This Is What Absolutely Every Single Saturday "X Factor" Live Show Is Like
Missed last Saturday's show? No problem. Here is everything that happened, and will happen again this Saturday, I suppose.
A low-key introduction consisting of a camera zooming into the throats of approximately 40 people while others cry, all to the sound of "O Fortuna".
A title sequence showing an X Factor asteroid hitting Earth. This used to look dramatic, but as the titles haven't changed in years you barely notice it.
Peter Dickson (that loud man) shouts loudly that the show is live from London. You then see a shot of London from a helicopter, but not the bit where the studios are.
Dermot walks out from a giant screen that splits in two, and swings his microphone like a rounders bat. This causes the dramatic background music to dramatically stop.
"YOUR SATURDAY NIGHT STARTS RIGHT HERE," he says, even though it has been dark for about two hours and The X Factor lasts for *all* of Saturday night.
He introduces the format for tonight's show. You're not paying attention because you're thinking again about how his hair never changes.
The X Factor judges arrive on the stage. They are namechecked before they enter the stage by Peter Dickson and directly after by Dermot, even though their names were already mentioned during the opening titles.
Each of the judges pulls a striking pose when their name is called out. They manage to make it look cool. If you did it on stage you would look like a tit.
Dermot opens the phone lines before anyone has even sung anything. He casually acts as if every other single talent show in the world does this too.
One of the judges introduces the first act with the same proud expression a parent would give their young children. A video about the first act follows.
The video goes more or less like this. Their lives have changed so much since last week's show / they can't face their life if they leave the show / they are taking advice from last week's show onboard / they are having exciting opportunities in the media because they are in the show / the media are writing bad things and this might affect their confidence, causing them to leave the show.
They play a sad song. It contains two key changes and there's a lot of fog everywhere.
Feedback from the judges. Each criticism is followed with increasingly loud booing by the audience, even though nearly all the feedback is constructive.
Dermot walks over to the first contestant as if their pet has died and asks them how they feel. The contestant is passionate and tries to respond to criticisms but only has several seconds to do so because of an impending advert break.
Advert break. All of October's most expensive adverts are shown.
Dermot introduces the second act from behind the judges.
The second act, Attractive Boy Band With Feelings, is introduced.
Their pre-performance video is this: "It is so exciting to be in a band with your mates" / "We like to mess about" (cue footage of a pile-on) / "We have been invited to all of these amazing events" / "Being in The X Factor is giving us a taste of fame."
Attractive Boy Band With Feelings perform a dance track. There's no fog now.
Halfway through their song they decide to sing something completely different. They then go back to the first track, with no explanation given as to why.
Following the judges' feedback, the boy band high-five the girls at the front as they run off stage. Because the stage is high, when they high-five the audience the boy band look like 3-year-olds ducking and pretending they're aeroplanes.
Dermot says two hotly tipped performers are next. The camera then zooms behind the scenes to show all the acts preparing on-camera.
Advert break. These adverts are a bit cheaper than the first advert break. One of these adverts contains a subtle reference to Christmas.
This reference to Christmas instantly gives you a dread in your stomach that will not go away until you pour red wine into a glass.
Dermot introduces the next performers, The Wacky Act, from the back of the audience for some reason.
Dermot's introduction is accompanied by an interview with a performer's friends or family. Dermot seems to expect a barrage of parental emotion but actually these people are really quite shy.
The Wacky Act take to the stage. You question how on earth they made it this far into the competition, but then you stop caring because of all the Christmas sofa wine you've consumed.
The Wacky Act start performing behind the judges.
The judges spend a great deal of time criticising the look and the dancing of that performance. You complain that most of this is beyond the performers' own control.
Advert break. You wonder if you should give up and leave the house, but you've invested so much time watching you know you'll hate yourself more if you turn it off.
Next up, Individual Solo Artist With Feelings. They are feeling sad because their kid / their sister / their brother / their lover can't be there, so they dedicate their song to them.
They speak to their kid / sister / brother / lover on a portable device. This is the same device they use to "review" last week's performance.
Individual Artist With Feelings then performs a stripped-back song. A bit of fog. And a guitar. It goes on twice as long as it could ever have been intended to.
This is then followed by adverts and Similar Boyband To The Other One But Not As Good. These guys also have issues. They say "we're all best mates" but there's something a bit off about them that you can't put your finger on.
Because there are 29 acts in the live shows at this point, you will experience all of the above about five or six times before the end of the show. You will also come across Older Artist That Has A Lot To Prove, Young Performer Whose Age Is Mentioned A Lot and Unconventional Artist Who Sings In A Different Style.
You then feel quite proud that you managed to watch the entire thing. Dermot is back on to give you the numbers to ring and wrap up everything up.
However, when the recaps starts you suddenly realise this.
The titles then come shrieking through the TV as if they're running on overtime and panicking. You sit back and wonder whether the time and effort you put into watching this week's show was worth it in the first place.
You make some comment to the person sat next to you that there were too many adverts and that next week you'll watch it later and fast-forward them. But you know that you won't bother because of the fear of missing out on Twitter.
DAMN YOU, TWITTER.