Another week, another monumentally wrong bottom two on X Factor.
Not Stevi Ritchie, obviously: even Stevi’s own eyes had started to scream for us to put him out of his misery and there was only so long Simon Cowell could keep looking enthusiastic about that six minutes he spent in the Harvester before he went to meet Sinitta for some lobster at The Ivy.
But there was Andrea Faustini – arguably the only one of the lot who could hold his own if Leona Lewis turned up and demanded a surprise sing-off – standing next to Stevi, and just one rogue Louis Walsh-based decision from a shock Deadlock exit.
Eventually Stevi followed Only The Young out of the competition, of course, and normal service resumed, but we all know the drill: once you’ve been in the bottom two, the chances of you winning are minimal, which means that seeing a pug jumper on the front of the winner’s single is now unlikely.
Was I sad this had happened to the most talented person in the competition, and also to my great X Factor love, Mel B? Yes.
But was I surprised? No, I wasn’t actually.
Because seeing that lovely Italian face all devastated and confused as he waited for the judges to decide his fate became inevitable a few weeks ago when Simon criticised the facial expressions Andrea does when he’s singing, and right then – Andrea was done for.
Simon went there again last weekend, referring to Andrea’s ‘terrible faces, like you are in pain.’
He probably is Simon, he’s used to lovely homemade spaghetti, and I’ve eaten in the X Factor canteen: going from one to the other would not be easy on the stomach.
Andrea’s faces are part of his emotional performance style; the one that until he got bored and decided Fleur was the winner he would like this year so he’d sow some seeds about the competition, Cowell loved as much as everyone else.
The problem though is that once someone points out something like that, you can’t help but focus on it.
Are the facial expressions too much? Is it embarrassing? Are they necessary? Does he look like he’s in need of a Rennies?
Suddenly, we’ve paid Andrea’s facial movements so much attention that nothing about them can feel natural.
And given that Andrea’s performances aren’t about being a topless gladiator or being surrounded by 18 nearly naked dancers, but about him giving us goosebumps on our arms and making us cry into our Saturday night red wine, that is a big, big problem.