Performance Show 4: 4th November 2006
PREVIOUSLY! There were highs, if you were Ben, Ray or Leona. There were lows, if you were the MacDonald Brothers, Kerry or Dionne. A blustery recap tells us that Simon is the only judge with all of his acts remaining, since Sharon and Louis are both down two. Cue titles!
Y'know, all the pomp that opens this show is actually beginning to look so sad. Now that we've all realised how crap the artists are, and come to the collective decision that the emperor is indeed naked, it all rings rather hollow. Anyway, we are introduced to the judges and their contestants, because let's face it: the majority of them are so dull that if we were left to our own devices we probably would have forgotten all of their names. The show seems to think these people are all still pretty important, though, so we'll humour them.
Kate's dressed as a giant Quality Street again (hazel in caramel, for those of you keeping score) and while her dress seems to be suggesting that all roads lead to Rome (Rome in this case being the upper section of Kate's midriff) and making her hips look utterly gargantuan, her hair actually looks rather fantastic. It's all big and Diana Dors-y, which really suits her, so props to Kate's hairdresser this evening. Tonight the finalists will be taking on the most challenging pop songs ever, because it's Abba night. And Joel and I had this conversation way back when they had an Abba week during the original Pop Idol: these songs were written for two women to harmonise on, so basically no one's going to sound good attempting these. In fact, this might have been the one week where The Unconventionals could have righteously whomped everyone's arses, being the only act in the entire competition with more than one female vocalist, but it looks like we'll never know.
Tonight's very special guest is Abba's Bjorn Ulvaeus (and I hope I've spelt that correctly), whom Kate calls "a musical genius". I'm happy with that definition, so we'll move right on. I am of the opinion that Abba wrote and performed some of the finest pop songs ever, by the way, so I will be particularly unforgiving when recapping tonight's performances. Bjorn tells us that the songs are much harder to sing than we might think. He's been working with them this week, and claims he was "pleasantly surprised" by how they gave their own personality to the songs. In other words: Ray's song will be a fucking swing version, and I will want to kill him more than ever before.
Kate reminds us that Simon still has all four acts left intact, while Louis and Sharon only have four between them. Simon's first act is Nikitta, who doesn't think she's doing very well because she keeps getting criticised for her song choices. We see Sharon and Louis making their usual nonsensical criticisms of Nikitta (I'm still unsure why it's apparently impossible for a person to sing a song written before they were born, especially since Jamie Cullum The Hateful Jazz Gnome makes a comfortable living out of it), and Nikitta thinks Simon isn't getting her yet. Simon tells us that he's trying hard to find that song that suits her perfectly. Louis and Sharon both bitch about Simon's apparently poor mentoring skills, despite the fact that they're both two acts down and Nikitta hasn't even been in the bottom two yet, so whatever Simon's doing wrong, he's not doing it nearly as badly as they are. Nikitta meets Bjorn, and we find out she'll be singing 'Dancing Queen' (oy - let's give her the most karaoke song of the bunch, just in case she doesn't already have enough millstones around her neck) and he says that song suits her, so when Louis claims the opposite later, we can all officially tell him to shove it sideways. Nikitta comes out in an electric blue dress, which is lovely but unfortunately makes her bottom look rather large, and begins the uphill struggle of trying to make 'Dancing Queen' sound fresh and original. A few parts of the song are far too low for her register, and it's really quite a dull performance. Incidentally, her backing singers appear to have more stage presence than Nikitta does, which is rather worrying for all of us. Sharon tells Nikitta that she's already looking worried before Sharon's even said anything, and my response to that is: yes, because now more than ever you and Louis both want to score points over Simon, and Nikitta is the easiest target. I'm not saying that she deserves positive feedback for what was an entirely uninspiring performance, but if I were in Nikitta's shoes, my face would also be saying "oh great, here comes the tidalwave of sideswipes". Sharon tells Nikitta that she has problem with her pitching, and Nikitta mumbles "I wouldn't say it was totally off-key; I think I did all right." Somebody in the audience with a thick Scottish accent (possibly a family member, and it would be awesome if it were Katie) yells "it was brilliant, Nikitta!" and there are cheers. Sharon says that she has to be blatantly honest because there can be no allowances any more, being so close to the final. First of all: not nearly close enough for my liking, matey, and second of all, where precisely was the cut-off point between this week and last, where you decided on The Xtra Factor that it wasn't appropriate for you to criticise Ray's pitch (or lack thereof) on the main show, because that would be too mean? In short: Dear Sharon, shut the fuck up unless you're going to be consistent, you overbotoxed nitwit. Sharon reiterates about Nikitta's pitching problems and says that she looks uncomfortable. Louis agrees with Sharon, and the audience boos. He says the song was too big for her, and given that the guy who wrote it said something quiet contrary, I'm going to tell Louis to shove it sideways. Dear Louis, shove it sideways. Nikitta answers back and tells him the song doesn't fit her. Louis tells it it's not her fault because Simon gave her the wrong song again. Nikitta: "Simon gave me a song, and I changed it to that one." Ha! I love that Nikitta hates Louis almost as much as I do. Louis says that it still doesn't work, and Nikitta looks to her right, all "Kate, a little help here please?" Simon tells her she shouldn't have changed the song because this was the week they needed to transform her into a singer, and this song is a minefield. (Please god let the poor girl sing a ballad. The audition rounds should be enough evidence that's where her strengths are.-Joel) He also says that it was out of tune, and Nikitta looks rather broken. Kate begs the audience to vote for Nikitta, who is now totally crying. The voice from the audience shouts more praise for Nikitta, and this would be the brilliant opportunity for someone to claim it's the unruly spirit of Nikitta's Dead Mother, but that opportunity remains lost, much like the point of this entire show.
Coming back from the break, Kate reminds us that it's Abba night and we're over to Louis with the groups, and Eton Road are on first. We flash back to last week's horrendous performance, and Anthony's still bitter about Simon's criticism. Louis says that they're having more fun than any other act on the show, and that I'd agree with. Sharon thinks that Eton Road have the best chance of pulling off an Abba song out of anyone, and again I agree. They'll be singing 'Does Your Mother Know?', and it sounds good in rehearsals. Bjorn tells them it suits them as a group, but then he said that to Nikitta, so who knows? Their dance routine is hilarious and totally cute, and Anthony's overdoing his harmony lines as usual, bless him. They sound good, though, and I totally need to learn their names properly because I still don't know the names of all the ones who aren't Anthony. The camera cuts to the judges, and Louis is bopping in his seat and singing along. Heh. Anthony's hair looks less Kelly Osbourne-like this week. There are a few bits where it all seems a little shambolic and disorganised, but is it wrong of me to find that slightly charming? They are, as everyone said, having a lot of fun with the song, and it's infectious enough for the odd dropped line not to be that big a deal. Louis applauds heartily at the end, and Simon calls the performance "as camp as a row of tents. Let's be honest: if Louis couldn't get Abba night right, there's a problem." Hee. Simon says that it wasn't the best vocal ever (true), nor was it the best choreography ever (also true), but it was "a million per cent" better than last week (mathematically dubious, but otherwise true). Sharon tells them that she loves them anyway (drink!) and agrees with Simon that it was camp, and says that they made it their own while maintaining the spirit of Abba. She says that they were great to watch. (I loved it. It was ridiculous and funny and actually fun, which is sorely lacking in this show.-Joel) Louis takes the opportunity for a quick shot back at Simon, saying that 'Does Your Mother Know?' is dedicated to him. Hmmm. Let's move on, since I don't want to get sued. Shaven-Headed Eton Road says that they listened back to their performance from last week and agree with Simon's criticisms, which contradicts what Anthony says in the VT, but I really haven't got time to pick up all of the contradictions in this show because I want to finish this before I turn 50. Anthony appears to have really shiny red shoes, and I'm jealous. Kate rubs Anthony's back as the boys walk off. Hee.
Over to Sharon, and Robert. Robert talks about himself in the third person, which is always a treat, and we get flashbacks of last week's overrated performance. Sharon claims that Simon couldn't have said anything negative about Robert without being "pelted". Hmm. Let's hope Sharon doesn't read this blog, or I'm going to have to start wearing extra layers when I go outside. Simon takes credit for Robert's "good" performance last week after telling him to stop running around like an idiot. Robert is excited about it being Abba week because he used to run around singing 'Super Trouper' when he was younger. Plus ça change, right? Bjorn pronounces Robert's dodgy-sounding rendition of 'Take A Chance On Me' "interesting", and Simon basically says that Robert and Abba are not conventional bedfellows. The arrangement of the song is really slowed-down and piano-led at first, which sounds really weird, but then the ultra-disco beat kicks in and we're back to something resembling normal. Robert struts around the stage and adds all of his annoying ad libs, and also has trouble singing some of the lower notes. Again, his backing singers are more interesting and have more rhythm, because Robert sucks. He jumps for joy when he's finished, possibly as glad that it's over as I am. Louis likes what Robert did with the song (because I'm SO sure that arrangement was all his own work) and tells Robert that he's one of the few natural performers in the show. Sadly no one jumps in at this point to say, "so by your own admission the vast majority of this year's contestants are shit, then?" He tells Robert that he looks great. Simon says Robert had a great week last week, but not tonight. Simon says Eton Road made their song sound current in a weird way, but Robert's sounded dated. Sharon talks over Simon and won't let him finish, and Robert obnoxiously talks back to Simon and claims that Simon liked it really. He also claims that he was nervous, but he enjoyed himself, so it's all fine. Yep, the first thing I look for when buying a CD is whether the artist enjoyed making it or not. Sharon tells Robert not to defend himself to Simon because that's what she's there for, and then wheels out the "Simon's just jealous" argument for the infinitieth time. (Yes, Sharon. He wants all the acts that aren't his out. Which is why he just said Eton Road were good. Dumbass.-Joel) She tells Robert to take no notice of Simon, because ignoring criticism is what truly makes a fine artist. Mercifully, Kate does not give Robert an opportunity to talk further; she simply reads his numbers and tells us that Leona and the MacDonald Brothers are coming up.
After another word from Nokia, we are back with Simon and the 16-24s, specifically the "absolutely amazing" Leona. Last week Leona sang 'Summertime' and was awesome, and was Simon's OMG BEST CONTESTANT EVAR, by his own admission. Louis says that she was amazing last week, but has probably peaked now. Simon admits that he's nervous about the song he's chosen for her, which is 'Chiquitita'. Bjorn tells her to read the words again and try to put herself into the place of the person in that song, which doesn't sound like he was massively impressed with her performance. Leona begins with the patented Katharine McPhee trick of kneeling on the stage. She seems to be singing the song an octave higher than usual, and it's a bit of an uneasy fit at first, but by the time the chorus is in and she's walking around the stage I'm getting chills. (Again, best of the night. I loved how she span in a circle for 'you'll be dancing once again.' So cute.-Joel) It's not nearly as good as last week's performance, but I think it still stands a fairly good chance of being among the best of this week's all the same. She totally does a Christina Aguilera on it, as she always does, and if this show can't produce a good original artist, I guess I can be happy with it producing an above-average copy of a good original artist. The audience goes nuts when she finishes, to the point where Sharon has to shush them so she can speak. Sharon says that the song is beautiful and that Leona has a fantastic vocal range, but warns her off the vibrato and the "Christina wobbly lip thing". Heh. Louis tells her she always does a good job, but says it was a bit like Mariah Carey singing an Abba song, but he thinks she could be the first girl to win. Didn't he say that last week. Simon: "I love Louis using 'you sound like Mariah Carey' as a negative!" Heh. Simon waxes lyrical about how she's blossomed from the shy girl he first met, and how she took a risk with the song and tried to make it her own, and pronounces her in a different league to everyone else. Leona thanks the judges, and says that she's trying to do her own thing but is totally flattered by the Mariah/Christina comparisons, which I think is fair enough.
Next up are the MacDonald Brothers, who are still desperate to win Simon's approval. Louis says that Simon has it in for them, and he doesn't know why. Bjorn tells the boys what the song is about, and Simon says that he has a feeling this could be the most horrible performance they've had yet on the show. Optimism is such a wonderful thing, isn't it? They come on stage, and oh dear God, one of them has the Journey South Memorial Guitar Of Perpetual Irrelevance. (So upset that the blonde one didn't bring out the electric fiddle he had when they met Bjorn.-Joel) They sing 'Fernando' in a very flat and marble-mouthed way. Seriously, this song sounds so weird being sung in a Scottish accent. The performance is so thoroughly inadequate that I'm actually embarrassed for them right now. There's a nice cut of Simon in the audience with his "bitch, please" face on. Blonde MacDonald keeps putting his hand on Dark MacDonald's shoulder, and that's doing nothing to rid me of the creepy incest vibes. Sharon tells them that they've taken so much stick from her and Simon, and keep coming back without being in the bottom two, so basically what she has to say on the matter is irrelevant. No, really, that's what she says. It's a shame she doesn't realise that what she says is irrelevant all the time, rather than this specific occasion. She hands over to Simon, who thinks the problem is that they cannot in a billion years win this competition. He calls it a "mediocre, very Scottish" version of the song, with "the worst guitar solo I have ever heard in my life". Heh - I love that he thinks that's actually any kind of obstacle to winning this contest. Louis does the "shut up, you know nothing about guitars" response and the audience does their usual Pavlovian cheer, because they're morons. Louis tells them the harmonies were spot-on, and that Scotland will vote for them. Just Scotland, mind. Kate asks them if they have any words for Simon, and they give the usual "eh, we're trying" response. Kate reminds us that they're still here, as though we could forget them before they've even left the stage. Chance would be a fine thing. It's Ray and Ben up next.
Back from the break, and Simon introduces Ray. We're shown nauseating clips of Ray dancing and singing and acting as a child (not simultaneously), and he recounts his memories of watching The X Factor and thinking "I want to do that". I really hope that his repeated failure to talk about any ambitions beyond the show means that he'll actually turn down the recording contract if he wins. Which he'd better bloody not, because I will not be amused if he does. Clips of his most recent thoroughly offensive performance. Simon asks how do you do a swing version of an Abba song, and the answer is: you don't. You learn to do something besides motherfucking swing so that the audience don't think you're a smug irritating chipmunk who has no skills beyond pisspoor covers of swing songs. Ray will be doing a swing version of 'Waterloo', and I want to kill myself now. Seriously. For a second there I almost debated fast-forwarding through the entire thing, knowing that no one would be any the wiser, but for you guys I will actually watch it. I hope you're proud of yourselves. Ray says that he wants to "take this song and put the Ray (something unintelligible) twist on it". This reminds me of when Ricki-Lee Coulter (aka The Disco Cow) on Australian Idol decided that you could improve a Beatles song immensely by giving it more of a "Ricki-Lee vibe", and was unceremoniously booted out for that assertion, so I'm suddenly hopeful at this point. Ray smarms his way through an utterly horrendous bastardised swing version of Waterloo, whose very smugness threatens to drown us all in an avalanche of Brylcreem, and whoever is voting for him has only themselves to blame for this atrocity. Okay, you know what? I make it as far as the beginning of the second verse, and I give up and fast forward to the end, because I physically cannot bear to endure the rest of it. (I watched it. It kind of went out the other side of bad and became hysterically funny.-Joel) I'm sorry: I tried, I really did, but it just wasn't worth the years of therapy. Is he wearing a fucking cravat under his shirt? Jesus. Louis tells him that the show is called The X Factor not The Swing Factor and calls him a one-trick pony, and that he needs to change if he's going to win. In that case: stick with the swing, Ray! Sharon is actually lost for words, and tells Ray that he's got an old soul. An old arsehole, more like. She vapidly babbles on about it being his genre and says fair play to him. Ray babbles something in response and I actually scream at the TV for him to shut up because I hate him that much. Simon tells Louis to shove his idiotic opinions where the sun doesn't shine because nobody cares, and Louis gets all pissy and informs Simon that he won the show last year (which, no: Shayne won the show. You were his mentor. This is not a judging contest. Once again: shove it, you prick), and Simon equally pissily tells Louis to shut up. I wish they'd followed through on their threat to fire him this series. Simon tells Ray to stick to what he knows, and Ray babbles on about how happy he is, and I hate him so much.
Louis and Simon are still fighting, because they're both idiots, and Sharon attempts to retain some order in the proceedings and introduce Ben. Ben VTs that he would have married Simon last week right there for his comments if he could've done. Well, maybe Kate Thornton can get ordained over the internet and do the honours on next week's show? I think you'd make a lovely couple. Simon VTs that Ben's the one they all have to beat, "but this week: it's Abba". Heh. I should point out here that Joel and I were deeply fearful this week that they'd make Ben sing 'Thank You For The Music', because he's such a proper musician, and he's so real it hurts, and that would have caused us untold amounts of pain and make us hate Ben, whereas now I think we're fairly indifferent to him. I am, at least. Joel can interject here as he sees fit. (He seems like a genuinely lovely guy and he's the only one I could bear to see in the final three with Eton Road and Leona, but that's not to say I like his singing.-Joel) Ben's terrified because he doesn't know any Abba, but he will be singing 'S.O.S.' Bjorn says that Ben should not worry about singing an Abba song; "people who have voices close to Frida and Agnetha, they should worry." I don't know if he meant that to sound quite as insulting as it did, but if so: bravo, Bjorn, that is a fabulous burn. Bravo. Ben gayvoices "let's do one!" and Bjorn laughs. Sharon is confident that Ben will pull it off. Ben hopes it won't be a complete disaster. I'm surprised they haven't given him his piano this week, since there's such a lovely piano melody to accompany this song. Ben gravels his way through the song and sounds weaker than usual, but he actually pulls it off surprisingly well. I don't really like his rocker affectations, but the fact that he can do it without sounding like a goat (which is what so many inept wannabe rockers do, Chris Daughtry) counts in his favour. He darts around the stage like a madman, but looks more graceful than Robert (not difficult) and this is probably a fairly good example of making a song sound more current, I guess. (I really enjoyed it. God, 'stupid but fun' seems to be the best anyone who's not Leona can hope for.-Joel) Louis tells Ben that he pulled it off, and that he's "safe". I do hope that was a prediction of the result, and not Louis trying to be street. Simon hated the song and the arrangement, because it was too soft rock for him, and calls the whole thing "desperate". Ben responds "I hear what you're saying Simon, but I was hoping to get you to commission my new album, From Pop To Rock." Okay, he lost me there. It was a joke, I know, but seriously: the world does not need more people turning pop songs into rock songs in the mistaken belief that it will somehow make them superior, and I'd prefer it if people didn't joke about it because the very idea fills me with rage. Anyway, Ben laughs it off and Sharon tells him that she was "crapping a bit" at the beginning because he was off-key, but that he pulls it back, and then the Random Argument Generator suggests "he's just trying to get rid of you", and we roll another dice and miss a turn.
Back from the ads, and it's Ashley's turn. It's not really surprising that they put him last after the bottom-two scare of last week, because clearly his special brand of misguided arrogance and big hair is this show's bread and butter. In his VT, Ashley's hair is pulled right back off his face and it makes him look really ugly. It's true! The power is all in his hair! Somebody shave it off, quick! He says that last week was a disaster. Louis says that he was unprofessional and cocky, and that he would "rain on him" if he were his mentor. Simon says that he "had a word" with Ashley. Ashley says that being in the bottom two motivated him to be better, and he wouldn't let his petty mistakes ruin his dreams. In rehearsals, he forgets his words again. And anybody who can't remember the words to 'The Winner Takes It All' is dead to me, anyway. That ought to be the first thing you learn in Pop School, motherfuckers. Bjorn claims that it's fine, because he doesn't remember the words half the time either, but he is joking, I am certain. Sideshow Ashley takes the stage with his 'fro back in place, and proceeds to brutally murder and rape the corpse of 'The Winner Takes It All'. There's been some debate about whether his version is worse than Rosie Ribbons's infamous obliteration of the track on the original Pop Idol, to which I shall respond: at least Rosie's version vaguely resembled the original, and wasn't an MOR monstrosity like this is, and at least she waited until the end of the song to really lose the plot, and at least she remembered the words (because Ashley fluffs his again, har har), and at least she didn't pantomime the whole thing as though telegraphing it to a class of particularly slow four-year-olds, so yes, I'd say Ashley's is worse. Far, far worse. Ray still gets the award for worst performance of the night, but Ashley is right there behind him. Sharon is first to comment, and says that he is not good in a lower register, so it's Simon's fault that he sucked rather than Ashley's (seriously: this ridiculous "it's not your fault" crusade that Sharon and Louis are on is not going to help anyone stop sucking any time soon, so STFU already) because of the song choice. Sharon tells Ashley that the big note in the middle saved his "bum", and we'll just see about that when the votes come in, shall we? Louis says that he thinks he was right to save Ashley last week, but he thinks Ashley needs to get better, because his performance lacked conviction and "this is the best Abba song there is". Simon: "Compared to a lot of the performances we've seen tonight, it was fantastic." Translation: "You sucked, but I'm your mentor and I'm drawing on the fact that everyone sucks this year to try to fool people into thinking you sucked less than you actually did." Simon thinks the song is "one of the best songs of all time" (word), but thinks that Ashley's lost his confidence. I for one find that extremely hard to believe. He tells Ashley he has "a presence" and "star quality", and it's all so, so empty really. Ashley says that last week was a wake-up call and that he felt his career was slipping through his fingertips, and he thanks Simon, the judges, his family, God and the viewers, so I think that's everyone.
Recap: Nikitta was off-key. Eton Road were gayer than Christmas. Robert was obnoxious. Leona was high-pitched. The MacDonald Brothers were Scottish. Ray was the worst thing, not just on this show but actually ever. Ben was uncompromising. Ashley was the human equivalent of Nytol. Kate throws to Simon, who says that all of his acts pulled it off, and thanks Bjorn on behalf of the judges for tutoring their loser contestants. He may have worded it slightly differently. Kate promises that Bjorn will be back for the results show to give his opinion on the contestants (and will hopefully be in the tabloids on Monday, giving his actual opinions, like Rod Stewart did). Thornton: out.
Earlier tonight: people sang Abba songs for your votes! You voted for them, or maybe, like me, you didn't give a shit and went to the pub instead!
Somebody has to go tonight. Who will it be? Please God, let it be Ray. Performance recap, much as above. Kate welcomes back Bjorn, and asks him what he thought of tonight's performances. Like every other celebrity guest this show has had, Bjorn struggles to be complimentary in a very unspecified way without outright admitting that the whole thing was a disaster with perhaps one or two less disastrous moments. He does specify that some versions appealed to him more than others, and when Kate asks for specifics, Simon shouts "Leona!" from his seat. Heh. It's The X Factor pantomime! Starring Leona as Cinderella, Ray and Robert as the Smugly Sisters, Anthony as Snow White and Louis Walsh as the horse's ass. Bjorn agrees that Leona was one of them, and says that she has great potential and says that one day Simon will take her into a recording studio. He doesn't say what they will do when they get there, but says that her version of 'Chiquitita' was very "personal". He also praises Eton Road for having so much fun with it. Kate presses her luck by asking for a third standout act, but Bjorn obligingly names Ben for telling a story with 'S.O.S.' Kate says that she's glad they impressed him "on some level" (heh) and thanks Bjorn for all his effort this week.
Kate welcomes the cast of Mamma Mia! who sing, unsurprisingly, 'Mamma Mia' before breaking into 'Dancing Queen'. It's barely relevant, so I shan't be commenting further. In a weird move, Kate crosses to the finalists backstage on the video screen, and asks Nikitta how she feels. Nikitta is just nervous and waiting for the result. Eton Road are happy that that Bjorn singled them out for praise, but beg for some extra votes all the same. Kate asks why people should vote for Robert. He doesn't mention unborn child this week. Kate asks Leona why she just caught her backstage in tears, and Leona says that she just got really emotional from the pressure. I worry about Leona's ability to cope with a career in showbiz. The MacDonalds hope for some votes. Ray lies that this is the worst part of the day, knowing full well that his performance was the worst part of the day, and of all days past and yet to come. Ben got his first negative comments of the series, but he was expecting them and he did his best, and Bjorn likes him anyway. Ashley hopes he's avoided the bottom two this week.
Adverts! The News of the World teases about an X Factor star's sex and drugs shame. It was Ben, in case you were wondering.
We're back, and the judges lead their contestants back onto the stage as usual. A pleasing blue smudge obscures most of Ray's face when Kate calls his name. Heh. In no particular order, the acts who are safe are: Nikitta (who cries again), Leona (who doesn't), Eton Road (Blonde and Shaved Head hug each other very enthusiastically), the MacDonald Brothers (who are cheerful, though Simon is not), Ray (AAARGH), and Ben, leaving Ashley and Robert in the bottom two again. I keep thinking that the public is getting their voting surprisingly on the money (Ray and the MacDonald Brothers notwithstanding), but when so many acts suck so badly, it's not hard to get two deserving ones in the bottom two. Louis says that he will save the act who can prove they want it most, and that he'll disregard what's gone before and base it on this performance alone. Ashley claims to be unsurprised to be in the bottom two again, and Robert is speechless (small mercies, eh?).
Robert's back on first, and while I'm pleased to see him in the bottom two, I hate that I have to sit through this snorefest again. Robert still can't dance, but is putting a lot of energy into it. Whether that's a good or bad thing depends largely on your opinion of Robert, I suppose. Sideshow Ashley comes back out and looks miserable, which I'm sure will do him lots of favours. He's off-key again, and no amount of mid-song glory notes are going to convince me otherwise. Eventually I wake up, and it's over. Sharon casts the first vote, and votes to send home Ashley, obviously. Simon casts the second vote, and votes to send home Robert and tells Louis he's got to keep Ashley in. Sharon objects, and the audience chants for Robert. Louis tells Ashley that he saved him last week because he's different and has star quality, and tells Robert that he loves his work ethic and his passion. He then repeats what he said about Ashley again, weirdly. He will be sending Ashley home. Ashley looks a bit tearful. Kate asks how he's feeling, and says he's fine, and it's been a privilege to be here, and every journey has to end sometime, etc etc. Kate asks Simon for his thoughts, and Simon is not happy at all. We see Ashley's X Factor journey, where he sounds like Madeleine Peyroux and has big hair, and repeatedly gets attitude with the songs that Simon chooses for him. The clip of his 'Moondance' is kind enough not to show him forgetting his words. Kate asks what it was about Ashley that appealed to Simon, and Simon says that he has star potential, and calls Louis spiteful for voting Ashley out. Ashley tells Simon that they have the strongest team, and Louis wants to take the strongest away so that they can be defeated, which as an argument would hold far more water if he hadn't been the first person in the contest to hit the bottom two two weeks running, so can it, Sideshow. Simon says that Ashley has a future as a singer and should still be in the competition. Whatever. If he's this season's shock elimination, all I can say is that it makes far more sense than the time they booted Maria. Ashley fans, don't fret: we're sure he'll modelling for The Gap soon. Or possibly just working there, following you around and folding the clothes after you've touched them. See you next week!