of us. And that’s no laughing matter.

There are 2 Comments

Bignick47's picture

X Factor: 33 minutes of adverts on Sat, in a 90 minute show! Sharon looks like a re-animated corpse, Louis till loves rubbish acts, Nicole still can't understand our dialects, and blubs at even the worst of singers, and Little Si is WAY too in love with himself. It's run its course. Bye

@thecobrasconk's picture

So, the football season has begun, bake off is back and now The X Factor has returned, which inevitably signals the end of summer and the countdown to Christmas. What the weekend did however highlight was that The X Factor clearly jumped the shark several years ago, and it's now simply dying a slow and painful death.

In his desperation to turn the ship around from the rocks, Cowell has now brought back Dermot O'Leary, Sharon Osbourne, Mr Walsh and the singer from the pussy cat dolls. It's clear that Sharon Osbourne has now spent more money on her face than Arsenal have on players this season. Any more work on her chops and her belly button will soon be on her chin. Louis Walsh looks like he's on a day out from the old people's home and Dermot... Well he's slightly better than Ms Flack, but that's really not saying much.

The weekend also heralded the return of the #xfactorsobstory. In one painful weekend we had the death of a sibling & a child, bullying, dyslexia, dropped by record label, last chance saloon etc. The stage management was also nauseatingly predictable and over produced - awful first song - good second song with lots of tears. It felt like Groundhog Day.... again.

It would seem that the show is now only good for Derision on social media and X factor bingo - the game that all the family can play. Over the next few weeks, we can no doubts expect to hear the following - I like him Simon, I didn't like that.... I loved it, you don't know how good you are, you made that song your own and you look like a young [insert name of famous singer here].

Cowell can tinker all he like with judges, presenters, formats, themes etc. But the simple fact is, this dog has had its day.