I appeared on GMTV this morning to defend Simon Cowell – not the obvious popular choice since he let the public vote decide who was to stay in the X Factor instead of condemning Jedward to the slag heap of pop ephemera history, but it really needed doing in a week of froth and fulmination.
The martyrdom of Lucie Jones to the cult of Jedward was a masterstroke on the part of Cowell; he knows that the Irish twins are box office dynamite and knows that, even if the viewing figures dip a little as a consequence of public ire, this will not prevent the X Factor from keeping its position as the highest rated entertainment show of the moment. And anyway, if it dips, it won’t stay dipped for long. Too many people will want to know who will be next to fall victim to the capricious nature of TV popularity.
The ghost of Barnum has taken full possession of Simon Cowell. “Every crowd has a silver lining,” said Barnum, and Cowell has ensured that crowds and crowds of people are talking about the X Factor, either in anger or amusement. There’s no escaping the fact that the contestants are, and always have been, cannon fodder in the hard-bitten business of making sure that Cowell keeps on winning the X Factor every year and that his coffers keep on chinking more tunefully than Jedward ever will.