As the final installment of three days of X Factor boot camp, I thought Sunday’s ‘groups’ episode would be the quiet-afternoon-with-a-pub-roast-dinner to Friday and Saturday’s big nights out.
More chilled out. Not so frenzied. Less emotional drama.
It didn’t quite work out that way though, thanks to an unlikely cause for potential Simon Cowell-predicted arena rioting: Louis Walsh.
Now like an offensive borderline-racist grandparent, we’ve all let Louis Walsh off with dubious behaviour for years.
We’ve rode out series after series where all he adds are reminders about which town people come from and how old they are. The ‘you remind me of a little…’ joke wore thin many years ago. It’s estimated that his last constructive criticism was delivered in 2008.
But he was Louis! Like Simon’s high-waisted trousers, being a bit… well, rubbish was part of Louis’ very being.
On Sunday night though, even Simon seemed to draw a line, sounding as exasperated as every other viewer as he tweeted simply the word ‘Louis!’
Elsewhere ‘What was Louis’ trended on Twitter. What was Louis thinking? What was Louis doing?
No-one really knew because unfortunately, on Sunday night’s X Factor, Louis being there became untenable. When you compared him to the other three judges – sharp, entertaining, earning their places – it became a joke.
All of the judges have angsted about which acts to send through, but they have all done it without biting their lips and sending panicked glances in Simon’s direction.
They’ve trusted their own judgements enough that once they have made their decisions, they have stood their ground, because they know better than the 15-year-old girl in the audience shrieking because she thought the first band had better fringes.
It’s not even like Louis was given the admittedly tricky Girls or Boys to select; X Factor gave him a category which are pretty much across the board awful. The task was simply this: pick the six least awful ones, tell them to sit on some seats, collect whopping pay cheque, go home.
But as Louis chose ropey acts like Blonde Electric over fan favourites like Overload, managed to send the Pow Pow Girls home twice, changed his mind repeatedly and then basically sat there doing ‘eek’ faces, things went from confusing to a complete mess.
If Cheryl hadn’t suggested a sing-off between three groups for his final Judges’ Houses spot, I think Louis would have just sat on the floor and cried until Simon told him that it was all ok; they’d just bring Jedward back and make all of these confusing new bands go home.
When your predominant job description is ‘choose some pop stars’, and you cannot choose some pop stars, there is a problem. And on Sunday night? Louis’ face said that even he knows it.
[X Factor: Eight-piece super boyband go through to Judges House stage]
[X Factor: Cheryl under fire as Chloe Jasmine is swapped BACK into her Top 6]