I have seen the twin faces of pure evil and they belong to two baby faced blond-quiffed 17-year-old boys from Dublin, Ireland. According to the British "newspapers", if they are not stopped in their nefarious quest they will bring down the British empire, forever ruin all music for everyone everywhere, and cause Simon Cowell to pout for six months. (Well, two out of three ain't bad.) Yes, it's all about The X Factor and if haven't heard before now, John and Edward Grimes, collectively JEDWARD, are the focal point of the biggest UK reality TV sideshow since Susan Boyle dreamed a dream in days gone by.
Make no mistake, these boys are not good singers, and their dancing is a bit suspect, too, but it is my fondest wish that they win The X Factor.
Have you ever seen The X Factor? If you live in the UK the answer is probably yes, but if you live in the rest of the world you have to rely on the internet to get your fix. Take it from me, The X Factor is addictive. It is the epitome of can't-miss train-wreck TV. It is so self-important, so grandiose, so pompous, so transparent in its manipulations, and all in service of so much tepid mediocrity that, try as one might, it is almost impossible to tear one's eyes away. The weekly opening sequence, which features the four judges entering to the dulcet tones of O! Fortuna, is perhaps the kitschiest thing that has ever happened on TV- the pure spectacle of this attempt to make high drama out of absolutely nothing! It makes me laugh every time.
If you read the British "newspapers" you might get the idea that finding the right X Factor winner is akin to curing cancer or alleviating world hunger. There is a feeling that the winner is guaranteed the Christmas #1 single (which is apparently a special achievement of some kind, although nobody has ever been able to explain to me why) and will then go on to worldwide success and a lifetime of artistic achievement. They will point with pride to The X Factor's most successful winner, one-hit-wonder Leona Lewis, as if she were proof of their ability to launch world-wide superstars. The truth is that there is not one act in this year's version of X Factor that has the remotest chance of world-wide success. Even the best of them are forgettable to the extreme. Last week I watched a performance by (we are told) a "likable" girl who sang Keane's Somewhere Only We Know which was so bad it could have been included on one of those American Idol gag reels they love to show us. On X Factor it was praised.
Which brings us back to the Grimes twins, most hated boys in the European Union if you believe the papers. Everybody has a opinion about them, mostly negative, from the show's dreadful, over-plucked choreographer Brian Friedman to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The twins have been blamed for ruining the chances of contestants who are more deserving than them, for spreading head lice in the X Factor house (even though, apparently, they don't have lice themselves), for disturbing the sleep of the Chinese Ambassador (actually, it's teen fans in general who do that, but you wouldn't know it from the headline, Twinmania: Now it has upset China), for causing general unrest among the other contestants, even though ex-contestants have stated that they are perfectly lovely. Simon Cowell reminds us weekly that not only are they talentless nits, but vile twits who "would spit on their mother." This kind of carefree character assassination is not based on their lack of musical talent (and strangely, nobody is denying their entertainment value) but because they are "annoying" and they are annoying because they are "cocky".
As I said earlier, they are not good singers, but since when is pop stardom really about singing? How good is Britney Spears at singing? How about Madonna? How about that girl I mentioned earlier who sang the Keane song off-key and with no breath support? We aren't supposed to hate John and Edward because they can't sing, we are supposed to hate them because they are confident. They have never begged for forgiveness and they have never cried. In the UK, self-worth is the greatest sin imaginable and they have been judged guilty of it. Cue the villagers with pitchforks.
Oh yeah. It turns out that they received the highest public vote the week before last. Take that Mr. Cowell. By this time tomorrow they may be off the show. I wouldn't bet on it though.