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X Factor love-in is over as panto format grows tired

Facebook is generally a good barometer with which to gauge public sentiment. At around 10pm on Saturday and Sunday evenings, X Factor-related musings dominate the news feed. For the most part, these comments are positive, but last weekend there was a noticeable shift.

The consensus was that the X Factor had become banal, the format predictable and the performances repetitive (if I hear Purple Rain by Prince one more time, I may just scream).

The sob stories no longer make us cry. The judges' comments and the pantomime-like squabbles are giving us a terrible sense of déjà vu.

Don't get me wrong -- you won't notice the viewing figures taking an almighty nosedive overnight; however, the X Factor love-in looks to be over. As someone who would cancel everything to stay in and watch it live, the Sunday morning repeats will do me just fine for me now.

Aside from his own acts, Simon Cowell seems to champion any contestant who is the object of the tabloids' affections, which leads us to believe he's more concerned about hype and ratings than finding a worthy recording artist.

I'm beginning to think Katie Weasel was chosen over Gamu because Katie has a more interesting background (ie, sleeping with celebrities). The X Factor needs a hate-figure each year, and Katie was the obvious choice.

By lavishing compliments on the likes of Cher Lloyd and Katie, Simon Cowell is, in his position as the head honcho, swaying public opinion to suit his own agenda. For example, Katie sang a song from The Jungle Book, one that's so straightforward four year olds manage to sing it pitch perfect, but Simon's reaction was to tell The Troll how fantastic she was.

Maybe Wagner was right when he said that "the public do not decide who is going to win. It is Simon Cowell".

Do we really believe that as the owner of the X Factor franchise, Simon Cowell is only a mere judge and that he doesn't have access to important information such as say, who tops the X Factor poll each week or which judge gets lumbered with a particular group?

Also, it seems Simon is in cahoots with Cheryl Cole. You'll notice they never criticise each other's acts.

What also seemed to spur a lot of people into denouncing the X Factor at the weekend was the show's styling. Cheryl Cole looked ridiculous. Last week, Rebecca Ferguson was made to look like a fat Jessica Rabbitte (the dress gave her a third hip).

Each week, Paije resembles something straight out of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. If I saw Cher Lloyd standing at the side of a street, my first instinct would be to throw her a few quid.

As redundant as she is in her capacity as a judge, Dannii Minogue is the only one who is managing to dress well on this year's X Factor.

As we all suspected, Cheryl Cole mimed last Sunday, which when you think about it, not only undermines her role as a judge but challenges the entire nature of the show. Who is she to dish out advice about a contestant's vocal ability when she refuses to show us her own?

Someone really should have told Mary Byrne that singing your audition song on the live shows is an unforgivable cop-out. It made her look limited and lazy and even more cruise ship than normal. Also, why has no one yet taken her to task for shouting into the microphone rather than singing?

She simply doesn't have the finesse, or the subtlety that great singers possess and I can't imagine she'll do much beyond the X Factor. Probably not a popular thing to say, I know, but it's the truth.

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

Sunday Independent