With the inevitability of a six inch heel on a pair of cheap stilettos snapping on an uneven Camden pavement on a Friday night, Tulisa has got the boot from The X Factor. It seems that fate and a healthy dose of self-sabotage are conspiring to destroy Tulisa’s fledgling career.
Cut to black and white, ready the slow-mo and cue up Westlife because here Tulisa, is your X Factor journey…
A controversial appointment from the start, hired to engage the vast demographic of teens and pre-teens that bought N-Dubz records and also made up a large chunk of the departing Cheryl Cole’s fan base, it seemed like an understandable if unexpected decision. She’s also a babe, so the lads who tolerated the show when their Mrs made them watch it on the off chance Cheryl might wear a pair of hot pants were also able to give their randy grunt of approval. But what do you know Ms. Contostavlos came good, winning with banal girl group Little Mix in her first series and more importantly, from Simon Cowell’s point of view, being a fiery character who put the show in the headlines.
However, Tulisa also pissed a lot of people of and it has to be said, her persona on the show (and I do believe it’s a character) was fucking annoying. Giving herself the moniker ‘The Female Boss’ complete with a self-fist bump pose, more suitable for a wrestler than a popstar, spelling out the term she was so proud of in tattooed scrawl across her forearms. How clever. Her heart’s in the right place, she sees herself as a role model to disadvantaged kids who maybe lack the self-belief or the encouragement to pursue their talents and I’m sure many look up to her. In that case she’s achieved something good and my sniping is all just incidental bullshit. However, from an adult’s she has none of the humble dignity we expect of role models for the young, think David Beckham, Will.I.Am, even Cheryl Cole – although in the case of the latter I fear she may just be a cackling monster who’s managed to pull a twinkly-eyed, dimple-smiled fast one on the entire British people. There is no doubt that Tulisa sticks up for herself but she is, for want of a better term, ‘gobby’. There’s a gracelessness to her on screen manner that rubs folk up the wrong way and ultimately, with a show like The X Factor you’re not supposed to dislike the judges. Simon’s evil act on the UK and now the US version is pure pantomime, everyone’s in on it and they love him really. Tulisa just pisses people off.
You’ll often hear ‘there’s no such thing as bad press’ but in Tulisa’s case, there was. Her time on the show was fraught with controversy, including the world’s worst cussing match with musical northern robot Gary Barlow, but none more so than in the case of ‘that tape’. For a judge on what is essentially a family show, who was specifically brought in to appeal to a teens and younger demographic, a video of her gobbling off her ex while wearing a dodgy pink tracksuit and sporting a set of ropey gnashers dispelled her glamorous young role model image in the most spectacular fashion. Oral sex is part of a relationship (if you’re lucky), that’s not the problem. Letting the chuckling moron you’re fellating film the encounter however, is. A sentiment I’m sure that, despite his public defence of his employee, was shared by Simon Cowell.
The final blow (grow up!) for Tulisa came when her debut solo album entitled, you guessed it, The Female Boss tanked when it was released last December. If the core demographic she’s supposed to attract aren’t buying her records, then why would they watch her? So this year the rumour mill started, Simon Cowell exorcised his impressive ability to get his shows considerable press coverage when they’re not even bloody on and low and behold, Tulisa got the elbow.
Surely Simon’s going to play it safe this time and bring in a predictable, malleable commodity, maybe flame-haired, happy-to-be-there guitar bloke Ed Sheeran? Or the return of national darling ‘our Cheryl’? Oh no wait, he’s gone for professional banshee and full-time nutcase Sharon Osbourne, a guaranteed pain in the arse but wherever she’s been also a guaranteed bums on seats, ratings machine and that Tulisa, is what it all came down to.
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