2009 X-Factor winner Joe McElderry. You’d be forgiven for not recognising him with his trade mark boyish good looks blanded out in a crude act of photoshop. A worthy winner many felt, following his consistent smooth performances week after week, winning the hearts and the votes of a nation. Inoffensive to look at, polite and courteous, a regional accent giving him that ‘down to earth’ feeling, and a soft, controlled, voice that would calm even the most irate caller on hold to their energy supplier.
And that’s where you’re most likely to hear him nowadays. For as good as Joe was, he just seemed to lack the extra ingredient to make him a star, that certain je ne sais quoi, you know, The X-Factor.
For a show based on the premise of scouting the country looking for the next big star, Simon Cowell and Co have done remarkably well in crowning the extraordinarily mundane and pedestrian of contestants. With the exception of possibly Leona Lewis (UK’s
poor answer to Beyoncé) Little Mix (we’re just 4 normal girls with amazing chemistry, look theres a black one, and ones a bit fat but don’t mention it), and James Arthur (he’s from the streets you know, not ‘The Streets’ the streets, he’s not that cool, actual streets. And he’s ginger and angry), ITV’s crown jewel has managed to get a number one record for 8 of the most forgettable, beige, artists singers people you could ever hope to meet. Name them, I dare you.
And a final thought for poor Joe. Only two years after his X-Factor win, Joe had to appear on another reality singing show just to promote his ‘new’ album, it hitting the shops adorned with stickers claiming ‘from the winner of Pop Star to Opera Star’. His X-Factor win replaced in the publics memory by Matt Cardle’s croaky-throated, broken-voiced, cover of an actual band’s original song, a band who probably had to work their socks off to get credit and recognition. Unlike Matt, who just beat Wagner in a sing off. Never has a show been more inappropriately named.
NOTE: My mum has every CD from every winner of every reality TV singing contest ever. I despair.