Ah, it’s that time of year again. The X Factor is back, and that can
only mean one thing – a string of accusations from the tabloids that
one or more of the contestants is a ringer…
Usually the papers
wait until at least the boot camp stage to start stoking the conspiracy
theory fire, but this year – perhaps inspired by the enthusiasm of the “next generation” of judges – they began the annual witch-hunt just
hours after episode one had aired.
According to a number of
publications, 26-year-old Kitty Brucknell – seen singing Lady Gaga’s
Edge of Glory on Saturday night – is not all she seems. Indeed, the Mail claim “there have been suggestions” that Kitty was “head-hunted by producers” after they saw an internet video of the Lady Gaga and Britney Spears impersonator on YouTube.
X Factor people deny any wrongdoing, saying that Kitty applied through
the perfectly legitimate YouTube audition process… so in a way, I
suppose she was head-hunted by producers who saw her video on the internet, after all. Now I don’t know who to believe.
Others say that “she has appeared on 33 television shows” before auditioning for the big X.
However, The Sun
take a different tack, revealing Kitty’s past as a “honeytrap” girl for
a detective agency. They claim “her job was to entrap targets into
kissing or touching her” and “telltale snaps were passed to
suspicious women, who paid upwards of £2,000 to the agency for the
So, if this girl is prepared to potentially lie to men
to make a living, does that mean she’s prepared to lie to you or I
about her relationship with the producers of the show?
The answer is, as much as I love a good conspiracy, almost certainly no.
Do you remember Katie Waissel?
She’s that girl last year who acted all weird in her audition, had a mysterious musical past, a shocking secret (apparently her grandmother was an escort) and looked a lot like Kitty Brucknell… oh…
Yep, that’s right. She’s the one who, it turned out, had made an internet TV series sponsored by Sprite about her attempt to prosper in the music business. Indeed, she’d also released music
under the names Katie Vogel and Lola Fontaine before arriving on The X
Factor. And would you believe it, she made it through to the final 12,
despite being fairly rubbish in her judges’ houses audition.
every man, woman and his dog went after standing up this story… they
were sure they could bring down the Cowell empire by proving a link
between Waissel and Sony music. But try as they did, no one found a
smoking gun. The papers got a new story, Katie came seventh and
disappeared back into relative obscurity.
Now there’s two ways of analysing this. Either the conspiracy theorists are right and Cowell’s people are so good at covering their tracks that you could never prove them wrong. Or, there was no conspiracy in the first place…
Ms Brucknell now becomes the toast of Fleet Street, and surely a
shoo-in for the live shows, this little piece of history repeating
itself looks a lot more like a tried and tested way of selling papers
than any meaningful conspiracy.
Yes, there is no question that
some of the contestants on The X Factor have knocked about in the music
business before. Although The X Factor doesn’t make a point of telling
you that on screen, that doesn’t mean it’s part of an evil conspiracy
to dupe the public. You might also be interested to know that you don’t see every
contestant who applied for the series on screen and the audition rounds
are edited. Yep, that’s show business folks, are you shocked?
reality of the situation is that The X Factor is an entertainment
format. “Marmite” characters like Misses Waissel and Brucknell are what
fuel the fun (and keep the papers writing about the show). And the fact that these people may have some experience in the music industry – and can therefore sing a bit – is definitely a bonus. They’re not
ringers any more than the pretty boy from Essex, the crazy dancing
woman or the single mum with a sob story but a cracking voice.
course this won’t stop the rumour and innuendo in the real pubs and
digital pubs (online forums) across the land for another few months.
Welcome back to the biggest show on British television – you’ve missed it, haven’t you?