The X Factor, ITV1

Did we like it?
The exploitation of the mentally ill in the auditions and the boot camp boredom is behind us. The live shows have started and, yes, we’re bloody well excited.

What was good about it?
• The spot-on verdict of the viewers, chucking out Bad Lashes after their dreadful arrangement of It Must Have Been Love. We noted that Girl Band didn’t do much celebrating of their survival – they know they’ll be out after next week’s Michael Jackson special because Lousy Louis Walsh picked two hideous girl groups (and a rather lame boy band).
• Laughing at Lousy Louis Walsh’s pathetic attempts to take on Simon Cowell in a battle of wits he could never win. Walsh wouldn’t even be wittier than a paper bag.
• Diana Vickers from Blackburn (poor thing) is our favourite and she doesn’t let us down with a mesmerising version of U2’s With or Without You (she nailed it, said Cheryl – the first to use a phrase we’ll hear every week, we bet).
• Scott Bruton, who we like a lot, getting through despite singing Yeah Yeah (a hit when your gran was young) with hardly any of the words distinguishable and countless bum notes.
• Simon admitting he made a big error in his song choice for Scott. Yeah, Yeah was a big No, No.
• Alexandra’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody is good – we expected that – Rachel (the drugs-taking one who is know taking every criticism “on board”) really pleased us with With Every Heartbeat – we didn’t expect that – and, in another shock, doe-eyed nipper Eoghan was brilliant performing the overrated Imagine.

• The DEADLOCK music and graphics are so wonderfully austere that we think the news channels should introduce them for every credit crunch story.

What was bad about it?
• Dannii Minogue perving over Eoghan and coming out with stupid exclamations and nothing of any worth. “This is the campest opening we’ve had to this show,” she yelled after Girl Band clumped their way through Venus (and had the audacity to answer Simon back).
• Cheryl Cole gushing over almost every contestant – it is your job to differentiate between them, not give them all lavish (and often undeserved) praise. She probably went home and told footballer husband Ashley he was fantastic for England at Wembley on Saturday, despite his backpass horror.
* Austin Drage’s awful new emo look. His version of Every Breath You Take was acceptable.
• Daniel Evans has a lousy new look, too, adding years and pounds. I Want To Know What Love Is, he sings. We want to know how this bore got this far. (Answer – his wife died)
• JLS were stretched far too far by I’ll Make Love To You, Ruth the Spaniard does nothing for us with Take My Breath Away and Laura’s Falling was far to overwrought for comfort.
• The sound sounded very poor, especially early on.
• Leon Jackson the “special guest star” being feted as a success story by Dermot O’Leary even though he knows, and we know, that Jackson’s victory in last year’s X-Factor has been a career springboard as effective as a mattress dumped in a layby.

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