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FErret

So you wanna be a pop star? Help is at hand

Among last week's most popular weird stories was the news that Bishop Auckland College in County Durham has launched a course to help young people get through an X Factor audition.

Most of the mainstream outlets reported it deadpan. But online gossip sheet Holy Moly! let us know how it really felt: "WHERE WILL THIS MADNESS END?!" (Beneath the hyperbole, it made some good points about encouraging unrealistic expectations and promoting celebrity culture.)

The #163;95 course is essentially an adapted version of an NCFE level 1 certificate in music: it's an unobjectionable introduction to performance that wouldn't be shocking or surprising were it not for the reality TV gimmick.

And, of course, colleges and schools have already been preparing students for The X Factor, which is why college performing arts alumni such as Stacey Solomon and Joe McElderry have got so far in the competition.

But FErret wonders whether clever branding like this is really worth all the trouble. The publicity can't bring the college more than a few grand - only 40 places are available. And, most of all, it feeds an insatiable public desire to jeer at Mickey Mouse courses.

Sorry *Simon Cowell face*, but it's a "no" from FErret.

Students go 'Insania' for Peter Andre

Alas, there are terrible signs that it might be too late for Britain's youth, whether or not colleges put on courses to help them shine on reality TV shows.

FErret had thought that orange-hued hunk Peter Andre had faded from the national consciousness, but apparently not. Grimsby Telegraph reports that students from Grimsby Institute and Franklin College queued for seven hours in freezing temperatures, even without tickets, just for a glimpse of the star of Peter Andre: Going It Alone, Peter Andre: The Next Chapter and his magnum opus, Peter Andre: My Life.

Alas, there's no word on whether the students fulfilled their dream of an Andre encounter, as the reporters had to head off into the warm venue with their tickets.

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