Who needs Halloween when you’ve got halitosis? Tonight’s edition of The X Factor (ITV1) had a rather clumsily bolted-on supernatural theme but this was overshadowed by an entertainingly puerile squabble between two of the judges over who had the smelliest breath.
Gary Barlow took exception to colleague Tulisa Constostavlos turning round to berate him at close quarters for a poor song choice, so Barlow waved his hand in front of his nose, saying Tulisa had “fag ash breath”. Schoolyard stuff and she responded in kind, retorting that Barlow had an aroma of “red wine”. The crowd ooh-ed and aah-ed, while Twitter exploded with excitement. It was a manufactured spat worthy of svengali Simon Cowell himself. Watch those ratings rise and tabloid column inches get filled.
Events on-stage struggled to be anywhere near as entertaining. The Halloween theme led to a mass raid on the dressing-up box. Rylan Clark did another honking medley while dressed as Jean Paul Gaultier. Boyband District 3 were the weediest Clockwork Orange “droogs” you’ll ever see. Both these get-ups seemed restrained compared to judge Nicole Scherzinger, resplendent in black lace catsuit, fright-wig and Addams Family headpiece.
Union J won the battle of the boybands after singing Beyonce’s Beautiful Nightmare atop an abandoned car. Hot favourite Ella Henderson had a disappointing week, thanks to a ropy song choice of a rock anthem, rather than the soulful fare which suits her better.
It was left to the Boys to salvage things towards the end of the show: Jahmene Douglas with his gorgeous vocals on Killing Me Softly, James Arthur with moody, bluesy intensity on his rendition of Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics.