Sunday, October 09, 2005

Been Around The World And Ay-ay-ay: Part 1

Transmission date: 8th October 2005
We open with Kate in a white vest in front of the Hollywood sign talking on blahdiblah, some people are left, it’s important, move along folks nothing to see here. Simon’s taking the groups to Spain, Louis’s taking the Under 25s to Dublin and Sharon’s taking the 25+s to her home in LA. Each group greets the news of the destination with immense excitement. Simon says that ‘one of the groups will win’ and I wonder if he has a specific one in mind, or if he just thinks they’re all great. A Conway Sister says ‘the further you go, the more you want it.’ An Addictive Lady says much the same thing. I can’t help thinking they should be a bit more helpful with the names by now. [Meh. The production team doesn’t seem to think so, so why should you worry? – Steve] Especially when the likes of me are watching. In Dublin, to the accompaniment of Massive Attack’s ‘Heat Miser’, Louis says ‘four of them are going to get on TV.’ Apart from the fact they’ve all been on TV for several weeks now. He then says ‘I am looking for the X factor.’ And bravo, Louis, for getting so far and still remembering the assignment. Have a biscuit. He believes that ‘the winner’s in my category.’ Then we cut to Sharon’s, well, palace, in LA. We’re treated to an extensive Through The Keyhole roam around, but we’ve all seen The Osbournes, so it’s nothing new. Sharon says ‘me, personally, I think I’ve got a winner.’ Fancy that! All the judges think the winner is in their category. However will they reconcile that at the end? Then we have a ‘coming up’, a competition and adverts. The programme has been on for FOUR MINUTES. Isn’t that against Ofcom rules? Steve? [I thought it was, but I can’t find anything to back that theory up. They’ve just got to have a period of at least 20 minutes between internal ad breaks. Gentlemen – set your timers! - Steve]

We return from the break to Sharon’s house and N.E.R.D.’s ‘Rock Star’ plays. Hee! ‘You can’t be me, I’m a rock star!’ – listen up contestants, you know it’s the truth. The over-25s get to record some tracks in Ozzy’s studio, and now Madonna’s ‘Music’ plays. Which is to say the track called Music, that wasn’t just bitchy air quotes like Gina G’s ‘comeback’ or Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s ‘wedding’. Along with Sharon, Mark the vocal coach (the dick with the multi-coloured beard), the PR guru whose name I missed and Ozzy is, somewhat bizarrely, Rachel Hunter. Her presence is never explained or even particularly alluded to. We see some footage of Maria’s wedding, which she describes as a ‘proper fairytale.’ She missed her honeymoon to come to Sharon’s house. She’s wearing big boots, tiny denim hot pants and little black vest. She has surprisingly enormous breasts, and looks hott. She sings Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since U Been Gone’, which I think is quite a good choice in ‘look, I can sing different styles’ terms. Personally, I think she nails it, and Guru says she’s the ‘real deal.’ Sharon says the song was too big for her.
Ritchie, the bug-eyed warehouse worker, sings U2’s ‘One.’ He’s shit, shit, shit, and Sharon clearly didn’t learn her lesson with Tabby last year, because this guy is just Twoby. He says to Kate ‘I nailed that badboy!’ and I dislike him a little bit more.
Haifa, hereafter referred to as Heifer because she’s a big cow, sings that ‘Lifting Me Higher’ (your love keeps lifting me, lifting me higher and higher) song that I’m never actually sure of the title of. [It’s called ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher’ by Jackie Wilson. – Steve] She has some taped backing vocals which kind of drown her out. She’s terrible. She’s like the woman that sings the ‘£1.99’ song on the Burger King advert. For her interview, we get more Josh Stone playing in the background. For God’s sake, producers, let the Heifer-Josh thing go already. We get it. [Totally. They both have big hair and they’re both annoying. – Steve]
Andy the Binman sings ‘My Cherie Amour,’ a song I truly hate. It’s note perfect, but kind of stilted. Ozzy looks astonished.
Brenda talks about how she’s been given a golden opportunity, and she’s ‘gonna take it by the horns and run with it…in these heels!’ The camera pans down to show she is, indeed, wearing great big heels. She sings Etta James, and at first I say ‘bad decision’, but she totally pulls it off.
Joanne sings ‘Right Here Waiting.’ We see Kate interview her over her performance, which is a really really bad sign for Joanne’s future in this competition. I mean, they can’t be bothered to show her singing? Yeah, that’s a real long-term investment there. When we do get to see her she’s fine but not exceptional at all.
Now it’s Fucking Chico’s turn. Sharon’s expecting him to pull something special out of the bag. Make your own penis joke. He interviews to camera that ‘it’s Chico time, it’s Chico time.’ He sings ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca,’ jumps into a pool of water and rips his shirt off. He’s vile. Ozzy interviews that ‘I wouldn’t jump in water with a fucking live mic, no way.’ Heh. When Ozzy Osbourne is worried because something you’re doing is too risky, that’s time to take note. Sadly no accidents happened. No Kentucky Fried Chico. Seriously, this guy should NOT be here. Sharon’s menopausal cravings for his cock are not sufficient reason for him to have got this far in a singing competition.
We hear the judges comment over pictures of multiple contestants, to try and confuse us. Maria and Heifer are bundled together, which is just ridiculous because Maria pees all over Heifer. Fucking Chico says, ‘if I’m not good enough then I’m not the man for the job.’ [Chico: You’re fired! – Donald Trump] Over footage of Twoby, Andy and Fucking Chico, Sharon says ‘I would be proud to have him in my four.’ Then over footage of Joanne and Brenda the judges say ‘she’s yet to do a bad vocal performance.’ Which must be in reference to Brenda, given how badly Joanne screwed up at bootcamp.

Adverts. Then Spain. Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet plays again, so I’m totally running with my theory that this is all tied in with the Chanel advert and Simon is an ‘Egoiste!’ Kate, in the same clothes she was wearing in LA [Skank. – Steve], welcomes us to Simon’s ‘ginormous holiday home.’ The kids dive into Simon’s pool. The Addictive Ladies want to own somewhere like this. Now, a sentence from Simon, entirely out of context: ‘now they’re here, they can feel it and touch it.’ [How else did they expect to get a record deal? – Steve] The panel comes out. Sinitta’s wearing a gold bikini, a loose cardigan sort of thing, and a straw hat with a brim diameter of about three feet. She looks AWESOME. Before they sing, Simon has a little chat with each of the contestants. Massive Attack plays in the background. It will not be the last time. Fourth Ba5e, as they call themselves, or Fourth Bafivee as I see them, are told they’re too desperate. They say it’s because there’s so much at stake. Eskimo Blonde tell Simon they like a Challenge, because they like to prove themselves. Journey South are in a lot of debt from moving to London to try and make it as singers. (So that was their journey south? Oh god.) Addictive Ladies are told that ‘if it weren’t for your personalities’ they wouldn’t be there. Simon tells them that if they can’t handle the song he’s given them, they’re out. Simon tells The Brothers ‘you’re not a boyband, you’re talented singers’ and that that’s what he wants to hear.’ [Bollocks. They’re a fucking boyband. Never deny that you’re a boyband; look what happened to One True Voice. – Steve] He tells the Conway Sisters ‘if you screw up the lyrics again, I will not give you a second chance.’ He tells Fortune to look like they’re having fun. I have to say I like this move by Simon, letting them know exactly what he expects.
The Brothers sing ‘What becomes of the broken-hearted’. The guy they’ve got doing lead vocals is really not that good at all, but as a group they pull it off. Fortune sing ‘I don’t wanna talk about it’ and are very good. Fourth Bafivee sing ‘Your Song.’ They’re terrible. The lead vocalist is totally off. They’re not singing the actually melody. My notes say ‘what? that’s not the song.’ The backing guys just go ‘ooh I, ooh I, ooh I’. It’s really really terrible. They forgot the lyrics and admit that ‘we cracked’ and ‘we know in our heart of hearts that we’re going.’ The Conway Sisters sing Josh Groban’s ‘You Raise Me Up.’ They’re very loud and not awful. Simon just says ‘okay’, when they’re done, which is ominous. Eskimo Blonde sing ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ and I quite like it. They’ve arranged the vocals cleverly. One of the non-main ones says ‘I thought I was ridiculously bad.’ Journey South sing ‘Desperado’ and I seriously did not recognise the song until I heard the title word, so badly did they mangle the tune. It was ’orrible. Addictive Ladies sing ‘Wishing on a Star’, and I suddenly see what Simon means about them having to handle the song they’ve been given, because it’s a hard song to sing, and even harder to arrange for multiple voices. They don’t do too badly at all, although they’re still stronger individually than as an ensemble, but one says ‘we’re not through at all.’
Fortune want to prove they can do it, because they went out at this stage last year. In the same ‘ooh, who is it’ style, we see Simon saying there’s ‘nowhere to go’ over footage of Journey South, the Conway Sisters and Eskimo Blonde. Over Fortune and the Brothers we hear that they’re too perfect and that Simon wishes he’d met them three years ago, when they were young, naïve and pliable and he could mould them into exactly what he wanted. He only said some of that sentence. Over the Ladies and Fourth Bafivee, we hear that they’re got bravery and potential, but that it could be train wreck television.

Adverts. Dublin. Björk’s ‘Play Dead’, well, plays closely followed by the American Beauty Music. Kate’s in the same vest. SO DUMB. Dudes, we didn’t believe that Kate was going from group to group when it was bootcamp. No-one believes that these stints at the judge’s homes are concurrent and that Kate’s jetting around the world. Seriously. No-one. Louis has chosen the songs for the kids to sing. Trevor is wearing lots of sovereign rings. [He also looks like a gameshow host when he’s wearing a suit. – Steve] Shane says ‘all I want is just a better life.’ He sings ‘All I Need is the Air that I Breathe,’ and kind of forgets the words but says ‘I think I’ve done enough for myself’. James is proud of himself to get to the final 7 from 75,000. (Strictly speaking, the final 21, but I get his point, and admire it.) He sings some song that keeps going ‘goodbye’ but I don’t know what it is. He is really, REALLY nasal. He makes one of the girls cry. Steve, help me out with which one. [It was Faye. Also, I recognise the song, and it’s bugging me because I don’t know what it’s called or who sang it. But if I sang it down the phone to Magic FM I’m sure one of the DJs could tell us. – Steve] She says ‘I just really like him’ and not, as Scott thought, ‘I’m just really drunk.’ Alexandra says that ‘to know I’ve got the Lord behind me 100 percent feels good.’ She sings Randy Crawford’s ‘Almaz’ and warbles up and down on every single note, and I have to say I don’t like it. Almaz is a quiet, gentle little song, and she kind of hollers. It doesn’t really work. Chenai feels more ready for it than she did last year. She sings ‘I’m Still Waiting’ and it’s rather lovely – she resists the temptation to oversing. She stills thinks that she could have done better. For Philip, it hasn’t sunk in that he’s there. He sings a song I have never ever heard in my life that goes ‘Don’t Forget To Remember Me.’ He’s very loud, and is in tune. And is still fit. Nicholas is proud and excited and chuffed. Once he says the word chuffed, I love him a little bit, because to me you’re chuffed if you get an extra portion of fries in your KFC. It just seems a very understated word for such a big achievement. He sings ‘You Make Me Feel Brand New’ and starts off unbelievably good, but then goes falsetto and I really don’t like it. Go falsetto for the last word to show you can do it, certainly. But he does it for like five or six lines, and it doesn’t work. Trevor says that it’s all weird because ‘you go to work you stack shelves and you expect that’s how the rest of your life’s going to be.’ That would be sad enough coming from anyone, but it makes me want to cry that this 16-year-old isn’t saying ‘you go to college, do your homework, and you expect that’s how the rest of your life’s going to be.’ Go back to school, Trevor! He sings something about a moment that isn’t Martine McCutcheon’s ‘Perfect Moment’. Again I’m terrified by the enormous deep voice that comes out of this tiny ginger child. Trevor, somehow, think that he’s messed it up, despite the fact he was good.
In the mystery comments, someone’s not ‘wow’ but could be; someone’s a dark horse; the woman that didn’t cry says, ‘if we’re looking for someone who’s going to get votes, the public WILL vote for him.’ Mercenary bitch! Good for her. Louis says ‘I only want 1 girl through.’ Which would be fair enough if he thought that only one of them was good enough, but that’s clearly not where he’s going. He’s dividing the places on sex, not on merit, which is entirely ridiculous. [And enforcing ridiculous quotas like that is one reason why Louis won’t win this year either. Well, that and the fact that Simon’s production company makes the show. – Steve] We’re also told that they will all have a longer wait than they expected because Louis’s going to sleep on it. Well, tell them then! Don’t just be all, ‘oh god, they’re going to be wondering what’s going on.’

Oh my god. I’ve got another one of these things to do. Incidentally, I just checked the website for the spellings. I have been SO wrong. It’s Shayne, not Shane. It’s Richie, not Ritchie. 4Tune, not Fortune. It’s 4th Ba5e, not Fourth. And for some reason, it’s Addictiv Ladies. Please bear in mind that I got the spellings I used throughout this recap from checking the official website last week. Once again, the attention to detail and awesome production values of this show are revealed. [I officially retract my apology last week since we were spelling 4Tune right all along. – Steve]

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