Friday 23 March 2018

Last Night’s TV: X Factor Eliminations

The results show is a modern day version of a public execution, and in typical X Factor style, the agony was extended over an hour says Diarmuid Doyle

Amelia Lily gets booted out by Kelly Rowland
JohnJo Kerr being eliminated by Louie Walsh
Two Shoes get voted out of the bands category
Gary Barlow chooses to eliminate James Michael
Janet Devlin from Co Tyrone performs on the 'X Factor' on Saturday night

Jonjo Kerr looked sick at the prospect of going back to the army, his shot at fame ruined by elimination from The X Factor (ITV, TV3).

James Michael broke down in tears; Amelia Lily stormed off stage pursued by Kelly Rowland. Three lives and a bundle of hopes and dreams shattered in seconds. And still the judges would have us believe that it’s tougher on them.

The format in the first results show of the year dictated that each of the four judges would eliminate one of the acts they had mentored over the last few weeks, which was akin to watching a cat abandon one of her kittens.

This “is as difficult for us as anybody”, claimed Louis Walsh, just before sending Jonjo Kerr back to his life as a soldier.

Tulisa Contostavlos said she had spent the previous 24 hours “crying tears and pulling my hair out” before axing 2 Shoes who, in fairness, took elimination in their stride.

Kelly Rowland brought a special hanky, all the better to wipe her eyes as she reduced Amelia Lily to a quivering wreck of disappointment and frustration.

A bit of perspective wouldn’t have gone astray in other words.

Jonjo and Amelia and James and 2 Shoes had spent the last few weeks being told how special they were by their mentors, and had started to believe, as one of them put it, that they could make the transition “from a complete nobody to a somebody”.

How here they were being told, by the people who had mentored them, that they were basically nobodies after all. It’s hard to imagine that Kelly Rowland or Gary Barlow know how that feels.

That said, most of their decision-making was correct. Only the axing of Amelia Lily seemed wrong. A pitch perfect singer, mature way beyond her years, she was badly served on Saturday’s performance by being made up like a 46-year-old granny having a mid-life crisis.

Perhaps Rowland felt that at 16, Amelia’s time will come again. But fame is a fickle mistress. Spurned once, she may not return. It was easy to understand the contestant’s disappointment and her decision to flee the stage, devastated by her mentor’s treachery.

The results show is a modern day version of a public execution, and could have been over in four swift blows of the axe, but in typical X Factor style, the agony was extended over an hour.

First there was the reminder of the live show the night before, then the judges telling us how sorry they felt for themselves, then a performance from last year’s winner Matt Cardle.

Cardle sang his new song, which was written by Barlow, who hasn’t lost his ability to craft the kind of tune people listen to while making tea.

He was followed by Cee Lo Green, who crafts the kind of tune people listening to making love, and who seemed a bit out of place on The X Factor, like Baryshnikov at a barndance.

There were, of course, the usual high number of ad breaks, a problem that also affected Downton Abbey immediately afterwards and which made watching ITV last night a frustrating experience.

Some people are blaming the fact that one million fewer people watched The X-Factor results show on the number of ads they have to sit through.

But perhaps those viewers stayed away because it was mostly clear after Saturday night who would be staying and who would be going, and they felt that extending the decision over an our would make everybody miserable.

Except for the 12 acts still in it, of course, who include Janet Devlin from Gortin, Co Tyrone, the only Irish contestant left (although perhaps we would have tried to claim Charley Bird from 2 Shoes if she’d managed to get through).

Devlin sang Coldplay’s Fix You on Saturday night and was described as “mesmerising” by Contostavlos. She has a chance but from next weekend, the public starts to vote and who knows what they’ll decide?

One thing’s for sure, though: they won’t be wracked with self-pity while they’re deciding.

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