Thursday, December 11, 2008

Honking Box Preview: The X Factor Final

While the mystery has been entirely sucked out of the Christmas Number One race these past few years, there now exists a recurring Yuletide tradition of shouting at the television when a talentless windowlicker is given a record deal while their sinister puppetmaster gleefully rubs his hands together as the scent of dollar bills permeates his bloodthirsty nostrils.

Yes, it’s the final of The X Factor this weekend, and if history has taught us anything, we should prepare to be massively disappointed. The nation is still reeling from the victory of uberbeige jazz dwarf Leon Jackson, although his record sales illustrate the general “shitting hell, I think we drunk-voted” consensus.

This year, we’re provided with a mixed bag of finalists - peaks ‘n’ troughs boyband JLS, pop royalty in waiting Alexandra Burke, and the dough-faced burpalong idiocy of Eoghan Quigg. One would hope the British public learned from the Leon Jackson debacle, but the grandma vote is never to be underestimated – you’d be justified in assuming Eoghan will walk it.

However, this series has thrown up more of a mixed bag than ever before. From the promising but quickly-robbed (Bad Lashes) to the early favourites who soon established themselves as absolutely fucking dire (Diana and Laura); from the cringe-inducing (Scott, GirlBand and Daniel) to the downright hateful (Austin). And let’s not forget, the shining beacon of awesomeness, the outstanding Ruth Lorenzo – quite possibly our favourite act ever to grace the X Factor stage (sorry Addictiv Ladies).

And we can't neglect the judges in this whole circus of glitter and offal – Louis being as stupid as ever yet worryingly less loathsome, except when he was being even more loathsome; Simon essentially masturbating in a mirror at every given opportunity; Cheryl establishing herself as some sort of Lidl Mother Teresa in a gawdy frock; and Dannii gallantly fighting off bad press and unfair criticism, while simultaneously having to mentor the batshit crazy Rachel, which we imagine is akin to taking a pack of hyenas for a walk on leashes made of dental floss.

Of course, the final is the place where all the greatest moments of the series are showcased in the most tasteless yet entertaining fashion, so expect the group singalong monstrosity from some of the year’s worst contestants. Then again, Hero has already been performed twice on the show, so maybe they’ll just stick to that thing where they bring out some of the mental health patients from the early auditions.

And lest we forget, the celebrity duets, where guests who were booked months in advance are clumsily paired off with the remaining finalists. Varying reports indicate that Duffy, BeyoncĂ©, Westlife, Boyzone, Rihanna and Seal will be amongst the performers, though who’s actually appearing, and more importantly who’s performing with who, has yet to be fully established. Personally, we’d like to see Alexandra with Leona Lewis (a “this is how it’s meant to be done, you boring fuckwit” masterpiece), JLS with Marvin’s former VS bandmates (thus throwing the show’s idea that no-one had a life prior to The X Factor into complete disarray), and Eggnog teaming up with Amy Winehouse (not because he’s her alleged favourite, but because we’d quite like to see her try to smoke him). And if only they’d gotten Seal to perform with Rhydian in last year’s final – together, they’d have looked like a relief map of the Moon.

However, anyone with a brain between their ears will realise the only option, post-Ruth, is the exceptional Alexandra. Don’t be fooled by news reports this week that the surprise popularity of JLS caused riots at a promotional gig – this was the Fairfield Halls, after all. You’d see similar carnage when Croydon College students pile onto a 109 at hometime. And while the dangers of Eoghan winning run worryingly high, we’re putting all our faith in the unparalleled negativity of the British people, and that enough folk hate him to the extent that they'll pick up the phone for his rivals.

Still, as we crown the winner, whoever it may be (ALEXANDRA! ALEXANDRA! ALEXANDRA!), it’s worth celebrating the fact that The X Factor has once again proved no other show can manage to be simultaneously so frustrating and entertaining, or manage such a maddening contrast of surprise and predictability. Here’s to the sob stories, the dead relatives, the bickering judges, the crocodile tears, the horrific song choices, the shock eliminations, the sterling effort on Dermot O’Leary’s part to look remotely interested, the Brian Friedman staging catastrophes, and no doubt, another abysmal Christmas Number One. Bring on Series Six!

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