For the last few years, even before the X Factor, I have always had respect for Simon Cowell in the way one might respect a deadly predator from the wild - think Black Widow spider or a Venus Flytrap - ruthless yet charming. As I recall, he first graced our screens in Pop Idol, alongside Nicki Chapman, Pete Waterman and Neil 'Dr' Fox [what the hell was he doing there?!]. The best part of the last decade has seen him shattering people's dreams and hopes on prime time television - thereby doing them and the rest of the viewing audience a favour - because, in one way or another, Simon pretty much always made the right call. Whenever Sharon Osbourne's heart melted at yet-another-sob-story-but-pathetic-singing-performance, Simon was there to boot the talentless out and allow us a glimpse of the ugly side of delusion - all those contestants wailing 'They don't know a good thing when they see it! ' 'I'm gonna be the next big thing, despite what the judges say!' yadda, yadda, yadda.
Tonight, however, Simon Cowell has well and truly painted himself as a dick.
For the past few weeks of the current X Factor series, viewers have had to endure the walking and talking (because they cannot sing) of John and Edward, Jedward if you will, possibly the most controversial acts chosen to progress to the live stages. Whilst I marvel at the British public's inane obsession of watching - and enjoying - such car-crash television, I guess somewhere along the line the twins have been entertaining. But Simon has, in all this time, been rather adamant that they do not deserve a place in the show, so you would think he would be only too happy to jump at the chance to have them kicked out of the competition, and leave his fellow judge Louis Walsh with no acts for the rest of the series. Alas, as tonight has proved, you would be thinking wrong.
In the last three weeks we have heard Simon say that, when it comes to the bottom two contestants (those with the least number of public votes), his choice would be made on who's performance was the best as, after all, that is the point of a sing-off. Last week we saw the departure of Rachel who, by far and large, was (and remains) a much better singer and performer than Lloyd, the 16-year-old who could barely open his mouth in last week's showdown. Don't get me wrong, I understand how nerve-wrecking the sing-off can be, but it is obvious to most X Factor viewers who should've gone.
So that leaves us with this week, when Lucy and Jedward were in the final. And Mr Simon 'Dick' Cowell, as he is now so fondly renamed in my head, sent away (arguably) one of the best female singers of this competition - albeit indirectly - for Jedward to come and 'entertain' us once more.
The logic behind it? Well, it does make you wonder.
Presumably, the Jedward franchise is bringing in more votes and public interest than any of the other acts. And by keeping them in the competition, it ensures a stronger singer leaves meaning, ultimately, Simon's acts have a bigger shot at the win.
Finally, with all this constant 'going-to-the-public-vote-because-there-is-a-deadlock' drama, it does beg the question - what is the point of the judges' votes?! Seriously?! No unanimous decisions are ever reached, and if you're continually going to turn to us to make the final call, then why bother with the sing-off in the first place?!
So, all of the above has now left me with no respect for Simon who, in my head, resembles more a weasel or a leech than any other animal.
Let's boycott the X Factor, I saw. Though that'll never happen.
I am off now to contemplate and feel guilty for the fact that I have just blogged about the X Factor, instead of drawing upon the many other issues I could have raised, which have also been playing on my mind in the last few weeks, but will ultimately probably never make an airing on this blog because I am too lazy to actually sit down and formulate a proper argument about them.
Maybe next week I'll treat you to my opinion of FlashForward so far.