As a rock fan there’s very little to get excited about in the world of reality television.

When Donny Tourette’s appearance on Big Brother is the closest we get to any semblance of a rock profile within a genre dying on its feet it’s no surprise most of us would rather be watching, playing or listening to real music.

I do remember becoming addicted to a US talent show called Rockstar Supernova but then any programme featuring Tommy Lee, Gilby Clarke and Dave Navarro has to be worth watching.

The fact that wannabe singers were asked to belt out classic rock anthems clearly made the whole show that much more appealing but it’s not something that would ever catch on over here.

What has caught on over here is the incredibly cheesy X-Factor and the incredibly popular Strictly Come Dancing. Now Def Leppard may have appeared on the US version of the latter but let’s face it – seeing a NWOBHM act alongside Bruce Forsyth is never going to happen.

What did happen last weekend was, for those of us clinging to any semblance of rock within a primetime television slot, something of a revelation.

First up a couple of dancers did their thing to Heart’s Alone. The fact that the Wilson sisters and Howard Leese weren’t present to perform their soft rock anthem was a little disappointing but to be fair to the house band they did a cracking job.

And while Heart aren’t heavy metal and Leese was never Kirk Hammett I did make a point of looking up from this month’s Classic Rock magazine and tapping my feet along to one of the great hair metal standards of the 80s.

Then the wife flicked over to X-Factor. Now you can count the instances of rock being performed on this show on one finger but Cheryl Cole makes it just about watchable every so often. And so that’s what I do. Every so often.

On Saturday I reaped my reward as a rather odd looking chap jumped onto the stage wearing a leather jacket and just about managed to prevent his eerie eyeballs from leaping out of their sockets.

He might not have had any hair but his attire suggested he just might rock. And he did.

Choosing to parrot Gun’s fantastic version of Word Up he did a decent enough job. But it wasn’t really about how good or bad the bloke was – it was about the programme editors deeming a rock performance suitable for a show dominated by soul, R&B and, if we’re lucky, some classic pop.
That might be our lot for 2009 as it’s unlikely Simon Cowell will persuade any of his protégés to cover Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath anytime soon.

But the fact that rock made its presence felt on Saturday night telly is surely something worth celebrating. Now if only they’d replace Bruce Forsyth with Bruce Dickinson…