X Factor midweek gossip update: snobbery, rivalry and Brucie

The very, very best of the week's X Factor-related media banter, lovingly repackaged just for you


Is The X Factor just an opiate of the downtrodden masses – like religion, the National Lottery or Iceland hoisin duck Christmas skewers? The nation’s top educators think so. Ralph Allwood, former head of music at £31,000-a-year Eton College, was quoted in The Daily Telegraph slamming The X Factor for selling “an impossible dream” to its hopeless proletarian viewers, most of whom will never strike it lucky.


“The odds of being Susan Boyle are absolutely tiny and I don’t think people understand that,” said Allwood, as his former pupils enjoyed piano lessons on instruments made of gold and fresh ivory. “If girls daydream about stardom they will miss out on doing music for the love of it.” Wannabe singers: know your place!

Nobody knows yet who the X Factor finalists will be this year – or DO they? Eh? Eh? EH? – but already rumours are firming up about the celebrity duets that provide the finale with its most deliciously embarrassing moments.

The list for the Wembley Arena glitzerama includes Coldplay, regular X Factor fallback Michael Bublé, and Adele – who, according to The Sun, was “hand picked” by Simon Cowell, personally, in February. You can picture the Syco supremo sharing one of those curve-beating insights that have made his name: it might sound crazy, but how about we get this established artist whose Someone like You single is No1 in the charts? Incredible nous.

Adele’s got to convalesce following her throat operation first, after which she’s lined up for a shout-off with Misha B or Amelia Lily. If Adele doesn’t recover from surgery, that’s OK: she’ll just duet with Janet instead.

Usually the BBC maintains a dignified silence when it comes to the Strictly v X Factor battle – because usually, it loses horribly. This year, however, Strictly is up and X Factor is down, so the Factor’s had a kicking from veteran showbiz streetfighter Bruce Forsyth.

“I think it is struggling, more in the press than anything else,” the lithe centenarian told Radio 4 critique-fest Front Row. “There is a length of time that sort of show [can last]. We have people getting up and doing something, we have got beautiful music going on, great singers, comedy from the judges, comedy from me. So it has other things to offer, not just singer after singer after singer and judges making up rows between themselves… scripted, I think.”

Can Bruce – the master of delivering a joke from an autocue in two or three attempts, tops – be right? Are The X Factor judges’ comments scripted? Rumours of a five-year-old and two gibbons locked in a small room with a broken typewriter at ITV’s headquarters remain unconfirmed.

She might be a rank outsider to win, but Misha B has celebrity fans in the form of polished operatic Euro-hunks Il Divo (pictured above). “It’s obviously got to be Misha B, hasn’t it? She’s incredible,” Sébastien Izambard told Digital Spy, while driving a Lamborghini convertible along a bendy mountain road.

Izambard’s smooth, dusky colleagues are also glued to The X Factor. “I have a hard time watching the show because it reminds me of early on in my career when I would audition for things,” mused David Miller, removing his sunglasses and sipping an espresso in the piazza of charming Italian village. “The feelings and memories of the stress that come out are hard to cope with.”


Meanwhile, Urs Bühler recalled Il Divo’s appearance on the show in 2008: “It’s very intimidating,” he said, gently but firmly grasping a supermodel by the waist and hoisting her upwards. “You’re surrounded by people who so badly want to make it.”