Monday, 19 October 2009

The Cheryl-Factor

So after all the controversy last week about Cheryl Cole having the audacity to pre-record the debut performance of her new single ‘Fight For This Love’ due to air on the X-Factor on Sunday night, it appears Cole had a change of heart and went live. Clad in red boxy military jacket and hat she was every inch the little drummer girl, flanked by a voluminous hip-hop dancing model army. It was slick and chorographically sound, if the vocals were perhaps a little shaky. Still, you gotta hand it to our Cheryl she was in fighting spirit and gracious to the end, thanking the audience and the X-Factor production team for embracing her to their hit-factory bosom. Even with her lippy seemingly smudged during her energetic routine she was radiant, in fact this make-up malfunction merely served to enhance her humility.

And that’s the problem with Chezza no matter how hard you try to dislike her you end up coming over all sycophantic, enjoying her dazzling veneers, bounteous hair and winning Geordie charm. From the controversial early days of Girls Aloud when it all could have gone so hideously wrong, to her marriage to Ashley Cole, she has struck the British public as a survivor and a fighter and that’s why she’s so well loved. And that’s why she’ll almost certainly be number one on Sunday and we’ll all be invited back for another round of the Cheryl Cole love-in next week.

Damn even when Simon saluted her at the end and she blew him a kiss back I liked her because although that kiss is mostly for him it’s also a little bit for everybody. Cheryl’s just nice like that. It struck me that although their faux rivalry is more the mechanics of the great, heaving X-Factor machine, churning out controversy at every turn, there is something genuine to the sparky quickness with which she defends her acts against his criticism. Like a loyal and spirited Chihuahua she’s ready to snap at the stacked heels and high-waisted trouser leg of Cowell. And who couldn't not enjoy, when moved by a performance, that she delicately wipes away her Swarovski crystal tears with her tattooed hand - a chav-tastic reminder that's she's not totally flawless.

I’m not sure she will repeat the success of her rookie year when she won with Alexandra Burke, particularly given Simon’s self-important and belligerent canvassing of himself and his acts, but she’ll almost certainly remain the reigning princess of reality telly. So what if Germaine Greer says she can’t be a feminist icon because she’s skinny, really its time our definitions of what is and isn’t inspirational to us womenfolk wasn’t defined by the size of our bodies. Cheryl Cole might look like a walking, talking, living doll, but she is no air-head. She’s a self-made woman and for now Germaine, that’s good enough for me.

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