For those who planned their Saturday nights for the last six months around The X Factor, or, in my case, set it to record and fast forwarded through the deluge of tripe just to watch the performances on a hungover Sunday morning, last night it came to a rather surprising end.
Despite being the bookies favourite to win, Fleur East was in fact named runner up to the incredibly charming Ben Haenow. Granted, the all singing, all dancing, all rapping Fleur was definitely the better performer, but it was Ben who had become the people’s favourite, which is really all it boils down to in a popularity contest such as this.
Of course, a necessary helping of talent is certainly required to take you all the way, but if you succeed in weaseling your way into the hearts of voters, with a story that takes you from the back of a van to Wembley arena, you’ve got yourself a winner with a cherry on top.
Though Ben walks away as the reigning champion, the fear now is that he would suffer a fate like the first year’s winner, Steve Brookstein, whose career took a major downward spiral, once the X Factor dust had settled and his work was massively mishandled. Looking back over the last few years, in reality there are very few winners who’ve enjoyed continued success long after the show has finished. Leona Lewis and Little Mix have certainly managed to work things in their favour, ensuring that their creative output remains true to the ‘artists’ they consider themselves to be, but upon closer inspection, it’s those who didn’t win who’ve done the best. Olly Murs, Ella Henderson and of course, One Direction. Had these three acts won, they’d have been kept under wraps for at least a year, only to later emerge with a carbon copy single that soon would be forgotten, while their equally talented talent show housemates would have had a healthy head start, not being confined to the shackles of an X Factor contract.
Think about it. Where’s Joe McElderry these days? Where’s Sam Bailey been hiding? In our view, winning is perhaps the worst thing that could happen to an X Factor finalist. It’s in the final few runner up positions where you really want to find yourself.
Of this year’s offering, we’re expecting big things from Fleur, Lauren and 8 piece boy band Stereo Kicks.
As for Ben? We wait and see.