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.