Now the latest series of The X Factor has reached its screeching, sequin-splattered, spotlight-swerving, tear-stained climax, it’s time for the official inquest to begin.
Apparently, Botox Man himself is zooming back across the Atlantic to discover the reason for the plummeting popularity of his star-spangled money machine.
Allow me to save him the trouble and pass on the conclusion his remaining viewers will have long since reached. The main problem can be summed up in three words – judges, judges and judges.
The show is now designed to revolve around them rather than the contestants, and their contributions have become increasingly meretricious, contrived and brain-numbingly predictable.
For example, how much longer can Louis Walsh be allowed to command a six-figure salary for endlessly informing acts they are what the show is all about, because they had sung their hearts out while making the song their own?
Then we have Ms Tulisa Contostavlos, and her chippy chav routine, which is presumably intended to invest the show with ‘street’ or ‘edge.’
The estuary English and truculent expressions are bad enough, but the overall package becomes even more unattractive when combined with an aggressive approach to the mother tongue.
You will note that contestants never sing well in Tulisa-land; they either ‘smash’ a song or ‘nail it.’
And what are we to make of Nicole Scherzinger, who has chosen to adopt the folksy, deep-south Baptist, red-hot momma persona first introduced by Kelly Rowland last year? But credit where it’s due – that’s quite a trick for a staunch Catholic, born in Hawaii.
This leaves us with Gary Barlow, who’s bound to sound boring compared to the others because he dresses his age and actually knows what he’s talking about – despite lumbering himself this year with a strange, orange person from Liverpool.
Here are a few final tips for Mr Cowell, as he seeks to save his show from obscurity. Ban anyone who sheds a tear on screen, forbid any mention of devoted grandmothers – and resist the temptation to bring back the vacuous Ms Cole.