It was one of the many romantic moments of this year’s X Factor. When Lloyd Macey sang A Different Corner in George Michael week, he reduced judge Sharon Osbourne to tears.
Now as the battle for the desired Christmas No.1 mark looks like a head-to-head between whoever wins this weekend’s X Factor final and the late, good cocktail idol on the first anniversary of his death, Sharon is subsidy George all the way.
“Oh God yeah!” says Sharon, of the campaign to get Wham!’s Last Christmas to No.1 in the UK.
“Wouldn’t that be great? That would be amazing. It feels right. A Different Corner was one of my favourites, which was since we was so changed by Lloyd.
“My happiest memories of George are holding my daughters [Kelly and Aimee] to see him perform.
“We lost so many stars last year that you can’t replace. Do you consider there’s anybody around who can reinstate Prince? No. And there’s nobody as an artist and songwriter that can reinstate George.
“For somebody of my age, that was the soundtrack to the youth. It brought back so many memories in George Week, looking up at the screens with all those good videos. You demeanour at those people who are no longer with us and you’re like: ‘Oh s**t.’ It’s frightening.
It’s just so horribly unhappy that he’s gone.”
Of course, Mrs O’s pursuit right now – along with associate X Factor judges Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh – is to find new stars.
So who does she consider of this year’s crop has got what it takes to make it big?
“I consider my girls will,” says Sharon, 65, of Grace Davies, Rai-Elle Williams, Holly Tandy and Alisah Bonaobra.
“That goes but saying. Also Lloyd [Macey], Rak-Su and The Cutkelvins. There are so many contestants that are so gifted and they don’t cranky over with any other. They’re in their own lanes.
“It’s shining how good Grace and Rak-Su have finished in the iTunes charts. It’s really non-stop up the show.
“When we consider back to when we first started [Sharon was one of the 3 strange 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 illusory for a singer-songwriter to be means to come on and perform their own songs every week. It’s so critical to keep moving on and vouchsafing all these artists in.”
However, despite the innovations there’s no disguising the fact that, at under 5 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 urge the show?
“It would be good to get a organisation that actually plays instruments next year,” she says.
“And I’d substantially change the stairs we walk down from the stage! Pretty much every week we consider I’m going to decrease 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 descending over, how is Simon temperament up given he took a decrease downstairs at his home which finished up with him in hospital and blank a week of the show?
“Simon’s great,” Sharon assures us. “And this year the show’s so chock-a-block with talent that all is good.”
Not all of this year’s changes have left down good with viewers, though.
The Prize Fights between contestants – with money-can’t-buy treats like ancillary Little Mix or drifting to New York to see Pink play – may be sparkling for the immature acts, but should they really need any additional support 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 opinion on which act goes home?
“It’s giving the open what they want,” she says.
“They select who they wish 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, forked out when they were their mum’s guest judges at Judges’ Houses, there’s a lot roving on the shoulders of these young, fresh contestants.
And in the case of Grace, the bookies’ initial prohibited favourite to win, there were stories that she wasn’t traffic with it good and had turn a bit of a diva.
Sharon reveals what really went on with Grace.
“This girl was operative at a unchanging pursuit like everybody else, stacking shelves in some warehouse,” she says.
“She’s only 20. Then she goes from being just this unchanging child to: ‘This girl’s gonna win.’
It’s this, it’s that – the vigour that hype puts on people her age and who have had no knowledge of anything like this before… You come in and you win the first week. It’s tough to digest.
“At 20, if that had happened to me, we would have been a genuine pain in the arse. This is a new universe to these kids. You’ve got to understanding with it very carefully. Everybody talked to her.
“It’s just about being guileless with people. Grace took it really good 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 contest with
old rival Strictly Come Dancing when it comes to observation figures.
But the vast opening between the two primetime celebration shows hasn’t put Sharon off returning.
“Oh yeah, we can’t wait for next year,” she smiles.
The only thing she’s not so penetrating 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, finished it.
“It won’t be champagne in the dressing-rooms for us. Nicole, Louis and we will substantially finish up going to some grill 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 glossy things?
“A magpie. we don’t know what he’s got for me this year.
“But he’ll substantially give it to me the week before since he can’t wait. As shortly as he gets it home he’ll be: ‘Open it now!’”
She doesn’t sound concerned. As prolonged as George is singing Last Christmas from the top of the charts, Sharon will have got her wish.
IT’S THE FINAL! The X Factor: Live Final Saturday 7.05pm Sunday 7.20pm ITV
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