Let’s see if this one sticks…
So…the final then. All 4 hours of it, 3 hours and 4 minuets of which were Take That. The rest? Well,Cher Lloyd I think certainly proved herself worthy of her place in the final, if only by pulling the whole of the first sorry two-hour stint up entirely by herself. Whilst One Direction were…One Direction, Rebecca muffed horribly, and Matt was still trying to dislodge whatever it is that is living in the back of his throat (is it Aiden? Can we check? It seemed to start about when it was chucking out time for Aiden), Cher did some bizarre, inappropriate mash-up of childhood skipping rhymes and Get Your Freak On, like the soundtrack to a naff late 90s advert for road safety, culminating in her yelling “QUIETTTTTTTTTTTTTT!” in my face and that of the nation, already pre-empting the barrage of criticism.
Then she showed up William. Didn’t choke horribly and stare at her feet, didn’t stumble around making yourself a prop in someone’s fifteenth pretend drugged-our haze, didn’t indulge in a competition to see who could go more out of tune with RIHANNA (always a losing battle). Just blew him off the stage. I mean…it wasn’t hard. I’m not claiming it was. But at least she did the decent thing and put the bullet in him. For a contestant who was always here to show how much more “current” the show was than to actually compete, she did what she was supposed to – inject something different into an otherwise staid and traditional X Factor Final Marathon. That the “something” was third-rate white-girl rappa status, is still enough given that this is X Factor.
Bronze Medal went to One Direction, who, it turns out, were sat there for most of the series, bar the occasional flirtation with fourth place when someone else put the effort in. I guess their fans were at least consistent in their just-under-the-boil mentalness, especially if you look at the effect they had on a clearly shell-shocked Anna Kendrick, who clearly gotten a little bit too close and stared into the heart of their pre-teen darkness. Their performances were as pointless and indistinguishable as ever – auto-tuned, backing vocalled twiddled pieces of high performance, resulting in the ultimate conclusion, as shown in the result, that Eoghan Quigg to the power of five just leads you right back round to the same value as a single Eoghan Quigg again.
So what next for One Direction? Obviously Stephen Fry’s Boyfriend Direction isn’t going anywhere. We’re in a recession, and jobs which fill the niche of your sole ability being to go “Ladies and gentlemen….ROBBIE WILLIAMS” are pretty low. Also, he’s the oldest at 18, and in boyband year, past it. Then there’s Irish Direction, who would happily be sat in that studio still, Greyfriars Bobby style if you were sweet enough to ask and give him a framed picture of Justin Bieber to cuddle. The Zainwreck is a possibility for a jumper. He seemed twitchy enough on the finale all, “well the plan is to stay together…right guys? RIGHT?” all too aware that, in a four-parachute situation, he’s the one who’s going to be riding the plane into the ground whilst the others leap to freedom, so he might go crazy and leap. Curly Direction clearly is going nowhere. He’s the star, he’s the number one, and he’s already showing a talent for self-perpetuating low-fat scandal attention seeking with all that “pussy” nonsense hurr hurr he said Pussy, like he’s Mrs Bloody Slocombe and Matt Cardle is free!
Which leaves Resentful Direction. Actually the clue is in the name isn’t it? He’s so off first.
Next up…Rebecca Ferguson, Robin to Matt’s Batman for most of the series, outside of that one week where Katie Weasel actually managed to brain-screw the public into loving her, just for a second, with naught but a haircut. The one contestant to maintain a more or less constant upwards trajectory (the blip of “Yesterday” aside) in the public’s affection from when she first appeared, which probably bodes well for her future career. As long as the X Factor continues its usual blunt force marketting tactic of lovebombing us into submission via a constant stream of publicity, she’ll be Queen by 2018. Even I had my own mini-journey, given that I thought she had genuinely one of the worst voices I’d ever heard on the show initially, but by the end, I quite liked one of her performances. Hooray.
Rest assured it was NOT that Christina stuff. If anything is going to stop Rebecca’s inexorable ascent to Queen Of Everything, it’s the constant nagging fear that that clip might be played again. Just the sheer horror of it. First Rebecca singing Beautiful which is entirely not meant for her voice. Then The Beast arising from the pit, wailing and gnashing and pulling at its chains, showing off its hideous range, but about five ocatves too low so only manatees could hear half of it. Then Rebecca just kind of…shuffling around, a bit sad, and inaudiable. Then The Beast grabbed her and hauled her to the middle of the stage. Then death. Then The Beast is forced to give interview after interview after interview about how Rebecca is just super, as penance. Just standing motionless on a rotating prop being turned by shirtless gimps whilst half-heartedly honking out a minor Corinne Bailey Rae song was fair dignified in comparison.
The final though? Barnstorming. Bitch-facing her way through Sweet Dreams? Plaintive all the way through some Duffy off-cut? Marvellous. If only she’d locked into it all a bit earlier eh?
Leaving our winner. Matt Cardle. As a winner’s name it’s not bad. Obviously it’s better than Shayne Ward, which is already too close to other vaguely famous people. Steve Brookstein as a name conjures up an image of a man who…well is Steve Brookstein really, so doesn’t bode well either. And Joe McEdlerry is too difficult to spell, or say. I’d say it was about even with Alexandra Burke (brought high by the “Alexandra”…dragged down again by the “Burke”). As a finals set of performance it was fine, if pretty unremarkable apart from those piss-yellow trousers. What were THOSE about eh? (etc etc…) Well apart from when he ground up against Rihanna and got dangerously close to getting some hurr hurr pussy hurr hurr live on stage hurr hurr pussy.
The Winners Single at least highlighted that Biffy Clyro fans are even more absurdly defensive and territorial of their artist than Muse fans are, which takes quite some doing. Also it prompted that hilarious jet of tosh from Simon, talking about how he felt Matt really CONNECT with the material and the audience FULLY for the first time in his BEST performance of his LIFE and obviously that was why he won. Simon could just see it. Right there. That’s where it happened. When Matt had won once we realised that “that” was all that Mary Byrne could do, and we realised that three months ago. CATCH UP COWELL! The sight of your presenters (EVEN KONNIE HUQ FOR CHRIST’S SAKE. KONNIE HUQ!) being more tuned into public tastes than any of your vaunted “expert judges” was already bad enough for your dignity. He’s a white guy with a guitar? How hard was it to spot?
I think he was my favourite at the beginning, from what I saw of Judges Houses and Boob Camp. Which was not a lot, but he sounded good, and was probably wearing less make-up then. So I’m happy he won. The constant nagging illness for the last month or so wasn’t great, and sometimes I did wonder what Dannii was on regarding his song choices (Firework? FIREWORK? KATY PERRY? Surely a girl-song bridge too far.), but a worthy winner. I do kind of miss the hat though. SIGH.