Thursday 26 April 2018

Last night’s TV: The X Factor

With rumours circulating of his demise, Diarmuid Doyle agrees that it was a bad weekend for Louis Walsh

Another Monday, another X factor rumour – this time that Simon Cowell is about to return from the US like an avenging angel and replace Louis Walsh as one of the show’s judges.

“Simon has a lot on his plate in America with the US X Factor but he has not ruled out a return”, The Sun quotes “a well-placed source”, who may or may not be Simon. “The likelihood is that Louis will be gone next year – and Simon could make a welcome return”.

Louis didn’t have a great weekend, it’s true.

On Saturday, he accused Misha B, the bookies’ favourite to win this year, of being a bully, but was forced to apologise on last night’s results show (ITV, TV3). Then two of the “Over 25” contestants he is mentoring had to sing off to stay in the contest.

Eventually, Sami Brookes – the “lesbian songstress” of tabloid legend – was sent home; Kitty Brucknell survives for one more week.

Sami is the better singer, but lacked Kitty’s secret weapon – killer legs which are on public display pretty much all of the time, and are as essential to her success as Sean Gallagher’s relentless positivity is to his.

It’s her personality that’s letting her down. “For some reason the public aren’t connecting with you”, Louis told her before keeping her in the contest anyway.

Her days are numbered, which will leave Louis with just one contestant , 45-year-old Johnny Robinson.

On Saturday, Robinson did a wonderfully camp version of The Darkness’s I Believe In A Thing Called Love, which everybody loved.

“Johnny put a big old smile on my face”, Kelly Rowland said last night, a sentence most chaps would pay good money to hear, although you suspect it didn’t mean a whole lot to Johnny. He’ll be back for this Saturday’s Hallowe’en –themed show.

For the moment, the strained relationship between some of the judges is turning out to more entertaining than the show itself, which is still a few weeks away from being a genuine contest of equals.

There’s nothing like a collapse in ratings to create some stress, spark a few rows and heighten tensions.

How real some of those are, or how manufactured they have been to get viewers interested again, is another question, but whatever the answer it was a more entertaining weekend than usual on The X Factor.

Tulisa, who constantly looks like her cat ate her gold fish and then died of food poisoning, started the whole bullying row by accusing Misha B of bad behaviour.

This prompted Louis to use the b-word, which annoyed Kelly, who’s mentoring Misha B and who objected to this very public washing of dirty linen.

Meanwhile the rivalry between Tulisa and Kelly is becoming more pronounced by the week, although you suspect there can only be one winner.

Rowland has the better acts – Misha B (a real star in the making), Sophie Habibis and Ireland’s Janet Devlin, who actually had her worst performance of the series on Saturday, a version of Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine from which she removed all of the energy.

If she’s to have any chance of winning, she’ll need to get outside her comfort zone of mid to low tempo ballads.

By contrast, Tulisa is left with The Rise, a boyband who will probably hoover up votes from teenage girls for a few weekends before disappearing into anonymity, and Rhythmix, four girls who look like they’ve just wandered in from an Occupy Wall Street protest.

It’s no wonder she seems so down all the time.

Meanwhile, Walsh has accused the increasingly smug Gary Barlow of deliberately slagging off his acts in an attempt to become the new Simon Cowell. The old Simon Cowell, of course, is waiting in the wings with a metaphorical axe.

On whose neck will it fall?

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