Wednesday 18 September 2019

In defence of Nick Grimshaw - 5 reasons why he's right for X Factor

Nick Grimshaw, Cheryl Fernandez Versini and Rita Ora will judge on The X Factor
Nick Grimshaw, Cheryl Fernandez Versini and Rita Ora will judge on The X Factor
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Nobody likes change, not least viewers of ITV's X Factor, and Simon Cowell's brand spanking new line-up has evoked an overwhelmingly negative response.

Garnering the brunt of the backlash is Nick Grimshaw, plucked by Cowell from the bowels of Radio 1 to fill Louis Walsh's well worn seat on the juding panel alongside Cheryl Fernandez Versini and his pal Rita Ora (the cheek of him!).

X Factor judges (left to right) Nick Grimshaw, Rita Ora, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Simon Cowell for the ITV1 talent show. Picture: SYCO/THAMES TV
X Factor judges (left to right) Nick Grimshaw, Rita Ora, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Simon Cowell for the ITV1 talent show. Picture: SYCO/THAMES TV

Presumably Grimmy is being handsomely paid for the trauma of being blamed for the entire series' perceived failure (launch night hit an all time low of 7m viewers, despite all the new bells and whistles), but four weeks in it's starting to look like Nick might actually be the most interesting individual on the X Factor planet.

Here's why:

He cares about the contestants...

...and not in a sycophantic, fake, simpering way. 

stephanie beeby.jpg
Stephanie Beeby exits X Factor

Sunday night's unbearably tense Bootcamp episode, which saw some acts reduced to gibbering, ground-thumping wrecks, was tough viewing.

One particularly awful segment saw 17-year-old Stephanie Beeby break down in tears on stage after she forgot the lyrics to Tina Turner's Proud Mary which she attempted to sing with Bupsi, Jennifer Philips and soul group Bekln.

Nick, visibly concerned by her predicament, told her not to stress but she started crying and pleaded, "I got confused by the timing. I know I can sing, that’s the thing."

Simon asked the other judges if they were prepared to give her another shot and Nick quickly agreed but Rita, said, "She's not ready". 

Maybe Rita was right being cruel to be kind, but Beeby was then singled out as the only one on stage to fail to make it through to the next round and when she sloped away in tears, Cowell, Cheryl and even Rita Ora stared awkwardly ahead like heartless robots as Nick asked her, "Are you okay?".

He rose from his seat and embraced her,  “Give me a hug. You’re 17, don’t worry…” he said before telling her to come back next year.

He has yet to shed a tear, unlike Cheryl, Rita, and even Simon, but his sentiments appear all the more genuine for the lack of dramatics.

He knows his music

Grimshaw may have initially lost a million listeners on his Radio 1 slot, but that always was the plan - to scare off those older fuddy duddies (with all his talk of Snapchat and the likes) in favour of a younger demographic. 

Basically, he's Simon Cowell's link to that elusive yoof market, and a very clever acquisition in that regard. He still has 5.5 million listeners tuning in daily - he clawed back 350,000 for the three months to the end of June and this is likely to increase further - and he knows exactly what they want to listen to and what will sell records.

Clearly, his listeners are to the forefront of his mind when he's assessing acts on the show.  When Simon Cowell suggested keeping the lyric-fluffing rehearsal-phobic duo Castiello, Grimmy responded with, "I'll be struck off the radio if they go through."

He calls a spade a spade

Ryan Ruckledge's behaviour did not impress the judges (Syco/Thames TV/PA)

As with his take on Castiello, Grimshaw's feedback has turned out to tally, in general, exactly with what the public is thinking at home. 

When, on Sunday night's show, Ryan Ruckledge decided to get deliriously sloshed the night before his bootcamp audition, and then flopped lower than his ailing quiff on stage, Nick was having none of it. 

"He wants to be on Big Brother, not X Factor," he said, echoing the sentiments of the thousands of sofa judges wagging their fingers at their tellyboxes at home.  "That's called making your bed and lying in it" he added.  Indeed, we agreed.

He doesn't take himself too seriously

It's what we loved about Louis Walsh, and Nick is cut from the same self-deprecating cloth. 

He's also charmingly indiscreet and witty.  When quizzed by Xtra Factor hosts Rochelle Humes and Melvin Odoom on who he would snog, marry, and avoid out of all his celeb friends (of which he has quite a few), he said he'd snog Alexa Chung, marry Kate Moss (because she can cook) and avoid Cara Delevingne because he suspects "she does not keep a tidy house".

He might get Kate Moss on the show


Rumours abound that Nick will take his aforementioned wife of choice, Kate Moss, with him to judges' houses.  Of course, he could take any of his celeb mates, and maybe Harry Styles would be a better fit given it's a music talent competition, but Moss would be a particular coup.  She rarely appears on TV but when she does it's a guaranteed ratings winner.  Remember her on Gogglebox?  Fascinating.

Read more:

X Factor: Joseph McCaul heads for Six Chair Challenge as Anton Banaghan fails to beat Bootcamp

X Factor: Joseph McCaul gets second chance and Tipperary barman Anton Banaghan wows the judges 

Online Editors

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment

Back to top