I received an interesting call yesterday, in the wake of the surprising X Factor showdown between Miss Frank and Danyl Johnson on Sunday, from a mysterious man with a social networking plan and a dream to undo Simon Cowell. He wanted to meet me to discuss his plans for guerilla tactics to destabilise the X Factor format, by pushing the Irish duo John and Edward – those twinned Frankenstein’s PR monsters who are basically John Sergeant’s better looking Irish cousins, phenomenon-wise (they may be able to dance, but they cannot sing) – into winning the show at the expense of actual singers, and how my social media knowledge could help him achieve this.
Now, I’ve taken calls from all sorts of mavericks and loons with endless harebrained schemes over the years, wanting to do crazy things: someone keen to promote a troupe of performing pit bulls not long after a spate of dangerous dog stories; a man who wanted to jump the Thames in a Routemaster bus; an Australian promoter who wanted to tour the UK with a cannibal tribe demonstrating various rituals including a simulated human feast; a man who claimed he received messages from God and claimed he had the solution to drug peddlers; various musicals including one on the life of Ted Bundy and one about Ed Gein, not to mention CIA: The Musical; Ladies on Call a musical about a famous Hollywood brothel; an exhibition of naked pictures of various Hollywood names before they were famous; a woman who wanted to promote Pagan Christmas; live trepanning on stage; a website protesting against fluoridisation called braindeadbutwhatgreatteeth.com; a new Christian group that wanted to reach students called Slouching Toward Bethlehem and a slew of weird science groups.
I’ll admit that I was intrigued by this latest maverick, despite being a little sceptical of his plans. He kept things strictly enigmatic – he wanted to meet in a dingy and anonymous Shoreditch pub for the discussion. I declined the meeting – if I were younger and crazier, I might have considered meeting up with him and possibly taking his plans on, but the commercial operation of business need to come first in these recessionary times
It’s worth noting that there are certainly activists out there who are skilled at co-opting television for publicity and image-making purposes in a way that most moguls in the Simon Cowell mold just don’t understand. Also, bear in mind that, this morning, The Sun reported that “some viewers complained their votes for other acts were accidentally allocated to John and Edward when they called the voting lines” in their article about John and Edward’s triumph in the X Factor weekend phone polls. Suddenly there is reasonable cause to doubt my initial feeling that I was being scammed.
So it would seem, thanks to certain details let slip in the course of our conversation and the report in this morning’s Sun, that the maintenance of the Jedward vote is due to my mystery man. If his destabilisation gains traction, there are interesting times ahead for the X Factor and a number of talented performers who may yet be steamrollered by the tone-deaf twins. As to who this guerrilla is: I’m still young and crazy enough to not want to reveal his name. I don’t want to spoil his fun. It’ll be interesting to see if he or Simon Cowell gets to be master of the X Factor universe…