by Alex Dimond
As I sit here, in my comfortable yet somehow sterile room, one question of extreme importance keeps running through my head. It’s the sort of question that probably used to keep Boutros Boutros Ghali up all night, when he was UN Secretary-General.
As a man, is it alright to like The X Factor?
I know, I know — I should be focusing on more important matters, like the 3,000 word essay I need to get finished by tomorrow. But right now, as Eoghan (although everyone insists on calling him Owen) prances around the stage performing a cheeky ABBA number, I can’t help but wonder whether I should even be watching the show, let alone enjoying it.
After all, it is not like I am the ITV executive’s ‘target audience’ for the show. 21-years-old, male (last time I checked), intelligent, deeply cynical — none of the traits the show particularly panders to.
And it is prime time Saturday evening TV, for crying out loud. I should be out on the town. Doing lines of heroin, or whatever it is the cool kids do (mental note, ask Sherv ‘the perv’ about hardcore drugs).
Perhaps more crucially, it is not even as if the talent is that great. Eoghan is fairly limited as singer (he is only 16 though, so I can excuse that) and he committed the unforgivable crime of butchering High School Musical, while Diana Vickers is just a bit too away with the fairies for my liking.
You can see why she was voted off — she looks like she spends her spare time scaring people in Henry James novels.
Alexandra can obviously sing, but by God does she know it. And it is not as if she is earth-shatteringly good — without wishing to be harsh, she is simply Leona-lite. Less hot, but with more personality.
For males, that just isn’t a satisfactory trade-off.
That leaves JLS — and I can tell you for definite that I shouldn’t like them. After all, they are a boyband — and I haven’t liked one of those since A1 were on the scene.
I haven’t read the male handbook in a while, but I am pretty sure that one of the key rules is that you are not allowed to like a boyband once you reach the age of 12 (unless it is Take That, of course).
And it is not as if JLS have decided to steer clear of boyband stereotypes. They wear colour co-ordinated clothes — I know, it’s 2008, but they still do it! — and have even been known to don the all white look when needs (or votes) must.
They are also managed by Louis Walsh — arguably the most annoying Irishman to ever walk the planet. His fingerprints are all over the slightly kitsch image that the boys project.
In short, male testorone and a general sense of pride should forbid me from even looking in their direction, let alone cheering their performances like — well, like a girl.
But that is exactly what I do. After all, they can dance, they can sing, and they have million dollar smiles. It even seems that Aston (aka. the ‘blue’ one) can do backflips.
What’s not to love?
Yet, if all men loved to see other men singing and dancing then Jason Donavon would still be lighting up the West End. Alas, he is not.
He’s in Iceland adverts.
Yes, Cheryl Cole and Danni Minogue are on the show — but even two admittedly fine and delectable female morsels should not be able to save, in the eyes of young men, a show that is quite frankly aimed at middle aged housewives. Few things could.
Beer maybe, or Megan Fox. She pulled the same trick in Transformers, after all. Maybe she is the exception that proves the rule.
Anyway, I’m getting dangerously close to becoming distracted. In conclusion, it seems quite clear that, as a man, it is not okay to like the X Factor.
But I love it anyway. Which means, quite worryingly, that I cannot be much of a man…