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It is only the third week of term, but already the novelty of being a third year has completely worn off. After a week of hard(ish) work, stressing about deadlines already, and worrying about the increasingly short amount of time we have left in the weird and wonderful place that is the city of Lancaster, my house mates and I forget all our troubles and settle down in front of the television on a Saturday night, looking forward to the few hours of respite ahead of us, where the most intellectually challenging topic of conversation will be the squareness of Simon Cowell’s hair.
But the luminous lights and mesmerising melodies of the X Factor don’t really seem to ease my mind like I want them to. As I gaze at the screen, a seemingly countless array of preened and polished contestants, some as young as 16-years-old, parade around on stage, acting as if they are life long friends with Cheryl Cole and putting their greedy little arms around the lovely Dermot. Among them, there are people who, before even attempting to find success the hard way, have opted for the easier, X-shaped, fast-track-ticket to fame and fortune. And they are now being praised nationwide for their laziness. Their greedy faces are printed all over the tabloids, and their, often shakey, performances are now available to download on iTunes. With everyone talking about the lack of graduate jobs available to us these days, I’m starting to wish my mother had enrolled me in signing lessons as a child. While I am pointlessly spending my days with my head in a book and frantically trying to stop the growing pile of work from burying me alive, these baby-faced contestants seem to have gained their celebrity status even before they have fledged the X factor nest. In my opinion, this doesn’t seem fair. So I propose we all just forget about 9am lectures, dissertation proposals, and job applications, we can all just sing a verse of Don’t Stop Believing and Simon Cowell will appear as if from nowhere with a big plate of money and a Christmas Number One.
The notion of celebrity indicates special status within society; they are a kind of class of their own, separate from the rest of society. A celebrity is someone whose autograph you’d be willing to do unspeakable things for, someone whose nail clippings you would frame and hang up on the wall. And the fact is, these X Factor wannabes, who are held up as icons, are really no better than the rest of us, aside from maybe their exceptionally strong vocal chords (and not even that in some cases).
So, the big question I am facing is, do I continue to let myself get mentally tormented by Simon Cowell’s square head and everything it stands for, or do I find a much more respectable way to spend my Saturday nights? I’d like to say the latter. But realistically, that’s just not going to happen.