Sunday, 23 October 2011

Striking the right note

I think that filing any kind of critique about the pros and cons of ITV1's The X Factor is a little like pushing at an open door. Is there really any point? For me, the show has been a guilty pleasure for many years. I've always enjoyed the pantomime judging panel and have sometimes been surprised by decent performers. This week's instalment was something else though. The panel had obviously had a rocket up the backside courtesy of Simon Cowell, no doubt in full histrionic Dame Maggie mode. All Gary Barlow needed was a black cape and a cackle to make him the ideal villain. Not that any of his criticisms rang true. He merely seemed to be going through the motions. Tulisa looked uncomfortable with the entire show and Kelly was all over the place. She needs to go home, 'girlfriend'. As for Louis? You might as well have Dot Cotton on the panel.

The lovely Frankie Coccoza
The acts this year are, on the whole, not good. I was pleased to see Brookside's Bev Dixon on stage, looking a bit bigger but belting out a Cher number. Jane MacDonald would have been proud. Rythmix were there again, a messy hotch-potch of looks and sounds. Boy band muppets The Risk looked distracted, as were their vocals at times, but still remain favourites. Weep for Frankie Coccoza with his 1970s ladies hairdo and weak vocal. Go on, cry bitter tears for this most over-rated of performers.

I'm beginning to think that the Great British Public are falling out of love with Dame Cowell and his circus. Which leads me to believe that camp Eric Sykes lookalike Johnny will be this year's winner. Tripping around the stage like an embarrassing uncle on acid, he is however very likeable - something his fellow contestants (step forward Misha B - what does the B stand for? Bint?) are not. Viewers may well decide to punish Cowell and sink The X Factor forever by bestowing a victory on Johnny.

Like a Rhinestone cowboy . . .
Having recorded last night's show, I set off for the Royal Festival Hall and the farewell concert from Glen Campbell. As recently reported, Campbell is now living with Alzheimer's and made the decision to do one final tour before retiring. The evening was a delight, although quite emotional for some. Campbell's backing band included several of his children who supported him in every sense of the word. As for the music, well each song was a classic and was greeted with warm applause. Campbell joked "Without the songwriter Jimmy Webb, I probably wouldn't be up here doing this now!" From the joy of "Galveston" to the melancholy "Wichita Lineman", Campbell gave his all and given that he is 75 years old, this was impressive. A performer who has the X Factor plus a whole lot more.

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