I’ve always had significantly indifferent feelings towards Tulisa Contostavios. I’m no N-Dubz fan, but I thought ‘Tulisa: My Mum And Me’ – a 2010 documentary which highlighted the struggle that carers go through on a daily basis – was excellent. I also preferred her to Kelly Rowland on this year’s X Factor (she genuinely seemed to care about her acts, talked English and turned up most of the time) ..but that business with the tattoo? Bloody hell.
So when this sex-tape surfaced on Monday, I treated it in the same way that most other people did: I nonchalantly clucked that I had no interest in such sordid affairs, pretended that I had ‘real work’ to do and then had a sneaky look when my colleagues went out for lunch. At that stage, it was everywhere, so I had little difficulty tracking it down, yet after a few seconds I realised that I was in over my head. This was no grainy, mildly amusing Hilton-esque video, but a very personal and deeply graphic one which could seriously impair a young woman’s career.
Sanctimoniously going on about the heartless cad who sold Tulisa down the river is a bit pointless, because millions of us went online and watched it before it was ripped down, but I did wonder whether Tulisa’s career could withstand such a crisis. Make no mistake, if her X Factor spot was a city, it would be New Orleans circa 2005 and this video was her own personal Hurricane Katrina.
After handing an ex-con who knocked his ex about a million quid last year, SiCo has battened down the hatches to scandals of this sort lately. Indeed I’d be surprised if someone with so much as a library fine made it past their vetting process nowadays and one X Factor contestant was quickly ushered towards the door when far less explicit images of him were found on the net last year. So how can Tulisa keep her place as the centre-piece of what is essentially a family show after this? At one stage on Tuesday, there seemed to be no way back..
But the fight-back began in earnest last night when the former N-Dubz singer released a video in which she apologised for any offence caused and explained that she had been betrayed by a man she used to be in a long-term relationship with (I’d put good money on ‘Ultra’ getting a spot on the next series of Celebrity Big Brother) and that it was a personal moment that should never have been made public.
“As you can imagine, I am devastated, heartbroken, I have been in bits for the last few days,” she explained. “It’s a pretty tough time for me, but I don’t feel that I should be the one to take the heat for it, or the stick. This was something that he took upon himself to put online and he is now sitting in silence pretending that it’s not him.” This, she said, was her side of the story. It was a move that came across as tangibly genuine and I found myself rooting for her to emerge, like New Orleans, from her own personal Hurricane Katrina. As such, it was great to hear Simon Cowell assure her that her job was safe on Friday..