OUR Sunday columnist takes a wry look at the week’s TV:
So that’s it. Auditions done and dusted.
We’ve seen every act we’re going to see this year (solo rejects thrown together at the last minute to pad out the groups category aside, of course), which leaves one miserable, life-sapping thought.
Somewhere among the overwhelmingly drab, desperate and talentless bunch through to Bootcamp this weekend is The X Factor winner.
And all ITV has to do now is drag out this baloney until Christmas, a prospect even less palatable with the fact this series is a write-off after just four weeks of pointless two-phase room/arena auditions.
They’ve sifted out all but one potential comedy act, in the time-honoured tradition of Wagner and Chico – a role so crucial to the success or failure of the live shows (for failure, see Rylan Clark) – reggae, reggae Souli Roots.
And she’s no Goldie Cheung, I can tell you.
Anyone else remotely mould-breaking, amusing or entertaining has been canned, apart from that yodelling goof.
The blame begins and ends with the judges who’ve been taking it all way too seriously.
They genuinely believe, bless them, that their mission is to find a new global superstar.
A fruitless task, obviously. The panel’s only job is to help make an enjoyable Saturday night television programme.
Instead, they’ve turned the show’s 10th anniversary into a wake.
Take the arena audience, for instance – 4,000 people encouraged to express themselves by booing, cheering, applauding or chanting: “Off! Off! Off! Off!” when the need arises.
But this is the hypocritical, schizophrenic X Factor, remember.
So last Sunday, as the crowd vocally disagreed with the judges, Sharon Osbourne turned round and rudely retorted: “Oh, how dare you. Hush now,” while Louis Walsh snapped: “Shut up.”
That pair aren’t even the worst offenders when it comes to sucking the joy out of the occasion.
Chief cheer-douser is Gary Barlow who opened his account on Saturday night, following the first useless act, by puffing out his cheeks and moaning: “It’s the same thing. It’s like a shortcut to fame.”
What the hell did he think X Factor was? A three-year work placement shadowing Chris Evans?
A quite extraordinary comment that demonstrates he simply doesn’t understand the show or share its sense of fun that has somehow got lost over the years.
He’d fit in far better on BBC1’s joyless energy vacuum The Voice.
Barlow was also at the centre of the latest case of vile trickery by the panel and producers of driving a wedge between best friends in the name of public entertainment.
The victims were girl trio the Daisy Chains, so-called because: “If one of the links is broken, we don’t work,” a stronger-than-oak bond that lasted right up until Gary Barlow told Hannah Sheares: “You have the potential to go far, but on your own.”
A tearful break-up ensued, with hilarious consequences.
Equally cynical and uncomfortable to watch was Nicole Scherzinger inviting Joseph Whelan’s five-year-old son into the room to watch his dad audition.
Whelan is actually part of the show’s biggest problem now, one that’s made it a sitting duck for the welcome return of Strictly Come Dancing – the bombardment of umpteen X Factor flops returning to haunt us.
Aside from building a bonfire of acoustic guitars, it’s the most urgent change required – a lifetime ban for any previous contestant.
Because the bottom of the talent barrel has long since been scraped.
It’s time to put two barrels to the X Factor’s head.
This show’s done and dusted.
Women Behind Bars With Trevor McDonald?
Worst theme pub ever.
Typical, eh? You pilot a submersible to the seabed when all of a sudden... BAM!
A flashing light, you’re sucked into a time vortex and wake up on a beach in ancient Greece.
But don’t fret. It’s not really you. It’s a bloke called Jason.
And we’re in BBC1’s laughably ridiculous Atlantis, which got even more loopy when our hero hid in a house shared by Pythagoras and fat Dave, from The Full Monty, a human Yorkshire pudding we’re supposed to believe is Hercules.
Next they’re chased by lions, kill a beast and everyone’s talking perfect English.
Anybody know what the heck’s going on?
It’s all Greek to me.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I couldn’t give a M.O.N.K.E.Y.S.
C5’s Amanda Knox Trial: Five Key Questions in full.
“Could Rudy Guede have murdered Meredith Kercher alone?” (They weren’t sure.)
“How was the window broken?” (Can’t be certain.)
“How did Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA get onto Meredith’s bra?” (No idea.)
“Did Knox and Sollecito leave a bloody footprint on the bathmat?” (Dunno.)
“Could a witness have heard footsteps on the stairs?” (Search me.)
And then, after 58 minutes, came this conclusion: “The only thing certain is that someone died.”
This week’s Most Unusual Ingredient in a Fruit Fool award goes to...
BBC2’s Tom Kerridge on Proper Pub Food: “I’m going to stick my plums into the butter mix.”
Just the bill, please.
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...
The Two Ronnies Spectacle on Gold. Dave channel’s TV Burp for the internet, Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Goodish.
Richard Osman out-funnying Sarah Millican on her BBC2 Television Programme.
This Morning wheeling out an embarrassing clip of Stuart Little for guest Hugh Laurie’s career highlights.
The One Show’s haunting sight of 9,000 body silhouettes sketched on Arromanches beach in Normandy, one for every D-Day victim.
Edie Falco’s tribute to James Gandolfini at the Emmy Awards, on 5USA.
And BBC2’s The Wrong Mans with James Corden and Mathew Baynton, who’s best known for Horrible Histories.
Though in James Corden’s case, it’s called Horne & Corden.
Downton Abbey’s back!
More on this when something actually happens.
(Next scheduled update: September 2014.)
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...
BBC1 absolute stinker By Any Means.
Great British Bake Off permitting crying.
Piers Morgan squeezing tears out of Gloria Hunniford over her tragic daughter Caron Keating.
Watchdog wasting everyone’s time revealing M&S’s autumn collection is nearly sold out.
David Coulthard’s muddled BBC1 commentary at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix: “This is one of the best over-pit taking slots.”
And Dominic Byrne arguing ghosts exist, on The Alan Titchmarsh Show: “I’ve seen a ghost eating chicken wings. And my grandmother once put an umbrella in a stand and the next day it wasn’t there but the day after it was. So unless people can categorically say they don’t exist, there’s a chance they do.”
Ghosts categorically don’t exist. No need to thank me.
Father Figure: Smart TV.
It’s anything but.
Peter Andre had inspirational words for a kids’ music workshop on ITV2’s My Life...
“I kept entering talent contests and lost all of them. How did I go from losing every competition to winning?”
You answered the phone in 2004 to be asked: “Fancy two weeks in the Australian jungle, Pete?”
Staying In With Greg and Russell.
So I’m going out.