Friday, August 15, 2008

Never had a dream come true

Xtra Factor: One Year On
TX: 15th August 2008

Welcome back, everyone! It's been a gripping eight-and-a-half months since we last saw each other. A time in which Leon Jackson has achieved global domination, and all of the people who flamed us on here for daring to suggest that he was shit were proved entirely right. It's almost time for the new series to start, but in order to milk that cash cow a little further before Saturday, ITV2 have offered us a recap episode. Which will make this a recap of a recap. How very meta.

The sultry voice of Holly "Boobarella" Willoughby remind us that last year The X Factor burst onto our screens with a bang, and library shots of tabloid front pages remind us of that sweet yet all-too-brief time when Louis Walsh had his overpadded arse canned from this show and was replaced by some guy who was not Louis Walsh, and apparently danced a bit or something. Yeah, I'd never heard of him either. Anyway, Holly tells us that a record-breaking 150,000 people applied, though she neglects to point out that this vast pool of talent led to a Top 12 including Bellowing Beverley, a five-piece girl group where only Rogue from X-Men did any singing, and Niki, who never met a song she didn't like to sing off-key. Anyway, Leon won, which tells you all we need to know about last year. Tonight we'll be getting a look back at last year's series (really? It was bad enough the first time) and getting a sneak peek at the new one.

After the titles, Holly's striding around outside an audition venue of some kind, looking curiously like a blow-up sex doll. She informs us that she'll be talking to some of the ex-contestants to see how their lives have changed since they were on the telly. Since not one of them has been in the charts since about March, I'm guessing the answer will be along the lines of "not much. Do you have a Clubcard?" Cut to clips of Niki and Bellowing Beverley pretending they are still relevant, and then some "classic" shots from last year, including the always-welcome shot of a door pwning Sharon. [Ah, happy days. - Carrie] Holly also adds that last year's winner Leon will tell us what he's been up to since he won. And as so many people have said, the very fact that he has to explain in the first place kind of undermines the very foundations upon which this show is built. "Sometimes you have to pinch yourself and say, 'I'm making an album!'" says Leon. Lord knows if I were involved in the recording of his album, I'd need to find new ways of keeping myself awake too.

Holly VOs that the audition process is nerve-wracking for most people, which is the show's cue to remind us about Rhydian, who they wanted us to believe was an egomaniac until they decided to turn him into some bizarre Max Headroom kind of camp icon a few weeks later. Yeah, remember that? Good times. Lots of shots of Rhydian's rhydiculous costumes and dance routines from last year. All New Rhydian VTs that he's always been ambitious, and saw the show as a platform to success. Simon reminds us that he thought Rhydian was an idiot at first, but he grew to like him. Rhydian recalls singing badly in his audition, looking stupid and Dannii hating him, but Simon saw some potential and put him through. All New Dannii admits to having been scared of him at first. Rhyd remembers being scared at finding out Dannii was his mentor because she didn't like him. This segment is underscored by 'I Begin To Wonder', by the way. Are they underpaying Dannii to the extent where she needs to bump up her income with more PRS cheques? Dannii refers to him as "unpredictable". Flashback to Simon calling him "potentially world-class". Another flashback to the crazy white fur coat and Shirley Bassey's version of 'Get The Party Started'. Louis kicks off this season's Idiotic Statements ledger by saying "there's Madonna. There's J-Lo. And there's Rhydian. They're all one name." First of all, you blockhead, "J-Lo" is a contraction of her first name and surname, and it's a tabloid nickname rather than the name she records under. Second of all, all the solo acts on this show go by their first names during the show, you cretin. Third of all, could you save us all a lot of time and energy by just shutting the hell up now and staying that way until after Christmas? [Remind me again why he's needed on this show? My stomach ulcer is twitching at the very thought of watching his smug leprechaun face for the next four months. - Carrie]

Rhydian VTs that Simon told him to lose the gimmicks, and he got given 'You Raise Me Up'. Holly tells us that Rhydian went from strength to strength on the live shows, and we are reminded of some heartfelt praise from the judges. Rhydian says that performing in the final terrified him - cut to him singing 'You Raise Me Up' with that Katherine Jenkins bint whom I can't stand. [Nor me! - Carrie] In a moment of honesty the like of which is seldom seen on this show, Rhydian confesses that the final was his worst week, performance-wise, that it didn't gel, and that he knew he wasn't going to win. Cut to Dermot announcing Leon's name for the benefit of all the people sitting at home going "hang on, who did win, then?" Dannii thinks Rhydian has a huge career ahead. Simon thinks he has a great future. Rhydian tells us he's spent the whole year working on his album in places like Nashville and LA, and Holly tells us it'll be out in November [There goes my expectations of a Lee Mead/Connie Fisher/Rhydian triple bill for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom sequel - Rad].

Back from commercials, and Lifesize Sex Doll Holly is being underscored by 'Let's Hear It For The Boy', which is fabulous. Coming up are Same Difference (yay!) and Zoe (boo!), but first: Futureproof! (Ehh.) Last year, Holly reminds us, in an entirely spontaneous move, the judges decided to take some of the acts who hadn't made it as solo artists and form them into groups. Some of these people included Phoebe, who for some reason was cut in favour of Alisha, Zombie Emily and Komedy Kimberley. I will never understand that. Anyway, Holly refers to Futureproof as the "first ever X Factor boyband", which: FAIL. Shot of Futureproof making it through to the live shows. One of them is currently talking to the camera, but I have no idea which one. Anyway, he whinges a bit about having to sing 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You', and we recall Simon having to choose between Futureproof and Darlene Cake and Her Merry Band of Skanks. The lag and her bitches won that battle, of course, and Futureproof went off to do...well, clearly not very much, since the show just basically shrugs at this point.

Alisha next! Singing Gabrielle's 'Dreams', with a touch of irony. Having been on the show, she wants to continue pursuing her dream of a music career. But preferably not on roller skates. Asbestos Andy refers to the "biggest highs and the biggest lows" on the show, though neither of these being in his vocal range, from what I remember. He lies that his life has changed completely, although it looks like his hair has, at least. He still needs a shave, mind. He's gigging a lot, apparently. DILF Daniel is now very orange, and is apparently singing on the Black Eyed Peas' next album. As a backing vocalist, before you get too excited. He spouts a lot of clich├ęs, none of which are very interesting. [Where are Komedy Kimberley and ZombiEmily, huh? Or the band of skanks for that matter - Rad]

Aaaaaaand Zoe! Quite why we need to see this again, I don't know. Anyway, we get a present day catch-up with Zoe, who looks faintly embarrassed, as well she might. Holly says it's nice to meet her, since obviously this sort of thing was Fearne's job last year before she fucked off to America to do Last Comic Standing (sidebar: Jeff Dye, call me!). Holly claims that "no way!" became a catchphrase thanks to Zoe, which never happened but never mind, and then exposits that Zoe has recorded a single. No way!, says Holly. Stop trying to make "no way!" happen. It is NOT going to happen. That is the ugliest effing skirt I have ever seen. Man, this show would be so much better if it were hosted by Regina George. The single is called 'No Way'. And she's actually going to sing it on the show. Well, I say "sing". I mean, come on, the whole thing is such a crock of shit, and if this is a real single, which I deeply doubt, it has been Pro-Toolsed to hell and back.

The Wildcats fight song from High School Musical comes on, which can only mean one thing: Zac Efron! I mean, Same Difference! Aw, I'd forgotten how adorable they were. Sean, still in his lovely black cardie, white shirt and tie combo from last year, recalls how odd it was for Simon to call them annoying and put them through anyway. They proceeded to the live shows, where they gave the best performance of the series with 'I Don't Feel Like Dancing', which sadly is not shown at this stage. Sarah woobies up good by recalling how mean Louis was to them. Various insults which he threw at them are replayed, and present-day Louis claims he didn't believe anybody could be that nice. Well, with cunts like him around to bring them down, small wonder. [Maybe Louis could make friends with Rex from Big Brother. Small-minded, cold-hearted, rude, cynical, evil bitchery galore. And not in a good way. - Carrie] Sean recalls Simon sticking up for them. We see them singing 'Breaking Free' , 'Reach', 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now', and 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go'. Sarah says that 'Never Had A Dream Come True' was the most emotional performance for her by a mile. And probably their best, I think, on traditional levels. Simon says he thinks they are fantastic. We see them singing 'Any Dream Will Do' (why not 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'?) and that wretched moment where they lost out in a spot in the final to Leon. Sarah says life has changed for them for the better, and that Simon has actually signed them, and they've been recording an album. Simon says they're going to sell a lot of records, which I'm not entirely sure about [me neither, especially since Alphabeat turned up and took all that cheesy pop thunder - Rad], but they seem characteristically gleeful about it, so good luck to them.

"The X Factor is not just about singing talent," segues Holly. It's not about singing talent at all, is it? Oh, I see what she's doing here: it's about the whole package. Oh dear God, this is all leading up to yet another embarrassment on national TV for poor tubby Emma and her homemade wedding dress, but it's okay, since we all know fat girls eat their feelings, right? Emma has obviously had her hair and make-up done for her VT and looks nice, but also rather embarrassed in the same way that Zoe did. We replay her disastrous audition, though I'm not sure what she's done to deserve this. Present-day Emma thinks Simon was harsh. Present-day Simon is unrepentent. Then we relive that horrendous moment where she sang at the final and Emma signs off by saying that her future is to be a pop star or win The X Factor, thus proving she has learnt precisely nothing from the experience and absolving me of all my guilt as a viewer, though part of me wonders if she was told to say that by the production team because every reality show viewer knows that fat deluded people = maximum lulz.

Advert for CelebAir: Oh, Angellica Bell. Has it really come to this?

Back from the break, and we're catching up with Louis's acts. Oh joy. First up is Niki, who rode her father's corpse for all of its meal-ticket value sang her way through to the finals. You'll be pleased to know that she still looks like she has a lemon in her rectum. Holly asks her what it's been like, and Niki replies that it's like it never happened. HA! I bet it is. Holly asks what it was like to go from a dinner lady to a performer, and Niki's answer is not interesting and I can't be bothered to type it. When asked for her favourite performance, Niki says 'Hot Stuff'. You know, the one where she looked like a drag queen and told Simon she wanted to see him have a go? Bint. History has not been kind to this performance. Holly and Niki discuss the time she met Celine Dion, and then obliterated 'My Heart Will Go On'. Holly discusses the point where Niki got the boot in the semi-final (hooray!) and interestingly, the camera is only on her here, probably because Niki is brandishing a machete in fury at the memory. Niki says it took a few days to sink in. Asked how her life has changed, Niki tells us that a year ago she was a school dinner lady, and last month she was with John Barrowman at Symphony Hall [asking for his autograph? - Rad]. My God, he literally gets everywhere, doesn't he? She also did the summer season at Butlins (hahahahahaha! As in, the sort of thing that Louis thought Same Difference were only good enough for, you mean? OH DELICIOUS IRONY, LET ME EAT YOU WITH A DAB OF MUSTARD) and she has a single, which will flop soon. I mean, "be out soon".

Reminder of mouthy Rachel from last year, along with some other objectionable auditionees. For some reason, this leads to Icaro. He tells Holly that he applied because he had a "need inside [himself]". A need for sectioning, if you ask me. Icaro tells Holly that Simon was JUS JELASS of Sharon because she fancied Icaro, which makes no sense, but Sharon isn't on this show any more, so it doesn't matter! Hooray! We're reminded of Louis being an obnoxious tit upon learning he had the over-25s, and Icaro sings 'Love To See You Cry' in half-Shakira half-Shetland pony style. Holly deploys a bit of snark, bless her, which goes right over Icaro's head. She then undoes this goodwill by inviting him to sing, and he "sings" 'There's A Kind Of Hush' to her.

Another "favourite contestant" was Beverley, apparently, who wanted to teach children valuable lessons about being abandoned by their beloved caregivers who'd much rather be dicking about on television on Saturday night than read them Green Eggs and Ham [Green Eggs and Ham? Are we in America now? Surely it would be The Village With Three Corners - Rad]. A reminder of Beverley bellowing in her audition. Louis saying that Beverley was one of his favourite contestants ever on the show because she was a genuine lady. Eh, she was no Beulah, that's for sure. Beverley recalls getting through to the live shows, and how it made her crumble. She wore a wig, and shouted a lot, and then she got voted off, in a deadlock where the judges couldn't decide and it was down to the phone vote to decide who went home. Beverley, in a display of logic I hope to God she never teaches to her class, explains that because Hope were a five-piece act, they were going to get five times as many votes as she did. That'll be why the groups win every year, then! Beverley was proud to get as far as she did. We revisit her horrendously tuneless singout. She tells us she's still teaching two days a week because she loves it, and not at all because she needs the money to fund her futile singing career. She has supported Lemar at Gleneagles in Scotland, though, apparently. Apparently she's signed a record deal and her album will be out next year. I'm sure it will be every bit as successful as Maria's.

Holly tells us that Louis has made his fair share of enemies over the years. Hi Holly! I didn't know you read our humble little blog. I didn't mean to call you a blow-up sex doll, honest. This brings us to Johnny Rocko, who wants to know how Louis is a millionaire and he is not. Preach it, Johnny! We revisit Johnny issuing his Italian curse to Louis, except Johnny tells Holly that it was in fact a load of old rubbish that he made up as he went along. Just like this show! Johnny makes up some more Italian for Louis, which apparently translates to "horse's head in your bed", according to Holly. I'm sure there have been far scarier things in Louis's bed.

After the break: Leon! I know, I can barely contain myself either. [Here is where I turned over to watch Casualty instead - Rad]

Holly reminds us how the mechanics of the show work, and we see the moment where Leon won and the bowels of Hell opened to swallow mankind. As much as I don't rate Leon, judging by his present-day VT, winning obviously did him a bit of good as he doesn't look like a crack addict any more. He's like Pete Doherty in reverse. His diction appears to have improved a little bit too. Just a bit, mind. Anyway, what's Leon been up to? Other than pissing people off by cancelling gigs, obviously. He rambles on for a bit inconsequentially, and we see his so-so audition from last year. Dannii says he was so endearing when they met him. Leon says the journey was a whirlwind (drink!) and we see him murdering 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' for Dannii in Ibiza, and then we see him sucking and jittering in the first week. Simon was ZOMG MEEN! to him, and Leon says it was "crushing" to hear. I'd feel sorry for him, except the bastard went and won. He remembers getting good comments for his smarmy rendition of 'Fly Me To The Moon' in week three, and then went from strength to strength, per Holly. This is not how I remember it at all. Leon claims that the final was the "first time in the competition [he] really wanted it", which sounds rather odd. Then he sang with Kylie and we all knew he was going to win at that point. I still haven't forgiven her or Dannii for that. Or for '2 Hearts', come to that, although Dannii didn't really have anything to do with that. Leon sings 'When You Believe', which is still tedious, and then we see Leon winning for like the fifth time tonight. Holly says that everyone agrees he is a worthy winner, which is yet another lie, since by "everyone" she means "the people on this show who stand to gain financially from his victory". Simon says Leon has changed dramatically in the last 12 months. Rhydian thinks Leon deserved to win on the night. Sean Difference wishes him all the best. Beverley is delighted Leon won. Louis thinks he is the real deal. Asbestos Andy thinks he is a great singer and a great friend. And a hot piece of ass. Niki's eyes turn white and she screams "IT SHOULD'VE BEEN ME! MY DAD DIED SO I COULD WIN!" Except not really, but she is conspicuous by her absence. Anyway, 'When You Believe' was No.1 for three weeks and outsold the rest of the Top 10 put together, so well done Leon. He's been working on his album, which is due out in October, and in all fairness, will probably sell well because of the remembrance factor now that the show's back on, but I doubt we've got another Leona on our hands here.

And that's it! Join us tomorrow (or more likely Sunday) to see the first day of new judge Cheryl Cole. And some terrible singers, apparently. Who'da thunk it?


gummygobbler said...

Sweet Jesus! They just showed the XtraFactor on Irish TV last night for the first time ever. There has to be laws against this stuff surely - It's like 'Buying a Ticket to Bedlam'copyright-mine haha.
Laugh at it and be damned! I'm fucked cos I pissed rings around meself

KMack said...

Hey BitchFactor. I watched X Factor last night and managed to get to "And now we're BACK up north" before remembering that if Xfactor was back then you guys would be too. Hurrah for fucked continuity this early in the series. :) Looking forward to your post, as ever. K