Deborah Ross: I'll show you cruelty,Mr Cowell

If you ask me...

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If you ask me, I'm baffled by all the people who now say The X Factor is too nasty whereas I find this aspect of the show rather weak and would be keen to see it stepped up.

For example, after a 22-year-old's dreams have been exploited and trampled over and crushed into the ground, and after they've had their cry and a fake hug from Dermot – he is a first-rate fake hugger; I would even put him up there with Davina McCall – why not then put the dogs on them? Or chase them with sticks? Or flick them with wet towels and if they happen to have, say, a bed-wetting history, why not go into that in some detail?

If, somehow, we could be talked through the bed-wetting history while the dogs were being put on them, that would be terrific. I would pay good money to see that. I would even forgo the sticks and the towel-flicks, at least for the afternoon and partly through the evening, although I would be getting itchy at around 10pm. A day in which someone hasn't been roundly humiliated is a day wasted, in my opinion.

But as it stands? As it stands, it is poor. The self-deluded, the mentally ill, the 25-stoner, the freaky novelty act who has no idea he or she is a freaky novelty act ... they are let off the hook far too lightly. And as for The Tragic Back-Story Boy, the one who was brought up in foster care because his mother is bipolar and who made Kelly cry when she wasn't otherwise occupied with flirting with him and calling him a "star", yes, he wept mightily when he was dumped, as if his very life were over, but that's it? That's the best they can do?

Personally, I'd have also shown him falling over while running for a bus and missing it, or, at the very least, having his debit card refused in a shop full of customers. Sometimes, I don't think Cowell has the faintest idea how to build people up before knocking them down; not a clue.

Anyway, TV must continually re-invent itself to stay in the game, and I even have an idea to take this genre one step on: I'm going to build an amphitheatre and put a lion in it as well as a Christian. Genius, and I don't know why no one has ever thought of it before. Furthermore, I'm going to own the format and own the winning lion and write the winning lion's first single and then drop the lion when no one is interested any more and that, my loves, is what 21st-century Saturday night TV is all about. Enjoy!

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