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Cabaret stars hit back at Simon Cowell and Gary Barlow

The Arts Diary

Cabaret and burlesque performers are very angry with Simon Cowell and Gary Barlow.

So angry in fact that they have formed a collective called Cabariot in protest at the pejorative use of the term “cabaret” in feedback to X Factor contestants – as in “that was too cabaret”.

Luminaries from the scene have set up a Facebook page, and posted a protest pop song, written by musical comedy double-act Frisky and Mannish (above). Hundreds of performers wearing elaborate head-dresses (including cabaret's elder stateswomen, Fascinating Aïda) have added their photographs to the Facebook protest, with the ironic accompanying words “Too cabaret?”

Paul L Martin, creator and producer of the London Cabaret Awards, who has worked on the scene for 23 years, calls Cowell and Barlow's terminology “lazy, unfair and outdated”. He adds: “Saying, 'it's too cabaret', conjures up an amateur and cheesy experience... It's a blinkered attitude when cabaret is so innovative and edgy.”

Sources say that he is set to make an incendiary protest speech at the annual awards ceremony on 13 February, at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, in London.

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