Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Conceptual Art: The Ex Factor

(If you're wondering what this is all about, click here.)

A day later than planned, the second installment of the second new feature. This time it's Lord Bargain's turn to be creative...

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It’s Saturday 14th December 2013. It’s ITV, it’s 9pm and it is time for the final results show of 'The Ex Factor'.

In an attempt to make their last few million, Simon Fuller and Louis Walsh came up with the idea of resurrecting the careers of all those stars of the famous and iconic boy and girl bands of the 1990s and early 21st century. Weeks of heats followed as one by one the famous names fell. Bunton, McFadden, Gateley, Stevens and, er, H all bit the dust as they performed one of their own songs and a current hit single.

Last to go in the semi-final earlier this evening was born-again Buddhist Robbie Williams whose energetic performances of 'Could It Be Magic?' and Lady GaGa’s number one Queen cover 'Lady-o Ga-Ga' didn’t do quite enough to secure the public vote.
It’s now time for the final, and the surprise last person to be eliminated was audience favourite Ronan Keating. Expected to reach the final, his off-key attempt at Duffy’s 'Heart Of Stone' cost him key votes.

So, after eight million votes, the final line-up who will go head to head with The Ring-Ring’s 'That’s Not My Sleigh' for Christmas number one will be...

Justin Timberlake

Formed in 1995, NSYNC sold fifty-six million records between 1996 and 2002 including hits like 'Bye Bye Bye', 'It’s Gonna Be Me' and 'Pop'. After the break-up of the band, Timberlake became one of the world’s biggest solo artists and his career only hit the skids after an ill-advised duet and romantic dalliance with the recently sectioned warbler Mariah “potty” Carey.

Timberlake’s regular weekly performances of classic hits like 'Cry Me A River' and 'Lovestoned' reminded the thirty-somethings how much they fancied him in the 2000s. Although his arthritic back prevented him from some of the moves for which he became famous, his boyish looks kept him comfortably in the competition throughout.

Melanie Chisholm

Three of the original Spice Girls line-up made the final stages of the competition. Melanie Rascal was the first to leave the competition (her rap-infused version of 'Spice Up Your Life' didn’t go down well with judges Simon Cowell and Lisa Scott-Lee) whereas a pregnant Emma Bunton made it through the first few weeks before losing a sing-off with her long-time bandmate.

The Spice Girls were, until 2012, the best-selling girl group of all time (now second after the success of The Saturdays). Chisholm also had a successful solo career with albums such as 'Northern Star', 'Reason' and her soundtrack to the 2010 movie 'Liverpool Four'. The former Sporty Spice was in the final two of the show on four occasions but her regular barnstorming performances of hits like '2 Become 1', 'Wannabe' and 'Never Be The Same Again' saved her from an early elimination at the hands of (amongst others) Tony Mortimer and A1’s Ben Adams.

Shane Filan

The original five Westlife members made the heats. Only two made the TV eliminators proper – ex member Bryan “Katona” McFadden and heartthrob and “lead” singer Shane.
It was in March 2011 that Westlife secured their place in pop history as their thirty-third single 'Love Me In The Morning' sold a huge nine hundred copies to became their twentieth number one single. It meant that the fourpiece overtook Elvis and the Beatles to become the most popular act in UK chart history. Further singles 'Too Much Love Will Kill You', 'Please Love Me' and 'Love Forty' have since all reached number one and so their crown as the most successful group of all time is likely to remain for decades.

Now married to ex-Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton, the couple have five-year-old triplets whose ambition is to follow their parents' footsteps to the top of the charts. Already performing at their primary school as West Kitten Juniors, their debut single 'Whole Again Without Wings' reached number three in January 2012.

Jo O’Meara

A surprise public vote, S Club 7 singer O’Meara was originally eliminated in the heat stage until a tragic car crash after the auditions killed Donnie Wahlberg, Mark Owen, Myleene Klass and Sarah Harding. Performing the finest pop single of the early 21st century – 'Don’t Stop Movin’ – every week (in a different style, from country to heavy metal), O’Meara wowed audiences with her unusual covers – everything from Fall Out Boy’s 'When I Look In The Mirror All I See Is Death And You' to Alexandra Burke’s 'Chiquitita'.

Her quarter-final performance where she brought out special guests Bradley McIntosh and Hannah Spearitt was a particular highlight as the three chirped 'Don’t Stop Movin’ in an a cappella style backed by a group of schoolchildren from O’Meara’s home town of Romford.

Gary Barlow

If Michael Jackson was the King of Pop in the 1980s, Gary Barlow has been the undisputed King of Pop since. Responsible for some of the finest pop records in the last twenty years (the likes of 'Shine', 'Back for Good', 'Never Forget', 'Patience', 'Rule The World' and 'Greatest Day') Barlow’s songs have now sold an estimated four hundred million copies with their last album We Are It selling eighty million copies in the UK alone.

A clear favourite from start to finish, Barlow’s only hiccup came in heat five where his decision to perform early Take That hit 'Do What You Like' in the same style as the original (naked and covered in jelly) threatened to undermine his stylish performance of the Snow Patrol/Adele duet 'Chasing Cars On Pavements'.

Barlow has also written the song that is likely to be the twelfth consecutive reality TV Christmas number one – his reworked version of 2008 novelty comedy hit 'The Winner's Song' has been recorded by the quintet already for release on Monday.

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Thanks to Lord B for that hellish glimpse into the future. I could have sworn I've heard that Fall Out Boy song.

Next time (Monday 16th February): Pete.


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