The Daily Star Sunday’s REHAB showbiz columnist gives his tips on X Factor 2012
The X Factor is back for a seemingly unstoppable ninth series.
But the question is: does it still deserve its title? Has it still got the all-important ‘X factor’?
Or after last year’s let-down do fans think it will soon be renamed the Z Factor or, even worse, the Ex Factor?
Like me turning 33 this week, there’s no denying the record-breaking show is slightly past its prime.
But just like ultimate icon Mo Farah I reckon it’s got plenty of running left in those legs.
King Cowell’s baby has seen a major revamp this year — mainly due to rival BBC1 show The Voice snapping at its heels like an annoying Jack Russell.
For the first time on X Factor, contestants can perform with instruments, sing songs they have written themselves and perform with management.
Whatever next? Introduce swirling chairs for the judges?
After being invited to watch the bootcamp stage last month I can confirm the revamps have made a huge difference to the talent on X Factor this year.
You have to look no further than Ella Henderson in episode one to see why X Factor was right to change it up.
There’s only so many times you can get excited about another Tesco Mary.
Deluded muppets play second fiddle to the talent this year
I can’t give too much away but there’s a Generation Game-like conveyor belt of ‘real, guitar-strumming artists’ heading your way that make Frankie Cocozza look like a tone-deaf, over-sized pimple that needs eradicating.
In tonight’s episode keep your eye out for Kye Sones, Lucy Spraggan and James Arthur, who all impress.
Fans of the weird, wacky and just plain wanky will still get their fair share of deluded muppets. But the difference this year is that they are playing second fiddle to the true talent.
Head judge Gary Barlow told me the other week that this year’s show boasts the best talent ever. And, after seeing boot camp, he certainly has a case to argue.
It’s just a shame the same can’t be said for the judging line-up.
I’m a massive fan of Gary — even with his monotone Mancunian tones. And Tulisa is certainly making the most of her lucky break. But they are not the dream team of Cowell and Cole.
Nicole Scherzinger was obviously drafted in to add some much-needed star glamour. Tulisa and her Primani-chique doesn’t quite cut it.
But while a Pussycat is good for providing the seX-Factor, the producers get a big ‘no’ from me for not snapping up Scary Spice Mel B. The gobby Leeds lass has more personality in her viper tongue than Nicole has in her whole body.
She couldn’t have been more entertaining last week if they’d got Avid Merrion’s Bo Selecta character behind the desk shouting: “Oooh… Patsy.”
Louis Walsh deserves a lot more comedy credit than he gets but he’s not exactly going to pull in the viewers.
Betting tips on X Factor 2012
Anyway, back to the talent and a bit of betting!
I won’t be putting any deep sea divers on a Group to pull off the impossible and win the show for a second year running.
According to Gary, the Groups are, once more, the weakest category — probably a safe bet to assume Louis gets those then.
Take That star Gary reckons the Girls and Overs are the strongest but you only have to look to the show’s history to know you can never rule out the Boys.
While we are talking odds, it’s probably worth putting any sofa change on Mel B being permanently sat in Sherzy’s chair next year. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
Follow James Ingham on Twitter here. Read his column in tomorrow’s Daily Star Sunday.
The X Factor is on ITV/UTV/TV3 tonight from 7.45pm