After Wagner Carrilho’s performance on tonight’s X Factor, Cheryl Cole shocked us all by launching a stinging attack on him for criticising her in the press during the week.
What was it all about? Well, it seems Wagner got cornered by a journalist during the week and asked what he thought about Cheryl. The comments actually seem quite innocent:
Cheryl has never spoken to me properly, but that’s OK. She’s just a girl from a council estate who got lucky when somebody gave her a job in showbusiness. But she is pretty, very, very pretty.
Cheryl decided that the best place to address these comments was on primetime Saturday night. And at first, it seemed that she was making quite a ballsy move, it quickly turned into a bit of uncontrolled Wagner bashing:
I don’t normally have anything constructive to say to you Wagner but I believe you made some comments this week about me being from a council estate, yes I’m very proud of my roots and I’m very lucky but don’t focus on anybody else and how lucky I am, just think about how lucky you are to be on that stage tonight.
To which the Brazillian sheepishly replied “Please don’t believe what the press say.”
Now, let’s skip over the fact that Cheryl’s comments had absolutely nothing to do with Wagner’s performance. There are professionalism issues to be considered there – did she have the right to raise this on the show?
What intrigues me is that Cheryl Cole regularly complains that the press make up stories about her all the time. In fact, she said as much when Piers Morgan interviewed her ‘exclusively’ this year. Wasn’t it a bit iffy that Cheryl chose to believe a tabloid story when she asks us NOT to believe all the stories that are written about her? And that she chose to attack Wagner on television rather than have that conversation off-camera?
Here’s what I think:
X Factor want Wagner out
It happens every year. The show recruits a cheesy, stupid act who has no discernable talent. They give them ‘hilarious’ elaborate stage sets and dance routines to mask the vocal limitations, and allow people to vote for the silliest acts. Because there are people out there who do that.
However, when the show gets past the halfway point, the judges start to go cold on the novelty acts. Why? Because they exist to get press attention and to draw votes from people who think that by voting for the ‘stupid’ act, they’re making a mockery of the show.
The fact is, the producers are happy to have Wagner in the show while there’s a good chance he’ll get voted out. But it’s dangerous for him to progress close to the end. He might end up in the final. And if he’s in the final, the people who are voting for him might redouble their efforts to make him win. And then he might win, and Simon Cowell might be stuck with an act who hasn’t a hope in hell of selling records. And we don’t mean like Leon Jackson either.
Now, I get all of the reasons behind having a novelty act in the first place, and I understand why it’s undesirable for that novelty act to remain in the competition when it reaches the later stages.
The problem is, when it gets to that point, the only way the show can remove that act is by manipulating the viewers to drop their support for the act. How does that happen? Well, you start to see a lot more negative stories about that person in the press. And the judges will start to give negative comments. Not all-out attacks, mind you. No, they’ll simply say that the joke’s starting to wear off. They’ll sew the seeds of doubt, and viewers will generally nod along.
Part of me wants to pro-Wagner movement to succeed. It might make The X Factor think twice before throwing in such an awful act in future.
What do you lot think – was Cheryl right to mention Wagner’s tabloid comments on the show, or did she expose herself as a hypocrite by believing a story in the press without checking her facts first?