Barry Manilow on The X Factor last night, or The Max Factor judging by the Baby Jane accumulations of slap on his face.
He told the young contestants to feel his songs, to sing from the heart, to visualise their inamorata(o) in the audience. He delved for their hormones, he sniffed at their blood like Count Alucard, imploring their primal force to bring life to the likes of … Mandy … yes, his mannequin Mandy, who (I think) never did sex or tampax, just romance in listening mode. Manilow's Mandy was always a stranger to the menstrual cycle.
(Message to assholes: No, Mandy was not a dog. That's an urban myth. And Mandy might have been Brandy were it not for someone's commonsense)
None of the sexy-leaky-tingly X Factor gladiators could quite grapple with Manilow's strange sealed inventions because they sought in vain the trail of organic secretion that might lead them to an identifiable experience: you have to imagine that your lyrical desired one may actually be a plausible human being before the highs of pillow (or even stage) fantasy and the lows of sheet stain. Manilow love is a sweet-stale pot-pourri of sensation for the mentally crotch-free.
Having advised his X Factor tyros to surface their humours, he then performed himself to a crowd of swayers and screamers and delivered a shameless, breathless mime - a dry come in sexual terms. He emoted not from his heart but from his mouth. Rollers of dazzling whitened teeth crashed on dead, silent lines, and he took the piss in a very sincere sort of way – and he smiled. How kitsch adores a vacuum.
An A-list zombie he maybe but only a true star like Manilow could get away with it.