You all know I love X Factor. So it pains me to say this...
I'm starting to smell a massive rat (I mean one like this ). Every year the tabloids are filled with various stories about fixing / cheating / mental contestants, etc, but there's something a touch "spin" about those (i.e the papers went wild with the "shock" revelations about this lady being a little bit nuts - anyone concerned about the welfare of her poor little daughter, Mariah? Apparently not. And take it from me, somebody from Social Services ought to be getting involved if she let her child go on television wearing that hairband).
Last year I mentioned my irritation at the lack of continuity, but this year's constantly changing judging panel seems to have stopped this somewhat.
However... Here's what's irked me so far...
When the scary news of Cheryl's Malaria broke, she allegedly collapsed at a photo shoot. She did not collapse backstage at the X Factor auditions as far as I have read. Yet last week after every ad break we were shown sensational footage of Cheryl saying "I really don't feel very well" and being asleep on a sofa backstage. According to the news at the time she was very poorly and I think it's in poor taste to dramatise her illness to make it look like it all happened during filming when it apparently did not. This conspiracy I will hereon refer to as "Chalaria".
The tabloids have had a field day about the mental health of this lady, who appeared on the show a couple of years ago and did not progress to the live finals because she had a bit of a breakdown at Cheryl's (not really her ~) house. It has since been revealed in the papers that she was, at that time, suffering from post-natal depression, although this was only alluded to on the show thanks to the apparent embargo on any kind of sob story being mentioned. She was quite clearly now well recovered and came across as a confident, strong woman. She sang a Tina Turner number which Simon remarked he had "seen Trannies do it better" or something similar, and he of ultra-violet teeth, high trousers and smooth hands/hairy arms fame told her he hated her image and thought she needed a total overhaul. She was then told to sing a different song to better show off her vocal talents which she did and once the obligatory standing ovation had taken place, she got 8 million, three thousand and twenty "Yeses".
Yes, lovely story, nice girl, good voice. Couldn't help but feel the whole thing was a little bit set up though. For a start, her "hideous" make-up looked like it had been done by a professional. But surely not...?
Simon was lambasted in the press for being nasty to an "at risk" young girl when as far as I could make out, aside from being rather patronising, he was actually encouraging her. Also, she seemed absolutely fine with all of the comments and after overcoming post-natal depression, is probably now really grateful to the media for portraying her as a woman on the edge. Don't worry love, we all know how it feels to be outed as mental by the papers...
Still on the subject of Simon, it always makes me do a little demi-giggle to myself when he tells people "I really like you!". I reckon me 'n' Si would get on quite well, so by that rationale alone I could probably win the X Factor. I couldn't even sing in tune to save the life of a dozen drowning kittens but it might not matter as long as I could just get Simon to like me. Which reminds me, I must add this idea to my list of ways to secure total media saturation for the Unworkinggirl.
Finally, and this is my current favourite talent show annoyance, is the putting together of the groups. I just can't get my head round how anybody over the age of about 15 forms a band.
Call me cynical but I just cannot bring myself to believe this group of buff tradesmen, with their suspiciously model looks, discovered during their time together in sixth form that they were all amazing singers, and years later decided to reunite to form a vocal harmony band.
Even if I could sing, I can't imagine a time in at least the last decade when I would have felt remotely inclined to form a girl band with a group of my mates and start practising songs and routines in someone's garage.
Anyway, there are a few more important things going on in the world. It's just X Factor, it's just telly. I still love it.
It has been reported that following her own experiences, Cheryl Tweedy has pledged her support to Malaria charities to help fight the disease.