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“The X-Factor: The most painful hour of my life” writes Gary Raymond

11 Sep “The X-Factor: The most painful hour of my life” writes Gary Raymond

by Gary Raymond

When Essex TV kindly asked me if I would be this week’s columnist and tweet contributor for Saturday night episode of The X-Factor I thought to myself they must be mad.

As you know I have never held back on my opinions when it comes to TV talent shows like X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent but after some deliberation with both my ego and self esteem I decided what the heck lets let bygones be bygones and give the show a chance and look at it with a neutral attitude – just like Switzerland in WWII.


So with a bucket by my side I tuned to ITV and awaited the opening titles and as the titles rolled I suddenly realised there was absolutely no chance that I could watch the show as a neutral and I could feel myself turning all Donald Trump meets Piers Morgan.


First up is Dermot O’Leary. Now I like Dermot O’Leary and he certainly is an excellent presenter unlike the poor unfortunates Olly Murs and Caroline Flack who presented, well tried to present the show last year but it would appear that DL is on a mission to top Ant & Dec and be on every show that is on prime time TV on a Saturday night – he’ll be presenting Match of the Day next at this rate.


Next we meet the Judges and you quickly realise that things have changed and not for the good. Louise Walsh appears to have been wheeled out from under the sunny window from the local old people’s home, Sharon is struggling to speak through all that plastic surgery and most worryingly Simon appears to have become Mr Nice.


Nicole is away for the first set of auditions so they bring out the beautiful Mel B who seems to have not read the script and has a bit of catty attitude about her. That’s better I think to myself before she ruins it by face timing her ex bitter nemesis Ginger Spice for a cosy chat leaving all that Spice Girls blood bad behind them. Nicole returns after one day but strangely seems to spend the whole hour as if she’s still promoting Muller Light yogurts.


And so just like those Victorian freak shows of old they start to wheel out the very bewildered and befuddled to be ridiculed and judged by both the panel and the nation.


The show has the usual and very predictable start, rubbish act after rubbish act. Some guy with a strange finger whose singing would offend deaf people and some very strange woman who wants us to know what’s going on in her mind – no we don’t thank you!


Then at last some real talent, funny enough the only real talent we will see tonight. Enter Gifty Louise, she looks and sounds like a star and I wish her all the best and I thank her forgiving me a brief moment of clarity during the most gruelling hour of my life.


Before we discuss the boy and girl bands lets focus on the wedding proposal. I can see the producers rubbing their hands in sheer excitement behind the scenes as I can see what’s brewing. So the happy couple complete their audition and straight away you can see that Simon sees the potential in the girl but the guy is average at best.


Suddenly he drops to one knee and proposes – how sweet and its great TV. But I guarantee you this come a few weeks down the line and Simon will be saying you need to go solo to have a chance in this competition and all hell will break loose. Still the happy (for the moment) couple will have their fifteen minutes as they share their life story with the nation on this weeks Lorraine or This Morning but by this time next year it will be “She ruined my life” as they appear on The Jeremy Kyle Show.


So now it’s the girl band ‘The Girls Next Door,’ well I am glad they don’t live next door to me. The judges make comments like “You’re not the best singers in the world,” before putting them through – I’m sorry what did you say? I thought this was a singing competion!!!


Next up boy band 5am, they look the part, well two of them at least the other one looks like Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons. They begin and I my ears get a strange feeling, they sound good, no very good, no excellent …… in fact far too excellent.


Then the penny drops – they have either been the subject of huge post production or they are miming. I can see the showbiz columns of the daily tabloids going to town on this one.


I can not even remember who was next up but they sounded like a cat being raped by a dinosaur such was the awfulness of the audition.


Then the most cringe worthy audition of the night and perhaps of all time.


A father singing with his daughter – that’s nice you say, but you are wrong as the daughter appears to be wearing a wedding dress. I look to see if I can count how many fingers they have on each hand. I hear banjos playing in my head – pass me the sick bucket!


Simon and Nicole look at each other in shock and the judges appear to be very uncomfortable by the audition panning out in front of them. The German father and daughter seemed very close during their rendition of Queens Bohemian Rhapsody which makes you question the morals of the shows producers.


Now the seventy-five-year Peter enters the audition room. I like Peter he’s charming and lovely and then he has to go and ruin things by singing. His voice is so bad that he makes me wish I hadn’t woken up that morning. Can this show get any worse – of course it can.


Some woman screeches out some song and spoken word before being taking back to the local institution before the show ends in total chaos with some Czech geezer called Beck banging out his self penned Euro pop dross called ‘Friday’ before getting three yeses from the judges. I can only suggest that the fog machine he bought with him contained some kind of happy gas that the four judges eagerly consumed.


I start to reflect on the night’s events and realise there was no sob story. Well they must be saving them for another week as tonight’s show was well and truly dedicated to the moronic and tasteless talent that’s out there.


You have to remember that X-Factor like other talent shows are just for our entertainment, they are not a true reflection of artist and bands who are out doing the rounds trying to build a fan base and have a career in music. The talent shows are just a sham.


I have had artists in these shows and even had one band reach the final of BGT. Did they queue and audition like those members of the general public craving all that fame? No, they were asked on to the show by the producers and indeed were fast tracked to the live auditions – that the real side of talent shows. The side were managers, agents and record labels are supplying all the real talented artists – these are the preferred artists.


These preferred contestants don’t have to queue up with everyone else, they just turn up at the live audition and perform to Simon Cowell and the rest of the judging panel at a prearranged time-slot. Surprise! Surprise! It is unbelievable that so many viewers fall for this one-man’s promotion for his own personal wealth and nothing else!

In the open auditions you have to be utterly amazing or tremendously awful if you are to get through to audition for the judges. The audition process is most definitely not portrayed accurately and is an illusion, lots of acts are hand- picked to progress.

It is not a fix or a scam to invite someone to audition, but perhaps the producers should be more honest and say what acts have been invited – based tonight’s auditions I would say, Gifty Louise, Girls Next Door and 5am.

Of those three Gifty Louise could go far and as for the rest well enjoy your fifteen minutes and your extra 200 followers on twitter – I am sure that will be enough to get you signed J

As the final credits rolled on tonight’s episode I felt a huge sense of relief and also the feeling that if The X-Factor were my child I would be saying to it “Go sit on the naughty step and reflect on what you have just done.”

Still that’s all from me. I enjoyed all the tweeting and reading the replies but in all honesty how I wish I could turn back time and say no – that’s one hour of my life that I can never get back unless I happen to bump in to Doc Brown and his time travelling Deloren.

For me its back to writing my next book about and watching some quality TV on a Saturday night like Dad’s Army or Are You Being Served.

You have been listening to Gary Raymond, check out my biography ‘Blag, Steal & Borrow,’ available from Amazon and come say hello on twitter @mrgaryraymond