I know, it's hardly controversial or counterintuitive to think that the X-Factor is bad. But something has been nagging away at me for a while. I find bits of the X-Factor all right - watchable, even - but others make me want to pour bleach in my eyes and whack my teeth out with a toffee hammer while rocking back and forth. Why should that be?
I think I've finally worked it out, though, and I present them here in list form.
Louis Walsh shouting over whooping and applause. I hate this. I hate this more than anything, ever. CHER! CHER! CHER! CHER! CHER! CHER, YOU'RE ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING... CHER... YOU'RE ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING... CHER... Shut up! Shut up! Wait for them to finish, or someone tell them to be quiet, or something.
Simon Cowell's wink. What's he winking for? Some kind of shared joke between him and us? Is it something like "These teeth cost more than your fucking car, and I know it, and you know it, and yet for some unfathomable reason, I'm popular and you're a nobody"? Is it that?
Cheryl Cole's 'serious/thinking' face. Hmm, I am thinking about what I am hearing... hmm, I am serious and thinking about this. Hmm. Yes, I am not just a pop star, I am a role model for CONFIDENT WOMEN EVERYWHERE. Hmm... I am listening to this song and thinking about my comments afterwards, yes... and I might sort of get a bit choked up about it or something... yes. What Joey from Friends would call "Smell the fart acting".
The fact that I'm meant to know whose these bloody people are. That their faces are splashed over all those horrible garish dentist's waiting room magazines all week. Ooh, Katie did something. Ooh, Cher did something. Ooh, the creepy-faced one who looks like a boring Perez Hilton did something. I daresay they all bloody did something. I imagine they went to the toilet, and had lunch somewhere, and did lots of other stuff. What is this bloody need for a backstory and a soap opera?
They can't, when all is said and done, sing very well. Yet I get told afterwards, by people who apparently know these things, that their vocals were 'amazing' and 'incredible'. No they weren't, I've got ears, I can tell. They're mediocre singers doing something reasonably well - you can admire the composure under pressure, the sudden rise to fame and all that, but amazing? Incredible?
What in the wide world of sports is this choreography? People on bicycles? Fire? People on fire on bicycles? What kind of madness is this?
The fake enmity between the judges. Oh for fuck's sake. Cowell and Walsh have worked together for about 20 years and made each other incredibly rich men. They have the same, appalling, taste in middle-of-the-road banal shit that makes Michael Buble look edgy, yet we're supposed to believe they're always at each other's throats. Piss off. Ooh and Dannii and Cheryl are having some kind of 'style war' or whatever behind the scenes. Toss.
That, despite knowing all of this, I get sucked into the bloody programme. Why can't I just leave it alone? Why can't I just not watch it? Is it because everyone else watches it and I reason that there must be something quite good about it, if they all enjoy it? Is it because it's a guilty pleasure? Is it because there's nothing any good on the other side?