Performance Show 6: 18th November 2006
I have to begin this recap with some bad news, I'm afraid: Joel's busy this weekend and sadly will not be able to join me in bracketed comments like he usually does. However, being the responsible sort, he did his best to make sure someone was available to cover his position for me, knowing full well how I struggle to cope with this stupid show on my own, so he rang round a couple of temping agencies and as luck would have it, he found someone who was free. Not only that, he actually found someone who's totally the target demographic of this show. So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to our guest commenter, the lovely Lois Common-Denominator. Hi, Lois! (Hi Steve! I'm so excited about this. I really hope Ray does another swing number tonight - he's so cool and unique!-Lois) And now, on with the show.
Last week on the show: Simon had the "unenviable" task of choosing between two of his own acts, Ray and Nikitta. I can think of a lot of people who'd be envious of the opportunity to shitcan Ray's ass. Nikitta went, of course, because she can't do swing-by-numbers and anyway, the public totally hates black people. (Kidding! Don't e-mail me.) Sharon and Louis were smug, unsurprisingly. Louis is determined not to lose another act, but indeed another act must go home. Your Saturday night starts here, unless you're watching Strictly Come Dancing, in which case it started on BBC One 45 minutes ago.
The judges are welcomed by the annoying voiceover, and so are the acts. It makes for a far less dramatic entrance when there are only two people trooping out from behind the giant splitting screens, doesn't it? This week Kate's dressed in a very modest red dress, and the hair is still good, but the dress is bad. It makes her look like she's going to a Christmas party. In the 1940s. Sorry, Kate. Still, after the revelation in this week's Holy Moly that Vernon Kaye has been lined up to replace you, we're only going to say positive things about you, because no matter what our differences may have been in the past, this is very much a case of better the idiot you know. This week's theme is Number One singles, so who better to act as mentors than the act who proved that a Number One single is not a sign of quality over and over and over again? That's right: Westlife. (Squeeee! I love Westlife! Kian is omg liek so fit!!!11!-Lois) Westlife break with last week's tradition by actually bothering to appear on the main show. Fishlips Mark lies to Kate that every act is really talented, because this is what happens when Louis Walsh owns your soul - let that be a lesson to anyone considering entering. Kian, last seen at boot camp (and I'd totally forgotten he was even there, so huge was his contribution), bigs up Eton Road. Kate asks them to pick between Louis and Simon, since both of them are responsible for this pop travesty, and Shane wisely plumps for Sharon. Westlife will be back later, performing with Delta Goodrem, who apparently STILL hasn't learned her lesson. Oh, Delta. (That homewrecking tramp!-Lois)
Simon's category starts the show, which means Ray is on first. Wow, that's risky for someone who was in last week's bottom two. Ray didn't like it, because he wanted to be the best. Can I suggest he joins the Territorial Army then? That would be more up his street. Sharon thinks it's good for someone to have a taste of the bottom two. Simon says he picked Ray last week because he believed that's what the audience wanted him to. Well, given that he was in the bottom two, the audience probably didn't give a flying fig one way or the other. (But Ray's a unique talent! It's a travesty that he was in the bottom two last week.-Lois) We flashback to Simon's terrible decision at boot camp to call Ray back after rejecting him. Simon says that Ray's used eight of his nine lives, and if he's in the bottom two, he's got a problem. Ray remembers being told to do something different this week: "I don't want to be remembered as a one-trick pony because I'm not a one-trick pony." Bit late to be worrying about that, Twat Pack. Oh dear - Ray will be singing 'Livin' La Vida Loca'. He shakes hands with Westlife, and says that he wants to be in the final more than ever. He walks onto the stage in a tight black shirt that shows off what would be his cleavage if he had any. He then proceeds to do an exact mimicry of Ricky Martin's dancing, and it's every bit as horrifying as it is unsexy as it is faintly child-pornesque. He's also singing incredibly flatly, and on come the dancing girls just to prove the point that Ray needs a gimmick of some kind every week. It's a terrible, terrible karaoke performance, and I'm not even giving him points for not doing a swing track. (I will! He's really shown his versatility this week! He deserves a spot in the final now.-Lois) Seriously, every single time he thrusts his crotch at the camera, I get the feeling that I've somehow been horribly violated. That was quite possibly the most disgusting performance of the entire series, but of course the audience goes nuts for it, because they're morons. Sharon congratulates Ray for being confident and having great stage presence, but tells him he doesn't have a recording voice: "Why is it that when I look at you, you remind me of Panto Boy?" Hee. Louis then embarks unwisely down the "oh no he isn't!" route, and tells Ray it was great to see him not do a swing song, and compliments Ray's smile/dancing/work ethic/shoes/eyebrows/GCSE History results in order to sugarcoat the message that his voice sucks. The audience boos, again. Louis tells him he'll work "forever" in the West End, but he doesn't have a recording voice. Ray smugs that he was offered a job in the West End before he came here. Well, they always need lots of people to hand out the London Lite, I suppose. Simon bitches that it's rich of Louis to complain about vocal quality on this show, and Louis demands that Simon explain. (Oooh, I love Simon's feud with Louis - it's so dramatic!-Lois) Simon tells Ray he had to do something different this week and gives him an A for effort, saying that Ray's not the best singer in the competition but he has to work with what he's got. Simon calls it "a better performance than last week" and predicts the audience will keep Ray in this week. We go to what I suspect will be the first of many breaks, with the promise of Robert and Eton Road when we get back.
Sharon can barely be bothered to introduce Robert properly, which is good because hopefully the rest of the public feels similarly fed up of him. Flashbacks to last week, where apparently Robert owned the universe, despite still not really being that good, and having no visible emotional connection to the song, no matter how much they threw that sob story about his sister at us. Simon says that he now sees Robert as a threat, which I highly doubt (I've been in the bottom two twice! Ph3@r my mad contest-winning skillz!), and Robert refers to Westlife as "cool guys". He hopes that if he works hard, he may have half of what they've got one day. Lofty aspirations indeed. Robert sings 'You Are Not Alone', which I swear to God I thought was 'I Believe I Can Fly' until the chorus. If there's one thing I've learned from this show, it's that there are only about three melodies in the known world, and two of them are horrifically dull. This performance is so boring that I set up a caffeine IV to keep me awake. If it got any worse, I'd have needed a caffeine enema. A choir comes in after the key change, and Robert loses all semblance of the tune and indeed the plot. Louis tells Robert that he thought Robert stole the show last week: "This week you come out and sing a Michael Jackson song; not a lot of people can do that." Not even Michael Jackson himself, if the recent World Music Awards are anything to go by. Simon gets clarification on what Louis just said, and Louis informs us all that Simon is jetlagged, having just returned from LA. Simon says that Robert had another very good week, although he's not sure it was the perfect song for him. Simon credits himself for Robert's progress after he told Robert to stop running around the stage. Sharon tells Robert not to thank Simon just yet, and says that Robert gets better and better and better every week, and that so many people in the contest stay on one level (that level being "shit", presumably), whereas Robert's getting better (presumably having started off being "worse than shit" and having just recently caught up with everyone else). Robert thanks everyone for the opportunity he's been given. Yawn.
Over to Louis with the groups, and Eton Road. David says in VT that last week wasn't good. Simon singles out Anthony's high-pitched bit in the middle as being very weird. Anthony feels like he let the boys down last week, but they assure him that he didn't. Aww. They'll be singing 'I Don't Feel Like Dancin'' this week, which is the sort of übergay moment I've been waiting for from them all series. Notwithstanding the time they almost totally made out with each other, of course. Anthony's dressed like Kelly Osbourne again - sigh. There are some definitely questionable moments in the vocals, although they give the really high note to James rather than Anthony, which is a brave choice, and he just about pulls it off. The problem with this performance is the same thing that's wrong with most of their performances - there are too many moments when nobody seems to be quite sure who's meant to be singing. Also, this performance is marred slightly for me by the fact that I'm the only gay in the entire country who thinks that, 'Filthy/Gorgeous' notwithstanding, the Scissor Sisters are massively overrated and actually a little bit shit. Simon says he's been in America for a week, and they've obviously been spending a lot of time with Louis. Heh. Louis, of course, pounces on this and says that he's been mentoring his act, while Simon hasn't been with his at all. Well, we see who gets the last laugh when the results come in, won't we? Sharon claps, because she has no independent brainpower. Simon tells them that it kind of worked, but that there were individual vocals which just didn't come off. Sharon gets on the rag, telling Simon that if he'd been here, he'd know they'd all been sick this week. And that's Simon's problem...why? Seriously, what the fuck has that got to do with anything? Shut up, Sharon. The judges all bicker (Yay!-Lois), and Simon tells them that he's not sure it was strong enough. Sharon goes on again about how she was here all week, and Louis pipes in with his "me too!", and really all that says to me is that Simon's really famous and in demand across the globe, whereas the other two aren't really of much interest to anyone, because I don't believe for a second that Sharon "Please recommission my low-rating chatshow" Osbourne and Louis "I've been on any TV show would have me this week, and all they wanted to do was talk about how shit the MacDougall Brothers are" Walsh would have done anything differently had they been in Simon's position. Sharon says it's just about entertainment value, which: not, and tries to win cred points by saying how much she loves the Scissor Sisters. Louis blathers on about them bringing glitter and sparkle and the public love them. Kate speaks to Anthony, who wisely keeps schtum and basically just says he respects the judges and their comments. Another break, and Kate tells us that we'll return with Gentle Ben and "the last woman in the competition", Leona.
Back from the break, and Simon would like to introduce "...a singer. Leona." Heh. Nice subtle burn there on the other acts. Simon VTs that he's concerned about how, historically, girls do not win this competition, and he's seen this happen before. My mum, incidentally, informed me this week that she hates Leona, because she's "full of herself", so it looks like this is another victory for the "she's young and talented and attractive - who the hell does she think she is?" brigade. (Burn the witch!-Lois) Leona's characteristically shy around Westlife, because she had posters of them on her walls growing up. Oh, Leona. I didn't need to know that. Shane reminds us that they've duetted with Mariah Carey, and that Leona could easily have done Mariah's part in that song. Er...hooray? Fishlips Mark thinks it would be a shame if Leona, as a girl, didn't go further because the girls are voting for the lads they fancy. I'm sure he's very familiar with that strategy, although there's not even anyone hot this year to vote for, with the possible exception of some of Eton Road, and I can't really see that eating into Leona's votes too much. Simon says that voting for Leona is like having a hand in her career, and just as easily we could snuff it out. "That's what this show is about." What, snuffing out careers? Somewhere, Steve Brookstein's watching this, and that penny is slowly dropping. Leona is singing 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', which I think we all had our fill of during Popstars, didn't we? She's perhaps not as good as usual this week, being noticeably wobbly in a few places, although I maintain that even a mediocre Leona performance is still head and shoulders above everyone else. The Choir of Gimmickry comes on to join Leona towards the end of the water, and actually seems to salt her game for a few seconds, but she's a pro and she claws it back with one hell of a glory note near the end. I'd love it if Leona taught Anthony Eton Road how to control his voice, because together they could rule the world. Sharon calls it "another flawless performance", and Louis thinks she has star quality, but has a problem with the fact that she always sings "the ballads". Not that it ever did Westlife any harm, of course, so Louis is talking out his arse again as usual. And yes, I know I bitch about Ray doing swing every week, so this is a complete double standard, but Ray is shit and Leona is good, and that is my justification. He wants her to do something more upbeat next week, and thinks Simon is in a time warp, because she should be moving into Christina/Beyoncé territory. That concerns me. I kind of imagine Leona being forced to do 'Crazy In Love' next week, or that famous reality show kryptonite 'The Voice Within', and it ultimately killing her. Don't you listen to him, Leona. The audience boos Louis's comments and cheers for Leona. Louis also gets in another dig about Simon not being there all week. Simon calls Louis "pathetic" and tells him to "shut up", which gets a cheer from the audience. Simon admits he's been in America all week long, and claims that there's an incredible buzz about Leona out there. Okay, I call bullshit. Seriously, I love Leona and everything, but I don't believe that for a second, and I actually think stories like that will do Leona more harm than good. (Absolutely. Who does she think she is? Too big for her boots! She'd steal my man as soon as look at him. I don't like her!-Lois). Simon says that it's rare for (a) a British singer and (b) someone from a (British) reality show to make such a splash over there, and I can't help thinking it's entirely a Simon-generated splash. I mean, I've said all along that Leona and perhaps Maria are the only contestants from this show who could've held their own on American Idol, but every single year of Idol is full of girls as good as Leona, and I can't see why anyone Stateside would give two shits about The X Factor anyway. But I digress. Simon says that she took a classic song and made her own version of it, and urges the audience not to assume she's safe, and not to throw their vote to someone who ostensibly "needs it more", but to "vote for the talent, please". This makes me wonder if Leona's polling totals aren't really that high. Boo, if that's the case. Sharon takes affront to Simon's comments, and Kate asks Leona how she feels about Louis's criticism. Leona says that she'll take whatever she's given, because she loves singing. (Bitch!-Lois)
Sharon isn't going to do the teary-eyed "vote for mine" routine, because he doesn't need it, apparently: it's Gentle Ben. He's finding it hard after last week's comments, and Sharon thinks Ben's scared of losing the limelight. Louis thinks Ben needs to continue to give those "big" performances that he gave in the first few weeks if he wants to make the finals. Meeting Westlife made Gentle Ben realise that we always have pressure on our shoulders, so basically he learned to just suck it up and get on with it. Hooray! Gentle Ben will be singing 'With A Little Help From My Friends', and he will be at the piano again. Still, at least the Journey South Memorial Guitar of Irrelevance isn't with us this week. It's not vastly removed from the Billy Bragg version, if I'm being honest, and I'm not crazy about parts of the arrangement, but it's all very confident and professional in the way that Gentle Ben generally is. And I'm not making any claims of cons here, but I'm fairly certain I saw a few points where what his hands were doing on the piano did not match what was on the soundtrack. I'm just sayin'. Louis calls it a return to form, and says it was a "powerful performance" that could land Gentle Ben a spot in the finals, and he could fill the gap in the UK market that exists for a young Rod Stewart or Joe Cocker. Seriously. How is Louis Walsh a successful pop music manager if he goes around saying things like that? Simon declares the performance "very good", and thinks that a Ben/Leona final would be the best final EVAR. Sharon thinks he did brilliantly, but he's not perfect, because perfect is boring. I don't really get that, but okay. Gentle Ben rather brazenly begs for votes, but it's kind of cute so I'll let him off. Kate warns us that the MacDougall Brothers will be singing one of the UK's biggest number one hits after the break. I hope it's 'Candle In The Wind', Diana version, because that would be hilarious.
Back from the break, and we're ending the show with the MacDougalls. They talk about how Simon's coming round on them, although he VTs that he still doesn't think they should be in the competition. He thinks the more he criticises them, the more the public votes for them. FINALLY. Jesus, Simon, the rest of us figured that out weeks ago. The MacDougalls will be singing 'Love Is All Around' (kill me now) and are determined not to cock it up. It's a noble ambition, I suppose. The performance is as wedding-singery as you'd expect, and these two still have no stage presence, but there's nothing I can say about them that hasn't already been said, like, a thousand times over, so I'll let you fill in the blanks yourselves. Your opinion probably depends on your amount of residual affection for this song. Mine's somewhere in the negative thousands, which obviously doesn't help. The arrangement is totally screwy, by the way, and has all kinds of weird repetitions in it, and sudden jumps that make no sense and don't scan. They're wearing matching outfits, too. Simon calls it "one of the most boring songs of all time", and Louis goes on about it being number one for 16 weeks, of course, and Simon says that within the context of the show it was "utterly pointless". Blonde MacDougall bitches that they get this every week, and that the public obviously like them enough to keep them around. There's the usual stuff about Simon not being anti-Scots, including him volunteering the fact that his mother's maiden name was Dalgleish (hee). Simon claims it's a sympathy vote. Louis goes on again about how he was with them all week while Simon was in LA (note to Louis: repeating the same point over and over again only serves to make you look like a buffoon who can't think on his toes. Please work harder.) and does the whole schtick about how they're lovely boys who work hard and Simon's just mean. (Simon is SO nasty to those boys. I'm going to go and vote for them now - boy howdy, that'll show him!-Lois) Kate asks them if they care, and Blonde MacDougall says that of course they do. They live in hope of winning Simon over. Good luck to them, I guess.
Performance recap: Ray's crotch should be locked away for the cause of public decency, Robert has the ability to make a boring song even duller, Eton Road were gayer than Christmas, again, Leona was too good for this stupid show as usual, Gentle Ben got by with a little help from a fake piano, and the MacDougalls showed no evidence that they're trying harder to be relevant, despite their claims to the contrary. Kate asks who shone, and Simon says that the best two singers by a mile were Leona and Ben. Sharon, ever the petty one, says Robert and Ben, and Louis, ever incapable of not following a bad example, plumps for the MacDougall Brothers and Eton Road. Okay, that does it: Louis and Sharon are cunts. I'm sorry, but they are the cuntiest cunts that ever cunted, and their complete disregard for the viewing public and the few contestants in this contest (okay, fine: Leona) who actually have talent. I honestly don't get how Simon is the one who's meant to be the demonic figure when he's the only person capable of admitting an act other than the ones he's mentoring did a good job. On the plus side, this means that Ray was the only person not listed as someone who shone. Hee. They will continue to bicker, of course, because the public love it, like the slags that they are.
Earlier, people sang for our votes, and the judges bickered for Strictly Come Dancing's audience share. Kate tells us that we've had the biggest vote tally of the series, with 1.25 million votes (and shamefully I'll admit that I voted: twice, for Leona). Performance recap, again. Kate reminds us that Westlife have had 14 number one hits, and are currently number one in the singles chart, just in case this show hadn't already made us all sufficiently ashamed to be British. They will be singing 'All Out Of Love', with Delta Goodrem. Or possibly 'All Out Of Love With Delta Goodrem', which would have been interesting. It's typically Westlife and dull, of course, although I feel honour-bound to point out that there are no stools. Whatever will they do in the key change? Delta appears in a virginal white dress for the second verse (nice try, Delta) and attempts to rescue her career. Shame she didn't bring Bryian back with her, with his tail between his legs. That would've been awesome. It makes me sad that the woman behind the utterly awesome 'Innocent Eyes' has come to this, but there you go. (Serves her right for breaking poor Kerry Katona's heart.-Lois) There's quite a funny bit near the end where the cameras on Fishlips Mark, who is neither singing nor looking like he has any plans to sing for the rest of the song, which I quite enjoyed. Kate asks for their opinions on who shone. Fishlips Mark thinks Leona. Kian plumps for Eton Road. Delta says it's hard to make a choice, but goes for the MacDougall Brothers. Oh, Delta. I stuck by you through the whole McFaddengate fiasco, but that's it. You're dead to me now. Shane also goes for the MacDougalls, as does Nicky, who redeems himself slightly by also citing Leona. Shane says that Leona was even better than tonight than she was in rehearsals. Kate thanks Westlife for all their help, and Delta for "prettying the place up". Wow, burn on yourself there, Kate. There's no need for that. After all, that's my job.
After the break, Kate claims the voting tally is now up to 1.5 million and the bottom two is "too close to call", which is what they say every time and I've never believed it before and I don't intend to start now. She welcomes back the judges and their acts. The phone lines close (with a whooshing sound effect, no less) and in no particular order, the people coming back next week are: the MacDougall Brothers, Ray, Gentle Ben, and...Leona, who of course bursts into tears at the news. I think she genuinely thought she was in the bottom two this week, actually. Either that or she's a very canny woman indeed. Kate asks Eton Road how it feels to be in the bottom two for the first time, and why they think the public didn't support them. Danny avoids saying "we were probably too gay for Saturday teatime" and plumps for the safer "well, you never know, do you?" Kate asks Robert if it's "third time lucky" for him, and...Kate? I know I said I wouldn't criticise, but the whole "third time lucky" thing doesn't really stand if you were already lucky on the first and second times. Unless you're suggesting that it'll be third time lucky for the audience and he'll finally be going home, in which case: word, Kate. Kate asks Simon what he's looking for, and he replies "major grovelling". He says he'll be judging on the best performance, and tells Robert he's slightly in the lead, which is kind of a dickish move really, and I thought Simon was better than that. (Also: maybe Louis and Sharon should've gone to LA all week too, if that's what it does for the success of one's acts.)
Robert the Favourite comes back on for his third "final showdown" performance. It's in no way improved from the performance he gave the first time around, which makes me question how much he really wants to fight for this. Yawn. He also does one of those ill-advised "whoo!"s when the choir come out, which is all a bit too Taylor Hicks for my liking. That's really all there is to say about his reprisal, so we'll move on to the lovely if slightly shambolic Eton Road. There are still some tuning issues, I'm not going to lie, but they've definitely ironed out some of the problems from earlier. Also, they've clearly got one bitch of a song to try to sing here, compared to Robert's snoozefest of a cakewalk. Unfortunately, they still have the whole "umm..who starts the second verse, and what are the words again?" problem, which they totally need to get fixed by next week.
Robert comes back on, and there are hugs, of course. Kate throws to the judges for their votes, and Sharon says she can't believe that either of those two are in the bottom two. She says Eton Road are the fun factor, and Robert is a "very gifted special entertainer". Not "singer", you'll note. Anyway, Sharon votes for Eton Road to go, though she's not happy about it. Louis echoes Sharon's thoughts on how they shouldn't have been in the bottom two either, and how it's "not fair" (and I'd be interested to hear who he did think a "fair" choice for the bottom two would have been, especially since he wouldn't have wanted the MacDougall Brothers there either). He votes for Robert to go, and is practically crying. Kate asks him if he's okay, and he replies that he's not. I attempt to care less, and find myself incapable. There's a shot of Eton Road, and Anthony's crying but gamely smiling, which kind of breaks my heart a little bit. It's Simon with the casting vote again, and he begins by saying that he didn't appreciate Louis's comments from earlier about him being out of the country. Simon says it's pretty level based on those performances, that Eton Road were better the second time around, and that he thought Robert was good tonight. He makes the decision based on who he thinks could progress further. Therefore the act he's going to send home is...Robert. Hooray! Eton Road breathe a huge collective sigh of relief, and go over for hugs. Awww. Whatever I think of their vocals, I can't help thinking they're cute as a bunch of buttons. Robert tries to shout something to Simon, who apparently isn't looking at him. Hehehe. We watch Robert's journey, and in the corner of the screen he sings along to 'Anytime You Need A Friend'. Heh. Kate tells Robert that he came on wanting a better life for his family, and he says that he's so happy to have been given this opportunity, that it's enriched him(?), and that this isn't the last we've heard of him. Au contraire. Sharon says she won't be saying goodbye to Robert because he's not going anywhere, even though she definitely said that to Tabby and Cassie, and probably also to Roberta, Maria, Chico, Brenda, Andy, Dionne and Kerry, so it isn't worth the air it was spoken into. Kate wishes Robert luck with the new baby, and tells him to keep singing. Don't spoil the moment, Kate. Next week the battle continues, but no on-air plug as to what the theme week will be. I'm still holding out for death metal week, of course. My thanks to Lois Common-Denominator, whose help this week has been invaluable. (My pleasure. Vote MacDonalds!-Lois) Until next time!