Gamu’s exit isn’t racism - she didn’t fit the script
Justice can be done if Cheryl Cole saves Gamu with a ‘wildcard’ - and X Factor will have its compelling storyline
On Sunday, The X Factor - a TV show I unsuccessfully feign disinterest in - had me throwing down the newspaper I was pretending to read in utter disgust. As the show ended I was ready to take to the streets with a flaming pitchfork and tip over a few police cars on route to Adam Crozier's mansion to let the slimy ITV chief executive know that me and The X Factor were finished.
It was the phase in the show where the final auditionees travel to the judges' houses - or hired houses to be precise - where the final three acts in each category are decided.
It's the end of a drawn-out process that demands epic levels of commitment from the viewer. Usually we are rewarded by seeing the best artists make it through and share their joy as they travel home to tell their parents, cousins and people from down the street who want to be on telly too.
Not so this year when Cheryl Cole made the barmiest decision in the show's history by picking Cher - a weepy urchin responsible for quite possibly the worst improvised rap ever heard on mainstream television - and over-dramatic Katie who told us "I wanna be a legacy" and whose greatest gift was forgetting the words to songs.
Incredibly these two singers were picked ahead of one of the most naturally talented singers ever to appear on the show - Gamu Nhengu.
In her audition Gamu - a charming 18-year-old, from Tillicoutry in Clackmannanshire - achieved what few singers successfully pull off and made a hit song her own. Not only that, but she managed to make the ridiculously catchy Walking On Sunshine even catchier by adding another hook in the chorus.
At the Boot Camp stage Gamu made Louis Walsh sob and at Cheryl's house - or hotel to be precise - she sang Cry Me Out better than Pixie Lott could ever dream of.
Gamu's omission by Cheryl Cole has led to the inevitable cries of wrongdoing - indeed the 'Malaria Made Cheryl Mental' page on Facebook is awash with allegations of racism.
But Cheryl's wasn't the only strange decision of the weekend. First there was the debacle of Simon Cowell choosing two groups he had put together on the fly from solo singers deemed not good enough. Increasingly Cowell has the imperious air of a Roman emperor bestowing his demands with a disdainful wave of the hand.
Then there was the travesty of a brilliant young fella called Paige getting the chop. Paige has natural joie de vivre. He's a big man who enjoys wearing little hats and he's a knock 'em dead singer in the mould of Ce-Lo Green. What's not to like? Instead Dannii Minogue chose three identikit boyband lushes all of whom would be a shoo-in if they ever make a Jason Donovan biopic but are unlikely to find employment doing anything else.
Maybe they didn't think Gamu or Paige were compelling enough characters. Increasingly that's what this show is about - the talent show elements making way for the scripted soap opera of how much being on The X Factor is going to change their lives and they'll no longer need to work in Tesco or a care home like the rest of us sad saps.
The best that Paige, who works part-time as a cinema usher, could come up with in terms of a hard luck story was that he hated popcorn. Maybe that's why he got knocked out. If only something really tragic had happened to him.
There is, though, something very fishy going on. Paige and Gamu's eliminations are so odd that a conspiracy theory of sorts is gathering pace that they - along with two other contestants - are to be reinstated as judges' wildcards. As reported by the Daily Telegraph today, the rumours are so strong that bookmakers Paddy Power have put Gamu as the 5/2 favourite to win.
If the wildcard story is true then justice will have been done (and the producers will have achieved the tabloid hype they were after). But it also raises the alarming possibility that we haven't seen the last of Wagner the retired PE teacher/70s porn star either. And I won't be able to shake off the feeling that I've been cheated and my emotions manipulated.
Another story circulating today is that Gamu wasn't picked because she is living in Scotland on a student visa and has to return to Zimbabwe. If that's the case, why didn't they just tell us, instead of giving the tabloids the chance to go loopy? Ah, hang on, yes, I see.
Whatever the truth, and whatever happens, I won't be watching. The TV may be on the background but I'll be reading the paper. ·
Comments are now closed on this article