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.
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!