Cheryl’s little Geordie boy Joe won X-Factor thirty seconds ago, beating the knee-zagging Robbie-wannabe Olly Murs in what was a predictably intense final. Other guest acts from Simon Cowell's royal flush of pop star Pokémon cards included Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke, the cheesy mess JLS and bizarrely George Michael who put in a first-moustache effort to bag a Christmas number 1. Oh, and did I mention Sir Paul McCartney?
And so the X Factor is finally over for another twelve moons and I can feel a united sigh of relief across educated Britain. Finally we’ve got our weekends back, we can talk about something else in the office and just think of all those tabloid pages that can happily revert to covering real celebrities again like Myleene Klass. How many incredulous stories can we read about Danyl Johnson being “bisexual”, and my favourite – Joe being straight?
Don’t get me wrong. I love X Factor. I love the show for its grandeur, its fearful undertones and self-importance. I love the slip-up comments (like tonight Cheryl calling Olly and Joe “the bottom two”) and I even enjoy the embarrassingly awful PowerPoint title montages. So far, so Cowell.
But haven’t we all had enough of The X Factor now? Pick up the phone and vote. Pick up the phone and vote. The words scroll along the insides of my eyelids when I go to sleep. Simon blurting out towering superlatives or re-quoting himself like Stalin re-touching a photo.
Why did we have to watch artists re-perform old songs from the show when we’re all sitting at home armed with YouTube? Tonight Louis called Olly “A born, born showman” and promised him that he would have a great career, while Danni pined on about “X Factor next year” evidently worried about hers. But does Louis Walsh or any of the judges even understand the music industry today? They certainly understand money, but I don’t want my pop stars flogging shampoo, I don’t want my pop stars moulded into a non-offensive, non-memorable chunk of false tears and regulated foot taps.
Like tonight, the 11 losers tottered clumsily onto the stage like androids to sing a lifeless cover of Take That’s Never Forget, while their vocals rolling-pinned the melody in a flavourless pancake of all things lacklustre and plain. And then later on JLS, a crass ensemble of cheese and closet cases, stood about in 5-minutes-ago waistcoats fisting the air with their completely edgeless hit Everybody In Love (Pretend it's with a Woman and get Rich).
The X Factor has been thoroughly entertaining car-crash TV and I’ve loved every week of it. I think it’s empowering and philanthropic of Simon Cowell to take it upon himself to put hope into the hearts of the bleating cattle that occupy sofas up and down this country.
As Leona Lewis sang tonight - “the stars are fading away.”
I’d like to see a talent show where artists have written their own material, where people can be themselves, where there are thigh-high boots, loop pedals and collaborations with Grace Jones or Marianne Faithfull.
My highlight from this year’s series was Stacey singing Who Wants To Live Forever? A song that Freddie Mercury pierced the world’s heart with as he himself realised the dichotomy of his own life, as his work and fame raced into fifth gear and AIDS beckoned him terrifyingly on an ever-nearing horizon. Stacey was my favourite contestant this year, and it’s sad that Cowell clearly thought his empire couldn’t emblazon a third female solo artist in a row, when really his power and influence could probably even get Kim Woodburn a number one.
For me though the real winner of The X Factor this year has been TV presenter Holly Willoughby. I’m so thrilled that she’s ridden the Cowell wheel of fortune and will be jumping off this week at the top of her game. Other winners are American dance coach Brian Friedman, fashion designer Alexander McQueen (who could be found winking at us in most episodes from the cusp of Cheryl’s breasts) and of course John & Edward.
I wish Joe and his ten-inch grin the best of luck in his shiny new career. I’ll think of him when he pops up on our kitchen radios this Christmas and wonder how he’s doing. The Jack of Hearts will naturally have forgotten all of the contestants by January, but who knows, maybe Joe will appear on here again, you can hazard a guess as to why.
If only French & Saunders were on this Christmas, I'm sure they'd have some thoughts on the matter.