The X Factor. It's a British institution isn't it? Sort of like rising unemployment and pretending to give a shit when there's a royal wedding. Like being all surprised every winter that it gets cold and having a transport system that breaks down when it snows in a different county.
It's been going on for years and years and years. Forever, possibly. It definitely feels like it might be almost forever. And it's given us such treats as Wand Erection, Cher Lloyd, Jedward and Wagner. It's given a platform to so much talent, like, um, well that Leona lass. She was good. And it gave Chezza Cole a job when she really needed one. Oh, and it gives the scum of Britain the chance to sit in the audience and scoff at mentally ill and deluded people. They get to boo and jeer and laugh at people who have very possibly been manipulated into thinking they're very much better than they actually are, purely so they can be ripped apart in front of a baying crowd. It's very British.
The mentors are astounding this year. Nicola Sherzinger seems intent on being the wacky one and has a curious predilection for double entendres. Usually about boy bands who are only just over the age of consent. She also likes to whoop and holler a lot. Louis is the same as he's been since 1902. He tells everyone they're amazing (apart from Christopher Maloney, obviously) and that he "wants them in the final." They can't all be in the final, Louis. Then it would never end would it?
Tulisa, who is a singer from N Dubz, is another mentor. She seems to most closely resemble a whinging chav. It really is the best way to describe her. She's changed a lot, looks wise, since she started last year. They've done a right Chezza Cole makeover on her. She's all hair extensions and big, square teeth, bad dresses and shoes she can't walk in. She looks like she's itching to be back in her velour tracksuit. She also has a face like a slapped arse and seems to hate everything about the show. Which is, actually, fair enough.
And then Gary. Oh Gary. We all used to like you, you know. We thought you were somehow the quiet but dignified one in Take That. When Robbie went all successful, how we felt sorry for you. And then when you came back, suddenly much hotter than you'd ever been, how we rejoiced. And then it turns out that you have absolutely no personality. If I could describe Gary Barlow as a colour, it would be beige. A sort of beigey taupe.
And so to the final. It was tonight. Or at least, half of it was.
It's a very confusing final. Because the three finalists are absolutely terrible. Properly dire. Really REALLY bad.
Jahmene, who looks like he belongs on an evangelist TV channel in the States exhorting people to repent, screeches like an unearthly barn owl. He genuinely can't hit a note. And then they tell him he's amazing. A "young Luther Vandross" if you will, according to Louis. Who I think might be high. He wants to "clean upi the music charts" and show the kids that you don't have to take drugs and be cool to have fun. You can go to church and sing gospel. Yeah, that's going to be a right winner with the single buying public isn't it? Who doesn't want a condescending, oddly voiced, manchild telling them what to do in the form of song? This is Britain. We don't do Christian music.
Christopher is the creepiest motherfucker I've seen on the small screen for a while. He looks like he'd kill you and wear your skin as a suit. He only says three things: "I wanna thank the people for keeping me in", "I'm doing it for me nan" and "I'm the people's choice". On rotation. Over and over and over. His skin is a peculiar shade of orange and his performances can't even be called cheesy. That would be too kind. It's like horrific karaoke by your drunk, embarrassing uncle at a wedding. That everyone just wishes would stop. He's getting booed regularly. And he's in the final. How can someone be in the final and be getting booed? Presumably the kinds of people who go to watch the final are the kinds of people who give a shit enough to vote, so they're booing their own choice? It makes my brain explode.
And then there's James. He has the eyes of a cow in a giant baby's face. And he's from the streets or something. Or he lived in a hostel. Or he didn't get to go to university. Something tragic like that anyway. He wears Deirdre Barlow's glasses and screws his face up as he sings in the oddest way. I think the facial expressions are there to show that he's emoting. Which is good, actually, Jahmene doesn't emote when he sings and Christopher is dead behind the eyes. James "keeps it real" a lot and "makes it his own" by 'freestyling' during very well known songs.
Tonight, the mentors travelled to the home towns of the contestants to greet their fans. Jahmene inexplicably arrived via helicopter at a school where his 'fans' consisted of children too young to even know what day it is, and his church's gospel choir. James roared up in front of a genuinely massive crowd on a motorbike.
And Christopher? Christopher was sent back to Liverpool on the train. Not even first class.
About ten toothless old crones sang his praises outside his nan's house. One of them sang a tuneless dirge in support of Christopher. Another cackled manically. At least three of them looked like they were on day release from the local old peoples' home. Gary turned up later, looking like he would literally rather be anywhere else. And while Christopher's nan forced fondant fancies on the poor guy, Christopher himself decided to present multi-millionaire Gary Barlow with a shitty frame he'd clearly got from Boots, most likely on 3 for 2, "to put his OBE in". Stunned silence, until Gary graciously accepted. "Ah cheers mate. I hadn't, um, even thought of that." Christopher and his nan are like Roald Dahl characters. Off kilter, slightly sinister and very likely to keep your stuffed corpse on display in their living room.
I kind of hope he wins.