When news broke that Olly Murs and Caroline Flack had landed presenting jobs on The Xtra Factor, Twitter was alive with outrage and fury.
How dare they put a singer in charge of presenting! Previous hosts have included Holly Willoughby and Fearne Cotton, seasoned presenters at the top of their game. So why oh why had a pop singer been given the coveted job this year?
One popular gossip writer has already called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of television” and, while that might be a tad dramatic, it’s easy to understand his frustration.
Olly’s name seems to have literally come completely out of the back end of nowhere. One of Syco’s best-kept secrets or last-minute decision? After the dismissal of Konnie Huq back in December, it was almost certain the job was going to BBC Radio 1 presenter Matt Edmondson.
For those unsure, Matt Edmondson is a talented, funny, actual journalist with years of presenting experience under his belt. As well as a show on Radio 1, Matt recently hosted the 2011 Digital Music Awards with… who else but Caroline Flack. Practice run, anyone?
He who is deemed victorious, Olly Murs, has little to no presenting experience and didn’t even win the show he is now presenting. Yes, he’s a nice lad, but the decision basically says instant reality TV fame trumps work, experience and even suitability.
Even Matt himself apparently thought he was a dead cert for the show, though has taken the news with good humour, tweeting: “Got my bag packed, train tickets booked to Birmingham, copy of Simon’s autobiography! Can’t wait!… What’s that you say? OLLY MURS?!??!?!” after the news was officially released.
The reasoning of TV execs has to be called into question when actual broadcasters are bypassed for a former call centre worker who, at best, sings quite well.
But then we remember – Olly was, of course, a contestant on the very show that spawned The Xtra Factor, a runner-up on the 2009 X Factor. The message here is clear: winning no longer matters, and if you maintain enough popularity we’ll stick you on ITV2 and you can continue to flog our brand.
Despite what the bosses might sometimes believe, there is more to presenting than just being a bit of a laugh. This is live TV and the presenter will have producers screaming in their ears, difficult guests to question and Simon Cowell to answer to.
It’s just impossible to overlook the obvious gaping holes in Olly’s CV, regardless of his cheek or dress sense. The worst part is that Matt seems to really, genuinely love The X Factor. He wrote a column in the weekly X Factor magazine and also appeared in his own online spin-off, The F Factor.
Maybe Olly got the booking simply on the merit of being from Essex? After all, that, paired with a limited vocabulary, is all you need to be a TV star nowadays. Or could it be possible that The X Factor has created more pop stars than even Simon Cowell can find work for?
Pop is full, now shove off to ITV2.