COUCH POTATO: Queen vs Michael Jackson on X Factor

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X Factor judging panel
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A LATE result just in from The X Factor...

Michael Jackson versus Queen week: no-score draw.

Frankly, that’s a ridiculous match-up anyway – there was almost no chance of them both turning up to last weekend’s fixture.

And even less chance given Dermot O’Leary announced six days earlier: “Next week, it’s disco fever.”

That kick-started events behind the scene that would culminate in one of the most extraordinary couple of nights this show has ever seen.

If you think that means good news for this floundering TV giant, which is being roundly pulped by a good but not great series of Strictly, think again.

First off, the disco theme was canned when ITV remembered it had a tie-in to promote Queen’s new album including a countdown of the band’s greatest hits on Tuesday night, deemed so important it pushed the News At Ten back to half-past.

Then we had that stage invasion by comedy hijacker Simon “Lee Nelson” Brodkin during “ultimate octo-band” Stereo Kicks’ song.

Dermot, to his credit, took the bull by the horns and asked: “Boys, tell me, there’s so many of you, did you think, ‘Is he another member?’”

A talking point if ever X Factor has had one.

Yet by the following evening the ninth member of Stereo Kicks had been wiped from the show’s memory without a mention in “last night’s highlights”.

It was just as well, then, that they did embrace and celebrate comedy act Stevi Ritchie’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Or at least the male half of the panel did.

Simon Cowell stated correctly it was “one of the greatest X Factor performances of all time”, evoking memories of Wagner’s talent show epoch-defining She Bangs/Love Shack medley.

The rest of last Saturday night was a blur of hurty throats, Ben Haenow’s “my brother has tinnitus” sob story and judges telling contestants: “You’re consistent.”

The only two exceptions were Andrea Faustini blowing the competition away with Somebody To Love and Louis Walsh giving himself unexpected hope of a future on the series.

Strip him of his judging role for all his tired sound bites and steadfast refusal to make a sing-off decision.

Instead, make a permanent fixture of his fancy dress appearances with Only The Young over the last two weeks – first as Worzel Gummidge’s wicked witch stepsister to go trick-or-treating and then in 1970s garb and Afro wig at a roller disco.

That is where I see him – making a willing fool of himself on the acts’ VTs.

It’s far more entertaining than anything he has to say these days.

The more distractions the better. Strip away Stevi Ritchie, Louis in fancy dress and comedians storming the stage and you’re left with the most cynical show on TV.

On the back of the shameless Queen promo, they changed the results show’s running order so One Direction’s appearance wouldn’t clash with a later-than-usual Strictly.

And if there’s a bandwagon to climb on, no matter how crass or inappropriate, The X Factor is all over it.

Example 7,249, Dermot: “It’s time for our first live performance of the night. It’s important to remember what today is all about. So with our tribute on Remembrance Sunday, lest we forget, please welcome the X Factor finalists.” And out they all bounded with an all-bopping, all-smiling rendition of a Take That number.

It’s what the fallen would have wanted.


Narrator Matt Lucas, 77 minutes into ITV’s Queen hits countdown: “That’s 18 songs down and two very special classics to go after the break. But just what will be crowned The Nation’s Favourite Queen Song?”

Hmm, we haven’t had Bohemian Rhapsody yet.

Is it Fat Bottomed Girls?


A bunch of chimps were bickering raucously over nothing on BBC1’s Life Story at 9pm on Thursday.

Just as they were 24 hours earlier on The Apprentice whose board game task heralded The Relationship Guru and question setter Daniel.

“Women dislike which food the most? Pizza, carrots or chicken salad?” (Minus one point if you said carrots. Obviously.)

“Men think women should iron, smile more or always be happy?”

And: “What do women find most annoying?”

Daniel, from The Apprentice. Same goes for men.


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

The Team Rickshaw kids.

BBC2’s darkly twisted The Fall.

E4 making that rarest of beasts, a funny hidden camera show, Bad Robots.

The Apprentice: You’re Fired’s Dara teeing up a clip of his favourite third-person-speaking figure of fun with the lyric: “When the moon hits the eye, like a big pizza pie...” (Cue VT...) “That’s Felipe.”

Stevi Ritchie’s Bohemian Rhapsody challenging Wagner’s She Bangs/Love Shack medley as the greatest X Factor performance.

And Keep It In The Family’s Bradley Walsh asking: “Audience, what do you think we should do with Jedward?” As long as it involves a baseball bat, threshing machine, 8in electrodes and 15,000 volts, I’ll leave the details to you, Bradders.


This week’s Silly Question award goes to...

Lord Sugar asking Daniel: “Do you suffer from delusions?”

He’s a candidate on The Apprentice, Alan. Comes with the job description.


ITV, Hotel In The Clouds.

ITV2, head in the clouds.


MasterChef: The Professionals’ Gregg Wallace to a contestant ahead of Tuesday’s skills test: “Have you ever handled a woodcock before?”

Yes, but it was just a phase.


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

Newsnight wasting oxygen on Dapper Laughs.

Good Morning Britain passenger Dr Hilary magically appearing like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn at the mere whiff of a health story.

Monica Galetti failing to do the haka opposite the contestants at the start of every MasterChef: The Professionals.

EastEnders’ “naked calendar” turning out to be just a “calendar”.

ITV omitting Flash from The Nation’s Favourite Queen Song top 20.

The dismal-looking I’m A Celebrity line-up (Ant and Dec have their work cut out.)

And Sky News’s Kay Burley on the Rosetta comet landing: “The docking will be about 4pm, Earth time.”


This Morning’s Denise Robertson, before a night sleeping rough on a warehouse floor to experience homelessness: “Somewhere some young person is trying to bed down in a doorway or under a ledge.

“Nothing I’m going to endure tonight can match that.”

Especially as a couple of hours later... “In the early hours I had to take some time out to rest in the film crew car.”

As indeed all homeless people can, wouldn’t you say?


The One Show’s Matt Baker to Team Rickshaw’s Alex Webb after he told a Frank Skinner gig of his rare skin condition: “Do you want to mention how Frank was that night?”

Alex: “Not my kind of humour.”

Baker: “We will leave it there...”