It was probably the most emotional moments of this 12 months’s X Issue. When Lloyd Macey sang A Completely different Nook in George Michael week, he decreased decide Sharon Osbourne to tears.
Now because the battle for the coveted Christmas No.1 spot appears to be like like a head-to-head between whoever wins this weekend’s X Issue remaining and the late, nice pop icon on the primary anniversary of his dying, Sharon is backing George all the way in which.
“Oh God yeah!” says Sharon, of the marketing campaign to get Wham!’s Final Christmas to No.1 within the UK.
“Wouldn’t that be nice? That may be superb. It feels proper. A Completely different Nook was considered one of my favourites, which was why I used to be so moved by Lloyd.
“My happiest recollections of George are taking my daughters [Kelly and Aimee] to see him carry out.
“We misplaced so many stars final 12 months that you would be able to’t exchange. Do you suppose there’s anyone round who can exchange Prince? No. And there’s no person as an artist and songwriter that may exchange George.
“For any person of my age, that was the soundtrack to our youth. It introduced again so many recollections in George Week, wanting up on the screens with all these nice movies. You take a look at these people who find themselves now not with us and also you’re like: ‘Oh s**t.’ It’s horrifying.
It’s simply so horribly unhappy that he’s gone.”
In fact, Mrs O’s job proper now – together with fellow X Issue judges Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh – is to seek out new stars.
So who does she consider this 12 months’s crop has obtained what it takes to make it huge?
“I believe my ladies will,” says Sharon, 65, of Grace Davies, Rai-Elle Williams, Holly Tandy and Alisah Bonaobra.
“That goes with out saying. Additionally Lloyd [Macey], Rak-Su and The Cutkelvins. There are such a lot of contestants which might be so gifted and so they don’t cross over with one another. They’re in their very own lanes.
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“It’s brilliant how well Grace and Rak-Su have done in the iTunes charts. It’s really opened up the show.
“When I think back to when we first started [Sharon was one of the three original judges in 2004 with Simon and Louis] nobody could play with a band, nobody could play piano, nobody could play guitar.
“Now look. It’s fantastic for a singer-songwriter to be able to come on and perform their own songs every week. It’s so important to keep moving on and letting all these artists in.”
However, despite the innovations there’s no disguising the fact that, at under five million every week, X Factor ratings aren’t what they used to be.
If it were up to her, is there anything she would do to improve the show?
“It would be great to get a group that actually plays instruments next year,” she says.
“And I’d probably change the steps we walk down from the stage! Pretty much every week I think I’m going to fall over.
“Every time we walk down them I’m like: ‘Oh God!’ When Louis slipped over on them one week, he cut his leg and everything.”
Talking of falling over, how is Simon bearing up since he took a tumble downstairs at his home which ended up with him in hospital and missing a week of the show?
“Simon’s great,” Sharon assures us. “And this year the show’s so chock-a-block with talent that everything is good.”
Not all of this year’s changes have gone down well with viewers, though.
The Prize Fights between contestants – with money-can’t-buy treats like supporting Little Mix or flying to New York to see Pink play – may be exciting for the young acts, but should they really need any extra encouragement to sing their hearts out on primetime Saturday and Sunday-night telly?
“No, they shouldn’t,” agrees Sharon. “But the prizes they’re winning are unbelievable.”
How does she feel about the judges no longer having a vote on which act goes home?
“It’s giving the public what they want,” she says.
“They choose who they want to see again and that’s it. You can’t fight with that. And for every artist it’s like: ‘Hey, you had your chance, now it’s down to the public.’”
As Sharon’s kids Jack, 32, and Kelly, 33, pointed out when they were their mum’s guest judges at Judges’ Houses, there’s a lot riding on the shoulders of these young, inexperienced contestants.
And in the case of Grace, the bookies’ initial hot favourite to win, there were stories that she wasn’t dealing with it well and had become a bit of a diva.
Sharon reveals what really went on with Grace.
“This girl was working at a regular job like everybody else, stacking shelves in some warehouse,” she says.
“She’s only 20. Then she goes from being just this regular kid to: ‘This girl’s gonna win.’
It’s this, it’s that – the pressure that hype puts on people her age and who have had no experience of anything like this before… You come in and you win the first week. It’s hard to digest.
“At 20, if that had happened to me, I would have been a real pain in the arse. This is a new world to these kids. You’ve got to deal with it very carefully. Everybody talked to her.
“It’s just about being truthful with people. Grace took it really well and focused on her music. She realised that she’s got tough competition. This year it’s anyone’s game.
“It’s no slam-dunk on any one person. You’re only as good as your last song.”
Simon told TV Magazine at the start of this year’s series that he’d given up trying to compete with
old rival Strictly Come Dancing when it comes to viewing figures.
But the large gap between the two primetime entertainment shows hasn’t put Sharon off returning.
“Oh yeah, I can’t wait for next year,” she smiles.
The only thing she’s not so keen on, though, is the end-of-series party.
“I’m not big on parties, no,” she smiles. “I’ve been to them all. Seen it, done it.
“It won’t be champagne in the dressing-rooms for us. Nicole, Louis and I will probably end up going to some restaurant that’s open late.”
As for Christmas plans, much like when she’s making X Factor, she’ll be both here and in LA.
“It’s the best coming home to the UK for Christmas,” she says.
“Of the two of us, my husband Ozzy is the harder to buy for. He’s like… what are those birds that collect shiny things?
“A magpie. I don’t know what he’s got for me this year.
“But he’ll probably give it to me the week before because he can’t wait. As soon as he gets it home he’ll be: ‘Open it now!’”
She doesn’t sound concerned. As long as George is singing Last Christmas from the top of the charts, Sharon will have got her wish.
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