Make way for the new wave of talent shows.
Little Mix: The Search arrived on primetime BBC1 tonight, signalling the likely demise of an elder, but not necessarily wiser, ancestor.
I was an avid viewer of The X Factor in its glory days, gathering with mates on Saturday nights to watch, but its popularity has faded.
No one wants to see a middle-aged man playing Mr Nasty any more.
No one wants to laugh at someone who can’t sing a note – we’ve got Celebrity Karaoke Club for that.
But one of the hottest girl bands on the planet picking a support band for their UK arena tour? Yes.
This is a singing competition for a new generation.
And while it makes me feel like a dinosaur to see a 20-something be a mentor to a teenager – “Can you just give it a bit more, babe?” – this feels fresh and funny.
Little Mix, aka Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards, were created by Simon Cowell on The X Factor in 2011. Now, they ARE Simon Cowell.
The cool, Instagrammable, better dressed version.
I can’t imagine Simon telling someone they have “swag and sauce”. Or at least, he shouldn’t.
Chatty and relaxed, the girls lounge on a massive plush pink sofa with carefully placed cushions and jars of retro sweets for snacks.
It would be easy to dismiss them as out of their depth. But they’ve been at the top of their game for nearly a decade, selling 50 million records. They know their stuff and they’re not afraid to say it.
Their task is to create six bands from thousands who auditioned – a boy band, girl vocal, girl dance group, mixed, vocal and instrument and rap R&B. Only one will join their tour.
They talk about the importance of chemistry and band dynamics, and the er, global pop stars are keen to show off a “normal girl” side, chatting about spag bol, sniffing each other to check they smell nice and giggling like schoolgirls over the boy band hopefuls.
They are actually very funny, constantly breaking into voices, impressions and one-liners. They’re bound to win over even more fans – and those fans’ mums and dads.
Little Mix made light work of pulling together their boy band.
After a bit of Minority Report style screen swiping and a concert performance, they chose their five.
No stools and air grabs for them. “Something with a bit of edge... not too manufactured,” says the manufactured band. There are five more to create and I’m already exhausted.
But this is feelgood telly that brings the talent show format bang up to date.
A shout out to Little Mix, they’re a force to be reckoned with.