For the second year running, we were invited over to London for the final of X Factor. This time however, Lisa was able to come across with me and attend the press screening and conference afterward.

For me, this series of X Factor has been a washout. Possibly the worst series in its four year history. My own intelligence tells me this, but so did the sight of the assembled jaws of the press, dropping to the ground as Leon Jackson won the competition. The talent competition, I hasten to add.

Thankfully, attending press conferences is still an awesome buzz. You get to mingle with people who write this stuff every day for the tabloids. You get to share opinions and there’s more than a fair few cutting remarks about the contestants.

Despite the weak show, I personally hold the publicists in awe. If I could be reborn in a different career, I’d love to do their job.

No Simon…

Not only was there the disappointment of Leon’s win, but that meant Simon Cowell wouldn’t be at the press conference. Depressing, since Cowell has to be the biggest master of spin since Alastair Campbell left the Labour Party. I’ve never seen the British public eat up someone’s opinions so enthusiastically as they do Simon Cowell’s.

I got to meet Simon at last year’s press conference, but alas, no repeat handshake this year. Ah well…

…Drunken Journalists…

Funniest moment of Saturday night was the drunken journo from a regional paper (who I won’t name and shame), who got up to ask a question at the press conference and almost fell straight down again. Managing to sway in a semi-controlled fashion, he posed a question about Leon’s opinion of the other acts, then promptly didn’t bother to write down his reply.

In the car back to central London, we asked him if he’d recorded it, he replied, “Hell no, it doesn’t matter anyway…” When we got out at X Factor HQ, he promptly legged into an alley to relieve himself.

…And Stunned Winners

Poor Leon. He’s obviously a nice guy, so I almost hate to be brutally honest. He’s a shadow of last year’s runner-up, Ray Quinn. The harsh reality is that even Quinn – talented, but very obviously a stage school brat – has been ‘liberated’ by his record company less than a year after the show ended. What hope for Leon?

He was completely shell-shocked at the press conference, yammering that “it disnae feel real” and “it hasnae sunk in yet”. They hauled his mother onstage and both looked like bunnies staring into the headlights of a heavy articulated vehicle.

Best bit was when a girl in the press area raised her hand to ask a question. She took the microphone and said “Leon, we’re from your official website..” The poor guy did a double take – “I’ve got an official website?” Yes you do, fella. Hilariously, they were also responsible for the Rhydian Roberts website and the Same Difference website. Depending on who won, of course.

That’s why I love showbiz!