The "winner" of The X Factor?
Winning The X Factor can be a bit of a poisoned chalice. The first victor, Steve Brookstein, has been reduced to starting petty arguments on Twitter, Shayne Ward recently took a detour into the West End, and even recent albums by the more talented ones (Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke) have been released to poor sales and mixed reviews.
But James Arthur has vowed to make a fist of it. The 24-year-old claimed this year's show was the best yet, adding: "I'm not exactly Justin Bieber and I have just won The X Factor so what does that say?"
It says he'll be dropped after one flop album.
Syco, Simon Cowell's record label, has a tendency to ditch X Factor acts at the faintest hint of commercial underperformance. However, the mood at Syco towers must be one of relief. There had been fears that Christopher Maloney, a Scouse cruise-ship singer, would take the prize despite murdering classic songs week-in, week-out.
These worries were backed up by ITV's voting statistics, which showed Maloney topped the public vote up to and including the seventh week of competition. Elderly voters joined forces with those seeking to sabotage the producers' wishes, but Arthur managed to win the final round with more than 50 per cent of votes cast.
I could happily do without The X Factor next year.
Many viewers were happy to give it a miss this year. It has been consistently pummelled in the ratings by Strictly Come Dancing, and the figures for this year's final were 30 per cent down on 2010's.
Viewers have complained about the joke acts, the farce of the theme weeks (in "No 1s" week, some of the songs had never topped the chart), and vented their fury at Tulisa.
Mostly, though, you suspect they're switching off because they feel their intelligence is being insulted. The producers' machinations have become so cynical, and so obvious, that only the deluded would dare to believe that their votes mattered. But the programme's executives can take heart in Arthur's chart performance. His winner's single, "Impossible", is currently outselling the No 2 record on iTunes by a margin of 10 to one.Reuse content