In the beginning, God created music. But not proper music; the stuff was that insufferable dirge known as ‘classical music’. It wasn’t until the 20th century that tunes actually composed by people were let loose on the world and ultimately evolved into ‘pop music’.
But inevitably, the Devil wanted to get in on the act and it took him 40 years to mould three of his most damned souls from the fieriest pit of Hell into a single demon called The Judges. They were known as Simon, whose face was frozen in an expression of engorged thunder and was sculpted from the granite left over from his heart; Sharon, whose face is left overnight in front of a blast furnace and the skin daintily replaced each morning by Jamie Oliver as though he were dressing a salad; and Louis Walsh, a man who when not on TV looks like he spends all his time squashed in a suitcase sloshing around in vinegar.
One year on, the Devil, who also works as a freelance consultant for the BPI as well as running his successful Hell property empire, looks back at how successful The Judges were in shaping some of the X-Factor contestants into shapeless, soulless vassals for cash-generating pop music.
1. Chico. “This lad was meant to be an inspiration to everyone: ‘If someone with absolutely no grace and talent can have a number one then so can you.’ Chico is the reason that thousands of similarly defunct individuals will swarm to the auditions to provide a big laugh.
Simon summed it up best, ‘I thought Chico was a joke,’ he recalled as he used his granite quiff to peck out failure Gareth Gates’ eyes. But Sharon claimed his performance at her mansion “will go down in history”. Damn right, it will. It’s historic because it’s the moment I convinced myself that I could sell anything to any idiot.
“Of course, Chico won’t be around for much longer, heavens, he even presented Saturday Showdown, which was like becoming captain of the Titanic just before it sunk beneath the waves.”
2. Brenda. “Brenda really got on my nerves. She wasn’t one of those grasping people who’ll sell their souls to me just to get famous (and besides I’ve swallowed enough of them already; do you realise how nauseated I get after open auditions for Hollyoaks?).
“She had a dignity about her, but Sharon still had a little spiteful dig at her, and I’m not sure how she kept a straight face when she said, while driving nails through the fake breasts of Rebecca Loos and lapping up the leaking silicon: “You can’t get anything more credible than being in theatre in London.”
“But poor old Brenda’s in Chicago, which is a musical for people who hate music, and what’s more she’s starring with that harridan of horror Bonnie Langford, who even I won’t inflict on my most tortured souls. Christ, I’ve still got much to learn.”
3. Andy. “God, he was dull wasn’t he. I packed him off to record one of those albums full of the dreariest songs ever written that act as an anaesthetic to the terminally ill. By the way, if you want to get into Heaven, listen to Andy’s album on your deathbed as it numbs the soul to such an extent that you’ll fly under my radar.
“The only problem is that you might fly under His radar too and instead and be condemned to a ghostly purgatory of being trapped in the GMTV studio waiting for Andy’s next appearance and listening to Lorraine Kelly’s insincere congratulations.”
4. Nicholas. “’I can remember my audition like it was a videotape.’ This is the only sentence in which Nicholas and the word ‘remember’ have ever appeared together. Next!
5. Shayne. “God had Jesus and I’ve got Shayne. If ever I wanted someone to spread the gospel of the evils of capitalism and shallow materialistic pleasures I could never have hoped to find it all in one man. He’s got it all; good looks to extort money from mindless teenage girls, that endearing trademark vacuity of all factory-produced pop stars, and a delusion that his songs actually mean something rather than being cigarette butts tossed out of car windows.
“Of course, some credit must go to The Judges, especially Louis who “did spot the potential”, and Simon who pedalled his trademark seductive lie, “You have all the potential to be the biggest male solo star in the country.” But sadly, Shayne is little more than a sperm to fertilise this generation with superficial desires of fame and fortune, and now he’s done his job he’ll fade away to number 14 in the charts (but that’s still higher than any Smiths song).
“However, one of The Judges isn’t so pessimistic; Louis claimed that “the future is very, very bright for Shayne Ward”. But at that moment, bless him, he was probably receiving his weekly narcotic hit of the liquidised bile directed towards his former charge Ronan Keating by the media. He always relishes that, and it often makes the old duffer a little bit perky and delusional.”
6. The Conway Sisters. “With my diabolic powers, I decreed that they should split up. A week later, I also decreed that bird flu should splinter off into various mutations to increase its lethal virulence.”
7. 4Tune. “Look, even I’m not going to be saddled with the responsibility for that shower.”