Poor Kelly Rowland. A few months ago she was the toast of the British talent show scene, wooed by contestants and welcomed by X Factor fans as the programme’s exotic new American judge. Even two weeks ago she was lording it over Gary Barlow as the only mentor with three acts still left in. Now look at her: traipsing up to Middlesbrough to film with Amelia Lily. And it might be about to get worse. “Middlesborough! [sic],” Rowland tweeted today. “Everyone is telling me to go get PARMO… What is it??”
Parmo, of course, is a local signature dish of deep-fried breaded chicken, typically served with béchamel sauce, cheese, chips and a priority booking for emergency angioplasty at South Tees Hospital. Let’s hope Rowland – who, judging by her near-naked aerobics on Sunday’s results show, lives on Ryvita and iron filings – steers clear.
Are you ready for four solid hours of Little Mix this weekend? It’s not something anyone would want but, if we believe tabloid stories about the other two acts’ life-threatening sore throats, it’s a real possibility. Marcus Collins has been banned from singing for 24 hours – not because of an injunction from Stevie Wonder’s lawyers, but by doctors. As the finalists play midweek gigs to drum up support, this could dent Marcus’ chances. “Leon Jackson sang on stage with Michael Buble on his tour just days before the final and went on to victory,” a show “source” who doesn’t really exist told the Mirror. “So getting out and performing can help raise your profile.”
Meanwhile, Amelia Lily has laryngitis. “Her voice is her biggest weapon,” said another X Factor “source” who lives inside the reporter’s head. “But this week singing has started to hurt and she’s worried. It’s stress on top of stress.”
With Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos both recently hinting that The X Factor has been too all-consuming for them to cope with – and with Kelly Rowland lying greasy and inert on the floor of a Middlesbrough chippie – there could be plenty of spare seats at the judging table next year. But one A-lister has ruled himself out. Despite being a potential kindred spirit for Louis Walsh, immortal granny-pleaser Cliff Richard says he couldn’t be a judge because he “could never be the baddy” who tells poor singers where to go. “I don’t like confrontation,” the 95-year-old Wired for Sound hitmaker told the Press Association, speaking from his secret Caribbean lair. “For me the losers, sometimes I would vote them better than the winners because they’re all of a great quality.”
Sir Cliff’s unending optimism isn’t dented when the show ends: “There can only be one winner on those shows and it doesn’t mean that all the others were bad singers – there’ll be an audience for nearly all of them.” Sophie Habibis! Bring out a single, you’ve got one customer in the bag already.