Wednesday, November 18, 2009
With all my free time this year, I've become an increasingly avid telly addict. For years I worked nights and missed out on discussions about big shows that were airing at the time. I don't think I caught as much of a glimpse of a Saturday night show for months on end – if I wasn't working a Saturday, I was making the most of having the night off.
That changed two years ago, when I began the Monday to Friday routine and then last year, like the rest of the country, I became addicted to the X Factor.
This year it's worse, I am X Factor manic, and not ashamed to admit it. Every Saturday myself and one of my equally obsessed friends take turns in providing nibbles and drinks to watch the show. Sometimes we are all dressed up and join the lads in town afterwards, sometimes we are happy to slob in tracksuits with a take-away, the show providing us with all the entertainment we could possibly need.
Other friends consistently text throughout the show, no need to ask if I'm watching, the texts start to flow from the same people each week. It has been the perfect excuse to happily stay in on a Saturday to save a few pre-Christmas pennies, more so this year during the current credit crunch.
People complain that it's a pantomime, a money-making machine, a karaoke contest, lacking in talent. Most of them watch it regardless, perhaps just less obsessed. On trips home for Sunday dinner, my dad has balked at my ritual of turning on the TV and ignoring my family while the results are revealed each week. He's stopped moaning about it though, having realised that several of his colleagues, people who usually prefer to watch Newsnight, are equally enthralled by such frivolities as Danni Minogue's hair, Cheryl's dress and Simon Cowell's controversial comments.
It's pure shiny happy fun, there's no doom and gloom in the X Factor studio, everything about it is feel-good, from the bellowing balladeers to the blinding smiles of their newly-whitened teeth.
Even men of the moment, Irish twins John and Edward, have fans squirming in their seat each weekend for a few hours of fantasy land fun as they navigate the way clumsily through their dance routines.
The figures for this year’s show have surged as people continue to get drawn in by its magic and the surrounding publicity wheel.
Who cares if it's not the real world. Isn't that the whole point?