One day they'll think up a new format. An hour and a quarter of long pauses, annoyingly rehearsed explanations that give nothing away, the vast cutting and editing and Dermot relegated to standing outside doors and hugging people has to be the one programme you'd happily miss if you knew the results. The only chance to learn anything more about the contestants is in the last few minutes when you see them several months later and can only but applaud the talents of the make-up teams.
I really should have missed it too. I did peek at the results a few minutes beforehand. What I wanted to know was why Paije and Keri didn't make it and how I could have been so wrong about Nicolo. I'm still none the wiser.
Louis's choice was simple enough. Storm is one of my personal favourites. The guy's tremendously talented but whether he'll sell in 2011 I don't know. If it all comes down to who sings some final ballad better then Mary will be on just before The Queen in December but I rather suspect that all three will have departed before then.
Simon chose well, and I'm sure he'd have put through four groups if he could, Diva Feva being the pair I reckon he so nearly preferred to FYD. He's taking a big chance with both the home-made groups 1 Direction and Belle Amie but absolutely right to do so as 1 Direction I predict will be in the final. The other two should have a long shelf-life too.
Danii got Matt and Aiden right and Matt's got to go all the way to the final. Big shock one for me was her choice of Nicolo over Paije. Her explanation made little sense to me nor apparently to them either. Unless I'm seriously out of touch with the voters or he is totally repackaged for next week, Nicolo won't be around long.
Finally, the tearful and scared-looking Cheryl and her tearful and really scary and scared-looking girls. I'm astounded at the omission of Keri, who I'd tipped to win, and TreyC. Admittedly, TreyC would be following in the footsteps of 2008 winner Alexandra and there may not be room in the market for both. Alex has totally justified her win with brilliantly-written material and can now relax that no-one's likely to be sharing that next year. Comparing the collapsing faces of the three she did put through, Rebecca, Cher and Katie to the pretty composed Keri and TreyC might worry ITV producers to the point of asking Cheryl if she's sure she didn't get her papers mixed up. From the glimpse of Rebecca several months on (and currently 3rd favourite to win), it does look like Cheryl's performed some transformation. We'll have to wait and see. Katie is going to annoy people, I think, and, despite singing well with originality and passion her appeal to the Saturday early evening crowd is a query. We all said Wow! when Cher first appeared and visions of a totally 21st Century X Factor started to be drawn. Since then, though, not a great deal. Maybe the producers are holding out on us just to give us some surprise. I really do hope Cheryl's seen something we haven't. Unique, though, Cher ought to last a while.
And then there was Gamu. Did you notice how she was the one contestant not shown after rejection? Even though I'd predicted her going out I couldn't say why. Simon will get her signed for a CD of 60s covers for Christmas.
So, they're off. And here are the (fascinating) starting prices:
24-1 Belle Amie
They'll be changing a lot over the weeks! A good time to get some decent odds on the outsiders and if Cher and Storm do perform well you won't see 8 or 35 again..