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X Factor 2011 Review

Simon Binns dissects Boot Camp, chews it up and spits it back out again

Written by . Published on September 26th 2011.

X Factor 2011 Review

ENTITLEMENT. Perspective. Humility. Respect. Numeracy.

Four things that have been forever skewed by the reality show genre and the idea that fame could be just around the corner for you.

Yes, you.

You are owed fame. It is your right. People should ‘respect’ you, irrespective of your willingness to earn it and most of all, you’re utterly fucking brilliant and anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool.

One fame-hungry parcel of awfulness called Kitty was so desperate to make an impression she had an outfit made that required more voltage than Blackpool illuminations

Nowhere is this better displayed by the parade of braying arseholes trying to win this year’s X Factor – a show now so horribly caught up in its own self importance that it drives members of the public to admit, on telly, that they simply can’t imagine living if someone from N-Dubz says their singing isn’t very good.

“If I fail now, I don’t think I’d be able to look my wife and kids in the face,” whined some jug-eared simpleton in a pork pie hat. Really?

This week was Boot Camp, the tough, unforgiving part of the show that sees contestants having to, erm, sing just like they did in previous weeks and have a party in a country house with shitloads of free booze, several hot-tubs and the vague promise of a soapy titwank after midnight.

Boot Camp Welcome Party: Magaluf meets SurreyBoot Camp Welcome Party: Magaluf meets Surrey

The paired-down group of would-be bargain bin inhabitants whisked away to (the outskirts of) London included a Scottish woman who admitted she’d “never seen buildings”, a plethora of asexual young boys with terrible haircuts and every stereotypical gay you could ever imagine.

The welcome party was like Magaluf meets Surrey. Everyone got off with each other, apart from a boy band who all wore sensible spectacles and decided to go to bed early.

Unbeknown to them, the judges had met in secret to thin them out even further. Gary Barlow declared he only wanted to go with people who would “go all the way” (Mark Owen, presumably) and gathered the wannabes in the hotel grounds where they all whooped like hyperactive seals, unaware some of them were going to get clubbed.

Barlow delivered the crushing news that some of them were actually a bit shit, leaving some hopefuls apoplectic and unable to understand the sheer injustice of being dragged all the way to a five-star country house hotel for free champagne only to be told their singing wasn’t quite as good as other people’s singing.

The inhumanity of it all. One tearful dunce decried the music biz as “brutal”, leaving me to wonder how anyone ducking bullets in Afghanistan might feel about trading places for a few hours and being comforted by Tulisa and Kelly Rowland. Tulisa is the star of this show, by the way, styled up like a saucy 1950s version of Kate Middleton.

Boot Camp hopefuls await their fateBoot Camp hopefuls await their fate

One young lad ‘needed’ an explanation from the judges as to why he wasn’t going through. Louis Walsh told him it wasn’t the end, even though it actually was.

So, with the metaphorical plop wiped off the judges shoes, the remaining hostages took to the stage. Cue loads of fast shots of humming and eyelashes. There were exotic names like Honey, Goldie, Kitty and, erm, Terry.

Here’s a suggestion for a spin-off show. Anyone who affects an American accent while singing should be made to live in the shittest parts of Detroit for a year while their bedroom, in the four-bedroom house they live in with their Mam and Dad in Wiltshire, is given over to kids from the projects.

And why, when there are hundreds of contestants, are there only four singing voices between them?

A particularly dreadful pairing called Eskimo Smile whooped onto stage with some young lad called Frankie, who seemed to have back-combed his entire body. Kendro appeared to be made of luminous play-dough and Haribo off-cuts and one group looked like a horrific reimagining of Scooby Doo and Mystery Inc.

Crazy KittyCrazy Kitty

The hell was of course spread across two nights. On Sunday, one fame-hungry parcel of awfulness called Kitty was so desperate to make an impression she had an outfit made that required more voltage than Blackpool illuminations. An albino Steve Tyler called David Wilder was inexplicably booed by the crowd just seconds after they’d been cheering him. I call this Springfield Syndrome, after the countless scenes in The Simpsons where the mayor is roundly applauded or booed from sentence to sentence, by a public so stupid their memory recall is limited to less than that of a forgetful goldfish.

I was struck by the adverts too – by the sheer volume of them and the fact that most of the brands (McDonalds, Coleman’s Season and Shake, etc) all seemed to be pitched at fat people who can’t be bothered to spend more than 180 seconds on food preparation.

After a seemingly never-ending sequence of husky-sounding boys in mustard coloured trousers, the judges made sure the groups category wouldn’t be made up of actual groups by manufacturing a few of their own for good measure.

Louis Walsh, Tulisa, Kelly Rowland and Gary BarlowLouis Walsh, Tulisa, Kelly Rowland and Gary Barlow

Then the judges played a massive game of Guess Who before the tension was ratcheted up to almost fever pitch as we tried to guess who would walk through a door.

Gary got the boys (happy, off to LA); Kelly got the girls (happy, going to Miami); Tulisa got groups (happy because she put half of them together, going to Greece); and Louis got the oldies (pretended to be happy, despite really wanting to shout: ‘Oh for fuck’s sake’; taking them to Barcelona. ‘I hear it’s near Spain,’ gasped one of his charges).

And all that was left was a Coldplay soundtrack, Dermot O’Leary’s big face and the nagging feeling that the X Factor had been on telly all bloody weekend.

Who will win? Who cares. Now somebody go and get me a Big Mac.

Follow Simon Binns on Twitter @simonbinns

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12 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousSeptember 26th 2011.


IzzySeptember 26th 2011.

Brilliant observation Mr. Binns, fab writing! Is Kitty the bird that got a little over-familiar on the first show? Kicking her shoes off, perching herself on the edge of the stage and chit-chatting with the judges like they were old mates? Shit, I sound like I watch it and actually take notice........

Lynda Moyo shared this on Facebook on September 26th 2011.
AnonymousSeptember 26th 2011.

Finally, someone says what we are ALL thinking. Repeat it after me: Who cares. Well done, Simon.

the Whalley RangerSeptember 26th 2011.

Hahaha! Never seen it but now I think I will... is that intended, Monsieur Binns?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Simon BinnsSeptember 26th 2011.

I don't think it really needs any help with its viewing figures to be honest...

AnonymousSeptember 26th 2011.

Very good Simon my thoughts exactly although you neglected to mention how sexy Mr Barlow is these days. Worth watching for him alone! x

Simon Binns shared this on Facebook on September 26th 2011.
Michelle McManusSeptember 27th 2011.

But what is the secret ingredient that makes us all want to watch it, and cry, every week, every year??

the Whalley RangerSeptember 27th 2011.

Latent voyeurism?

AnonymousNovember 17th 2011.

this review is a complete load of ***; if you dont' liek ti, dont' watch it. Nobody's forcing you too, and I don't doubt that most of these people on this show are a hell of a lot more famous than you.

Stuart Quinn-HarvieDecember 3rd 2012.

Beautifully worded retort there, anonymous. Did you ever go to school? If so did you pay attention? What really scares me ( apart from your inability to spell two letter words) is your apparent conviction that any sort of fame makes a person better than another. That is, frankly, vile.

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