The X Factor’s X Factor

I’ve just returned from the press launch for The X Factor. As is always the case with these things, the journalists were on time, the organisers weren’t; it started later than originally stated. The venue was London’s ritzy Mayfair Hotel where we were greeted by the lovely ladies at talkbackThames, one of the companies behind the show. Champagne, Bucks Fizz and various soft drinks kept us happy while we waited. Everyone was making quick surreptitious looks around the room to see if they recognised anybody and sure enough old faves like Boyd Hilton from Heat and Jacqui Stephen from everywhere (or so it seems) were in da house.
We were there to grill the judges but more importantly, we got a sneak press screening peek at the first X Factor show going out this Saturday at 7.40pm. As has been widely publicised, this year Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne are joined by Kylie’s little (and less successful) sister Dannii Minogue and, returning to the series after his sacking and reinstatement, Louis Walsh. In the premier show, we also hear from an American geezer named Brian Friedman. He will put his experience as a dancer and choreographer to use styling the finalists’ performances (he’s worked with the likes of Britney and Mya). Dermot O’Leary takes over as The X Factor’s new host, offering a shoulder for all those freaky rejects to cry on. And this change is definitely a welcome one as Kate Thornton got on my last nerve. This year, The X Factor’s age limit drops to 14 so don’t be too surprised if you see even more showbiz mums vicariously living out their dreams through their kids. Contestants will be split into Boys (14–24s), Girls (14–24s), 25 and Overs and Groups.
As soon as I downed my drink, I headed off to the screening room, eager to avoid the mad dash for seats. As expected, national press and magazines didn’t have to worry about rushing their apparatifs as spaces were reserved for them. Us oiks (otherwise known as non-national press and magazines – and always web) were allocated the middle and back. The event was over-subscribed and the scramble to find seats delayed it all further. Eventually chairs were brought in from outside and we could begin.
Sharon Osbourne and Brian Friedman were absent, but the remaining show staples were introduced to us. First, the ubiquitous Fearne Cotton (the only TV show she’s not presenting these days is the news) followed by the genial, bouncy Dermot O’Leary (does he have springs on his feet?). Dannii Minogue looked tanned and glam and provided a stark contrast to the pale, decidedly un-glamorous Louis Walsh (hugely cheered for some bizarre reason). Finally Simon Cowell, he of the square head, square hair and square chest, stepped into the room. He was followed a couple of seconds later by a massive, bald bodyguard who looked like an inflated, taller version of Dr Evil’s Mini-Me. Simon Cowell was exactly as he is on all those talent shows he rakes in mega-dosh from. Unerringly so. I half expected him to turn to me and say something like, "Your mother doesn’t love you if she’s convinced you that you can sing."
And so to the show. An embargo prevents me from revealing too much. However, I can safely say that if you’re an X Factor fan, you’re in for a treat. Dermot O’Leary erases painful memories of Kate Thornton, but Brian Friedman is somewhat disadvantaged by the fact that nobody here knows him from Adam. Speaking personally, I do not have an Adam among my family, friends or acquaintances, but I still know my non-existant Adam better than The X Factor’s Brian. The Louis and Simon double act feels as good as a comfortable old pair of slippers and Dannii Minogue isn’t as bad as I thought she’d be (Shazzer is just Shazzer).
The audition stage has lost none of its compulsiveness – it’s still the best part of The X Factor. London auditions were held at my beloved Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium (ta very much for the funds Simon – we desperately need to reinforce our back line). Thousands of hopefuls squeezed into a tiny pocket of Islington; the only time I’ve seen more chavs in N7 is when we play Chelsea. There is still the familiar mixture of the sadly deluded, the crackpots, the tuneless, the sob stories, the auditionees who are clearly a sandwich or two short of a picnic, the ‘what-the-hell-was-that?’ freaks and the genuinely talented. Look out for a brother and sister act – hilarious! I can say no more than that. Two singers in particular stood out for the right reasons; one very young and one very unexpected. I definitely feel that the eventual winner may come from this first show – it was that strong an opener. The X Factor is sooooooo slickly produced and edited, you’ll never have a better time having your emotions so shamelessly manipulated – laughter one minute, tears the next. In short, must-see television returns to Saturday night.
Looking forward to it? Dislike it intensely? Leave a comment here.
Today I am mostly lovin’ – Virgin Media for buying some classic Brookside episodes and making them available on demand. "Our Damon", "Our Kid", shell-suits, "da bizzies", "da leccy", ‘taches – ah, memories. 
Today I am mostly hatin’ – The Morrisons adverts with Denise Van Outen. If I hear her going on about fresh bread one more time, I’ll tell them where to stick it…
MSN Editor Coops
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50 Responses to The X Factor’s X Factor

  1. polly says:

    Looking forward to :
    Dannii Minogue The Singer  –  Brian Friedman The Dancer  and  the Sparkly Dermot O\’Leary Sowing the seeds of Love  !!!
    Fabulous – Absolutely Fabulous !!!

  2. Annette says:

    YAY!!! Welcome back X-Factor!!!!!!!!! Best thing on the box, for us saddos who DONT always go out on a saturday night!!!! I LOVE IT!! (I voted ALL the previous winners) including Will Young on Pop Idol *sigh* 

  3. Unknown says:

    I am sick of all these low rent TV shows clogging up the schedules. Why don\’t you all get a life and stop watching? Cowell reached a nadir with Grease Is The Word and he should keep all the rubbish shows he does for American eyes only. Sick of all this crap on TV. 

  4. paul says:

    Annette my thoughts exactley, 1 thing tho all the other up takes on Xfactor are crap we have had to put up with second rate take off\’s for the past 6 months or so Welcome back Mr Cowel, and maybe 1 day that toff who edits newspapers………

  5. Yousef says:

    well written piece v. funny. b interestin 2 c how the younger ones get on this year as they have not bn allowed 2 enter previously. 

  6. Unknown says:

    Typical Gooner you are Miss Editor. It\’s not Chelsea that\’s got the chavs you know. You need to look closer to home. Hate to admit it, but I enjoyed reading this. Hope we thrash you this season as that\’ll shut you up!

  7. Sherri says:

    I love X Factor! I am sooooo glad that Dermot will be on. I never liked Kate Thornton. These shows were at their best when Ant & Dec were presenting and they never hid their emotions! Soooo funny! Kate was devoid of expression and made the show quite boring. Dermot should liven things up nicely!!! 

  8. Carol says:

    I think the X factor auditions is a load of crap. Turn down good singers and let terrible singers through. What do you think that does to really good singers confidence.  Just for tv entertainment. RUBBISH. I wont be watching.

  9. Unknown says:

    Yeah, welcome back. It may not find the greatest talent but it is great entertainment. Especially the bad auditions. 

  10. Ben says:


  11. Matt says:

    I really recommend that people read BEN ELTON\’s latest paperback. 
    ….it\’s a fabulous insight into the world of X Factor, although it isn\’t called that in the book. 
    It\’s a great read and I\’ll be watching this year with a new paradigm. 

  12. Unknown says:

     I think the X Factor is great and welcome it back with open arms, will certainly make a change from how to cook a boiled egg or a bit of fish or even boil water.  Agree with the Mostly Hatin – can\’t stand that woman or the ad – I will never shop there while that ad is running in case they think it\’s a successful advert and keep it on.  I\’ll help you with the bread insertion if it will shut her up!!!

  13. tina says:

     i look forward to this every year. think its great.  its great entertainment for all 

  14. maureen says:

    i love x factor.i think its great.i love simon cowell he is very honest and up front about everything.
    he is a great judge.he knows his job. 

  15. Sammy says:

    I love the x factor… I love Sharon, and Simon…
    I will be watchin it every Saturday at 6:00
    It aweson !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Kathleen says:

    Well, have I waited a long time for this Saturday to come around again!!!! Best Show on the box – Simon is a hoot 🙂  Sharon is so far up her own a—  but funny with it! – I actually liked oor Kate – very professional woman! – sorry to see her go – and Loui – is just Loui!!! – Welcome back everybody!!!!!

  17. Patrick says:

     I think x-factor is all a con to ensure that Simon Cowells empire gets larger. Look at the phone-in scandal earlier this year, are we sure that when we pay to vote for a person that it actually counts towards the person?

  18. Coops - says:

    Tom, I have edited your comment as it contained a naughty word…
    Tom Shaw,
    I auditoned for the xfactor and made it past the \’producer\’ stages. Second round was a f***ing shambles but it\’s all for entertainment purposes so I wasn\’t too gutted. There was some good singers there. Look out for 3 girls who got through to the second round at Cardiff. Amazing. 

  19. Akash says:

    Pat, you don\’t know what you are talking about. The X Factor is a cool show and a great laugh…As for Mr Cowell…well, it wouldn\’t be the same without him….he makes it funny.  

  20. discodown68 says:

    Having attended the 1st Auditions back in June and actually being there for 5 hours observing the camera crew "cherry picking" and filming all the geeks and people who really could not sing a note for "entertainment value" it indicated to me, in some respects, how shallow the programme actually is. I also attended the audition for Grease. The auditons I went to were not screened and the auditions you saw on the TV we\’re the second round of auditions. The first auditions you were crammed into a room 40 at a time to dance and then went off to one of 4 rooms to do your singing audition. Admittedly the feedback given at the Grease audition was constructive and I was told that i had a good voice, however, was not right for the part of Danny (which I knew before I went) but to keep trying.  On reflection, maybe I should have dressed up in an amazing technicolour dreamcoat and sang out of tune as one woman who was filmed, i guess, "for entertainment value" did. Excuse me for thinking it was about singing talent and finding a megastar? No doubt i\’ll be watching, if only to see Dannii and maybe a weeks singing training with Kylie. 🙂

  21. Liz says:

    Glad its back to give us laughs!! but why oh why are they using Fearne Cotton – I can\’t stand the smug patromising cow! 

  22. sarah says:

    I went for the x factor auditions in London, it was a fun experience, I had a great laugh…  I knew from the beginning that I would not get through to the next round.  I am a singer that sings three times a week I love it.  I wasnt upset that I didnt get throuh as it wasnt meant for me.  I felt that it was a little unfair although as how can one person in the whole country judge you to the next round and has to be at least three. ohwell 

  23. Pat says:

    I love the X-Factor but why did they have to bring back boring old Sharon and Louis? 
    I\’d love to see Piers Morgan competing for the limelight with Simon, but perhaps old Squarehead\’s afraid he might be upstaged by someone who\’s as much of a diva as he is! 

  24. Unknown says:

     I\’m 30 and I have a son aged 8 he can sing, and he says he\’s going on the x factor when he\’s older, I said go for it. 

  25. Unknown says:

     x factor is a big con

  26. Danny says:

     Hiya Brian Friedman i hope u you ok you was on X fatcor Take care soon Danny xxxx

  27. Unknown says:

    i think it is great that big brother is on and that they have changed the age to 14 thath means me wee sister doesnt have long till she can go on she is a brilliant singer and deserves to be put for she has been singing since she was two and really enjoys doing it not like the people you see on the program who just seem too do it for the record deal  

  28. Coops - says:

    To (no name) who left a comment here on 18 August timed at 15:04 – unless you are reciting This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin, please refrain from using the f-word. In general, I will edit profanity and retain any comments, as I have done with another contributor below. However, you wrote nothing worth saving…

  29. zildott says:

    Whats your problem? If you dont like it…..dont watch it ! Simple 

  30. Glenys says:

    Glenys Dawson
    I think the X Factor is absolutely superb.  I live in Spain but we have all the same television programmes as we had in the U.K.  Simon Cowell is fantastic and let\’s face it, he knows what he is talking about. Look at last year\’s winner, Leona, she was amazing, another Whitney or Maria….please bring her back to our screens!   I refuse to go out for dinner on Saturday evenings now that XF has returned, my husband is thankfully quite an understanding person although he does call me "sad!".    

  31. Jan says:

    I totally enjoy xfactor, love the auditions and the freeks, the bickering between the judges its all great fun.  I\’d much rather watch that,  than see some of the crass alternatives on offer… but, please someone explain to me …  Fern Cotton??? How annoying can she be? Everytime I think she\’s done her worst  face pulling muggery, she goes and flares her nostrills even further. She can smuggle stuff in those cavarnous black holes! She (and her shnoz) is eclipsing the xfactor. She is SOOOOO irritating when she does that sudden freezed up rubbery face pulling stance when she realises the camera is on her – and that is all the time, right? Why did she get named Fern, when of all the flora on offer, there is something more appropriate to describe something that shouldn\’t be there, but takes hold and strangles the life out of everything around it … WEED would have been far more apt!

  32. bridie says:

    i think x factor is a laugh but ther r some really good ppl and some geeks that want fame simon cowell is a gerat judge how could they sack louis it wouldnt b the same.

  33. Unknown says:

    it good but there no there cannot sing there go on to show off 

  34. HEATHER says:

    i love the X factor it is a really good show  all the judges are honest and brill  my kids love the show   they sing all the time  when it is on

  35. Unknown says:


  36. Unknown says:

     so glad x factor is back on, its my fav programme ever,  love simon cowell he knows his stuff, love sharon and louis too not sure about danni though yet, i miss kate thornton presenting the show she was good, like dermot watch him present big brother little brother too   keep up the good work its a brill show!

  37. Unknown says:

    i like the x factor the best show on telly the host are good and soeak their mind and now that dannii
    is on board it is going to get better .if people man about it then don,t watch and leave it to people
    that do. sharon,simon .louie and dannii are the best host of the show the make me laugh with their

  38. jacqueline says:


  39. Unknown says:

    I love the x-factor.. espically the auditions.. there so funny!!! 

  40. Unknown says:

    Love it to bits!Simon is the only one with any down to earth sense!He tells it how it is!Some of these auditioning idiots need sectioning!

  41. Unknown says:

     I\’m getting on a bit, but I really love the X-Factor. Satuday nights are back to normal now its back on our screens.
    I particularly love the people who THINK they have the X-Factor, but their interpretation of what it means is obviously in Martian or something!
    Love the judges. Each has their own personality, and together, make for a great show. With the contestants ofcourse!

  42. Tony says:

     What a con, if it was a decent auditions it would not be done in such a public way, Simon, etc all become rich off the skills or lack of from the general public. Barman, fetch me my gun!

  43. peter says:

     one of the best shows on the tv i always thought i had a great voice till i bought a tape recorder in the sixties, so that was the end of my great pop stardom,if only the majority of the contestants had done the same thing but when you have your mum telling you that you will go far and have the bestest voice in the world who is probably tone deaf who can you blame them for entering, still it wouldn\’t be much of a show without them…

  44. irene says:

    thers better singers out ther ….!! ow can danni judge wot does she know??simon knows who can sing and who cant,,and as for sharon ??? and then thers louie "" isnt he so cute..e knows his stuff…

  45. Unknown says:

    hiya glad x factor is back but the contesants aren\’t up to much this year,hopefully it can only get better.PLEASE PLEASE bring back Kate Thorton the programme aint the same.and as for Fearn Cotton the least said the better,and for that Donnelly bloke cant stand him either ,sorry but i\’m afraid it aint up to scratch this year ,especially with Strickly come dancing on the other side,And a final comment whose Danni Minogue to pass judgement on anybodys singing,she cant sing herself,should have left it to 3 judges or get someone in who knows what there talking about,there i think i\’ve finished now.Cheers !!!!

  46. Ace A' says:

    well well what can i sai! gotta say simon has probs got some sense in that head of his but danni is chosing the wrong songs for the bloody singers!

  47. Kirstie says:

    I can\’t Stand Danni Minogue!!!
    1. She can\’t sing
    2. If she can\’t sing herself, I think it\’s about time stops going on about screechy notes to the contesants
    3 I think she\’s in the wrong job
    Danni is a crap singer and is in the wrong job. She doesn\’t have any taste in music!!!
    thanx for letting me have my say
    (an extremely big fan of the Xfactor!!!) (or rather an obsesed fan)

  48. emma says:

    guys whay is  your problem with the x factor and danii monogue if you don\’t like her then don\’t watch the x factor and personly i actually like her

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