The Monday Moan: Catching the X-Factor bug

    You can’t pick up a newspaper, flick on the telly or skulk off for a quiet pint without some mention of this season’s X-Factor. Last Monday, one group of friends wove a 23-message string of emails debating the validity of toxic twins John and Edward as X-Factor hopefuls.

    Finding my inbox effervescing with such frothy tittle-tattle during any other annual outing of the talent showdown would have resulted in a tourettes-like eruption of four letter expletives and a tirade of shirty e-responses back at the lazy, talking-telly-on-a-Monday-morning sods. But, not this time. On this occasion I found time to read every single one of their messages, even keying in a couple of ditties myself. And, that’s because this time I’ve been curiously drawn to X-Factor.

    While I wouldn’t dream of treating this blog as a confessional booth I must hold up both hands and repent as I have a mild addiction to the show. That is of course if you regard jumping up and down on the sofa, sporadically chanting “You’re s**t and you know you are”, and hyperventilating at the thought of the 24-hour wait before the Sunday evening results show as mild.

    The fact is there’s a lot more talent on this year’s X-Factor than there has been in the past, with each one of the contestants bringing some unique melodic charm to the Saturday night mix.
    The only persisting problem area of the show is the horrific styling of its contestants. A play-safe cookie-cutter approach, has found the show’s stylists week after week chipping away any sartorial clues to each contestant’s real identity, choosing instead to lazily redraw them in the vision of pre-existing pop stars.

    The worst example has to be Jamie Archer, you know the Phil Lynott-looking one (see pic above), who despite his weekly protestations about not being a pub-rock tribute act, looks more like a third rate Lenny Kravitz circa 1990, with every passing week. Then there’s Lucie Jones (top pic - pre-X Factor styling), who started life as the kind of effortlessly pretty girl-next-door type who everyone wants to vote for, but who on Saturday was transformed into an eyeliner-caked grunge-ghoul in the mould of pint-sized pop monstrosity Avr’euurrggh’l Lavigne.

    The only candidate who showed an ounce of fashion flair was Rachel Adedeji (pictured above right) who started life as a fierce fash-warrior, part Grace Jones, part Rihanna, all flashy sequins and power shoulders. The only time she didn’t end up fighting for survival as one of the bottom-two contestants was when she was redrawn as an alkaline Girls Aloud type, looking awkward in her cutesy bob hair and trashy mini-dress.

    I guess that justifies the stylists’ cookie-cutter regime, knowing as perhaps they do that while the voting public appear happy to line Simon Cowell’s pockets with their premium rate phone votes, they are less prepared to back anyone who looks remotely different from the norm, despite their talents.

    Where John and Edward (pictured above left) fit into this debate I have yet to decide, but at least they, with their red PVC tailoring, 1980s neon suits, or mock-goth regalia, display some visual verve, albeit in a pantomime way. And, I have no doubt they are the ones whose costumes and performances the nation looks forward to seeing the most each week. After all, everyone loves a bit of panto. 

    What do you think of X-Factor fashion, and who's your guilty X-Factor pleasure? You can post your comments below.

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