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This week saw The (UK) X Factor’s third live show weekend and it continues to putter along a shadow of it’s former glory. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still pretty good, it’s just not the ridiculous behemoth that is had been previously.

First off the wind tunnel is gone. I know it may seem absurd to bemoan the loss of a wind tunnel but that moment when a contestant is introduced and would be blasted in a wind tunnel before turning as PETER DICKSON bellowed their name was AMAZING. (See example) It was, for me, an integral part of what makes The X Factor so ridiculous and amazing, like when they introduce the judges to overwrought classic music or when Louis Walsh says anything. I would argue the fall of the wind tunnel is the canary in Thale X Factor talent mine and is signalling a much larger problem.

GARY BARLOW SERIOUS FACE.

He may appear in happier times in the above portrait but Gary Barlow has never approached anywhere remotely close to this mood-wise so far this season; he has been serious-face from beginning to end. He keeps telling contestants he wants them to be serious and that it’s “all about the voice.”

GARY BARLOW YOU ARE A JUDGE ON THE X FACTOR NOT THE – FRANKLY SHITEOUS – VOICE. THE NATURE OF THE PROGRAMME ON WHICH YOU ARE LEAD JUDGE IS CONTAINED WITHIN IT’S VERY TITLE. IT IS ABOUT THE X FACTOR AND NOT SIMPLY “THE VOICE,” THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Honestly, Gary Barlow does not understand the show he’s on. He keeps telling people to tone it down(!) and the amount of bile he has for this years novelty act, Rylan, so closely borders on hatred that it makes the show hard to enjoy. Mr. Barlow even had the nerve to tell 16 year old songstress Ella Henderson that she should REFRAIN FROM DANCING. Sorry about all the caps but HONESTLY. Telling a contestant not to dance? ON CLUB CLASSICS WEEK NO LESS! And because he’s both the head judge and *grits teeth* a national treasure these days all the acts take his feedback on board, boring down their performances for one Mr. Gary Barlow. One Mr. Gary Barlow who had the audacity to insult one of the greatest pop songs of our generation right off the hop, during the boot camp stage of the competition. In my humble opinion, any man who denies the genius that is Cher’s Believe has no right to judge a pop music competition.

What the show needs is Simon Cowell back. Stat. He struck the perfect balance between ridiculous and serious-face during his X Factor tenure and the show misses him dearly. Ditto Dannii Minogue who may have been the most honest judge the show has ever had.

I have to admit that I shall watch this year’s X Factor as I have every season previous but I am not one to hold on to a show once it has gone past it’s prime and I’m starting to worry about The X Factor. Changes need to happen next year and if one of them is not the ejection of Gary Barlow from the judging panel I may have to turn my back on what was once one of the single most amazing things on television.

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