The X Factor 2014 review: Queen Christina, Charlie Martinez and Monica Michael were sacrificed to the talent show gods

The people of the Northwest had Simon Cowell and co. inflicted on them as the search for talent continued for a third episode.

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The Independent Culture

Perhaps after last week’s chaos, there was something of a re-think at X Factor HQ. The car crashes were toned down with a focus on the successes, especially the bright, young things – but we’ll get to them in a moment.

There was the usual, healthy dose of ritual humiliation that the show is famed for. This week’s biggest sacrifice to X Factor gods was Queen Christina, the self-proclaimed British Lady Gaga, who rocked up in a regal outfit that appeared to have been made from Quality Street wrappers.

It was always going to be four nos but just to keep things interesting she was paraded around for amusement - she’s “fantastically nuts” after all. Simon Cowell put her through then crushed any hopes, it was almost like saying: "Only joking! As if! Ha. Ha. Ha."

An older gentleman named John tunelessly belted something out before getting turned down, as did Mervin from Northern Ireland, his audition was made all the worse when Mel B and Cheryl attempted to “help” him.

These "joke" acts get less and less funny with each series. It just doesn’t even have the cringe funny factor like it once might have had. Is The X Factor finally running out of people to ridicule? Or have we now seen it all before?


But on to the shining young stars, it’s all about them really, isn’t it?

The X Factor border control interrogation was left out this week when Charlie Martinez, a rather dashing young Floridian from the US Air Force auditioned. The judges were salivating over him like a pack of ravenous wolves eyeing up a rare, juicy steak.

Even fellow constants were getting in on the causal sexism as they watched from outside. They were drooling at Charlie and his Taylor Lautner-esque looks while cooing over his muscly arms. He was reduced to a face – forget about the voice.  

It was disgusting and unnerving, made all the worse when Mel B volunteered to hug him in an act of “moral support” as he cried after getting four yeses. She practically vaulted over the judges’ desk to embrace him a little too tightly, while he shed tears of joy and shock at the prospect of inching a little closer to his dreams. 

Charlie Martinez impressed the judges with his voice and good looks (ITV)

Oh, the superficiality of it all. Have we descended into a nation of facile creatures eating out of Simon Cowell’s hand? Yes. Actually, it’s more serious than that: it’s a global X Factor epidemic and we’ve all succumbed to it.

He wasn’t the only one though, there were several teenagers who could all be One Direction and Union J clones. The focus was on the boys but let’s not forget that The X Factor is an equal opportunities show when it comes to objectification. Maria, the Scouse Nicole Scherzinger caught the judges’ eyes with her pop star looks.

Viewers probably lost count of the number of times the judges described contestants as “gorgeous”. Wretch.

Against all better judgement, there was only one seemingly genuine moment. It was Monica Michael, the young woman who helped underprivileged kids make music. It tugged at the heart strings and had viewers rooting for her. It was touching and made for great television despite being The X Factor.