The Autumn/Winter of Love
During the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the explosive joy of winning, the sourness of defeat and resurgent patriotism felt amplified. It was as if they had been struck through with a juicy, neon highlighter pen and made mandatory emotions for everyone.
Results on how effective the Olympic Legacy will be, both sporting and social, may be years in the making. For me, that Summer of Love feeling has seeped into other entertainment; sweeping aside anything that doesn’t fit into that ‘does this make us feel good about ourselves’ category. Let’s talk about X-Factor.
For every time I’ve openly declared that I wouldn’t watch X-Factor, there is a matched moment where I admit to myself that I’m going to watch every episode and allow myself to get hooked. All too often they were just seconds apart. This year I lasted two and a half episodes before tapping out for the entire series.
I’ve never enjoy those first few weeks of X-Factor. I can’t say that I’ve never laughed at the producer picked awfulness of the tone-deaf dross paraded across the screen over the years, but the joke feels stale. It’s over. The Olympics has left me wanting to see real effort and talent rewarded. Pointing and laughing at people deliberately chosen for their mediocrity is so 2011, dahling.
Even the live shows, with all their pre-planned hissy fits and over involved audiences have lost their appeal. That’s before we even get to the tabloid invented cat-fights and bitter tell-all tales from those voted off the show earlier than expected.
It’s anticipated that the addition of Darcey Bussell to the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel, along with two cleverly chosen Olympic medalists as contestants (Victoria Pendleton and Louis Smith) is going to give Strictly its strongest series yet. More bad news for Simon Cowell, who is still attempting to get X-Factor to work in the US. It lost out to The Voice during its second series premiere and will no doubt struggle against American Idol now that Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban are the latest Idol judges to sit at the desk.
I’m dedicating my Saturday nights completely to the fantasy world of Strictly Come Dancing. Where people we already think we know become real people, learn new skills and recreate them with grace, humour and smoulder for our entertainment. Oh. And the dresses. The pretty, pretty dresses.
Come Christmas I have never failed to feel utterly bereft that Strictly has finished. I have never dragged myself to the finale of X-Factor without thinking “Thank God that’s over!” Saturday night light entertainment is meant to be just that. Light and frothy and an escape from the working week. If it doesn’t make me feel good, it gets dumped.
Even though he was replaced by Gary Barlow as head judge, Simon Cowell’s fingerprints are still all over X-Factor. And who really wants Cowell’s mucky hands all over their Saturday night anymore?
(With apologies to my inner 14-year-old Take That fan. She’ll learn.)