Will Americans get The Cheryl Cole Factor?
Johnny Dee on Cheryl’s decision to quit the UK and become a judge on the American X Factor
According to today's Daily Mail, the nation's sweetheart Cheryl Cole is about to quit our version of The X Factor so that she can become a judge on the brand spanking new, sparkly US version of the show. First the deficit-cutting programme, now this. How much more can Britain take?
Well, we may mock, but to some this is a serious business and the closest a celebrity can get to betraying a nation. We, it seems, are no longer good enough. Cheryl - our Cheryl - has her heart set on becoming a star in America.
Whether or not she becomes the superstar she craves to be remains to be seen. But the Cheryl the US meets will be a very different one to the young woman we know and love.
Pre-X Factor Cheryl Tweedy - as she was then known - didn't have the greatest of reputations. Having become a member of Girls Aloud as a graduate of the talent show Popstars: The Rivals, the early part of her pop career was tarnished by a messy - and allegedly racist - altercation with a lavatory attendant in a Guildford nightclub.
After that, she began a relationship with - and eventually married - a footballer who despite being an excellent left back embodied the greed and arrogance of the overpaid and over-pampered modern-day Premier League star. Football fans knew that Ashley Cole would betray Cheryl just as he betrayed Arsenal - and so it came to be.
What happened when she replaced Sharon Osbourne on The X Factor - a much loved and fiery dame who'd tired of Cowell's posturing after a couple of seasons - was little short of miraculous.
This was no clueless ladette but an astute, smart woman who wasn't afraid to speak her mind, knew what she was looking for in a contestant and, importantly, could hold her own against Simon Cowell. She became, to coin a much overused attribute, "the people's judge".
To Americans, who will have no idea where Newcastle is, let alone understand that Geordies are known for their no-nonsense attitude, Cheryl will just be that woman who made an album with that guy from Black Eyed Peas (will.i.am).
It will be a dark day for the British version of The X Factor if Cheryl does indeed quit - and it’s impossible to see how she could juggle her pop/fashion/modelling/perfume commitments. Without her, Cowell and Louis Walsh descend into a couple of bickering old ladies.
To date, this series of The X Factor has been a total mess: not just because Dannii Minogue has been on maternity leave or because Cheryl became ill and missed some auditions, but because the format has run its course.
What makes the current shows unwatchable is Cowell's ridiculous pantomime acting - the holding his hand up to stop songs and asking singers if they can sing something else, the nitpicking at people's names or clothes.
The X Factor, while still entertaining it must be admitted, is no longer about talent but about back story - if you don't have an interesting tragedy (your dad died, you're a teen mum, you're on strong medication) then you won't get on TV no matter how well you can sing.
Sadly this year's back stories aren't even all that interesting. The best they could come up with for one very talented middle-aged contestant was that she works on the tills at Tesco. She has our sympathy, but it's hardly the triumph over adversity it's been painted.
Unsurprisingly - as with many of the better singers who make their way through - she turned out to be something of a talent show veteran. When it comes to unearthing real talent Sky's Must Be The Music has done a much better job.
Cheryl, sharp businesswoman that she undoubtedly is, has no doubt seen the writing on the dressing-room wall and is jumping ship before it sinks. Now that she and Ashley are divorced and another Girls Aloud album looks unlikely (Nadine Coyle is reported to have quit) there's even less reason to stick around.
In America, where Simon Cowell is revered and actually respected, The X Factor will undoubtedly be a hit. Its main competitor, American Idol - which Cowell is quitting to concentrate on his own show - is bloated and far more serious than our shows. Perhaps there's an appetite for a sparkier competitor. ·
Comments are now closed on this article