Sunday, December 21, 2003

The obligatory post-Pop Idol comment

Hmmm. What are we to say about the conclusion of Pop Idol for another year, possibly longer? Obviously on the one hand we're quite glad that Michelle won and not Mark, since Mark is so utterly bland and boring. But that's a bit like saying you're glad you only got glandular fever when you could have ended up with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It would have been nice to have cared about at least one of the finalists, but my overriding emotion when watching the show last night was one of just wanting it to be over and done with.

I'm sure Cowell and co are pleased with the result (Pete Waterman obviously isn't, judging by his absence on ITV2 after the result was announced), especially since they broke phone voting and interactive texting records last night and received over 10 million votes. I'm personally quite surprised that the general public managed to get so hysterical over what were effectively two disappointingly average contenders.

The show itself also kind of left me cold. The original Pop Idol final between Will Young and Gareth Gates had a real sense of occasion to it, everyone had picked a side and we all sat down to watch our representatives do battle. This year we were "treated" to a three hour programme, an alarming chunk of which was filler of the direst variety. When I saw Kate Thornton visiting a call centre to show us how our votes are recorded, I'm sure I heard the sound of a barrel being scraped into splinters somewhere at 19TV. I was also alarmed that Daniel, the famous "stalker" contestant who won the right to sing on the final while the votes were being counted, somehow managed to get more performance time than most of the people who made the final 50. Somehow I think that's not really going to discourage the truly talentless from applying for the third series.

There were only really two moments that made the final for me: one was Mark's "gormless" (you're hardly one to talk, Thornton) cousin revealing on live television that he's "always putting things in his mouth", prompting Ant and Dec to dissolve into giggles and make a series of innuendos not entirely suitable for a pre-Watershed audience. The other was Michelle's victory speech:

"I'll kill everyone in this town who was ever mean to me!"

Obviously no residual bitterness there.

I think the most worrying part of last night for me was the amount of bum notes that were hit. Mark and Michelle being flat, I can understand, since they are both competent singers at best. Will Young popping in to sing an album track and singing flat, that bothers me. There must be some kind of toxic talent-remover in the studio, that's the only explanation I can come up with.


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