Entertainment TV & Radio

Sunday 25 February 2018

Something about Mary makes us smug

The predictable 'X Factor' annoys Andrea Byrne, who believes Irish favourite Mary Byrne's fame will be short-lived

LET me ask you something. If current pride-of-Ireland Mary Byrne was a svelte, twentysomething professional who lived a charmed existence in the leafy suburbs of Foxrock, south Dublin, would we still be rooting for her on The X Factor?

Hell, no! We are all happy to patronise her with our condescending support each week because, as a 50-year-old working-class, single mother who struggles with her weight, we can feel smugly superior. The hysteria surrounding Mary reminds me a lot of Michelle McManus, who won the second series of Pop Idol. (Remember her? No?) Anyway, Michelle, much like Mary, had a good voice, not extraordinary, but decent nonetheless.

However, it was patently obvious that the public crowned her champion because she was 19 stone. You see, apart from appearing on You Are What You Eat, Michelle didn't do an awful lot after winning the popular talent show.

Two weeks ago, Mary lazily chose to perform her audition song again, which resulted in the judges asking her to do something more current. What was her response? To sing a Barry Manilow song, which, let's face it, is about as current as a solvent property developer.

Last night, she sang Faith Hill's There You'll Be, and while it was more current, the song proved too much for her to handle. The point is that Mary, nice and inoffensive as she is, will not feature in the public's consciousness in 12 months' time.

Mark my words!

Such is the predictability of The X Factor now, that the most entertaining part of last week's results show was the stand-off between Cheryl Cole and Jamiroquai. The day before he was due to appear on the show, the washed-up singer branded the two female judges "f**king useless". As we battled through his snooze-fest of a performance on Sunday night, it felt like a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Honestly, what's with The X Factor's stupid weekly themes and the way in which the judges loosely interpret them? Since when were Led Zeppelin a "guilty pleasure", and how is Total Eclipse of the Heart a Halloween song?

While most of the contestants are improving vocally each week, Aiden Grimshaw is getting worse. He has even massacred (we're talking Jedward proportions here) Michael Jackson's Thriller. At least Jedward made us laugh, but watching Aiden's tone-deaf, macabre performances is beyond painful. If he wasn't cute, he'd be long gone.

Though it pains me to say it, Cher 'Thunderbird' Lloyd has proved her worth over the last two weeks. Simon Cowell got a bit carried away, which seems to be a common occurrence this series, declaring that Cher's performance of Shakespeare's Sister's Stay was the best of the entire series. It is actually Rebecca Ferguson and Matt Cardle who should share that honour, after stealing the show last night with their respective performances.

The fact that girl group Belle Amie failed to gel as a band and to connect musically proves just how good boyband One Direction is. Both bands were put together in the boot camp stage of the show having never met each other before, but One Direction sing and act like they've been together for years. My bias towards them is nothing to do with how they look. I swear!

Katie Waissel is proving impossible to vote off.

Also, Wagner's continued presence in the competition defies all logic. Surely, it's only a matter of time before the viewers get sick of this talentless Brazilian buffoon? If you're to believe the tabloids, Wagner tried to headbutt the oh-so-cute Harry Styles (of One Direction), which, you can be sure, the voting public won't take too kindly to. Surely no amount of bongo action and dancer groping will get Wagner out of this little quandary.

'The X Factor' results show is broadcast tonight at 7.45pm on TV3 and ITV

Sunday Independent

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