Review: Diana Vickers

MILO YIANNOPOULOS: ‘Diana, love, that inevitable coke habit can’t come soon enough.’

Diane Vickers Mariah Carey Sony Strongbow The Junction X Factor

Monday, 10th May 2010 at the Junction. £12. 

I haven't drunk cider without crying and vomiting for over ten years, so perhaps a can of Strongbow wasn't the best way to begin an evening with Diana Vickers. Because few sights are sadder – or more nauseating – than that of a beautiful 19-year-old girl trussed up like a frumpy middle-aged secretary, desperately clinging on to relevance and fading popularity.

I wonder if Vickers ever imagined, as she pranced and squeaked around the X Factor stage, that she'd end up playing out this tragic little tableau in a tiny provincial venue. Such, I suppose, is the legacy of the X for those contestants who, when all is said and done, simply aren't very talented. 

During the live finals of the show, it was a greater shame than even Vickers realised when she had to duck out of Mariah Carey week, blaming a throat infection: seeing her murder one of La Carey’s masterpieces might have been enough to move the public to pity and eject her sooner.

But, she battled on to the semi-finals, her vote propped up by the tabloids and their breathless speculation about grubby midnight fumbles with a fellow contestant, the ludicrously named Eoghan Quigg. Alas, rumours aside, there was never anything very interesting about the barefooted squeaklet – which is perhaps why, unlike some of the other semi-finalists that year, she failed to get a recording contract with Sony. 

But let's give the girl her dues. She still has the power to surprise. I was surprised, for example, that people were prepared to queue for over half an hour to be sure of a place near the stage (the thought of Diana Vickers keeping a crowd waiting is ridiculous). I was surprised too at the lack of improvement in her vocals (no, honey: a few pips and honks don't compensate for being unable to hold a tune). More than anything, I was surprised at – how do I put this delicately? – how well-fed she looks these days. Diana, love, that inevitable coke habit can't come soon enough.    

Vickers was energetic tonight, but it was a desperate sort of energy, little buoyed by the quirky mannerisms she has tried so hard to make endearing. Her performances have become patchwork quilts of foibles you saw and loved on television but that fall flat live, over-enthusiastic lead guitars and crummy faux-rock styling. And when she spoke – which she did far too much tonight – her grating Northern vowels smashed what little of the Cowell magic remained.

You're in a bad way when the only person in the audience who wants to be you is an overweight ginger checkout girl, which, judging from the crowd last night, is the unhappy position Vickers now finds herself in.