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The X Factor: Xtinct-Factor boot camp

by Maggie Gordon-Walker

x-factorWhen you hear the words ‘boot camp’ you envisage bloodied, muddied, exhausted bodies staggering to a finish line. Something at the very least to stretch you. Back in the halcyon days of  X Factor, when Simon still had passing acquaintance with a razor and Sharon looked older than she does now, I seem to remember they did about three challenges; numbers being whittled down painfully and agonisingly before the weary survivors learned their fate on a grand stage reminiscent of A Chorus Line. Now they had a right royal knees-up on Friday night on Cowell’s dollar, then the next day performed one song that they chose from a wide selection.  Continue reading

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The National Television Awards: Winners and (Bad) Losers

A big night in British Television for those who care about seeing celebrities take away an ornament after a self indulgent speech.

The usual suspects were dominant like the unstoppable Ant and Dec going away with two awards, including Most Popular Entertainment Personality for the 907th time running and Doctor Who taking everything drama related.   

They also  handed out a very well deserved Achievement Award to the brilliantly witty and likeable Stephen Fry, who had the likes of Hugh Laurie, Prince Charles, Jo Brand and…uhh…Harry Potter…singing his praises.

O…M…F…G…sounds so much funnier in a posh British accent!

Corrie’s Craig Gazey (who plays the hilarious Graeme Proctor) picked up a well deserved Most Popular Newcomer Award and his speech proves that he is EXACTLY like his Corrie character. Touchingly, he dedicated his award to the late, great Maggie Jones.

But the night wasn’t without its disasters. We had to sit through Jedward’s new single and Joe McElderry opened the show and made me realise how quickly you can get sick of somebody. With the insufferable Dermot O’Leary presenting and constant close ups of Simon Cowell throughout (I wonder if he slipped someone some money for some extra exposure) I almost thought I was watching the X Factor.


And then there was the Most Popular Serial Drama Award (Or Best Soap as us commoners call it).  Coronation Street took the honours after what some classed as a ropey year and all of a sudden, if you wandered onto an open discussion forum or tuned into the news, there was public outcry, most notably from bitter Eastenders fans. Why the fans were so devastated that something they never worked on wasn’t rewarded, I’m not sure, but petitions have been flying out and ITV have been accused of ‘bias’ as they showed a 3 minute clip to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of Corrie. (They also had a segment of Dermot going through the suspects of EE Who Killed Archie mystery but this was conveniently forgotten)

The BBC put in an official complaint… Continue reading


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X Factor results: Do they look bothered?

Last night’s X Factor results show was a shocker, wasn’t it? The main shocks being (a) Lloyd wasn’t in the bottom two and (b) a judge (Dannii) actually making a decision for a change.

So it’s goodbye John and Edward. The show will be a little duller and less like a box of frogs without you. It’ll revert to a boring old “singing competition” stuffed full of fairly average singers. Ho hum.

The usual reaction to someone reaching the end of what is irritatingly called “their X Factor journey” is tears, a brave smile perhaps, a little croaked-out thank you to everyone who’s supported you. Not John and Edward – they looked as buoyantly happy as the day they first stepped onto the audition stage. Now they are either blessed with inner serenity, are on mind-altering substances, or – and this is most likely – they have the confidence of people who have an absolute mountain of contracts and offers on their desk just waiting to be perused at their leisure.

They’ve achieved what they wanted to achieve. They’re household names. They even have a household nickname! As I said a while back, they will make the most of the chance they’ve got and wring the neck of their little piece of fame while it lasts, because it was clear from day one that these two aren’t daft.

So don’t relax yet – we haven’t quite seen the last of Jedward.

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X Factor: Life is a Cabaret

cheryl-cole-x-factorLast night’s X Factor results show boasted two live turns. We were to be entertained by Miss Cheryl Cole, who is apparently intent on capitalising on her new status as National Treasure by embarking on a solo singing career.  On she trundled with a vast army of dancers, clad in Ann Summers Military Range, all looking like failed auditionees for the Kit Kat Klub. Her singing showcased her full vocal range (minimal) and dancing skills (was Brian Friedman behind those ghastly sub-robotic moves?) and it was all horribly charmless and draining. The song was something about fighting for your relationship, and we were treated to a glimpse of her husband Ashley “Sick on the Carpet” Cole, the relationship for whom Cheryl has fought. Heartwarming.

Things didn’t fare much better during Whitney Houston’s performance. She suffered a wardrobe malfunction which left her grappling at the back of her dress and forgetting to mime. What a professional. They must put something in the tea in the X Factor green room, because, like Robbie Williams last week, Whitney seemed a little, shall we say, distracted during her post-performance chat with Dermot O’Leary.

On to the business of the evening:  who gets the boot from the competition? No surprises here. Rachel, whose make-up made her look like she’d died some hours earlier, was in tears to discover once again she was in the bottom two. Luckily she was up against weasel-faced Rikki. Simon Cowell cannily realised that Rikki might possibly up his game in future weeks and this might be the best chance to get rid of him, whereas Rachel is clearly unpopular and can be picked off later.

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