Usually, X Factor kills are quick and clinical. Craig Colton last week, for example, was like watching a free range chicken have its throat slit. You winced as the knife went in, but consoled yourself with the thought that he’d had a decent life.
Not so Janet Devlin. By the end she resembled nothing so much as a Pamplona bull, dazed and staggering under the weight of six weeks worth of knives being thrust in whichever way she turned.
Regular readers will know that for those last six weeks we haven’t quite been able to believe the evidence of our eyes. The assault on Janet has been so prolonged and relentless, and so unexpected given her favourable treatment before and at the start of the lives, we thought we had to consider whether there might have been a hidden agenda.
There wasn’t. The most obvious explanation for it looking like producers wanted Janet out – i.e. producers wanted Janet out – was the correct one. Props to those of our commenters – notably bunnyman, fiveleaves and Kev – who repeatedly insisted that the show’s behaviour should be taken at face value.
While that obvious explanation was correct, there is another conundrum for which the answer is much less obvious, at least to us. What made them decide they wanted Janet out?
It’s worth reminding ourselves of the eight minutes of prime screentime lavished on the audition of the the shy and nervous young girl from the middle of nowhere in Northern Ireland, the way Kelly practically climaxed during Janet’s bootcamp performance, and how she told Janet at judges houses – a tear rolling down her cheek – “I want to raise your confidence… I need you to believe in yourself”.
Can it conceivably have been in producers’ minds as they put together that footage that they would spend more than half of the live shows portraying Janet as dull, bolshy and odd? It’s hard to believe.
So what went wrong? In the end it looks like it was simply an astonishing casting error, and the Janet they got somehow wasn’t the Janet they expected. But why did it take them until three weeks into the live shows to figure this out? Your suggestions are invited in the comments box below.
There was outrage aplenty in the Sofabet comments section last night about Janet’s treatment on Saturday night, but it’s outrage we can’t share. Our view is that after seven series, anyone who gets through to the lives on this show really ought to know the deal.
The deal is this: You get exposure to millions on prime time television, which you can use as a springboard to some kind of future career – in the charts, on the stage, in reality shows – if you have the nous and the talent. In return, you give up any say in how the show chooses to present you. That’s just the way it is.
Janet’s treatment may have been unpleasant, right down to the reasons given by the judges for sending her home. But we shouldn’t forget she did herself no favours with her awful ‘Every Breath You Take’ in week 4 and her flubs of lyrics in both week 5 and last night.
Still, her fans should take comfort in the fact that she appears to have got through this experience on her own terms – she shouldn’t be bitching about how she compromised her artistic integrity to wear yellow trousers and sing Katy Perry. That’s no mean feat for a 17 year old. And how many other X Factor contestants can you imagine being so hilariously disdainful of celebrity that they mutter a sarcastic “great” when they see a poster of themselves on their hometown pub, or VT that they’re “not a Christmas person” en route to switching on their hometown lights? Sofabet salutes you, Janet.
Now it’s time to look forward, and we very much like tpfkar’s idea in the comments about what the full-frontal assault on Janet and the pimping of Amelia yesterday portends:
Assuming they complete the execution of Janet tomorrow, they can then nobble Amelia next week as she comes down from the sympathy bounce, and it’s champagne all round as they’ve got Misha into the final.
We also can conclude that putting Little Mix on first was a sign of confidence, and clears the way for them to be pimped in the semi and the final without it looking too much like favouritism.
As always, there will be more in-depth thoughts to come during the week once the dust has settled. For now, though, please share your thinking in the comments box below.