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George Byrne: Help! That awful X Factor lot has hijacked my beloved Beatles

IN A week when one of the main news stories worldwide was Apple Records allowing the music of their most famous client to become available on iTunes, the company is likely to receive another major boost and a further surge in downloads come tomorrow evening.

Alas, for fans of the Beatles this further spreading of The Word will come at what many will deem too terrible a price.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before Simon Cowell, the karaoke Sauron, turned his evil eye on the music of the Fab Four as a source for a themed night on The X Factor.


This ratings-gobbling behemoth may once have pretended to be a talent show designed to find willing slaves to labour away in Cowell's plastic pop factory but it's now just a tacky soap opera designed to boost the egos and bank balances of the Dark Lord and his underling judges.

And now he's gone and dragged the Beatles into the equation -- the b******.

I'm well aware that Paul McCartney appeared on the show last Christmas but a whole evening of songs by him, John Lennon and George Harrison being blanded out via a glorified pub singing competition-cum-freak show could be too much to take.

Not having been able to watch an episode of this year's X Factor all the way through without chewing a hole in my sofa, I can't really comment on the respective, er, talents of the majority of participants but the songs which have been chosen don't really come as too much of a surprise.

Yesterday, Something (which will be sung by Mary Byrne), Let It Be, Imagine (I know, not a Beatles song but I doubt that 'aspiring hip-hop diva' Cher Lloyd will be any the wiser about that), Help (slyly slipped to token basket-case Katie Waissel) and All You Need is Love are all in the firing line.

Granted, you'd hardly expect Cowell and his cohorts to go all experimental on us and showcase the Fab Four at their psychedelic extreme. Not much chance of Tomorrow Never Knows, I Am the Walrus or Within You, Without You with this lot.

Mind you, Matt Cardle gets to push the edge of the envelope with Come Together while comedy nutjob Wagner (I'm still not convinced that Steve Coogan isn't lurking under there) gets to unleash a medley of Get Back, Hippy Hippy Shake and Hey Jude, the middle component of which hasn't anything to do with the Beatles in any way, shape or form.

Actually, the more I think of it Wagner's appearance could be the most unintentionally funny Beatles-related fiasco since the disastrous 1978 movie musical Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band -- now there's a thought.

God help us if there are more of these coming down the pipe, as X Factor and Cowell swallow up pop culture like some brylcreemed, botoxed Borg, desecrating great catalogues and reducing them to bland pulp.

Bowie night? Springsteen night? Beach Boys night? Blondie night? We can but pray that they do not come to pass.

Oh, and if Louis Walsh (surely Gollum to Cowell's Sauron) or any of the judges tomorrow night utter the dreaded phrase 'You've really made that song your own' within my earshot then 'look out below' -- because the telly's going out the window.