A hilarious report on the F-Factor

November 8, 2018

Saturday 20th December saw the greatly anticipated final of the F Factor in a jam packed club rooms and it proved to be just the tonic for Christmas. With the tickets for the event being sold out 3weeks earlier, in one forty-five min window, the expectations were high for the big showdown. Rumours and counter rumours were the name of the game in the final week as everyone was trying to keep their act top-secret from fellow contestants and the general public. The bar steward was by far the most animated during this time but as usual gave away his team’s secrets when the pressure came on. Drama was never far away from Magiggs either, who also in the final week yet again failed to come up with the music for the teams until the day before their live performances. His name was taken in vein on more than one occasion so just another normal week for him then. Local bookmakers MJ Sawey were even offering odds on the final with the Gypsy Tones and Sugar & Spice vying for favouritism at odds of around 4/1. Hells Kitchen was a very attractive 10/1 with the Dung Beatles @ 7/1.

The final began in the usual fashion with the introduction of our outspoken, power hungry panel although they admitted that this week it didn’t matter what they said as they had no voting powers in the final.

First to grace the stage was 2nd’s Footballers the Dung Beatles doing their very own version of rock legends Kiss. One mustn’t underestimate the performance these guys put on as they absolutely captivated the audience with renditions of “God Gave Rock & Roll to You” and “Crazy Nights”. Their costume and make-up was superb but their vocals were better. A truly amazing start to proceedings that got a deserved ovation from the crowd.

Second up was Boyz II Men who represented our senior footballers and it was at this point that controversy reigned supreme and cast a shadow over the otherwise good natured competition. DJ Magiggs was of course performing for Boyz II Men and therefore had to get someone to press “Play” on his equipment to start his team’s act. In a rather bizarre rush of blood to the head the DJ appointed his arch nemesis Kevan Owens to be in charge of the equipment, a decision that he will now regret for the rest of his life. The Boyz II Men rendition of Dire Straights “Walk of Life” was just like the seniors season – slow to start, didn’t know what they were doing, and petered out into mediocrity. Aforementioned Owens claims he did nothing to upset the system and must be taken at his word although it’s hard to put revenge of a flying head butt to the back of your mind!

Without further ado the fantastic Beach Bums were next to rock our world. They entered in true Rock ‘n Roll fashion on motorcycles with the fumes suffocating an already intoxicated audience, but it was their performance that would send them delirious. In a strange move against his team, drummer Tony McAtamney entered the stage to the dairy milk chocolate tune in a chicken suit rather than as a gorilla much to the annoyance of lead vocalist Cillian Keaveney. Keaveney soon however had the crowd forgetting all about Tony’s foul play as he sang the very difficult “Final Countdown” by Europe. Lead guitarist Ronan King instrumental section had the crowd going bananas but it did little to detract from his paedophile-like mullet. However in true rock ‘n roll style he got the girl at the end of the night and was last seen spying on Laitriom camogie training sessions! The Committee’s Beach Bums certainly put themselves in the frame after this outstanding effort.

The Harlem Hurlers brought an end to the first half of the show with their version of Scooters “Back in the House”. It was their entrance that raised expectations as it was like something from middle earth, with some wonderful creatures entering the auditorium. My advice to the lads would be put the same show on when the juvenile presentation is on later in the month as it was truly a wonderful spectacle that would be perhaps better suited to such an occasion. The singing itself from the hurlers proved to be tiresome and although the fellas said they tried to be different than before to the regular punter the difference between Scooter and Rap is like the difference between Harp & Carlsberg – minimal. It looked ominous for last year’s victors.

The half-time interval lasted about as long as one of Judge Gregory’s vodka and cranberry’s and we were soon licking our lips in anticipation of Ladies Team Sugar ‘n Spice. Not to be disappointed the girls put on a spectacular dance routine to “It’s Raining Men” but unfortunately it was their vocal ability that left a sour taste in our mouths. The choreography was superb and indeed the girls leapt of the stage at various points but alas their singing, and possibly their song choice, was to be their ultimate downfall.

Shawaddywaddyesque Hells Kitchen rolled back the years in one of the performances of the night next with “When” and “Under the moon of love” in a mix of strong vocals and a sexually charged dance routine that made experienced crooners a firm favourite with the gallery. Snowy, Dessie & Elton’s played their instruments with aplomb but lead singers HT & Weaver were the real crowd pleasers, pointing provocatively on one knee to various smitten females in the first few rows. Hells Kitchen certainly ticked all the right boxes and put themselves very much in the frame.

The penultimate act started where the previous act left off. Gypsy Tones version of the Status Quo’s classic “Walking All Over the World” was just a master class. They were the Quo and how they purred. Choreography was again top notch and vocals superb. There were rumours of ladies underwear having been thrown stage bound but this rumour remains unfounded. The competition took another swing after these guys finished and one really didn’t know who was going to win.

Just when we thought things couldn’t get any better the 3rds footballers burst onto the stage and also into the frame. A republican blast from the past proved to be everybody’s cup of tea in the form of The Wolfe Tones “Celtic Symphony”. Garrett Keaveney sang the words straight from the heart and audience ohh ahh up the raa’d on their feet for the guts of 10min. The 3rd’s proved they haven’t gone away you know and Brian “Paisley” McAlinden done his best for the peace process also.

As so it was over. Time to draw breath. Time to reflect on whom to cast that all important vote for. Not however was it time for what we were about to receive. Semi-Final rejects 1amp 3knobs, in an ego trip of epic proportions, decided to torture the crowd with a 20minute death set. If ever a group justified their previous abysmal performance it was they. When Gonzo ran about the stage in nothing but his under pants during Harlem Hurlers act, it was at least more interesting than his zombie-like lamenting.

And so to the result. The anticipation in the auditorium was intense. The look on the contestants faces, one of nerves. Group by group their names were called out – Boyz II Men, Harlem Hurlers, Sugar and Spice, Dung Beatles, Gypsy Tones, Black Magic – all defeated. Until there were only two. Beach Bums and Hells Kitchen were vying for the coveted trophy. When Hells Kitchen name was called Ronan King flung himself petulantly to the ground. But the crowd didn’t notice. There was rapturous applause throughout the hall. HT was on his knees again. Weaver had the shirt open. And all was well in the world. The veterans had won it and justified their 74 practise sessions. Legend has it that HT slept in the club that night. But I don’t believe in legends. And everybody knows HT doesn’t sleep. The night ended with the victorious team playing all four of their songs followed by all the groups singing Band-Aid’s “Do they know it’s Christmas Time?”

A really successful F Factor for the club, with plenty of money made. Rumour has it that it could be back sooner than we think in some guise or other – so watch this space. Next Years renewal will be same time as usual with auditions taking place in early October. So if you think you’ve got the F Factor get the thinking caps on early.

However all hasn’t been rosy for our champions. One week after their triumph irreconcilable differences were cited as the main reason for “live wire” HT to famously quit the band. He has already completed two solo 20min sets in the Donard Bar and is openly seeking further bookings. Showbiz is a fickle world.