Monday, October 01, 2007

Theatre of screams

Boot camp 2: 29th September 2007

Earlier tonight: some shit happened. A couple of new groups were formed. Some phone calls were made. Later tonight: more tears! More trauma! The judges find out which groups they're mentoring (interestingly, shots of Sharon and Dannii looking weepy are intercut with shots of them walking through doors and looking pleased, so quite what we're supposed to derive from this is beyond me). Also, Louis pulls an unattractive bitchface and grumps that he "didn't want this group". (I didn't want Louis back on the show because he's a moronic know-nothing fuckwit. Build a bridge. Get over it. - Carrie.) I can barely contain myself.

Dermot welcomes us to London's West End, namely the Apollo Theatre, where the contestants will get their first (and possibly last) chance to sing on a real stage. Dermot reminds us that we've already cut down from 40-odd contestants (or perhaps 40 odd contestants, it's equally valid) in each group to 12, which seemed like an insanely large initial cut, and by the end of tonight each group will be down to six. So, wait, next week they're going to take approximately two hours to get from six to three? That's it, I resign. What the hell are they going to pad that out with? You know what? Never mind, I don't want to know. Dermot says that the judges are also arriving, working together at boot camp for the first time, which is kind of a lie since they were all working together at the very big house in the country just over an hour ago, but let's not split hairs. The judges take their seats, and the 14-24 year old boys are up first.

And here's Luke again, chatting to Dermot about his attempts to control his nerves. He gains points with me momentarily for referring to the possibility of getting through to the judges' houses stage as "immense", which is such a great word. Luke sings 'Let It Be', fluffing his words slightly, and looking pretty terrified. I'm worried his voice is going to break in the middle of a live show. The judges confer; Dannii thinks he's too young and will fall flat on his face. Simon asks her what she would have done if someone had said that to her at age 14. Dannii's face: "Fuck this shit." Hee. (Dannii was fierce as all get out when she was about six. Nobody would have dreamt of ever calling her too young for a poxy talent show. - Carrie.) Luke walks off stage and cries, leading to a montage of people suffering from tension. What are the odds of that happening, eh? Quick disclaimer here: I can't remember most of their names, and the show doesn't bother to reiterate them, so their names are clearly immaterial at this point. Someone forgets his words. A guy in a pink shirt who looks a bit like an Asian Zachary Quinto forgets the words to Mariah Carey's 'Hero', and then sings them out of time. Charlie (the one with the rather unfortunate acne; Simon's kind enough to provide his name for us) dries up at the start of his song. Simon is concerned that this age group won't be able to cope, which seems rather irreconcilable with his "lowering the age limit was the best thing we've ever done!" attitude from a few weeks ago.

Next up is doe-eyed asbestos remover Andy from Newport. He greets the judges adorably and sings 'I Can't Make You Love Me' rather nicely, but he needs to open his eyes more. He gets a round of applause from the other contestants. The judges deliberate, and the feedback is largely positive, but Simon doesn't see him as a winner. Outside, Andy looks pensive. On a well-earned break, the judges suspect a lack of confidence as the main problem. And you know what that means: disco remix of ' The Phantom of the Opera' and time for Rideon. Poor bloke. He's a complete parody of himself, but I'm not sure he deserves the wanker edit that he's getting. Irony-loving editors remind us of how much Sharon hated him in the previous show, while Rid obliviously waxes lyrical about how he thinks Sharon loves him. Rideon sings 'Let It Be', and his voice is still teeth-achingly musical theatre, but he's managed to tone down the OTT physicality so I'll give him points for that. And frankly, by this show's low standards, he's probably near the top of the league. Although I've just discovered that if you pause while he's singing, he kind of looks like Ron Weasley. After he leaves, the other judges harangue Sharon until she grudgingly admits that he can actually sing. Hee.

Surprise, surprise: Rid's turned the tide and now everyone's brilliant! Except the clips they choose to illustrate this are not impressive in the slightest. Your editing tricks do not fool me, show. The judges deliberate over who makes the final six. There's not much point in me recapping the argument, since we don't know who they're talking about and we'll see who gets through in about two minutes anyway. Some people whose names I do not know get sent home, while 'The World's Greatest' by R Kelly plays, which seems a bit mean. Somebody called Neil who is Scottish and spoke earlier about wanting a better life for his mum gets through. Obligatory shot of reasonably fit boy hugging Dermot, which is all good. More losers including Asian Zachary Quinto go home. Somebody called Dom, I think, gets through and blubs outside in Dermot's arms. Dannii tells Rideon that the decision on him was not unanimous, but he's through. Charlie is through, and exclaims "Holy cow!" Hee. I'm starting to like him. Asbestos Andy is also through. Luke is through, obviously, and cries, obviously. He opens the stage door looking confused and wails "I got through!" Dermot laughs at him, as anyone would, and hugs him, as most of us wouldn't. (I'm bored of Luke already. My heart has hardened. - Carrie.) (I like his voice. He has no power or control, but the actual sound of it is nice.-Joel) Wow, Dermot is short. (But! Still would. - Carrie.) (Obviously.-Joel)

Sweet merciful adverts. I have to say, I'm kind of freaked out by the Carphone Warehouse sponsorship tags where the anthropomorphised phones start developing sex lives.

The girls are up next to the soundtrack of Björk's 'Play Dead'. They have a list of 10 songs to choose from, and first up is Komedy Kimberley (TM Joel), who is not nervous because it's a West End stage, and as she announces airily, "I've always wanted to be on a West End stage." Heh. I really like her. KK will be singing 'One Moment in Time', and for all her irritations in person, I think she's got a nice voice. Perhaps not outstanding, but certainly good enough to be on this show. Dannii notes admiringly that Kimberley works the whole room. Backstage, Komedy Kimberley dorks out kind of cutely, chanting "let me through! Let me through!" in the judges' general direction. I'm sure she annoys a lot of people, but I'm not one of them. I can't help feeling that all the bluster is just her overcompensating for massive insecurity, but this is not the time to play armchair psychologist. A girl whose name may be Charlotte, who is clearly doomed and looks like Kimberley from Girls Aloud if you squint, sings 'Wishing On A Star' and sounds great for the five seconds that we hear her. (That's totally one of my 'can you actually sing, bitch?' songs and she totally could and was therefore totally doomed.-Joel) A young scratchy girl who I could've sworn got booted in the earlier show but obviously didn't sings 'Don't Speak', badly by the sounds of it. And now there's an absolutely stunningly beautiful black girl with yellow eyeshadow, whose name I don't remember being told, singing 'Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word' and kicking all kinds of ass, and I get instantly annoyed that she's clearly this year's Tiwa/Maria/Dionne, either doomed to get cut just before the final stages due to lack of compelling sob story, or to make the finals and get booted out in the first few weeks due to widespread public indifference, because the public are idiots. A Scottish girl who looks like Björk (Victoria, Simon tells me) sings 'I Don't Want To Talk About It', I think.

Next up is AnnaLisa, and we get a recap of how she wowed the judges at her first audition, which is our first telegraph that something is about to go horribly wrong, which sucks because I like AnnaLisa. She says that she's never done a song like this before and wants to show the judges that she can go beyond her comfort zone. She'll be singing 'Torn'. She makes it two lines in and completely chokes. Sharon urges her to carry on, but it's clear that AnnaLisa has lost it, big time. She begs the piano player to stop, but he/she carries on and AnnaLisa sings the odd word here and there when she remembers, but it's all for nowt at this stage. At the end her fellow contestants applaud her enthusiastically, which makes them all far too classy to be on this show. Backstage, she sobs, while two production staff stand less than a foot away from her and completely ignore the teenage girl crying her heart out. Nice job, assholes. The judges confer, and the feedback is not good. Simon points out that she was their favourite girl at the auditions. "That was absolutely awful. Awful!" says Sharon, entirely unnecessarily.

OH WHAT A SURPRISE, HERE ARE SOME OTHER PEOPLE CRACKING UNDER THE PRESSURE. Jesus Christ, can't you throw me a curveball once in a while? Another girl fucks up 'Torn', while someone else fucks up 'Beautiful', while useless cow Sharon urges her to "carry on!" from the auditorium. You flame-haired fuckwit, how precisely do you "carry on" with a song you can't remember the words of? God, I hate her. Backstage, Zombie Emily gets even more screentime as she "struggles to keep calm". What the fuck ever. Zombie Emily sings 'Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word', and kind of fucks it up a bit, although not as much as the show seems to think she did. Simon says "that wasn't good. That was our red-hot favourite", despite having referred to AnnaLisa as their favourite less than five minutes ago. Stupid show.

Deliberation. Simon says "she represents this category better than anybody else", which will be important later, sort of. Simon calls someone "the epitome of a Saturday night, two bottles of wine, karaoke...", to which Stupid Sharon responds "What's wrong with that?" The sheer idiocy of that statement cannot be calculated by the human brain.

Results. 'Show Me Heaven'. AnnaLisa's first, and Sharon says "you should know this decision from the four of us was absolutely unanimous", and promptly sends her home. And wow, was that ever uncalled for. Without even going into how incredibly rude it is, and is it ever rude, it is entirely unnecessary. AnnaLisa knows she fucked up. Maybe she even deserved to go (although I swear that people with fuckups just as bad as hers get through if they happen to have a conveniently deceased parent), and there was absolutely no reason for Sharon to shovel a truckload of salt into the wound like that. Even knowing what Louis does at the end of the episode, I have no choice but to hand Sharon the Cunt of the Week Award for that absolutely nauseating display of wholly unwarranted cruelty. I hope someone mistakes her for a postbox, shoves envelopes in her eyes and blinds her with papercuts, the wretched old bint. (Vicious, dried-up, spiteful old bitch. What a terrible thing to do to someone. I normally say, fuck the contestants, they know what they're getting into, but in this instance: you do not destory a 17-year-old's confidence like that. Just not on.-Joel) Charlotte goes home too. Komedy Kimberley gets through, and spazzes out as per usual. Victoria-Björk is also through, as is Random Blonde. No such luck for pouty brunette or two black girls or the one who fucked up 'Torn' who wasn't AnnaLisa. The nameless girl with yellow eyeshadow is through and is so much taller than Dermot it's hilarious. 'Don't Speak' girl is through, and of course Zombie Emily is through, and she cries and apologises for her performance, and will do her best in future, yada yada yada.

Ads, and the promise of a fight. Whee!

Groups next, and of course all the attention is on Hope and Futureproof. Last night, Hope were due to practice and Sisi was ready on time, but everyone else was late, so she got a massive bitchface on about it. Fight! They blather about having "strong personalities" to Dermot. They sing 'I'll Stand By You' reasonably well, but make the mistake of having four of them link arms while the other two link arms at the other side of the stage, which does kind of reek of there being an elephant in the room. Dannii asks what gives, and Sisi cops to the fight (though I was pleased to note that they basically all admit to being culpable; nicely done, girls) and Simon is unimpressed. "You're not fighting a war, you're in a bloody girl group!" He blames the fightstarter for potentially ruining the others' chances. Backstage, Sisi frets that Simon blames her, and the others reassure her. There's a disappointing lack of bitchery in this girl group. Futureproof sing 'You've Got A Friend', and it's not great. A group of five sisters sing 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' with some nicely worked out harmonies and cute choreography, though Simon bitches about the fact that one girl basically sang the whole song, as is his wont. A duo of cleaners sing 'I'll Stand By You', but then one of them freaks out and runs off. Irony, table for one? Simon notes that all the good ones got away, which I suspect is the cue for a sudden and entirely unexpected turnaround.

West London trio Ghost, consisting of twins Ryan and Jordan and their friend, Blue, get a last-minute sob story about being robbed at gunpoint, but I'm too busy focusing on how Blue should never wear hats because they make him look kind of retarded. Especially pink hats. They're all fathers as well, and see the group as a chance to give their kids a better life. Sigh. (Get a fucking job.-Joel) They sing 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough', but leaving out the 'Enough' for what I assume are stylistic reasons. Five piece girl group sing 'You've Got A Friend', Chess Club sing a song I don't know but are loved by Dannii, and the Happy Incest Twins sing 'Could It Be Magic'. Sharon wonders how they can be old-fashioned at 18, and Louis non-sequiturs "that's what I like about them." Fuck the what? A group of four girls sing 'I Want You Back' by NSync, which makes me squee, and are liked by Dannii but not by Simon.

Judge deliberation. Blah blah, skip to the end. NSync girls (Fallen Angels?) are out. Five-piece girl group are also out. Happy Incest Twins are through, hooray! Futureproof are through. Cleaners go home, as do the sisters. Ghost are through to act as your obligatory doomed earnest R&B group, soon to be hitting 11th place near you. (Whoop! - Carrie.) Chess Club are through. Another five-piece girl group make it through. (I think that was W4? Maybe? I hope so, because they're good. Though clearly not particularly memorable.-Joel) Hope are through, and Raquel is clearly stunned as hell by the news.


Finally, the over-25s. Dermot VOs that if they don't deliver a first-class performance their X Factor dream will be over, which fails to explain the continued presence of Zombie Emily and Futureproof (amongst others) in the competition, but I've long since given up trying to make sense of this bastard. 28-year-old CK (the one with the fierce mohawk) goes first and sings 'You're Beautiful', and she is great and obviously doomed. We get a barely-even-trying VO connection of them being from "all walks of life", like housewife Zita, singing 'Let There Be Love' in her bellowing and rather tuneless voice, a nameless carpenter who sings 'Chasing Cars' and should be sent home automatically as a result, a supermarket shelf stacker, which is Icaro, singing some song I don't recognise appallingly. Louis likes the song but not him singing it, while Sharon maintains there's something "fascinating" about him. (Fucking Sharon and her fucking cravings for talentless foreign 'entertainer' cock. Look how far it got Chico. Though he was at least vaguely charming in an egregious sort of way and didn't make me think he was going to murder my family and then sell me into prostitution in Krakow, like Icaro does. I can't be believe I miss Chico.-Joel) I'd speculate that it's his prodigious armpit hair, but either way, Sharon forfeited her right to an opinion with her behaviour to AnnaLisa, so whatever. Ending the parade is wedding singer Gav singing 'Your Song'. He VOs that he's "so close to achieving [his] goal" and that he doesn't want to go back to doing what he was doing before, so he's clearly a dead man walking.

At lunchtime, Louis makes it absolutely clear he doesn't want the over-25s because he "can't give them what they need", unless what they need is to be patronised and reminded of their hometowns on a weekly basis. Daniel sings 'Chasing Cars' and it doesn't make me like him any more. More people I don't recognise. Last in is primary teacher Beverley, doing it for all the kids back home. She wibbles to Dermot that she wants to be inspiration for them, especially the ones whose parents haven't been there for them. Quite how having their teacher abandon them as well is going to make them feel any better is not clear. (There is nothing quite so inspiring as having the person who you've come to rely on and look up to abandon you on the vague offchance of something better. Way to make the kids feel valued.-Joel) (Also, why does Dermot start crying? - Carrie.) Beverley bellows 'Let There Be Love' in her usual style, and Simon notes cryptically that he wouldn't have chosen that song. Dermot consoles her outside while Simon complains to the other judges that Bev's playing it safe. (Better that than sing a song to which she forgets the words and tune, because then she'd definitely be out. Oh no, wait... - Carrie.)

Deliberation. In amongst the comments, Simon says he thinks "she represents this category better than anybody else", which is WORD FOR WORD what he allegedly said about one of the 14-24 girls, so either he's uninventive (not impossible), or this show is poorly edited (almost certain). (Did you notice the number of dressing-room shots this evening, which were supposed to be at different points over the boot-camp weekend, but were obviously within a five-minute time period because SIMON WAS EATING THE SAME BANANA the whole way through? - Carrie.) Deliberation a-go-go. Simon thinks there's a winner in this category. Louis doesn't want this category. Results! CK is out first, so she's going home. Awww. She was clearly too good for this show, and weeps in Dermot's arms. The soundtrack at this stage is Linda Ronstadt singing 'Somewhere Out There', which has ALWAYS made me sniffly, and I hate the show for using it against me like this. Daniel is through. (Dermot: "You're doing this for your boy, aren't you?" Daniel: "Yeah, hopefully I can knock Spiderman down a level now." Hee!) (Nonethless, get a fucking job.-Joel) Carpenter Guy is through. Somebody called Aaron who nobody cares about goes home, as do three women I don't remember seeing before. Another woman we've never seen gets through. Louis tells Icaro that some people on the panel think he's a joke (word) but others think he's a born entertainer (if I never hear that phrase again it'll be too soon), and he's through. Icaro does that stupid "Pardon?" thing that he did last time, and scrunches his face up and is very very punchable at this point. (Only at this point? - Carrie.) Zita is also through (the hell?), Gav is not. The still black-and-white shots chucked in these sequences are eerily obituary-like. And Beverley is through, and disbelieving.

All that's left is to give each category their mentor. Let's not draw this out any longer. The judges get an envelope each directing them to a room. Simon has the groups. Sharon has the young girls. Dannii has the young boys. You know what that means: Louis has the over-25s, which he's already bitching about. They cheer for him as he walks in, and Louis mugs a bitchface to the cameras before complaining loudly that he "didn't want this group". What a fucking unprofessional choad. I can't believe I'm still surprised by his childishness four years on, but there you go: quite how this man ever made a successful career in the music industry is a mystery to me. Hell, how he ever learned to brush his teeth is a mystery to me. The judges give their groups a pep talk, and Louis's consists of "I hate you all, and you suck", because it's all about him. Icaro tries to ask a question, and is snippily shot down. (This was so rude. Icaro is a twunt, admittedly, but he was polite and took Louis's rudeness on the chin. - Carrie.) I hope the over-25s all revolt and kick Louis's ass. Announcements of where they'll be going for the "judges' houses" stage: Simon's group are off to Spain, Louis's is off to Dublin (heh), ('In Ireland.' Yes, Louis. Thanks.-Joel) Dannii's is off to Ibiza and Sharon's is off to LA.

Next week: is an X Factor weekend. I shit you not. It's on Saturday AND Sunday. (Fuck's sake. - Carrie.) (Expressly so they can fuck with the Strictly Come Dancing results show on Sunday. Tossrags.-Joel) They're trying to kill us. People will weep, and final decisions will be made. Dannii's Ibiza looks like a poorly-painted backdrop in a studio, by the way. See you then!

1 comment:

al said...

Same Difference are only 18!? Whatever is in the water the production team are providing for the contestants, it's clearly the same brand they gave Shayne Ward two years ago...

(See also: Ziggy from Big Brother; Rob from Any Dream Will Do; Beyonce)