Sunday, 30 September 2012

Simon says...

Syco Productions
Re: X-Factor Series Nine
Staff Memo

Hello Team. Sorry I couldn’t be over there with you, but really I’ve got my own problems over here. Seriously, you try getting a coherent thought out of Britney Spears at ten in the morning. Now, I’ll be honest - we’re not off to a great start. We’ve tried to shake things up with the addition of a new judge, and our scripted reality segments, but we still seem to be losing those all-important column inches to a septuagenarian who knows her way round an apple strudel. Having reviewed the tapes from the Judges’ Homes, I wanted to share some notes with you about how you all performed.

Tulisa – congrats on your new makeover. Since we’ve been hemorrhaging viewers to Strictly these last few weeks, we need to pull in that middle aged audience. A bit more Vaseline on the lens and some of the dopey old fuckers might think they’ve tuned into Vanessa Feltz. So good effort there. But please have a word with Ella. She may be the best contestant in your group (so no surprise that you put her through first) but she really needs to go easy on the eye make-up. At one point I thought a couple of her bulldog clips had slipped down her face and pinched her eyes shut. Oh, and if you’re going to build the drama about why you might not put someone through, come up with something better than ‘nerves’.

Now, I know you’ve all been briefed on bringing out those sob stories. They get the red tops interested, and give us loads of close-ups of running mascara – that product placement deal with Maybelline can’t be too far away. But have a word will you? Amy tried to convince us that her sob story is the fact that she lives in a house with her parents and siblings. I can’t stress this enough – we can’t do anything with relatives who aren’t dead. Take a leaf out of Jade’s book instead. That confessional about wanting a little garden so she and her daughter can sleep in a tent – genius. She’s making homelessness sound aspirational. That’s what we need more of. Finally, I’d just like to ask what the hell you were thinking by putting Lucy through. She writes her own songs and plays a guitar. How the hell are we supposed to squeeze her into a catsuit and get two minutes of Katy Perry out of that?

Louis, great job mate. No-one tunes into your bit for any nasty surprises, so thanks for keeping it nice and predictable. Having said that, you do realise that you actually put a girl through, right? The little short-haired blonde in MK1? Just wanted to clear that up. Oh, and we’ve had a few complaints from some of the contestants – apparently squinting into the midday Nevada sun for half an hour isn’t good for the eyes. I’ll be honest, Lou Lou, we got a bit worried for a minute when you complemented Duke by telling them they’re “so different to anything we’ve ever seen on the show.” Just to remind you – that is not a good thing. We’re already scratching our heads trying to figure out what to do with that Spraggan lass, the last thing we need is a trio of beat-boxing day labourers. But we knew we could trust you to fill the line up with pretty boy-bands. Don’t let this slip to anyone, but next year we’re planning to just stand outside Hollister with a giant butterfly net. Let us know if you want to be in charge of the pheromone spritzer that we’ll be using to bait the trap. One final note – maybe you want to keep the age references to a minimum. It’s bad enough that you’re turning into Grandpa Munster, but those comments about nobody being interested in an older boy-band? They’re just gonna piss Barlow right off, and he’s touch-and-go as it is.

Nicole, one word for you – bravo! You look fantastic, you speak sense and, most importantly, you followed your script to the letter. I know there were a few raised eyebrows (not Sharon’s, hers are stuck up there) when we decided to put Rylan through. He can’t sing, he dresses like he came straight from the Mos Eisley cantina, and a two-minute VT of him is worse than being stuck in a festival Portaloo with Jedward. But trust me, he’s ratings gold. We’ve already got Samsung on board, and they’re going to make a killing replacing all the TVs that kicked in between now and Christmas. That meltdown he had, when you told him he was in your top three, was priceless. More overacting than that Turkish film we watched in the office last week. Good choice on James – he’s a fucking mess, but once we’ve styled his hair and broken those glasses, we should be OK. Book him in with the turd polishers first thing Monday will you?

Speaking of which, was that you having a sly dig at Jahmene? I mean, he’s a nice kid and everything, but did you have to give him a shout out for his sense of style? I’ve got news for you love, it’s not his style, it’s fucking Cromwell’s Madhouse. Styling issues aside, we’ve got big hopes for the nervy little bugger, so good on you for giving him the pep talk he needed: “Go have a good cry and grow a pair of balls while you’re at it” is going up on the office wall tomorrow.

Gary – thanks for sticking with us. We’re all really pleased you showed up, in spite of what you’ve been through. If for no other reason than the fact that Geri Halliwell’s been driving us nuts with offers to step in if it all gets a bit much. On the subject of mentals, we’re not sure Nicola took her rejection too well, the way she stomped off across that wet lawn in her high heels. Might want to pop the kids’ rabbits in the attic until the dust’s settled, eh?

You might have noticed we’ve had to cut back on the budget a bit – the flights and hotels have put us in the red, which is why you were bumped out of the main house and stuck in the stable block. We also had to send the big sofa back, so they could wash Cole’s grubby footprints off the loose covers, if you’re wondering why you were stuck with a couple of poxy armchairs. We promise all the furniture will be wipe clean for the live finals.

I know we said you’d got a dynamite category this year but, let’s be honest, I think we’ve short-changed you a bit. Even the editors nodded off on your segment, so sorry if we haven’t got many notes for you. Cheers for sacrificing one of your slots to Carolynne. We were all ready to give up when she started going on about her annus horribilis again, so it’s probably for the best that we just let her get this out of her system. Bit of a shame that you’d only got one place left after putting Kye through, but you made the right call. Christopher’s blood pressure looked like it was about to go through the roof; his legs were a completely different colour to his face. Any more pressure and we could have had a full blown Scanners on our hands. Of course, that did mean that we missed out on an emotional reaction from Melanie when you gave her the good news. She tried to squeeze a tear, then ended up just poking herself in the eye when none came. Look, you made the best of a bad job. But on the upside, at least you won’t be too busy in the run up to Christmas. Every cloud and all that.

One final note for all of you. I know it’s that time when we start thinking about make-overs for all our acts, but after watching the rough cut of the top twelve singing Read All About It, I’d advise you to exercise some caution. Ella’s gob looked like the fucking Ring – I was only surprised that some dead Japanese girl didn’t crawl out of it on the high note. And this might be the age of metrosexuality, but it’d be great if I could tell the girls and boys apart when they’re all singing together.

That’s it folks. Great work, and I’ll see you in Soho House for the Christmas bash.


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