There is no one more excited about the start of the X-Factor. No one. My Saturday nights are now complete. Saturdays used to be filled with good food, good wine and good company but now the best ‘reality’ TV programme in the world is back to add to the mix. And, dare I say it…it’s officially started the countdown to Christmas. Yes, only 19 weeks to go. What an absolute treat.
I’m not sure what it is about X-Factor that brings in so many viewers but it does and with a record breaking 12.8 million people tuning into watch Saturdays new show it’s proven that even in the absence of the lovely Cheryl, the show is still as popular as ever. Even my boyfriend and his best mate sit down and watch it without fail. Granted they’re not as excited about it as me (no one is) but the only programme that I’ve ever seen them sit down and watch is Match of the Day.
I’m not the biggest fan of all the shit that goes with it. The million pound contract that contestants win is irrelevant to me. I’m not going to buy the single. Never have done. Never will. But while the contest is on, there’s no show now, or in history, that makes such an effort. The sets are beautiful; the contestants who go on to be successful are beautiful (there’s a reason Michelle Mc Mannus disappeared and Joe McEldery’s single didn’t go to number one) and inevitably the judges are beautiful and dressed beautifully.
So when you focus on all this beauty…it really does fade out the possibility of ‘reality’. There is nothing really ‘real’ about this show. Except… there is this year. There’s pregnancy, malaria, controversy about the ‘tuning’ used and of course there’s the big mental illness debate.
I do feel sorry for Danni Minogue. She’s a 38 year old woman, and for the first time in her life she’s taken time off to have a baby…not the usual time off a new mother should have, but just enough time so that the seat of the judges panel isn’t permanently filled by someone much hotter, much younger and someone not looking to reproduce in the foreseeable future. Its cut-throat, but that’s ‘reality’ TV right? And the press love to milk it for every word that its worth.
The press have also been getting their teeth into the whole mental illness debate that has plagued the first episode of the X-factor. Anyone who watched Saturday’s show must have laughed at Shirlene Johnson’s rendition of Duffy’s ‘Mercy’. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. But now it turns out that we all in fact laughed at someone who has a mental illness. A woman who psychiatrists say is in fact incapable of looking after little Mariah. Not so funny now hey?
Even though I love the programme (and I really do) my view has changed and suddenly Shirlene’s performance on Saturday wasn’t such a hoot. My point being…she is not going to win, ever, and being put through to the ‘next stage’ so that as Simon says; ‘we can see what she comes up with next’ must have consequences. What sort of damage is the show, Simon and us doing to a woman who is clearly mentally unstable? What sort of damage will this do to her child?
I don’t know what will happen to Shirlene or whether the show will decide to axe her and her future footage, but what I do know is that as entertaining as it is…it’s a ticking time-bomb just waiting to go off and do some serious damage.