Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Who says nice guys never win?

Dougie

This week marks a peak in the annual reality TV calendar signposted as it is at one end by the I'm a Celeb final (last Saturday) and the X Factor final (last weekend.) All that public-voting-to-keep-your-favourite-in at last bears fruit.

And, while we all know from experience that the 'winners' may not come away with anything more lasting than a contract to peddle hoisin duck lollipops during next year's ad break (in the case of the former) and a tilt at the Christmas charts (in the case of the latter), the results of the respective votes do at least tell us something interesting about the TV viewing masses.

Where the watching millions are concerned, nice still wins it every time.

Dougie Poynter, who walked away with the Celeb crown and wooden sceptre, came across as a sound lad.

Who knows if he is really the St Dougie of McFly as the show's editing made him appear? But on our screens he seemed sweet and laid-back, a good sport with a kind heart - or at least a kind word for his fellow jungle residents. His main competition was Mark Wright, tanned airhead produce of The Only Way Is Essex, who also came across as surprisingly, engagingly personable.

Out in the final rounds went Fatima Whitbread who we now learn was in it entirely for the pay cheque. Poignantly the former Olympian has since revealed that, as a widow with a young son to support, she needed the money to cover his school fees.

In this instance the question of why any sane person would put themselves through Bushtucker humiliation comes down to that most moving of answers. A mother doing it for her boy.

On screen there was a haunting sadness about Whitbread although her competitiveness and occasional pedantry led to clashes - in particular with fellow Alpha, Antony Cotton.

The waspish but totally entertaining Cotton also fell at Celeb's last fence - a victim of the truism that while the public loves a trier, not necessarily a trier who tries too hard.

Meanwhile, back on the X Factor they've been trying their hardest for weeks. They've been giving it their all, showing what they've got, nailing it, putting it down, being proud of themselves, loving their mentors, enjoying the journey, clinging to the emotional roller-coaster, clinging to Dermot, shrieking, sobbing and assuring the viewing public that if they just get put through to next week they'll show what they can really, really do.

This week, to nobody's great surprise, Misha B didn't get put through. It was the first time that Misha, who has been hovering in the feared Bottom Two for some weeks, couldn't be saved by the judges' intervention.

Misha's problem is not that she can't sing - she has been arguably the best performer during the series. It's that she was tainted by remarks by some of the judges about her backstage activity.

Tulisa coyly referred to her "feisty" behaviour. Louis came right out with it and called her a bully.

Misha had admitted to bullying in the past. But there have been contestants on the show who'd previously admitted to drug taking - even petty crime with little audience backlash.

Bullying is different. The label stuck to Misha and it undoubtedly scuppered her chances of scooping the prize. The show's obvious attempts to push her as a potential winner didn't help. Hitting the high note on the M-amp;S ad was also a factor.

Yet, above everything else it was the bullying allegation that ultimately turned the public against her. (Wisely Misha now sweeps it aside. She knows she may still have a career if she can turn her image around. The public do forget.)

The thing is this though - do we even know if there was any substance in the allegation in the first place?

It's commendable that the reality TV audience - if not reality TV - is sending out the message that bullying isn't tolerated. A bit less laudable if doing so entailed the voting viewing public bullying Misha.

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