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Jon Wise: New stars Xcel

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    Posted: 21 Aug 2011 at 12:35

New stars Xcel

Aug 21 2011 by Jon Wise, The People

OVER at the all-new X Factor, Simon Cowell replacement Gary Barlow said: “It’s a long time since I’ve had a stranger’s leg around my neck”.

He’s probably the only member of Take That who can safely say that these days.

The X Factor – The Next Generation, as it’s being billed – burst back on to our screens last night with as much flair as Fabregas at a Barcelona vs Real Madrid match.

Cowell might not be at the helm, but he was never going to let the show flop.

If the judges weren’t working out, he would have sacked them quicker than Cheryl Cole can say: “Why aye, look at Nicole Scherzinger on the American X Factor”.

And so the new line-up didn’t disappoint.Gary took on the Simon role, sitting at the end of the panel like a dad controlling his wayward children.

Louis was pleased to announce: “It’s like I’ve got new batteries.” Although no one asked how he had worn out the last ones.

Mini-Cheryl-a-like Tulisa from N-Dubz was perfectly acceptable, although she was no replacement for Chezza and Dannii.

Diva

“I’m young, I’m feisty, I’m opinionated,” she said. And just a little bit bland.

But it was ex-Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland who stole the show with her straight-talking, professional take on contestants.

The opening rounds are more about the people than the judges and it was the ­hopefuls who really carried this one through. From meek Janet from Northern Ireland who wowed everyone with her incredible voice, to diva Kitty who wants nothing more in the world than for “people to like me”.

Good luck with that one, love, because that’s like asking Channel 5 viewers to start liking OK! Tv – it just ain’t gonna happen.

Then there were the comedy acts, ­starting with the Tina Turner wannabe who was put through for being so ridiculous (­something Simon would have stamped on).

And George, who returned to clear his name after being rude to the judges a few years back. Alarm bells should have rang when a close-up revealed his name tattooed on his arm. He ended up abusing the judges after they refused to put him through, which only showed he hadn’t ­matured at all.

But the same can’t be said of The X Factor. The new panel has given it a second wind and this could be the best series in years.

Even though I can’t help but miss Dannii, Cheryl and Simon, there’s no doubt that the new format hits all the right notes.

But, of course, crunch time will come when we get to the judges’ houses stage and the ­newbies come into their own.

■ A FEW queries – when the judges walked into the 02 Arena, was it meant to be ironic that Gary, once known as “the Fat One From Take That”, appeared from the tunnel that was marked “catering”?

Where did Dermot find inspiration for that hideous polo neck and chinos combo?

And couldn’t at least one of the judges have waited a little longer before saying: “100 per cent yes!”? Apparently not.





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