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'The X Factor' U.K. auditions 2014: Cheryl Cole gets strippers in Edinburgh

"The X Factor" U.K. auditions in 2014 have been getting very little advance publicity in the U.K. mainstream media, which is another indication that the show's ratings will not improve this year. The return of Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole to "The X Factor" U.K. judging panel in 2014 must be very uninteresting and predictable because, even though in 2013 the show switched back to having private auditions that the public cannot attend, if the auditions were truly exciting in 2014, then people would still be talking a lot about the auditions in social media.

Cheryl Cole
Getty Images
Cheryl Cole at "The X Factor" U.K. auditions in Newcastle, England, on June 26, 2014
Getty Images

Auditions that were held in England in June 2014 (Manchester on June 16; London in June 20 and June 24; and Newcastle on June 26) were met with a resounding yawn from the media, which reported more on what the female judges were wearing than what actually happened in the auditions.

However, a show "insider" (probably a publicist) leaked this information to The Sun about "X Factor" U.K. auditions that happened the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 1, 2014. According to the "insider," Cowell hired male strippers to dance for Cole at the auditions, since it was her 31st birthday the day before. The strippers posed as a singing group named Highland Fling before doing their striptease. The "insider" told The Sun: “Cheryl was hiding behind her hands. She looked so embarrassed. But the other judges thought it hilarious.”

The Sun conveniently also published professionally shot photos of this spectacle, and the photos look like they came from "The X Factor" publicity department or some other source that's authorized to "leak" these photos. It's all such an obvious, orchestrated publicity stunt. "The X Factor" creator Cowell must be desperate for "The X Factor" U.K. to get some media attention. However, Cowell and company don't seem to understand that publicity stunts like this won't help the show's ratings. His popularity has gone downhill (especially after his Lauren Silverman adultery scandal), and he made the mistake of choosing Cole and Mel B for the show's judging panel in 2014.

Cole was a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. from 2008 to 2010, and she was briefly a judge on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011 before Cowell notoriously had her fired from the show. Most of the public doesn't respect Cole for going back to "The X Factor" after the way Cowell treated her, and especially because she said for years that she would never work with him again. (She must be desperate for the money that Cowell dangled in front of her to lure her back to "The X Factor.")

If Cowell and company paid attention to what "X Factor" viewers are saying on the Internet, then these decision makers would know that most viewers don't want Cole as a judge the show. Even during the months when there was talk that she might rejoin the judging panel, a lot of viewers said it was a bad idea. Even more people feel the same way about Mel B, who turned off a lot of viewers when she was a guest judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012.

But Cowell obviously has tunnel vision, since he has a pattern of recycling several female judges on his TV talent shows and moving them around like pawns in a chess game. Mel B is also a judge on "America's Got Talent," and she was a judge on "The X Factor" Australia in 2011 and 2012.

There are also a lot of viewers who are very tired of Louis Walsh, who has been a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. since the show's 2004 debut and who has become increasingly irrelevant in the music business. Walsh is a music manager who used to represent best-selling international acts such as Westlife and Boyzone. Now, Walsh's biggest client is Jedward, the Irish twin brothers that came in sixth place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2009. Jedward is a novelty act that is fading from the public eye and whose music sales have been on a very big downward spiral.

It's too bad that Cowell's massive ego seems to be preventing him from making bold and interesting choices in judges instead of rehiring judges who have worn out their welcome with the public. He's now resorting to dumb publicity stunts such as hiring strippers to get people interested in "The X Factor" U.K. this year. How pathetic.

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