The X Factor is in the business of breaking not making dreams - TV Shouter
Simon Cowell wheeled out ol' faithful this week for the perennial onslaught of X Factor live shows, the charm of which seems to be not the search for a star, but the destruction of the dreams of some young thing dancing to Michael Jackson.
No, the X Factor is not about making a dream come true, it's about systematically crushing them over a number of weeks.
It begins with auditions where they separate the wheat from the chaff, before throwing the chaff onto ITV1 and asking us all to have a bloody good laugh at innocents' deluded caterwauling.
The real schadenfreude comes with the judges' houses and live shows though, by which point contestants (some as young as 16) now fully believe they will soon be selling out arenas and sitting on a sofa telling Phillip Schofield about their favourite fruit – only to have these beliefs shattered.
This year has been no different, with all five of the finalists culled on Saturday crying as the VT retrospectives roll – ostensibly 'taking a look at their time on the show' but in reality serving as a reminder that this chapter of their life is over and that come Monday they'll be back flipping burgers.
The X Factor is a rare fast-track to the top but be warned, the ride back down is fairly rapid too.