Monday, 12 December 2011

The X Factor - My take on the final weekend. And yes, thank God it's over!!

Set to make £8 million, apparently!! X Factor winners 2011 - Little Mix.
Yep.  We have a new X Factor winner - the first girl-band ever to win - Little Mix!  Am I pleased with that result?  Quite honestly, I couldn't really care less.  They were okay.  I quite enjoyed some of their performances, infact, their rendition of En Vogue's 'Don't Let Go' (which just happens to be one of my all-time-favourite songs ever!) was one of the highlights for me in a series I was determined not to get sucked into, again, but failed miserably on that score.
So, for the past God knows how many weeks (I daresn't count, it'll be far too depressing) I've spent every Saturday enduring (I can't use the word enjoy, because it only applied to about 2 shows in the entire series, and that was probably the ones I was drinking alcohol during) act after act trying to show us why they deserve to be the next best thing.  And none of them really had the X Factor - whatever that was supposed to be - in my opinion.  But it is only my opinion, remember, because I know there are a lot of people out there who love this show.

It just stresses me out too much, that's all.  My husband told me last night, as I ranted once more at the TV during the final show, that I should just try and take it for what it is - an entertainment show.  Thing is, though, that's quite difficult to do when I don't actually find it entertaining.  And as a fan of "real" music, there are times when it makes me quite angry, because these acts aren't musicians.  Not really.  Some of them can sing, I can't argue with that, but the majority of them are only looking for the the quick fame a show like this can give you - no matter how tenuos that fame may turn out to be for some of the acts.  They're quite willing to be manufactured and manipulated into something that will make somebody lots of  money - because, I'm sure, it isn't always the acts themselves that see the bulk of it.  Allegedly!! ;)
However, I've just read this lunchtime that Little Mix are set to make around £8 million, not just with their music, but also in lucrative commercial deals for things such as cosmetics and clothing.  They're being described as a "marketers dream", and I can't argue with that.  I actually pointed out to my husband the other night that they would be so easy to market and make money out of rather than Marcus.  So, if the girls are set to make £8 million, just what is everyone else around them set to make?  Don't sit there and tell me The X Factor isn't an exercise in making money...

A good judge? Not for me
So, X Factor final weekend.  I watched it, although I hadn't been looking forward to it, and how did I find it?  Dire, actually.  For starters, there is no way - if we're talking about singing talent - that Amelia Lily should have been knocked out first on Saturday night. Her duet of 'River Deep, Mountain High' with Kelly Rowland was, for a 17 year old, incredible!  That girl can sing!  Marcus Collins, however - in my eyes - can't.  Not that well, anyway.  Again, just a personal opinion.
Throughout this whole series I've described him as mediocre, at best.  Nice guy, I just wasn't blown away by his voice.  And his duet with Gary Barlow on Saturday night's show was nothing short of boring for me.  Amelia and Little Mix should have been the final two but, thanks to Gary being Marcus's mentor, Marcus won that one.

Because, I'm sure, an awful lot of Take That fans would have blindly voted for Marcus purely because of Gary, and I think Gary knew that.  His inconsistincies as a judge when critiquing Marcus let him down, too, they really did, because there were times when his vocals were weak and his performances just, well, ordinary.  Including during Sunday night's final show.

On some of those nights Gary would tell Marcus he was "amazing" and his performance was "incredible", only to backtrack the next day and say it hadn't been all that good at all.  Tell him that on the night, Gary!  It wouldn't have made you look bad, infact, I would have had a shed load more respect for you.  Just saying.

We really do need Simon Cowell back.  He used words like "okay" when he was a judge, even to his own acts, and that's what we need.  Honesty.  If they're only okay, then tell them.  Surely that's what a real mentor would do, not tell them they were incredible when they weren't anywhere near that!

So, for almost two hours last night I ranted, sighed heavily, and shouted at the TV as another X Factor year drew to a close but, can I just say that for almost ten minutes, when Coldplay appeared (and I was surprised, to say the least, to see them on a show like that!) I sat back, watched some real music, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  And I'm not even a huge Coldplay fan, but it was nice to just have some proper stuff to listen to for a few minutes.
But, once that was over, I was convinced that Marcus would be crowned the winner this year - purely because of the amount of support Gary had.  I'd even had an email asking me to vote for Marcus and help Gary win the show!  Er, no!  I'll make me own mind up, thank you.  I may have loved Take That beyond anything back in 1993 (we all have our crosses to bear) but I will not blindly vote for someone just because a member of a band I quite like happens to be mentoring him!  Doesn't work like that, thanks.

Marcus Collins - should HE have won over Little Mix? No!
Marcus didn't - in my opinion, and again, it's just my opinion - deserve to win, but he'll get a record contract anyway, and that's another problem with this show.  Does it really matter if you win?  The answer to that is no.  It doesn't.  Some of the bigger success stories in X Factor history have actually been the ones who've come second - JLS, Olly Murs, to name but a couple.
So what's the real pull, then?  Is winning really everything?  Of course it isn't.  That's why Marcus didn't look too fussed last night on hearing he'd lost out to Little Mix.  Winning the show may get you a touch more publicity, and a single out straightaway (and why Damien Rice's 'Cannonball' as a winners single?  Nice song, but a bit dreary, really.  What's wrong with a nice, happy song for Christ's sake?  It is bloody Christmas after all!) but it doesn't necessarily guarantee you the bigger career.

To make this show better, to make people really want to win it, really want to give everything they have, and to make it slightly more exciting for us poor buggers who end up sitting through it week after week, year after year, make the prize one recording contract, and one recording contract only!  Make it so that coming second does not automatically mean that you'll get a contract too.  Second/third/fourth/whatever place should mean that, well, you got a bit of publicity, fair enough.  But hopefully you used it well enough to attract attention from others, not those behind The X Factor.  Because, sometimes, the programme really can just show itself up to be the cash cow it more than likely - allegedly - is.

However, on saying that, these kids that enter The X Factor know that this may well be the only chance they get to show the world what they've got.  And who can blame them for that?  They're following a dream, and I would never discourage anybody from doing that.  I'm doing it myself, after all.  And, let's face it, if there was such a thing as an X Factor-style show for writers, would I completely ignore it out of some more-than-likely misguided principal?  No.  Of course I wouldn't!  Just as these kids want to get noticed for their voices, I want my books to get noticed, too.  Which doesn't, in reality, make us all that different in the end...

There is, however, no X Factor show for writers, so if you'd like to find out more about the books I've got available, you can find them here on both and  


  1. There have been at least a couple of X-Factor-like contests for writers. Alan Titchmarsh had one on his daytime show a couple of months back. A mystery author whose name escapes me ran one, although that was with celebrities who felt they'd always wanted to write a book. I suppose one reason there aren't more of them is that it's hard to make writing visually interesting. Who'd tune in every week to watch someone staring out of the window, pacing up and down, drinking gallons of coffee and occasionally typing a few words into their laptop?

  2. That's very true, which is why I know there could never be such a programme for writers. We aspiring novelists will just have to battle on without the help of Simon Cowell! ;)