It’s been a week, and what a week it’s been.
I went to the live recording with my wife Caroline; the very talented photographer Adam Mills of Mug Photography; and Jon Hawkins, the creator of Stage Status.
I expected to be sent to the back, somewhere in the darkness of the gods, tweeting away to all my live twitter followers as usual. Instead we were taken to the ‘VIP’ queue away from the rif-raf and bitter rejects from previous shows.
Then we were singled out as having special ‘gold’ wristbands amongst even these chosen disciples and taken out of the queue altogether (to a very unwise slow clap from some of those being bypassed, who I thanked and patted the shoulders of as condescendingly as I could) to be escorted to seats which were directly behind the judges.
I was both excited and disappointed. On the plus side I was going to be six feet from Dawn French and Andrew Lloyd Webber and almost certainly on live TV- a lot. On the downside, it was going to be impossible to tweet live as I had promised everyone, and I was sweating like Christian Bale’s bum crack after three days in a bat suit.
My seat was directly between Jason and Dawn, I couldn’t have picked a better spot if I’d been given the freedom of the studio by a Wonka-like golden ticket signed by the puppet-lord himself.
My artificial sense of self-importance was bolstered as the seats filled up and ‘the buzz’ began to build. My wife knows a lot of folks in the industry and so does Jon, so every ten minutes someone would come over and shake a hand of one of them or wave from their seat. It got to the point where I was wondering what the proper protocol for giving autographs was before I was overwhelmed by the need to take my suit jacket off before it changed colour and the people behind me started whispering, “Must be Lee Evans. Hasn’t he got fat?”
I wont say too much more about the night other than the warm-up comic thought that being from Manchester would make up for the absence of any actual jokes and used the only five minutes of material he had brought with him from 1983 to fill three hours of waiting time.
The other thing is that, in spite of my seat, I didn’t get on TV once! Jon was seen clapping along behind Dawn, and Caroline got more air time than Michael Jordan but, thankfully for you, my sweaty vizgog never graced a single TV screen.
Fast forward to last night. David has gone the way of Nathan, Niall, Jon, Jeff and Tim, leaving just Rory, Roger and Ben in the final tonight.
Nope, me neither!
Opinion is divided on who should be cast as Jesus, that’s to be expected, but nobody disagrees on just how bad many of the elements of this show have become.
Format changes seem to be made up on the hoof leaving Amanda making more public apologies than Transport for London. Dawn seems to be publicly pursuing Roger in a way that to be perfectly honest has started to creep me out a bit and, I suspect, creep Roger out even more. She’s like an entire series of loose Women without the HRT, even though she’s still the best TV judge in history and a comedy genius, so I suppose I can overlook a little sexual harassment.
As for ALW, he’s demoralizing every leading male actor in the business without a care every time he tells someone how marvelous they are and that they can take any role they like whenever they fancy it because there are LITERALLY no male actors in the whole world worth a damn.
The icing on the cake for the demise of this show though has to be the treatment, and controversial dismissal, of Nathan James.
Nathan was torn off a strip in a way that I have never seen on a talent show before by a Lord of the Realm clearly determined to use his power to its fullest. Why shouldn’t he? Well it’s a fair point, but the manner of the public dressing down, and the editing of the VT regarding Nathan, was just mean-spirited and it really showed ALW as the rich kid with the best toys throwing a strop and deciding to ban the poor kids from playing with them any more.
Where was the evidence? Where was the solemn presenter giving us the run-down of Nathan’s crimes and telling us what a naughty deal-breaker he’s been like a vet giving bad news about the prospects of poor little Tiddles?
Ant and Dec do it really well. If someone on the X-Factor turns out to be a stripper, or on an ASBO, or signed to another record label (like they didn’t know), it gets handled with sobriety and we, the audience, are given enough chance to see their crimes for ourselves.
Nathan was just thrown to the Lions and publicly bollocked by a fuming Lloyd-Webber with no pre-amble at all. He was left gasping for an answer he wasn’t given the chance to find and then expected to sing with Gary Barlow.
“I might need my head back for that Andrew!”
The inevitable bottom two were Roger- because he wasn’t good enough, and Nathan, who might as well have been wearing an ‘I HEART HEROD’ Tee-shirt for all the chance he stood of becoming Jesus.
Tonight is the final. There is clearly an agenda and minds have already been made up. My personal opinion is that Ben is the best performer and Nathan had the best voice- by a country mile, so that means I want Ben to win. If he does then all will be right in the world again.
Rory has a great voice but his repertoire of acting moves is limited to: squeezing the mic a bit harder, air grabbing, and the ‘boob weigh’ (holding your hands like there’s an invisible woman in front of you with enormous knockers… “Err, I’m gonna say double ‘D’ love- am I right?”)
As for Roger. He’s a great guy but is voice isn’t strong enough, it gets tired too easily, and his idea of acting is dancing like James Brown. Unfortunately we’re looking for God’s son- not the God father. Apart from that he’d be great.
I’m dreading his ‘Gethsemane’ which, I fear we will be treated to tonight. Hopefully it will show Ben as the natural choice and we can all go to bed happy that the right man was picked after all.
Follow me live throughout the show on twitter @MrIanWatson.