Monday, December 17, 2007


I was invited to review the winner's single in a semi-professional capacity, and the results are here, if anyone's interested.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Live from London - the X-Factor final

15th December 2007 - THE FINAL

It BEGAN with the BIGGEST AUDITIONS EVER. That's EVER, in case you weren't listening. EVER. The wait is over - Rhydian, Same Difference and Leon are ready to compete for the final, and Carrie and Steve are here to blog the unfolding horror for you.

OH MY FUCK they are billing this as NATION AGAINST NATION - Scotland versus Wales versus England. (It's also The Pop Group versus The Crooner versus The Voice.-Joel) Seriously. Dermot screeches on to the stage in another odd suit, but at least this one is in a reasonably nice material. He drops the "j" word - hope you've all downed a shot of vodka for that. Our contestants are going to sing a Christmas song, their favourite song of the series, and a duet with a special guest star.

He welcomes the judges. Dannii looks fierce, Louis looks like a drunken old man who's wandered in off the street.

Dermot tells us there's something missing. Talent? Oh, he means the finalists. They enter looking festive, and oh my God. SARAH FROM SAME DIFFERENCE IS DRESSED AS MRS CHRISTMAS. I REPEAT, SARAH FROM SAME DIFFERENCE IS DRESSED AS MRS CHRISTMAS. Rhydian is all in white again, and Leon looks funereal. Hopefully that's prophetic.

In case you hadn't noticed earlier, this is a BATTLE OF NATIONS. Leon's supporters (who appear quite sparse) are in Edinburgh, Same Difference's "barmy army" are in Portsmouth, and Rhydian's gang is in Cardiff.

Same Difference are up first, singing "the best Christmas song of all time", according to Simon. He's not wrong. In their VT, they visit a school and the kids go nuts, as do Sarah and Sean. It's adorable. They perform at a school, and Sarah remembers doing the same thing when she was a kid and thinking it was the biggest thing in the world. Awww. They go to visit their family, and get a hug from their dad. Awwww, again. Sean says it feels like their lives are changing. They go to the Guildhall in Portsmouth, and Sarah is wearing the Coat of Awesome from last week. The crowds scream for them, and they can't quite believe it. Sean says he wanted to bottle up the crowd screaming their name and keep it forever. Oh, bless him. They really want to win, for themselves and their supporters. That'd be us! Yay!

There's a creepy small child on the stage telling them they need to turn on the lights. So they FLY INTO THE AIR AND SPRINKLE FAIRY DUST EVERYWHERE. I am so not kidding. This is AMAZING. They are singing Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'. There are small children dressed as elves dancing around them. It's ridiculous, and yet brilliant at the same time. When this contest is over, I am so going to miss Sean's faces. Obligatory cut to Louis looking like a grumpy old cunt. Some adults dressed as elves bear them aloft. That was fucking amazing.

They get a standing ovation from everyone, including Louis, who calls it "a great start to the show". He can't believe they're in the final, but obviously people like them. Backhanded compliments, table for one! Sharon agrees with Louis and says they opened the show superbly. Dannii tells them it's their best show opening, and they really deserve to be there. Simon tells them he loves the song and he never had presents at Christmas as a child. He tells them they're the underdogs, and does the battle of the countries thing again, saying England may cause an upset tonight. Dermot comes on, and Sarah says that their trip home was the best day of their lives. Sean keeps making "my crazy sister" faces. Hee.

Jeff Brazier is in Portsmouth, spouting nonsense. He asks Portsmuff what they fink of the first performance. There is screaming. This sequence is fairly pointless because you can't really hear anything. He asks a small child who's going to win. "Same Difference!" shouts the small boy. "What do you think of Louis Walsh?" asks Jeff. "He's a grumpy old man!" yells the boy. That was as staged as hell, but it was still funny. Vote for them! 0901 61 61 101. But DON'T VOTE UNTIL THE END OF THE FIRST ROUND OF PERFORMANCES. (Jeff also said, 'If you don't like Louis Walsh, vote for Same Difference', which was awesome.-Joel)

After the break Leon and Rhydian compete to win a place in "pop history" - possibly in more ways than one.

We're back. Goodness knows how it'll get better from here on in, but Dermot nevertheless welcomes us back under the pretence that anyone is going to be remotely as entertaining as the opening act. Dannii chuckles when Dermot introduces her as "our very own Christmas cracker".

Leon goes HOME to SCOTLAND in his VT. Most of what he says is incomprehensible burble, but I do catch the claim, "I feel like I've really done something with my life." Also, he cries. Shut up already. There are bagpipes, because Leon is Scottish. He goes to see his mum, who is single, and also poor. They both cry. The plinky piano of tragic life horror cranks up, and introduces Buble on the soundtrack. He goes to the shopping centre where he used to work, the mayor urges the local population to vote for him, and I can't be bothered with this.

Leon is singing 'White Christmas'. Or 'Wide Christmah', if we're going by his pronunciation. The background is nice, with snowflakes descending from the sky. He is singing in his traditional style, which means tedious and shit. Steve is yawning. He's not wrong.

Louis says that everyone in Scotland should be voting for him, and generally enthuses about how wonderful he is. Sharon says he came into the contest as a shy little boy, and is now a confident, handsome young man. Or not, Osbourne. Simon says it was smooth and controlled, and the last 20 seconds were the best part, but that it is 1-0 to Same Difference. Louis begins to shout about Scotland voting for him. Dannii likens Leon to the Pied Piper, for reasons that are not entirely clear.

Dermot hugs Leon, Leon talks. Apparently he used to work in a CLOTHES STORE IN SCOTLAND. Dermot throws to Michael Underwood in Edinburgh, but he is not Scottish, so cannot really understand the true ferocity of the battle between the nations. (Michael Underwood, who completely ruins the Special! Surprise! Guest! by saying that Leon will sing with Kylie later.-Joel) Lots of people who are Scottish say that Leon is great. They are entirely wrong.

Time for Rhydian. Dannii tells us that we all knew his name since the beginning, even if we didn't know how to spell it. Rhydian goes home to Wales and is greeted by his whole village. Wow, if his whole village is voting for him, he's got nothing to worry about! Rhydian tells his village he doesn't want to let them down. Awww. Rhydian goes to see his family, who all have white hair too. His nan is very proud of him. Rhydian goes to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and is greeted by lots of people, although it looks like a small corner of the venue. Rhydian says that winning would change his life.

Rhydian sings 'O Holy Night', and he has a lovely clarity to his voice as ever. I keep thinking of when Cartman sang this on South Park and Kyle shocked him with an electric cattle prod every time he forgot the words. The staging is very literal (thanks, NotLouis!) so when Rhydian gets to "fall on your knees", he...falls on his knees. As you do. Then a children's choir comes out, because there must always be a children's choir. And then there's a gospel choir as well! And then the doors open behind him...serving no apparent purpose, and he does a glory note. There's some kind of bright light behind him, so Rhydian is...Jesus, I think?

Louis tells us Rhydian is the next big singer from Wales and could sell lots of records internationally. Sharon says it was beautifully sung and he was like a white angel (racist!). Simon tells Rhydian that he wins the prize for consistency. Rhydian blushes, and Dannii laughs at him for not taking compliments well. Dannii tells him that if he's not busy on Christmas Day he can come to the Minogue house and sing it again there. HELL YES! Best invitation ever.

Dermot chats to Rhydian about being Welsh, and Rhydian thanks everyone for taking time off work to come and see him. Bless his little heart. Myleene Klass is in Wales, and is similarly inaudible. Someone next to her has a Rhydian tribute haircut. Rhydian's neighbour says what a nice young man he is. A girl with a squeaky voice says something that only dogs can understand, but it probably amounted to "vote for Rhydian".

The lines are now open! Vote Same Difference! 0901 61 61 101. Adrian is trying to vote for Same Difference, but his phone is telling him the number is barred. This is probably because he is Irish, and therefore NO PART OF THE NATIONALIST X-FACTOR FINAL.

Dermot welcomes us back, and now it's time for the finalists to sing a duet with their very special guests. Same Difference are singing Any Dream Will Do. WITH JASON DONOVAN. Who does not have an amazing technicoloured dreamcoat, or indeed a gorgeous white one, like Sarah. Same Difference are acting and emoting their little hearts out. Sean looks quite overwhelmed at the majesty of Le Donovan. Children's choir! (I swear they just bought a busload of orphans to use. So many kids on the show tonight.-Joel) Key change! TWO DRINKS! THEN, at the end, they go into, "Give me my coloured coat, my amazing coloured coat!" and the 'X' above the stage goes MULTICOLOURED! Vote Same Difference!

Dermot says, "I didn't think you two could look any happier!" and they both beam and shout, "JASON DONOVAN!" Sean says that Happy Together was the first single he bought. Jason says that the music business is all about enjoying yourself, and that he will be in Echo Beach on ITV in the New Year. Sarah secures herself to the waist of Jason, and they all skip off.

Rhydian is next, and he sings 'You Raise Me Up'. It's quite sedate, but very clear and he has a lovely voice. He is joined by celebrity butterface Katherine Jenkins, who comes out and completely wrecks the whole thing. Ugh. And to think she's not at Strictly Come Dancing in alleged boyfriend Gethin's hour of need. Key change! It is not a good key change for either of them. We start wondering if Katherine Jenkins actually talks as ridiculously as she sings. (Seriously. That Paris girl is a better opera singer than Katherine Jenkins.-Joel) I thought Same Difference had got the short straw, celebrity wise, but their second performance was better than Rhydian's. It was certainly more interesting. Katherine Jenkins plugs her Viva La Diva! musical with Darcey Bussell, and we're all implored to vote for Rhydian.

Back after the break, and it's Leon, with his now-famous Kylie duet. Bloody nepotism. This is the performance I have been assured will horrify me, so - can't wait. The opening chords sound - I realise what's coming - and my jaw drops open in sheer disgust and shock. It's Better The Devil You Know, sung in Leon's characteristic pseudo-swing style. There is a big red grand piano. There is a big band. There is Leon wandering around knock-kneed. There is Kylie wearing lace and a horrible black corset. This is the worst thing I have ever seen or heard in my life. Dannii is laughing. I wish I could find some amusement in those three minutes of my life that have been wasted and which I will NEVER GET BACK. (I'm not a big Kylie fan, but she certainly has amazing presence and is a great performer on stage. Paring her with Leon really just showed how lacking he is in that arena. Also a bad idea? That weird black lace Bettie Paige bodystocking they put her in.-Joel)

Dermot asks Kylie what she thinks of Leon. She glances at him up and down and says, "Look! LOOK!" EXACTLY. Leon keeps touching Kylie. She is contaminated. Ugh.

Montage of all the comedy mentally ill people who auditioned this year. I will not lower myelf to recap it. Oh God, they're probably all going to come out and do a performance in a minute, aren't they? Dear God, they just showed Icaro. And the "great dentistry" woman. I'd been trying to forget that. And a victory lap for that shot of the door hitting Sharon in the face. What number can I call to vote for the door?

Told you so: the "classic auditionees" come back to shred whatever dignity they have left. The little Asian lady, Mafia man, "no way" girl, great dentistry woman, "I used to think you were such a wonderful man" band, Icaro, the funereal twins, the woman whose dad came in to defend her (who actually sings fine and wasn't notably worse than any of the finalists), the aerobics teacher, the woman who came in with her lyrics on a sheet, the girl with the dress made by her dad comes in borne aloft by some buff bronzed men in trunks. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS AND WHY IS IT PASSING FOR ENTERTAINMENT? Oh, they're singing 'One Moment In Time', by the way, and it's only fractionally worse than Niki's version. Simon tells them that half of them could've been in the final (true), and that they make him proud to be British. (Oh, X-Factor. How I love it when you allow me to laugh at the fat, the stupid, the disadvantaged and the borderline mentally ill. Truly, you are the most classy and dignified of all TV shows. And really. Do not put stripping dance teacher, who got to boot camp, and Icaro, who got to the final six, in your 'hahaha, aren't these people shit?' showcase, it just makes you look stupid.-Joel)

Back again for more trauma, and it's Same Difference. Who YOU SHOULD VOTE FOR. They're doing Breaking Free again. Simon looks happy. I love Simon. Sean and Sarah are holding hands. We love Same Difference. NotLouis has stage-school kids overload this week - there are another bunch of them dancing round desks in S Club Juniors-stylee.

Everyone stands up to applaud, minus stupid Louis, the miserable old bastard. He asks them why they look so scared of him, and then he tells them that Rhydian and Leon are better than them. Rude, rude, rude. Sharon loves them and reckons nobody can predict what will happen. She then urges mothers to allow their children to vote for Same Difference. Dannii says that was Same Difference at their best. Simon thanks NotLouis, and the judges nod knowingly and applaud. Pah. Sean says they are pleased to be here, and Sarah thanks everyone for voting. They bound off stage.

Dannii tells us that Leon is the one who melted our hearts from the beginning. And our ears. And our BRAINS. He's singing 'You Don't Know Me' again and it sucks every bit as much as it did last time. DO NOT WANT. I can't help noticing that the audience applauds when he stops singing, which means they must be as grateful for it as I am. Oh God, if the Jazz Twat wins this year, I just don't know what I'm going to do. KEY CHANGE. It doesn't stop it sucking, of course. Man, I wish I didn't know him. Life was much sweeter then.

Louis tells him that Scotland, WHERE HE IS FROM, should be proud of him, and that he is "potentially" as good as Michael Bublé, which actually means fuck-all when you think about it. Sharon tells him he's been on stage with superstars like Kylie and Bubbles, and it's obviously rubbing off on him. Simon says it was brilliant, and that this was the point where it all turned around for him. Dannii does a shoutout to Leon's mum WHO IS SINGLE AND POOR. Dermot asks Leon what he thinks of the comments. "Murgleflurgebleurgsstruglehurgleburgle," replies Leon.

Last up, it's Rhydian, singing Somewhere. It's tuneful, and sedate, and understated, and about a gazillion times better than anything Leon has ever served up. Srsly, this whole series would have been much more credible as a singing contest if they'd taken our suggestion and let Rhyd sing off against Leona. Louis and Sharon are whispering while Rhydian is singing, which is so nonsensically impolite it's untrue.

Louis wibbles on about selling records worldwide, Sharon says it was her favourite song of the whole, whole contest and hopes he gets chance to record it, and Louis interrupts to say, "Andrew Lloyd Webber will ring you on Monday, but don't take his call!" Sharon replies, "He's a nice guy, take his call." Simon says it was brilliant, and if the title went to the person with the best voice, he would win it. Dannii beams in mother-hen fashion. Rhydian is overwhelmed and humble, saying it is the best night of his life, and then loses his train of thought.

Recap - Same Difference FLYING and throwing GLITTER; Leon being dull; Rhydian singing like an Aryan angel; Same Difference with Jason Donovan, but without coats of any hue; Leon and Kylie collectively crucifying one of the best pop singles ever; Katherine Jenkins being put to shame by Rhydian; Same Difference being WILDCATS; Leon staring at his shoes; Rhydian demonstrating why he's the best singer this entire series has had.

You know where our allegiances lie, but we'd be happy with a Rhydian win, because he is, after all, the best singer. If Leon should triumph, however, there'll be all sorts of trouble. Join us in half an hour for the results.

(Of note: Xtra Factor had celebrities naming their favourites. 90% of them liked Leon. Including Michael Bublé. Who calls himself 'Mickey Bubbles'.-Joel)

Results show

We're back! There's been vodka, and a nice takeaway curry, and if Leon wins this, we'll likely be vomiting it all back up in about an hour. Earlier tonight, the contestants have sung, and it's now THE MOMENT OF TRUTH.

Dermot welcomes us back, and tells us that it is very tense. We then get a recap of what happened earlier. Please see above.

Dermot is next to a Christmas tree, and informs us that it is VERY CLOSE. Just like it was last year. And the year before. Give us your money!

Now it's Kylie's turn to sing, but I'm currently pretending she doesn't exist due to the evil she perpetrated earlier this evening. It all looks hideous, with horrible costumes for her and her dancers, and it's not sounding great either. (This is a terrible song. As I said above, I'm not a Kylie fan, but I thought 'Two Hearts' was great, and now she's gone back to generic dance-lite blah. Oh, Kylie.-Joel) Although she has very pretty hair. I blame William Baker. For everything, generally. Dannii is gaily singing along in the audience to her sister's music and clapping enthusiastically, which is lovely. She gets a standing ovation.

THE LINES ARE NOW FROZEN, folks. After the break we'll be losing the act with the fewest votes and finding out who's in the final. Gosh. By the way, Leon really must not win.

We're back, and you could cut the tension with a mallet. Dermot is about to announce the act with the fewest votes who has finished in third place. Please be Leon. Please be Leon. I know it isn't, but all the same, please let it be Leon. Big sweepy lights. The public has been voting all evening, and the two acts through in no particular order are...Rhydian! And...Leon! Oh well. It was nice while it lasted, folks, but I think we all saw that coming. Also, people who voted for Leon: we really hope you're ashamed of yourselves. You've just made Louis very happy. They take it on the chin, of course, because they're lovely. They would've liked to get further, but it was not to be. Video montage of their best moments, and of course it is epic. Aww, I'm gonna miss these guys.

Simon joins them on the stage, and says that he's really gutted for them. He says he wouldn't have wanted to work with any other group. Elsewhere, Hope and Futureproof are all "ouch". Simon says more nice things about them. Dermot tells Dannii she is guaranteed to win this year's competition, which is kind of awesome, but if Leon wins the apocalypse will still come nonetheless.

Winner's single time: "our very own Braveheart", Leon, sings with a singular lack of charisma, and we see how inordinately awful he is without his swing-rhythm crutch. Or indeed with it. Key change. Gospel choir. It doesn't make it any better, except for the fact that Leon's slightly drowned by the power of their voices. Seriously, this child has no stage presence. He does a horrible glissando falsetto at the end, and BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. He waves in magnanimous fashion to the crowd, and the judges except Louis stand up to applaud. Louis plays the Scotland card, and FUCK OFF. Sharon asks him where those notes came from. Hell? Backstage? Simon says that he hates losing. Louis says, "But you've lost!" Not as much as you did, leprechaun, so shut it. Dannii piles on the superlatives. Dermot talks to Leon, Leon mentions a "journey" several times. Boring. There's a VT of Leon's best moments, which is mysteriously and inexplicably not two seconds long. A few "special people" with messages for Leon: his best friend, a random friend, his mum WHO IS POOR AND SINGLE, his nan, another friend, some more friends, his mum again, who says he is passionate about music. So passionate that he's been fucking its corpse on live TV for the past however many weeks. That kind of passion isn't legal, Leon's mum. Leon is crying, because he's a fucking pussy.

Dermot tells us there is 1% in it, which is bollocks. After the break, Rhydian will be performing the winner's single, and we'll find out who's winning this shitshow. 1%! You can say it as much as you want, Dermot, I'm still not going to believe you.

Back from the ads, and there's more bollocks about how there are two people left, but neither of them are Same Difference, so we don't care. And it's time for Rhydian's version of 'When You Believe', which is obviously better than Leon's, but it's still your obligatory "I JUST WON A TV TALENT SHOW" song and is inherently uninteresting for that very reason. And who do we have to kill for someone to get an original song next year? What was so special about Shayne Ward, eh? Rhydian does not appear to have a choir. FIX! FIX! But then perhaps Leon needed them to prop-up his weakass vocals and total lack of stage presence? Oh, never mind - there they are. Phew. Ignore that bit, then. Ah, the perils of blogging in real time! It's a sucky song either way, but it sucks less when Rhydian does.

(I still can't believe they chose 'When You Believe' as the winner's song. They normally raid a Bellefire album track or something, but this song was sung by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. It won the Oscar for best song. It is not a little-known song. Plus it's a damn duet. And it really only works in the context of 'The Prince of Egypt', with kids singing in Hebrew and stuff. This is it done properly:


Louis tells him that it's a close run thing, and he thinks it's going to be "between Scotland and Wales". Well, yes. Sharon tells him that he has his own approach to the song, presumably in that he sang it well, unlike Leon. Simon accidentally calls him Leon, and gets booed. Simon says if this is the last time we ever hear him sing (does the runner-up get his tongue removed? How was Ray Quinn spared that fate last year), it's a hell of a way to go out. Dannii thanks him for being so amazing, and Rhydian thanks her in turn. Such a nice boy. Rhydian thanks everyone for taking their time and money to vote, and Dermot gets corporate nervous, telling everyone that it isn't that expensive like the little toady he is. Rhydian's "journey" VT, including that time when Sharon hated him and it totally wasn't staged for the cameras or anything, and that time when he was Shirley Bassey. Ah, good times. Rhydian has a series of messages from people who are sitting in the audience - parents, aunts, cousins, friends, great-aunt, but though Rhyd is clearly on the verge of tears, he doesn't weep like a four-year-old like SOME PEOPLE. Rhydian says he wouldn't have been able to do anything without the support of his friends and family.

Recap. You know what's happened. It's a travesty so far, and we don't guarantee that it won't end that way as well. Steve wails, "I can't take any more of this show. I think it's given me cancer." Expect him to be auditioning next year if so. THE LINES ARE NOW CLOSED. After the break, we'll find out who's won.

Here we go, then. Team Minogue has triumphed in spectacular fashion, beating the hell out of Sharon and Louis. Dermot reckons this is the biggest night in British music, and gauges opinions from the OB anchors and the random lunatics scattered around them. A small red-headed child says, "I am the biggest fan of Rhydian!"


The boys come onto the stage, arms round each other.

The winner of X-Factor 2007 is...LEON. FUCK. FUCKING HELL. There are no words. But Simon will sign SD and Rhydian anyway, and Leon will go the way of McManus and Brookstein. I must have faith.-Joel

Well, if nothing else, that's the perfect way to mark the end of the worst ever series of this show. What a fucking crock of shit. Leon, the best undiscovered talent in the country? Fuck right off.

Leon wibbles like a baby, and Rhydian is gracious in defeat, thanking Dermot. Dannii joins them on stage. Leon's first ever single will be in the shops on Wednesday. Next week folks, we must all download Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You', or possibly even Leona's 'Bleeding Love', just to prove a fucking point here and keep this gross miscarriage of justice away from the Christmas No.1 spot. Let's all hope his career does a Brookstein, and fast.

Dannii does not take the opportunity to point out to the other judges how she totally pwned them this year, because she's a class act, and exits the stage while Leon sings out as the four horsemen and a plague of locusts descend upon the stage. If there was ever any more evidence to sack Sharon and Louis, I can't think of what it would be. They spent the whole season slagging her off, saying she never had any success, that she was there for her looks, and so on. But a) she had a damn sight more singing success than you bitches did and b) she's just owned your asses at managing acts as well. Her acts came first and second. What do you wretches contribute to this show?-Joel

And then we woke up and it was all a dream!, it actually happened. Oh dear. Scotland, we need to have serious words with you. Was inflicting McManus on it not bad enough? Was it just because Leon's name is "Noel" backwards and it's nearly Christmas? I just don't understand, and I give up. The rest of the finalists join him on stage, and are all "this loser beat us? Seriously?" And rightly so. ZombiEmily is not there, because she has been erased from history. The song ends, and Leon weeps because he just loves singing. It's such a shame singing doesn't love him. Leon, crying again some more: "Flurblenurblewurblebeepbeepbeep." Wow, I can't wait to hear some more interviews with this guy.

That's it for this year. Don't forget that Strictly Come Bitching will have the skinny on the Strictly Come Dancing final next week, and join us in the new year for Bitching on Ice. Oh yes.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The dream IS DEAD

Semi-final - 8th December 2007

It began with 12! Now just four remain! (Incidentally, for the X-Factor live tour, all the acts are on the bill, except for Komedy Kimberley and Single Dad Daniel. And ZombiEmily, who has been erased from history.)

The judges have bitched like teenage schoolgirls; Niki is singing for her family, except her dad, who is dead; Leon blahs about his mum, who is single; Same Difference are wide-eyed and sincere; Rhydian is determined. Dannii has two acts left so she will see us in the final. (That useless Minogue bitch, she's got no idea what she'd doing....-Joel) Sharon is impartial - yeah, right. Tonight, WE will choose who goes through! Oh yes, indeedy, it's time to "face" "the" "music"!

Live from London, it's the X-Factor semi-final, and here is Dermot in another suit that bags a bit at the front! He introduces us to Fight Night (do you see what he did there? A cunning Hatton-Mayweather reference?) and gleefully announces that the judges have been STRIPPED of their POWERS. Nevertheless they're still here, else who would we have to hate? Apart from Niki. And Leon. And Michael Buble, who's tonight's special guest.

Tonight's theme is "songs to get you to the final". Fuck's sake. One song is chosen by the contestant and one by their mentor.

Louis has refused to take his medication this week, apparently, and Dermot throws to him amidst much booing. Are they booing Dermot or Louis? Please let it be Louis. Anyway, Louis introduces a woman from Birmingham (drink!), and of course it is Niki. Scary-no-make-up-Niki has horrible frizzy hair (Srsly. Turn the hairdryer down a notch, love. 'Fricasee' was not the intention of the machine.-Joel)and gloats about how great her life is now. "I've tried so hard for so many years...everything I've done has failed." Because you're shit. And a cow. Niki goes to meet Michael Buble, who tilts his head and looks sincere listening to her. Ugh. Getting into the final is all that matters to Niki. As if we didn't know.

To be fair to her, she looks moderately decent tonight in a tailored black suit, which covers up most of her bosom, which I think is what makes her look fat most of the time. Unfortunately, she is singing Songbird. By Eva Cassidy. Who is dead. LIKE NIKI'S DAD. Anyway, this is all right if you like that sort of thing - oversung and overelaborate - which I don't. Bored now. (At least she's screaming it. High praise indeed.-Joel)

Sharon says this song is too subtle for this stage of the competition. Niki lifts her chin and looks pissed off, because Sharon has not admired her amazingness. [I like the idea that Sharon's essentially revealed the show's modus operandi is "all obvious, all the time." - Steve] Dannii says it was a beautiful performance. Simon says it was more pretty than beautiful. Dannii interrupts to tell Niki she looks gorgeous. Simon continues to say that the song was dreary, and that Niki is lucky that she has a second song tonight. Louis witters on about singing from the heart, and that Niki is older than everyone else, and he wants people to vote for her because she wants it so much. Simon tells him everyone in the competition wants it, and Louis replies that he (Louis) wants it more than him (Simon), which is possibly true, because Simon is a success, whereas Louis is a bitter washed-up shell of a man. Niki has her chance to respond to the comments, and this is what she says, verbatim: "Nobody else in the competition sings like that, Simon. Nobody else does this. I'm trying to be different. If I come out belting all the time I wouldn't be different." Conceited cow. HATE. She doesn't do herself any favours, does she? (So funny! Srsly, when someone as humble as Leona gets attacked for being a conceited bitch by some people, you really want to watch yourself there, love.-Joel) [If Niki wants to do something different, she could try going a whole song without wandering out of tune. - Steve]

Dermot welcomes us back after the break, and Dannii introduces "our very own Braveheart, who has had a life-changing week." Yes, it's Leon, who moans about having to work in a clothes shop IN SCOTLAND to make some money for his MUM WHO IS SINGLE. Seriously, I can't make head nor tail of his accent. However, I can confirm that I hate his eyebrows. Dannii reckons he is the biggest threat to everyone. Leon loves Michael Buble; Michael Buble loves Leon. Perhaps they can both run away together and fuck off from my television screen, in that case.

I've no idea what this song is, but I like the grand piano and dry ice. ('The Very Thought Of You' but I've never heard it sound like that. It was like they wrote a new melody for it.-Joel) I don't like horrible stylised pseudo-jazz singing. I also don't like Leon wandering into the audience and kissing the hands of random women. This is going to get amazing comments despite being dull as ditchwater.

Louis tells Leon that he has come a very long way, and that he owned the stage, and that he is the new Michael Buble. Well, that's original. [I thought Ray was the new Michael Buble? Leon's just the new Ray. - Steve] Sharon says something similar. Simon says, "Let's get real. It was one of your weakest performances for a while." Hooray! Good old Cowell, bringing some sense to the proceedings. He says the start was out-of-tune, the bit in the middle was corny, but the end was good. Dannii says that she knew he was nervous, and there were some bits out of tune, but it was a very difficult song to sing and she takes responsibility for picking such a tricky song. Good for her. (See, Mrs O? Telling your own act when they're not good. Like Simon told Hope last week. That's impartial.-Joel)

Dannii hopes she has chosen the right song for her next contestant, who is Rhydian, and asks us to ensure we have a box of tissues nearby. And Simon goes, "Pardon?" Filthmonger. Rhydian does not want to go back to his previous life. Michael Buble tells him that his voice has knocked him out many times, and attempts a weak impression, which is...odd.

Ohhhhhh, he's singing that reality TV classic Bridge Over Troubled Water, but he's forcing the vibrato on those low notes. Why? Maybe a sore throat. Anyway, we'll see what happens when it moves up into his comfort zone. Oops, sorry, am entirely distracted by Brian Friedman's latest offering of creative direction, which involves random dancers wandering on to perform interpretatively, and jets of smoke. And his last note sounds a bit off to me. Anyway. Let's see what the "experts" think.

Louis, who you'll recall keeps talking about how "his Niki" has the X-Factor and deserves to win, says that Rhydian is brilliant, will definitely make the final, and will probably win the competition. Sharon says it was breathtakingly perfect. Louis claps like a seal. Simon says he thinks it was bloody fantastic, in a different league to the two performances so far, and possibly the best performance of the competition so far. Dannii says it was beautiful. Rhydian looks a bit stunned, and does lots of self-deprecating humbleness, thanking everyone in the world who has so far contributed to his life.

Break, and then we're back to Dermot telling us that Simon has always had an act in the final. That's the introduction to Same Difference's first song of the evening. Louis says, "Same Difference CANNOT make the final. No, no, no." Sod off. (Humourless old bastard.-Joel) Sarah enthuses about all the staging they've had. Sean says, "We're little Sean and Sarah from Portsmouth." Aw. Friedman talks about creative direction. Michael Buble can't help but hug them, and says there are not enough brother-and-sister acts.

THEY'RE IN A CIRCUS! This is amazing! They're singing Chain Reaction, dancing on a podium, and there is a FIRE-EATER, and a CLOWN, and a FORTUNE TELLER (With whom Sarah argues!-Joel), and a RING-MASTER, and a JUGGLER, and a STRONGMAN (With 'Same Difference' written on his back!-Joel). I love Same Difference, and they have to be in the final. I can't say they've ever really topped the pure brilliance that was I Don't Feel Like Dancing, but this is enthusiastic and lively and fun.

Louis still doesn't understand the point of Same Difference, so we'll ignore him. Sharon says she doesn't think the song showed off their voices, and Louis interrupts, "What voices?" Imbecile. Dannii says it was too high in parts and too low in other parts, and tells Louis that you can have whatever you want to make it entertaining. Simon says all three of them know that they're not the best singers in the competition, but they work hard, they've done well, kids will love it, and Louis is evil for wanting to shatter their dreams. Dermot tells Sean and Sarah that the performance was bonkers, and they beg for votes. Bless.

Dermot reminds us that WE MUST VOTE to DECIDE WHO WILL PROGRESS, and we get a recap of what we've seen so far. Adverts.

Now, the contestants are going to sing a song they have chosen themselves. Louis says, "She's from Birmingham, and her name is Niki." Seriously, he has no sense of self-irony. Niki reckons this song was written especially for her to sing in the X-Factor semi-final. Silly bint. Niki says she NEEDS to get to the final. Louis says if she doesn't, she could be back SERVING BEANS IN THE KITCHEN next week. Oh well. Such is life, eh?

The song that was written specifically for Niki to sing tonight is One Moment In Time. And I think she'll find it was written specifically for Whitney to sing as the theme song for the 1988 Olympics. She warbles her way through it, surrounded by candles and dry ice. Louis is air-drumming along, like a muppet. And her key change is AWFUL; yet again she's trying to chest-belt it and doesn't have the capacity. (She just has no idea of her own limitations, does she?-Joel) And then she misses the big note at the end, stops singing, and finishes the last bar in a head-voice, which is what she should have been doing before.

Sharon says it was brilliant. A clue: no. Dannii says that Niki knows how to work a studio. Simon says that performance was more like it. Niki asks him why he can't always be nice. (Because you're shit most of the time. Be good if you want praise.-Joel)Simon replies that it was a bit shouty in the middle, and some brainless item in the audience shouts, "Who are you?", at which Simon turns round with great disdain and says, "My name is Simon Cowell." Louis says people in Birmingham should vote for her. Niki thanks Simon for his nit-picking. Dermot wants Simon to praise Niki. Simon refuses.

Leon returns. His VT says...something about Michael Buble, maybe? Buble is scared of Leon. Me too. OH MY EYES! Leon is wearing leather trousers and trying to dance, with a strange slutty-looking girl. He is sort-of-singing How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) in, what else, pseudo-swing style. More girl dancers turn up, complete with chairs, and it looks a bit like Cell Block Tango from Chicago. This is excruciating. Why can nobody see that Leon is an adequate karaoke act/Buble impersonater at best?

Louis says nice things, including "you're going to have an amazing recording career"; Sharon says Leon pushes himself with his song choices; Simon says that he didn't like the arrangement, it was a bit indulgent, and Leon should be connecting with the audience at home. The audience start shouting at Simon, and he looks incredibly pissed off. Dannii reminds us that Buble chose Leon to join him on stage this week. Leon is humble and upset, and Dermot utterly misjudges the tone and tries to gee him up by saying, "Don't be fooled by this! He's a cheeky bugger!" Leon says that Buble was responsible for him starting to sing, so at least now we know who to blame.

Ads, then we come back to Dannii to introduce Rhydian. He VTs that this song is what this whole experience has been about, and that he chose it because he loves it. Simon says that Rhydian's greatest threat is himself. Louis says it is a very safe song. Simon says that if he doesn't go through, it'll be the end of the world for him, and I'm fairly sure he said that earlier too.

Ah, Rhydian is singing You'll Never Walk Alone, which Ray ripped to shreds last year with his SINCERITY, performing for the CITY OF LIVERPOOL. However, Rhydian is performing the original Carousel version, rather than the adultered Gerry and the Pacemakers version, and it's technically fine, but just seems to be lacking something. I do like Rhydian's three-piece suit, though, so well done to him on that front. (It's lovely. And it fits. So it's clearly just Dermot's stylist who needs firing.-Joel)

Louis says it was amazing, Rhydian will make the final, and will probably win it. YOU SAID THAT EARLIER, WALSH, YOU TEDIOUS REPETITIVE MORON. Sharon witters on about Rhydian's mum being proud. Simon says that if a place could be awarded in the final to the person who sang the best tonight, Rhydian would be through. Dannii says it was beautiful, and it was world-class, and people should vote for him. Rhydian thanks everyone, and hopes people will pick up the phone and vote for him. Dermot talks about how great Rhydian's mum is. Rhydian speaks in Welsh. Get a move on already.

Simon introduces Same Difference again, and says the song they have chosen is a very personal one. Sean and Sarah are VTing their reasons for their song choice, and Sarah looks very red-eyed. The reason becomes clear - this is a song Sarah listened to when she was being bullied at school. Sarah says she didn't think she'd be able to achieve her dreams because those people told her she couldn't, and she had no friends except for Sean, who was always there for her. Sean is proud of her; Sarah wants to show that she is stronger now and she will sing for herself and her brother.

They are sitting on a park bench and singing Never Had A Dream Come True, and I'm very much loving Sarah's coat. (Best coat ever.-Joel) Ooh, there's a lamp-post, and snowflakes on the screen behind them. Then random dancers walk on, and snow begins to fall from the sky! Oh, and Sarah bursts into tears on her last note, but continues to sing. Sean hugs her. All the judges are on their feet, even bloody Louis. Louis then proceeds to bitch, while Sarah weeps. Sharon says it was nice to hear Sarah sing without dancing. Dannii says she prefers that to the original. Simon says it was one of his favourite performances so far, and tells Sarah that having watched the VT, even if they don't make the final, she doesn't have to put up with that rubbish even again. Dermot comes on, bringing Sarah a tissue so she can wipe her eyes, and Sarah thanks Simon for giving her confidence, and then thanks Sean for being her best friend. Sean looks shocked, and then he begins to well up too. And yes, OK, I've gone a bit weepy too.

In conclusion - Niki or Leon to go, please, British public.

Results show

Earlier on, you know what happened, because I've recapped it for you. Now, it's the MOMENT OF TRUTH. But before the actual genuine moment of truth, we have to watch clips from the performances. And THEN we have to welcome Michael Buble, which Dermot is pretending is an honour and a privilege for us. The King of Swing, who has had a whole seven number one hits world-wide, which is admittedly seven more than I've had, but that's not really a sackful, is it? [YOU CAN'T SAY ANYTHING! YOU'VE NEVER EVEN HAD A HIT RECORD! YOUR OPINION ON ALL MATTERS MUSICAL IS ENTIRELY MOOT! - Louis Steve] He looks a bit dishevelled, and just to show how hip and contemporary he is, he is wearing Converse with a suit and tie. He sings. It's dull. Let's move on to garnering his opinions. Dermot shakes his hand and does a little bow. Buble says, "These's a little scary." Yes, they are scary. What he actually means is that it's scary to sing live in front of judges. He liked Rhydian. He liked Niki, and thinks she is sexy. He liked Same Difference, and thinks they are cutie-pies. (Whatever you think of Boobly, 'cutie-pies' is the perfect description of them.-Joel) He liked Leon, and claims to have been copying him tonight. How tedious.

Dermot talks to the contestants backstage. Sarah says tonight has been really emotional, and sounds like she's about to start crying again. Leon says something or other again. Niki is nervous. Good. She says she hasn't done her best tonight, and if she walks away tonight, then her DREAM IS DEAD. (Like her DAD.-Joel) Rhydian thanks people who have voted for him, and wants more votes. Tedious again. Adverts.

We're back, and ready for the results. Dannii comes on to the stage with Rhydian and Leon, Louis with Niki, and Simon with Same Difference.

Dermot tells us that the public have voted, and the three acts with the most public votes will go through to next week's final. In no particular order, the first act through is - Same Difference! HOORAY! TAKE THAT, LOUIS, YOU MISERABLE FUCKING TOSSPOT! The second act to go through is - RHYDIAN! THAT MEANS SOMEONE WE HATE IS GOING! The third act through is...goodness, this is tense...Leon! (Cheering for Leon was a very strange sensation indeed.-Joel)

That means NIKI'S DREAM IS DEAD! Leon bursts into tears and sobs like a toddler on Niki's shoulder. Dermot ushers him off the stage. Niki thanks everyone and attempts to be graceful, but one can't help but think that she's putting it all on. (Bit late for grace and humility, love.-Joel) Louis says Niki has been a dream to work with; Niki says Simon Le Bon is nice but not as nice as Louis. Dermot introduces the VT of Niki's Journey, which opens with her saying, "My dad died", and ends with Louis saying, "Your family would be so proud of you, particularly your dad." See, if she'd only played that card earlier, it might have got her through to the final. Still, never mind. Back to serving beans for you, Niki. Dermot says that she's one of the nicest people they have on the show, which doesn't say much for the rest of them. She sings us out with One Moment In Time, and it's worse than her original attempt, particularly the end. Ah well, it doesn't matter, because she's gone!

Next week, it's the final. Leon to finish third, kthxbai.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's all Hopeless

Top 5 Perform - "Best of British": 1st December 2007

I’m trying a bit of an avant-garde experiment with this recap. I was watching the show at someone else’s house and couldn’t take notes. So, basically it’s going to be more of a stream of consciousness thing. All the events in the recap took place, but not necessarily in the order I retell them, particularly the inter-judge bickering. I have a feeling anyone would be hard-pressed to notice, so damn formulaic is this godforsaken show.

We open with, as ever, the normal hyperbolic bullshit. The judges badmouth each other and each other’s contestants. Exciting music plays. Louis goes on about Beverley being there instead of Hope. ‘Beverley should be here, not Hope!’, that sort of thing. And given that she actually got the fewest votes and there were no judicial shenanigans, he really needs to shut the fuck up. I get pissed off with the retarded voting public, of course I do, but I’m not a voice of the show. Plus she was shit and deserved to go home. This is a pre-cursor to Louis being, even by his own standards, particularly hateful tonight. Sharon goes on about how she’s impartial and therefore the other judges are scared of her. Or perhaps they’re not, given that you’re so shit all your acts got voted off or stabbed their way out the competition on youtube. It’s worth noting that the moody video clips of the contestants are new – they are now dressed in white, in a room that is white, with lots of fluorescent bulbs hanging from the ceiling. It’s not a good look. Except for Hope, who are lying on their fronts with their legs kicked up on a bed, looking like the sleepover scene in ‘Grease’ or something.

Dermot stomps out and tells us our Saturday night starts right here. As ever, I think that I should be the judge of when my Saturday night starts or doesn’t start, thankyousomuch, O’Leary. [He also appears to be morphing into Vernon Kaye, with all of the unpleasant gurning that was going on this week. Vernon Kaye only shorter, obviously. - Steve] [When Dermot walked out, my friend watching the unfolding horror with me asked me entirely seriously and unprompted, "Why doesn't he wear a suit that fits?" - Carrie] He tells us that it’s ‘Best of British’ night and given how bastardised the theme always are, I worry. I mean, British is fairly unskewable, but ‘Best’ is a nebulous word at the best of time’s. If Xtina’s ‘Hurt’ can be a love song, I dread to think what ‘best’ means.

Out come the judges. Dannii is wearing a lovely black tassled minidress thing, until you realise the straps seem to be made of wicker. Then it is less good. Sharon is wearing an enormous black silk ballgown, like some dowager duchess. I think Louis has been eating placentas, or injecting stem cells or something, because he looks younger every week. Maybe he’s bathing in the blood of boys who audition for boybands. [A friend of mine remarked the other week that Louis appears to be getting greyer. I said, on the contrary, he's clearly been colouring his hair this year. Turns out she meant his skin, which I can sort of see. He's going to end up looking like John Major's Spitting Image puppet if he's not careful. - Steve]

First up is Rhydian, dressed in a red suit. [An amazing red suit. I want it so much. - Steve] He stands atop a piano to sing Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’. The backing singers are women in black shirts and sunglasses, with ponytails. It’s like they’re from one of those awful porno knock-offs off Men In Black. All I can think of is how awesome it would be if Rhydian sang Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Somebody to Love’ and how this isn’t really a very good performance. I mean, it’s Rhydian, so note-wise it’s great, but there’s no real...’buzz’ to it, which is a shame. He generally either catches my attention by the whole white fur and sailors stuff, or by singing brilliantly, but this is mediocre. Sad face. He does some lovely sustained high notes towards the end. The judges are generally complimentary because he’s still head and shoulders above the rest of these clowns. Louis says that Freddie Mercury would have loved it. Wuh? Simon says that he didn’t know Freddie Mercury but he expects Freddie Mercury would have liked it because it was a great performance. A bit better but still wuh? [And Sharon says she wouldn't dream of speaking on Freddie's behalf, since he was a close personal friend of hers...and then does so anyway. Silly cow. - Steve]

Hope are next. They’re very excited because they got through last week on the public vote, not on any judge’s favours. I mean, they still came 5th out of 6, which isn’t great, but any port in a storm, I guess. I wouldn’t have the heart to break it to them they’re not doing too well. [Also, awesomely, in a flashback to last week, we see Simon leaping out of his seat when Beverley gets sent home, and looking round at everyone all, "See? See?" I don't even care how rude it is to Beverley because it's just that awesome. - Steve] Speaking of not doing too well, they’re singing the Spice Girls’ ‘2 become 1’. Dressed in curtains. Matching curtains, but still curtains. Or possibly wallpaper. Or paper used to line a hat-box. Cream and brown striped shift dresses. Averts the whole ‘Hope are slags’ thing but kind of gives a whole sackcloth and ashes vibe that you might not want. [And they are standing on a couple of park benches, piled up on top of each other, as far as I can see. - Carrie] They’re all singing! Unfortunately, this just serves to remind why they make Phoebe do all the singing. I’m normally something of an apologist for these girls, but this wasn’t great. [And if proof were needed that it definitely wasn't the girls doing those pitch-perfect harmonies in 'Back to Black' and 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, this is it. It was better than I expected, but still rather scratchy. And I loved that even in a week where they don't give all the main parts to Phoebe, they still didn't give any to Charley and Emily, who are the ones who complain most about Phoebe doing all the singing. Heh. - Steve] Louis, basically, ‘you’re not bad, but I hate you and Beverley should be there instead of you’. What a vicious, classless thing to say. Sharon and Dannii are quite nice. Simon says he has to be honest, and the girls weren’t good enough. They will have to do better on the next song. They take it all on the chin, and Louis honks some more about how they’re disgusting bitches and Beverley should be there instead of them, despite the fact that she got voted off fair and square. I love how the only time Louis has complained about a result is when it was actually based on votes rather than tactical manipulation between him and Sharon about what would piss off Simon the most. Twat.

Niki [who is pleased Beverley has gone, because it means less competition for her. She SAYS THIS IN THE VT. Think it, but don't bloody say it, you stupid arrogant mare - Carrie] is doing ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. I guess we can add Bonnie Tyler to the list of people Niki ain’t. God, she’s not even Nicki French. [Hee! That's exactly what I was thinking. - Steve] She’s got a big strapless blue dress on. It’s not good. When you have broad shoulders and enormous tits, you shouldn’t go strapless. [One of the maxims by which I live my life. You'd have thought someone of Niki's age would have worked that out by now. - Carrie] A bit of material to break up the expanse of flesh is a good thing. She has a funny backing singer to do the ‘Turn Around’ bits. He looks rather a lot like a vampire. I want to vote for him, but I don’t think it’s an option. This is passable at best. We generally ignore it, so it’s good by her standards. I’m normally glued to the screen by the awful screeching, like when she murdered ‘The Power Of Love’ or ‘Because Of You’. [She's got no grasp of the rhythm of this song, mind. She can't get the main lines out of the way in time for the backing singer to do his "turn around" without her still having about five words to go. HURRY UP, NIKI. - Steve] [Heh, yeah. She clearly thinks her rubato shows her to be a wonderful prima diva. - Carrie]
Dannii tells Niki that last week she was shit, and looking back it was the whole thing that was out of tune, not just parts. Hahaha! Awesome. Niki gets her bitchface on. Sharon pounds the table in rage that Dannii dare say something truthful. Dannii goes on to say it was much better this week Sharon goes off on one about how Niki is great and the face of working women or something, and Niki’s all ‘that’s right, Sharon, that’s right!’. [Not just working women - working MUMS. Because it's bad when Simon makes generalisations about mothers dancing at weddings, but it's fine for Sharon to mention that Niki's a mum, a propos of nothing, just to make her look good. - Steve] Sharon and Louis also say that it’s okay for Niki to be cabaret because cabaret is awesome, and she’s good cabaret so it’s okay. Louis says ‘Celine Dion is a cabaret artist!’ and then, awesomely for reasons he will never understand, ‘That was Las Vegas quality!’ Yes, Louis, yes it was.

Same Difference do their bit to VT. Sarah says that Louis won’t get a chance to get rid of them this week because it’s all down to votes now. I think that counts as them having an attitude. It’s as close as we’ll get. They’re doing ‘Any Dream Will Do’. Andrew Lloyd-Webber is British, I guess. Still, pretty damn tenuous there, Simon. As soon as they start, I say ‘when are they going to bring out the children?’ They don’t disappoint. Out comes a choir of kids to do the ‘ah-aahs’. They’re carrying candles. Or at least, fake lightbulb candles. One of the girls gets in the middle of Sarah and Sean, causing my viewing-mates to say:
‘Don’t get in the way of our incestuous relationship!’
‘We can’t have children! They’d be MONSTERS!’
I’d let the incest thing go, but that made me laugh too much to leave out. Once they’ve finished, they and the kids have a big group hug. Oh, I haven’t said anything about the singing. It was fine, of course. Louis is a humourless shit some more. Sharon loves it, saying it was cheesy and schmaltzy and all they need next week is puppies [and rollerskating midgets! - Steve]. Sarah and Sean seem to take this on board as a genuinely good idea and, after talking to Simon, literally skip off stage. Love. [They're cute as anything. Louis, meanwhile, is a tosspot. - Carrie]

Leon mumbles something intelligible to VT. I think it went, ‘I’m on mum’s single...Scotland...I didn’t like working in a shop...Scotland...Vote for me. Scotland.’ He’s doing Crazy Little Thing called love. Fuck off. We came to the conclusion that Dannii has realised he’s shit so keeps giving him swingy type undemanding songs so that people will vote for him no matter how bad he is. It worked for Ray Quinn, after all. His legs are remarkably short. This is perhaps slightly better than normal but still nothing I would ever listen to voluntarily. [He mumbled his way through it. Lame. - Steve] The judges are all agreed that he’s the most improved contestant but that’s not difficult, really. When you start at the absolute dank bottom of the pit of awfulness, you can only get better. Kudos, Leon. Kudos.

A little half-way break thing with recaps of the performances. Every single VT for the second song features the act saying variations on a theme of ‘this song is really important because everything depends on it’.

For their second song, Same Difference do ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’. NotLouis is earning his money for the staging here. [This was the point at which I texted various people to enquire whether they agreed NotLouis was on some kind of mind-altering substance. - Carrie] There are two beds on the stage, and a giant alarm clock. The clock rings and Sean pops out of one of the beds, and Sarah the other. There are lots of dancers dancing about in pyjamas! One has a dressing gown and I’m scared he’s going to flash somebody. It all ends with a massive pillowfight, with feathers bursting everywhere [including into Sean and Sarah's respective mouths - Carrie]. Dannii tells them they could have a hit with it. Louis says they’re there because kids are voting for them. He seems to think this is a bad thing. Presumably children are only allowed an opinion when they’re Mrs Trotman’s pupils saying how great she is and how they don’t feel abandoned by her fucking off to come 6th in a talent show. Fuck you, Walsh. Simon says that Same Difference are, ‘the opposite of Louis Walsh: young, fun, good-looking and relevant.’ HA! But srsly Simon, if you can see that, fire him and keep him fired. He’s a hateful little shit and not actually any good in the context of the show. And fire Sharon too, cos she’ll only kick up a fuss.

Niki’s next song is ‘Fields of Gold’. Unsurprising, since Louis has an absurd hard-on for this song [and it was used for that advert for a charity to stop people's LOVED ONES DYING - Carrie]. The VT says something about how this song is really special for her. I stopped listening after ‘because’ because I presumed it would be about her Dad, WHO IS DEAD. This isn’t too awful, because she’s not stretching herself. She just stands there and sings gently and when she does that she has a perfectly nice voice. But she’s got these illusions of herself as some leather-lunged banshee like the woman from the Bodyform adverts and keeps proving herself wrong. Louis tells her that it was great and her whole family, especially her dad, WHO IS DEAD, would be proud. [And he says this directly after his pointed comment to Same Difference about Niki not needing "any gimmicks", because he is so unutterably clueless. - Steve] Dermot asks Niki what she thinks about the judges’ comments tonight. She says that they’ve been okay. She then goes on to say that ‘Simon’s up and down with me. You can’t make your mind up, can you Simon? Maybe he’s a little bit scared of me.’ Or maybe, you hideous ego-puffed wretch, he is giving comments each week on your performance and some weeks he thinks you are shit and some weeks he thinks you are good. For her to act as though Simon is crazy because he’s not consistently singing her praises...just, gah! This woman’s sense of entitlement is even bigger than her tits.

Leon is doing The Long And Winding Road. Fuck off some more. I don’t even have to say anything about this performance. You know what it’s going to be like. His little earnest face and crappy little voice and complete sucking void of absence of stage presence. The only notable comment from the judges is Sharon saying that Leon is great and he’s got one thing that Rhydian hasn’t got, which is, ‘heart in his eyes’. Apparently, Leon’s little gimlet eyes are expressing emotion when he’s on stage. News to me. And kind of harsh on Rhydian, who does have rather pale and unusual eyes – it just seemed like a physical dig about Rhydian’s appearance. It will get worse.

Hope, awesomely, are doing ‘We Will Rock You’. There are dancers in the audience waving big pink flags that say ‘Hope’. Darlene Cake starts on stage alone singing a slowed-down kind of ballady version of the song, which is an interesting opening. The rest of the girls come on. Phoebe sings her bit and shows the rest of them up. Raquelle does a high kick, presumably because the splits are passé now. [Maybe she thinks she's a Spice Girl. - Carrie] There are more men waving flags on the stage. I enjoyed this performance more than any of the night. It wasn’t perfect, vocally, but I just really liked watching it and I think it was a pretty daring thing for them to attempt. Louis tells them that Freddie Mercury would not have liked it and is now spinning in his grave. What? Just, what? Under whose auspices, with what agreement, did Louis Walsh become the expert on what Freddie Mercury would think? Freak. Simon thinks it was a million times better than the other song. Dannii agrees. [And Sharon Osbourne, feminist icon, tells them that it's a very difficult song for girls to sing. Because girls know nothing about rock music, presumably. Nice one, Sharon. - Steve]

Finally, Rhydian is doing ‘I Vow To Thee My Country (World In Union)’. We spent most of it debating how to pronounce Kiri te Kanawa’s name because, again, this wasn’t a particularly inspiring performance. A big choir comes out to sing with him. He’s hitting the notes and all that of course, but it’s neither campy insane Rhyd or astonishing voice Rhyd. He’s a bit drowned out by the music. The judges give their comments and there’s a really weird exchange. Simon says that Sharon is wrong, because Rhydian does have heart and emotion. Sharon, in her comments to Leon, clearly meant that Rhydian did not have these things, but she now changes tune, saying, ‘I wasn’t talking about emotion! I was talking about eyes!’. Simon says, ‘then we’re seeing different eyes’ and Sharon screeches, ‘different opinions!’ Simon says something more about Rhydian performing with emotion and Sharon just bellows, ‘I was talking about the bloody eyes!’ Which therefore seems to confirm that she was just saying ‘Rhydian has freaky pale eyes and I don’t like them, and this week my menopausal cravings are stronger for Leon, so I’m going to make completely unwarranted physical digs about him’. Simon, because he is both a professional and a nice person, defuses the situation by saying ‘I thought your eyes were very good as well’ to Rhydian. Seriously, these protracted arguments with each other when the poor contestants are standing there feeling, presumably, totally overwhelmed with emotion, are just obscene. It’s rollerskategate all over again and why, Simon, if you’re reading this, which I’m fairly certain you aren’t, you have to axe Sharon and Louis because they are egomaniacal monsters who don’t give two shits about the contestants. You probably don’t either, but you hide it better, and that’s what really matters. [I love Simon. Really. - Carrie]

Two random other snippets that I don’t remember where they go:

Simon teases Louis about getting hair implants. Louis says, ‘at least I change my hair!’ and then, proving as ever that he can’t insult people, goes ‘your hair’s fake, my hair’s real!’ Is that seriously the best you can come up with, Walsh? ‘Your hair’s fake.’
‘No! Your hair’s fake! My hair’s real! Haha!’ Most people grow out of, ‘I’m rubber, you’re glue’ by the age of about eight. Simon threatens to watch back the videos to prove that Louis has more hair now than he did before. HA!

Dannii says something vaguely critical about Louis and he says, to her face, ‘What do you know? You’ve never had a hit record!’ [And he spits it out with such hate-filled bile that I half expect lasers to shoot out of his eyes, like on those animated gifs of Tyra Banks screaming at people on America's Next Top Model. - Steve] It was bad enough to say it to VT, but to say it to her face. How fucking classless can one person possibly be? More to the point: wrong. As Steve said to you before, maggot, 8 top 10 singles in the UK. How many have you, personally, had? ‘Who Do You Love Now?’ sold 200,000 copies. She’s had 13 consecutive number ones on the UK Club Chart. Clearly she’s not Madonna or even Kylie in terms of chart success, but ‘never had a hit record’ is just such a stupid thing to say. Dannii classily doesn’t respond with stastistics, and just calls him ‘the bitterest man’ in the studio. Or on the panel. Either is true. [I think it was "in the country", actually, which is even truer. Also, Dannii made a pointed comment about someone - Leon, I think - always being in tune, and Louis does another spiteful "that? Coming from Dannii? Ho ho! Ho ho! Ho ho!" thing, which you really shouldn't try when you're a short fat man because it just draws unfavourable parallels with Father Christmas. - Steve]

Recaps of the second set of performances.

Results show

Duran Duran, of all people, are the special guests. We get lots of exciting screen shots of ‘they’ve sold records!’ and ‘And won awards!’ The screens do not flash, but should, ‘They have gone to seed really badly’. Seriously, they look dog-rough and as bored as hell. They sing a medley of something and then another thing. It’s done with a complete lack of enthusiasm and they’re clearly just there for the publicity and/or appearance fee. It could be a PA at a caravan show, it’s so lifeless and depressing. Duran Duran’s favourites are Hope and Niki. Simon le Bon won’t say who likes who, but confirms to Dermot that yes, they do indeed like Niki because she’s from Birmingham, I take it all back, Louis, it clearly works. [Yep, definitely no gimmicks whatsoever working in Niki's favour. - Steve]

In the absence of a sing-off, because it’s now down to public votes alone, (the judges are POWERLESS! according to Dermot) we get to talk to people back stage about how nervous they are. Same Difference are nervous. Rhydian, too is nervous – noting that he didn’t perform his best tonight. Hope are also nervous. Niki says that she thinks Rhydian and Same Difference were great, and then goes on to say ‘they’re all doing their best and trying really hard’ or something. Point is, she says ‘they’ and not ‘we’. I’m probably just judging her harshly because I think she’s a crap singer and a terrible human being, but seriously. They? So you consider yourself entirely separate from the other contestants. There is you, doing your thing, and there is them, who are ‘doing their best’. Which is to try and keep up with you, because you’re amazing and destined to win this competition with the form blessed by the hand of your dad, WHO IS DEAD? Which, by the way, Niki love, we need to talk about. That form was not for you. It was for him. He was going to be one of those old men who turns up without his false teeth and sings ‘Camptown Races’ and then gets put through by Louis and Sharon because they think old people are funny. Anyway, basically, you’re still a contestant, so mind your damn manners. Leon is also nervous.

After adverts, results. The judges now come out individually with the contestants, with their faces projected on the sliding doors. It works for Dannii and Simon, who have one act on each door, but when Louis and Niki come out, Niki’s face gets split in half. [And out pops a giant fire-breathing lizard to devour us Did I just imagine that? - Steve]

Anyway. The first act safe (in no particular order) is Niki. She screams with delight. The second act safe is Leon. They’re doing this on purpose to piss me off. And I still don’t understand who’s voting for that ratweasel. The third act safe is Rhydian. Dermot congratulates Dannii on having both acts through. The fourth and final act safe is Same Difference, meaning that in a surprise to no-one, including the band themselves, Hope are going home. Dermot stressed the ‘no particular order’ thing again, which makes me think that Same Difference were higher than fourth and gives me some vague hope of losing Leon or Niki before the final.

Hope are remarkably composed. Or well, not remarkably, given how they knew the axe was going to fall. They say that they’re not going to split up, and are Hope now. Phoebe’s, like, ‘what’s that? Oh yeah, Hope, we’re a band now...’ while signing a solo contract, using Raquelle’s back to lean on. Simon tells them that they really fought and are a proper group now, and he doesn’t think this is the end of them. He seems to genuinely mean it, and the girls look delighted. They sing ‘We Will Rock You’ again and I still think it’s awesome.

Dermot says the theme next week is, ‘Judges, Contestants and Their Choices’. He does have the decency to look confused as he says it, because frankly it makes ‘Songs from after the year 2000’ look pretty damn specific. That is not a theme. Scott: ‘That’s not a theme. That’s just the format of the show.’

Saturday, November 24, 2007

You know you make me wanna shout

Top 6 Perform: Love Songs Week - 24th November 2007

It's the show that makes dreams come true! Or at least, Leona Lewis's, because of course this is a reference to the fact that her album is the biggest selling debut OF ALL TIME. Last week, the judges fought among themselves, but nobody really cared. Alisha went home, meaning Sharon has no contestants left, and is now moulding herself as the "only impartial judge on the panel". Louis is confident that he can beat Dannii, as she is the only real competition, apparently. (She's still the most successful judge, in terms of having people not in the bottom two, leprechaun.-Joel)


Dermot welcomes us and invites us to strap ourselves in. We are four weeks away from the end of this procession of shit. The judges make their entrance, Sharon and Louis hand-in-hand as usual, and Dannii looking like she's got Tess Daly's hand-me-down dress this week, with an asymmetric hemline and a puffy top. (It's kind of Greek looking, with a big seam under the tits, and her hair looks like a wood nymph and her face is all puffy. Dannii is not rocking it, this week.-Joel)

This week, everyone is singing love songs, because that's a theme - "huge big belting ballads", and as if by magic, Westlife will appear later.

First tonight, Louis introduces Beverley, with a stream-of-consciousness ramble. She VTs that she is puzzled that sometimes she is bad and sometimes she is good. Louis says she lacks confidence and wants to get her to believe that she can win. I'd suggest one way of doing that would be to stop bloody saying that Rhydian has it wrapped up already. Beverley goes home to see her family IN LUTON, and they are happy to see her, because she is a great wife, and a great mother, and a fantastic singer. "I also went back to my old school, where I was a primary teacher," she says. So - she's left her job? Forever? Right. She reckons she is not only singing for herself, but for her old pupils too.

Oh, for goodness sake, she's singing Without You. There is a big red grand piano on stage (with someone playing it, obviously), decorated with a candelabra left over from Rhyd's Phantom performance. She's wearing a weird gold dress that looks shiny in a bad way. It starts off OK, if a bit mannered, and then when it goes up the octave, guess what - SHE STARTS SHOUTING. And then there's a needless key change, and guess what - SHE SHOUTS SOME MORE. (It starts too low and ends too high. Turns out she doesn't have much in the way of range.-Joel)

Louis gets up to applaud her and does stupid whooping. Sharon raises her arms to clap. Dannii and Simon applaud politely and sink back in their chairs. Sharon says it is one of the best love songs ever, and that Beverley did it justice with a magnificent performance. Dannii says that Beverley sang it very differently this afternoon in the dress rehearsal, and asks if she likes the song. Beverley says she does, that she wanted to give it all she had, and then a propos of nothing, says she has been married for 14 years and loves her husband very much. (Oh, Beverley. If your husband is not DEAD, he is not relevant. - Steve) Simon says that it is an important week, and though it wasn't perfect, she made it special, and it would be a tragedy if she wasn't in next week's show, because she has a great story. A great story. Pah.

Just as well it's time for a break because I'm seething.

Dermot welcomes us back to "the live finals, or the love finals" AHAHAHAHA. He asks Sharon what her role will be now she has no contestants. Much the same as always, I would guess. Simon says that he loves love songs, and he listens to them in the bath every morning.

Hooray, it's Same Difference next! Louis VTs, "Same Difference. They're still in the competition. Why?" Because people like them and vote for them, you miserable old bastard. (Substitute "Louis Walsh" for Same Difference, and "alive" for in the competition, and it could've been me talking - Steve) Sean and Sarah have gone home this week, and hugged everyone in sight. They live with their parents and grandparents, and their dad VTs that they are a bit like the Waltons. Heh. Sarah starts crying because she wants to pay her parents back for everything they have done for them. Aw. They visit an old social club they used to perform at, and marvel at how small it is now they're used to performing in a studio. That would sound cocky from anyone else, but they speak so genuinely that you can't possibly spin it that way. Even if you are a bitter and twisted Irishman.

Ah, it's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, and good choice, kids. Not all that keen on the stepping and clicking while the other one's singing, nor the hand gestures in the chorus, but that's NotLouis's fault, as we know. Sarah's voice isn't as strong as it normally is this week (though she's still miles better than four-fifths of Hope), and I was momentarily afraid of a needless key change, but my fears were unfounded. They bound up and down when they've finished. They're so cute. (They're so much fun you kind of forget they can actually sing.-Joel)

Louis thinks it was their best performance so far, and admires the lack of staging and gimmicks, but says if they won it would be a travesty. (As opposed to the divine justice of every victory bar Leona's? - Steve) Dannii says it is great to see Louis so uncomfortable, and congratulates Sarah on "the big notes" (at which Sean cuddles her and says, "Well done, sis"). Sharon is glad that "Daddy Warbucks" has let them grow up, and expresses her desire to join in with their Willy Wonka bed. What the fuck? Simon hopes that Louis bumps into James the social club manager on a dark night, and says that it was their best performance so far and could be a hit record. Sean and Sarah do some more bouncing. Sarah tells Dermot that if they're in next week, Louis might say more nice things about them, and then they bounce again.

Apparently, after the break, the heat is going to be turned on, and we must have hankies at the ready. Too. Many. Jokes.

Dermot fluffs his autocue reading again, and hands over to Louis, who introduces Niki. ScaryNoMakeUpNiki says last week was unbelievable (which it was, but not in the way she means), and thinks that if she walked on water it wouldn't be good enough for Simon. (Arrogant beeyotch. 'Oh my god, I'm so great but still nothing is good enough.' Stop being shit, then he might like you.-Joel) He explains that he just thought she looked more concerned with pinching the dancers' bums than performing. Louis says that Simon slags off Niki because she's got the voice and "he's got two novelty acts". One of which, I must remind you, Louis was taking full credit for a few weeks ago and bragging about his brilliance and innovation. Niki goes back to the school where she used to be a dinner lady. "I felt really humble cos they're all still slogging away and I'm here having the time of my life," she trills, waving her hands around, "and coming back here has made me realise how much I don't wanna come back here!" and therein we see the gaping chasm of difference between Niki, and Sean and Sarah. (She's a real classy lady.-Joel) Niki goes home and realises how much she loves her family and how much they love her. She asks her children if they miss her. They do, and burst into tears. Textbook example of parenting. AND! Speaking of which! Niki misses her dad. (All together now -) WHO IS DEAD. But it's OK, because her mum reassures her that he knows she is doing well. This week she is singing a song that her dad loved, and loved to hear her sing, so she doesn't want to let him down.

Niki's dad apparently loved to hear her sing The Power Of Love, with the first verse acapella and vibrato-laden, and the bar leading into the chorus out of tune. Louis and the audience clap when the backing track kicks in, because they are morons and think they are on Stars In Their Eyes. (Well, that's forgivable. This would be a much more agreeable performance in that context. - Steve) Again, she misses the money note in the bridge, and srsly, she should begin to work on her higher range, because if she's going to persist with chest-belting out everything, she's going to need to sort that out, or just switch it up to a head-voice instead. (She really needs to stop taking on songs like this. You ain't Jennifer Rush. You ain't Laura Branigan and you sure as hell ain't Celine Dion.-Joel)

Niki bursts into tears and blubs through the comments. ("Oh, I sang that so well, I moved myself!" Fuck off, Niki. - Steve) Sharon says that Louis can recognise a diva, Dannii tells her she lost it on the notes towards the end, (It was all going so well for Dannii this evening. She's still sane at the moment.-Joel) Simon says it is difficult to be critical but he was impressed because she was much better than last week. Louis reckons it is difficult to sing acapella. Whatever. Niki says she is pleased that Simon said something nice this week, and even that comes across as graceless. Am I being harsh just because I don't like her? Guys? (No, because it had a definite ring of 'it's about fucking time that shitwit Cowell sound something nice about my divine majesty'. She's an arrogant bastard. There's a world of difference between confidence and arrogance, and she's firmly queen of the latter.-Joel)

Rhydian has stripped off the sailor suit, and now he is laid bare. (But sadly not like this. Anyone for HoYay? - Steve) He says last week was a bad week, which is true, but it was true for everyone, because last week was shit. Sharon reckons that if you start off "in a huge way there's only one way you can go, and that's down", which is obviously untrue. Rhyd is from a little village and goes back to surprise his family. His mum cuddles him and screeches, "My precious!" and then VTs that she is so proud of her "baby". Aw. He goes back to his old school, where he used to play rugby, and we see shots of him as a teenager, and whoa, he looks different. His old PE teacher says that had he not gone into music, he would be a force in Welsh rugby now. Rhyd says he would give his right arm to be one of the five finalists, which would probably put paid to his rugby-playing dreams for good, I'd say. (Doesn't leave him many limbs to sacrifice up to the winning week...-Joel)

He's singing Somewhere from West Side Story. Has someone already sung that this series? And talked about Barbra Streisand? Faint bells are ringing, which clearly means my efforts to block out previous shows are not working. (That woman! That woman who thought a good way to prove to your husband who left you that you're over him was to debase herself on national TV and not even be very good at it!-Joel) This is an amazing performance, and for all Louis's pontificating about Niki being a "real singer", simply because she can knock out a few big ballads, Rhydian is streets ahead of her in terms of range, power, performance and professionalism. And that is my final word on the matter. (At least until next week, right? - Steve)

Louis says Rhydian is professional and will definitely make the final because he is head and shoulders above everybody. Sharon asks if he auditioned for Joseph, and Rhyd says no, but then realises that she means Any Dream Will Do?, rather than the role of Joseph, and says that he is glad he didn't get through because then he wouldn't be able to be on The X-Factor. Sharon scorns Andrew Lloyd-Webber for not putting him through. Simon is glad that we got to see the real, decent Rhydian in the VT, which I believe he's said every bloody week so far. He says that the purpose of this show is to maybe find a star, that his vocal was perfect, and that he would be an incredible winner of this competition. Rhyd looks stunned, bless him. Dannii looks almost maternally indulgent and proud, and then bursts into tears because she thought it was so beautiful and incredible. (She just seemed drunk. A little teary is one thing, but she was racked with sobs. It was bizarre. Rhydian was awesome though.-Joel) Rhyd says he is privileged to be here and thanks everyone for voting for him. Bless him.

Back after the break, and Dermot talks to Louis about Westlife, who are apparently his favourite band, asking why it is that the group do ballads so well. Louis's answer? "They're great singers, they're Irish, and they work hard." Oh, do fuck off, Walsh. (And note that when Dermot considered that an incomplete answer and pushed him for more detail, Louis just said "they're great singers!" again. He doesn't have a fucking clue, does he? - Steve) Simon introduces Phoebe and the Skanks. Last week, they thought it was a disaster; Louis says Simon is running out of gimmicks. The blonde one, Emily, didn't have any friends when she was younger, but now she has FOUR BFFsOMGZ?!!!/111! Leah goes home to see her mum WHO IS SINGLE, and talks about wanting a better life for herself. Phoebe's mum has noticed that she has grown up, possibly because she keeps wearing slutty outfits on national television. Charlie goes home to see her baby son; her mum says that Charlie is competing for her son, which: lie. It is ALWAYS a lie. It was a lie when Daniel said it earlier in the series; it was a lie when Kym Marsh said it in Popstars. Fine, audition all you want, single parents, but please don't pretend you're doing it for any reason other than your own ego. (Word. It was a lie when Robert said it about doing it for his unborn child and manatee wife too.-Joel)

Phoebe is singing Christina Aguilera's Hurt, and the others are standing round her holding microphone stands, miming when the off-stage backing singers kick in. I love Phoebe, and I hate X-Factor cliches, but I really think this song is a little bit too big for her when the crescendos begin, though it's gorgeous at the start and at the end, when she's taken the volume right down and showcasing her voice. (She has more stage presence than anyone in the contest, except perhaps Rhydian.-Joel)

Louis is glad that he saved them last week, because they look like a girl group, but he doesn't know why Simon gave them that song, because Phoebe is carrying the rest of them - "you've got one lead singer, and a load of girls going ooh and aah. I know Simon likes girls going ooh and aah", and again we see the stupidity of Louis trying to embarrass Simon by implying that he is a virile heterosexual man who sleeps with lots of pretty young ladies and gives them a great deal of pleasure. Louis reiterates that there's no point having a group where not everyone gets to sing lead vocals, and someone from the audience shouts something along the lines of, "Then why not kick Keith out of Boyzone?" (I think it was 'Like Ronan did with Boyzone!' Audience pwning Louis Walsh - priceless.-Joel) Sharon congratulates Phoebe and wishes the group luck. Dannii says that the judges may have made a mistake not putting Phoebe through as a solo artist in the girls' section, (About time they copped to that.-Joel) and though it wasn't note perfect, she admires the passion. Simon calls Louis out on criticising having a lead singer, asking him what he'd do if he had Take That, and praises the girls' confidence in allowing one person to sing solo. Heh. Way to pacify the four Skanks. (Except Emily, who is the only one not to hug Phoebe after this, and just stands there with a face like "yeah, WHATEVER." Lovely girl. - Steve)

Oh, why is Leon on last? He should be on first so I have time to recover from it. He mutters a load of gibberish, goes to his old work (Which is in SCOTLAND.-Joel), cries, tries to look mournful, hugs his mum and gran, and then cries again because HIS MUM IS SINGLE.

Ew, ew, he's singing You Don't Know Me. I LOVE this song. I don't like it done in badly-enunciated stylised karaoke fashion by teenage boys, though. I've stopped listening now.

Ooh, applause, so he must have stopped. He bows and clutches his hands together as if praying. Louis loves the song too, and says, "YOU'RE ONLY 18 YEARS OLD!" He then, unbelievably, tells him to stop listening to Michael Buble, because he is BETTER THAN MICHAEL BUBLE. Simon says that the start was a mess, and he has sat there every week wondering why he is still in the competition (BOOOOOOO!) until now (HOORAY!) because by any standard that was an incredible performance. Incredibly boring? Dannii cries again. Hormones, methinks. That's what comes of letting women on television. (I still think it's booze. She's been playing the X Factor drinking game by herself.-Joel) Leon burbles. Nobody cares.

In summary - Beverley SHOUTED; Same Difference were bouncy and will not be stopped; Niki sang in out-of-tune fashion for her dad WHO IS DEAD; Rhydian once again put everyone else to shame; the Skanks failed to sing anything; Leon staged his Ray Quinn tribute act.


Earlier tonight! It was the same old shite served up for your aural pleasure! Now! It's time for ONE ACT TO LEAVE THE COMPETITION FOR GOOD!

Dermot welcomes us back, and we have to sit through a recap again. Blah blah fucking blah. He then plugs a very exciting and not-a-Christmas-cash-in-at-all X-Factor DVD that's out on Monday. Seriously, who's going to buy that? And then, possibly feeling some shame about being such a corporate whore, Dermot finally redeems himself by introducing Westlife with the line, "they've all been touched by Louis's magic wand."

Anyway, Westlife sing. They still have no stools, which they lacked on Strictly a few weeks ago. How are we supposed to know when the key change is approaching if they're not going to stand up? Ooh, we will be able to tell because of the PYROTECHNICS and a GOSPEL CHOIR APPEARING!

Dermot asks them who they like - Nicky names Rhydian, Same Difference, and Beverley; Kian thinks Niki and Beverley will be there in the final; Shane admires Leon. Nobody admires Phoebe and the Skanks.

The lines are closed, and we will find out who's going home. After the break.

Here we go, then, and the tension is palpable, because the results are now in. Judges and contestants wander out to the strains of Carmina Burana. Niki and Beverley both seem to be smiling in a very strained fashion. Hope are a rabble. Who is safe? In no particular order - Leon! WHAT THE FUCK? I'm horrified, but not entirely surprised. (Being Scottish gets you a long way in these shows.-Joel) (And in all fairness, this was the least shit he's been all series. Diminished expectations are always helpful. - Steve) Niki! She screeches at everyone nearby. Rhydian! Hooray! Dannii has both her acts through again. Take that, Louis, you imbecile! And Same Difference! And take THAT as well, Louis, you cretinous fool! Sarah makes very cute thumbs-up gestures at Simon.

So it's Hope and Beverley in the bottom two, and Louis witters on about it not being fair because she shouldn't be there, and urges her to give it her all. Well, she does, Louis, but she does it through the medium of shouting, which is the problem. Hope are all tearful, and Simon tells them they must prove to Sharon and Dannii that they are good enough.

The big red piano is wheeled back on, and Beverley warbles her way through the opening few bars of Without You, moving on to SHOUTING after the second verse. This is a slightly better performance, I think, maybe because the lump in her throat is muting the bellowing a bit. Louis gives her a standing ovation, and urges the audience to cheer louder, like it matters what they think. Dermot tries to interview Beverley, but they're in the way of the stagehands trying to get rid of the big red piano, which is quite funny. Dermot then attempts to fill some airtime with semi-coherent sentences about Hope and Phoebe and lead singers, and it's embarrassing how uncomfortable he is. Phoebe begins her song slightly off-key, and continues it in the same fashion. It is genuinely not very good. Time for the lovely Phoebe to go back to school, and the Skanks to find their metier in non-performing arts-based careers, I would think. (Does Spearmint Rhino count as "the performing arts"? - Steve)

But then you never know what rubbish the judges will come up with. Louis saves Beverley, obviously. Simon saves Hope, obviously, and Beverley looks surprised, possibly because she thinks he's saving her? (I assumed it was because she was surprised he would dare not to save her, but see above re: assigning people unfair reactions based on not liking them.-Joel) Dannii doesn't want to make a decision, and doesn't want to see anybody go, but then chooses to save the act she thinks is most consistent, and sends Hope home. It's down to Impartial No-Act Sharon, and she chooses Beverley, thus getting the onus off her and pushing it on to the public vote.

Therefore, the act going home will be the act with the lowest public votes - and that is Beverley. There is much booing from the audience, and I can't decide whether that was bravery from Sharon to choose to enforce the deadlock, or utter cowardice, after all that posturing about being impartial and giving her genuine opinion.

So Bellowing Beverley is on her way back to Bedfordshire, with no job to go to, if her earlier VT is to be believed. Perhaps she could become a town crier or similar? (Unless Niki's already applied for that. Or perhaps Dannii. I love hilarious misunderstandings. - Steve) Louis is a classless graceless fuckwit and says, "I don't think she should be going home, Hope should be going home." (She didn't get the votes, Walsh, so shut up and fuck off. I loved how the show managed to make it A Shock Twist!! that the public votes actually counted for something for once. Yay for Phoebe And The Woo Woo Girls.-Joel) Beverley thinks she has started a journey. Drink! Next week: Best of British, with Duran Duran as special guests, and the judges no longer have any input into the decision as to who stays and who goes.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Burn, baby, burn

Top 7 Perform - Disco Week: 17th November 2007

I'd like to start this recap with a tribute to a beloved friend who is sadly no longer with us. My beloved Sony Vaio laptop, which I've had for over eight years, on which I've written every single one of my recaps since Joel and I founded The Bitch Factor a couple of years ago, passed away this week. It will be deeply missed. Therefore, in true X Factor spirit, this recap is dedicated to my laptop, WHICH IS DEAD. [*picks up phone and dials frantically to vote* - hang on, where is your laptop from? - Carrie]

Last week, over 10 million of you watched! But not all at the same time, and not all during the one transmission, and Strictly Come Dancing still totally kicked this show's ass during the Saturday teatime slot, so whatever, Tom Baker soundalike. Dannii came dressed in a curtain, Louis was mean to Same Difference, etc etc. Andy thought he was going to win, apparently. We're "treated" to a recap of supposedly memorable moments, most of which have all long since exited my short-term memory because I refuse to give this show any more of my brain capacity than is strictly necessary for blogging purposes. We said goodbye to Komedy Kimberley, DILF Daniel, Futureproof and Asbestos Andy. Interestingly, there is no mention of Zombie Emily, who is presumably off helping Carol to get on The Jeremy Kyle Show just as God intended. We get meaningless soundbites from the mentors. I'm fairly certain Louis Walsh has lost weight over the past few weeks. It's just a shame he hasn't lost any of his utterly vile personality. Who will be eliminated tonight? I suppose it's too ambitious to say "everyone"? Titles!

Dermot's entry this week is to 'Boogie Wonderland', because it's disco week. Once again Dermot is wearing a poorly-chosen suit that makes him look short and stocky. Obviously the wardrobe people on this show don't like him any more than they liked Kate Thornton. [Maybe they're trying to bring down the show from within? - Carrie] (At least with women's clothing there are so many different cuts and styles and options, so they've got a vague excuse for Kate looking a mess - they had too much to choose from. It's not that hard to make a suit fit.-Joel) Dermot reminds us that our Saturday night starts RIGHT HERE, and the way he shouts those last two words every week always reminds me of that episode of Friends where Phoebe is selling toner and has to stop the guy from Seinfeld from killing himself. I'd rather be watching that, to be honest. "Yes sir, I can boogie," Dermot tells us, and introduces the judges as "Cowell and the Gang". Heh. They come on to the soundtrack of 'YMCA', and as usual everyone's in black apart from Dannii, who's wearing a hot pink sequinned dress with a bow under her cleavage. Sharon is giving it her best dancefloor moves, which is quite funny. Dermot refers to them as the Indian chief, the soldier, the police officer, and the fit butch builder, who is Louis, apparently. Dermot, lest we forget, is categorically not gay, no matter how many men he kisses during this show every week or how many comments like that he makes. Not gay. Nuh uh. [He LIKES GIRLS!!!11!!1!1 Oops, sorry, wrong show. - Carrie]

We are now at the halfway point, Dermot tells us, and the contestants will be singing "high energy" songs. Yep, even Leon. Girls Aloud will be joining us later, to remind us of a bygone era when people from reality shows actually had talent.

First up are the boys, which brings us to Dannii, who introduces "the likely lad that the ladies are loving this week" - Leon. Ladies reading this blog - do you really? I mean, can you please explain to me why? I honestly want to know. Actually, I need to know. [I am a laydee writing this blog, and I believe my text to you five minutes into this show summed up my feelings on Leon quite succinctly - "AAARGH LEON HATE HATE HATE AARGH." - Carrie] Leon's continued presence in this competition is confusing me so much. Leon was very sad to see Asbestos Andy go, and cried. But not as much as Asbestos Andy did. Sharon says that Leon needs to step it up this week, but personally I don't see why. He's given the same utterly substandard performance every week since the live shows started and has never been in the bottom two, so why mess with a winning formula? NotLouis "creatively directs" a dance routine for Leon where he appears to be getting sassed by some girls. Dannii thinks Leon is getting better and starting to believe he can win. At least someone believes it, I suppose. Simon says that Dannii can't just rely on Leon's popularity and needs to up her game. Again, why? I'm beginning to think that Leon could come out on stage and defecate all over the corpse of Niki's father WHO IS DEAD and people would still vote for him. (Actually, I'd totally vote for him if he did that, so perhaps that was a bad example.)

Leon sees Rhydian as his main competition, because Rhydian has five years classical training. Yep, the classical training. That's definitely the only reason Rhydian's better than Leon. Leon's very proud of himself for getting to the same level as Rhydian. Oh, girlfriend, you're not even in the same car park, so wipe that smug grin off your face, in case the wind changes and you turn into Louis Walsh. Actually, in the only known instance of Louis and I ever being on the same page, Louis then VTs that if Leon thinks he's in the same league as Rhydian, he's crazy. I never thought I'd say this, but: word, Louis. Leon got to do a shoot for his potential CD cover (DEAR GOD NO) and meet Girls Aloud for some mentoring. Leon, consummate professional that he is, forgets all of his words and babbles like Rowley Birkin QC. Cheryl tells him not to be nervous and hugs him. Cheryl claims she has voted for Leon herself. Oh God, so it was YOU? Oh Cheryl Tweedy-slash-Cole, we're going to have a problem here. Nadine tells him that she sometimes forgets the words of songs she's been singing for five years. Of course, Nadine can actually sing so I daresay her ad libbing would be a lot more convincing than Leon's just was. [Perhaps Leon should've paid more attention to that "what to do when you forget your words" masterclass with Celine Dion. - Carrie]

Leon will be singing 'Relight My Fire', and is dressed entirely in white. (White DENIM. That makes it worse.-Joel) I was once advised by a noted fashion writer that you should never trust a person dressed entirely in white (and reading a lot of Wilkie Collins at university didn't help either), which is one of the many reasons why I want to punch Johnny Borrell in the face. And once I've done that, Leon will be next. Oh, and I've just seen that underneath his white jacket, on his white t-shirt, Leon has a sequinned Scottish flag. Lest we forget that he is a SCOTTISH person who is from SCOTLAND and that SCOTLAND should be voting for people who are SCOTTISH. Between him and Kenny fucking Logan, Scotland owes the rest of Britain one hell of an apology this year. Leon fluffs his words again, and has all the charisma of a moist teatowel. (His dancing was exactly like Bruce Forsythe at the beginning of 'Strictly' but Bruce is about 100 and probably has wooden hips. What's your excuse, hamster-boy?-Joel) So, no obvious stepping up of his game that I'm aware of. Louis tells Leon that he's really surprised him and it was his best performance so far. Whatever. Louis adds that Rhydian is his biggest competition and will be hard to beat, and the audience boos, because it is anti-truth day. Sharon tells Leon that she doesn't think it's all about having voice (nice burn!), that you've got to have likeability and charisma. Neither of which Leon has, obviously. Sharon says that all the best things come in little packages and is disgusting with him in the way she always used to be disgusting with Shayne. Sharon says that it was very high energy (not true) and a great way to open the show (a lie). Simon says it should've been a disaster (which it was), but other than the fact that he thought the dancing wasn't great (boooooooooooo!), and that Leon spent the whole time looking up a dancer's skirt. "Like you, then!" Sharon shouts, and Louis cackles "Like you, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" as though this is some kind of amazing burn on Simon which it clearly is not. Anyway, Simon thought it was a good performance and totally calls Louis on not listing his own acts as possible threats to Leon. Heh. Dannii tells Leon it was his best performance, which is a bit like being the least mouldy apple on the ground a the foot of the tree, but I suppose progress is still progress. Leon C Nesbitt enjoyed this week very much and doesn't want to go home TO SCOTLAND just yet.

"What a star!" says Dermot, apparently looking right through the roof of the studio into the sky. Adverts.

Dermot wanders into the audience to chat to Amanda Holden, and tells her that he sat on David Walliams's lap last week, and enquires what the situation is here. Amanda says she'd rather he didn't, because the seat is still moist. Heh. I don't know if that was scripted (judging by Dermot's panicked reaction, I'm going with no), but either way, it was funny. Amanda, when asked for her favourite contestant, says Rhydian. Good choice. She does not mention that this week while out jogging she found a body WHICH WAS DEAD, but no doubt would've done if she were auditioning. Amanda says she's keeping an eye on Simon and "those girls in knickers", meaning H0re. [That really made me laugh. Couldn't work out if that was a burn on TeamSlut or not, but whatever. - Carrie]

From dinner lady to disco diva, it's Niki, who thinks last week didn't go as well as it could have. No, because you could've sung in tune, dear. We see Dannii's criticism of the song, to which Louis replies "what would she know about hit records? She's never had any!". Dannii has had eight top 10 singles, Louis. How many have you had? Not your acts: you. Right. Shut the fuck up, then. "Louis is just a grumpy old man," replies Dannii. "All he does is choose ballads and last week he didn't even get that right." Awesome. Scary No Make-Up Niki says that this week's song is more raunchy, and NotLouis says that this is her first time doing real choreography. Niki is embarrassed about having to squeeze one of their bums in the performance. Dannii thinks it's a mistake getting Niki to dance, whereas Louis thinks Niki will wipe the floor with everyone. And hey, if not the floor, she can at least wipe the countertop. Rimshot! Niki meets Girls Aloud, and while Nadine was impressed, Cheryl thought she was distracted by the choreography. Cheryl is not wrong.

Niki is singing 'Hot Stuff', with her hair all permed and looking like she is actually performing this from the '70s, so we all know Simon's going to absolutely cream her for that. This apparently taxing choreography appears to involve Niki walking around the stage a lot and occasionally groping her dancers. (Who burst up from the dry ice. And she looked disgusting. Her skin was nice, but she looked like a drag queen. It was Kathleen Turner being Chandler's dad in his Vegas revue show. Fucking dreadful.-Joel) That NotLouis, he's a creative genius. There's an unnecessary key change towards the end (drink!), which throws her off a bit and she just ends up warbling over it. Sharon tells Niki she is hot stuff, and someone from the audience bellows in agreement. Sharon tells Niki she can dance, although quite how she can tell from that performance I don't know. Dannii comments "extra jalapeno - I want what you're having!" I think Dannii may be drunk. As Carrie and I learned last week, that is the preferred way to watch this show. Simon is the minority on the panel and tells Niki that her performance has no place in the modern world (true), and says it was like a mum at a wedding. Louis tells Niki that she sang, she danced, she's got heart, and soul, and then proceeds to tell Simon that it was disco, a different era, and that Simon's still wearing the platforms. Okay, that made absolutely no sense WHAT. SO. EVER. I think Simon's entirely aware that disco was a different era, but his (entirely valid) comment was that this was a disco-era performance of a disco song, not a 2007 performance of a disco song. I mean, Leon's no masterclass, but at least his performance had a vague hint of the noughties to it. Niki then, in the most ill-advised PR move since Heather Mills went on GMTV, asks if she can say something to Simon, and then snits that she'd like to see him get up and have a go. And I'm sure that was intended to be in the grand tradition of contestants talking back to Simon playfully, but really it just made her sound like a colossal bitch with no class. The audience cheers her on, because they too are colossal bitches with no class. Bitches, bitches, everywhere! [Oh, Niki, you silly bint, don't piss off Le Cowell. He will destroy you. Have you not read Chart Throb? - Carrie] Simon says that he thinks he's speaking on behalf of the country (booooo!), (To which Niki says, 'No' in a really 'mmm, no, I don't think so love' tone of voice. The 'you have a go' bit pissed me off; that was just disgusting.-Joel)and Louis bangs on about it being disco week as if that's even the point here, then Sharon decides to throw her oar in about how much she resents Simon's comment about mothers, and Simon does not tell her to shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down like he should, but simply defends his point by saying that Niki did remind him of a mum at a wedding. Niki, meanwhile, is standing next to Dermot with this extremely smug look on her face. Seriously: what a fucking bitch. I've never been a fan of hers, but now I've crossed the line into actively hating her. Haaaaaaate. Dermot insists that Simon comment on Niki's voice, because Niki must not be allowed to go unpraised since she is the supreme overlord of us all, and Simon says that the voice was good. Niki looks even more smug, and then thanks NotLouis for all of his hard work. Yeah, cheers for that, NotLouis. Ten minutes well spent, that was.

Next up is Dannii with the boys again, and Simon's laughing uncontrollably for some reason. Dannii covers his mouth with her hand, and introduces "a man who commands an audience - aye aye, captain - it's Rhydian!" And she salutes. She is so drunk. Rhydian talks about his parents who've always supported him, and wants to make his parents, WHO ARE ALIVE, proud of him. Rhydian says that disco is not his comfort zone. "In week one, he came out in sequins - where do you take it?" says Sharon. Heh. Where Rhydian takes it is his own business, Sharon. NotLouis has choreographed some extremely inventive marching for Rhydian, which will come as no surprise if you know what he's singing. What creativity! What direction! Rhydian says it could be perceived as being "quite camp", like he's any stranger to that. Rhydian is pleased to meet Girls Aloud, as anyone would be, and they laugh at his performance. Nadine compliments his lack of nerves, and Cheryl tells him to camp it up - "the camper, the better". Rhydian VTs that he thinks it's quite camp enough. Heh.

Rhydian is singing 'Go West', of course. In a naval uniform, natch. Obviously, the whole thing is camp and hilarious, but it's not quite up to his usual standard. No disrespect to Rhydian, but there isn't really that much in this song that really showcases him, at least not until the middle eight when he really takes that voice out for an airing. And of course, there's a key change - is everyone drinking? I know I am. Louis calls it "as camp as Christmas", and Sharon shrieks that he stole her line. I don't think you've got a patent on that expression, Mrs O. "High camp, high hair, you remind me of Simon - it's just that camp!" says Louis. Wah wah waaaaaaah. Once again, the difference between Louis and Simon is that Simon can crack gay jokes with some degree of accuracy. Louis's just tend to hang in the air looking a bit lost. [And when he cracks them, he just comes across as the worst kind of self-loathing gay. - Carrie] Louis thinks Dannii is giving him too many gimmicks (unlike Niki, of course, who performed without hot male dancers and dry ice, as you'll all vividly remember) and that she's acting like he's already won. In fairness, he probably fucking has. [It was bloody Louis who said that he HAD already won it earlier. Tosspot. - Carrie] Sharon says it was extremely camp, but she loves extremely camp. No shit. And on her camp "rictus scale" (sic) it was 100. Just as well she didn't say "Richter scale" properly, since that only goes up to ten. Again, Simon dissents and thinks Rhydian will have a problem this week. He thinks a proportion of the audience who loved it, but that his traditional audience will hate it, and thinks Rhydian may be vulnerable. Dannii trots out "it's disco week" again (drink!) and salutes Rhydian. Rhydian gives Niki a lesson in humility by saying that he agrees with all the comments, even Simon's, and while it may have been a bit much he thought the spectacle was great. He then makes a comment about male dancers which my PVR didn't catch because the signal went for a second, but he then cracks up and Dermot hastily says "nothing wrong with that!" so I'm guessing it may have sounded slightly gay-unfriendly. [No, no, no, he said that it was great to work with so many fabulous male dancers! - Carrie] (I think Rhyd accidentally came out. Why mention that they're male?-Joel)But Rhydian's giggling nervously and miming shooting himself in the head, so I'll let him off. Interesting how Rhydian got the smug bastard edit pre-show and Niki got the so-personable-so-lovely-so-wonderful edit, and how they've completely swapped roles since then. Dermot asks the judges about the spectacle, and Louis trots out "it's a talent contest!" (drink!) and how Rhydian doesn't need gimmicks because he has talent. Fine, but gimmicks don't make him any less talented, so what's the big fucking deal, bitch? (Also, the sailors' hats said 'HMS DANNII' on them, which is the greatest thing I have ever seen. Although it kind of makes Dannii sound like a slut.-Joel)

Adverts. I'm intensely amused by the adverts for, which I can only assume gives us advice on how to avoid The X Factor in future.

Back from the break, and Simon's frantically running to get back to his seat from his infamous inter-show fag break, claiming there was "a fire outside" (well, it's sort of true, isn't it?) and Dermot gives him grief over it. Dermot asks Louis and Sharon if they ever go out to hit the dancefloor together, and Sharon responds that every Saturday night they're at G-A-Y giving it some welly. No, seriously, that's what she says. Anyone surprised? Nope, I thought not. [They're becoming a vile little cliched couple, those two. - Carrie] Simon introduces "five very talented girls", meaning one talented girl and her skanky back-up dancers: Hope. Charlie thought last week's performance was brilliant, probably because she didn't have to do anything. Simon refers to Phoebe as their "secret weapon", as if it's any secret that she does all the fucking work. We revisit Dannii's "Phoebe, you are carrying the whole band" comment from last week and the show tries to imply it was a compliment. Phoebe was happy with it anyway, as well she might be. Sharon says they all overlooked Phoebe in the auditions, but now she's really proving herself. We see Phantastic Phoebe and her Skanky Support Singers being filmed for their potential CD cover, and Raquelle says they're "serious contenders now". Less of the "we" there, Skankerella. "This week Hope are going to meet Girls Aloud," says Louis. "Who's the best vocally? I'm not saying." No, because you'd have to say Girls Aloud, given that they actually have more than one member who can sing. Also, way to pretend you were ever Girls Aloud's manager there, Louis. I always knew he was never their manager in anything more than name only, but I didn't realise quite how bad it was until I read this article. H0re are inspired by Girls Aloud being a girl group who are already doing what they want to do, and Nicola has some advice for Phoebe, since Phoebe is the same age that Nicola was when they were doing Popstars Colon The Rivals - Nicola tells her that she seems very mature and collected and will be fine.

Phantastic Phoebe and her Skanky Support Singers will be singing 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)'. As ever, they are clearly being supported by offstage harmonies for the "half past twelve" bits and similar. Phoebe, of course, is doing all the solo singing, but is a little bit rough-sounding this week. [Very, very difficult song to sing well. As with all Abba songs. And yet people keep choosing them as vocal showcases. Just because they're melodic and sound simple, doesn't mean they are. When will people learn? - Carrie] Also, they're all in PVC catsuits and she and Emily have serious cameltoe. They've melded it with Madonna's 'Hung Up' as well, which would've been clever if it weren't so entirely predictable. Interestingly, the camera is never close-up during the chorus, just so we can't see that none of the five of them is actually doing the sweeping harmony that's actually coming from offstage. Urgh. Key change! Louis says that meeting Girls Aloud must've given them lots of hope (ha. ha.) and that there's room in the charts for a new girlband, before declaring them "better than the Spice Girls". This, incidentally, is where I switched off the first time in utter disgust and decided to play High School Musical: Sing It! on my PS2, because I figured I'd rather sing badly myself than watch other people being applauded for singing badly. "Vocally! Vocally I'm right!" Louis says, again not realising that the Spice Girls do have more than one member who can sing. Honestly, it's not a tricky concept; why does everyone on this show struggle with it? Sharon tells them they look amazing, and that they felt comfortable. Really, dressed like that? It looks like it chafes. Dannii tells them they look like a proper girlband. Simon then - get this - says you rarely see girl groups singing live on the telly, because so many of them lip synch. Yes, but they don't have BACKING SINGERS OUT OF SIGHT DOING ALL THE DIFFICULT BITS, do they? Jesus wept. Simon thinks they bring a sense of fun, and that it was a terrific performance. Dermot asks them how they feel, and Raquelle - who totally thinks she's the most important member of the group, you just know - says "we've all worked so hard", again misunderstanding the correct application of the word "we". (I still love Hope, or at least Phoebe. The Phoebettes, I can take or leave. And they had little leather circlets on, which is the best of all 70s accessories.-Joel)

Back from the ads, and it's time for Bellowing Beverley. Louis was SHOCKED to see Beverley in the bottom two last week, and Beverley says that in the back of her mind she was thinking that she wasn't finished yet. This is no surprise, because it was totally written all over her face that she knew Andy was getting booted. Bev says that she now realises she has to fight every week, and she's taking a risk this week (drink!) and has chosen her own song. Dannii says she's singing the most difficult song there is. Beverley blabbers on about risks a bit more, and how Rhydian is her idol because he takes so many but also her biggest rival because of that. [Also, she says Rhydian isn't the only one who can prance about the stage. How rude. Everyone is rude tonight. Get some manners, people. - Carrie] (Seriously. Have some manners and worry about your own performance rather than looking to slag off someone better than you.-Joel)Beverley meets Girls Aloud and Kimberley thinks she's a fantastic performer. Beverley is singing 'I'm Every Woman', because she's a large black lady and it is written in the rules that she must do this song at least once. Quite how this is a risk, I'm unsure. Anyway, she shouts her way through it, as you'd expect. We've all seen this performance a million times before, so let's move on. Sharon calls her "a very special woman", and Beverley waves to Class 6T, who are all up past their bedtime. Dannii says Beverley was totally in the zone by the end of the song. Simon smugs, "lesson learned, Beverley - you choose your own material". [Dannii squeals, "Uh-huh!" in agreement. - Carrie] He criticises the outfit, which is indeed horrible [but which Louis claims is "disco" - Carrie], ('fraid not, LouLou. I don't think a badly fitting tux with a sequinned collar was ever dosco. Disco people cared how they looked.-Joel) and says that it started off badly but that the second half was great. Louis reminds us that Beverley was in the bottom two last week and it was GROSSLY UNJUST so she needs everyone to vote, and then has a go at Simon again. Yawn. Dermot kisses Beverley on the cheek. Beverley yells for everyone to vote for her.

Over to Sharon and Alisha, the only girl left. Alisha was great indeed last week, and was chuffed that Simon thought she looked and sounded like a pop star. Sharon and Alisha were both pleased not to be in the bottom two last week. Simon thinks we shouldn't rule her out of being in the final, if she gets the right song. Louis thinks Alisha is in the shadow of Beverley and Niki in the competition, and not just because they're both fatter than she is. Louis thinks something is missing in Alisha, and he thinks it's the X factor. Hey, wait, isn't that the title of this show? What a coincidence! Alisha was very excited to meet Girls Aloud and sings 'Young Hearts Run Free' badly to them. Cheryl calls her "a pocket rocket" and tells her to just have fun with it, because it's a fun song. Which: no, Cheryl. Listen to the words and then have another think about what you just said. Alisha thinks that meeting Girls Aloud has made her more driven.

Alisha's dancers are on rollerskates, or at least half of them are, and this song is wrong for Alisha, because she's too young for it in the same way that Cassie was too young for 'All By Myself' in series one, and she doesn't seem to get that it's not a happy song. Also, she totally fucks up the high note. The roller skating dancers are really having a tough time of things. I wonder if this is NotLouis's doing? [Obviously. If not directly his fault, it's his responsibility, for he is the show's CREATIVE DIRECTOR. - Carrie] This is a bit of a trainwreck to be honest. The singing isn't good, Alisha never seems to remember the line "to yourself be true" properly and the less said about the dancing the better. Louis says it's one of his favourite disco songs, that Alisha gets better and better, and that he hopes she's not in the bottom two. Dannii looks a bit upset at having to criticise it, but she thinks the "disco playground" (heh) didn't go well with fierce Alisha, and she thought there were flat notes. Simon calls it a complete and utter mess, and says that the people on roller skates couldn't skate. Sharon says that this isn't Alisha's fault, which is true, and Simon says that Sharon should've done something about it, which is truer. Behind Simon, NotLouis is laughing, because his incompetence is funny, especially when it sandbags the contestants. [I wonder if he's just happy that he stuck to the script so well - we all know they (read: Simon) have a story arc to adhere to, and if he's been told to make Alisha look shit, well, job admirably well done. - Carrie] Also, Alisha sang out of tune, Simon says. Sharon then has a rant about having no power on this show, that Simon does all the hiring and firing, to which Simon responds that he doesn't pick the dancers. "I'm a paid hand here!" shouts Sharon, because once again this is all about her. Poor Alisha. "I get a paycheque on this show, I don't make decisions, that is not my gig," Sharon adds. Wow. Way to absolve yourself of all responsibility there, Mrs O. Really adult of you. And really helpful to Alisha, too. Eventually Sharon says they shouldn't argue in front of Alisha, even though she started it, and Dermot finally intervenes like the useless, perpetually late, paycheque receiving, non-decision-making powerless host that he apparently is. He really isn't good at this show, you guys. He asks Alisha for her feedback and she's fairly gracious, copping to the bum notes but saying that she felt like she was being herself, which is what the judges wanted, and she wants to get better. Dermot patronisingly calls her "our little trier", which: fuck off, Dermot.

Finally: Same Difference! After the break. Aw, nuts.

Back from the ads, and it's finally time for the act we've been waiting for: Same Difference. They are typically excited about having made it this far. We see their AMAZING performance from last week, which will take some beating, and Louis being a bitch about it. "Same Difference, no difference, no chance," says Louis, reading from a script. Simon refers to the battle as "good vs. evil", heh. Sharon thinks they should be given something less cheesy. [Sean and Sarah VT that they are excited about disco week, and proceed to sing 'D.I.S.C.O'. Heh. - Carrie] NotLouis says they're the hardest workers. Simon says they're so determined as to be unstoppable. Sean says they need to fight against sexy contestants like H0re. They meet Girls Aloud, who Sarah finds "friendly and warm", and Cheryl says they're a lot of fun. Kimberley says you just want to watch them have fun. Sarah (Same Difference, not Sarah Harding) says that seeing them made her realise this show could change her life. They're singing 'Blame It On The Boogie', with the obligatory cuts away to Louis looking miserable as instructed by the director. This is an okay performance, but not really up to the brilliance of last week, although Sarah's sparkly shoes are brilliant. Key change! And finish. That was fine, but not one of their best. Louis doesn't clap, because he's been told not to. [Rude, rude, rude. - Carrie] Sharon says it's great to see them having a fun time with an appropriate song for them. She also mentions that they had to change things last night (I believe they were originally down to do 'Feels Like I'm In Love'), and so this is basically a day's work for them, which makes it more impressive under the circumstances. Sharon then brings up the roller-skating kids again, saying that they have to do a living and they were doing their best. The vocational future of the dancers secured, Sharon hands over to Dannii. Dannii thinks it wasn't her favourite performance of theirs, but she still loves them. Simon starts to speak but Louis bitches about how he's next. He tells them that he thinks they're nice people, who'll be great for kids' parties and Butlin's, but they're not in the same league as Shayne or Leona. I'm saying nothing. Anyway, Louis isn't going to blame it on the boogie, he's going to blame it on the Simon, natch. Simon takes responsibility for what happened, because the original song wasn't working and he changed it last night and they had to do this all today. He thinks it wasn't their best performance, but under the circumstances they did extremely well. Sean admits that he accidentally swallowed some confetti during the performance and had trouble singing. Hee. Aw.

Recap: Leon being SCOTTISH, Niki being a right royal bitch, Rhydian being molested by sailors, Phantastic Phoebe and her Skanky Support Singers having serious cameltoe issues, Beverley being EVERY WOMAN, Alisha being surrounded by tripping rollerskaters, Same Difference being less good than usual but good under the circumstances.

Dermot promises us results and Girls Aloud later, and we're outta there.


Dermot reminds us that the judges were all catfighting earlier, as if that's anything new, and we're treated to that performance recap again. Dermot plugs the live tour, and then finally we get some talent in the shape of Girls Aloud, with a "world exclusus" (sic) of their new single. 16 consecutive Top 10 hits! The most successful girl group in UK chart history! Girls Aloud, with lovely new single 'Call The Shots', which they are not lip synching, except possibly a bit in the chorus. But they also do not have backing singers doing all the difficult bits, and there are five of them singing, so any idea that H0re are better than them can just leave right now, thanks a lot. Dermot asks them what they thought of the performances, and Cheryl says it's very tense backstage and that they all did very well to get up and sing live. Sarah thought Beverley was great, Cheryl enjoyed Hope and thinks everyone did well under the circumstances. It's Sarah's birthday today, and apparently she's been made fun of for having Rhydian-style hair, so Dermot's present to her is a Rhydian wig. Sarah squeals and refuses to let him put it on her, but turns the tables and makes him wear it instead. Dermot looks not so much like Rhydian in it as he does Boris Johnson, but never mind, eh?

The lines are now closed! Someone has to go, and it probably won't be Leon. Grrrr. Adverts.

Dermot welcomes back the judges and contestants, and reveals who is safe in no particular order. Same Difference! Sean looks flabbergasted, and in his hug with Simon can clearly be heard saying "we don't deserve that." Awww. Louis clearly agrees with Sean, because Louis is a cunt. Leon! I don't get it, but I can't say I'm surprised. Leon acts kind of douchey about it. Also through: Beverley! Also through: BITCH NIKI BITCH. And the final act declared safe is, of course, Rhydian. So Alisha and Phantastic Phoebe and her Skanky Support Singers are in the bottom two, which, Leon aside, is probably the right result. Sharon says that Alisha just has to go up with confidence and her skaters and do her best. Alisha says she'll do her best. Dermot says Charlie knew they'd be in the bottom two tonight. Charlie says they'll go back out and fight for it, but they don't want to be against Alisha. Charlie thinks they did well, but they could've done more.

Arg, time for Dermot's inept filler while the stage gets set. This bit is always so awkward and stilted. You'd think someone as used to live TV as Dermot is would have no trouble with this, but you'd be wrong. (Srsly. Dude, watch some Ryan Seacrest on American Idol and learn from the master of keeping live TV running smoothly.-Joel) Anyway, H0re come out again and deliver the same performance as before with a few added whoops. Once again, not one of them can be seen delivering the sweeping harmonies. Grrrr. They finish, and RoboDermot fills woodenly again. Dear God, he really is dreadful at that. Alisha's back, and no more in tune than she was the first time around. Her apparent anger at being in the bottom two is probably helping with the attitude of the song though, but she still can't do the "to yourself be true" line. Interestingly, there are no skating dancers this time around. I wonder if they refused to go back on. I wouldn't blame them, personally. [Maybe they're on strike. We should go and join their picket line and prevent next week's show from being filmed. - Carrie] (I like to think that she said 'no fucking way am I having that crap distracting me again'.-Joel)

H0re come back on and rush to hug Alisha, and WOW Emily's cameltoe is right in our face at this point. Time for the judges to vote: Simon votes first, and votes for Alisha obviously. Although he does say that he wishes she hadn't been in the bottom because he likes her, but she knows what he's going to say. "No surprises there, Simon backing his group," says RoboDermot. He reminds Alisha that that's one vote for her, like she can't count or something, and Alisha does that "mmm-HMMM" thing that sassy black women always do in sitcoms, which is quite funny. The audience keep shouting and chanting for Alisha, and I don't know if that's pro- or anti-, but Dermot takes far too long to tell them to shut up. Dannii takes a fucking ice age to vote, but eventually votes for Alisha. She gets booed for that, so I think the audience are pro-Alisha, in which case they shouldn't bloody chant her name when Dannii's being asked who should go, should they? Sharon votes for H0re. Louis doesn't want to have the casting vote, and thinks there are other people who should've been in the bottom two, and sadly I don't think he means Leon. Louis keeps bleating "I wish I didn't have to vote", to which my response is as last week: vote for H0re and let the audience vote decide. But Louis votes for Alisha, who takes it on the chin, but H0re are crying because they love her. Aww. Dermot asks Alisha how she's feeling, and she replies that she did all she could do, which is fair enough. We see her Journey, back through all those weeks when we didn't know what her name was, through to the live shows and her two visits to the bottom two (although we don't actually see those), meeting Celine Dion and being Amy Winehouse.

Sharon joins Alisha on the stage and proceeds to make it all about herself (incidentally, Alisha towers over her) by not saying how she feels, and then talks about how she can be totally impartial now because she's the only judge with nothing to gain or lose. Someone shouts "I love you, Sharon!" from the audience, and Alisha's all "um, my moment here?" Poor Alisha, she never stood a chance. [And I would like to point out that this week has been the worst week of The X-Factor I've ever seen. Boring, amateurish and a waste of my time. I know it's never consistently good, but I'm usually entertained by at least one act, and tonight was shit from start to finish. - Carrie] Motown next week, everyone. Should be as tedious as ever. (Unless Simon sticks to his Xtra Factor idea and changes the theme...-Joel)