“I’m sorry,” she might say. “You have three amateur singers and you want to fill four hours of prime time TV two weeks before Christmas with them?
“I’m sorry,” she might say. “You have three amateur singers and you want to fill four hours of prime time TV two weeks before Christmas with them? Over two nights? You can do a lot with old rope, but that’s just too much.”
Yet that’s exactly what ITV1 did at the weekend with the double header X-Factor Final, live from Manchester Central, or the G-MEX as most people still know it.
Of course, the final of the X-Factor is about much more than just three finalists – Jahmene Douglas, Christopher Maloney and eventual winner James Arthur.
Not even Simon Cowell, who appeared for a nano-second in an introduction video playing some sort of train guard on Dermot O’Leary’s trip north, can stretch three male solo artists over four hours without some help.
So out came the little black book and on came a number of big-name stars, most, if not all of whom had something to plug. And before too long, it became clear to me why the BBC scrapped Top of the Pops a few years ago, in the days when Jimmy Savile was still just the programme’s most eccentric former presenter.
It’s because, bluntly, live music packaged up for TV can be very boring.
And essentially, ITV delivered a four-hour Top of the Pops at the weekend, weaving a competition between the set-piece performances from the likes of One Direction, Emile Sande, Rita Ora, Kelly Clarkson and Rihanna.
Most, if not all of the above, had sung for their supper at some point during the series, either appearing as guest judges, guest mentors or, in the case of One Direction, just being part of the X Factor ‘family’ which only gets bigger with each series which passes.
And maybe that’s the problem. With each series that passes, X Factor trudges that little bit closer to becoming a parody of itself.
Despite the live setting in Manchester, and the thousands of fireworks used during the two nights, it all felt a little bit a flat. A bit predictable. A bit, bluntly, dull. Concerts in big arenas rarely work on TV, and turning the X Factor final into a big concert fell into that category.
The X Factor this year has had to try and live on drama to spice up ratings.
The best way to create drama is to get the judges mouthing off. In the final, they can’t do that because the best acts are there (or the public’s thoughts on the best acts, anyway).
And so it becomes one, long homily to three talented acts on night one, and to two talented acts on night two.
If this feels like a plea to do something new with the X Factor, then it probably is. It needs a lift. It needs some sparkle, some zip, something exciting. I don’t mean more ‘he said, she said’ drama, but something that makes it compelling Saturday night TV again.
At the weekend, it was, to be blunt, missing its own X Factor.
This week: The Christmas specials have started. Take Me Out Celebrity Special (ITV 1, Saturday, 7.40pm) seems as a good a place to start as any.