Let's start with some good news - xfactor-updates.com has got the @xfactorupdates Twitter account back so something is reasonably right with the world. That's about all, though, as tonight's X Factor show just dragged. A long-winded intro can't exactly have pleased Welsh viewers and we then had to sit through 40 minutes of assorted rubbish shown in full whilst potential live show contestant Melanie appeared and disappeared.
A couple of Johnnies - some Maths guy (who, interestingly, came with young Louis Tomlinson from 1Direction but we had to watch Xtra Factor for that bit of gossip) and a reject from last year who's had a make-over but really desperately needs another that does more than glue his hat - could sing but haven't a hope of getting far.
Dermot O'Leary was conspicuous by his absence, featuring almost solely in a ghastly-looking hug from a fat Essex woman with remarkably straw-like hair. I genuinely felt sorry for him until I saw his tweet from somewhere hundreds of miles away to say that something had fallen on his head. Yes, these are all recorded shows from the summer (remember the summer?) and he's currently concluding the rounds of the judges' houses.
The hug was even more annoying because it came after a couple of heavily spray-tanned Essex girls had been put through to bootcamp (and, I'm afraid, potentially far further). Called 2Shoes, I shall have to think of a suitably amusing and offensive alternative for future weeks as, whilst they could sort of perform reasonably, no self-respecting store or web site will want their pictures displayed within a mile of their front windows or home pages. There are some dodgy acts heading towards our live screens and I really do hope they're not around for long unless that tan gets washed off on Mykonos.
Talking of Mykonos, that's where Tulisa took the groups and then appears to have got really cross that some of the boys and girls, or maybe even boys and boys, decided to, er, practice together at night. Rumour has it than she's even just axed one or two groups for doing what comes naturally. And I thought N-Dubz were pretty much a cool group and Tulisa, of all the judges, would have been the least prissy.
The same rumour has Kelly Rowland banning drink, tobacco and goodness knows what else amongst the girls. How on earth potential stars can conceivably cope with the pressure of being in the last eight in the category, with a 50-50 chance of reaching the live finals and all the fun and cash that that brings as opposed to probably never being heard of again for at least a year without participating in at least one or two nerve-calming bad habits amazes me and all credit to any that survive.
With Gary Barlow stuck somewhere with what looks like a very tedious bunch who probably wouldn't say boo to a goose let alone goo to some booze it could well be that Louis might have the most fun group after all. OK, maybe not.
Anyway, none of this is really what tonight was all about. Basically X Factor was rubbish but Olly and the delightful Caroline, or their producers, turned things around with an excellent Xtra Factor on ITV2. Simon Cowell wandered on and into camera view, chewing on something and looking as if he wished he'd spat it out before being given a bundle of questions to answer on a sofa. He may have been a bit concerned as to how screening both X Factor UK and X Factor USA would fare and the extent to which, especially come AI11 in a week or two as well, we'll reach a point of total domination of reality music competitions on the airwaves. Boy, I shall certainly have my work cut out.
A couple of other groups were shown - Boy V Girl and Brooklyn. Boy V Girl were plain odd, like a couple of cartoon characters. The girl was really pretty, though, and could sing. Not sure about the bloke but they had more going for them than that mushy duo from a year or two back so may be worth watching. Brooklyn looked like cool guys and there aren't many around at the moment, The Keys being a bit serious-sounding. Having said that, we've seen so little of any groups to date whatever happens there is bound to be a surprise. Indeed, we'll probably know who are in the final before actually hearing them for more than 10 seconds at the rate things are moving.
Tomorrow sees the end of the auditions and, quite frankly, that'll be a relief this year. Still, I live in hope and will attempt to tease out some semblance of a live pack afterwards. Take a look at the photos on the show link above - they'll get updated regularly until we finally know who's through.