Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Honking Box Preview: The X Factor

Ah, God bless The X Factor. Year in, year out, it makes for simultaneously some of the best and worst telly imaginable. And what better time to get off our arses and address the majestic mainstay of non-talent shows than at the judges’ houses stage? What’s that? They’re not the judges’ actual houses?! Shocked! And! Appalled! Time to write an angry, grammar-evading letter to the News of the World! And until then, we must boycott the Carphone Warehouse until they withdraw their sponsorship! Oh, those evil TV overlords and their torrent of lies. Lies!

Each of the four judges steps into their mentor role, as they whisk away the final six in each category for a poke and a prod and a whole lotta letdown, albeit in a pleasant location so it’s win/win. We’ve specifically been avoiding the spoilers splattered across various corners of t’Internet, so rest assured any estimates we make are highly likely to be wrong on all counts. More likely, however, is the history The X Factor has of ditching some of the best acts at the last minute. Hell, we still can’t believe 2 To Go ever reached the live finals.

Back to 2008, and Simon takes the boys’ category to Barbados in the company of Sinitta, whose perennial appearance as Simon’s henchdiva doubles up as both a hunt for new musical talent and a demonstration of how to incorporate garden furniture into your swimwear. Cheryl heads for St Tropez along with Kimberley Walsh, although Nicola Roberts sat scowling at each auditionee would’ve provided far greater television. And best of all, Dannii Minogue – rather unfairly, this year’s underdog – ropes in The Bunto to help her sift through the Over 25s in Cannes. Of course, anything with added Spice is sure to go down well round these parts.

Meanwhile, Louis, who is still happy to be thought of as the cheapest man in showbiz, takes his groups to Ireland. Couldn’t he at least dress it up as a fear of flying? Don’t get us wrong, we’re not dissing the nation – hell, Ireland begat The Sloppy Dog – but let’s call a spade a spade: it’s not Barbados. Although the mental image of Desire packing their bikinis and Factor 15 then seeing the closest they’ve got to a luxury infinity pool is a peat bog plays out quite fun in our heads.

The groups, once again, received the least regard throughout the auditions and Boot Camp, so it’s actually rather apt that they’re headed up by Louis, given that this year’s series has proved to be little more than The Simon & Cheryl Show. Two of the six – Girlband and Bad Lashes – seem fairly well-equipped for the live shows, certainly more so than the disgusting Hope were last year. Apparently, a similarly-crafted boy band were compiled this year from auditionee offcuts under the moniker Priority – we’ve seen sweet FA of them up until now, but don’t bet against them making the final 12; we all know how much Louis likes a young lad talented vocal harmony group.

That said, the weakest category by far is the boys. Tough titty, Cowell. With any luck, we’ll see the back of the vile Alan Turner, who may or may not have been given up for foster care by parents who may or may not have hated him, although our dislike comes mainly from his overall greasiness. Seriously, where does one even buy wet-look gel in 2008? Similarly, we don’t get the appeal of permanently-teary creatine goblin Austin Drage – some see it as determination, we see it as beyond desperate.

Which means, AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, it’s likely to come down to a face-off between Cheryl and Dannii. It’s almost as if the producers want them to have some sort of rivalry in the hope of obtaining greater publicity, and totally by accident, more viewers! But of course, that’s utterly ridiculous.

Dannii is definitely not one to be sniffed at – her seemingly-bizarre selections last year actually proved hugely successful, even if the end result did turn out to be Leon Jackson. This year, she’s got the batshit-crazy Rachel on board, who from the outset was dressed up to reach the finals. That said, Spanish Ruth may also be one to watch. However, Cheryl just pips Dannii with the girls, arguably the strongest category The X Factor has seen in quite some time. Aside from Hannah Bradbeer, whose Hyacinth-Bucket-meets-Aubrey-O’Day-meets-Axl-Rose outfits take a layer off your retinas each time she appears on screen, there’s a wealth of sizeable talent for Cheryl to cherry-pick. Or Cheryl-pick, if you will. Boom-boom.

And in true X Factor style, it’s spreading the gore across two nights in order to take the shine off Strictly Come Dancing, which incidentally, we couldn’t care less about in the absence of Alesha Dixon. Tune in on Saturday at 7:45pm to witness the semi-finalists choking on their shaky poolside renditions of Killing Me Softly, then at 7pm on Sunday to see gaggles of family and friends stuffed into someone’s front room like particularly excitable battery hens, only to recoil in despair at the news that “I ‘aven’t made it, Mam”. Except Alan Turner of course, who goes home to an empty orphanage with only his lies to keep him warm. Lies!

1 comment:

mike said...

firstly the contestants should not be judged on their clothes as this is secondary at most to the their ability to perform.
hannah clearly dresses well after being picked up by vogue for her dress sense.
all of that aside, her voice is captivating and astounding.
its a travesty that hannah will not being live shows, i hope she knows herself that she was too good for the xfactor.

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