As some of you already know, I now have a fortnightly column in Jewish News. Here is the latest…
It’s that time of year again: X Factor Final week. Seven sensational days when we can forget about the real world and focus our attention on the excitement of the build-up, working ourselves into a sleepless lather of anticipation. A seven-day orgy of clock-watching as we dry-retchingly countdown to the big night. Or is that just me?
I’ll nail my colours to the mast – my favourite contestant is Stacey Solomon. She’s got a cracking voice, a wonderful personality, she looks great and ticks my philosemite box. I also love the fact that she’s so obviously a very clever girl, however hard she pretends not to be. I adored her from the start – the fact she took her fellow contestants to my favourite north London restaurant (White House Express) just crowned the appeal. I dream of eating there with her myself one day. I would sit in shawarma-shovelling enraptured silence as Stacey chattered away at me, like only she knows how.
The X Factor has been especially exciting for me this year, because I am the author of a recently published biography of Simon Cowell and therefore regularly called on for my X-Factor thoughts by the media. A question I’m often asked is who could replace Cowell when he eventually retires as a judge. It would be a big ask of anyone: of all those who have tried to live up to his Mr Nasty benchmark perhaps the closest to get there was his Got-Talent sidekick Piers Morgan. But let’s be honest, Morgan could never really be another Cowell.
I think I know who could, though. The person best suited to the role would need to be slick, deadpan and dynamic on television, and also brimming with charisma, self confidence and glorious arrogance. There’s only one man for the job then: the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. Can’t you just see it? Anyone who has watched Bibi make mincemeat of mealy-mouthed BBC and ITN interviewers knows that the man can be compellingly deadly on the small screen. I might be a tad biased – to say I am a fan of Bibi is an understatement – but I think in him we have our man to replace Cowell.
While we’re about it we might as well give the whole panel a political sweep, starting with Dannii Minogue (who I hear is something of a philosemite herself enjoying Shabbat dinners with her Jewish pals). Replacing her would be American politician Sarah Palin and in place of Cheryl Cole I really can’t see beyond Israel’s Tzipi Livni. This brings us to the question of who will be the next Louis Walsh. That’s not a job title I can see people fighting in the streets for, but what’s Neil Kinnock up to at the moment? To be the next Louis, all the ginger Welshman would need to do is learn how to play to regional constituencies of acts and insert dramatic pauses for emphasis. Thus: “Joe what can I say? I hope everyone in Newcastle picks up the phone and votes for you because I. Want. You. In. Da Foinal.”
And here we are, within touching distance of ‘da foinal’. To be honest, Joe really would be a fine winner. He sings very well and even as a gentile male I find it hard not to come over all Yiddishe Mumma when I watch him listening so sweetly and politely to the judge’s verdicts. But adorable and talented as Joe and his toothy smile can be, he is no Stacey Solomon. Few are, she is one in a million that girl. Here’s to you Stacey, you heron-like wonder. What can I say? I hope everyone in Britain picks up the phone and votes for you because I want you to win the final.
Simon Cowell: The Unauthorized Biography by Chas Newkey-Burden is out now. (£18.99, Michael O’Mara.)
If you are not in the newspaper’s catchment area you can read it in full online here.