Wednesday, 27 October 2010

X-factor Update: Wagner to win.

So the previous weekend has seen the first serious contender leave the show, as John was voted out and some of the other less talented (but more entertaining) acts were left in.  Yes, I'm referring to Wagner, and yes, I really do genuinely hope he wins.  Last year, we had Jedward who brought in serious money for Mr Cowell (while they were still on the show, before they started touring) but who were unfortunate enough to get voted out before the final.  Consequently, the public had to wait until Christmas before we could deliver him a poke in the eye in the form of "Rage Against the Machine".  This year, we could deliver a serious prod before his show's even finished - it's just a real shame that we'll have to line his pockets to do so.  Personal preference would be for a *shock* Christian song to be number one at Christmas, but in the meantime, prodding the money-makers and giving them a pause for thought and a bit of a knock to their ego might help.

Until then, I'm backing Wagner.  No, I won't be voting for him, and no, I won't regret the fall of the other acts while Wagner stays in.  Last year, you may recall Simon keeping Jedward in at the expense of some other acts who could sing, so I won't be too upset at the public doing exactly the same.  Instead, I'll be watching the news about the Facebook groups, and smiling with a certain cynicism at Wagner's progress.

Monday, 18 October 2010

New blog in the blogosphere

An unrelated, random and probably interesting post today - a friend of mine has just started a thought-provoking blog, and I can recommend it very highly.  It's Chris Timbey's Blog and he covers a wide range of interesting topics (or will be doing in due course).

Friday, 15 October 2010

Lack of practice leads to poor playing

Well, it must be said that a lack of practice at Chess, and having your mind on other things, really does diminish your ability to play Chess.  I say that, dear reader, about you, knowing that it actually applies to me.  My Kasparov Chess computer, which I can beat at Level 6 at my best, is currently dealing me an education in Chess at just Level 4.  No, I wouldn't rank myself a beginner, I've been playing this game for over 20 years, but at the moment I feel a bit like a starter.

So, if you want to improve your Chess, the best thing you can do is at least practise occasionally, and more importantly, learn from your mistakes (and your successes too - I'll tell you when I next get one!).

Sunday, 10 October 2010

X factor results, 10/10/10

"In no particular order," the results of the vote were announced.  The two strongest singers from last night got announced first, then Wagner was in the middle, and we're left with an authentic group, Lady Gaga and Nicolo Festa.  That was a surprise - I thought there were at least two other acts that were more likely to be in the bottom three - but what was less surprising, and actually quite pleasing, is that Nicolo got booted straight out.  Hurrah!  It's quite probable that the British public didn't like his attitude or his character, or his personality (or any combination of the above) - a case of too much X Factor, by the looks of it.  And now we're left with FYD and Lady Gaga.  In a few weeks' time, we'll all need to consult Wikipedia to remember who they were, let alone what they looked like.

The X Factor Pantomime

Okay, so it's really got nothing to do with Chess, at all, but I figure it's time I wrote down some of my thoughts about the X Factor.  I'm biased, I'm opinionated and I thought I'd point out some of its biggest flaws, and the things that annoy me about it, just to see if anybody else feels the same.

Firstly, there's the theme tune, composed by Simon Cowell and some other people.  I wonder how much of the composition is down to Mr Cowell's musical talent, and how much of his writing credit is down to getting royalties every time they play it (once at the start, once at the end, and twice for every advert break).  Just a thought...

Then there's the whole 'making a drama out of nothing'.  When Dermot O'Leary announces the results of the vote, "In no particular order," I will roll my eyes.  Rest assured that the results of the votes are announced in the order that will produce the most drama.  Some of the more shocking results will be given at the start, then the ones that are safer will be announced, then it'll come down to two of the bottom three.  Except that this week, there's a double elimination... well, if they allow in four more acts at the start, they need to get through them fairly quickly, don't they?

Most years, and this year has been no exception, we've had the manufactured boy band and the manufactured girl band.  Take four or five individual candidates and bolt them together as a group.  They suffer from a lack of practice time, and hardly know each other at all, but they shouldn't have to worry too much - after all, they have a good record for getting through to the live TV stages.... but then getting eliminated very quickly.  I sympathise for the authentic groups who can sing well, as their space has just been lost to a cynical marketing ploy.

I'll add just one more thing before closing (and rest assured I've got plenty more to rant about next time) - the cash cow setup.  Not content with aiming for Christmas number one (and such a *shame* they didn't get it last year) the whole setup is to get people to spend money on the vote.  And how much money?  Based on some rough mental arithmetic, if they had, say, 4 million votes for just the final last year, and 35p from each call is straight profit, then that's £1.4million.  Just from the final - not counting any of the previous rounds.  Last year, Jedward (a whole article of their own) were clearly the money-spinners, as people were voting to keep them in, contrary to Simon Cowell's overly loud  protestation (and much money-counting in the background). And yet, when the time came for him to eliminate them - the first chance he got - he kept them in and eliminated Lucie Jones (nobody can remember her, but she was a good singer).  The decision got the press it deserved, in a Daily Mail article and Simon Cowell kept rubbing his hands with glee.

Anyways, I'll close for now, as Joe McElderry has just sung his new song, in a hope to get a number one hit (since he didn't get it last Christmas, and needs all the publicity he can get).