The X Factor has a great deal to recommend it of course. I faint without fail whenever Danni Minogue throws her arms up above her head to reveal her fragrant armpits. I mean phew! And of course I scream whenever a contestant sings a bit louder, or higher, or even intimates that they are about to sing louder or higher or both. Who does not? The judges can be hard of course and, like you, I boo madly when they criticise someone who has just made me scream.
Yes, the judges can be hard, but they are preparing the contestant to some extent for the adverse reactions that surely lie ahead. But does the show offer a real experience of the vicissitudes of show business? Doubts rose for me while I was reading a story by P.G. Wodehouse. Bertie Wooster had agreed in a weak moment to perform along with several others in a concert organised by the church in aid of some deserving charity. An attack of nerves sent him off to the village pub to take a few on board before stepping up in his turn. Thus he missed those who performed before him.
This is where disaster was bred. Bertram was completely unaware that many of them had sung the very song he had chosen. Sonny Boy, it was called, and he had rehearsed it well under the shower. Indeed it was a great favourite for amateur singers. It climbed dramatically and was full of the right sentiments. Stirring as it was, it had by the time of Bertie’s performance begun to pall on the proletariat to a marked degree. All unaware, Bertie stepped forward, the opening notes issued from his mouth – and the words of course, and suddenly the air was dark with vegetables. Though some in fact threw eggs. One faction threw nothing else.
It was in fact this egg-throwing faction who persuaded me to cut my career treading the boards short. If I had only been prepared for the cruel twists and turns of the show business life. Of course tomatoes, if ripe enough, and spongey bananas could be quite formidable in my experience. But what makes the X Factor an inadequate preparation is… wait for it…
THE EGGS FACTOR!
Aaaah. Ignore the above. I can never resist a terrible joke. There is talent on the show, sometimes very surprising indeed. Throw your eggs at me.