James P emails with news from Saturday nights on ITV:
Thought you might like this, even though it's not technically a music story; X Factor judge Cheryl Cole is furious to discover that viewers don't always vote on singing ability. After losing one of her acts on Saturday for the first time, the singer berated "sympathy voters" and complained "They're not voting on talent, that's for definite". This is presumably a reference to various contestants who have made no secret of their deceased spouses, children who they're 'doing it for' etc, and have survived each elimination so far.
Oddly, despite her outrage at the situation, she then goes on to admit that she's part of the problem; "Do you know what, I've sat at home and done it myself - voted for people I like, people I've felt sorry for on the evening," she continued. "That's just how this show goes". A large penny then drops, not unlike the sort of penny which could've dropped into a nightclub toilet's 'Tips' plate a few years ago to avoid a lot of unseemly business, when Cole has a sudden realisation: "I think it might have been a bit tactical if I'm totally honest with you". Apparently distracted, she then didn't add "Hang on... Statue of Liberty... That planet was Earth! Now I get it."
I can almost see the thinking behind bringing in a judge that viewers can relate to, someone who's watched the programme themselves in the past. However, is it me, or does it take blinkers the size of 'Golf Sale' signs for someone not to notice that maybe X Factor is not so much a Butlins talent show, more an episode of Esther Rantzen's short-lived series 'Hearts of Gold' with a peripheral music round?
It's not like that on Deal Or No Deal, though - there, as soon as a contestant starts to mention the dead uncle, or the grandkiddy with an inside-out face that they just want to send to Disneyland, you know they're going to wind up going home with seventeen quid and a sympathetic hug from Noel. If only the X Factor could be so steely.