Wow! The guest performances on Saturday’s X Factor demonstrated just how big the gap is between an X Factor finalist and an actual popstar. It was like a high-budget version of the Charlotte Church show. Do you remember that? Where Chazza would feign interest in a pop star on her sofa for half an hour and then proceed to militantly out-sing them, often improvising unexpected dramatic descants, or elbowing her guests out of shot, blasting them into submission with her booming Welsh larynx.
But on Saturday we were treated to real popstars. We’re not talking Alexandra Burke and her ‘glass collector doing karaoke’ vibe, we’re not talking JLS and their urban re-interpretations of YMCA. No, put your melon lip gloss away kiddo, we’re talking Rihanna and Christina Aguilera here.
And they did just that. Upstaged the finalists, outshone X Factor and reminded Britain what it really really wants – a big-budget Top of The Pops. It’s great to see Christina back at the top of her game and finally getting to grips with her pop niche, mixing that sauciness from Moulin Rouge with the bedraggled bottle blonde of Dirrty, and all held together by her fiercely outstanding voice. The new song Express (from forthcoming film Burlesque) is like a Pussycat Dolls hit fortified with elements of big band, latino drum rolls and incredible production touches from Chris Stewart.
All I did for the rest of the weekend was repeat that shit, tossing my hair about, breaking garden furniture between my thighs and going “Burlesssssssque” through semi-gritted teeth.
Likewise, Rihanna’s showmanship and stage command, at the tender age of 22, is just astonishing. Both singers are exciting, sexy, adventurous and brave.
I was really disappointed therefore to read negative comments online and see miserable complaints over Christina’s performance because it was too raunchy for a family show.
Is X Factor really a “family show”? What is a “family show”? Firstly, look at the childless people who are on it. Simon, Cheryl, Louis, Danni, Robbie and Will.i.am have a combined aged of 246 years and a grand total of one child between them, thanks to Dannii who gave birth to little Ethan in July.
Christina Aguilera, on the other hand, started her family in her early twenties. She is a dazzling example of a modern woman who is strong, talented and fantastically fearless. She can raise children and she can still be sexy, and there’s nothing, repeat, nothing, wrong with that. Christina is a showgirl who works industrially hard and she is fully entitled to *gasp* *faint* give Britain a glimpse of her cleavage if she wants to. This isn’t early 90s television for fuck sake. If parents want to shelter their kids from breasts then they should perhaps turn their TVs off and spend some real time with their so-called family.
X Factor isn’t a “family show” anyway, it’s the most watched show in Britain, and is therefore a show for everyone. And in being a show for everyone that doesn’t mean its content should be rolling-pinned into a shapeless and nondescript pulp. On the contrary, it means that just as millions of students and more enlightened viewers are made to watch family-orientated scenes in which contestants’ parents cry into their ready-mix cupcakes over the prospect of never owning a conservatory, so must the millions of overly protective parents and “family orientated” viewers have to put up with the occasional two minutes of someone who actually possesses an X Factor. Christina is what these contestants are aspiring to be. Christina is pop music.
Besides, young children won’t even absorb the sexual provocation of Christina’s performance, it will just fly over their innocent heads, and older children shouldn’t have wool pulled over their eyes. We all remember feeling a bit dizzy the first time we saw something a bit sexy. For me it was the roller girls at Disney World, Jasmine in Aladdin, and of course He-Man!
What were parents expecting when Dermot announced "Christina singing Express, from the film Burlesque"? Christina in a Cindarella gown? Or perhaps Christina crossing herself in an Evans roll-neck whilst five girls play 'Amazing Grace' on the recorder? Seriously. If people are too stupid to see how sexually and financially charged the entirety of X Factor is, and indeed pop culture in general, then they don’t deserve TV sets.
Meanwhile, us pop enthusiasts, thank you very much, will hereby proceed to, as they say in the world of pop, take it to the parking lot, and I bet you somebody’s gonna call the cops, uh-ohh, here we go’s, here we go, wo-O-oo-OOho—Oo-OOO-u-u-OOOOO, uoOOuOoOOH, OHHH OHHHHH...
Below: Christina's promotional performance of 'Express' from Burlesque.
Amendment, 14th December:
Okay, I did just see some stills of Christina's dance in the Mail Online, and admittedly they are quite dirty! Photos of Christina on X Factor. Perhaps X Factor needs a proper heterosexual man with children of his own on the show to confirm what is and isn't too racey?