The Wisdom of the Crowds #2
I love the Guardian because on a fairly regular basis I'll read something by one of the columnists and think, 'yes, that is exactly what I thought'. For example, from Charlie Brooker's Screen Burn:
"If you're looking for proof that there's a large number of knee-jerk racists lurking among the Great British Public, surely the outcome of last week's X Factor (Sat, 5.45pm, ITV) vote is it.Maybe you didn't see it because, like many a caring, sharing Guardian reader, you prefer the unbearably cruel early audition shows in which one no-hoper after another gets a big bum wiped all over their dreams. The tacky live studio finals, which are essentially more about celebration than denigration, leave you cold. And who can blame you? Most of the acts are mediocre at best, and some of them are downright rubbish.
Louis Walsh's selection is especially poor. He's already lost The Unconventionals, a sort of doo-wop amateur dramatic society known round these parts as A Cappella Irritant Squad, who last week delivered a performance of Dancing In The Street, which sounded like six clumsy cover versions playing at once. The audience couldn't wait to ignore them.
And they were his most likable act. The rest are saddled with absolutely unforgivable band names; names so shitbone awful, you hate them before they've even opened their mouths. There's a flavourless quartet called 4Sure (4Fucksake would be more appropriate), and an ethereally skinny boy band called Eton Road (which sounds like a euphemism for an illegal underage sex act to me - as in "the police arrived just as he was taking one of the prefects up the Eton Road"). But worst of all, there's The MacDonald Brothers.
And this brings me to my point. The MacDonald Brothers are a pair of characterless twins, whose startlingly dreadful performance somehow managed to veer from cheesy to flat to eerie to nauseating and all the way back to cheesy again before finally settling on outright rubbish. There's something indefinably creepy about them - they're the kind of act a child killer might listen to in his car. And yet somehow, they were spared elimination by the viewers at home.
Meanwhile, a 26-year-old called Dionne, whose voice is so good it could advertise heaven, was left at the bottom of the pile alongside The Unconventionals. Why? Well, it can't be her singing. Perhaps it's the gap between her front teeth, but I doubt it. That's sort of endearing.
No, the only reason I can think of is that she's black, and there's still a sizable section of the audience that's either threatened or dissuaded by that. There's no way a rational person could choose the MacDonald Brothers over her. It's like choosing a kick in the balls instead of a cuddle. The programme's not at fault here. The viewers are.
Anyway, what I'm getting round to is this: if you watch The X Factor, it's time to stop doing so in a detached, ironic, I'm-above-this-shit kind of way. It's time to muck in and get voting. Yes it is. Stop arguing. So what if it's a rip off? You want the MacDonald Brothers to win? You sicken me. Vote Dionne."