Saturday, October 25, 2008

You can't make us love you

Big Band Night
Tx Saturday 25th October 2008

Last week, the battle raged on! Everyone was fairly rubbish, but the judges pretended some weren't. Cheryl pwned Simon re obvious song choices; Louis was proved to be the worst mentor ever. This week, it's the horror that is Big Band Night. It's Time! To Face! The Music!


Here is Dermot, welcomed to the stage by the band. His suit is gaping across the front, of course. He points at the band, like we hadn't noticed they're there. He tells us the contestants have been working their little socks off all week, "literally, in the case of Diana". He welcomes the judges - Louis, Simon, Dannii looking like a Gothic princess, and Cheryl wearing an awful short pink dress that wouldn't look out of place in Sharpay's wardrobe and a hairdo straight from the Sarah Palin school of styling.

Dermot turns to "ol' blue eyes, though they're more of a hazelly colour" - Simon (aw, bless him, he knows what colour Simon's eyes are...I'm saying nothin'). He attempts a burn on Le Cowell - "Simon, how's the memory this week?" Simon continues to demonstrate his utter lack of grasp of adverbs, complements and adjectives by replying, "Perfectly, Kate." Dermot acts wounded and wails, "He cuts me deep." [I miss Kate. - Steve] Up first is Scott, who was praised last week. He was pleased. However, he is missing his mum and dad, who reminisce about their son growing up. Yawn. Simon says he's chosen one of the all-time Rat Pack classics for Scott, but it's not going well in rehearsal. NotLouis does his usual spiel about if it doesn't go right, he could be going home. SIGH.

Scott begins by sitting on the steps, and as we ALL know, no good can come from beginning a routine sitting on the steps. He's singing That's Life, by the way, and it's one of the least memorable performances of this song I can remember. It's perfectly competent, just meh. I like the key change and the Boyz that randomly join him to sing backing vocals and contribute some stage presence [And prove that Scott is a boyband member and absolutely NOT a solo artist - Rad] . And then grope him at the end. More good work from NotLouis there, putting his homoerotic fantasies on live television (and who, I may add, is sitting behind the judges wearing a jauntily-angled hat. Again, I'm saying nothin').

Louis says it was safe, and that Scott has the pop star look that girls will like, but there's something missing. Charisma? Dannii thinks the song is lyrically a bit old for him, as it takes chops to sing those words, and is booed for her trouble. Cheryl says it was the best performance he's done over the series, but bearing in mind the first one was dreadful and last week was only marginally better, that's damning with faint praise. Simon misses Dannii's point utterly and says that if the songs are 50 years old, the lyrics will be old. She attempts to explain what she means, and Louis interjects the total irrelevance, "Westlife have recorded that, and their version's better." Simon attempts a pwn about choosing all Westlife's hits, but nobody's heart really seems in it.

Dannii introduces Daniel, who is Living His Dream by performing with a Big Band. He says last week sucked because he was terrified, and Louis was a bitch. VT Daniel cries and says, "I don't want my mum to see me getting upset on TV." Bit late now. Dannii has chosen a song that will get him to come out fighting, except he can't remember his lyrics. NotLouis thinks this may pose a problem.

He's doing a stylised version of The Lady Is A Tramp, with raffish rakish bow-tie and finger snaps, winking into the camera, and mumbled words. It's everything Ray would have done, except without the underlying note of evil. Louis claims that the Ricky Gervais thing was a compliment, that he won't sell a million records, but he is a nice guy. Cheryl says something about sparkling eyes and having fun. Simon says it wasn't so much end of the pier, more falling off the pier, but then corrects himself for being rude, and then goes off on a tangent about it not being fair to judge him against other people who are better singers, or something. Clearly he's seized Head Judge Len's ball of marking relatively. Anyway, it was hotel cabaret, and all the usual lines he wheels out when that insult is used, but a bit better than last week. Dannii says it was his best performance and does some good ego-boosting. Dermot hugs Daniel. Aw. Louis is asked to elaborate on his opinions, and succeeds only in repeating himself.

Dermot throws into the break by saying something about Daniel's shoulders, being like an ox, and able to "take anything".


Cheryl introduces Laura, who really needs to sort her lip colour out. Laura's family say she's a quiet little girl off-stage, and her voice doesn't go with the rest of her. [I don't believe that was Laura's real family. Everyone knows she's the child of Satan. - Steve] Vocal coach Yvie is concerned about the last note of the song, which apparently she really needs to hit. Srsly, these experts they employ to coach the contestants - they are worth EVERY PENNY of their salaries.

Laura is lying down on a big white rug, and is wearing scarlet lipstick, which looks significantly better than the pale stuff. She's singing Billie Holiday's God Bless The Child, though I don't understand a single word she's saying till about eight bars from the end. She hits the notes, though, so credit to her for that. Louis tells us it's the fifth series he's done - and don't we bloody know it. He says that it's better than Diana Ross's version, and was world-class. Dannii says she'd buy it. Simon begins by saying, "When I saw you lying on that bed", and is sniggered at. He thought it was amazing. Cheryl is crying with pride. Laura says she loves her parents, and gets her kiss from Dermot. (I wish Laura would stop doing that really affected voice that sounds like a singing kitty cat for the first verse of all her songs. She breaks out of it by the end.-Joel)

Dermot burns on Louis by reminding us all that he only has one act left, so throws to Simon to introduce "a young 16-year-old boy from Northern Ireland". Eoghan enjoyed last week and can't believe he's still in the competition. I can't believe he sang sodding 'Ben'. Simon says he's the most mature person on the show, including the judges. It's funny because it's true. Eoghan's parents are proud of him. NotLouis demonstrates choreography in a really bizarre camp way. Eoghan fears making a fool of himself on television.

Oh, for fuck's sake, he begins with a particularly egregious bit of staging where he's pretending to open the slidy doors at the back. [Which might have looked better if it weren't for the fact that the doors on this show fail to open properly on pretty much a weekly basis, and since Eoghan's not a good actor, it took me a few seconds to realise this was actually deliberate. - Steve] He's singing Nat King Cole's L-O-V-E [and looks WEIRD in a horible, horrible outfit. But then the whole performance was horrible, and I don't even think it's Eoghan;s fault it was so horrible. He just seems out of his depth - Rad] and if you like school concerts, you'll adore listening to Eoghan sing. It's all little, whispery and cute, I suppose, and mostly in tune, and suddenly he belts out two notes at the key change, before reverting to his normal voice. How strange. He gets a standing ovation, presumably because he's 16. Louis says something about being cheeky and developing big hair; Dannii is glad that NotLouis did choreography, making her the only person in the world who is; Cheryl thought "wow", not "aw"; Simon says that he was confident and made it his own.

Seriously, that's it. I'm giving up on this show. The enforced narratives and the cliches are getting too much. I'm just going to make some cards with random phrases on for the judges' comments, and random songs according to the week's theme, draw them out and just recap that in future. Who's with me?


OK, cracking on then.

Dermot purports to love Big Band Night, and is wandering round the audience. Eoghan's dad is proud of him. Thanks for that. Dannii introduces Ruth and does a strange flamenco move in her chair. Ruth VT cries about being in the final two and "singing for [her] life". See, like we keep saying, that would be a terrific idea, if they did kill off the losers. Ruth says she is going to sing in English, because she is in England. Simon says it is like a banana saying it doesn't want to be a banana. [Except not, because she's not saying she doesn't want to BE Spanish, she...oh, never mind. I haven't got the energy any more. - Steve] Ruth says she has followed her heart. Oh, Ruth, don't make me mock you.

Ruth is singing Summertime and looks BEAUTIFUL in a long red dress with some excellent cleavage, and her hair sleek and in curls at the ends. She looks a bit like Ruthie Henshall, and...mother of God, NotLouis has choreographed some random boyz who are lying on the floor wearing berets, apparently looking up her skirt. They then get up and do some interpretative dance with her and the microphone stand. Another standing ovation. [She was amazing and looked fab. Everyone in the pub I was in stopped to watch her. My friend Pete said 'I might be gay but that was as sexy as hell' - Rad] [So. Good. After Purple Rain and now this, she's fast becoming my favourite. I always knew she was hot and had good stage presence, but the girl can SING. And I loved the slinky men.-Joel]

Louis cannot believe that she was in the bottom two last week, and though he didn't like the choreography he thought it was good, and she should sing in English and not listen to Simon. Oh, universe, please don't make me agree with Louis. Cheryl tells her she looks divine and the performance was authentic. Ruth tells Simon not to forget her name. HA! "I love a feisty girl," he grins, and proceeds to tell her it was her best performance so far. He liked the choreography, though, which makes him a bit mental. Louis then tries his usual trick of trying to embarrass Simon by forcing him to admit that he finds women sexually attractive: "What about the outfit? Do you like the outfit?" Simon says that he wouldn't wear it personally, but he thinks it looks pretty on Ruth. Louis smugs, "It's very you", setting Simon up for the obvious retort, "It's very YOU." HA again! Dannii says she is fantastic and she loves her. Ruth hugs Dermot and then there are inappropriate comments about her boobs before she thanks everyone for voting for her. [The people who put her in tenth place last week, rather than eleventh. Heh. - Steve]

Cheryl introduces "my gorgeous Alexandra Burke". Alex says she tries to make every song her own, so when Simon says there's nothing special about her it is upsetting. Her siblings are proud of her. I don't really listen to the rest of what she says. She's singing Christina Aguilera's Candyman, complete with cutesy sailor outfit, cutesy backing singers, and au naturellement, a posse of boys, who flirt with the judges during the first verse. Louis looks entertained.

Unsurprisingly, Louis enthuses about it, saying she's back in the race. Dannii agrees and squeals insanely. Simon explains that the only reason he says what he says is because he likes her as a performer and a person, and the performance tonight was fantastic. Cheryl smacks Louis down succinctly, and then commends her. Dermot comes on and declares, "A big camp armada - are you sure you're not in Louis's category?" Heh. Everyone laughs.


Dermot giggles about the band again. Simon introduces Austin, who channelled variously Phoebe Buffay, David Cook and Chris Cornell last week. Austin doesn't want to copy other artists, otherwise he might as well go on Stars in their Eyes. Simon says he should get credit for doing something original (which, he doesn't add, he copied off some other people). Austin's parents are proud of him. Simon says that this week he's singing probably the greatest swing song EVAH.

That song is Mack the Knife, OF COURSE, because Simon hearts this song. I quite like it because of the key changes, but I now hate hearing it sung on The X-Factor, because of the awful toe-curling finger-snapping, side-stepping choreography and the swallowing of every consonant. NotLouis seems to be enjoying it, but then he's a twat. Austin sits on the judges' table and sings at Dannii, then goes back to the stage to sing the final verse, warbling the big note at the end. Ugh. Do Not Want. [Austin was wearing horrible, horrible trousers. The men are all styled badly tonight. Simon's shirt is unbuttoned almost to his waist, too. Ugh. - Rad]

Louis says it was brilliant and his best performance so far, and - hope you're ready for this - "you remind me of a young Bobby Darin". Well done, Walsh, positively RACKED the brains for a comparison there, didn't you? Dannii says the song enabled him to work the audience. Cheryl says it was her favourite performance of his so far. Simon says he's heard so many people murder the song over the years - yeah, most of them encouraged by you, Cowell - and thinks it was a great performance.

Haha, it's Louis's only act - JLS. They have brightly-coloured hoodies with 'JLS' across the front [Notice how Girlband and Bad Lashes didn't have a band uniform - Rad], and take the piss out of Louis squealing. Their respective parents enthuse about them - Oritse's mum has multiple sclerosis, so there's a bit of emoting about that. NotLouis snarks about them not being "classy". The boys giggle about being smooth. Simon says, "If they go, Louis goes." For good? Please let it be true. [I didn't understand why everyone was acting like this week would be such a struggle for JLS, considering the S stands for "swing". - Steve]

The boys have big cloaks with brightly-coloured linings, which they discard in the introduction to Ain't That A Kick In The Head. I do like JLS, but their vocal quality is so varied. They do a bit of walking backwards and forwards - clearly NotLouis was being inspired by Bez when he devised that particular section of routine. Key change! Confetti! Well, it probably wasn't the best-sung song of the night, but it was certainly more fun and interesting than some other people.

Dannii loved it. Cheryl loves them but did not like the cloaks. Simon says, "You've got to understand who their mentor is, turning up in a mac and flashing at the top." Louis laughs like a drain. Simon liked the performance but not the vocals, which is basically what I said. Louis disagrees and says JLS are the best group they have EVAH had. He then points out that the cloaks weren't his idea, they were NotLouis's, and NotLouis stands up and points to himself, shouting, "Yes, it was!" JLS are gracious and spout the usual platitudes, and explain that they have their own colours because they like different colours. Insightful.


Dermot welcomes us back, and chats to Laura's dad, who talks about "the journey", thus eliminating himself from any further recapping. He then crosses to speak to Dannii and Cheryl, who have been eating sweets and cannot answer.

Anyway, next performer is Diana, who thought her nice comments last week were like an out-of-body experience. She cries when she talks about how much she loves her mum, who is proud of her. Diana knows she has a little voice and fears being drowned out by the Big Band as she sings Smile. Dressed in white net. Sitting on a swing. How contrivedly fey. She ACTUALLY SWINGS during the instrumental break [NotLouis' medication has been tampered with this week, I think - Rad]. Again, I quite like the performance but I hate having the quirkiness highlighted, underlined, circled with flashing lights and shoved down my throat. [The whole thing made me feel murderous. YOU'RE KOOKY, WE GET IT. - Steve]

Louis has the temerity to suggest that it's a "no-frills" performance, when the frills are pretty much all it is. Dannii admires the set design and the costume. Simon says there is something special about Diana, and can feel a buzz. Cheryl calls her a little star. Diana says the swing is scary, and Dermot concurs.

The final act of the evening is Rachel, who was disappointed that Simon didn't like her. Rachel's sister says that her children are the world to her. No comment. Rachel and Dannii basically admit they don't like each other very much, but they are developing a working relationship. Rachel is singing that X-Factor staple, Feelin' Good, and looks totally different - a bit like Queen Latifah as Mama Morton in Chicago. Her attempts at getting the audience to clap along are particularly ill-judged for this song. She decides not to end when the band do, which Louis hails as being a diva; Cheryl says it was amazing; Simon apologises for embarrassing her, but says it was arguably the best performance of the night [Is it me, or did he say that about five times during the show? - Rad], at which point Dannii leaps to her feet, screams, then seems to remember where she is.

Simon interrupts Dermot's wrapping-up to thank Nigel and the band. Yes, well done Nigel and the band. And a recap - Scott singing about life; Daniel singing about tramps; Laura wearing red lipstick; Eoghan doing an end-of-term show; Ruth looking like Ruthie Henshall; Alexandra in uniform; Austin being punchable; JLS being cloaked; Diana on a swing; Rachel feelin' good.

Results show

Earlier tonight! An assortment of singers sang the usual standards you'd expect them to have on this particular theme week! Dermot reminds us of the entire concept of the show, and we get another recap.

Insert about The X-Factor finalists' single, Hero, to raise money for Help For Heroes. A nice young marine who lost both legs and an arm in a landmine VTs about the incident. He's in the studio, and everyone gives him a standing ovation, which seems about as appropriate as Liz Hurley wearing that ludicrous low-cut top to a Breast Cancer Care function. Anyway, the finalists "sing" their single, though they're obviously miming. [BUT!!! Ruth and Daniel are missing, which is just utterly odd - Rad]

Phone lines are closed! Oh, the drama.


Time for the results. Dermot wishes everyone luck. In no particular order, the acts singing next week - Eoghan; Alexandra; Ruth; JLS; Rachel; Diana; Laura, meaning all of Cheryl's girls are through; and Austin.

So it's Scott and Daniel to sing off. Daniel has picked a song for his wife, To Where You Are by Josh Groban, in an attempt to manipulate our heartstrings a bit more. Scott has chosen I Can't Make You Love Me, saying it defines his moment on The X-Factor. [Evidently. - Steve]

Ads first, though, obviously.

Back. Simon says he is looking for fairness, which is the whole point of the sing-off. Dannii advises Daniel to sing from the heart, as he does always. Louis says he thinks the public got it right, and he's looking for passion, as is Cheryl.

Scott caterwauls amidst a mass of dry ice, and trots about the stage. Here is where you need NotLouis's professional advice, see? Daniel has done an excellent job of song selection and of reminding us exactly why he progressed so far in the competition, because the song is about someone who is dead, and he is obviously trying not to cry, but even so he still does a better job of this than he has at any other stage of the show. [They were both fucking dreadful, but one of them has a dead wife. - Steve] Dannii cries.

It is time for the judges' decision. Simon has to protect his artist and sends home Daniel. Cheryl wails, but based on the last performance she has to send home Scott. Some people cheer and applaud and Dermot tells them off for not having sensitivity. Dannii can't believe the performances that everyone has churned out tonight, and sends home Scott. It's all down to Louis, who says it's not easy being a judge, and the public got it right, but based on the sing-off (at which point he bursts into tears - weird) he has to send home Scott.

Daniel makes a sharp exit while Scott looks sulky and petulant. Simon tries to reassure him by saying that the standard is really high. Dermot reminds us that Scott doesn't have a job any more because he left Pontins; Scott tries to say some thank yous, but he is crying too much to be coherent. Montage of Scott's highlights and horrors, including Yeah Yeah. Dermot tries to perk him up a bit; Simon comes on to be paternal, and Scott weeps at him, apologising for letting him down. SIGH. [There's also a bit where you can hear Simon saying to him "it's not like you cocked it up". Heh. - Steve]

Next week! It's DISCO, baby, and Will Young is the Special Guest Star! Join us then!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

No-one's gonna save you from the beast about to strike

Live Show 2
18 October 2008

Hello everyone and welcome back to the land of underwhelming performances and crushing hyperbole! Will Peter Kay’s lampooning last week have forced them to change their ways? I doubt it. On with the show then…

Last week: The first live show was a bit underwhelming but not as much of a car crash as previous years’! Bad Lashes sang ‘It Must Have Been Love’ all wrong and went home, despite every single one of the solo men being worse than them! Scott had the worst song choice in the history of, like, ever! Simon dissed one of the best songs of this decade! Leon Jackson turned up and made every single one of this year’s finalists look like world class performers! Peter Kay took the piss out of everyone on Sunday and proved that the whole nation has seen through this show! This week: Michael Jackson week! I can’t see this going too well, can you?

It’s time to face the music (and weep silently as several disco classics are mauled? Just a hunch, that’s all).

We are welcomed with the tune to ‘Beat It’ which is an absolute tune and something none of this year’s acts will be able to replicate. Dermot arrives and does a little bit of dancing, like he used to do in the early days of BBLB before he lost all his telly presenting magic. He blahs about the stuff we already know: emotion, drama, judges bitching etc. [Dermot Suitwatch: still boxy. Sigh. - Steve]

The judges arrive and Dannii is wearing a dress that looks like a very short wedding dress. She also has nasty lipstick on. Cheryl, on the other hand, isn’t really wearing enough make-up. Simon and Louis really need to do something more interesting with their image.

Our theme this week is Michael Jackson songs. My friend Lee: ‘Oh no, that means the child’s going to do ‘Ben’’. [I predicted this last week as soon as they announced Michael Jackson week, but I didn't really think it would be true. - Carrie] We see clips of some of Mr Jackson’s best, danceable tunes, and enjoy this while it lasts because there’ll be precious little resembling this set of clips coming up (oops, spoiler). Will last week’s Britain’s Got the Pop Factor put them off using 'Black or White' or 'Earth Song', though?

I’m guessing Michael Jackson’s people have paid them a decent amount for having this theme week seeing as he isn’t even performing. Girls Aloud will be performing later. Why can’t we have Girls Aloud week? Oh yeah, because they have had hits this decade, so forget it. [A lot of Girls Aloud songs are deceptively hard to sing, so that would've been an amazing test for the contestants. So yeah, stands to reason it'll never happen on this show. - Steve]

First up is Alexandra, or to go with the show’s convention of using surnames this year, Alexandra BURKE. Last week she broke the curse of ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and showed Louis he was an idiot for not putting her through three years ago (although arguably she stands a stronger chance this time round than she did then, so it may not have been as stupid a move as it seemed). Her VT vaguely sob stories about how she used to sing in restaurants. She talks about how she used to sing as a kid and we see home movie footage of her dancing at various ages. [So her family can't afford a separate bed for her, but they can afford a video camera? - Steve] I’m assuming this is because Michael Jackson used to sing when he was a kid. Apparently she has damaged her voice this week through oversinging and hasn’t been allowed to talk. She’s singing the Jackson Five’s ‘I’ll Be There’ which is a pretty good choice for her as it’s a song that’s been covered so many times it doesn’t even feel like a Jacksons song any more. She is wearing a nice purple dress, slightly reminiscent of the one Catherine Tate wore in ‘The Fires of Pompeii’. My Saturdays miss Doctor Who. Merlin is NOT the same. [I miss Richard Armitage in leather and more eyeliner than Cheryl. - Carrie] Her performance is fine, a few dodgy bits, nothing particularly outstanding, but it’s Alexandra, so it’s almost certainly going to be one of the best of the evening and she’s clearly safe. I do get the feeling that there’s a lot more she could be doing, though. There are some random white columns behind her on the stage that don’t seem to serve a purpose.

The audience go wild, Louis calls her ‘world class’ and brings out the ‘she’s so humble’ card very early. Dannii says her performance propels this show into ‘international standard’, which surely it’s already achieved when Andy Abraham went on Eurovision. Oh, right. [And when Ruth SANG IN SPANISH. - Steve] Simon says he’s going to ‘start with a negative’ and blatantly wants the chorus of boos that follows. He said she did Whitney last week, Mariah this week. Louis says ‘Michael Jackson’. Simon says Mariah did this song. He and Louis bicker about nothing and we are clearly in for more of that this evening, joy of joys. For all the press wishing that Cheryl and Dannii would be at each other’s throats this series, both women seem to be incredibly professional and much more sensible in their comments than Louis and Simon who are increasingly becoming a pair of old washerwomen. Simon basically says she’s good but needs to be more original, which I agree with. Cheryl pointlessly repeats Louis’ comments and has a bicker with Simon as well. Unlike with Louis, the audience are clearly on her side. Simon snarks that he was only giving constructive advice, which is true, but if you deliberately start out by saying you’re starting with a negative then you bring all the stupid fake drama down on yourself, Simon.

Dermot makes a dreadful joke about ‘Michael Jackson night: you simply can’t ‘Beat It’, which is something I’d expect from Bruce Forsyth.

Ads. Daniel Craig having his face very stylishly cut in the new Bond film.

Dermot bitches at Simon about him being wrong last week. He says ‘Simon, any chance we’ll get it right tonight?’ and Simon says ‘absolutely not’. I’m thinking that was a bit of a Freudian slip, but heh anyway.

I am recapping this on Sunday and rewatching it because I was at my friends’ watching it last night. When I got in, I made some notes for the blog and for Scott and one of the other contestants who will come on later (spoiler) I couldn’t remember anything whatsoever about their performance, so clearly this is going to be memorable…

We see the clips of Scott BRUTON sucking last week and Louis carping on about Simon being OMG SO SHIT. Photos and home videos of Scott being young and into showbiz, which seems to be a running theme tonight. Simon says he has chosen an acey pacey song so if Scott blows, it’s entirely Scott’s fault. Generous.

He’s singing ‘She’s Out of My Life’. Unlike Simon, I wouldn’t say this was one of the best ever Michael Jackson songs. Where are ‘Beat It’, ‘Thriller’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’, eh? This isn’t the most exciting song or performance ever, but it’s adequate. A camera man walks in front of the main camera and obscures the shot. How professional this show is.

The audience seem happy. Louis said it puts him back in the race because he looks like a popstar. Dannii says it was so incredible and the Bluecoat is out of his life forever – which isn’t true, because both this and last week’s performance are exactly the kind of thing you’d find on holiday camp stages. [And given that Shayne Ward won this and still seems to spend half his year performing at Butlin's. - Steve] Cheryl likes it, Simon says it was ‘bloody good’. It was fine. But I’m not excited by Scott yet. Scott blahs about how grateful he is. Dermot asks who takes credit this week, Scott or Simon? Obviously it’s Simon, because this show isn’t about the contestants, as well we know.

Ruth LORENZO is up next. Last week she looked boobilicious and Simon lusted over her. Louis didn’t think the British public would get her, which might be true. Apparently she has been waiting for this since she was a little girl, when she wasn’t as cute as she is now, and her hair was pretty bad. I can say this because I had bad hair in the 80s, too. This week she isn’t going to be singing in Spanish. Simon thinks this is stupid because he has the horn for Spanishness. She is wearing leggings, and a big off the shoulder T-shirt which would work as a look if the T-shirt wasn’t a bit too baggy and thus somewhat unflattering. She’s singing ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ and I love Ruth but it takes a while to get going. I wish she’d done one of the more upbeat numbers. We know she gives good ballad but I think she’d be one of the few acts here that could pull off something a bit more exciting.

Judges: Simon bitches about how she should always be singing in Spanish because we never have acts like this on British telly, and he’s right, because we are a nation of lazy self-absorbed people who never bother to learn anyone else’s language, because they can all speak ours. If Ruth was on American Idol, she’d do really well, I have no doubt, but here, I don’t know if she’ll have the fanbase, primarily because of the whole Spanish thing. I’d also like to remind Mr Cowell that he quite often criticises acts for being gimmicky and samey (G4, Chico, Andy etc) – unless they are his acts (Ray) or he has the horn for their gimmick, as in this case. The other judges love it though. Everyone I’m sitting with wants her to do Shakira soon. Dannii tells us people all over the world on the internet love her. Simon interjects that they love her singing in Spanish. ["IN SPANISH" may well become this year's "WHO IS DEAD". - Carrie] Cheryl wants her to wear a floaty dress next week, but Dermot breaks away from his usual homoerotic X Factor stance and says he is turned on by what she’s wearing tonight. Except in more polite terms.

Ads, none of which are notable.

As if this show wasn’t long enough, we now have a little bit of meet and greet with the audience. Ruth’s fiancé and Austin’s mum are probably lovely people, but would, erm, benefit from a telly makeover. Austin’s mum fancies Dermot. He says she’s a saucy little minx, like her son. And the homoeroticism is back in the building.

We are apparently turning to the Great, Great Grandad of the family, Louis Walsh. Really? He’s not even sixty. What is with the ageism on these shows (see also Strictly)? The next act are Girlband. Last week they wore some horrible dresses, were fun but forgettable, and ended up in the bottom two, where they were saved because Bad Lashes had fewer votes. Guess what? When they were little they loved performing, and here’s some home video footage to prove it! Shocker! One of them sounds just like Justin Lee Collins when she speaks. Simon thinks what they’re doing tonight will be ‘repulsive’ and a ‘train wreck’ and Cheryl reminds us that Louis is crap with girl groups. Heh. [She'd know. - Steve]

They’re singing the mawkish ‘Heal the World’ and they look marginally better than last week but cream/white isn’t the most flattering colour on any woman, especially given the cut of the dresses, and they all look slightly larger than they really are. Man, I wish some of the men worse outfits interesting enough to comment on rather than suits or jeans and T-shirts. The performance is sweet enough, but not exactly memorable and the high notes are a bit out of their reach. I wish they’d done some Jackson 5 and had a bit of fun. Also, Jackson 5 > than ‘Heal the World’ by a long margin. The backing singers are doing horrible arm gesturey movements the like of which six year olds do when they are making up routines. [SACK BRIAN FRIEDMAN NOW. - Steve] I’d be very surprised if they weren’t in the bottom two this week. [Also, the blonde one really sounds and looks like rubbish Tara from I'd Do Anything. - Carrie]

Dannii likes them but hates the song. She says it’s not a great song. Louis says it is, it was a number one record. Also number one records: Bob The Builder’s ‘Mambo Number Five’, Robson and Jerome’s ‘Unchained Melody’, Westlife’s horrible cover of ‘Uptown Girl’, Mr Blobby’s ‘Mr Blobby’, Leon Jackson’s ‘When You Believe’, Steve Brookstein’s ‘Against All Odds’. Not number one records: Oasis’s ‘Wonderwall’, Pulp’s ‘Common People’, Girls Aloud’s ‘Biology’, Jeff Buckley’s cover of ‘Hallelujah’, Kylie’s ‘Better the Devil You Know’. Thus: cram it, Louis. Cheryl liked it. Simon says it was so gimmicky he was surprised there were no polar bears or children. NotLouis smacks his forehead Homer Simpson-stylee off-camera. The audience both cheer and boo at this. Louis says Simon has made a career of gimmickry. Simon says he thinks Louis is obsessed with his boyband and doesn’t care. Louis says that’s not true and Simon’s not in their dressing room, he is. Ummm?

The blonde one comes over all Miss World and says ‘Heal the World’ has a lovely meaning. Simon comes back at them that ‘as Cheryl discovered, it’s better to work without Louis’. Louis points out that Simon has never had a hit record with a girlband. Can these two just make out already? [PLEASE GOD NO. - Steve] They’re doing my heads in tonight.

The fantastic Laura WHITE is next, and she is the second person (after Scott) whose performance I completely forgot after seeing it, so I wonder if it will have anything to commend it on second viewing. Last week the judges loved her. Guess what, everyone, she loved music as a child! NotLouis doesn’t think she’ll do very well because her voice and Michael Jackson’s voice don’t go very well together (are we going to have some weird duet with a CD thing going on?). Yvie is also sceptical.

She is singing ‘You are Not Alone’. So yawn. She is putting on an affected Amy Winehouse/Eartha Kitt style drawl that is so clearly not her natural voice. As she goes on this affect comes and goes and when it goes, she is a lot better. Her real voice is much nicer than the faux drawl, which I hope someone pulls her up on. This song is so dull. Couldn’t someone have taken a risk with ‘Thriller’ or ‘Smooth Criminal’?

Louis thought she was great but the song was meh. Dannii likes her but thinks this was missing the ‘mojo’. Simon says the fact she made this song good was a miracle, and she really struggled on the first half but got better in the second half (trufact). He then says it was the best performance of the night so far, which it probably isn’t, but then none of them have been memorable, so the bar’s not exactly high.

Dermot asks Simon if getting out of the comfort zone is what it’s about for him. He ducks the question and says it’s about putting in effort.

Coming up: Austin and Daniel. Oh, glee.

Ads. Oh, look, an advert for Leon Jackson’s new album and they’re playing ‘When You Believe’ and only feature one second of the diabolical new single. I’m guessing this is due to the career killing weekend he had last weekend where a) he murdered the (admittedly terrible) song on the X Factor and b) was parodied in Peter Kay’s show as ‘R Wayne’ – who could sing, dance and talk better than Leon. I’m also guessing they’re not promoting the album using the new single due to it being an unmemorable piece of bilge which is being outsold by both Pink’s ‘So What’, which has been at number one for two weeks already, and Peter Kay’s ‘The Winner’s Song’, a spoof reality song that sounds better than the real things usually do. Leon’s comeback? File in the drawer marked epic fail. Expect him to be mentioned as frequently on The X Factor as Steve Brookstein by the next series. [On the plus side, he looks hot on his album cover, as much as I feel skeevy saying that. - Steve]

Welcome back. Apparently we have the gimmick-free Austin DRAGE. Gimmick-free, people, remember that comment. VT: he gave 60% last week and NotLouis says he needs to give 100% all the time. Oh, NotLouis, have you learned nothing from the game of ridiculous percentages they play on this show? His not-gimmick this week is to do a version of a classic in a completely different, but not at all gimmicky, no siree, no way. Yvie laughs at the idea because she clearly thinks it’s deranged.

Holy Mary Mother of God, what the hell is this? Apparently it’s Billie Jean, but in no version I ever recognise. [I messaged my fellow bloggers at this point to liken the arrangement to a song Phoebe sings in the episode of Friends when she, Susan and Ross are locked in a hospital storeroom while waiting for Carol to give birth to Ben - "They found their bodies the very next day". Seriously. Look it up on YouTube or something. Exactly the same. - Carrie] It’s all slowed down and over-dramatised and screechy and full of histrionics and there’s a bit where Austin pulls down the V of his T-shirt and gurns ‘meaningfully’ that makes me a little bit sick in my mouth, and although I am rewatching most of the show for this recap, I cannot bring myself to relive the horror again. Admittedly, his singing wasn’t terrible itself, but the whole performance and arrangement have committed an act of indecent assault on my eyes, ears and brain and I’m thinking of suing someone for the distress caused. [Hold on a minute, Austin sang? I was too busy looking at his arms. Hello, Austin's arms. - Steve]

Louis thinks he gave it 100% but wasn’t keen on the arrangement because apparently David Cook did it the same way on the last (boring) series of American Idol and here I thank the Lord that that must have been one of the episodes I forgot to record, because I don’t remember it at all. Dannii says it was a fantastic performance but he hasn’t hit his peak. Cheryl thinks singing and performing is in his blood and she HATED the arrangement, as we all did, although his vocals were outstanding. Simon tries to correct Louis by saying ‘yes David Cook did do it, but it’s based on a version by Chris Cornell’ so effectively says it was based on someone else doing a gimmicky version of someone else’s gimmicky version. Way to shoot yourself in the foot there, Simon. Louis says ‘I know, I know about music’. Simon says ‘not a lot’. Pot. Kettle. He then says it was original, which clearly it wasn’t, going on his previous comment. He thinks it was the best performance by a mile. I always want to punch Louis anyway, but I really, really want to punch Simon just as hard tonight. Can we sack both of them before next year? [It's a sad state of affairs when Louis manages to be less obnoxious than Simon. - Steve]

Dannii introduces Dead Wife ‘Danny’ in a bizarre way, saying ‘it’s not Michael Jackson, it’s not Ricky Gervais.. it’s the X Factor’. Oh Dannii, don’t make me have to have words with you as well. Last week he bored us all to tears but he loved performing, apparently. Music has been in his life, all of his life, even back in the 70s when he had bad 70s hair. Dannii has picked a ‘beautiful’ song for him. I’m guessing it’s not ‘Thriller’. He’s not Ricky Gervais, he’s Daniel EVANS.

He’s singing ‘One Day in Your Life’, and it’s so, so boring and half the time he’s off-key. I love the way this show has made Michael Jackson’s back catalogue look like it only contains a complete bag of boring shite rather than tons of disco classics. His dead wife hasn’t been mentioned tonight, so he could be on shaky ground. Or that could just be wishful thinking on my part. He ends better than he starts but it’s still rubbish.

Louis: ‘Daniel, or Ricky as I’m going to call you from now on. Ricky, that was…’ Dannii interjects ‘that’s rude!’ And it really is, although I did splutter with giggles. Louis says he's out of his comfort zone and if he was going to call it after a Michael Jackson album he’d call it ‘Bad’ which is even harsher than we at The Bitch Factor would be. [I think Louis meant "out of your league" rather than "out of your comfort zone" too, judging by the way he said it. - Steve] Cheryl is sorry she knocked his confidence last week because he still has her favourite sob story of the lot. She says that’s one of her favourite Michael Jackson song[s] although she’s said that to most people. Simon says no-one under 60 will like him, but there are clearly a lot of old people voting and damns him with very faint praise by saying it was maybe marginally a little bit better than last week. Dead wife AND Simon and Louis hating him? Top five guaranteed. Dermot accuses them of ageism, and, no, he’s just crap, Dermot.

Ads. Britannia High. It’s almost certainly going to be shit, based primarily on the channel showing it.

Dermot lies that the audience ‘just can’t stop loving’ the acts, which, no. It’s as boring as hell in there tonight and their cheers have abated massively since the start of the show.

JML Direct are next. Last week they were apparently potentially the best group EVAR, which, no. Simon thinks they are telling Louis what to do, which I doubt. They used to be into music as kids and one of them was in Oliver. We debate whether they will be doing ABC or I Want You Back. Louis has chosen an up-tempo (hooray!) track. NotLouis has given them eight hot girls to flirt with. They are all wearing t-shirts with JLS on. Apparently they need to ‘swagger’ tonight or no-one will believe their performance. They start… we all erupt at once: ‘they’re doing The Way You Make Me Feel?!’ One of them vaguely moonwalks. They are all wearing Jacko through the ages style outfits. There are ladies on podiums wearing 80s gear (podia?) dancing foxily. Some of the high notes are a bit screechy, and there is some cheesy whooping and ‘go on girl’s but compared to the sludge of the other performances tonight, it’s pretty good. They will never in a million years win (will they?) but they stand a good chance of breaking the curse of the R and B boyband.

The audience are much more animated than they have been for the past hour or so. Dannii loved the production and thanks NotLouis. She says there were some tuning issues and gets booed for speaking the truth. Cheryl says it’s sad that not many people sing and dance at the same time, so hats off to them, and there’s a niche in the market for them. Simon says last week was 6 and a half out of 10, and this week was 9. Clearly he’s been to the Len Goodman school of second week overmarking. Anyway, everyone loves them and my goodness, is this bloody show not over yet?

Next up, it’s Cheryl and ‘my little Diana VICKERS’. Last week she was ‘the one to beat’. Her VT features her with horrible hair and no make-up which makes her face a little puffy. She used to sing in shows and musicals when she was younger, wouldn’t you know? Yvie says her special talent is her uniqueness, but since when was being unique a talent? I mean, Icaro was ‘unique’.

She hasn’t got any shoes on again, which is a bit gross, after all, Austin’s probably been masturbating all over that stage. She’s singing ‘Man in the Mirror’, which is actually a decent Jackson song at last. Last week, Joel gave us the genius observation that she sounds like Dolores O’Riordan crossed with Shakira, so we listen attentively, and she does! I’d love her to do ‘Linger’, actually. Anyway, although hearing her singing about ‘the man in the mirror’ is a little strange, she does a more interesting and exciting job than, well, anyone else tonight. Whilst Diana isn’t my favourite of all the acts by any means, this is definitely my favourite performance of the evening – the others were all underwhelming, predictable or horrible, whereas this is at least different, but not Austin level horribly different, and generally in tune. Along with Alexandra and JML Direct, she’s the only one to emerge with dignity intact so far.

Louis says she’s different and then says she’s ‘like the girls in the charts today’ which I don’t think is what he meant. Dannii and Simon love her and ‘she may be the one to beat’, again. Diana’s loving being here apparently, which is a good job, really.

Bloody hell, there are still two more people to come, and Eoghan’s going to be singing ‘Ben’. I can’t control my glee.

Ads: An advert for yet another Michael Jackson greatest hits album, despite the fact he’s had at least two other greatest hits albums out in the time since he last released a single. Still, it does make having an MJ themed week on the X Factor a smart move for his people: all these songs, aka mostly his upbeat good ones that we haven’t heard tonight at all, sound amazing (well, Earth Song notsomuch) and after hearing the finalists murdering the crap ones tonight (or simply making them dull as hell) who wouldn’t feel drawn to the far superior real thing?

The last of the ‘overs’, Rachel HYLTON is up next. Last week she sang ‘With Every Heartbeat’ and did a decent job even though you can’t help feeling it would have been better if she and Bad Lashes had sung each other’s songs. Anyway, she and Dannii had a big fight about it and so she’s chosen her own song this week and thus ‘only has herself to blame’. Her earliest memory is singing. She had bad hair when she was 16. Simon bitches about how she had to choose her own song otherwise she’d be in trouble, neglecting to mention the shower of shit he gave Scott last week was a thousand percent worse than what Dannii gave Rachel. NotLouis VTs about how acts usually fuck it up big style when they sing their own song, so this is a risky move.

Wow. NotLouis has gone a bit mental with the creative direction this week: she’s in gold, standing atop two huge amps, with a mic hanging from the ceiling and two topless men on bikes for no reason (other than to make this song more memorable, as we shall soon discover) [NotLouis has gone to the same casting school as William Baker, obviously - employ fit boys to stand around with no shirts on, just because you can. - Carrie]. She’s singing something we vaguely recognise but can’t put our finger on. Then the chorus kicks in, and it’s ‘Dirty Diana’. I haven’t heard this song in about 20 years and it really is so much more boring than I remember (but to be fair, I would have been about eight at the time and going ‘hee, it’s got ‘dirty’ in the title. And it’s Diana, like Princess Di’). It’s a really, really bad choice. She can pull off the rock sound, just about, but this song is just too boring and bizarre to work for her. Simon looks horrified.

Louis says that during the auditions, they all thought she was the best singer. She picked a ‘brave’ (note: not ‘good’) song and hopes the viewers will get her. Cheryl says there is a lot of soul inside her waiting to burst out. Simon calls her Diana and says she got it completely and utterly wrong. Louis says ‘Rachel’. The audience boo and Simon says he doesn’t think he can do this anymore. I am inclined to agree. He’s been all snippy and crap tonight. He says the whole thing was horrible and gimmicky and it’s doubtful she’ll survive another week. He says she needs to do soul next week. Rachel says she knows she’s a soul singer but loves rock and indie music and believes as an artist she should be diverse. Dermot says isn’t it about artists getting out of their comfort zone. Simon says yeahbutnobutyeahbutno because he has clearly lost any sense of what the correct answer to that question is over the past few series.

Eoghan QUIGG’s next, and thankfully, this is going to be over soon. Last week he finally showed some emotion, apparently. As a ‘young boy’ (heh) he used to like singing. Simon said the song chose him this week, and, yes, it’s, ‘Ben’, the song EVERYONE knew he would be doing. Really, Simon, would it kill you to have some originality? I actually feel a bit sorry for Eoghan this week. He’s sixteen years old and what sixteen year old, who already looks young for his age, would want to sing a syrupy song that a child sang about his pet rat? He looks about twelve and singing this song does him no favours in making him seem any older. Although he does a serviceable job, his eyes are screaming out in pain at being given such trite predictable crap to sing. He honestly looks like one of those kids who get dragged roung a DIY store on Sundays with their parents when they actually just want to be sat at home playing on the Wii. He's so going to get picked on in the playground for this song, and he knows it. He storms off the stage, glad the embarrassment is over. Give him some My Chemical Romance, Simon! It’s what the kids want! [I second this. Make him sing 'Teenagers' and I will officially forgive every sin that's been committed this series. - Steve]

Louis says he’s going to be in the final, even though he doesn’t have the best voice. Dannii says his purity will challenge the other voices in the competition. Did she just call him a virgin on live TV? Cheryl says he belongs on the stage and said she would have bet her bottom dollar he would sing ‘Ben’ so Simon can’t EVER talk to her about safe or obvious song choices again. Simon says ‘so what, you clearly have your period’. I paraphrase.

To recap: everyone was a bit underwhelming, Daniel proved once again that his dead wife was the only thing that got him through to the finals, Diana was the surprise best performance of the night, Eoghan was predictable as hell and looked like he was being held hostage and Austin gave me nightmares with his ‘interpretation’ of my (former) favourite Michael Jackson song. I imagine no-one can be arsed to vote.

Results Show

Earlier tonight! Michael Jackson theme week flopped hard!

Tonight’s special guests started out on a show like this, and against all the odds, became ace. It’s Girls Aloud! We are treated to a short medley of their songs, every single one of which is better than anything you’ll ever see on this show. They look absolutely awesome in sparkly gold 60s-style dresses with big hair, and it’s nice to see Nadine back after her bout of shingles. Cheryl and Sarah look nervous, but they settle into it and after my intitial uncertainty, the song has grown on me (actually every single GA song takes time to grow on me and then becomes an object of love. See also the back catalogue of Minogue, Kylie). Sarah’s eye make-up is a bit mental. Cheryl is the weakest tonight, possibly because of nerves, but they are still fabulous. My friend James asks how they’ve become such a good girl band considering they started on something like this. It’s all about the songs, something they clearly forgot to take into account with pretty much every other reality act ever. Well, not just about the songs, as the girls themselves are great, but the songs have a lot to do with it. Aww, now it’s over and the silly show has to start again. Booo.

Ads. Who on earth would buy an album by the dreadful Strictly singers?

Dermot blahs the usual and this has been going on way too long and I really can’t be arsed. Safe are: JML Direct, Rachel, Diana, Scott, Laura, Eoghan, Dead Wife Daniel, Alexandra and Bloody Austin.

So the sing-off is between Girlband, which was expected, and Ruth, which is wrong, but also not really a shock. I can’t be bothered to recap the usual blah, sorry.

More ads. Bryan Adams is playing at the Sheffield Arena next week and ticket sales are clearly slow.

Ruth is singing ‘Purple Rain’, which is a bit out there for this show. I mean, I know Prince is a global superstar and this is one of his biggest ever hits, but this show appeals to the people who only buy one CD a year, and so it’s a big risk. She starts off fairly weak but soon builds momentum and rocks it, despite not being able to pronounce ‘purple’. She does oversing a little in places, but no more than Alexandra or Austin, and she so deserves to stay, considering this is actually one of the top performances of the whole evening.

Simon goes on about her not doing what he told her and singing in Spanish, which a) he’s not her mentor and b) they’ll have prepared their ‘song to save’ in advance and can hardly change it at the last minute on his whim. Simon is really getting on my wick tonight.

Girlband aren’t doing ‘That’s What Friends are For’ again. They are doing ‘Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing’, because ‘they don’t want to miss a thing’ which is a populist choice, but they aren’t singing for the public vote, so it could be a waste. It’s a bit shaky and shrieky in places and on the strength of this, they should definitely be going home, but will they really send home two groups in a row?

We decide that Cheryl will save Girlband and Simon will save Ruth and it will go to deadlock. My friend El reckons it’ll keep going to deadlock this series because the four judges thing is doomed not to work. I would say they should do it like Strictly, with a casting vote, but then with Simon’s lack of judgement this series, I trust him about as much as I trust Head Judge Len. Maybe they should give Dermot the casting vote and make him get off the corporate fence once in a while. Or, you know, do away with the four categories seeing as how having girls AND boys under 25 when everyone over 25 end up in one category is somewhat unbalanced. I’d say Louis and Simon were both fairly dispensable these days, as long as we still keep Sinitta and her fans.

Judges vote. Louis basically admits Ruth was the best but he has to keep Girlband. The audience boo him anyway. Dannii keeps Ruth, obviously. Cheryl says this is horrendous, but Ruth nailed it so sends home Girlband. Simon snarks because he doesn’t fancy Ruth as much when she doesn’t sing in Spanish and to teach her a lesson or something, he takes it to deadlock, which is all going to get very tired if it keeps happening.

Dermot tells us the act going home is … Girlband. As it should be. Well, actually it should be one or all of the solo men, because they are all shit, but out of Girlband and Ruth, Ruth is definitely better. So much for the groups being the ones to beat this year, then. [Louis is the Worst Mentor Ever. Even worse than Sharon. I kind of want JLS to go next week, just for the lulz. - Carrie] We see their best bits, which are all a bit short and show them being better in auditions than in the main show.

Next week is apparently the yawnathon that is the annual Big Band Week, although I don’t recall Dermot telling us this. Thank fuck I’m not the one who has to recap that. [Oh, fuck, I *am* the one who has to recap that. Expect wailing, gnashing of teeth and obscenities here next Sunday! - Carrie]

Sunday, October 12, 2008

'I say yeah ye...what the hell?'

Live show 1.
Tx 11th October

182,000 down to twelve. Blah di blah. Tonight! For the first time! They sing live!
Simon has the boys. Dannii has the overs [And seems to think this is a cricket match - Rad] – she says, ‘I’m going to win again!’ Louis has the groups; ‘Girlband!’ doesn’t sound right in the bombastic voiceover. Cheryl has the girls. ‘Britain, the wait is over! It’s time to face the music!’ This show takes itself so damn seriously, but having the T4 joke voiceover guy doing the voiceovers really doesn’t help their case.

Dermot’s suit doesn’t fit. His belly’s poking out. Plus ça change. Louis has topped up the Botox but it’s gone in his eyes, by the looks of it. They’re particularly small and weaselly today. Dannii’s wearing a weird blue bell-sleeved dress. It’s pretty, but really odd. Dermot says it’s a long long long time since Louis last won. Louis says no it’s not. Except it is.

Girlband are first. NotLouis is here! He says they’ve got to get everything right. HE will say that a lot this evening. Louis says he’s given them a challenge. They all cry a bit. The vocal coach says they squabbled. Simon says girls fighting is not Louis’s forte. If they don’t sort themselves out, they’ll go home and have only themselves to blame. The little video introductions really don’t tell you anything at all. Ever. They’re singing Venus! Fake photographers take photos of them on a fake red carpet. They have on weird puffball dresses with big glittery lips on the skirt. This isn’t really that much of a challenge, is it Louis? Louis bobs his little head along. Singing is okay. Dancing is okay. It’s not really anything amazing, but this isn’t a showstopping number. They do harmonise very well. Nice big ‘fiiiiiiirre’ at the end. It wasn’t exactly stunning, but it was fun and, I hesitate to use the word, entertaining.

Dannii says it was the campest opening to the show ever, clearly having already forgotten Komedy Kimberley doing ‘It’s Raining Men’ last year, and that it was great [To be fair, everyone's forgotten that because that show started early so no-one was watching apart from us - Rad]. Cheryl says they had the hardest job of all opening the show but they did a fantastic job and she really enjoyed it. Simon says okay, in that was of his where he says ‘o-kaay’ and clearly means shit. He gets booed and says, ‘let me finish!’ He says it was a predictable song and predictable styling. And please don’t blame them for the song or the styling, neither of which they would have had any choice in. They’re Girls Aloud rejects. Nothing new. One says they sang first one week before auditions so they think they’ve come really far. Louis says they’re great. Dermot says ‘oooh, backchat already!’. A different one says they want to stay in and sing a ballad so they can prove they’re singers. Dermot says don’t vote yet you retards.

Simon says ‘next is a singer’. Austin. He goes ‘boo hoo I was bullied. I just want to be accepted’. Shu’up. Simon says, and I paraphrase, ‘he’s a desperate freak and might crack under pressure’. Cheryl says, and I quote directly, ‘I’ve never seen anyone so desperate’. His makeover has been so rubbish. It’s Gary Numan crossed with a Czech twink porn star. It doesn’t do anything to detract from the whole ‘he’s desperate’ thing because it looks so contrived. He’s singing The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’. Hmmm. He’s just singing it like a ballad. There is none of the menace in it. He’s not even hitting the notes as well as he normally does. He hits the high note but wimps out of putting any power behind it. This is rubbish. He’s missing the point of the song and singing it like a ballad, not ‘I’m going to stalk you forever, bitch’ and vocally he’s not even that great. Rubbash! Louis says he looks like a popstar and if he keeps it together he’ll go far. Dannii says he makes nervous sexy. She LOVED it. Simon says it was good – Austin was at 60% of potential, so he’s excited to see what Austin can achieve. Dermot says ‘first solo act on stage’, as if that’s a thing. No. Girlband opened the show. That’s something to be nervous about. First solo act? Puh-lease. Stop trying to make me feel sorry for Austin. Austin doesn’t want to talk too much cos he’ll start crying. Everyone lols at Cryin’ Austin.


Daniel, whose WIFE IS DEAD blah blah blah. Dannii says he has soulful tones. NotLouis is worried for him on stage because he’s a clumping mess with no stage presence. Again, I paraphrase. But not much. He’s singing I wanna know what love is. He sings all emotional eyes closed and wavy hands. Simon does NOT look convinced. He does not have the voice for this. He wants to know what love is. It’s what his DEAD WIFE had for him, of course. Louis says it was very cruise ship – Ricky Gervais singing karaoke. Ouch! But ha! Louis pronounces it ‘Gervay’. Cheryl says if it was nice guy factor he’d be going through. He looks nice in his suit. But she doesn’t know where he’d fit. Simon said ‘it was completely and utterly irrelevant’. He doesn’t think he can be a successful recording artist. [Is true, but his singing now is no different than it was in auditions. - Carrie] Dannii says he’s so brave, everything he shared, and she loves him, pointedly not talking about the vocals, or the performance, or stage presence, or really anything relevant except his bravery and by implication his DEAD WIFE. Dermot says ‘you liked it right?’ to the audience, as if that meant anything. They’d cheer for a pot of jam on a hostess trolley if the pot of jam had seen another one get broken and was traumatised by the experience. Louis says again that he looks like Ricky Gervais. Dermot says he can’t help how he looks and that Louis looks like Ricky Gervais’s dad. Being charitable to Louis, I think he meant not just the physical resemblance, but that the cheesy eye-closed bleurgh of Daniel singing is like a Ricky Gervais character, with the comedy of embarrassment cos someone’s so rubbish. Seriously. This guy would not have even got to boot camp if his wife was alive [And here I refer you to Peter Kay tonight, where one of the booted out people at 'judges houses' was brought back for the finals due to having a dead relative. The whole country knows your game, show - Rad].

Cheryl – next up, someone to prove to Louis that three years ago he lost his mind. Ha! [Oh Cheryl, he lost it way before that. - Steve] Simon says ‘I agree’. Alexandra says a bit of ‘boohoo I’m poor’, but it’s kind of justified given that she shares a single bed with her sister, but equally her home VT shows her kitchen and it looks quite spacious and nice so maybe I’m Poor is still not enough of a sob story. [Aww, remember when Chin-Eye was poor and lived in the ghetto with lovely laminate flooring? - Steve] You have to combine it with My Mum, WHO IS SINGLE, like Leon. Cheryl says she wants to give Alexandra something upbeat, cos all she’s done so far is ballads. Alexandra’s hair is scraped back and she’s wearing a silver minidress thing. Standing on a lit-up box. She looks fantastic. She’s singing I wanna dance with somebody. [Gaah, Cheryl! This song is reality show suicide, what are you doing?! - Steve] Whitney in the first week – ambitious. It goes all a bit gay disco halfway through. She really works the stage – very confident for someone so young. Vocally great, of course. Louis says she’s incredible – she looks, sings, and dances like a diva. Dannii says she’s seen Whitney sing that song and just stand and tap on the microphone, but Alexandra danced and was awesome. She gets Alex to stick her tongue out for some reason – tongue stud removed? I didn’t understand this bit. [Sticking out her tongue at Louis, who rejected her before. - Carrie]

Simon says it was an obvious choice – waits for boos that don’t come – and it was awesome, anyway, and, ‘now I want Louis to apologise’. Louis refuses to, because he’s an arse, saying ‘did I do the right thing?’ Alex says yes, I’m a better person now, a better singer, and Cheryl goes ‘And a better mentor!’ HA!! Alex tells Dermot she’ll do different things but she’s done so many ballads and wants to prove she’s got rhythm.

Why advertise the Peter Kay thing in the middle of this show? It’s a piss take of this show and all its ilk. On another channel. So weird. With the same voiceover man. So weird. [I assume Channel 4 bought the airtime there on the assumption that viewers of this show will probably want to watch a pisstake of it? Either that or hoping they'll think it's a real reality show and will be too stupid to realise it isn't until BARB's already registered them as viewers. - Steve]

JML Direct are next. They can’t believe it etc. They blah about their names and what they do but nobody gives two shits, really. Simon says they’ve got the hardest song in the world to sing. Hmm. They just have to nail it. Vocal lady says if the key change goes wrong it will all go wrong. Boyz II Men, of course [Yawwwwn. Forgive me if I have mislaid my sense of being impressed - Rad]. First boy (the wonky hair one) is VERY nasally up in his nasal at first but it improves once the rest of them join in. This is fine. I can’t find anything to say about it. It’s polished. One does a big long note. Dannii says Louis sounds like someone’s mum going ‘woo woo’ and bobs up and down. Dannii is so weird tonight, you guys. [I assume that now she knows she's guaranteed screentime after barely being seen in audition rounds, she's determined to make it memorable. I approve. - Steve] It was shaky at the beginning (yes) but they pulled it off and she loved it. Cheryl says they’re professional and consistent; it’s one of her favourite songs and she loved it. Simon says it didn’t start well – BOOOOO go the audience – and it was a crazy first song choice. But the good news is they look and behave like a group. If they get the tuning right, they’ll be the best group ever on the show. Not exactly difficult. Louis agrees they’re the best group. He knows it’s a hard song and they pulled it off. ‘Not at the beginning!’ says Simon.

Dermot says he’s reeling from Simon complimenting one of Louis’ acts. Oh, fuck off Dermot. Top of my head, when Shayne did ‘If you’re not the one’, Simon LOVED it. We learn that JLS stands for Jack the Lad Swing. I wish I didn’t know that. They’re definitely JML Direct now, because that’s just appalling.

Scott lives in Manchester with his mum and dad. He used to be a bluecoat but gave it up. That’s not a sob story, Scott. Must try harder. Simon said he wasn’t convinced – oh, another bluecoat – but once he heard Scott sing he was. NotLouis says that Scott found it difficult to walk in time with the music. Oh dear. Doesn’t bode well, does it? Notlouis says that unless he gets the moving and the singing right he’ll be screwed. Obviously, NotLouis. That’s all he says, all evening. [God, how is he still here? Someone must have had a watertight contract. - Steve] Scott’s singing that ‘I say yeah yeah’ song by Georgie Fame. What was Simon thinking?! He’s not good, but how can you be, singing this? He gets better as he goes on. Sort of. Gives a cheeky wink. This is an utter train wreck, but it was inevitable because it’s so fast it’s practically a patter song and that doesn’t show off vocals in any way. Branch out from ballads by all means, but this was just bizarre.

Louis says it was the most hideous song choice ever. Everyone boos but Louis says it’s not Scott’s fault, it’s Simon’s. BOOOO. Dannii says sack your mentor, this was dreadful. He’s awesome and sexy, but this was awful. Dannii says it was as bad as Build Me Up Buttercup last year! Ha! Naughty Dannii. We all know that the only people who were ever on this show were Leona and Leon and possibly Shayne. Don’t refer to the past! Louis asks if Scott was liking the song and he said he wanted to change it but came around to it and trusts Simon. Cheryl says it was Simon trying to avoid bluecoatness but ended up making him bluecoaty. Simon says he agrees with them and that he got it wrong and everyone boos and then realises it’s not a diss on Scott and it turns to applause. The audience are wacked tonight. They don’t know if they’re coming or going, and their Pavlovian reactions are all over the place. It’s awesome. He says he was trying to push him, but it didn’t work. And if the north of England, where you’re from, give you another chance, I promise I’ll give you a better song. Nicely done Cowell – get the regional votes in. Dermot says Scott looked like he was enjoying it, and he said he was. Dermot goes on some shit about how the audience are giving lots of support. That’s because they’re insane baying freaks Dermot, and are mostly family members of the acts.

Rachel says ‘I’ve taken drugs, I’ve committed crimes’ and this is her chance to publicly put things right. A lot more matter of fact than most sob stories. Just, ‘yeah I’ve done that, now I want to change’. It’s kind of refreshing. Rachel says the song isn’t in her comfort zones. Simon says Rachel with the right song is the one to beat, but with the wrong song is a travesty. She’s doing With Every Heartbeat! She’s wearing a foxy little suit, but kind of looks like Cee Lo. (Apparently I am completely alone in liking the suit. It was a bit Etam, I guess, but it was fine.) There’s something wrong with the sound – the music and her voice aren’t meshing. She goes ‘come on everyone!’ before the ‘and it hurts with every heartbeat’ bit. Which, no. This is not a ‘come on everyone!’ song. Simon sucks his pen and looks bored. The audience seem to love it. This was a risk and it didn’t entirely work, I think, but bravo to Dannii for giving her a contemporary song that wasn’t Amy Winebox. Louis says one of the best singers ever at the auditions. Louis says totally the wrong song. BOOOOOO. He says the 8 dancers didn’t dance, perpetuating this show’s thing of blaming the artist for the choreography [whereas NotLouis should have been out of a job months ago, yet he's whoring out his wares on Dancing with the Stars now - Carrie]. But he LOVES her. She says thank you. Cheryl says Rachel is awesome but the song was wrong. Simon says it was like ‘lemonade in a ferrari’ and Dannii had the audacity to criticise his song choice when she made Rachel sing an awful turgid piece of shit – he really SLATES the song, for about ten minutes, when everyone knows it’s awesome [I hated Simon for that, because it's clearly amazing, as you say. I think he was just angry because everyone knows there are only two contemporary songs per year allowed on this show and they must be saved for later weeks - Rad] [Either that, or any song which does not suit Simon's purposes for this show is useless in his eyes. Either way, he should've just said it didn't suit Rachel's voice and left it at that, because this was in no way the sort of disaster that Scott's performance was. - Steve]. Rachel is trying SO hard not to be a bitch, lots of ‘thank you’ and ‘taking it on board’ and stuff. It’s quite sweet. Dannii says she knows Rachel didn’t like the song, but the fact that she took it on and got the audience going proves that’s she’s versatile and smart and willing to step outside of comfort zone. Dannii is smart! Louis says please vote for her everyone cos she’ll be awesome next week. Rachel says she doesn’t want to undermine Dannii, but she didn’t like the song, but ‘I’m not being cocky, but I did work the audience, didn’t I?’ Ha! Dermot says ‘ooh, fireworks tonight! I love it!’ Shut UP Dermot. Do you have NO self-respect left?

Diana is next. Cheryl says she has a very unique voice. You can’t modify an absolute, Cheryl. Diana is scared that her first real singing ‘gig’ will be in front of millions of people. Yeah, that’s kinda intimidating. She’s doing With or Without You. She still hasn’t found a hairbrush. Pretty white shift dress. Too much eye makeup. She starts off really really bad – her low register is NOT her strength. She gets better as she goes on. She’s a weird combination of Dolores O’Riordan and Shakira, vocally. It’s a pretty, ballad version of the song with some nice strings going on.

Louis says she’s a breath of fresh air because she’s cool. Basically saying that the show is tragically unhip but she’s different because she’s vaguely modern. Well done, Lou Lou. Dannii says too many hand movements distracted from her voice, ‘which is beautiful’. People boo because there is no such thing as constructive criticism. Simon calls her marmite and people will love or hate it. The audience boos but then cheers because they can’t understand. Seriously – audience so confused tonight. Simon loved it. Cheryl says she gave her a big challenge, a big song with a male vocal, but she pulled it off.

Bad Lashes are next. Louis calls them girls from the north. Did you hear that? From THE NORTH. They then say they’re pleased he gave some ordinary northern girls a chance. They blah on about who they are and what they do, and frankly, I’ll put my effort into learning that in a few weeks when I’m convinced you’re relevant. Louis didn’t like them at first – flash to him calling them hairdressers – but changed his mind. They’re singing Must Have Been Love by Roxette. They do NOT look good. Random dresses they just picked up. This is… okay I guess. They sound a bit screechy at parts. But not out of tune screechy – cackly screechy like Sharon Osbourne looking at a young man. The end is nicely harmonised. I don’t know. It was fine. I’ll let Rad give you the real lowdown on this – she has rather strong feelings. [I let out a scream of terror when the beat kicked in and I realised what it was. I've been dreading someone massacring Roxette since this show started. To be fair, they weren't terrible other than the screechy bits, BUT the song is a HEARTBREAK song and they sang it as if they were a group of mates having a blast. Maybe Rachel should have done this - it needs a soloist with a bit of oomph and emotion. Still, maybe it'll get Roxette back in the downloads chart this week and that will please me - Rad]

Dannii liked it and says they’re good and personality will separate them from Girlband, so bring it on. Cheryl says they’re fun and spunky (dirty Cheryl) and she likes them, not just cos she’s northern too. Simon says it was like ‘eating water’ and four solo singers singing well rather than a group. (True – they did tend to separate out the lines a lot more than Girlband did.) They should tell Louis what’s going on rather than taking orders from him – he’s nearly 70! Ha! Louis says ‘you’re 50 next year, remember that!’ Oh, Louis. You are the worst at pwning, ever. ‘You’re 49’ is not an adequate retort to ‘you’re nearly 70’. Louis says they’re great and everyone in the north of England will vote for them. They say something about the fact that Simon’s already eaten water once, or something? I missed it again. I don’t get this show. [He's "used that one before", apparently - I don't remember it, but whatever, that's the sort of backchat that makes you look like douches, so badly played, Bad Lashes. - Steve]

Eoghan COMES FROM A SMALL TOWN IN IRELAND. In case you’d forgotten. Eoghan says he’s singing great big well-known song. Cheryl says he has such a little voice and it’s such a big song. Simon says if he goes, it’s Simon’s fault for song choice. I predict unchained melody. When the voiceover man introduces them, he’s giving them their full names, which is weird. And serves to remind why you shouldn’t – Eoghan Quigg! Austin Drage! These are not popstar names.

Oh god, it’s Imagine! [Fuck's sake. I hate this song - Rad] He’s got a little waistcoat on. This isn’t a big song though – I don’t know what they were talking about. It’s big, in that it’s famous and well-loved (not by me), but they were talking as if it needed some powerhouse vocals, which, no. This is dreadful. His voice is so soft. He sings every damn thing the same way, like it’s a ballad in a Disney movie. Louis says ‘I loved you and it’s not just cos you’re from Ireland’ and he has a great recording voice. Dannii says it’s official, she hates Simon. It was a great, really mature performance, and ‘do you have a girlfriend?’ See, Dannii is weird tonight. Cheryl says awesome. Simon said it was great, it ‘just worked’ and he’s very proud of Eoghan. I fucking hate this little munchkin but he’s not going anywhere until the top three.

Dermot says Simon has been humble this evening. Simon says when you get it wrong, you get it wrong, and when you get it right, ‘like I just did’, you get it right. Dermot and Simon waffle on about some shit.

Ruth is next. We hear about her being Spanish. Again. Some more. She sells holiday homes. ‘My job is all right, but it’s not what I want’. That’s no good sweetie. Sob story! Improve it! Your job must make you hate yourself! She’s singing Take My Breath Away. In Spanish. Really Dannii? Bringing that trick out so soon? She looks great. White dress, big curly hair, enormous tits. One of the most vocally solid performances of the night, I think – nothing stunning, but very consistent. She trails off on a couple of notes, but it sounds more like a stylistic thing than a running out of breath thing. Louis says it was romantic, over the top, diva, great, but he doesn’t know if English people will like it. They’ll like it in Benidorm. Shut up, Louis. Cheryl says ‘sexy senorita!’ and says it was great. Simon says ‘you’ve certainly made an impression on me Rachel’ and everyone says ‘Ruth!’ and Simon says ‘I can’t even speak!’ He says she has charisma. By which he means breasts. And she’s a real woman, (by which he means, ‘has breasts’) which Louis wouldn’t understand. Louis goes ‘oh, I get it! You fancy her!’ Late to the party as ever, Walsh. Simon’s like obviously, you twunt. He wants to see more Spanishness. Dannii says she wants to see more of her rock chickness. Simon’s like ‘no!’ Dannii says you can’t have sexy senorita every week and Simon, genuinely confused, says ‘why not?’

Laura is last. She’s a full time student. Her dad runs a nut and bolt business and her mum runs a beauty salon. Wanted to sing since she was a girl. Simon says she’s great but can she cope? Laura says she hopes her confidence doesn’t go. She’s singing Alicia Keys’s Fallin’ [aka the song everyone did in auditions the other year - Rad]. She squeals for the first note. She’s showing off her range, by which I mean going all over the shop, even more than the song demands. She’s pulling it off, for the most part. She sounds like a dude on her high notes. That’s what’s been bothering me – her top notes sound like male falsetto. Not necessarily a bad thing, but odd. This was actually pretty good. [She is also wearing the worst dress ever, which is too tight and makes her bulge in all the wrong places - Rad]

Louis says there are three or four girls in your category, but you’re up there. Which, what? [There are three, Louis. Same as the number of acts in your category. Same as the number of acts in everyone's category right now. This is really not complicated. - Steve] He loved it. Dannii says it’s the bomb, ‘or tha baaaaaamb’, rather. Simon wasn’t sure if she’d cope, but taking everything into account it was ‘outstanding’. Simon says she’s why he still likes doing the show in this country so you can discover people like her; she’s got a potentially amazing future. Cheryl says she can’t believe someone so amazing is so insecure, and it was briiilllyunt. Dermot’s like, you happy? Laura’s like ‘I get so nervous and I want to thank my daddy.’ Wuh? Dermot says ‘isn’t this show great?!!!!!!!’ some more. Gives all the numbers.

Recaps of performances: Girlband being…fine and a lot of fun. Austin being a wimpy streak of piss and missing the point entirely. Dead Wife Daniel being a sucking gaping void of personality filled only by a smile. Alexandra owning and looking stunning. JML Direct being perfectly serviceable. Scott being sweet and completely doomed, the poor wee thing. Rachel being great but weird. Diana being better than I expected. Bad Lashes being kinda weird in mismatched dresses. Eoghan being a rancid little runt but a lock for the final. Ruth having breasts and being vocally very solid. Laura taking on something too big and pretty much managing it.

Tomorrow we get an exclusive performance of Leon’s new single. Hold me the fuck down. Oh, god, not tomorrow! Tonight! Mother fucker. I thought I was finished.

Results show

EARLIER TONIGHT!! All the stuff you saw! As you know, the bottom two will sing off. But there’s a twist! That we will reveal later! ‘Oh, come on!’ says Dermot. ‘It’ll be good!’ Oh, Dermot. Recaps of all the performances. Again. Some more.

Dermot says ‘a young shy little creature’ from Scotland auditioned blah blah blah. The nation fell in love with him. Speak for yourself O’Leary. Big big recap of Leon’s Journey through the show. Also shows Dermot saying ‘the winner is … Leon’ and not ‘the winner is … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … Leon’ like actually happened.

Simon says he thinks Leon’s got a fantastic future, but doesn’t mention making sure it will happen like he did for Leona. Leon’s new song is shit and boring. He still has absolutely no charisma or stage presence at all. His voice still strains when it’s pushed remotely. This song has no melody. He’s twitching all over the place. The song rhymes ‘only’ with ‘honey’. No. He jerks and bops and twitches like he’s trying to shake off a bit of shit from his arse without touching it.
Dermot says Leon’s been eating his vegetables and is looking buff. Still confused as to why people think you’re gay, Dermie-kins?. Dannii says she’s proud. Leon plugs the song and the forthcoming album. Or something. You know how much the boy mumbles.

Lines are closed! Don’t vote! Adverts!

For the first and last time, all the judges and all the contestants come on stage to hear the results. Carmina Burana plays. I really really wish they wouldn’t do that. It doesn’t fit. Just compose some bombastic music if you want. Rah.

No particular order…First safe…. Is……. JML Direct. Second…. Diana. Cheryl goes mental. Rachel. Everyone seems very pleased. Austin. Ruth! Goes a bit mental. Laura. Daniel. All Dannii’s are through. Dermot reminds us it’s no particular order. Eoghan is safe. Alexandra is safe. Of course. And thank fuck. All Cheryl’s are through. Final act safe is Scott! Christ, I did not see that coming. I guess Simon copping to the rancid song did the trick. So it’s a battle of the girlbands. Louis totally did split his own vote by putting them both through. I almost feel sorry for him. They were the best acts, so should have gone through, but this was inevitable. One of the members of one of the bands says it’s a shame.

Dermot’s Shock! Twist! is that all the acts get to choose a song for their final song, not the one they did before. Girlband are doing That’s What Friends Are For. Cos they’re friends and stuff…. Dermot totally cuts her off while she’s explaining. Ryan Seacrest would have managed that far more professionally. Bat For Lashes are doing Wonderwall, cos that got them through.

More adverts!

Dermot asks Louis how he feels. He’s upset, cos they’re both great and that’s why he put them through. Simon gets in a bit of snark about why they should both resign from Louis as mentor and he snarks about Simon choosing the awful yeah yeah song.

Girlband are first. Their solo bits aren’t particularly grand but they do harmonise very well. But this really isn’t a ‘my last chance!’ song. It doesn’t show what they can do enough, I think. I don’t know what to say – it’s fine.

Bad Lashes sang Wonderwall at Louis’s home. Louis doesn’t know what to say. This is a lot better than Girlband. It’s very interesting, and it honestly has been made their own. It’s kind of a vaguely creepy ballad. Haunting, is perhaps the word I’d used. They’ve done a lot of work with the vocal arrangements. Two part harmonies, and ‘ooohs’ and stuff. They build to a really big ending and pull it off with aplomb. I really liked Girlband, but on the strength of this, Bad Lashes have to go through.

Simon says they were both ‘shocking’. No they weren’t Simon, shush. Louis says ‘you’ve never had a successful girlband’. Dermot says ‘now is not the time for petty squabbling.’ YES! Well done Dermot, you’ve just clawed back a tiny shred of your dignity. Simon sends home Bad Lashes. Cheryl says she respects them both. Sends home Girlband. Dannii is in tears almost. ‘Do I have to?’ she asks. Dermot’s like yuh-huh, course you do. She saves Bad Lashes. Louis saves Girlband to make it go to public vote. He says he’s loyal to them both and doesn’t want to choose. On the public vote….. Bad Lashes go home. What? The? Fuck? Oh, Louis. You messed up bad. They kind of wail and go crazy. Girlband hug them and stuff, ignoring Dermot’s instructions to get the fuck off the stage. He really is appalling at stage managing this show. Seriously dude, watch some tapes of Ryan Seacrest.

We see Bad Lashes best of. Which isn’t really anything, given the length of time. How sad. They were genuinely getting better and better as time went by.

Next week Cheryl performs with Girls Aloud and the contestants sing Michael Jackson songs. That should be…interesting.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Do you know the way to St Tropez?

Judges' houses, part deux
Tx Sunday 5th October

Last night! People sang! For a place in the FINAL 12! Tonight! It's decision time, as the finalists are revealed! Expect bitching and weeping!


Dermot welcomes us to The X-Factor - "People of Britain, get ready to find out who's in the final 12." He reminds us what happened last night. The girls went to Cannes with Cheryl, the boys to Barbados with Simon, the old people to St Tropez with Dannii, and the groups to Ireland with Louis, much to their disgust. Lots of people cried, then the judges and their lovely assistants had to do deliberating.

The next morning, people wander round looking nervous. In Barbados, it is the Moment Of Truth for the boys. They are all being self-deprecating. Simon says it was harder than he thought (snigger) but he made the right decisions for the right reasons. Scott is first in. He took "a massive gamble", remember, by leaving his job. He sobs like a toddler at the thought of having his Dream taken away from him. Simon smiles at him. "It's not nice, is it?" he asks. "I was as disappointed as you were yesterday," he continues, and is generally scathing before telling him that he has made the final three. Scott throws himself at Simon, and then bounds around like Tigger before hugging Dermot.

The three children in the boys' category are waiting for their news now. Eoghan says the experience has been amazing, and if he got a yes today, he would put his town on the map. HAHAHA. He would be devastated if it was a no, because fame is all that matters. Mali doesn't want to go back to being an ordinary schoolboy, because fame is all that matters. Liam really wants to go through, because fame is all that matters. Shallow little bastards.

Simon says that when Mali sings well, he is brilliant; other times he is so off-key it's like a different song. Liam doesn't have enough light and shade, but he looks like the perfect pop star. Eoghan was so good in boot camp but blew it in Barbados. Simon's decision - it's a no for Liam, a no for Mali and a yes for Eoghan, who rings his mum, and she squeals. [And really, you put through the weakest of the children, simply because he looks four years younger than his actual age, and grandmas and eleven year old girls will coo at him - Rad]

So it's down to Austin and Alan. Filler of clips from auditions. Austin speaks of his journey. Everyone cries. Fuck's sake. Alan cries in front of Simon, who tells him he's a decent guy, but yesterday's singing was simply OK. However, nobody would try harder, which is true; if you're going to whore out your childhood traumas for a place on TXF live shows, you'd probably do anything to stay there. Anyway, it's a no for him. Therefore, it's a yes for Austin, who Simon thinks can be "desperate", but is still "fantastic". He cries. Dermot hugs him. Austin witters on about working so hard and not being able to believe it, then rings his mum and whimpers at her. Ugh. [On the one hand, it's good that they didn't do the contestants arriving home thing this year, because seeing them come home and say they failed is just evil. BUT on the Xtra Factor, they showed the winning people doing that bit anyway, with the family all pretending not to know, despite the fact we saw the contestants phone home, so the show just revealed how much of a tapestry of fakery it is. Not sure showing that was wise - Rad]

Dermot talks to Dannii, who is wearing a lovely blue dress. First to get the big news are Louise, Ruth and James. Ruth talks about her Dream, and cries. Oh, Ruth, I so want to like you, but you should put a cork in the weeping. James says it's the biggest day of his life. Louise talks about her journey and cries. Sigh. Dannii admires Ruth's passion and emotion, but is concerned about her capacity to cope with the live shows; she likes James's performance and looks; she thinks Louise represents the whole competition, but she sucked yesterday. James isn't going through. He hugs Dermot. Louise isn't going through. She hugs Dermot. Ruth is going through, and then she cries even more. Ruth, I would seriously recommend trying to get a grip on yourself, seeing as you've just been told off about it. Dermot picks her up and swings her round.

Rachel has been a loathsome unprofessional cow, and now her future is apparently riding on what Dannii Minogue and Emma Bunton think of her. (What do Social Services think of Rachel fucking off to do this show, do you think? Maybe she's written a letter to them saying "ZOMG I am DOING THIS FOR MY KIDS".) Dannii smacks her down about her attitude, but decides that she will go through anyway.

Suzie doesn't want Dannii to say no. Well, duh. Daniel talks about his journey, and yet again we see the clip of his audition and Cheryl's little face. Dannii tells Suzie she is beautiful and sings beautifully but her lack of dead relatives mean that she cannot progress, and tells Daniel that he will move people because his wife is DEAD, and thus he is going to go through.

In Ireland, which is where Irish people like Louis are from, the groups are awaiting the decision. Louis is certain he has picked "the right three people", apparently forgetting which category he has this time round and he needs to pick three GROUPS. JLS and Priority have to stand in front of Louis and hear him talk about journeys and potential and general inanities. He isn't putting Priority through, and does a stupid fake-out with JLS, who are going through. Girl Band are next in, and they are through too. The room becomes a mass of hair extensions and runny mascara as they run round screaming. 4Instinct think this is the most important day of their lives. When Louis first saw them, he thought they were fantastic, but since then they've been rubbish, so they're not going through. One of them cries, because she is sad that they wanted it so much and they didn't get it. I wish people would realise that wanting something isn't enough; they have to be GOOD. So we have a contrived battle of the north-east girlbands for the final spot, between Desire and Bad Lashes. Louis justifies himself by saying that he did what he thought was right, and he puts Bad Lashes through. [Because Desire are shit. Also: whilst I question the wisdom of two girl groups going through, Louis was the only judge who put the best three acts from their category through. I can't believe I am agreeing with him - Rad]

In Cannes, Dermot and Cheryl are dangling their legs in the swimming pool. Heh. Annastasia is first to hear the verdict of the Girls Aloud jury. Cheryl tells her that she has an infectious personality, but yesterday was a disaster, and that worries her, so she can't take her any further. She apologises a lot and holds her hand and gives her hugs, then Dermot takes over. Hannah's eyelashes continue to be weird, as is Diana's hair. Hannah isn't through, but Diana is. Hannah doesn't even want a hug from Dermot, and Diana appears to have an embolism as Cheryl breaks the good news; "I really believe in you, Diana, let's have some fun!" she beams, and then claps at her. Bless! Cheryl tells Laura that she's loved her from day one, but has a problem with how specific an artist she is. Que? Laura looks gobsmacked. But hey, she's through anyway, so it's OK.

It's between Amy and Alexandra for the last place. Amy never expected to get this far. Perhaps she's not watched this show before and doesn't realise the way these things work, but I doubt that, seeing as she's talking about her journey like a pro. Alexandra does not want to fail again, and wants someone to get where she's coming from and to understand how much she wants this. Amy hiccups her way through her little pep talk, and Cheryl strokes Alexandra's arm, telling her, "I didn't want to be the person to do this to you again." But of course she's NOT going to, it is an ace-as fake-out, and it's little Amy who's going out. She rings her dad and apologises, and he rightly tells her off for saying sorry. Alexandra wails like a banshee and throws her head onto Cheryl's bosom, and proceeds to hyperventilate at Dermot.

So next week it's the first live show. Oh, yes, bitches. Laura, Diana, Alexandra; JLS, Girl Band, Bad Lashes; Ruth, Daniel, Rachel; Eoghan, Scott and Austin. Join us then!

Those who Cannes, do. Those who can't, go to Ireland.

Judges' Houses: Part One
4th October 2008

Last week, there was bootcamp. The judges found out who they were mentoring, and reacted in a suitably OTT fashion for the cameras whilst on the phone to the speaking clock, or something. This week, the remaining contestants travel the globe for one final challenge, and one final decision. Except for the ten challenges and the eleven decisions which will be made in the live shows, of course. Guess what? It's time to face the bastardised music! Oh, and FosterBoy's going to cry. Credits!

It's already been an incredible ride, lies Dermot. Only 24 acts remain, and by tomorrow night, they shall be 12. There are six acts in each category, all departing on The Most Important Journey Of Their Lives, but they haven't been told where they're going, or who their judge will be. Allegedly. Susie says it's a weird feeling. Alexandra is nervous and wants to know where she's going. FosterBoy is nervous and scared, and that's just at the thought of reading the tabloids. Zing! Rachel says the journey will be life-changing, and Austin drones that it won't be a holiday for him. His voice is really kind of annoying.

The categories all gather with their envelopes. The over-25s are going to St Tropez, the girls are going to Cannes, the boys are going to Barbados, and the groups are going to...Ireland (sound of record scratching). HA! I love that the show has finally embraced what we've been saying for years about the finalists who get lumbered with Louis getting swizzed out of a sunshine holiday. Nothing against Ireland, obviously, but it does look a bit of a rum do compared to Cannes, St Tropez and Barbados. [I thought it might also be something to do with the fact that from that, it's obvious who their mentor is going to be. - Carrie] Anyway, some tumbleweeds appear in the room where the groups are, which is so blatantly not anything like an airport. Stock footage of aeroplanes.

First to arrive are the girls, apparently. Frankly I'm not keen to take Dermot's word for anything any more. Their arrival is soundtracked by that cynical lazy piece of shit the Sugababes phoned in for their latest single, presumably for the sole purpose of it being used on any show that ever needs some music to accompany some girls arriving in some place. Annastasia has never been anywhere like it, and says it's like a postcard. Laura thinks their judge might be Dannii. Diana loves their surroundings. Cheryl appears on a balcony, though any likeness to Eva Peron is lost by the fact that she's wearing a cowboy hat and squealing with her arms in the air. The girls are elated. Cheryl believes she has the winner downstairs, but enough about her vagina. Only three can stay, and she wants them all to do their best. She will be assisted by her bandmate Kimberley Walsh in her decision-making, and somewhere in Ireland, Louis grumps about being demoted to the second-best Walsh on the show. Kimberley is very excited to be here, etc etc.

Next we see the boys, who are all wandering out of the sea and looking askance at the camera like they're in a Blue video. FosterBoy thinks they've got Cheryl, while Austin thinks "this has gotta be a Simon Cowell job", looking at the luxury villa. The other three judges instantly strike him from their Christmas card lists. Austin continues, "it's huge, it's beautiful, it's got to be Simon Cowell." But enough about his penis. Sorry, I can't seem to get my mind out of the gutter today. Eoghan (whose name will be getting a few new letters every time I write it from now on, I think) says it's "something else". Simon arrives, and says "well, it wasn't going to be Louis's, was it?" Heh. The boys are thrilled. Simon is joined, of course, by Sinitta, who is wearing a shiny gold leotard and experiencing some serious cameltoe. [I thought it was the opposite - she'd taken precautions to avoid that particular situation! I'm not going to re-watch and examine it, though. Also, Simon looks her up and down and demands, "What ARE you wearing?" Ha! - Carrie] Simon says that if they want to win, they can't just be good, they have to be incredible. Leon was indeed incredible, but possibly not in the way Simon means. Anyway, he warns them that if they fuck up, they're fucked. Except using more watershed-friendly language.

Over in St Tropez, the over-25s are arriving and making "wow-wow-wow-wow" faces. Rachel is hoping for Simon. Pool Man Dan thinks it's one of the girls, because "I can't see it being Louis". Hee! Dannii makes her entrance, dressed like an extra from a regional production of Gypsy, and welcomes her contestants to St Tropez. She tells them they can only be themselves. Her special guest judge is Emma Bunton, meaning Dannii has broken the first role of The X Factor: Thou shalt not entreat the services of a guest judge more famous than thyself. Emma's face looks kind of bloaty, and she tells the contestants how she was just like them once, because she had to audition to join the Spice Girls. She is looking for energy and sparkle. Maybe she should read Twilight?

Lovely Ireland, Cheaper Than St Tropez, Also Greener And Sunnier. The groups arrive, and they all blatantly know Louis is their mentor. Hee. Louis waddles out and they do their best to act surprised. Louis says he's happy with his category this year. Maybe this will make him behave like a professional, then? It'd be nice, wouldn't it? He thinks the winner is here, and his guest judge is - shock horror - Shane from Westlife. Snore. [Well, it's usually Kian, so that's some change - Rad] Louis asks them if they thought he was going to be their mentor, and all the contestants are like "yes, ffs, we're in fucking Ireland", and Louis is all "oh".

Reflections: Rachel wanted Simon, not Dannii, but it's okay, she's adaptable. Spanish Ruth is happy. Alexandra had a dream where Cheryl was her mentor. Bad Lashes are worried because Louis said no to them before. Yes, because consistency is his watchword. JLB8 are pleased because Louis is "Mr Boyband". Austin is "over the moon". FosterBoy is also pleased, but nothing can replace the joy of growing up in the bosom of a loving biological family, obviously. Austin thinks Simon is ZOMG BEST EVARZ, but we mustn't tell the other judges that. He doesn't realise that I'd need to give a shit about him in order to even consider that.

Adverts! Daniel Radcliffe with his stupid emo hair in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Ugh. [Srsly. He was so gross in that, but worryingly rather fit in the next film. He's legal now, right? I'm not going to get sued or arrested? - Rad]

Dermot is "in Barbados" (it still looks like a green screen to me, but whatever - I'm seeing them everywhere since the auditions). Gratuitous shots of the boys frolicking in the sea with their shirts off. At least half of them look like children, so DO NOT WANT. [I thought exactly the same. Inappropriateness, ITV. I ended up quite fancying FosterBoy simply because he looked like a proper epitome of manhood in comparison. Sort it out. - Carrie] Simon thinks it will be tough for them, because they've flown to Barbados. Fair enough. He's handpicked songs for each of them, and first up is 16-year-old Eorghaine, who offers the profound observation that Barbados is not like Ireland. He tells us how where he comes from, they don't have popstars or music or electricity or television or entertainment. He's probably been rejected from drama school twice, too. He wants to put his town on the map. So be a cartographer, then. Dermot tells Eeeeorghaaaiiinnnnnn that he's a sweaty bitch and should wear a t-shirt next time instead of a jumper.

EIEIOghan sings 'Father And Son', and his voice is so lightweight that a coastal breeze could carry it away to Trinidad. He also has a bit of a rash on his chest. Whatever, he's a lock for the top 12, and I'm bored of him already. Simon loves him, but thinks he's a bit robotic. Sinitta thinks he isn't ready yet. Outside with Dermot, Eeeeoooogggghhhaaaannnn is devastated that he didn't do as well as he should.

15-year-old Liam from Wolverhampton is a real life Troy Bolton, because he's a basketball whizz who just wants to be allowed to sing! If only those bullies on his team and those pesky Mathletes hadn't tricked him into saying mean things about Gabriella, he could totally be the lead in Twinkle Towne! Liam got a no at boot camp initially, which led to Rikki being given the boot where he'd initially got through, but the show glosses over that bit. Liam sings 'A Million Love Songs', and his voice is pretty weak-sounding. He has an interesting birthmark under his Adam's apple, though. He finishes, and Miss Darbus appears backstage as if from nowhere to applaud and tell him he's got a callback. Also, Sinitta likes him, while Simon thinks it was good, but maybe not good enough. Liam is feeling confident.

Next is Mali, who shone at auditions, even though I barely remember seeing him before. His dad left school at 15 and has been singing ever since, and boy is his throat sore! Har har. He sings 'All Is Fair In Love' with his non-microphone hand in the air like he's debating whether to ask a question or not, and the song's clearly too low for him. Simon thinks he was off-key a lot, but there were times when he showed what he was made of. So much for "one screw-up and you're out", then.

Oh God, it's Austin next. His whole life revolves around singing, he got kicked out of school for being whiny and nasal because he just wasn't interested, and music is the only thing that makes him happy. He sings 'She's Out Of My Life', and sounds a little bit too happy about it for my personal preference. He looks kind of smug when he sings. Simon thinks that performance is going to change Austin's life forever. Sinitta and her fan are all "eh". [I hate Austin and his desperation. You've failed already at pop. Lots of times. Fuck off now, ta. - Rad]

Bluecoat Scott is next, and his makeover still looks shitty. He quit his job to be here, and Dermot reminds us that Paul now CANNOT GO BACK TO HIS JOB. Yeah, whatever. He sings 'I Can't Make You Love Me', and it's all right, I suppose. I dunno, I'm just finding it hard to muster much interest in any of this conveyor belt of mediocrity. Closing your eyes does not automatically make your performance "heartfelt", y'know. Simon says it's one of the hardest songs to sing (they say that about EVERYTHING) and that Scott went for it, but that there are bits of Scott that worry him. Scott thinks he's going home.

Finally, professional woobie call centre worker Alan, who looks utterly ridiculous in an oversized tee/wifebeater combo. It looks like he's wearing women's clothing. Dermot recaps FosterBoy's sob story, and then we're told how FOSTERBOY'S EVIL DAD accused him of lying in the press. FosterBoy says that was the hardest week of his life. What, even more upsetting than those endless horrible weeks of growing up in the care of your foster family? He doesn't understand why Evil Dad has done this, because he thought Evil Dad was going to ring up and say he was proud of him. Tears. FosterBoy sings 'All Or Nothing' by O-Town and bleats like a goat and is kind of off-key. He looks on the verge of tears the whole way through, but makes it to the end without bawling.

Insert here: contrived moment of Simon being all "those rumours in the paper! I just don't know what to believe!", [and Sinitta going, "What the fuck are you talking about?" - Carrie] so he chases after FosterBoy in a moment of UNSCRIPTED EPIC REALNESS and says "Are you lying, FosterBoy?" "No," says FosterBoy. "Oh, all right then," says Simon, and goes back to Sinitta going "Yeah, he's telling the truth." Well, with a sophisticated screening process like that, I just can't see how there could ever have been any doubt about his parentage in the first place. [I wanted to punch Simon right there and then. Also, it made me think Lying Alan who Lies was thena shoo-in for the final 12 - Rad]

Driver's in the club, and it's all over - for the boys, anyway. Then there is convenient telegenic rain, while Simon and Sinitta look over pictures of the boys in the dark while surrounded by candles, and it looks like they're casting a spell of some kind. Outside, it's like thunder! Lightning! The way you love me is frightening! Think I'd better knock, knock, knock on wood. Sinitta picks up the photos saying "this one will give you personality and voice", like she's reading Simon's tarot or something. Stock footage of lightning continues, accompanied by vague comments about people whose names are not given. Snore.

Still to come: Rachel fluffs her words while Dannii looks angst-ridden!

In St Tropez, 'Some Kinda Rush' is playing, and the contestants are fretting prettily. Dannii is going to look at everyone with a clean slate, Emma is looking for someone world-class. Presumably she's still looking as I write this. Pool Man Dan is the first to perform. We are reminded of his wife, WHO IS DEAD, and his baby, WHO IS ALIVE. He looks a bit like Ricky Gervais. [He SO does! This struck me earlier, and now I will never be able to look at him any other way. - Carrie] He sings 'Against All Odds', and his rendition is strainy and sweaty. Emma is swaying gently and looks appropriately moved, though. Emma doesn't think he's a popstar. Mystic Dannii is unsure. Pool Man Dan thinks he's capable of better.

Spanish Ruth is next. Singing has always been her dream. We flash back to when she sang in Spanish at bootcamp. She tries to turn her Spanishness into a sob story, but let's face it, it's not going to work. She sings 'True Colours' in Spanish, just so we're in no doubt that she's a gimmick contestant, though she sings the chorus in English. And she cries in the middle, just for dramatic effect. Emma says she got goosebumps, but Mystic Dannii is not sure Ruth can cope with the pressure of the live shows.

Next up is Louise from Preston, who looks like Viv from Emmerdale. She looked after her family rather than pursuing her dream, and is now 48, and wants A BETTER LIFE for her family. She sings a rather feeble version of 'I Say A Little Prayer For You', which leads me to suspect that abandoning her singing dream to bring up her family was probably a good idea. She fucks up the words of the chorus, and I know, pressure and everything, but I refuse to believe there's an English-speaking person in the world who doesn't know this song backwards. Dannii makes the same point as me. Emma thinks Louise is BRAVE to do this because she is old, and might break a hip or something climbing onto the stage, I don't know.

James was a pro-golfer, but couldn't afford to keep it up, so he's going into the always financially viable career of X Factor also-ran. He sings 'Mr Bojangles', which never really does anyone any favours, and his version isn't all that special. Emma thinks he lacks technique.

Susie is next. She's an admin worker, but has also had experience performing as a backup singer. The programme neglects to mention that Susie's work singing backup for Lemar led to her being in The 411 and having two Top 10 hits, but this is the year of non-disclosure, apparently. [Totally. Were I in charge of this show, a clip of Austin in Boys Will Be Girls would be shown every frickin' time he was onscreen - Rad] Susie was on the live shows as part of Shayne Ward's choir, which is another strike against her, and says she can't ever really be happy as a background singer. She sings 'One Day I'll Fly Away'. She sounds good, but not especially distinctive. Dannii thinks Susie lacks self-belief. Susie hopes she's done enough.

Last is Rachel, of course. Rachel's always wanted to be a singer, even when she was on drugs and having her children taken away. Good to know she always had her priorities in order! Rachel says this will change her life, because she doesn't want her children to make the same mistakes as she did. Yes, because showbusiness is an excellent place to go to avoid people trying to give you drugs. Rachel sings Xtina's 'Beautiful', and fluffs her words. Dannii is disappointed, because she was relying on Rachel to get that right.

Dannii and Emma do more voodoo with the Polaroids while the contestants say "I really want this". Susie cries. Spanish Ruth needs someone to believe or her little dream which is so big will be further away. No, seriously, that's what she said.

Moar adverts. Britannia High is coming soon, by the way.

Sunny Ireland, Where There Is No Crime And Enough Food For Everyone. 4Instinct are in first - they've impressed the judges from day one, despite being quite ropey throughout, and openly dropping the ball at boot camp. They're singing 'Rockin' Robin', which is a very current song, don't you know. [Because they are A BLACK FAMILY. Like the JACKSONS. Fucking hell, Louis. - Carrie] It's not especially effective as a vocal showcase, and some of the harmonies are a little painful, but at least they complete it. Louis thinks people will like them.

Girlband are next, and we're reminded of their lovely chemistry. Ringlets Girlband says she loves being in the band, and they're so excited. They sing 'Valerie', and they each take a turn at lead vocals, which is refreshing after H0re last year. Some of the harmonies are off-pitch, though. But by and large, I liked them. Shane thinks they looked good, and he liked their version of his song. Ringlets says she couldn't look at Shane because she had him on her pencil case when she was at school. Heh.

JLB8 are next, and they're worried that the expectations will nobble them, because they've done well so far. They sing 'No Air', and one of them does full-on squeaky Jordin Sparks vocals which reduce me to uncontrollable mirth. The end of the song is nicely done, though, and they're very impressed with how they did. Louis loves their "natural vibe"; Shane worries there is no standout singer. [Insert obvious Westlife joke here. - Carrie]

Priority have not done any practising since leaving boot camp, because they're from Ireland, Blackpool, Liverpool and Nottingham, variously, and they all have work commitments. Oh, they are so boned. Louis asks them if they've rehearsed, and they explain that work commitments made it difficult for them to rehearse until they got there. They sing 'Umbrella', and it sounds okay, but I'm so over laid-back versions of this song by now. Shane looks like he's about to fall asleep. Priority think they did poorly. After they leave, Louis and Shane are horrified that the boys DARED to have jobs and shit and other commitments in their life besides The X Factor. Louis claims to like them for some strange reason.

We're now told that the competition between Bat For Bad Lashes and Desire is intense, because they're both from the North East, and apparently there's only room for one Geordie girl group. Desire want to be the best, and are going to up their performance. Bad Lashes think they're two entirely different groups.

Bad Lashes are up first, and we hear their various struggles and need to please their parents, but this is unimportant. They're singing "'Wonderwall' by Ryan Adams" (HA!) and seriously, their performance is awesome, so we all know Desire are screwed. Outside, they're quietly confident, and inside Shane is impressed, while Louis reminds him that they need something special.

Desire are WORKING CLASS and want a better life, and they sing Take That's 'Shine', which is fine in and of itself, but Bad Lashes were in an entirely different league. Also, the one in the middle has a skirt so short I can see her cooter. Her face reeks of desperation, and so does her clitoris - I know, I saw it. Louis wants to win with a group this year. 4Instinct have come too far to go home, they reckon.


In Cannes (where Girls Aloud's 'Can't Speak French' is playing, hee), Cheryl is nervous because she can't think of anyone she wants to send home. [To be fair - best category by a country mile. I don't like Laura and Diana's personalities, but all six of them are better on vocals than any of the boys and many of the groups. And Dead Wife Daniel - Rad] First up is Diana, who is very excited that everyone speaks French in France. And they say children are being let down by our education system! Diana sings 'Nothing Compares 2U' in her throaty, 20 Benson and Hedges voice, and sounds good if you like that sort of thing. It sounds a bit contrived to me, personally. Cheryl finds her captivating, but worries that Diana's lack of self-belief could be her downfall.

Amy, whose MOTHER IS DEAD, is next, and she says it's make-or-break time. She sings Gabriella Cilmi's 'Sweet About Me', and fluffs her words. Not that it matters, because she's far too apple-pie to pull this song off [Totally. She is the sweetest person on the show, so it's so inconguous. On the Xtra Factor she sang From This Moment On, which was much more suitable. Except we're supposed to pretend that they didn't all do two songs - Rad]. Amy cries. Cheryl hugs her. Amy has another go, and apparently pulls it off this time. Cheryl likes her, and so does Kimberley. Amy hugs Dermot.

Next up is Hannah And Her Giant Forehead. She sings 'Take Another Piece Of My Heart' and is gritty in the same vein as Diana. She's okay, I guess [Again, her second song was much better - Rad]. Kimberley finds the disconnect between Hannah's appearance and her voice interesting. Cheryl thinks Hannah put a spanner in the works.

Laura's next, and she was ill in her first audition, good in stage one of bootcamp, and then sucked royal ass in the second. Laura needs Cheryl to believe in her. She sings Justin Timberlake's 'Cry Me A River' and earns bonus points from me for not switching the gendered pronouns in the song, but also sings "member you call me when you call me on the phone", which are not the lyrics. I quite liked her performance, though. Cheryl thinks she's unbelievable. Kimberley says she likes it, but maybe not everyone will feel the same.

Annastasia is next, and she wants to live the lifestyle of the celebrities she serves in the restaurant where she works. She will be thinking about the life she wants to be living while she sings Eternal's 'Oh Baby I...', and it all goes rather unfortunately wrong - she goes for the big key change and biffs it, so she drops down an octave, but is then entirely out of synch with the piano, and then she and the pianist keep trying to second guess each other and it all falls apart. She finishes singing acapella, and then sobs by the poolside. Like, literally, splayed out on the floor. Dermot tells us that the nerves have got the better of the girls.

The last to perform is Alexandra, who got booted out by Louis and his NO GIRLS ALLOWED club in 2005. She discusses with Dermot how she's in a much harder group than last time [And yet crap like Philip and Nicholas still made the live shows. Thanks, Louis - Rad]. Alexandra lives in a council house sharing a single bed with her sister. That does sound like it sucks, in fairness. She sings 'Listen' from Dreamgirls, otherwise known as "that song they wrote to try to get Beyoncé an Oscar". Alexandra oversings it a little bit towards the end, but she is pretty good. Cheryl says that Alexandra killed it (in a good way), and is distraught at the prospect of having to choose who goes home.

Cheryl and Kimberley sit at the voodoo table and deliberate, but who will be getting through? This bit kind of goes on forever, and I have been recapping for the past four hours, so forgive me for not really going into it in too much detail. Cheryl is having to pick between two people that she doesn't want to lose. Kimberley would not want to be in Cheryl's shoes. Cheryl's made her decision. She has a lovely hug with Kimba.

Tomorrow night! 12 dreams will be shattered! Awesome. And 12 dreams will come true! As the finalists are revealed! Assuming we didn't all read the leaks on the internet! Carrie will have the good work on that, so join her later.