Posts Tagged ‘Cheryl Cole’

The X Factor – Quarter Final

December 3, 2008

And so the longest advert in history trundles on, destroying all that might dare to threaten the global dominance of Cowell et al. The contest itself is an irrelevance, a deus ex machina of neccessity in place to guarantee the further financial obliteration of all rivals and to homogenise the music industry so that it can be controlled by one man and his Blackberry.

There was a time when asset-stripping was a tactic reserved exclusively for the hardnosed Gordon Gecko’s of the world, but Cowell has admirably stepped into those shoes – cherry-picking the elements of art, music and culture that will make him the most profit and willingly discarding all that is extraneous and unnecessary. Even the songs the contestants perform are fractured into two thirds of their original length, just in case the audience become bored or there’s not enough space left for tie-in adverts, painfully repetitive VT autocues and phone number announcing.

It’s hard to blame the contestants here. Each have genuine talent and see the show as an opportunity to become recording stars. They naively believe they’ll be the ones to defy the curse of Cowell-meddling that will see them reduced to bargain bins and further reality show humiliation over the next few years.

It’s sad to think that, not only does that man resculpt the still growing identities of a number of teenagers to further his swelling bank account, he also does it under the guise of concern and consideration. He’s an evil soul – not the pantomime villain he plays – but the face of corporate greed, pummelling and psychologically bullying all in favour of a third house in Barbados.

The X-Factor didn’t used to get to me too much in the years past – it was always an ignorable piece of fluff that didn’t matter much. I’d watch the auditions for a laugh and then abandon the show as the remaining contestants were whittled down to the least offensive, most bland nadir and then roll my eyes at the woeful Christmas release that inevitably followed.

This year I’ve stayed with it all the way through – mostly at the bequest of my lady – and I’ve found my eyes opened to the summit of evil that the show really is.

The music industry is, by and large, a hugely corrupt and morally bankrupt industry. The X-Factor manages to represent that far better than any sharply-worded critique or snappily dressed indie anthem ever could. From the fawning faux-praise of the grown up Martin Prince that is Louis Walsh, to the bought-and-paid-for ‘controversies’ in the newspapers, this is not a television programme – it’s a vertically integrated business model that’s found a legally allowable method of advertising during the period in which networks are meant to be broadcasting content.

This week was Britney week. The overproduced pop princess decided to bestow a rare UK miming event upon us and so, as a result, we were forced to watch a clinically depressed redneck being forced to pretend to sing her latest vocoder-featuring single while a bunch of semi-talented amateurs all murder her previous hits by occasionally alternating the intonation on a couple of words.

Actually, scratch that, it wasn’t Britney week – it was Disney Cross-Platform UK Tween-Push week as the show also featured, inexplicably, an appearance by Kevin Federline fuckee-in-waiting Miley Cyrus and a ‘spirited’ performance of a High School Musical number by the shows resident dashboard-nodding grandson fantasy, Eoghan Quigg.

And yes, Britney – poor, poor Britney. If ever there was a warning shot across the brow of the contestants it’s Britney. Brought in to stumble across the floor, forget which lyrics to lip-synch to and to display no knowledge of what show she was on – she was a walking / talking advert for the destructive nature of fame. Still the contestants blithely waffled on about how fame and money were their dreams. It was like watching smackheads looking at an ODd corpse and not being able to make the connection.

Dead-eyed Britney was the low point of a show that has plumbed the depths more times than I can count. I wouldn’t object so much if it acknowledged its fakery, but it insists on ploughing ahead, repeating the lies enough times to be heard as truths – it’s about the artists, it’s about music, it’s about making people’s dreams come true.

It’s none of these. It’s about making money – huge, unimaginable piles of money – and may God have mercy upon whatever singers, songs, impressionable children and cultural legacies get in its way.

The Chris Moyles Podcast

November 10, 2008

chris moyles

As Radio 1’s weekday morning DJ, Chris Moyles has a lot of airtime to fill.

From time to time, he slips up, taking leave of his senses or saying something offensive – his ‘racist moment’ with Halle Berry being a case in point. At other times he’s allowed his guests to veer into offensive territory and not apologised on their behalf – take Rio Ferdinand’s casual homophobia as your example. As it happens, I find it difficult to hold this stuff against him.

I only know about those moments of madness because I’ve read about them. When he makes a TV appearance, Moyles comes across as boorish and uncomfortable in front of the camera, but his employment is as a disc jockey, so in the interests of fair-play it’d only be right to download the podcast and judge it on its own merits.

And surprisingly, it does have its merits.

Having endured George Lamb’s ‘cast this year and having found it to be little more than a handful of berks shouting in a room, Moyles and his pals have elements to their show that make it superior. They have that essential asset they call continuity. They also have (and I can’t believe I’m typing this) some pretty good gags littered about their material. I know. I was shocked too – but I actually chuckled at a song they wrote in a Eurovision audition with Andrew Lloyd Webber in which they mocked the fabric of the competition with lines like ‘everyone’s afraid of Russia’ and jibes about the Balkans’ monopoly on the votes.

All good stuff, but the delivery hints that it’s all very much prepared, from Webber posing as though he’s not aware that it’s a set up to Moyles’ supposed reaction to his charge’s work. They’re slick when it comes to the banter. Too slick, in fact, for this to be the off-the-cuff stuff it claims it is.

There is, of course, a huge amount of dross. Where the likes of Adam & Joe fill their filler with childish but amusing blabber, Moyles and pals resort to talking utter shit. But at least it makes sense. Frequently sexist and rarely self-aware, the opening banter between two of the ladies in the studio about bra sizes led the big man to explain that their conversation had caused to him thinking about their two forms indulging in a lesbian embrace. He then added that the idea did nothing for him.

Not funny, not relevant, no point whatsoever.

Later, a discussion about Daniel ‘Dead Wife’ from the X Factor which started pretty well degenerated as ‘X Factor’ turned into ‘Breast Factor’. Presumably Moyles isn’t allowed to use the word ‘tits’ at that time of the morning, and the fact he’s forced to use the word ‘breasts’ makes it all the more sinister. He turns from the lad he wants to be into the sinister berk he actually is, waffling on about boobies when nobody else cares about his mother complex in the slightest.

The show is littered with your standard wacky (80s-style) sound effects and crrrazy incidental music, all of which presumably wake up your average listener as they struggle over breakfast with a hangover, but all of which serve to make the banter barely audible at best and migraine-inducing at worst.

The Smashie and Nicie comparisons don’t stop with the irritating external noises. There are constant references to great mates and in the 25 minutes I listened to, Cheryl Cole, another one from Girls Aloud, Fearne Cotton and Gary Barlow were all mentioned as Moyles prematurely trailed his participation in a Comic Relief stunt a year in advance. And to make matters worse, he then started slobbering over the thought of Fearne C with all the grace of a sex offender. Skin-crawling stuff.

Despite the drivel he comes out with, and even though I lasted just short of half an hour, I can see why Moyles has the job. He does what he does and is what he is. His show may be a pile of shit, but it’s very slick shit. You may be glad you’re not in the studio with him, but everyone seems to be having a fun time. Compare this to Lamb’s show where the forced laughter actually sounds like it’s causing tonsilitis and the jokes are witless, repeated catchphrases.

Time to get back to ignoring Moyles. Let the man do what he does best – entertaining idiots. He might eventually go away.

The X Factor (again)

October 6, 2008

Auditions? We’re past all that now. Boot Camp? Stick your Boot Camp – we’ve moved on! Luxury Villas? Gah – you’re too late! Because we’re on the brink of the Live Finals now! It’s time to put on your snazziest balaclava and apply lipstick to your nipples as Saturday Nights become X Factor showbiz bonanzas!

In truth, I’ve never made it to this point before with the X Factor. Like most right-minded folk, my interest wanes after the auditions. It’s more fun tutting over the modern bedlam of the regional try-outs, as mentally-impaired plebs line up for humiliation than it is listening to a load of half-arsed, half-baked sob stories and lies. But this time, somehow, I’ve hung on in there. And now I’m DAMNED if I’m going to give up. I’m a scabrous barnacle clinging to the X Factor’s arse and I’ll not be letting go until we land at victory’s shore.

Over the weekend, the luxury pad section consisted of that arsehole Danni Minogue ruining the lovely Suzie‘s chances of another stab at fame (despite the fact that she’s one degree of separation away from being properly famous herself).

Suzie was once in The 411 – a fact which everyone seems to have forgotten about. I’m sure I haven’t made them up. Doesn’t matter anyway – a blonde Ricky Gervais lookalike took her place. There’ll be no votes for him from the red-blooded males who took Suzie to their hearts.

Nice to see Danni for a bit, mind you – considering she’s usually almost completely edited out to make way for (that arsehole) Cheryl Cole’s footage.

Speaking of the devil, we also saw (that arsehole) Cheryl Cole mucking about somewhere hot, floating around in a white dress and sitting on white sheets as she destroyed the dreams of people more talented than her.

And we also watched Simon Cowell (that arsehole) kicking out Alan Turner. He had to kick Turner out, because he’s a cheat – though the show went to great lengths to cover its arse on this – with Cowell asking him straight and repeatedly saying ‘I believe you’ when he heard the response. That was before he booted him out, presumably because he didn’t believe him.

There were no other real surprises apart from (that arsehole) Louis Walsh kicking out some nice young Motown singing children. They couldn’t get their act together, but they were the only performers with any real charm… He’s lumbered with the groups. The groups never win. So it doesn’t really matter anyway.

Let’s look at the movers and shakers in the four sets of final threes. Does that make sense?

Boys – mentored by (that arsehole) Simon Cowell

Scott Bruton
That brute Scott Bruton got through despite being a Pontins no-hoper. The former bluecoat has sorted his hair out (which in X Factor world means shaving it) but is still not much cop at singing. In fact, he’s not much to look at neither (I’m reliably informed). Let’s move on.

Austin Drage
Austin has a name that wouldn’t look out of place in a Dickens novel or a seventies sitcom and for that reason alone, I like the boy. Cowell reckons he reeks of desperation, but when he says this he overlooks the fact that every single person that auditions is a desperate wannabe, so it’s a moot point. Come on Austin. WWM is behind you – unless you win. Then we’ll hate you. Our underdogs must remain lowly canines and never rise to winner status. Underachieve or be scorned.

Eoghan Quigg
Another weird name on this one. Any ideas how we’re meant to pronounce this? I’ve forgotten how they referred to him on screen. I think they just whistled at him and he came running, like a little blonde terrier. 15 years old with the voice of an emasculated Ian Paisley, he’s going to be a Mum’s favourite whilst simultaneously having all of Ireland on his side. Could win it.

Girls – mentored by (that arsehole) Cheryl Cole

Alexandra Burke
Alexandra tried out for the X factor a few years ago and failed at the luxury villa section – but not this time! This time, when told she’d made it to the humiliation of the Live Finals, she wept like a woman who’d lost her favourite pair of shoes in a fire that had wiped out her family. For a pretty girl, she don’t half weep ugly.

Diana Vickers
With one of those faces that screams ‘I’m really annoying!’ and a haircut to match, Diana isn’t bothered by fame – she ‘just wants to be up on stage doing something she loves’. Which makes the fact that she’s never gigged a bit baffling. Her reaction to Cheryl’s good news was cringeworthy. Faux-sincerity and teeth-grinding cheeriness abounded. They refer to her as ‘little hippy’ when she’s clearly a Nazi beneath all those flowing clothes.

Laura White
She’s a northern Amy Winehouse minus the drug-dependency, pale and interesting looks and vinegar-soaked vocal stylings. So, essentially, she’s a bit of a non-entity with Amy Winehouse’s hairstyle.

Over 25s – mentored by (that arsehole) Danni Minogue

Daniel Evans
This blonde Ricky Gervais smiler was chosen ahead of Suzie – so minus points from the off.

Rachel Hylton
Rachel’s representing the street, yeah? At 26, she’s got five kids and custody over two of them. One of them is 13. Do the mathematics. Hard not to like Rachel. She’s been to prison, been addicted to drugs and still found time to pop out more kids than she knows what to do with. You have to admire a background as chaotic as that simply because it is completely insane.

Ruth Lorenzo
Hola senorita! Our taste of Spain – Ruth Lorenzo – is a beguiling mess of unwashed hair, loads of eyeliner and denim that is far too tight. She sometimes sings in Spanish! She got a big bottom! She actually cries whilst crooning! Marvellous.

Groups – mentored by (that arsehole) Louis Walsh

Bad Lashes
What kind of name is that? I’ll tell you what kind of name it is – a rubbish one that makes you think of really craply applied mascara. These girls were clearly assembled before the auditions from adverts in local newspapers or an airfix model kit. They’re so obviously a corporate creation that they’re barely worth talking about – but it’s worth watching how they hold themselves. They’re permanently posing like shop window mannequins. At first this is amusing, but then it’s downright terrifying.

Girlband
And the prize for the least inventive name goes to… what were they called again?
Girlband all have the look of people you’ve seen somewhere before. Isn’t that Charlotte Church… but a bit younger? I’m sure I’ve seen her before. Former page 3? Married a footballer… come on – you know the one. Was Miss GB for a bit. No? Wasn’t that one in Hollyoaks? I’m sure I’ve seen her in Club International… etc..etc…

JLS
With a name that makes them sound like an airline rather than a boyband, I can’t remember anything at all about these chaps. Sorry.

So there you go!

Gear yourself up for long autumn weeks spent with these hopefuls as they sing for your votes, Saturday after Saturday after Saturday. Keep your eye out for a ‘LOUIS WALKS’ headline and your ears pricked for rumours of a phone-rigging scandal.

A miserable, drizzly October starts right here as we head for the absolute fucking nightmare of winter with those X Factor bastards’ overstressed syllables warbling in our ears, like aggressive, sponsored tinnitus.

Get dialling.

Girls Aloud on Jo Whiley’s Live Lounge

September 28, 2008

Only just heard about this rendition of an already pretty turgid song. Listen out for the caterwauling on the chorus. The only benefit of Jo Whiley’s radio show is that it occasionally, accidentally sorts the wheat from the chaff in terms of those who actually have a smidgen of talent as compared to the over-produced, bizarrely acclaimed pile of shit at the top of this post.

My ears are bleeding.

NewsGush: Jonathan Arse Welcomes Cheryl Cole

September 18, 2008

This week Jonathan Ross’s megastar guest is world-famous Cheryl Cole – the extraordinarily untalented Girls Aloud singer and charm-free co-sneerer on The Fucking X Factor.

By Christ – looking at some of the quotes it looks like Cheryl’s coming out with some really incisive stuff – we’re talking content that has never even been considered by a human mind before – let’s take a look. And please, if this just seems like gobbledegook, please don’t feel inadequate. We are looking at some pretty dangerous material here in terms of cutting edge topical observation.

“There’s no such thing as a private life in this industry. I spoke openly about my marriage in the past and it’s come back to hit me in the face… I learnt from the past that you shouldn’t do that.”

 “There’s something about celebrities having a perfect life. People need to relax and realise we’re human, too.”

 “All the tabloids have to fill their pages [even] when we’re not doing anything, it just rolls on.”

How very stoic. It’s amazing she can cope with all the publicity she gets when she and her money-grabbing bumfaced husband do absolutely nothing to court it.

I can tell you this: I’ll be tuning in, along with the rest of the nation, eager to focus on the complex nuggets of wisdom this intellectual powerhouse spouts from her stunning face whilst Jonathan Arse looks on wistfully, considering how much of our license fee he’d pay to have a go on her.