Transmission date: 15th October 2005
Live shows, everybody. Kind of the unfortunate anticlimax, where there aren't any really pathetic wannabes left to make fun of (except Chico) and the whole thing isn't as interesting anymore. But this is no fairweather blog, and we're sticking with it to the bitter end. Even through the 90-minute opening show and the 30-minute results show. That's 120 minutes of The X Factor I've sat through with a notepad for you guys, videoing the whole godforsaken thing. I'm just too nice for my own damned good.
New! Glamourous! Montage! Everyone's been glamoured up to the nines, everyone looking far more attractive than any of the contestants on Britain's Next Top Model (except Chico), and interspersed with the same old shots of the judges. Call me cruel, but I enjoyed the unfortunate juxtaposition of Louis's beautiful acts and Louis's own pug face. I'm inclined to think half of the production budget of this show was spent on this montage. Which is a shame, since it's only getting one paragraph of update regardless.
Credits! Same old shit. Kate walks onto the newly-blue live studio set, which looks bigger and more impressive than last year's, although I think this is just a trompe l'oeil and it's exactly the same except for the colours. I'm relieved to be finally saying this: Kate looks good. She's wearing a nice understated black dress [The straps made her look very broad in the shoulders, though. - Joel] and has her hair tied neatly back in a faintly schoolmarmish way. She introduces the contestants and the judges and holy hell, what happened to Sharon's hair? It's gone all blonde and floppy, and dare I say it, but she looks good too. Younger, I think. And a bit mumsy. After a lot of old guff about how exciting it is to be here and a lot of stuff we've heard paraphrased versions of all the way through the series (no way, I'm not writing about it, this is going to take me long enough as it is) we get to the good stuff. Kate announces that we're going to start with the groups, which initially makes me think that all of the groups are going to go first, putting Simon at a massive disadvantage, but that wasn't how it actually worked out in the end.
The first act to perform live on the show this year (which must make them incredibly nervous) is the Addictiv Ladies. I don't envy them having this slot; it must be almost impossible to make such an impression in the first slot that people still remember you as their favourite act. They sing 'Superstar' by Jamelia, or Christine Milton if you're that way inclined. Lead singer Fleur is rather wobbly on the vocal front, and I'm not sure if this is a genuine vocal problem or just nerves. Surprisingly, the other girls have sorted out their harmonies and are sounding much better. Not particularly great, but better. They've got a bit of a dance routine going on, and it's all quite nice, if not entirely in time with each other. The whole performance isn't anything to blow you away and has the faint whiff of karaoke, but is better than I expected. [It still wasn’t great, but at least they were all flat in the same way this time, instead of different variations of flat. - Joel] I'm disappointed when it ends, not exactly because I was enjoying it, but more because I felt that it never really had a chance to get going. A song like 'Superstar' really lets you let rip when you get to the middle eight, but when you have 12 acts to squeeze into a 95-minute slot, that's never really going to be possible, especially when you want to fit in as much pathetic infighting between the judges as you can.
Kate throws to Sharon for comments, and Sharon talks about how much she likes the girls and how they make her smile. She also gives them credit for looking like 17-year-olds, which they are; in other words, she admires them for not trying to look older than they really are. [I kinda thought they were dressed like croupiers. - Joel] Louis is next, and less complimentary: he thinks they looked like they were performing in a school hall for a bit of fun, calling them "amateurish" and saying that they need a lot of vocal training. All of these things are true, but that doesn't mean I have to like or respect him, right? Largely because I'm sure that if they were one of his acts he would have said they were great and if any other judge had tried to say that, he would have made snide comments. Simon admits to having had sleepless nights about putting them through, but thinks they "did fantastic". I'm sending Simon a book on the deployment of adverbs for his birthday. He also comments that Louis hasn't been to a school in 50 years (I was going to make an obscene comment about Louis's possible reasons for returning to school here, [Ha! That’s exactly where I went too. - Joel] but my lawyer has advised me against it), and in the first of many pathetic responses tonight, Louis crows "I went to your school play." Not funny or cutting, Louis. If you can't say anything intelligent, please be quiet. In fact, could someone gag him? Thanks. Kate asks the girls for their comments, and Vivienne (I think) thanks Louis for his words, and saying that they will take it on board and be even better next time. Kate comments that it was a mature response for a 17-year-old, and I agree. Louis could learn something from these girls. Instead he nods his head and makes some comment which looks like "good, I hope so" but is drowned out by the audience cheering. Simon shouts "you were brilliant!" which is quite cute. Kate gives out the voting numbers and the multitude of ways in which you can vote, and an unfortunate slip of the tongue makes it sound like she's telling us that sex costs 35p. Hee. Insert "cheap skanky ho" joke here.
Next up is Shayne, who's looking good in his made-over shots against the black background. He comes onto stage looking decidedly less glamourous, and sings Richard Marx's 'Right Here Waiting'. His vocal is quite good, and definitely stronger than the Addictiv Ladies, but his voice is nasal and boring to listen to. Also, he has an extremely irritating and distracting way of pronouncing his rs, making more of an "urrrr" sound with them. "Whurrrrevurrrr you go, whatevurrrrr you do, I will be right heurrrrr waiting furrrrr you". I really really hope he doesn't do that next week. Also, his rendition of the song isn't a patch on Cheryl's on Popstars: The Rivals. Simon declares Shayne "one to watch", correctly pointing out that some of his phrasing is off, making him sound like a pub singer, and that he needs better songs (word, Simon) but that he sees him at the end of the competition. Sharon says that she thinks he's insecure, and Simon interjects that he needs to be singing a younger song, which Sharon agrees with. Louis completely misses the point of Simon's pub singer comment by saying that all the great singers started in pubs [All the great singers, from Tom Jones to Engelbert Humperdink, he said. Because that’s really a broad church. Idiot. - Joel] (yes, Louis, and an awful lot of singers never get beyond pubs, which is the point that Simon was making, you cretin). Kate invites Shayne to talk, and oh dear me, this boy does not respond to well to being asked to talk spontaneously on live television. He wibbles various banalities, and Kate asks him why the audience should vote for him. Shayne says that we should vote for him because he really wants it. Oh well, that will set him apart from the others, furrrr suurrrrrre. [He should have said he’d get his knob out. - Joel] [And ruin Chico's act for next week? - Steve] Still to come, Kate tells us, are Journey South, Phillip and Chico. If that isn't an invitation to switch off now and never come back, I don't know what is.
Back from the back, Kate throws to Sharon to represent the over-25s, and Sharon wonders what time it is? Time for an intravenous infusion of vodka? Oh no, it's Chico time, apparently. Aarg. Chico talks in VT about how we've not seen the best of him yet. The scary thing is that I truly believe we have. He comes out and does a stagey leap onto the - well, the stage - and kind of stumbles as he lands, which is deeply satisfying to watch. Never one to be labelled a one-trick pony, Chico performs 'Do Ya Think I'm Sexy' and changes the lyrics so they're about Sharon. YAWN. Notice how I said "performs" and not "sings", because he doesn't sing. Like, at all. He yells, and he talks, and he grunts, but at no point does he sing. He takes his jacket off and then Chico's Tits take over for the rest of the song. It's an absolute car crash, especially when he tries a bit of Mariah-style warbling at the end. [I think my exact words were ‘don’t do runs. People who can SING struggle with them’. - Joel] GET OFF MY TV, CHICO'S TITS. Louis says that Chico's Tits were "born to boogie" and that he "owned the stage". Oh please. He wasn't even subletting the stage. He calls Chico's Tits "a born entertainer...not a great singer - it doesn't matter!" Oh really? Since when? I was under the impression that the winner of this show got a recording contract. Simon's turn, and he calls Chico's Tits "a nice guy, but what. The Hell. Was that?" And if either of us is ill at any point, I think Simon just secured himself the role of guest writer for this blog, right Joel? [That would be the best thing evah. - Joel] Simon says it was "like being at a Chippendales concert". Has he been to one? Chico's Tits make the "shushy shushy" gesture and reply "Simon, you wouldn't know a superstar if it hit you on the nose!" Apparently I missed the opening of the Louis Walsh School Of Non-Witty Rejoinders, even if Chico's Tits didn't. Simon looks stumped, not because that was a clever comeback but just because how do you solve a problem like Chico's Tits? You just can't. Chico's Tits claim to be speaking for the nation. Simon begs to differ. Sharon interjects and tells Simon that Chico's Tits are "a fabulous entertainer. All-round entertainer. And it's up to the public to decide." You heard her. Please don't let me down. Incidentally, Chico's Tits stand there throughout this holding a red jacket. Indicator of future career, anyone? [I did like it when Kate asked Chico’s Tits how they were going to convert Simon and they said ‘He’s already converted. He’s just pretending.’ But they will not make me buy a Chico’s Tits album. And that’s the point – ‘entertainer’ he may be, but no-one will buy his records. He can’t sing, and on a CD, you don’t get to look at his oily tits. - Joel]
Simon's eyebrows of irony say "that will be a hard one to follow" and he declares it time "to reintroduce the singers to the competition". Yay! Oh, wait, he means Journey South. Boo. After the introductory montage which says nothing of interest, they sing 'Something About The Way You Look Tonight' by Elton John, and it's really not impressive. It's flat in quite a few places, and reeks of desperation. Perhaps Chico's Tits permanently polluted the stage? Also, remember how Joel described the band name as sounding "like an oral sex roadtrip porno"? Take a look at this picture and tell me if the position of Carl's head in relation to Andy, considering the band's name, does not totally squick you out. EW. Anyway, Andy looks more and more like early Bryan McFadden every single day, and they're still a rubbish pub band when all's said and done. Also, is it just me, or are these guys what Sam and Mark will be in ten years' time? Louis says that he's liked them since day one, that they picked a good song (hmm, funny how when the song is good the band gets the credit for it, and when it's bad it's all the mentor's fault) and that they have a great image (ha! ha!). Sharon likes how they're "genuine" and "vulnerable". Simon, of course, sings their praises, citing their lack of attitude, their having earnt the right to be here with all those years in the clubs, yadda yadda yadda. The boys are humble and thank the judges for their kind comments. All very nice, but can someone throw a glass of liquid over Louis already? I'm bored.
Phillip is the next contestant to grace the stage. I'm only going to bother mentioning what people do in their introductions if they say anything interesting, and since very few of them do, that's why this update may seem a little stop-starty. There's something very awkward about his stance on the stage - I can't decide whether he's got a very unnatural posture for singing or whether the mic stand is just a little bit too low for him, but he kind of sings side-on and leaning over, which is all a bit too Notre Dame for my liking. He sings 'Amazed' by Lonestar, and it's one of those songs that I'm sat there for ages going "I know this one, what is it?" before eventually realising, and going "Oh. That one." John and Holly join me at this point before heading out for the evening (lucky bastards) and John remarks that Phillip's "legs look stumpy". Holly points out that he's trying too hard, and has absolutely no charisma. Steve points out that Phillip has massively overactive eyebrows. John remarks that "he looks like every other 16-year-old out on the pull. He should be wearing a bright green shirt or something." And there we have it - that sums Phillip up exactly. He's so generic-looking and so thoroughly lacking in star quality that I wonder what the hell he's doing here when James, Trevor and Alexandra are all at home watching this and weeping with their families. And therapists. What's also depressing is that I'm sure there are messageboards all over the internet that, even as I speak, are filling up with "OMGWTFBBQ he iz lush n gorge!!!!1!!" Maybe Phillip might not be heading for the early departure I anticipated. Anyway, the song is dull and so is he. [And he was doing an Elvis impression the whole time, so twangy were his vocals. - Joel]Sharon comments that Phillip is a dark horse, citing how nervous and insecure he looked at yesterday's sound check and how he surprised her with tonight's performance. Simon: "It was okay. Louis had a lot of people to choose from." HAHAHA! Ohhh, BURN! See, Louis? That is how it's done. "For me it was like someone leaving a boyband - who wasn't very good - and doing their first single - which wasn't very good." The audience boos, even though Simon is right on the money with that one. Louis says that Phillip doesn't have the experience of the other acts, but that he has the talent. "The fact that Simon is unimpressed I think is a good sign." Yes, except for the fact that Simon's production company makes this show. Louis then adds "I hope everybody in Northern Ireland lifts their phones (?) and votes for Phillip." Ahhh, suddenly everything becomes clear. Trust Louis to play the Irish card. [If you don’t vote for Phillip, you don’t feel guilty about the Potato Famine! - Joel] Kate turns to Phillip for his comments, and Phillip is every bit as inarticulate as everyone who went before him. He's so dull! Next!
An ad break, but not before Kate invites us to enter a competition that will allow us to win "a slice of Sharon's lifestyle". Hey, as long as it doesn't involve being married to Ozzy or mother to Kelly, count me in.
After the break, it's Brenda. Hurrah! Sadly, even the lovely Brenda's intro is dull as polyester, but I will point out how gorgeous she looks in her photoshoot. Brenda walks onto the stage, looking fabulous, and sings 'Son Of A Preacher Man' and it's easily the best vocal performance of the night so far. [It’s way too fast though. Not her fault, but the band/backing track (?) has gained half a beat, which gave her trouble with her phrasing. - Joel] She's the only one who looks like she's having fun, and she actually is owning the stage. My only reservation is that this is probably the sort of song that Brenda could do in her sleep and I'd like to see her do something a little more challenging in future. Simon comments that he doesn't recognise Brenda as the woman he saw at the audition any more, and that her transformation is remarkable. His main reservation is that up until tonight he thought she saw the competition as a bit of a joke (and if she does, she's absolutely right) but now he thinks she's in it to win it. His question is: is Brenda a good club singer, or does she have the X factor? "X Factor!" screams the audience as one. Louis is less complimentary: he thinks there's something missing. Hmmm. A hilarious speech impediment? A penis? A mentor by the name of Louis Walsh? [Steve. That’s not fair. He likes blind people as well. - Joel] As far as I understand it, that's pretty much what you need in this show to get Louis's vote, so I think Brenda's doing just fine without those. Louis doesn't see her selling a million records, and calls Brenda "a good backup singer". Sharon compliments Brenda, and informs Simon that the clubs in which Brenda will be playing are "huge clubs, where people will pay hundreds of pounds to come and see [her]." Aw. Brenda, absolutely reeking of class at this point, says that she took the judges' comments on board in Belfast and that she will take tonight's comments on board as well and do better next week. She urges the viewers to vote for her, saying how much she wants to stay on the stage. It's so nice to see someone so articulate on that stage at last.
Next up, the Conway Sisters. Simon tells us in the VT that he's got a lot of confidence in them because they're very good singers. See, Louis? It does matter. I'm struck by how greasy their skin looks in their interview. They come onto the stage looking very boho [It looks like they walked past an exploding River Island on their way to the studio. - Joel] and sing Abba's 'S.O.S.' Some of the notes are a little too low for lead singer Marie, but the harmonies are awesome and are what, if anything, will keep the girls in this competition. Sharon wasn't overly impressed - she calls the girls "too nice" and says that she wants more passion from the performance, which is a fair comment, although I question exactly how much passion you can inject into this particular song. Louis likes the girls because they're Irish (of course). However, he thinks Simon picked the wrong song for them. He snots "I'm surprised you didn't pick 'Dancing Queen', Simon." Simon deadpans, "They'll play that at your wedding, Louis." BURN! Multiple burn there, I think. Third-degree burn. "You'll dance to it," replies Louis, which shows again just how terrible he is at coming up with witty and quick responses. Simon agrees that he chose the wrong song for them, apologises to the girls, and says that if the viewers vote to keep them in, he promises to pick a much better song for them next week. And let's just reflect on Simon's class here, in comparison to every single thing that Louis says during the show. The girls meekly interview that they had fun with the song, promising to bring back some oomph for Sharon next week if they get through. "Give them another chance!" Simon shouts. Aw, again.
Back from the adverts, and Kate introduces the next contestant with her back to the judges. In the background you can see Simon whispering something into Sharon's ear. I wonder what that could have been? Do we think he discovered the thing that Louis doesn't want Simon or Sharon to know about? Great for him if he has, since the viewers certainly never found out what it was. Anyway, the next contestant is Nicholas, and Louis introduces him as a great soul singer. Nicholas mentions in his VT package that getting this far is such an achievement that the hard work has already paid off. Not so much, kiddo; you've got a maximum of ten more weeks before that happens. Now, if you've got a great male soul singer on your hands, what song might you pick for him to sing? 'Stand By Me', perhaps? 'I Don't Want To Talk About It'? No, Louis has decided that the perfect song for Nicholas to show off his mad soul singin' skillz is 'On The Wings Of Love', because Louis is a complete idiot. Nicholas struggles with the song a lot, and doesn't quite seem to be able to find the right key. [He does that thing again where he keeps falsettoing on and on, rather than just showing it off on a couple of notes. - Joel] In general, his performance is awful, but he can't really take the blame, since it's clear he's doing the best he can with the shitty hand he was dealt and it's not his fault that Louis hasn't bought any new records since 1984. Simon says this slightly more politely in his comments, and fingers Louis (ewww, not like that) for picking an inappropriate song. Louis is unwilling to take the blame, of course, and blathers on about how it's a classic, before making a vague comment about how Simon cocked up with 'S.O.S.' so he's allowed to make a mistake too. The difference being, of course, that Simon learnt from that mistake and I doubt Louis will. Louis then proceeds to talk all over Sharon, and where exactly is the Queen of Darkness now? Punch him, Sharon, for all of our sakes. Kate asks Nicholas what he thought of the song, and Nicholas robotically says that Louis didn't force him to do that song, that he wanted to do it too, that they chose it and worked on it together, and if all that is true, MechaNick, why did you stare at your shoes for the entirety of that speech? Phillip's the shy one, but even he managed to look at the camera, for fuck's sake. I suspect that Louis has Nicholas well and truly whipped, and that Nicholas daren't criticise in case he really does end up singing 'Dancing Queen' next week.
Maria! Hooray! I know that Joel and I haven't exactly been subtle about singing her praises, but she really does look absolutely gorgeous in her VT package. It's no wonder that when we first saw her we genuinely thought she was in the 16-24 category. Sharon talks in the VT about what a refreshing discovery Maria is, and how wonderful it will be to have "our own Beyoncé". It's a nice theory, Sharon, but the last person to express a desire to be the British Beyoncé was Rachel Stevens, and look what happened to her. It's not that I don't love the Rachel, but the closest she got to Beyoncé was the way that everybody who bought her album complained that nothing on it held a candle to the lead single. But I digress. Maria sings 'Emotion' à la Destiny's Child, and you might want to dial down the Beyoncé comparisons before they come back to bite you in the ass, Sharon. It's a fantastic performance, though, and the level of control she has over her voice is astounding. Maria is absolutely in a class of her own compared to everyone who's gone before. [My one reservation is that that song relies heavily on backing vocals and she got a little bit lost at points. She needs to do a completely solo number. - Joel] Louis thinks that Maria is fantastic. Simon thought that she was nervous, but that she delivered and that she's the one who can be relied on to bring a shock to the competition. I think he means that she can be relied on to step outside of her comfort zone and sing challenging songs, rather than to sweat so much she short-circuits the microphone. Sharon is extremely vocal in her praise, and mentions Maria's "body to die for". And it's true, as Joel texted me to point out that Maria does have massive tits. Maria tears up a little and begs the audience to vote for her. She's extremely awed by the situation and the praise, and it's completely adorable.
Up next (dear God, is it not over?) are 4Tune, and Simon takes great pleasure in crowing about how Louis didn't put them through to the finals last year. They sing 'I Want It That Way' by the Backstreet Boys, a song that is most familiar to me for the fact that the title is very similar to a line that appeared in a Deidre's Photo Casebook on the subject of male bisexuality round about the time of its release, so it will always be known to me as 'I Like It Both Ways'. Phil, I think, looks so cheerful throughout the whole thing that he does come off looking a teensy bit queer. Sorry, Phil. [Ssh! We love lovely Smiley Phil. He looks like a cartoon. - Joel] Their rendition is largely by-numbers until they get to the key change, where they step out from behind their microphones (oh well, at least they didn't get up off their stools) and start ad-libbing, which is much, much better. I was going to refer to it as "freestyling", but I think free styling is what happened to their outfits this evening, since I'd swear that get-up was donated by Burtons for no charge. [I said ‘It looks like someone shook a Gap catalogue until the boys fell out’, so much the same thinking there. - Joel] I think they looked better before, and that's not much of a compliment. Louis admits that he didn't put them through last year, and that he's not sorry because he didn't think they were ready, and he still doesn't. What, and Two To Go were set for the big time? Pull the other one. Also, note Louis's attitude again here, for we shall refer to it later. Sharon asks them what their names are, and an entire viewing audience screams "thank you!" as one since we no longer have to refer to them as "the one in the mauve t-shirt". She singles out Phil for looking relaxed and cheerful (if that's what the kids are calling it these days) and suggests that the others take a leaf out of his book. Mike, by the way, has tits that rival Maria's, size-wise. Simon thinks they did well. And if I may quote verbatim from my notes at this point: "Louis horrible smug face want to punch it AND KILL HIM."
Penultimately we have Chenai. Louis doesn't have an original bone in his body, so he decides to introduce Chenai by pointing out that Sharon didn't put her through last year. Déjà vu, anyone? Awesomely, we cut to VT but not before Sharon's mic is faded and we can hear her screeching "cheap shot!" over the footage. The intro is dull. Chenai comes onto the stage, and what the hell is she wearing? Seriously, it looks like she was stuck in a walk-in wardrobe during a powercut and just walked into the rails until she felt her body was covered and then went out dressed like that. My notes say "Fugly ensemble, Chenai." Then they also say "AARG" rather a lot, because Chenai sings 'The Closest Thing To Crazy' by Katie Melua, a song I absolutely detest, in no small part owing to the wretchedness of Melua herself, but also because it's just so sickeningly banal. I attempted to take notes, but they read thus: "Chenai sings Melua's 'Closest Thing To Crazy' and I just cannot AAARG make it stop I hate this song. Good vocal but I just CAN'T LIKE IT." Like Nicholas, the song is not Chenai's fault and she does the best she can with what she's given, but at least this song is in the same ballpark as Chenai's type of song so she does a number on it and comes out of the whole thing with a bunch of Radio 2-loving fans, I'm sure. Sharon: "Chenai! I know how to say your name. Your mentor doesn't, but Mrs O does!" And she cackles. And little things like that are the reason why I would quite like Sharon as my mentor if I were on this show. Sharon is graceful in her comments and says how happy she is to see Chenai in the finals, which is exactly what Louis should have said about 4Tune but of course he's too much of an utter wanker to think of a little thing like courtesy. Again, my notes say, à propos of nothing: "Louis is so petty and so fkn hateful. Can't bear the little pug shit." Simon says the song is too old for her, to which Louis crows that it came out in 2003, and implies that Simon doesn't have his finger on the pulse. Uhh, Louis? What Simon meant is that it's a song for an older person than Chenai to sing, in much the same way that 'All By Myself' was a completely inappropriate song for Cassie to sing last year. Interestingly, Chenai is 19 and Katie Melua was 19 when this song was released. You might think that makes it fine, but the song includes the line "feeling 22, acting 17". It was stupid when Melua sang it, not least because the difference in most people's behaviour between the ages of 17 and 22 is barely perceptible, but also because she hadn't even reached the older age yet. Kate asks Chenai if she thought the song was wrong for her, and Chenai admits it's not what she would normally choose to sing. Since there are no flies on Sharon, she immediately asks what Chenai would have chosen to sing herself, and Chenai attempts to save Louis by saying "Whitney, Aretha, but everyone chooses that!", but I think it's clear that Louis is trying to market Chenai to a demographic entirely different to the one she's suited to. I've found all of Louis's song choices to be pisspoor at best this evening, and I'm convinced that he's determined to make his acts as boring and MOR as humanly possible. Conclusive proof, I think you'll find, that he is Girls Aloud's manager in name only, since otherwise they'd be sitting on stools and doing U2 covers like Bellefire by now. Or serving shots off their bellies in Stoke nightclubs.
The last act! Finally! The best slot to get because all the audience will remember you, and I can't help feeling that it's slightly wasteful to give it to Andy, since no one was likely to forget about him anyway. Sharon refers to him as "the coolest man in the UK". I'm not sure we've seen much evidence of that. The fact that Andy is a binman is mentioned several times, everyone mentioning distastefully how the tabloids picked that up and ran with it, and if you really don't want the "singing binman" label to stick then STOP MENTIONING IT. Andy sings 'The Greatest Love Of All', and his mic level is too low, which is a problem that's beset several people this evening. Because he's Andy, though, it matters not one bit, and he brings it on home without even breaking a sweat. Wasn't this one of Steve's songs from last year? Is Andy basically just Brookstein 2.0? Because if he is, why don't we just give him the prize already so we can all go home? I'd love an Andy/Maria final, but I'm not sure how possible that is. I'm sure that even if the votes went that way, the producers wouldn't let one judge have two acts in the final, it would be ludicrous. And at this point I realised that Maria will never win. Sniff. But as long as none of Louis's acts win, I don't care, and I will throw every last piece of my support behind Andy if it means Louis loses for a second year in a row. Louis can't believe Andy is unsigned. Simon wishes Andy were in his group. Basically it's a big Andy love-in, and deservedly so. Barring natural disasters and acts of God, this guy's a shoo-in for the final.
Kate tells us we have one hour to vote, and recaps the numbers. Who's your favourite? She tells us that they'll be back at 8:35pm, and signs off. Would that I could. [I’m loving the judges’ pictures by the phone numbers, because Louis looks so spectacularly like an old woman that it’s hilarious. He should be in a Clover advert, making boiled egg and soldiers for his grandchildren. - Joel]
And we're back! Does it mean anything that Andy's face is the last one we see in the pre-show montage? I can't remember if that happened the first time around, but maybe the deification of Andy starts here. Kate thanks us all for our votes, and says the response is "massive". Interestingly, we're not given any actual figures so I wonder if we're down on last year. I also wonder how many votes are being cast in this compared to Strictly Come Dancing over on BBC One. I wish I were writing about that show. The text and interactive votes are closed, but we have three minutes to land a final vote in. I've already cast my vote, thanks Kate. We get a visual recap of tonight's performances, on the off-chance that anyone who didn't see the show might be insane enough to want to vote anyway. I won't say any more about this, because it's all above this. You were there. I was there. Remember? We had cake. Ahhh, good times. The voting closes, and apparently they're being tallied exactly as they come in, because there isn't even a pause before Kate announces the names of the acts who are definitely through to next week's show. They are, in no particular order: Phillip (they'd better be in no particular order, because if he got the most votes I'm impaling myself on a sharp metal object right now). Andy. Brenda. Journey South. Be thankful that I'm not leaving pauses as big as Kate's, because this is ridiculous. Just make the results show shorter already, you cunts. Maria. Yay! 4Tune. Shayne. Nicholas. Chenai. So Louis has a free pass to next week, and I'm pissed off. The mood "heightens" as Kate announces dramatically, "the tenth act coming back is ... (positively Pinteresque pause) ... gonna find out after the break." Behind her, an Addictiv Lady burst into tears. Nice one, Kate.
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And we're back. The tenth act coming back is... The Conway Sisters! Hurrah, the public don't like Chico. Just to clarify, this leaves Chico's Tits and Addictiv Ladies to perform a second time for the judges. Kate asks Simon if he has any advice for the girls, and Simon's tells them "you don't need any advice, just do it exactly like you did before." Sharon just makes another comment about it being Chico time, and if that saying catches on, I will kill someone. Addictiv Ladies come back for their second performance, and suddenly I realise something and rush to text Joel my prediction. Simon will save Addictiv Ladies, obviously. Sharon will save Chico's Tits, obviously. And Louis will vote to save Chico, because he'll be thinking about his petty little game of one-upmanship with Simon, and suddenly a vein cracks in my skull at the thought of Chico's Tits on my screen for another week. I pray for Chico's Tits to be in the bottom two with one of Louis's acts next week. Anyway, the Addictiv Ladies sound less nervous the second time round. They're still not good, but they're better. I wonder if they were trying harder because of what Louis said to them? If anything, Chico's Tits are worse the second time around. It's positively embarrassing, and he does all the stupid tricks in exactly the same place as before, which makes the whole thing so utterly calculated and empty that I could vomit. There's a brilliant cut during the performance where we see Sharon looking on with what can only be described as mortified despair, which is much the same as I imagine her to look when Kelly announces she wants to record a new album. Kate asks Simon which act he wants to send home, and either she mumbles or they've changed how they did this since last year, because Simon says "Addictiv Ladies". Kate says, to clarify, "Simon, you want to send your own act home?" Simon instantly corrects himself and says he wants to send Chico's Tits home, and adds "I'll pay for the flight." Kate, quick as lightning, replies "London to London, how will that work, Simon?" Heh. Kate is much more of a worthy adversary for Simon than Louis is.
Sharon votes to save Chico's Tits, which I don't blame her for. Whatever her feelings on either act, she's got a stake in this competition and wants as many chances to win as possible, so she had no choice. She shouldn't have put Chico through in the first place, but that's for another time. Louis smugs, "the act that I'm going to send home are" and then pauses to build the suspense, because he doesn't trust the audience with the intelligence to realise that he wouldn't say "the act are Chico['s Tits]". [I know! Number-verb agreement, Louis! - Joel]To his left, Simon is saying "Louis. Louis. Louis" because he knows as well as I do what Louis is thinking, since the horrible smug grin on Louis's face can be seen from space. Louis finishes "Addictiv Ladies", and there are more Addictiv Tears. Kate shows the girls their X Factor journey. Kate asks them if to get so far and then fall at the first hurdle is "bittersweet", like, no, it's like all their Christmases come at once, dimwit. Simon goes up on stage to console the girls, tells them that they were amazing, and then grabs Kate's microphone and says "Louis Walsh, you are a joke." There is a cheer, I think. Louis waves his arms around and begs for attention, but in a move that endears her to me for evermore, Kate ignores him and focuses on the girls before bidding us goodbye. And there really are no words to express how much of an unfair decision that was. I'm not especially attached to the Addictiv Ladies, and they were never going to win. But they didn't deserve to go out before Chico, and if Louis wants to allow the chip on his shoulder to make all of his decisions, then he should be sacked and replaced with another judge. [Possibly just by a potato chip. It could sit there, quietly going mouldy, and would have about as much useful input as Louis does. - Joel] Neither of the two potential evictees stood any chance of winning, but who stood more chance of developing over the coming weeks: the girls who promised to take their criticism on board, or the former goatherder who already thinks he knows everything? Gah. I've go to stop this before my blood pressure starts resembling pi without the decimal point. So, Chico's Tits live to survive another week, and I hope that a freak voting accident in next week's show leaves all of Louis's acts facing elimination. They don't deserve it, of course, but he does. [Just have to add: if you were to ask him afterwards, Louis would not be able to see that there was anything wrong with what he did, at all. I credit the Ladies with enough sense to realise the decision wasn’t about them, but about Simon, but that’s no excuse for the smug relish with which Walsh delivered their rejection. And he really would have no idea why it was such a terrible thing to do. - Joel]