Unless you have been living under a rock, or outside the UK, it would have been virtually impossible to miss the final of this years “X Factor” over the weekend. I had no choice but to suffer through 257 hours of the damn thing over the weekend, so expectedly, I started to think about the Ashes while subconsciously imbibing the dross that was spilling out of the television in the background. There is a connection here, but you will have to bear with me.
The “X Factor” is a miserable, exploitative, show, masterminded by Simon Cowell and inflicted on the UK (and now other countries as well) leading up to Christmas every year. The idea behind the show is to identify talent by holding massive auditions around the country (sorry, countries – Scotland and Wales get their go as well), where the majority of people get up and embarrass themselves in the (usually unreasonable) hope of claiming their “15 minutes”. This can be the most entertaining and embarrassing part of the show. People who are delusional about their singing talent jump up on stage and sing. Most are appalling, some are ok.
For those who are terrible, the three or four judges can “buzz” them – a big red cross lights up to accompany the buzz. If all judges buzz a contestant, then he or she has to leave. The judging panel is made up of Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole (if you want to know who she is, google her – apparently she is the most googled person in the UK – not a great advert for users of google UK), Louie someone-or-other, and our very own Danni Minogue – who is probably more famous for this than her mediocre singing career, or even her time in Home and Away!
Up until last year, the single released immediately after the show by the winner inevitably took the “Christmas number 1” position in the UK music charts – a much sought-after title. Last year, initiated by a facebook campaign against Simon Cowell, a brilliant song from the eighties pipped the winner. Suffice to say, I can neither remember – nor care – who the winner from last year was, or the song that beat him (or her).
Although still popular, this show is past its prime. It was once THE show to watch, and made millions of pounds on the voting line alone, not to mention advertising. It has now started the slow decline that will lead to its inevitable cancellation – not unlike the current Australian cricket team. Recently great, now not so much.
Australia of the mid-90’s to mid-2000’s was one of the best cricket teams in history. I don’t want to start a cross-generation debate here, but the fact that in the not too distant past, Australian twice won 16 test matches in a row – an unbelievable achievement when weather, different playing conditions, different countries, administrator’s desire for 5 days of cricket (i.e. flat pitches), etc. are taken into account. No other side has come close to this record, the great West Indian team of the eighties managed 11 once. In between these two streaks, Australia also won a record 21 ODIs in a row and two World Cups without a single defeat. Now, they are a shadow of that team, and (unfortunately) it looks like getting worse before it gets any better. The Australian cricket team is the “X Factor” – still watchable, but on the decline and just not as good.
Word in the press over here is the Simon Cowell is jumping ship, and will not be part of the judging panel next year. He is going to focus on his new baby, the American franchise of the same programme. Apparently, the Hoff (yes, THAT Hoff, the Hoff of alcohol induced coma, and Knight Rider, fame) is replacing him on the UK version.
Hence, Greg Chappell is the Hoff – he has turned up late, and is involved with the show (team) on its downward spiral. Or possibly not, the Hoff (Chappell) may be able to inject some excitement, make some changes, help increase the ratings (rankings) and retain the market share (the Ashes) … ok, enough, you get it.
Xavier Doherty is like that nice kid that only does OK, but is cute, so he gets through the initial audition. Once he gets to the main part of the show, his pitch is off and his “cuteness” doesn’t cut it – he doesn’t last long.
Marcus North is like that guy who sneaks through the rounds, occasionally throwing in a pearler of a performance, but is consistently below par. Eventually the public loses patience, and he is voted off.
Doug the rug is like a contestant from this year called Wagner. They are both slightly off beat, a little crazy, loved by all, but ultimately they had to go. If you are interested you can see what I mean here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX8TBnZ0nwU
And Mitchell Johnson is a bit like this year’s winner – seems like a nice guy, and despite not doing his best work over the final two weeks still won (reinstated into the team).
Michael Beer is … umm, is … he is that random punk-rock singer from some tiny town, that misses the audition because of the snow, and gets to jump straight into the finals. No one has seen him, no one knows what he can do, and no one is that excited about him yet, but we are waiting to see what he can do.
However, the guy who smashed the audition, and was left out at the last-minute because he wasn’t quite as cool as the punk-rock guy, has thrown his toys out of the pram and has started giving away his musical instruments, claiming never to want to be on the “X Factor” again – although we all know that he would come running if he was ever called. I’m pretty sure he must have done something bad, like cut the Hoff’s lunch or something.
One final comment on the X-Factor, reading the paper this morning, the biggest uproar/complaints about the show seem to be Rhianna and Christina Aguilera’s performances on the final show. Nothing about them being out of sync to the music, or in Rhianna’s case off-key a number of times … no, it seems that they were inappropriately attired, and danced too provocatively for the 8.30pm timeslot. Two things really, has no one seen music video clips of late, usually programmed on much earlier, kiddie friendly time slots? This was very tame in comparison. Secondly, if the worst thing that we can say about the rest of the Ashes is that we thought that the dancing in Perth was inappropriate, then we may be in for an interesting rest of the summer!
PS – re: Warnie
Oh, for anyone that still cares – yeah, the reason Warne won’t be playing is because he played with Liz Hurley in London recently … uh-huh, hmmm, sure, yeah, that’s it – that’s the reason …