Essex girls and boys for as long as we care to remember have been the butt of everyone’s jokes, but for this week they can hold their heads high.
For the uninitiated the reason is two singers from that much-maligned county have made it to the final of X Factor, the biggest TV extravaganza since last year’s X Factor!
Stereotypical Essex girl and single mum Stacey looks better positioned to take the top prize than cheeky chappy Olly, a modern day Tommy Steele character. However neither look likely to have a smile as wide at the end of the weekend as bookies favourite Joe.
The 18-year-old Geordie who manages the rare feat of making Dermot O’Leary look downwards, hasn’t put a foot wrong throughout the whole circus that accompanies the show. Each week his performances have been consistently a notch above the rest, except arguably for Danyl Johnson who was voted off at the weekend. With Danyl, who has certainly been nobbled by the nastier side of the press, probably goes the only chance of the winner following in the footsteps of Leona Lewis and becoming an international sensation.
To be fair, as someone who has watched this series ever since the cruel but compulsive comedy of the auditions, I can’t say I’m that excited about this week’s finale, which has annoying been put over two nights. It’s not to freshen up the format as Simon Cowell says, but rather to maximise advertising revenue as everyone knows.
I can’t see any of the three finalists making much of an impact in the long run. It’s simply because as able as they are they don’t have the X Factor!
And besides what does it matter either? I mean, how big is Steve Brookstein now? He won it back in 2004 and was last heard of playing on cruise ships after his fantastic solo career failed to blossom. Fellow winners Shane Ward and Leon Jackson are also nowhere to be seen at the moment and unlikely to reappear in the imminent future.
Only last year’s winner Alexandra Burke and the aforementioned Leona really have something to sing about of the winners.
Maybe not winning isn’t so bad. It’s notable that Rhydian, with the epic Welsh voice, and JLS, both runners up in the previous two years seem to be forging actual recording careers proving that taking the top prize isn’t everything.
Also, interestingly, Leona’s runner-up Ray Quinn can be seen on the front of this week’s Solihull News. It’s not because he is playing the NEC but quite fittingly appearing in panto at Birmingham Hippodrome.
So for those of you getting caught up in the Cowell orchestrated hype take it for what it really is. After all, as the 40 pluses of us will testify, X Factor is really little more than a modern day Opportunity Knocks with bells and whistles on.
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Michael Nolan runs successful Solihull business Nolan PR