Performance Show 3: 28th October 2006
So, is everybody ready for the SHOCK TWIST they've been warning us about all week? Because there's a SHOCK TWIST happening in tonight's show. And it's a SHOCK TWIST they were planning all along, and it's not the kind of SHOCK TWIST that they're suddenly invoking to drum up more interest because the show's a big pile of shit this year. (Or because they realised they'd fucked up the schedules and wouldn't end in time to release the single for Christmas if they did one a week?-Joel) And we all know how much the SHOCK TWISTS improved Big Brother, don't we? Sigh. Kate reminds us about the SHOCK TWIST, which the finalists are about to learn about live on stage. Thornton Dresswatch: a feminine black tuxedo-looking thing with a scoop-neck top underneath and a white belt/cummerbund hybrid, which is surprisingly flattering. Well done, Kate!
Kate warns the finalists that there's a SHOCK TWIST: two acts are leaving the competition tonight. She doesn't explain exactly how it's going down, so I shall save my rant on the sheer idiocy of the way they're executing this for later in the recap, because I'd quite like to postpone the coronary of indignation for as long as possible. Kate introduces us to the live band for Big Band night, otherwise known as Ray Is Your Pre-Ordained Winner, Bitches night. Tonight's musical guest is Tony Bennett, and my hope is that being juxtaposed with an actual good swing singer will make everyone realise how much Ray needs to be voted out of the competition, but we'll see, I suppose. Kate asks Tony if Big Band music is difficult to tackle, and Tony says no. (But isn't it challenging with the band? No. Suck it up Kate, Tony Bennett is not for prompting.-Joel) So basically if anybody gets it wrong tonight, it's because they suck. Heh. Tony says that he remembers being in the same position as the contestants, because he and Rosemary Clooney were the first American Idols. I think Tony's slightly confused about what show he's on.
First up singing 'Ain't That A Kick In The Head' is Ray. Nope, that joke's too easy. Croony McSmugpants smugs that this is his week, that it's the week he wanted from the start. Again, you'll notice that he's talking about the show, not the music. Ray meets Tony in rehearsals and smugs all over him. Weirdly, there's a piece from Louis in Ray's VT where he says that Ray needs to do a lot more this week than just stand there and smile, which is immediately followed by Simon wanting to know how you can criticise an eighteen-year-old for smiling when he's having the time of his life? Oh just kiss already, you two. Tony VTs that Ray is terrific. Ray VTs that this is what he wanted, and it's finally here. So, all the more reason to send him home afterwards, if he's fulfilled his dreams, right? Ray mumbles his way flatly through the song. He has a huge plastic smile all across his face, and now I see what Louis was getting at. It's like watching the school play, with that kid who used to just look so pleased with himself for being onstage, no matter how shit he actually was. Seriously, if this was supposed to be Ray's week, he's really fumbling the pass here. His stage presence is even more awkward than Dionne's, and he needs to FUCKING ENUNCIATE. Jesus. At the end of it, Croony McSmugpants smugs more than he's ever smugged before. Louis kicks off the X Factor drinking game by invoking a likeness to a young Michael Bublé and Robbie Williams (because they invented swing music, didn't they?), saying Ray owned the stage (lie), and attempts to show some actual purpose as a judge by asking Ray what he does besides swing, although his head is too far up Ray's ass by this point to make much difference. Sharon says Ray really shocked her tonight, because she didn't know he could dance like that. That was dancing? Ooo-kay. Ray excelled himself, she thinks. Simon says it was a fantastic start, and points out that you can only sing this music well if you love this music, which sounds rather like bullshit to me. I'm no great fan of swing music, but I do a pretty mean rendition of 'I've Got You Under My Skin'. Er, not that this is about me. Simon calls back to Louis's part and says that it's better to be good at one specific thing rather than a jack of all trades, which...basically makes a mockery of the theme weeks, and gives Ray licence to do a bastardised swing version of whatever the theme is each week. Thanks a lot, SIMON. Croony McSmugpants smugs to Kate that he hasn't got the praise he wanted in the previous weeks, but now this is what he wanted. Great. Because we're all here to enable your frickin' fantasies, you little prick.
Sharon introduces Dionne, and let me quote: "Simon will be very happy because now we can relieve all that anger that's been building up all week inside of him, and he can give a real abuse attack on Dionne." Yes, because constructive criticism and abuse are entirely the same thing, you hateful useless lump of cartilage. Simon's all "WTF?" and Sharon's all "you heard!", and...I hate Sharon, you guys. I really, really hate her. I think I actually hate her more than I hate Louis. She's completely useless and unprofessional. (Her saying that was a far more vicious swipe at Dionne's Achilles tendon with a butcher-knife than anything Simon could manage.-Joel) Dionne will be singing 'For Once In My Life'. Dionne VTs that she was very happy with her performance last week. Sharon VTs that Simon sees Dionne as big competition. Given that she gave one of the best performances in the first week, and was still in the bottom two after the public vote, Sharon, I really doubt that. And really, we're all adults here. Can't we rise above the "Ur jus jelus!!!11!!!!one!!" school of retaliation? Simon then makes this exact point himself in the VT, although his comment of "you're only threatened by people the public like" seems a little harsh. Sharon sticks her hand up the back of Louis's shirt and speaks through him without moving her lips: "I think Simon's threatened by Dionne, blah blah blah." You're not fooling anyone, Sharon. Dionne wants to prove she's more than a backing singer, and good for her. Tony VTs that he disagrees with the critics saying she should be a backup singer, and FOR FUCK'S SAKE. (I loved that he said to her, 'I hope you win.' If I were Dionne, I'd be like 'screw you, bitches, Tony Bennett hopes I win.'-Joel) That is not what Simon was saying, at all. He said she was like a backing singer in her performance last week, not that that's all she was good for. This show is so fucking stupid. Dionne says that Simon's criticism is good motivation, and again good for her for being THE ONLY PERSON IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, apparently, who understood why he was saying that to her. GOD. Dionne's too smart for this show, I think. She also looks really pretty tonight, with a flower in her hair. Unfortunately, somebody on the production staff hates Dionne, because this arrangement of the song is fucking horrendous. Dionne does her best to make a silk purse of a sow's testicles, but I think it's a losing battle. Again, she deserves better than this, and it sucks, but I've already made my peace with the fact that she's this year's Maria, and too good to make it very far in this celebration of mediocrity. It's a good vocal on an otherwise horrible song, and Dionne deserves the credit for that. Louis tells her she looks more comfortable this week, and tells Dionne's she's a versatile singer of both soul and jazz. Simon comments that all the personal stuff is rubbish, and that he thinks Dionne is a good singer, but "has all the grace of a boxer", prompting the usual "WHAT?"s and boos, and he kind of trundles down an avenue that I don't really follow, but the crux of the matter is that he doesn't think Dionne has a chance of winning. Dionne looks kind of affronted by this, but at least her response is fairly gracious: she tells Simon that she's disappointed because she worked really hard on this performance, and she hopes she can change his mind. So that makes her too smart, too good AND too classy for this show? Yep, Dionne's doomed. I'm not going to recap Sharon's comments, because she hasn't earned it, so screw you, lady. Sharon does, however, blather on so much that there's no time for Kate to talk to Dionne. Stellar management there, Mrs O. I hope Dionne punches you in the face when she gets eliminated, because God knows I would.(I don't think Sharon would notice. Seriously, she's been overdosing on the Botox. The only parts of her face that move anymore are her eyelids and jaw. She's like a ventriliquist's dummy. Gottle of geer, Sharon?-Joel)
Since Louis has only two acts left, we're back with Simon and Nikitta. She talks about her comments from last week and says that they don't hurt her. Louis VTs that Simon's management is hurting Nikitta, blah blah. Simon VTs that Louis has criticised Simon's song choices for Nikitta for two weeks straight, and for two weeks straight Louis has lost an act. Because, lest we forget, this contest is all about the contestants, not the judges. Oy veh. Nikitta VTs that she's having trouble singing and dancing at the same time, which I'm sure is so horrible, and not at all something she should be expected to do as a pop singer. She does, however, score points with me for not mentioning her Dead Mother once. Nikitta sings 'Sway', and her movement actually isn't that bad. She's not noticeably more gracious than Dionne, but she looks more comfortable in it which helps her. Vocally, it's okay, but kind of nasal for my tastes. I do really like this song, though, and she's doing a fairly good number on it. Totally spontaneously, a guy comes out of the audience to dance with her. Hmm, this is the second week Simon's brought out a gimmick for Nikitta. I shall ponder the relevance of that. She sounds a little strained on some of the high notes. Louis says he thinks that she's a good singer, but that judging her on tonight he thought she struggled. Nikitta, sounding thoroughly pissed off (heh), asks Louis what sort of song he thinks she should be doing. I'm no great fan of Nikitta, but the fact that she just publicly called Louis on his bullshit is awesome. Simon's all, "yeah, LOUIS" and Louis can only respond "not that one! I wouldn't have picked that one!" Louis also says "Simon, don't shout me down, it's my turn." Can we all make a note of this for when Simon comments on Louis's acts? Good. Louis tells Nikitta she's a great singer, but he didn't like her performance and she could be going home. Nikitta's all "whatever, assface". Heh. Sharon says that Nikitta was way out of her comfort zone, and implies that Nikitta can only sing songs written since she was born, and...what? I don't get it. Sharon thinks the dancing affected Nikitta's vocals, and Nikitta says that's what she was worried about. We know, we saw the VT. Sharon's all "I bet you've never heard that song before, have you?", utterly ignoring the fact that there was a dance remix of it floating around about three years ago, or the fact that whoever wins this show will have to record an album containing songs they've never heard before, so whatever, Sharon. (Getting ahead of myself, I wrote "'You've probably never heard that song before, have you?' Bullfish! It's an extremely famous song, in its original state, in the dance version and the Pussycat Dolls cover. You patronising bitch." so yeah.-Joel) Simon tells Nikitta that the song doesn't matter, that she got it together by the second half, that it wasn't a winning performance, but the main problem was that her dancer was too short. Nikitta's entirely nonplussed by this, and somehow I doubt she chose the dancer herself, so I'm not sure how that feedback's meant to be of use to her. Eventually Nikitta gets what Simon's on about and laughs, but once again there's no time for Kate to talk to her.
Ben is up next, and Sharon says that those of us who considered him to be just a rock singer will be surprised by this performance. The VT flashes back to last week where Simon and Louis predicted Ben will be in the final. Simon admits on VT that he is fearful of Ben (and yet he gives him positive feedback, SHARON) and that he considers Ben to be the main obstacle to one of his artists winning the show this year. Ben feels under pressure now because everyone expects such big things of him. Ben is kind of pretty, I'm just starting to notice. Ben's very excited to meet Tony Bennett, and says that the experience has made him realise that this is what he wants. The piano's out for him again. He will be singing 'Smile', off the oven chips advert. The Big Band don't appear to be doing much so far, which seems a little suspect. He's toning down the rawk affectations for this, and his voice is kind of nice, but again, I'm getting a sense of him trying to sidestep this week's theme. Oh, wait, the band kicks in for an instrumental in the middle eight, briefly. Ben then hits the rocker vocal for a few lines just to remind us why he's there, and this performance was not unpleasant, but it was really, really dull, and really didn't fit the Big Band theme at all. Simon says that in any situation that was outstanding: believable, and the best performance of the night "by a mile". Louis: "The show is called The X Factor, it's about finding somebody who's going to record and sell millions and millions of records." Um, thanks for that? Also, I love that by omission there, Louis has basically said that this is not a talent contest, just a contest to see who's most marketable. Heh. Again, Louis says he sees Ben in the final. Sharon tells Ben he could've been softer with some of his notes (and I agree, so fair play to Sharon on that one) but that it was still a nice contrast to his usual rocker schtick (her words, not mine). There's a bit of chat with Kate wherein Ben admits he wasn't expecting such lovely feedback, and had a comeback all ready, but it wasn't needed.
Louis introduces the MacDonald Brothers, whose names are apparently Craig and Brian. I have no idea which is which. He does his usual patter of telling us where they're from, points out that Sharon and Simon hate them, but the public love them. One of them VTs that it's hard for them to take Simon's criticism. Louis points out that they've not been in the bottom two yet, so they obviously have a fanbase. The "unlike the rest of my acts" is unspoken. They're nervous about tackling swing. Tony Bennett liked their harmonies, and the look in their eyes when they looked at each other. See, he spots the creepy incest vibes too! I swear, between this show and Supernatural, my perception of what a healthy fraternal relationship entails is so off these days. The dark-haired one really is very pretty. They're singing 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You'. In the grand tradition of their performances on this show, it's quite sweetly sung but inutterably dull. The cute dark-haired one clearly has no idea what to do with his non-microphone-holding hand, either. There are some quite nice harmonies in there, but still: dull dull dull. Simon thought the song was fantastic, the band was amazing, and the guys were okay. He does call it all a bit karaoke at Pontin's, and I find it interesting how he spots that this year when he failed to notice it when they entered as Journey South last year and were in his category. He says it lacked star quality, but he thinks the song will carry them through. Sharon says that she feels guilty having a go at them because they're so nice. This from the alleged Queen of Darkness? She does think it was their best performance so far, though. Simon asks them if they think they can win, and they do the whole "given time, given a lot more practice, yadda yadda" stuff that everyone does when they don't want to appear too cocky. Louis, of course, does the whole "I don't care what Simon thinks, the public likes them, and Tony Bennett likes them, and besides, Simon gave us Robson and Jerome, LOLZ!!!!!" thing, and the look on Simon's face suggests that this comment was met with all the derision it merited. The fair-haired one says that they're hoping to make Simon like them, Louis shouts that there's no point, and they hightail it out of there.
Next up is Leona. Leona doesn't have much of interest to say in her VT because no one's been especially mean to her yet. She does say that she wants to be the first female to win the show, which is interesting. Simon thinks he's chosen a good song for her, and Tony Bennett tells her to keep it simple, which I suspect means "can the melisma there, horsey". Leona's hair is curly again, and I really prefer it straight, not that that's especially important. Leona is singing 'Summertime' from Porgy and Bess. It's a very Aguilera-esque take on it, but I would posit that Leona probably has one of the strongest voices (if not the strongest) in the competition, so while I'm not a massive fan of how she's singing this, at least she has the chops for it. She goes for a massive held note near the end, and pretty much pulls it off. Okay, I'm offering her performance of the night for that one, for showmanship if not necessarily for technical excellence. (It was fucking amazing. She managed to not warble and really made me believe it. Performance of the night for sure. Probably performance of the series so far. Though that's not saying much.-Joel) (Indeed. I’ve totally come around on Leona since writing the first draft of this, and in hindsight I think she was awesome.-Steve) Louis is all "beautiful girl, beautiful song, brilliant performance". He says that this music is all about class, and that Leona has a lot of class. Sharon says that she likes how Leona doesn't know how good she is, and it's so endearing to find someone that has such a huge voice as her, and Sharon's cut off her as Simon grabs her and gives her a full-on snog on the lips. Hee! Sharon's momentarily nonplussed, and then pulls Simon back in for another. Heh. Louis looks a little upset at being left out. Sharon thrusts her tits in Simon's face, and completely forgets what she was going to say. Simon thinks Leona is the best contestant he's ever had across any of "these" shows (presumably just meaning The X Factor, since he doesn't mentor anyone on Idol), and that it was an amazing performance. Leona's left speechless by the judges comments, tears up, and wants to thank her mum and dad. WHO ARE DEAD. Whoops, sorry, wrong contestant. I think Leona might just manage to fly under the "who does she think she is?" radar by virtue of her comparative lack of confidence. If it's genuine, which I think it is, kind of. I hope that she's the act of Simon's that makes it to the final, anyway. Rather her than Nikitta, or Ashley, or (shudder) Ray. Kate wishes Simon luck meeting Ozzy in the corridor (hee), and we cut to the ads.
Sharon introduces Kerry, who's going to show us what she's got inside. Kerry VTs that her comments last week were fair. Simon mentions that Kerry's voice is good, but not distinct and kind of boring. Kerry feels this song is her more than any of the others she's had to sing so far. I'm not sure that swing week is going to do much to change Kerry's perceived "lounge singer" factor. Simon says she came into the show as one of the favourites, but after her first two performances, not any more. Harsh but fair, I think. He says she's got to raise her game. Kerry's singing 'They Can't Take That Away From Me'. I think she's a little flat when she sings the line "the way you sing off-key", which is kind of funny. It's...okay, I guess. I don't see any real game-raising going on here. Her voice just isn't strong enough. (She sounds like she's got problems with her adenoids. Really stuffy phrasing.-Joel) There are a couple of opportunities to make the song really big, and she shies away from them. I don't know if that's a lack of confidence or an actual lack of ability. Simon says that the genre definitely suits her, but calls it "Hilton hotel, Luton, with a bowl of peanuts". He calls it "competent, but very predictable - I've heard this type of performance a lot, and I'm always in a bar with a gherkin or a pickled onion or a peanut - on my own, yes - I can't say more than that." Hee. Louis says that it was Kerry's best performance so far, but he doesn't know if he'll remember it tomorrow. There are better girls in the competition, he thinks. At least he didn't call the performance "forgetful", so we should be grateful for small mercies. Sharon says that Kerry belongs in a Hilton hotel in Las Vegas, which as rejoinders go is craptacular. Sorry Sharon, but you can say that Elvis used to play there, it still doesn't make that good feedback. Kate asks Kerry how she feels about the hotel comments, and Kerry unwisely picks up on Sharon's track, saying that people like Barbra Streisand play in some of the best hotels and if that's who she's being compared to, then great. Which...is not really what Simon was getting at, and he interjects here to tell her (politely) that that's fantasy on her part. Kerry then babbles on about not picking the song herself and knowing she can do better, and really she's running out of excuses now. If she can do better, she should be doing better and not being all stagnant. She says that she wants to stay in the competition, but I can't help feeling there's something a little entitled about Kerry these days, and it doesn't sit well with me. I don't really think she's trying hard enough.
Simon introduces the insufferable Ashley. Sorry, the "incredible" Ashley. Well, in the sense of being hard to believe, I can get behind that. Louis and Sharon give Ashley props in his VT, but Louis warns him to avoid being too cocky. Simon tries to say that Ashley isn't cocky or disrespectful, and nobody believes him. Ashley asks Tony Bennett for help with his nerves, and Tony tells him that the audience will support him if he's nervous. Ashley likes that Tony is laid-back without being cocky, and he wants to be like that. Ashley sings something which may be called 'Moondance', and I can't take his helium-voice seriously at all. He's kind of monotonous and flat to me. (I really like his voice and I don't understand why. It's metallic and weird. I think it's just a relief to hear someone that sounds halfway distinctive in the dross.-Joel) Halfway through the song he totally fluffs his words and doesn't cover it well at all. We should probably all consider ourselves lucky he didn't swear. Seriously, fluffing a couple of words is understandable, but Ashley screwed up pretty much half a verse. That ain't good. Louis, of course, isn't going to judge him on that, because why on earth would a judge factor something like a complete screw-up into their comments? That would just be crazy! Louis tells Ashley that Robert and Ben are better singers (Robert? Really?) but that Ashley is a great performer. I’m dismayed that this would be Louis’s chance to use the word “forgetful” correctly for the first time in three weeks, but he chooses to pass it up. Bah. Sharon likes Ashley, and tells us as much, and is also going to ignore Ashley fluffing his words because "the biggest artists in the world do it". Not that awkwardly, they don't. Simon asks him what went wrong, and Ashley digs out the capital-a Attitude, saying that it's not his kind of music, (Scott and I decided country must be his music, because it's about the only genre he hasn't dismissed.-Joel) the words are too choppy and it's very hard to sing. Cry me a freaking river already. Simon follows the trend of ignoring the fluff and says that the last 30 seconds made up for it. Kate says that the judges have been very kind to Ashley, and asks what he would like to say back. Ashley responds "they ain't got a choice - no, I'm joking!", except he totally isn't, and everyone laughs when they should be punching him in the face. Seriously, this show really lacks some face-punching. There's a SHOCK TWIST I'd be all in favour of. Ashley goes on about how the audience have to appreciate how hard it is for him to go out there and sing these songs. Oh, diddums. Also: cram it. Ashley also thanks "the Lord, for blessing me and putting me in this position". I'm sure the Lord cares so much. Kate asks Ashley if having the band there threw him, because we must all make excuses for Ashley! He's good! It's not his fault he screwed up! He mustn't learn any lessons from this! Ashley says no, and credits the band with being "good" in a really dismissive tone that I don't care for at all. Sharon tells him to quit while he's ahead. Heh.
Sharon promises a whole new side to Robert. A good one? Robert says he was gutted to be in the bottom two last week. Simon thinks that Sharon needs to get Robert to sit still and sing. Sharon says she doesn't want to squash Robert, but he needs to learn when to use that energy and when to slow it down. Tony Bennett thinks Robert is terrific. Oh, what do you know? Simon thinks Robert has a great voice, but none of us have had a chance to listen to it yet. Well, that's certainly true. Robert is singing 'Mr Bojangles'. It's a more sedate performance this week, but it doesn't mask the fact that all of this praise that's been heaped on Robert seems utterly unwarranted, since he's every bit the standard of average hotel performer that Kerry is. Maybe they should retitle this show The H Factor next year? They could have H from Steps as a guest judge, that would be good. Robert's dancing makes Dionne look like Darcy Bussell, by the way. The song ends, and I'm almost in a coma. That's one of Simon's favourite songs of all time, and thinks it should have been a disaster, but it wasn't. Simon says that whatever happens to Robert, he can say that at one point in the show he sang his heart out. Louis calls it the best performance of the night, which: not, (If I were Leona I'd have punched him in the gut right there.-Joel) and says he doesn't know why Robert was in the bottom two last week. Because he was shit and deserved to be there? It's a maverick theory I hold. Sharon calls it "smooth" and "a class performance". Robert lets out all the energy that he was holding in during the song when Kate asks him to appeal to the audience, and by "energy" I mean "assholishness". Kate asks Robert why the audience should vote for him, despite the fact that he just did that, and Robert says he needs our votes to support his unborn child. (Go the fuck home, look after your heavily-pregnant wife, and hold down a fucking job, rather than gambling on a contest you'll never win, you bag of shit.-Joel) Oh, please.
Closing the show are Eton Road. They got good feedback last week despite not really being very good. Louis thinks their transformation so far has been unbelievable. Simon really likes them and thinks they have a tough song, but hopes they pull it off. One of them says that swing is not an average genre for a boyband to do, which means he didn't buy that Westlife album either. Good move. Tony thinks they have fantastic potential. They're going to put an "Eton Road twist" on 'Mack The Knife', and I smell a disaster in the offing. They get off to a good start, but I think they fluff the words too at one point. When they start to put in the harmonies and stuff, it gets really messy. Then Anthony throws in another of his ill-advised high notes that misses the mark completely, and the rest of them all try to harmonise around him, but don't really get it right. It really is kind of a car crash, and I'm kind of over Eton Road. Sharon loves them. She thinks they make everything fun, and they can fit into any genre. She thought they were really great tonight. Simon likes them a lot, but calls it "a complete and utter mess". He says it was "squeaking and this and that - it was just ridiculous". Sharon makes a comment about them actually remembering the words, and Louis jeers. Simon tries to make another point, but Louis starts yelling "shut up, shut up" and won't let him finish, and remember Louis's comment from earlier about Simon needing to be quiet when it's Louis's turn to speak? Good to see that sentiment works both ways. Sharon and Louis get all self-congratulatory over their slam on Simon, and they are just such colossal morons it's ridiculous. I hate this show. Simon doesn't think they worked out the vocals properly, but he hopes the public gives them a second chance because something went wrong this week. Louis tells them not to listen to him. Simon asks Louis if he honestly thinks it was a good performance, and Louis says it was. Anthony says that they respect Simon's judgement on the matter, but that Simon always says they're odd (which he didn't this week) and that they tried to put their own spin on it. And then Anthony completely loses what little goodwill I had left for him by huffing "and that wasn't a squeaky note, that was a top D." Whatever it was, child, it was squeaky and it was off, so cram it. A lot.
Video recap. Ray was smug. Dionne was better than her arrangement. Nikitta had a short dancer. Ben had a piano instead of a band. The MacDonald Brothers had the love of the public, apparently. Leona was awesome. Kerry distracted Simon from his bar snacks. Ashley forgot his words (but the VT hides that bit). Robert was restrained, and dull. Eton Road were a hot fried mess. Kate reminds us about tonight's SHOCK TWIST of a double elimination and it's Thornton out.
Earlier tonight, it was revealed that in a SHOCK TWIST there would be a double elimination tonight. The contestants learned this while wearing outfits from last week and the week before, apparently. We're back with Kate, who tells us the vote is incredibly tight, as she always does. Video recap from earlier. Kate tells us that we can see the finalists live on tour next year, and I'd love to go, but I'm meant to be throwing myself under a train that night. We're "treated" to a performance of 'The Best Is Yet To Come' from Tony Bennett, and it's dreadful. I thought the star performers were meant to show up the contestants? This is just bad. He then segues into 'For Once In My Life', getting the good arrangement that Dionne ought to have had earlier. Sabotage!
Back from the ads, and two acts are about to leave the show in a SHOCK TWIST. Kate welcomes the finalists back onto the stage. Kate explains what's going to happen: the act who polled the lowest with the public will leave immediately, then the two acts with the second- and third-lowest number of votes will compete in the showdown as usual. And that is so dumb. If you're going to do away with this bullshit judges' decision showdown nonsense, do it for everyone, not just one person randomly in the middle of the show. That's just so stupid. They should either have just eliminated the two acts with the lowest number of votes regardless, or put the bottom three into the showdown, and then got the judges to decide which one gets a reprieve. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I hate this show. In no particular order, the first act coming back next week is: Robert. Also safe are: Leona, Eton Road, Ben, Ray, the MacDonald Brothers and Nikitta. One of Ashley, Dionne and Kerry has polled the lowest number of votes and will definitely be leaving. That act is: Dionne. Dionne looks like she was expecting this. We get her highlights package, and it sucks that she doesn't get much focus on her exit because everyone's too busy worrying about Kerry and Ashley. Dionne is very disappointed, but she did her best, and thanks Mark Hudson for believing in her when others doubted her. Kate wants Sharon to state that Dionne leaves with her head high and her confidence boosted. Yes, nothing boosts one's confidence like finishing in tenth place. (Ha! Though tell that to the 99,990 other bitches.-Joel) Sharon says that Dionne ain't no backing singer, and Dionne exits and we're immediately expected to stop caring about her. Poor Dionne. She didn't deserve that. (Poor Dionne. I still love you and the flower in your hair was awesome. Go and headbutt Sharon. We'll all feel a lot better.-Joel)
But move on we must, and Kerry's singing for the judges' vote. It's perhaps marginally bigger than her earlier performance, but I still see no evidence of all this extra stuff that she has to give. And if she can't bring it out when her place in the contest is at stake, when exactly will she be bringing it? I remain unmoved. Ashley returns, and might even remember his words this time. We watch the performance in silence, until Dave rather quietly says "Is it just me, or is this really shit?" No Dave, it's not just you. The voting public agrees, thankfully. He does appear to at least remember his words this time. Kerry comes back onto the stage, and it's time for the judges' votes. The audience appears to be supporting Ashley. Sharon wants to send Ashley home. Simon says he thinks Ashley learnt his lesson tonight, and that the public won't support a second-rate performance. Hmm, they seem to have supported a lot of them, though. Simon says it's an easy decision, and votes to send home Kerry. Kate makes a big show of how Louis is the only judge without an act of his own in the showdown, and that's probably because he's only got two left so the odds were in his favour. Louis says it's not an easy decision, and that Ashley was very unprofessional tonight and really messed up, and should have given it a lot more tonight. He thinks Kerry is a great singer who's very professional and always delivers, but he thinks she's peaked. A nice contrast with the constant "I've got a lot more to give!", I feel. He bases his decision on it being a talent contest, and votes to send home Kerry. Kate asks Kerry if she's shocked, and Kerry is, because she was supposed to win, although she says that she kind of knew it was coming when she heard the judges' comments. Kerry looked a lot prettier in her audition than she did tonight (Her first audition was also her best vocal. Oh, Kerry.-Joel) - somebody should fire her make-up artist. During her highlights package, Kerry looks kind of pissed off. Sharon comes on and hugs her. Kerry says that it's meant the world to her, and says that hopefully she's proved to people out there that if you go for your dreams, you may achieve somewhere close to it, if not your dreams. I think I know what she was going for there, but that was rather clumsily worded. "You too can live your dreams of coming ninth in a televised singing contest!" was not, I feel, quite what she was going for. Kate tells Kerry she's done her mother proud, and Sharon says that it's given her the opportunity to shine, and that she will go on to bigger and better things.
Next week is Abba week, and I can't wait for Ray to deliver his swing version of 'The Winner Takes It All'. Shoot me now. Please?