X-Factor Battle of the Stars – The Final, ITV1

by | Jun 5, 2006 | All, Reviews

• Although a likable fellow, Matt Stevens bobbed around the stage for his Frank Sinatra impersonation like a rotund slab of metal used to plug deep gashes in the hull of a cruise liner that’s broken free and is now floating aimlessly about the open ocean.

• Kate Thornton once seemed like she had been coached to ask questions with such inhumane banality, but now they are as inexorable as a ticking clock, and she appears to believe that elevating every fourth syllable burnishes the remark with the sheen of originality.

• Louis Walsh’s first piece to camera was then marred by the bald head of a man that was distractingly in camera shot ruining his introduction to Lucy Benjamin’s first song in exactly the same was as Irish boybands with all the heart and soul of a fish on a gutting hook have ruined the British charts for the past decade.

• Lucy’s first song was one of Louis’s all-time favourites, and this did not shock us one bit. It was so devoid of life, so smug in its colourless vocals, tune and ambition that it could be played in graveyards to ensure the dead don’t awaken; or more accurately be thankful for their eternal rest than exist in a world where such songs are heralded as masterpieces.

• The absurdity of the X-Factor as a talent showcase was exposed when the other ‘celebrities’ performed I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing and Thank You For The Music. Centre stage was the horrendous Gillian McKeith whose bones seemed to have been dropped into her skin like bricks in a sack. While Nikki Sanderson and Michelle Marsh, relegated to the sidelines, tried far too hard to earn a recording contract and ended up being reduced to the role of some lunatic pulling faces behind a TV reporter on an outside broadcast.

• After Matt Stevens performed his favourite song from the show (which also exhibited the ‘stars’ had exhausted their repertoire in about a week), Simon Cowell reeled out his sickeningly familiar line he always saves for the finals. “Mack the Knife is one of my favourite songs, and I didn’t like it,” he uttered with dispassionate contempt before waiting for the reactionary audience to start jeering (but oddly they didn’t as they have probably wised up to this little ruse, too) before adding: “I loved it!” (The crowd melted into delirious rapture, so perhaps they are still mindless cattle shipped in from failures at Hollyoaks auditions).

• Cowell’s comments also serve notice as to why his approval is always greeted with so much more applause than either Sharon or Louis – he tempers criticism with praise, and as such in the context of the show his words are more valuable than the others’ opinions combined. Especially when Louis and Sharon’s brickbats seem to be motivated by personal spite against the performer or another judge, thus losing them credibility even in this sphere that so embraces mediocrity as a virtue.

• The desperate nature of the show then was summed up as Kate Thornton pleaded with viewers to vote, and revealed that the X-Factor and its ilk to be are masks that once removed disclose ITV1 as aggressive beggars demanding that the public gives them money.

• After 45 minutes, as Lucy Benjamin finished her second song, the show was over. So how would the remaining 45 minutes be filled? Well, there the inevitable appeals to the gullible British public that the event was “for charity”. But the excuse “for charity” simply won’t wash anymore. For the Beckhams’ party, “for charity” became the impenetrable Iron Curtain defence for a bunch of obscenely wealthy people to dissolutely enjoy themselves, have it filmed for their own publicity, and then hope to retain their dignity and credibility through its speciously altruistically intentions. While the X-Factor uses a variant of this deception to churn out low-com-denom populist rubbish to attract high advertising revenue (is this donated to charity too?).

• And this is most odiously illustrated when Kate Thornton revealed the “voting update”. Of course, it really could have been 52%-48%, but it’s suspiciously always this close and seems like a deception to extort more money especially when Thornton implored: “You’re vote could be the one that makes the difference!”

• After that, Thornton scaled the Mount Everest of inanity once more when she asked Matt and Lucy how nervous they were feeling with a few memories from the series thrown in while well-wishers added their thoughts such as the recently retired and quite desperate Matt Dawson and the vile James Hewitt.

• Shayne Ward is a reminder of what music would be like if Britain ever became a totalitarian state – an utterly inoffensive anaesthetic that vomits up illiterate platitudes that will never, ever create ripples of inspiration for listeners to change the world they live in. Show us a Shayne Ward fan and we’ll show you someone doomed to spend their Sunday mornings for all their lives waddling pointlessly around garden centres believing their lives can really be enriched by having a mini-waterfall or decking.

• Lucy Benjamin was victorious, and was helped by the senseless crusade to make her “the first female to be crowned winner of X-Factor”; all of which seems odd, as goods produced in a factory are rarely categorised by their genitalia. Do people demand lady washing machines or fridges that have a big, juicy cock?

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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