From Cardle to curdle: the X Factor goes sour

Sweet success: Kerry Wiles, 27, baked Matt a cookie
Sweet success: Kerry Wiles, 27, baked Matt a cookie

Reigning X Factor champ Matt Cardle was in Leeds last week, signing copies of his new album.

Did you know? Did you go? Do you care? It’s fair to say the HMV store was hardly awash with the tears of hysterical teenage girls desperate to cuddle Cardle, although one 20-something fan dropped by with a home-made cookie.

Matt’s OK, I suppose, and maybe he appeals to a younger generation. But does he have enduring qualities? Could he have made it without reality TV? And will his new album Letters be memorable, or merely recycled into charity shops in a few weeks’ time?

This year’s bunch of X Factor wannabees seems the most karaoke in style to date. Big arrangements, flashing lights and whooping audiences all go into the pot to try and whip up a worthy winner.

But this year’s Christmas offering is likely to turn out like a dried-up plum duff, with the emphasis on duff, covered in curdled cream.

Over the years there have been some hugely successful (and deservedly so) contestants – Leona Lewis, JLS, Alexandra Burke. Who do we have this year? Frankie Cocozza, a foul-mouthed teen who can’t sing in tune; on-the-edge (of dissolving into tears) Kitty Brucknell and a few other mediocre warblers who will need to compete, not just with past X Factor success stories, but with the likes of the re-formed Stone Roses and Steps. Even Kate Bush is back with a new album next month.

What’s the betting that Simon Cowell pulls the plug and makes a sharp X-it fairly soon?

* So Sven-Goran Eriksson takes a walk from yet another football club, most likely with a nice little wad tucked into his pocket.

He’s probably a very nice man... a very, very, very nice man. But would you want him managing your football team? It must be every footie fan’s nightmare to envisage a management duo of Sven and Steve McClaren in charge of their beloved club. Neither has covered himself in glory in recent appointments.

Obviously we don’t know what they are like in the dressing room, but you can’t imagine them plugging in the hairdryer like our good friend Sir Alex Ferguson.

On the subject of the ruddy faced Scot, I was told this the other day: the morning after the Manchester derby, his wife tries to rouse him from slumber, saying: “Wake up, Alex, it’s seven...”

He replies in panic: “Have they scored again?”

* Anyone who remembers the TV show The Krypton Factor will recall how contestants had to fit shapes together to complete a puzzle.

I know how they must have felt when I collected my flat-pack shoebox from Courier reception, trying to assemble it to fill with goodies for children in poorer European countries.

If only my colleague Virginia Mason, the queen of cardboard-box assembly, was here, I thought, as I wrestled with its various sides and angles.

Almost done, I held it aloft. “Give it here,” said my boss, promptly hurling it over his shoulder because of the noise I had made in my efforts to make a three-dimensional rectangle.

So why not annoy your boss, a friend or members of your family by collecting a flat-pack box and trying to assemble it as loudly as possible?

Filled boxes (toys, toiletries, small items of clothing and writing paper) will be welcomed at our offices until Monday, November 21.