Saturday, November 29, 2008

Y viva Espana

Britney/American pop week
Tx Saturday 29th November

Last week! People shouted! Louis made Dannii cry! Everyone told him he was a tosspot, including our very own Steve! Rachel went home!

Tonight! BRITNEY, bitches! This is going to be terrific. Alternatively, shit.

Cheryl says Alexandra and Diana are outstandingly talented. Dannii says Ruth will rock it. Louis says that JLS will blow us. Away. Simon says everyone fears Eoghan. True fact. But not in the way he means.

It’s time. To face. THE MUSIC!


Live from London, it’s The X Factor, and here is Dermot, to the strains of …Baby One More Time. He tells us it’s a guest fest with the hottest new American act (?) Miley Cyrus performing, as well as BRITNEY. He seems quite excited. He makes a weak pun about the judges being “Toxic”. Pyrotechnics. Dermot dances. Louis sings along. Dannii is wearing an odd strapless maroon thing that makes her look pregnant. Cheryl is wearing a toga.

No judges’ votes tonight, it is all up to YOU the viewer. Bloody hell, Dermot’s suit really doesn’t fit. Dannii says that last week is OVAH and it is all about the contestants, and Britney is here! Louis echoes her like the pathetic little leprechaun he is.

Dannii introduces “our Spanish rockarita”, Ruth, who VTs about how great last week was in the grand scheme of her Journey. She talks about being FROM SPAIN. NotLouis urges her to own the song. Cheryl wonders if “Brian and Dannii have gone mad”. With you on one of those, Mrs Cole.

Holy fuck. She’s singing I Love Rock And Roll, and she looks terrific amidst the dry ice. However, I am confused by people riding rodeo bulls and headbanging and crawling through each other’s legs. She is just as good as you would imagine, although she shifts up an octave and it is not good. Key change! NotLouis has clearly lost all inspiration by this point and gets his dancers to bounce around a bit.

Louis calls it a great start to the show and says he loved it. Cheryl says it is the best Britney song for her and that it was lovely to see the big production. Simon hates to say it but he thought it was brilliant. He questions the use of the bull. NotLouis squeaks, “We’re in TEXAS.” Riiiiiiiiight. [Seriously, if anyone understood that, please feel free to enlighten me. - Steve] Ruth says, “I thought you liked bulls.” Simon says, “I could say the same about you.” There is much lolarity. Dermot gives out the numbers to vote but loses interest and says, “Blah blah blah blah.” Really. This show gets weirder by the week.


Dermot fucks up the welcome back, and then hands over to Louis, who introduces JLS. "I don't want them in the bottom two tonight, because there's no bottom two." What? Sad music. JLS and Louis VT about being DEVASTATED. They wail a lot about letting each other down and their families down. They cannot afford to mess this up, because otherwise they will be going home. O RLY? Simon says the song choice is insane, but then so is Louis. Louis himself says they are coming back strong, like the Mis-Teeq laydeez. He may not have said that last bit.

If they are doing ...Baby One More Time, why are they not wearing school uniforms? NotLouis would have had a field day with staging it in a classroom. As it is, they are scattered around the stage and singing nicely with their massed ranks of off-stage singers. Key change! They all crouch down and the tuning goes to shit. [Is this the only Britney song Louis knows? I remember when he foisted it on G4 and they looked ridiculously uncomfortable, as did JXL tonight - Rad]

Dannii says...words, but I can't hear them, and then she says they look fantastic, and then realises no bugger can hear her at all. Cheryl says it was a horrible song choice and gets booed; "I don't think guys should ever cover it." Someone applauds, and then stops. Simon says it was limp, and was "missing Ruth's bulls". The production and performance was lame and Louis is a mentalist. Louis whines about it being the best Britney song and them being the best group in the competition and Simon being cruel. Dermot asks Aston to reply to the judges' comments, and he cannot because he is crying. The others hug him. Cheryl tells him not to take the entire responsibility on himself because they ARE A BAND [subtext: 'and all of you blow' - Rad].

Dermot throws to "Miss Cheryl Cole". Mrs, surely? [Or Ms - I thought you were supposed to be a feminist! - Steve] [If you're going to change your name when you get married, you might as well call yourself Mrs... - Carrie] Anyway, Alexandra is next, and she wants to do singing for the REST OF HER LIFE. If she had a quarter of Leona's success, she would die a happy woman. She whoops about her song. NotLouis name-drops about choreographing Britney's dance for Toxic, and Alexandra is going to do that VERY SAME CHOREOGRAPHY with FOURTEEN DANCERS. She says if she left a week before the semi-finals, it would kill her. Tsk, these young people are so melodramatic.

She starts the song with a big PVC red coat, but that's removed in the chorus to reveal a corsetted dress and boots. It is a lovely performance of a good pop song but it's not really a showcasey kind of song. Though none of Britney's songs are, to be fair. Louis enthuses. Dannii calls it fantastic and praises the dancers. Simon says it was risky but it worked, and that if the show was about talent, she'd be in the final. Ha. Cheryl is the proudest mentor on the panel. Alexandra admits she was worried about the choreography, which is unsurprising, and then witters on, contrary to Gary Barlow's advice.


Dermot says Britney IS WATCHING [yeah, presumably in much the same way Mariah was 'watching' the other week - Rad]. Simon reads from a script to introduce Eoghan, who thought last week was like his own concert. Cheryl was a bit pervy on him last week, but he liked it. Simon doesn't know if Eoghan will be able to sing a Britney song because she IS A GIRL (though not yet a woman) and he is a 16-YEAR-OLD BOY, but he is the ONE TO BEAT. Yeah, whatever.

What the hell is wrong with NotLouis's obsession with stupid staging that looks like it's from Fame for all Eoghan's tracks? Anyway, it's Sometimes, and Eoghan's feeble little voice is shown up for what it is. Except in the middle eight, where he sings properly again, and then going into the key change. And then he's feeble again. Vocal coach Yvie should really work on teaching him some kind of control, because it's really pissing me off now.

Louis didn't think it would work, but it did, and that he has championed him since the start. BECAUSE HE IS IRISH. [And probably because all reports say he's creaming everyone else in the voting every week. - Steve] Dannii calls it pitchy, and judges the "High School Musical" choreography unfavourably. Cheryl says that everyone loves Eoghan. I don't. Simon says boys are at a disadvantage, and it was OK, but it was a difficult song to sing. Eoghan says it's not his kind of cup of tea, whatever that may mean.

Cheryl introduces Diana, who loved last week and thought it was really good. Well, that's something, I suppose. Cheryl would like her twinkle to turn back into a sparkle again. Diana reckons this song reflects everything that she is. Louis says she needs to up her game; Simon says it'll make her or break her. Break! BREAK!

Oh, mother of God, she's singing I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman. Reclining on some kind of sun lounger? Has NotLouis got a sponsorship deal with Ikea this series? Anyway, the low notes are too low for her. She stands up at the chorus. She is not wearing shoes. The middle eight is VERY pitchy, dawg. Key change! Screeching and nonsensical rubato in what she clearly thinks is a meaningful and emotive fashion!

Louis is a fuckwit and tells her that she should be dancing, because she needs to be versatile. [Well, at least we know what Louis would sing in Bee Gees week. - Steve] Dannii says it is about performance, but it was pitchy and she didn't really sing out until the end. Simon tells Louis he is ridiculous, and Louis wibbles on about Britney, Madonna and Kylie all dancing, and Simon tells him to fuck off to Strictly, before telling Diana that it sucked and she's in trouble. Cheryl takes Louis on and he continues to moan about Diana not dancing. Cheryl reminds us that Diana is ONLY SEVENTEEN. Everyone cheers. Diana says she is overwhelmed and didn't feel it worked and then goes a bit incoherent.

The phone lines open, and then it is time for us to hear the acts' second songs! How lucky we are! (Like this Hollywood girl!) First it is time for a break, though.

Dermot welcomes us back and asks the judges who has been best so far - Simon says Ruth and Alexandra; Cheryl chooses her own acts; Dannii says Ruth and Alexandra; Louis says Alexandra and JLS. SIGH. [Fail, Cheryl. Even Louis managed to mention one act he wasn't mentoring. - Steve]

Dannii reintroduces Ruth, who is singing a perfect song, which she used to sing in her bedroom as a child. It's the first song she learnt in English, but Yvie sniffs about all the bad habits she has learnt. Heh. If she does it right, it'll be her BEST PERFORMANCE EVAH.

Complete with crazy wind machine, flames on the screens and gusts of dry ice, Ruth is singing Always. For some reason she chooses to yodel the start of the first chorus, but gets back to belting it soon enough. Key change! What?! Pyrotechnics! Guitar solo! Ruth's hands are shaking! Then she bursts into tears. [Also: there are attempts to gender-change some of the lyrics, but not things like 'this Romeo is bleeding', so it makes little sense. - Rad]

Louis says stupid things but is nice, and then closes with, "Don't be crying. It's all good." Cheryl understands how emotional singing can be, although she thought it was a bit shouty in places. Simon didn't understand what was happening, but it sounded like fun. If places in semi-finals were awarded for effort and determination, he would give it to Ruth. SNORT. Dannii hopes everyone votes for her. Dermot brings Ruth a hanky, bless him. Then she cries about people in this country, which is NOT SPAIN, voting for her. Dermot blubs a bit too, and then gabbles at her, and she doesn't understand. Yet again she tries to escape before he's read out the phone number. Come on, O'Leary, assert some authority, this is happening all the bloody time.

JLS have been working very hard this week. They think it'll take an amazing vocal from all of them (and their off-stage backing singers). This competition means a lot to Louis. JLS will sing for their lives. They are dressed all in white. There are flaming torches on the stage. Because they are singing You Light Up My Life. Do you see? Actually, from the sounds of it, they are doing the bulk of the harmonies themselves at the start. And then they use a big fuck-off choir for the last chorus, and Aston is the only JLS you can actually hear.

The boys hug. Aston cries. Dannii says it is hard to get on the horse after falling off. The camerawork here is fucked and is filming her through one of the flaming torches. Cheryl enjoyed it, but likes it best when they have Big Production, and then she and Dannii rip the piss out of Louis for having NO DANCING. Simon says JLS are back in the race. They hug some more. Oh, I hadn't noticed their JLS silver dogtags! Ha! Louis wants EVERYONE to vote for them. He is BEGGING us. Dermot talks to the boys, and we see that they have JLS colours on the soles of their shoes. Oh dear me.

Alexandra's second song is the biggest vocal song EVAH, and she is scared, as is Cheryl. Simon thinks she'll be incredibly emotional before she sings, because she knows what's at stake. Cue VT of Alexandra weeping and the plinky-plonky piano music of tragedy as she speaks about how hard she has worked. She doesn't mention being poor and sharing a bed with her sister, though.

She's singing Listen, aka the song Beyonce and her mates wrote to shoe-horn anachronistically into Dreamgirls because there wasn't enough vocal work for the character of Deena to do. Anyway, I'm not a fan of Beyonce's version of this, and I do think Alexandra's is actually better, apart from when she makes her vowel sounds weirdly when she dips into her lower register. It is very good. Everyone stands to applaud. Louis calls it incredible, and mentions her dancing again. Alexandra is weeping. Dannii says she deserves to be in the final and urges people to vote for her. Simon says that it is a British competition and she makes him proud to be British, and he likes people who are DECENT and who TRY and it was the best performance of the series. Cheryl is crying too. She is proud of her. Alexandra thanks Cheryl and then they both cry at each other. Dermot attempts to get a grip on proceedings but Alexandra is in bits by now and turns away while she tries to pull herself together.


Simon is still reeling after Alexandra, but now we all have to hear Eoghan again. It is a REALLY BIG SONG from a REALLY BIG MOVIE. NotLouis deplores Eoghan's lack of dancing ability. OH HOLY FUCK. It's We're All In This Together. If we had to have a song from the High School Musical series, couldn't we have had Bet On It? Comedy emoting with jazz hands on golf courses? No? [He should have done 'Fabulous' - even I would've voted for him if he'd sung that. - Steve] Crashing on then. Eoghan stands at the front and bops a bit as the mob of dancers do the proper routine and breakdancing [and the backing singers do all the vocals - I could barely hear him all song - Rad], and then two boys lift him in the air while the others do a kind of ring-o-roses around him. Seriously, dear me. Louis calls it "busy", then says, "I'm your biggest supporter." Because everything is all about Louis Walsh, you see. Dannii reckons that's how it should be done. Cheryl wanted to join in. Simon says, "We are in the semi-final." Are these people watching the same show as me? Eoghan looks a bit wrung-out. Dermot makes school-related puns and then grabs him in a headlock.

Finally, Diana closes the show, with a huuuuuuuuuuuge song, which is amazing, but she is nervous. It is a classic, but one everyone can relate to, and Diana is worried she won't hit the big note. It is Everybody Hurts. [Or, alternatively, 'Everybody Hyurrrrrrghs', apparently. Which, oddly enough, is the noise I make when I listen to Diana "singing". - Steve] There is a man with serious lank indie hair playing guitar on stage. Diana waves her claw at the camera as she strides round the stage like a little banshee crab. And I bloody hate that little coy Princess Di under-the-lashes glance she does.

Louis says it is one of his favourite songs, "by REM", just to show how hip he is. He thinks Ruth and Alexandra are better [trufact - Rad]. Dannii says she was workin' it. Simon could feel her nerves, and he has never seen her look so tense, but that song may have saved her. Cheryl says she is a little fighter and she is proud of her. Dermot has been relegated to the role of hanky-bearer this evening, and brings on some more tissues for the over-emotional Diana, who chats at nineteen to the dozen and gulps randomly for air.

Dermot beseeches us to bolster Simon's dwindling reserves of cash by voting. No thanks. He reminds us that BRITNEY is here later. In the meantime we must make do with Miley blinkin' Cyrus. She sings her new single Seven Things. Well, so Dermot tells me. I'm fast-forwarding this bit. Gosh, it goes on for a long time. [I liked it. It was good. - Steve]

Finally it's over, and here's the recap - Ruth bellowed in rock fashion; JLS had some odd production and would like to be hit one more time; Alexandra pissed all over everyone vocally but not literally; Eoghan was bleedin' awful but nobody in the studio seemed to be able to hear that; Diana tried to grab votes by using her pincer. That's all for now!

Results show

Dermot welcomes us back, with the remaining acts lined up like an identity parade again, or perhaps as if they are about to face a firing squad [maybe it's recmpence for the week no-one was murdered - Rad]. More recap.

NOW IT IS TIME FOR BRITNEY! Complete with stupid introductory montage about her amazingness! Woma-womanizer! She's miming, obviously [and badly - Rad]! It is circusy! Brian Friedman's mental choreography works much better when the artist can actually dance and everyone gives into the requisite divaness rather than looking inept and faintly embarrassed! Cheryl is going absolutely MAD in her seat! Then Britney finishes and Dermot curtseys to her, and then laughs at the dancers. She says she enjoyed it, and thinks that tonight has been good because she loves being in London. Ha! Not because the contestants were any good, obviously. She does a cute little curtsey-bob and rushes off.


We're back with much filler, about how the acts do not want to go home. Ruth wants to keep singing; JLS don't want to leave tonight as it would be a kick in the teeth; Alexandra thinks she can literally taste her dream; words cannot describe how much Eoghan wants to be in the semi-final; Diana is excited when she thinks about being in the semi-final and is praying to her guardian angel.

The contestants and the judges come on to the stage. Tonight, there is no final showdown, no bottom two - it is ALL ON THE VOTING. Dermot wishes everyone luck, and opens the Silver Envelope of Destiny. The acts through to next week - JLS, who bound around like bunnies; Alexandra; Diana, whose face crumples and then she begins to shout in a really ungracious way; and Eoghan. He bursts into tears and sobs on Simon's shoulders.

Which means Ruth is out. And yes, she is magnificent, but it was always coming, wasn't it? She claims it is the beginning of her dream, and Dannii says she is a beautiful person and will be her friend forever. Aw. Montage of Ruth's highlights - auditions when she announced her Spanishness; Simon imploring her to be more Spanish; weeping at Dannii; her mum being Spanish; Louis's ill-advised matador simile; some really good sing-off performances; and her excellent utilisation of the wind machine. Back on stage, Ruth says she came from nowhere. I thought she came from Spain? She says (in Spanish) that she loves England. But NOT IRELAND.

She sings us out with Always, and I have to say she's taken this with exceptional good grace. I guess she knew it was inevitable too. Louis is crying. Hopefully this is because Dannii has been pinching him underneath the desk. Dannii is forced to fill some time by jabbering some more about Ruth's vocals; Dermot admires Ruth's passion. No mention of what next week's theme will be, but whatever it is, some poor sucker will be here recapping it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Checking out, the Hylton

Previously on The X Factor, ZOMG scandal! Laura went and the nation whipped itself into a frenzy. Then Daniel went and nobody really cared, because apparently having a wife WHO IS DEAD isn’t as instrumental in garnering public favour as singing like a kitty. Who knew? The theme was ‘Best of British’, with a typically fast and loose definition of the word ‘Best’, and this week we get Take That week, which is presumably harder to fudge, but don’t be surprised if this turns into ‘songs Gary Barlow once heard on the radio’.

Louis says we can up the ante now that Daniel is ‘finally gone’. We only get Gary and Mark out of Take That as mentors. Poor Howard and Jason. I like to think they were off having sex somewhere, but they probably weren’t. Cheryl says the competition is now super intense. Louis says Take That songs were written for a boy band, so JML Direct will wow ‘everbaddy’. Oh, come on. You know what the judges say – these songs are amazing, it’s a challenge, they’ve got to do well, etc.

Dermot suit-watch. Fits better in the chest, but gapping horribly at the bottom. He’s obeying the ‘never do up the bottom button’ rule but the jacket should hang better than that. He says some bullshit and then the judges come out. This bit is so hard to recap. You know what happens. Dermot bounces up and down when ‘could it be magic’ plays as the judges come in. He clearly thinks he’s not on camera. Hee. Dannii has a pretty gold flapper dress on. Cheryl has a weird black ballerina skirt on. Not good.

Following Mariah’s lead, Take That get to open the show. We have the funny heartbeat flashing words ZOMG they’re so important intro as normal. Take That are kind of awesome, mind. Not to the extent that I’d buy their records. But still.

Mark Owen has taken to hats in a big way lately. He really must be going bald. [Poor Mark Owen. Having watched too much High School Musical recently, I am sad for him that his hats denote nothing but age. - Carrie] Gary’s wearing a shirt that looks like it’s made of a bin bag. I don’t really like Take That’s new song. It’s kind of dull and just sounds too much like it’s written to be played over the credits of Gray’s Anatomy when somebody’s girlfriend dies. They try and make the audience clap along. It’s not really a clap along song. It almost sounds a bit Coldplay-esque. It’s still a much better song than whatever the winner will get lumbered with, mind. Given that Geraldine’s Winner’s Song is actually a terrifyingly close pastiche of those songs, they should maybe just get Gary Barlow and Peter Kay to write it. Although they’ve probably already found, like, an O-Town album track that they want to use, so…. [I hear that Delta Goodrem's Born To Try is mooted... - Carrie]

Cheryl’s shoulderblades are very prominent. She looks a bit poorly.

Dermot asks what’s the hardest TT song to sing. Mark says ‘the one I sing!’ and Gary says ‘the one I sing’, forgetting that he sings, well, most of the songs. Gary says that he admires all the contestants for coming out and singing and stuff and how nerve-wracking it is.


Only 3 weeks to the final. Sweet candy. We’re nearly done.

Girls first. Cheryl’s a bit cold. She could wear some damn clothes, then. Up first – ‘She’s hot. It’s Alexandra Burke.’ [Because heaven forfend Diana should have to open the show and risk being forgotten, even though Alex was on near the start last week too. - Steve] Alex thought she’d died and gone to Heaven last week. Etc. She’s put a twist on one of their songs. She apologises to Gary and Mark for reading the words from a paper. Gary tells her to take care of her voice and she says ‘yeah, the thing is I’m not’. She has to stop talking. Gary wants her to look after her instrument. Dirty. NotLouis, wearing some furry thing that makes him looks like Princess Of The Bear People, says she’s got a difficult routine.

She’s singing Relight My Fire. She’s got a high ponytail, kind of like some Russ Meyer slut . It looks awful. Pretty sparkly shift dress though. Sounds a bit like she’s forcing herself into her lower register, in order to cope with the escalation that comes later. Again the amazing routine seems to involve, well, wandering a bout a bit. She does sound like Martha Wash or something, some big fat 50 year old woman who’s been doing this for years. But… this is, dare I say it, a bit boring? She’s still ridiculously good. Ha! We see Louis waving his hand in the air like a moron. The end is weird – the backing singers do almost all the work and Alex just goes ‘woah’ a bit.

Louis says he loves how she didn’t just copy the original. Goes on about her amazing personality again. He wants her in the final. Dannii says she didn’t warm up til half way through (true – she did sound weird at the beginning, the whole forcing herself to sing low thing) and looked a bit nervous. Alex says she’s always nervous and everyone boos because they’re fucking idiots. Alex says she likes shaking what her momma gave her. Simon says she’s great. Louis interrupts to says she’s best since Leona. Simon says people mustn’t think she’s safe, they should vote and she has to be in the final;. Cheryl says you couldn’t tell she was nervous. Alex woops a bit and high fives Dermot [Has Alex been taking pep pills tonight? She seems much more talkative than usual, despite the Barlow's warnings about being chatty - Rad]. Dermot tells her to hush, for her voice’s sake. She does sound a bit hoarse. Dermot’s suit gapping is really annoying me. It’s too small, is why. With the bottom button open, there should be enough overlap of cloth that you don’t flash the shirt beneath. Who knew I cared so much about tailoring?

Ruth is up next. Ruth couldn’t believe it when she was safe. Dannii says she’s chosen the best song for her. Ruth wrote to Take That when she was 9; she wanted them to sing at her birthday. Gary tells Ruth to rein in the big notes a bit and not hammer people over the head with her big voice. Yvie says the same. Simon doesn’t think she can hold back. Gary says Ruth wants it more than anyone else. And we know how important that is in these shows. Only behind going on Journeys and having relatives WHO ARE DEAD.

Ooh, they’ve rocked up Love Don't Live Here Any More. Oooh, she looks awesome in a great big black chiffon number. Oooh, her diction is a bit mushy at the beginning. Ooh, Love AIN’T Here Any More. Apologies. This is the perfect arrangement of this song for her – they’ve made it soft rock, which is totally her wheelhouse. Ha! Apparently this is Ruth holding back. Christ. She really belts the end out. Awesome again. I just really love watching Ruth on stage – there’s something about her on stage that you can tell she loves being there and it makes me love it.

Louis says ‘I can’t fault you at all’. Cheryl says it was great, and that Ruth is inspirational for coming to a foreign country and stuff [She actually said 'for moiving to Spain'. Oh Cheryl, I'm not sure you should speak, just look pretty and cry a bit - Rad]. Simon says Ruth is always better in sing-offs because she gets the right song, but this was ‘sensational’. Dannii chose the right song and Ruth now has a fighting chance. Her best performance by a mile. Dannii says she did her proud. Dermot gets all snarky because Ruth threw aside a mic stand. He said they’re ‘expensive’, which, um… it’s a metal pole. He calls her a Spanish omelette for some unknown reason.


Dermot says if we’re jealous of the audience we can book tickets for the tour. Then says we’ve got the only group, and their mentor, ‘who would have been even more successful if it weren’t for Take That’. Yuh. Cos Take That didn’t pave the way for Boyzone or anything. You’re a dill, sometimes, Dermot. [Sometimes? - Steve]

Louis says ‘how dare Dannii slag off his song choice?’ I’m afraid I still don’t know which JML Direct is which. But then I didn’t know who Hope except Phoebe were for ages, and I still call Same Difference Boy Difference and Girl Difference. Bear Princess NotLouis says they’ll be compared to Take That. One of them says ‘we’re going to rule the world – JLS are back for good’. The other three then all laugh at him and call him a dick. It’s sweet. [They did the same sort of thing last week, though, so it's getting a bit played for my liking. - Steve]

They’re doing A Million Love Songs. They’re wearing various components of grey suits. Oh dear. They lean on the piano for a bit. NotLouis, with your spectacular choreography, you are spoiling us. Walk out. Walk across stage. Lean on piano. Walk back across stage. Earning your keep there. [I laughed very loudly at the piano and the girl piano player. Not sure why I found it so amusing. Possibly the mental images of NotLouis going, 'Hmm, what can I do to creatively direct this bit? I KNOW - A PIANO! ON STAGE!' - Carrie] It’s all a bit dull. They harmonise really well, I must say – it’s nice to see a group not relying on invisible backing singers. [Except I think they were. In rehearsals with Gary and Mark, they sang in unison, and I suspect they did that on stage too, with the backing vocalists taking the harmonies. - Carrie]

Dannii says there was no song stealing, they chose the song it went back and forth a bit. It suffered at the beginning, but they really pulled it out. BOOOOOO!!!!! Cheryl says she missed some of their camaraderie. Simon says it was confusion between them and Louis over the song choice and that was unforgiveable, Louis. Everyone boos. Before Simon says it was great [and that they had a bit of a row with Louis, who earlier in the week announced they were singing 'Back For Good'. Interesting - Rad]. Louis, being a cunt as ever, says ‘Dannii, you DID steal the song, but it doesn’t matter.’ Dannii says it was rota system and Louis jibbers on some more. What a fucking troll.

Dermot asks who’s going to win and the audience go insane like you dropped some meat in a tank of piranha. Seriously Dermot. You know better than to direct a question to that pack of baying freaks. As soon as Dermot turns to Dannii the audience start booing? I think? And she can’t answer and points to Louis and Louis introduces Rachel. The audience hate her? I really can’t tell what’s going on. Rachel says she was shocked to be in the bottom two, which is probably true, but god that’s something you shouldn’t say. Dannii says she needs to show her soft side to make the public connect. Yes, indeed. Louis says she’s a good singer but has no likeability. Dannii’s in tears before the singing even starts. Something really weird has happened. Rachel’s doing Rule The World. NotLouis has men dangling from ribbons dancing. [WHAT THE HELL WAS THIS? Sweet holy mother. That man bewilders me more week by week. - Carrie] She still says ‘if you stay with me girl’, which I like. I hate when they gender-switch songs. She’s a bit drowned out by the music. Once again, X Factor fucks up the levels on its sound. Louis says great song choice, she looked happy. Cheryl says great song choice – nice to hear the softer side. Cheryl says Rachel needs to find the soul side of any song, because that’s her strength, but it was lovely. Simon says aside from the insane acrobatics, it was very very good. The artist is not responsible for the choreography!!! Simon says it was Dannii’s absolute right to choose that song, it was on a rota, and she chose the right song cos she was looking out for her act. Louis says ‘I want to protect my act too!’ Completely ignoring the fact that the point is that it was Dannii’s prerogative. Simon tells Louis to stop pissing and moaning. Louis says ‘you’re the moaner! You’re the moaner!’, showing his normal incisive wit. Dannii is in tears and can barely speak. She says it was great, but she would never steal anyone else’s song. Louis, being a rancid cunt, says ‘I’m not crying! I’m not crying!’ and Dannii says if it was a running race, Louis would trip up the other runner. There’s more going on to this – Dannii isn’t the kind of person who would get so upset over Louis’s sniping – he’s said she can’t sing to her face and it’s normally water off a duck’s back. I get the impression that he’s been really unpleasant to her behind the scenes. [Join Steve's People for the Ethical Treatment of Dannii Minogue group on Facebook! - Rad]

Rachel says that she thanks the people voting for her, she knows she hasn’t been consistent but she does think she deserves her place.

Diana is next. Gary tells her that if Simon doesn’t sign her, Gary will, and gives her his number. Diana is doing Patience. Oh, fucking hell. Those aren’t notes that she’s singing. She’s almost got the errant wavey hand under control. She ends better than she begins, but she’s a mess, to be honest. However, like Dearly Departed Saint Laura Of The Broken Phonelines, when she stops putting on a totally contrived ‘oh, I’m so damn kooky you could punch me in the throat’ voice, she can actually belt it a bit. Louis says she’s got a recording career, whatever happens. Dannii says it was great to see her so happy at the end, and it was really good. Simon says it was great, there were some shaky moments (and you can tell just how fucking dreadful some of the notes were that the audience do not boo this one bit, at all) and that they won’t be taking Gary’s offer of a recording contract (Louis, because he is a moron, gets all indignant and says ‘WHAT!?’, not realising that Simon means he’ll give Diana a contract himself, not that she shouldn’t have one at all.) Diana, much like Rachel, says she knows she hasn’t been her best every week, and really appreciates the support. [Louis also helpfully says that she made Patience sound contemporary. That's Patience. The eighth best-selling single of that bygone age, 2006. - Carrie]

Eggnog is doing Never Forget. In practice, he doesn’t attempt the high notes in the chorus and Gary totally pulls him up on it. Eggnog hoped Gary wouldn’t notice, but then realised that he totally would. It’s quite sweet. For about an hour it’s like ‘can he hit the notes?’ ‘it’ll be bad if he doesn’t hit the notes’ ‘I’m going to try and hit the notes’.

His hair has got even bigger. NotLouis clearly shot his choreography load on Rachel’s ceiling dancers, cos Eoghan’s just walking about the stage a bit. He attempts the high notes, but is fortunately very strongly supported by invisible backing singers. Oh, and then visible singers. Some teenage girls who look like they’ve just come in from the Maypole [or a bizarre cult - Rad]. There are a couple of moments where Eggnog manages to make himself heard over the backing vocals, but he’s basically drowned out for the entire second half of the song. I think Louis just called him Quigglet. Vomit. He then talks about Irish charm, because he’s still Louis. Dannii says Eggnog’s best performance so far and one of the best of the night. Cheryl says it was great and she’s a little bit in love with him. Simon’s like, watch it paedo. Simon says it was awesome – he missed some notes but it doesn’t matter. And seriously, the only thing I can think is that the judges are privy to the votes and Eggnog is SO far in front that they want to show support so they don’t look stupid when he wins. Because srsly. You couldn’t even hear him for half of the song.

Recaps of all the performances. Ruth really stands out – she was best of the night. Then we go blah blah blah blah blah for about twenty minutes before the show ends.

(FYI: In Xtra Factor, Simon basically says that Louis might have wanted Rule The World for JVC but Dannii got first pick and was within her rights. Holly forces Louis to apologise and he does, but it’s totally forced. He gives Dannii a kiss but she practically flinches. They do not like each other. Or rather, Louis is probably oblivious to how much of an arse he can be and likes Dannii, without realising that he makes her skin crawl.)

Results Show

Dermot waffles on. Same Difference and Rhydian will both be on later. Performance recap. Ruth’s still best. Ha! Dermot makes Louis say, ‘Let’s remind ourselves of the pure unadulterated joy that is Same Difference.’ [Except he can't read and doesn't actually say 'unadulterated'. - Carrie] Girl Difference has scary stary eyes when she sings, a bit. They appear to be miming, which is odd. I mean, it’s not, cos they’re doing a fairly energetic dance routine, but still. Years ago, Gala sang ‘Free From Desire’ on Top of The Pops and did press-ups (press-ups!) and still sang live, so nobody ever has any excuse. This song’s a lot better than I expected it to be. High School Musical channelled via Swedish power pop. Alarmingly, given the HSM, Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers market, I could see Same Difference doing incredibly well in America. A big glitter storm at the end, and Dermot calls Boy Difference ‘Mr Glitter’, raising unfortunate paedo spectres. Louis says they put a smile on everyone’s face, even Dannii’s, (which: too soon, maggot) and they’re great and he was wrong. Dannii gets her own back by leaning at Louis and tasting the air and saying, ‘Let me taste it. Mm, bitter.’ [Dannii wins at life. - Steve]


We get a little intro to Rhydian. He’s singing The Impossible Dream. He’s had a very good facial, or something. His skin looks lovely. By his standards. God, vocally he shits all over everyone in it this year, certainly all the males anyway. It’s really a good thing Daniel’s gone – it would have been so embarrassing to have to compare him to this. However, he isn’t wearing a white fur coat, and there aren’t any sailors wearing hats that say ‘HMS Dannii’, so I can only get so excited, you know? In a fairly nice bit of staging, at the end they bring up all the stage lights and reveal a great big choir from the darkness. Sheesh. Dude can sing. Go Rhydian! May your album sell by the bucketload to mothers and grans. Simon says Rhydian was ‘by any standard, one of the great X Factor performances.’ He thinks that Rhydian came back to prove a point and he proved it – the point presumably being that he sings a wee bit better than that mush-mouthed shuffler Leon [Interestingly, I read an interview with Simon the other day where he was playing down Leon's chances of longevity and singing Rhydian's praises instead - Rad].

We see chats with the contestants about why they want to be in top five. That is to say, the programme was coming up a bit short, so they needed a minute or so from somewhere. This is not in any way informative – dreams, wanting it, for my children, a group has never done it before, it’s my dream, I really want it, blah. You can allocate a couple of those to their owners, but really you don’t need to for most of them.

Results time. I really hope it’s not a Ruth-Rachel bottom two. Although that would be the only way Ruth would survive the bottom two, so…. And that doesn’t matter because she’s safe! YES! Eggnog is also safe. He screams and jumps up and down. I swear people didn’t used to be so damn graceless at this point. Screeching hag Diana is safe. (I’m sorry. She was appalling this week.) [She was. I loved Man in the Mirror and Call Me, but everything else has either been meh or awful - Rad] [Diana's album plays on repeat forever in Hell. - Steve] Alexandra is safe. Rachel and JLS bottom two.

Poor Rachel. People just can’t warm to her, I think. Oh jeebus. JCB are doing, in their words, ‘Stand By Me Beautiful Girl’, which can only be some godawful Sean Kingston/original song medley [it's not original, the lovely Gareth Malone did it with a bunch of da yoot in 'The Choir' earlier on this year on BBC2 - Rad], because they need the country to ‘stand by us in this moment’. Rachel gets all flustered and it takes Dannii to step in and say she’s doing a song called ‘I’m Not Leaving’. Which for a second I thought was going to be ‘And I’m Telling You’, which would have been so cool, but probably isn’t.

JJ The Jetplane is up first. They start off doing Stand By Me and it’s at least half a beat too fast, in order for them to segue into Beautiful Girls. They’re not great – in the past people like Ruth have kicked it up a notch in the sing-off, but they seem a bit nervous (completely understandable) and disorganised. Oh, boys. No. They end by singing ‘stand by us, stand by us, stand by JLS’ and that is such a no-no. It’s rubbish.

Dannii is a bit choked up and just says ‘Rachel Hylton’. Oh, it is And I Am Telling You! Awesome! And here’s someone who raises their game in the sing-off. It shows the truth of Cheryl’s comment that Rachel needs to find the soul in songs because she’s strongest there. She is putting everything into it, and slips in some lovely unexpected high notes. She biffs the last note slightly, but not horribly so. It wasn’t note perfect, but it had actual emotion in it and stuff, which is what I want to see, especially at this point.

Louis totally believes in JLS and that they belong, so he’s sending home Rachel. Dannii says fantastic performances from both, but hands down she liked Rachel more and has to send home JLS. Cheryl doesn’t want to do it – she loved JLS, she thought it was the best Rachel had sung since auditions, but based on going forward in the competition, she has to send home Rachel. Simon says it’s tough – he’s been a fan of Rachel’s since the beginning, but it’s been three times. JLS he doesn’t think should have been bottom two and it was a great song choice. Louis says Simon has to save JLS. Simon says ‘I don’t HAVE to do anything!’. Louis says ‘You do!’ Simon says the person he’s sending home, ‘and I really really don’t like saying this’, is Rachel. It’s only right – that many bottom two appearances, she is never going to win the competition and you can’t keep putting her through just to end up in the bottom again. And at least this way she went out on a high note – it was a great, great sing out. Still sucks though, when Diana and Eggnog are still there. Rachel says she’s fine – someone has to go. She seems genuinely okay. Dannii says she’s really sad to see her go.

Next week we’ve got Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears! And given that the theme is American Classics or something, my dream of seeing Ruth sing either Pat Benatar or Heart comes slightly closer to fruition. Woot!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

UKan't touch this

Best of British: 15th November 2008

Last week: who gives a shit what happened on the rest of the show, or indeed what's happening in the rest of the world, because the only thing of any note to happen over the past seven days was an attractive [query? - Carrie] white girl of moderate talent [query? - Carrie] being kicked off the TV show. Outrage! And because we now live in the era of power to the people, where you can get a Radio 2 executive fired just because the Mail on Sunday told you you wouldn't have liked something that you didn't listen to, shit fits were thrown across the land, which that malingering bitch Diana and that sympathy-vote-whoring recidivist Rachel getting the brunt of it, because God forbid the votes of the viewing public should determine that someone doing an unconvincing impersonation of Madeleine Peyroux's unconvincing impersonation of Billie Holliday is in fact not the brightest talent this country has to offer. Still, at least it lead to the best digitalspy forum thread ever where someone started insisting that the entire voting process that week contravened several laws (whilst at the same time refusing to be drawn on which laws these might be) because it was VOID and ILLEGAL because Diana was ill, even though everyone voting knew exactly what the situation was because the show had made it abundantly clear. So Laura went, and I cried no tears; indeed, I laughed a little bit, because she was always hugely overpraised for fairly mediocre talents (not that she was alone in this - never on this show), but the internet had a meltdown and the tabloids had a field day and Simon Cowell rubbed his hands together gleefully and thought about how this was the most free publicity he's had in years.

Louis begins the show in the VT by talking sense for once and asking if all these people whinging about Laura's elimination had actually bothered to vote for her (answer: doubtful, because if they had it's unlikely she would've been in the bottom two), and Dannii says there are no favourites (the bookies would beg to differ on that one). Just seven acts remain, says the voiceover man - the stakes have never been higher! Well no, not in this series, because that's how the format works. Cheryl is still confident she has the winner. Dannii thinks none of her acts are going home tonight (clearly, Dannii, when all of your acts have been in the bottom two at least once, and everyone else's acts haven't been anywhere near the bottom two, this is misplaced confidence at best). Louis thinks JLS can win it, and paraphrases Bob the Builder to assert this point, and Simon reminds us that he only needs one act to win. It's time to face the muzzzzzzzz.............

Snuh? Oh, sorry, I nodded off there, what with two and a half minutes having passed and the show not having even started yet. Credits, Dermot, looking bored and boxy as ever. Tonight's theme is the best of British, so it's all about UK hits. Dermot stumbles over his intro in an embarrassingly amateurish way and says that the four judges sum up what makes this country great, though he neglects to address the point that two of them aren't actually British. The judges enter to 'Rule Britannia', ugh.

Dermot pays lip service to Lauragate, saying questions were asked in parliament about it, which isn't quite what happened, but let's not allow facts to get in the way of a good story. Anyway, the lesson here is that you need to PICK UP THE PHONE AND FUCKING VOTE, ASSHOLES. Simon agrees with this, and let's hope we can draw a line under the whole ridiculous thing and let Laura drift back into the obscurity she so recently left and put all these silly notions of being a popstar out of her head once and for all.

Right, the show, then: first up is DeadWife, who says that last week was his best week ever, even though his WIFE IS DEAD, which surely must have at least put something of a dampener on the proceedings. His VT mentions that he's taking to ignoring Louis, which I find to be a very effective way of getting through this show too. Louis says that Daniel is getting more confident every week, and the public are creating a monster. Oh whatever, you old drama queen. He's coasting through for the exact same reasons that that dreadful harridan Niki did last year, and I don't recall you having any objections back then. She couldn't fucking sing either. Dannii thinks Louis is a bitter old bitch. DeadWife goes back to his hometown of Leytonstone in east London (which is one of the BEST in BRITAIN, probably, since that is the theme this week) and is mobbed by precisely no one. There is a rather pathetic-looking "VOTE DEADWIFE" banner hanging outside his house. His mum gives him some positive reinforcement, and seeing his daughter reminds Daniel that he's doing this to provide a better life for her. Y'know, one where either he's never there for her because he's constantly off on tour and doing promo and shit, or one where she accompanies him on all of that and as a consequence has no friends and doesn't get to go to school like a normal kid. Yep, sounds great! [Also, she is looking more and more like his WIFE. WHO IS DEAD. - Carrie] NotLouis is dressed like a cunt again, and informs us - guess what? - that if Daniel messes up, it'll be, like, really bad. Louis thinks Daniel will be going home. Daniel wants to prove to Louis that he can make it to the final. I hope that somehow this stupid contrived non-battle takes them both out and leaves me in peace, quite frankly.

Daniel arrives on stage in a classic Mini Cooper with a union jack painted on the roof (because this car is the BEST OF BRITISH, or possibly because he's on his way out leafleting for the BNP) and sings 'It's Not Unusual' accompanied by some sexy dancing girls. The people stood at the front of the stage look hilariously bored by the entire thing. The whole thing is every bit as cruise-ship as you'd expect, and NotLouis's choreography is weird and stilted throughout.

Louis opens the judges' critique by saying "Daniel, you're still in the competition - what are the public thinking?" I'd hazard a guess that they're thinking "if it bothers you that much you should've got rid of him three weeks ago when you had the chance, you big blubbering fool." Louis says there was nothing unusual about the performance (sigh), and that everything else was good, but Daniel was not. Daniel actually puts his fingers in his ears and does the "lalala, I'm not listening" thing, which is not in any way as cute as he thinks it is. The audience boos, because they were told to love it. Cheryl takes some of Paula Abdul's medication and tells Daniel he's a great sport for getting out of that car and dancing around, because he probably doesn't do that very often. Not until he gets accepted to clown college, anyway. Cheryl thinks he was having fun, and she enjoyed it, because Cheryl has no critical faculties whatsoever. Simon doesn't think it matters what the judges say (which he's half-right about: I'd say it only matters what they say when they're mean to him, because that's when the "but his WIFE IS DEAD!!" sympathy votes kick in), and summarises the performance as being like a drunk dad at a wedding. Sidebar: I was at a wedding last night while this show was on, and did not witness any drunk dads dancing, so I cannot comment on the veracity of this statement. He counters the boos and hisses by saying that "that's not necessarily a bad thing" [Which: what?? - Rad], and chuckles that the judges have absolutely zero control over this show, despite the fact that they do have absolute power over which of the bottom two goes home, so shut up, Simon. Dannii says that dancing is not Daniel's forte, and seriously? Can we stop pretending that walking across the stage while singing is in any way the same as dancing? Dancing is what happens on the other channel. Dannii seems to think Daniel is versatile, despite the fact that we've seen no evidence of this, and says he's consistently good. Louis tries to interrupt with a "but! but! but!" to which the audience collectively says "cram it, fishwife, you've had your chance" and drowns him out with a sea of cheers for the nice man with no vocal chops and just a pile of ashes where his wife used to be.

Dermot asks Daniel where he can get a mental switch that blocks Louis out, although I would say that if you need someone to inform you how to present while simultaneously ignoring all the people you're paid to listen to, Tess Daly would be your best bet. Daniel says that it's borne from practice because Louis is a tit every week, and Dermot actually says "tee hee!" in response. Oh, Dermot.

Dermot claims that Cheryl is "fast becoming a national treasure", despite the fact that I like her less and less the more I see of her on this show [me too after last week when she was quite rude to Ruth in her press comments after the show. - Rad] Cheryl introduces the beautiful Alexandra, who sang 'Without You' only moderately well last week, but it was still enough for it to be the best of the night given how appalling virtually everyone else was [including Mariah Carey - Carrie]. Alexandra says that seeing everyone giving her a standing ovation made her feel like Beyoncé, and I love her for saying Beyoncé there instead of Mariah Carey, which would've been most people's first mental jumping-off point. Hee. Alexandra goes back to her home in North London and says that people she's known for years are suddenly running up to her and snapping her on their cameraphones, even though she only lives next door. Heh. She hugs her sister Sheniece, who is presumably the one she used to share a bed with. Indeed, we then see the infamous bed, which doesn't even appear to be a double. Man, that is bleak. But Alexandra says it was an uplifting experience, because it reminds her of the life that she's trying to improve. This week her performance will be stripped down and no frills, but given that the last time they said that, Diana sang on a giant swing with a doily on her head, I am somewhat suspicious. Alex says that Laura going home last week was a real wake-up call, and she doesn't want to be next.

Alexandra is singing 'You Are So Beautiful', which is either by Billy Preston or Joe Cocker, depending on how pedantic you wish to be. Mercifully, she is not on a giant swing and her head is unadorned. Though despite Yvie having commented in the VT that this was to be very simple and not about showing off, it has been arranged in such a way that Alex does her usual run of melisma and power notes on it. The vocals are smooth and lovely, by and large, but the final note is iffy [and the song is DULL. - Rad].

Louis tells her she's getting better every week, and wants the public to know that whenever he sees her backstage she's cheery and positive and never whinges, "unlike some of the people on this show". Yes, unlike YOU. Louis calls her a rare and raw talent. Dannii tells Alex there's nothing she can't sing, and she loves that she sang a song which was originally a male vocal, because that let her put her own stamp on it. Well, yes, but you can also do that with a song originally sung by a female - you just need an original idea. Yes, I know, fat chance we'll ever see one of those on this show. However, Dannii urges, she wants to see more of Alexandra's personality come through when she sings. Simon says, "You were singing that to me, weren't you?" Well, I suppose it gives Ruth a break if he leers at Alexandra this week. Simon says that this was a difficult song but Alexandra is a great new singer, JUST LIKE LAURA WHO GOT VOTED OFF SO UNFAIRLY PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR MP AND JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP. Cheryl believes Alexandra has a brilliant career after this and loves working with her. Alexandra is grateful to still be here, and she gets nervous because she knows it's all getting tougher as the weeks go on, but no matter what stage she leaves at, this is the best thing she's ever done in her life. And while the final part of that makes me a little sad, it was very well articulated.

After the ads, Dermot is stood in the audience with Ruth's ugly fiancé and throws to the person "who last week shocked the audience by doing something terrible", as though Louis's dumbfuckery is a surprise to anyone any more, though admittedly the Barack Obama impression to which Dermot is referring was a new low, even for Louis. Louis introduces "the fab four" - Aston, Marvin, JB, and Oritse, look at me, I know the names of all my singers - JLB Credit. Their VT flashes back to the godawful Obama bit from last week, and JLB look amused and appalled by it in equal measures. They go home - Marvin goes to Woolwich to see his family and his proud nan, Aston goes to Peterborough, where his grandparents Kathleen and Jim are "the oldest groupies in town" (cute!) [or very disturbing, if you take the actual meaning of 'groupie' - Carrie], JB goes to Croydon where his entire family seems to be wearing JLB hoodies, and Oritse goes to "south-west London", exact location unspecified, where his mum has MS and Oritse is usually there to look after her, but him being on the show gives her something to smile about. NotLouis, who is getting an unacceptably large amount of face-time this week, perhaps to compensate for having been almost entirely absent last week, says that JLB's biggest challenge this week is to put their own spin on the song and not do a copycat version. This is in no way something we could have worked out for ourselves. Oritse then leads them into a "in the words of our mentor, YES WE CAN!" which Aston refuses to participate in and walks out. I'd say good for you, Aston, but I can see your pants. Pull your damn jeans up. [Oh, Steven, you are sounding like a grown-up. But it is annoying. - Carrie]

They're singing 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' by the Beatles, obviously, with Aston on lead again, and the others basically being glorified backing singers. It segues into 'Twist and Shout' and then into 'Hey Jude', which is complete overkill. Also, props to the costume people for helping JLB to put their own stamp on this song by dressing them in Beatles-esque jackets. Jesus wept.

Dannii thinks they're great, but wonders if these are songs from Louis's iPod or from JLB's. She wonders if this is really the sort of songs the boys would want to record, and she's entirely right, but the crowd boos her anyway. Possibly because they know Dannii makes the same mistake every week with Ruth, but I don't really want to credit the audience with that much insight. Cheryl confirms that the Beatles are definitely the best band we've ever had (thanks for that, Cheryl) and says that she's seen Take That do that exact medley. Rather than staying on this point, she drifts off into "medleys are hard, but you are young and funky!", which is a bit of a shame. Simon is in two minds - he thinks they've proven they're brilliant entertainers, but that the whole thing has Louis Walsh stamped all over it, because it's gimmicky and not the sort of record they should be making. He then adds "you're going to look back on this, if you're still around in a couple of weeks, and feel embarrassed" - interesting that he should say "if you're still around" when last week he was touting them for the final. Boo, hiss, etc. Louis says the Beatles are timeless, and JLB can sing and dance and do it all, which is what this show's all about, apparently.

Dermot comes on and attempts to address the issue by asking Simon if it was a great version of a Beatles song (technically three), and Simon says that vocally, it was not. Dannii says that they're entertainers (and some total cretin in the crowd cheers because she can't recognise this for the backhanded compliment it totally is), but this performance was Louis, not them [I was so annoyed with Simon. Yes, it was shit, but much less shit than the TWO THEME WEEKS of Beatles he put us through on this year's American Idol. - Rad].

Back to Dannii, and Rachel. The VT flashes back to last week where Rachel took control of her own performance, with what I'll charitably call mixed results. Dannii says it was a tough week for Rachel (seriously, with all the bigots on the internet baying for her blood? No kidding) and it affected her performance. Cheryl says that it was Rachel's worst week and she was totally out of tune (both comments being ones I take issue with, but this recap is too long as it is, so we'll brush past and keep going) and that Rachel needs Dannii. Dannii says that Rachel apologised to her and meant it, and Rachel says that it's not about her and Dannii warring, it's about the competition. "So they're saying things are going to be better from here on?" smugs VTLouis. "I don't think so." God, he had an extra bowl of Cunt Flakes for breakfast this week, didn't he? Rachel says that she didn't go home as such this week, because she's been staying in her flat in Middlesex throughout the show rather than in the house with the rest of the contestants because she's got two small kids to look after. Iiiiinteresting. We see Rachel with her adorable kids, and then they get their own VT: "My mum is brilliant!" says Tishon. "Atishoo!" says Tashanee. CUTE! [Both their names actually sound like sneezes. - Carrie] Dannii says that we need to bring back the real Rachel, so she'll be singing the song she sang at her first audition, which would be 'You Know I'm No Good' by Amy Winehouse. "If she can't do it this week, she'll never do it," says Simon, and to be honest, he's probably got a point. Rachel wants to prove she is capable of winning this.

I'm quite intrigued to see how they cope with this song on post-watershed TV given all the fairly graphic sex references, but for the time being what I'm most concerned with is that Rachel has adopted both the wardrobe and stage mannerisms of Brenda Edwards. Nothing against Brenda, but she and Rachel are very different people, and one does not fit comfortably into the other, not really. Rachel's having fun with it, though, climbing on the desk and singing the chorus directly to Simon, which is ironic given he was probably Rachel's most devout supporter during the auditions. Oh, and the answer to my earlier question? She skips the second verse entirely, and the second half of the third verse, so no "carpet burns" or "he's in the place but I can't get joy" to concern the Daily Mail with. Louis liked it, but found it a bit Stars in their Eyes, which: what? There was nothing about this performance that was especially Winehousian. It wasn't Rachel on stage, but it wasn't Amy Winehouse she was channelling either. Shut up, Louis. Cheryl says this is what she was waiting for, saying that Rachel looks the best she's ever seen her look (dear God no, with all that excess fabric flying around she looks like she's got wings on her arms and her thighs!) and that if Rachel made a song like this, she would buy it. Simon welcomes Rachel back to the competition and picks up on "Louis's stupid comment about Stars in their Eyes" (heh), pointing out that this is what Rachel sounded like at her audition. Simon really hopes she stays in, but Rachel isn't really listening because her family are shouting things from the audience, so Rachel shouts her thanks to them and her supporters in Hackney and elsewhere in the country. Hee. Dermot points out that Dannii hasn't said anything yet, and Rachel says "I know she hasn't, but I'm just getting it in quickly - you know I'm a chatterbox!", which is kind of cute. Dannii doesn't mind at all, and is full of praise for the performance, saying how great it is to see her looking so comfortable and declaring that Rachel has arrived. Shame she's currently in the middle of an entirely undeserved backlash as a result of The Blessed Virgin Laura's fully legitimate ouster last week, which means poor Rachel is totally boned from here onwards no matter how good she is.

More adverts. I could really go for some toast right about now.

Back on the show, Dermot reminds us there are four weeks until the final (hooray! It's nearly over!) and then throws to the person who "quite literally rules Britannia", and if Dermot misuses the word "literally" one more time so help me I may have to hurt him [I actually complained to ITV after the literally murder week. They didn't respond - Rad]. Eoghan and his Weird Hair and Reedy Child Voice discuss how he improved last week (indeed, to the stage of being slightly-less-shit-than-normal) and how he didn't think he had the voice to pull off 'Anytime You Need A Friend' (he doesn't, but he got away with it all the same). He goes home to Dungiven, where there are no entertainers or televisions or popstars or fridges or fenceposts or supermarkets or people, and sees lots of pictures of his face everywhere. People of Dungiven, you have my sympathy, for this is not a face I would choose to see anywhere. Eoghan sees his mum and dad and brothers and his new baby sister, who seems decidedly underwhelmed by his presence. Tell it, Baby Quigg. Eoghan is scared this week of the "high fart" in the song that Yvie mentions (I think she meant "high part"). He wants to make his family and his new baby sister proud.

This song is not a song I have ever heard in my life, and after waiting through the whole of the first verse and half the chorus waiting for the pin to drop, I give in and google it: except Google erroneously tells me it's called 'Teacher' when it is in fact 'One More Try' - thanks, Rad! Eoghan's voice is as thin and whispy as ever, and he only achieves the High Fart by completely changing the key he's singing in and bending forwards like he's in pain. (Pain being something that regular viewers of the show are entirely accustomed to by now.)

Louis tells Eoghan that it was a big task, but he pulls it off, then claims that Eoghan is a natural performer (do me a favour) with a great likeability and is going to be in the final. Dannii says that Eoghan is consistent and she loved the VT of him going to see his family. So, no comments about this performance, then, Dannii? Cheryl said she was nervous about the song choice, but he pulled it off and she thinks she can see star quality in there. Simon tells Eoghan it was a great performance, and he gets the second "you're so great, you don't complain, you don't whine!" of the night (seriously, poor Rachel) and he's a lock-on for the final for absolutely none of the reasons the judges have given (pre-pubsescent, unthreatening, Irish). Worse luck.

Cheryl claims we missed Diana last week (speak for yourself), and the VT flashes back to the fully made-up Diana sitting in bed too sick to perform. Diana says that Saturday night was horrible because she hated having to watch the show (dude, try RECAPPING it, because then you have to watch it at least twice. [At least? Steve, please don't tell me you put yourself through this shit three times - Rad] That's agony, let me tell you) and she just wanted to climb in the TV and start singing. A bit like The Ring in reverse. A throat specialist reminds us that Diana couldn't have sung last week for fear of losing that contrived, fey, scratchy voice of hers for good, and Diana stomps her feet and moans about not wanting a free pass through to this week. Given that her best friend got booted the week she was absent, you think she'd make more of an effort to be grateful, wouldn't you? Diana vows to give the performance of her life this week, sore throat or no sore throat.

Diana goes home to Blackburn, where she lives with her mum and sister (because her parents ARE SEPARATED) and walks around her old school where her friends all pretend they don't totally hate her now, and then in a genius bit of editing to prove how much her life has changed, she sits on a swing in a park which then blends perfectly into her sitting on that ridiculous swing during Big Band week. It's actually extraordinarily well-shot, so kudos to the cameraperson on that one. Cheryl has chosen one of her favourite songs for Diana to sing, but Diana has found rehearsals hard this week. Diana is going to show people that she can do this and she is back, apparently.

She's singing Coldplay's 'Yellow' in the style of Dolores O'Riordan, and American Idol's Brooke White owns at wistful folksy renderings of this song, [I prefer Alex Parks' version. Poor Alex Parks, she was great. If only she hadn't wanted to be a proper artiste and write all her own stuff and thus fallen out with the record company - Rad] so shut up Diana. Also shut up Diana for entirely different reasons, because you sound awful this week. She's standing on a giant box as well, for no real reason that I can discern, except possibly to make Dermot look more like a midget than he already is. As someone on DigitalSpy said "Diana Knickers, more like, because she was pants!" Indeed.

Louis says, "You picked a very difficult song", despite the VT stating clearly that Cheryl picked the song, and tells Diana not to be nervous because she's going to be in the final. The camera cuts to Diana and then cuts back again before the camera operator has had a change to realign the shot, so we're treated to a Spooks-style swooping of the camera from Louis over to Dannii, which is a bit scary. Dannii tells Diana that it's unfair what's been said about Diana in the press, and that if she can't sing, she can't sing. Hey, that's what I've been saying all along! Dannii didn't love the song, but gives Diana points for turning up. Seriously. Simon says he missed her last week because she's the most relevant artist in the competition (vomit), but he doesn't think she's well enough still, because the vocal was really off in parts. Dude, she's never in tune when she's well, I'm surprised you could tell the damn difference. Simon says he's nervous for Diana for the first time ever. Cheryl says that she respects Diana's determination to get back up there (Diana having a long blonde hair hanging off her lip at this point, which is quite funny) because she's still not well, and there's the obligatory reference to Laura Christ, Who Was Eliminated Last Week For Our Sins, and she encourages the public to think about Diana's other performances when they're voting. Dermot says Diana looked distraught when she finished. Diana says she was terrified, and she doesn't know what happened, and she folds her arms and looks sullen. Cheryl chips in that Diana couldn't even run through the song until Friday night, and Diana drops the sullenness long enough to fey it up for the cameras while her vote number comes up, which is gross. [I felt a bit sorry for Diana this week, to be honest. It's horrible having a sore throat, and it's even more horrible having to sing when you're not feeling well, because apart from it hurting, you can't pitch properly. And it's not her fault people off teh interwebz are fucking mental and write to their MPs. And she's very young. Though not as young as Eoghan, WHO IS 16. - Carrie]

Back from the final ad break, and Dannii introduces Ruth the rock chick. Ruth's performance last week was lacking, but she knocked it out of the park in the singoff again, so Her Holiness Pope Laura II got the boot instead. Ruth was distraught she stayed behind over Laura, because Laura was so amazing and brilliant and her tears could cure bovine TB, etc etc etc. Check this out: Ruth gets to go home to Spain! She's from a town called Murcia, and she went back to see her mum and family - and it was her birthday, to boot. That is pretty kickass. Ruth sits by the Mediterreanean Sea and thinks about her girlhood dreams of being a singer, and tells us about this in a weird half-Yorkshire accent. Dannii has given Ruth a song that everybody loves, and she thinks Ruth can deliver it like no one else can. Louis takes total credit for saving Ruth last week, and wants her to justify his love.

Oh Jesus, she's singing bloody 'Angels'. And cracked-out NotLouis has Daniel's dancers from earlier standing around like busted ballerinas, while Ruth seems to be using the Tyra Banks school of modelling through period pains as her chief performance inspiration. Actually, as much as I hate this song, Ruth's version is pretty good. And then the dancers wrap her in white fabric, while the camera cuts to Simon looking around at NotLouis all, "what the hell is this, you freak?" Seriously. I don't even know any more.

Louis says he's delighted he saved her, and then in an obvious dig at Simon, says there are two things keeping her in the competition - her passion and her personality LOL NOT HER BEWBS!!!!11111!!!! Ugh. I judge Ruth a little bit for laughing at this and not giving Louis the kick up the arse he so richly deserves. Cheryl says that Ruth apologised to her all week for Laura's departure even though it wasn't her fault (of course not, it was Rachel's! Any idiot knows that!) and says that she proved she deserves to be here. Simon says it was one of the most insane interpretations of that song with the grey angels and the bondage, but he loves that Ruth puts so much work into her performances, and she hasn't had the credit she was due for her singoff last week, possibly because everyone was off getting their panties in a twist over St Laura The Maligned. Dannii liked it, and wants people to vote. Ruth then ruins her good favour by thanking everyone for giving her the opportunity to sing one of the best songs that Britain has given to the world. Dear international readers, if there are any of you: on behalf of Britain, I apologise for 'Angels' and Robbie Williams. We don't all like it, honest. Dermot says that no one in the competition is more British than Ruth, before adding "maybe not" somewhat crassly on the end.

Phonelines open - quick, vote for Laura! Oh, wait...

VT recap: DeadWife still being here and still being bafflingly irrelevant to modern music, Alexandra being lovely but boring as always, JLS being The Beatles, Rachel being Brenda Edwards, Eoghan singing some old toot I've never heard of, Diana obliterating 'Yellow' and Ruth making 'Angels' bearable, just about.

During Dermot's closing sum-up, the camera cuts to Diana looking miserable [Bizarrely, my eyes scanned the Prince Charles bit below first, then the Diana above and I thought Princess Di was in the audience looking miserable and I didn't spot her. Then I remembered. - Rad]. Hee. Dermot teases Leona Lewis in the results show, and toadys up to Prince Charles in light of the birthday comedy thing that's on next. You sellout, O'Leary.


Dermot welcomes us back, and really needs to stop trying to make "your Saturday night continues right here" happen. It is NOT going to happen. Leona is up later, and we all still have time to vote if we don't want a repeat of last week's SHOCK ELIMINATION. Seriously, with all the laughs it's given me this week, I would quite happily repeat last week's SHOCK ELIMINATION every week.

Dermot then claims that no one "epitomises" this show quite like Leona. Really? Because to be honest, I'd say she's a rare quirk of someone talented and deserving actually winning, and if you want someone who "epitomises" what this show is actually about, it would be Daniel, by virtue of his DeadWife and his inherent shitness. It's quite funny to revisit the 2006 final and remember when there were people who actually wanted Ray to win. Now Leona's a global superstar with the fastest-selling debut album in UK chart history, with four million copies sold worldwide - which was clearly not enough, given that it's just been rereleased as a "deluxe" version, but that's by the by. Anyway, she's the first UK female to top the US charts in over 20 years, which is pretty cool. And since her new single 'Forgive Me' is a bit rubbish, she will be singing her epic cover of Snow Patrol's 'Run' instead. I know Leona gets a lot of (unwarranted, in my opinion) stick for being boring, but if you can take a Snore Patrol song and make it moving and interesting, you must be doing something right. And my God, can you imagine how good this show could actually be if the contestants actually completely redefine a song like this during the competition instead of afterwards? Depressing, isn't it? But then, not as depressing as it must be for this year's contestants to realise how Leona's in a league of superstardom they're all deeply unlikely to reach. Seriously, it's embarrassing how amateurish she makes them all look, despite having been in the same position as all of them under two years ago.

Dermot calls her "the mailman, because you always deliver" - groan. Leona spouts the usual platitudes about how exciting and terrifying it is to be back, and Simon tells her she was absolutely fantastic - a compliment which feels rather diluted given the other acts it's been applied to in the past two years. Leona attempts to toddle off, possibly to ask why a global superstar such as herself is reissuing an old album instead of recording a new one, but Dermot won't let her go. The lines close, and we go to the ads. Quite why Leona had to remain on stage for that bit, I have no idea.

As we resume, Dermot is still enthusing about Leona's performance, just to rub the salt into this year's contestants wounds that little bit more. The acts and their mentors return to the stage, and it's time for the results in no particular order: Diana (whose trademark scream of joy is absent, she really must be ill), JLB, Ruth, Alexandra and Eoghan, who the crowd are all screaming and shouting for as they wait for the final name to be read out. I don't even want to know what they've had slipped in their drinks to provoke that response. So Daniel and Rachel are in the bottom two: Daniel will be singing "Bajoba Trouble Water", and Rachel will be singing 'One' by Mary J Blige (which Dermot gets all uptight about clarifying is actually a U2 song, so Bono was obviously on the blower very quickly at that point). [After some thought, I mused that perhaps he was worried that they'd prepared the wrong backing track for her. - Carrie]


On our return, Dermot tells us that tonight's vote was the biggest of the series so far. I'm not surprised, given the guilt trips laid on everybody repeatedly tonight to make sure we avoid a repeat of Blessed Laura's SHOCK ELIMINATION. Dermot asks Dannii to tell us who's going first, but there's a bit of a problem here: Dannii doesn't actually know. Hee! Dermot tells her that Daniel's going first, which merits the question of why he needed to ask her to do it in the first place - he's the one who takes home the presenter's wage, after all. Anyway, Dannii apologises and says she's in shock, though I can't really imagine she didn't expect this on some level - she couldn't dodge this bullet forever.

Daniel cheeses his way through 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' in exactly the way you'd expect him to, and there's not really much else that can be said about it. Impressive hold on the last note [It was! I was shocked! - Rad], but that's about it.

Dermot introduces "one more break or break performance to come" (sic), and thankfully this time Dannii does know who it is: Rachel. Rachel trots onto the stage gleefully, waving meekly to people and starting to boogie before she's even hit her mark. The lyrics of the song are amusingly relevant here ("did I disappoint you, or leave a bad taste in your mouth?") and Rachel's looking happy and comfortable in the way that she definitely was not last week, and this is really so much better than its rival, and I'm not sure there's any residual DeadWife goodwill to provide a surprise elimination. The whole thing goes a bit batshit at the end just to demonstrate that it was definitely a Mary J Blige version and not a U2 version, and then Daniel runs on and hugs Rachel, and they're laughing and joking and taking the whole thing in good spirits, Scott.

Louis is the first to vote, and votes to send Daniel home. We skip over Dannii and go to Cheryl, who doesn't want to send people home, but votes to save Rachel, who was twinkling this week, or something. Simon tells Daniel that he chose a good song and he meant it, while Rachel chose a good song but threw it away a little bit. Rachel nods, and I get the impression she is actually taking this sort of criticism on board at this point, but a solitary member of Rachel's family boos from the audience, and Simon seems genuinely chagrined that someone would actually boo when they haven't been directed to do so by one of the stage management team. "This may come as a surprise," says Simon. "Get on with it!" yells someone (again, presumably on Team Rachel) in the audience, and Simon rolls his eyes. and Simon votes to send Daniel home. There's a moment of confusion before it hits the audience that Rachel is safe, and Dermot's about to start talking when the "decision made!" incidental music starts playing and cuts him off. Wake up, O'Leary.

Daniel hugs Rachel, and Rachel leaves. Dermot says that Daniel deserves credit for putting up with moderate personal criticism from Louis Walsh on national television for five weeks while waiting for the opportunity to be handed a lucrative recording contract, and you'll forgive me if I don't take this as a cue to start a charitable foundation in his honour just yet. Daniel thanks the judges, and Dermot asks how he manages to come back every week despite the "abuse", and well, see above. Daniel cites his great family and his great mentor, and thanks everyone who voted and believed in him. He gets a standing ovation from Dannii. Everyone else looks rather bored.

Daniel's X Factor journey is, unsurprisingly, accompanied by many gratuitous shots of a teary-eyed Cheryl, and one of Dannii crying as she announces his place in her top three (perhaps because she knew what was in store?). Mariah Carey thought he was a really nice guy, so that was something. Dermot takes this opportunity to editorialise that he hopes Daniel can make something of this because he's a lovely man - and also mentioned that when he was cleaning pools, he lived in Spain. Hey, maybe he knew Ruth! Dannii says she wouldn't have made a decision and would've sent it to deadlock if she'd had to, but it never came to that, so never mind.

Next week the six remaining acts sing songs by Take That. Yawn. [But at least there'll be some songs from the last twenty years. Well, apart from Relight My Fire, Could It Be Magic, How Deep is Your Love... oh. Rad] See you then!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Ave Mariah

Live Shows week 5


Welcome back to the X Factor. Last week the X Factor finalists’ single went to number one and made Simon all smug! We had disco week and it wasn’t great but there were at least a handful of reasonable performances! Well, one or two, anyway. Austin went home despite Dead Wife Daniel being more rubbish! But we were glad because we hate him! This week it’s Mariah Carey week! Joy! It’s. Time. To. Face. The. Music.

Our judges arrive. Dannii is wearing tinsel, even though Christmas is still six weeks away, Cheryl is in a horrible peach thing. Simon is apparently #1 on Gordon Brown’s speed dial, and lies that he’s not celebrating ‘Hero’ being a hit but he’s celebrating people supporting the charity. He then bigs up The Sun a bit, which is rather horrible, but not as bad as the soldier porn in the video for that single. [Or the soldier porn that know what? Never mind. - Steve]

Dermot introduces Mariah Carey, who will apparently be singing at the start of the show tonight. This is probably a sensible move on her part, as it means she can run away before hearing them maul her back catalogue. We see a montage of Mariah clippage: skimpy outfits, warbling, the odd fast song you won’t hear tonight. She gets a big MARIAH with Carey in small capitals like the contestants, which is quite funny and makes it look like she's one of them.

She looks very skinny, wearing a black dress and enormous black high shoes. She has big messy hair, because as we all know, there are no brushes on this set. This is an incredibly boring song with no chorus and a big screechy messy bit at the end, and it’s worrying that one of the worst performances on Mariah Carey night will actually be Mariah Carey herself. It’s almost as bad as Tony Bennett the other year.

Mariah looks vacant as Dermot tries to talk to her, and plugs her E-MC2 album that’s been out ages, not her umpteen millionth greatest hits one that’s just been released, and her tour (the audience vaguely cheer that she’s coming here. Well about two of them). She’s taller than Dermot in those shoes, and he gets the hump about this. Oh, cram it, shortarse. Dermot takes the piss out of her having a Winnebago and a puppy and gets a death glare. Really, if you are going to take the mickey out of someone’s rider, choose a victim with a sense of humour, not one who’s likely to sue your pants off.

Apparently after the break, Eoghan and Ruth have to set up to the gold standard she set. I don’t think that will be too hard, even for Eoghan, if that performance was really gold standard.


Simon’s up first and says that he only has one act, but you only need one. Considering how bitter Austin and Scott have been about him in interviews lately, it’s no surprise he feels this way. Apparently Eoghan has a new baby sister, so surely this would be a good time for the British public to let him go home and be a good brother? Mariah slurs at the group that he’s got a sweet voice, and that’s his gem. Louis thinks he doesn’t have a big enough voice for the competition and I hate agreeing with him this early on in the show. He’s singing for his baby sister. WHO HAS BEEN BORN. Which I suppose is nicer than being dead.

He’s singing ‘Anytime You Need a Friend’ and gets the words wrong at on point so he sings ‘Anytime I need a friend I will be here’. To be fair, his voice is bigger than usual but it’s now got the consistency of A4 paper rather than tissue paper, so it’s hardly a huge leap. A gospel choir turn up to make him sound better, and there are loads of fireworks – in the first performance?! He was better than he usually is. But I’m not suggesting he was good.

Louis slags off his hair and says it’s a birds nest, and then ruins that burn by suggesting he’s been taking advice from Simon on hair, rather than the hairbrush phobic twins Diana and Laura. [Besides, Simon's hair is clearly modelled on a toilet brush, not a bird's nest. - Steve] [Walsh is an arse. His HAIR is the worst thing you can find to say about him? Srsly? - Carrie]

Dannii congratulates him on having a sister, because he played such a massive role in her being born and all, and says his voice was magic. Cheryl is excited he could sing in front of Mariah this week because at sixteen she couldn’t and that song shouldn’t have worked with his voice, but it did. Simon says he’s sixteen and has just had a baby girl. Then he corrects himself. He says it was his best song so far and he could have a hit record and then snarks at Louis snarking about his hair. Long. Night. Ahead.

Dermot’s suit is unbuttoned and gapy front as usual. Pies, Dermot, you need a few pies. He says that ‘Next into this steaming…. Carey couldroun, Ruth Lorenzo’.

Dannii’s excited, that the Spanish senorita is back… but apparently Ruth’s not singing in Spanish. Simon blahs about being right about the Spanish thing. Because Ruth IS SPANISH. Ruth says she struggled singing with Mariah, because of the emotion involved. She doesn’t clarify which emotion, so let’s just assume it was hysterical laughter. Louis says we’re going to feel like we’re in a wine bar in Benidorm. I’m going to start fining these judges every time a wine bar is mentioned soon.

We open with flamenco guitars, and Ruth is in a lovely red dress, with plenty of bosom, and gorgeous hair. The verse is not very enunciated. I don’t know this song I don’t think, but Joel informs me it’s ‘My All’. [I've heard it, like, once in my life. And I swear it was big gay disco when I did.-Joel]] The chorus builds, and there are a couple of screechy notes. This is a rubbish song. Ruth’s performance will probably still be better than most tonight, but it wasn’t particularly good. She looked amazing though, and I still love her.

Louis says there’s something missing - he loves the song, he loves the dress, he doesn’t finish his point (but I suspect what’s missing is his opportunity to call for regional voting) then he decides to joke it was Mariah scarey rather than Carey, and srsly, isn’t that his Daniel joke, spent too early? Cheryl says her lower key wasn’t as good as the higher, which is true, and says it wasn’t one of Ruth’s best but couches it in a million ‘I love you’s so the crowd don’t boo. Simon makes a joke about Ruth’s boobs, and I do wish she would call him on his sexual harassment, and says he likes her. Dannii thanks her and apparently Ruth’s mum’s scarf is on the seat on stage? Um? Is she dead? Apparently Ruth is also the first person on this show to ever give only 100%.

She walks off, and seriously, Love. The. Dress.

Coming up, Rachel calls the shots and sadly won’t be singing 'Call the Shots'.


Dermot congrats Eggnog’s dad and says Cheryl has had the flu. Now we come to Laura, last week she was forgettable as usual and Simon slagged her image off. Mariah thinks her voice is beautiful and didn’t given her any notes on how to improve. Laura says tonight the pressure is increased by a million, and double that cause she’s playing piano. I think Laura might just be edging ahead in the game of ridiculous percentages.

She’s singing ‘Endless Love’, which is a DUET. She’s also finally had her hair done! Bring out the bunting! [Unfortunately, the stylist still hates her because she still looks like she's the size of a house. - Steve]

She’s sitting behind a big red piano, and sounds a little subdued, and as usual, sounds better when singing normally and not cat-like. There are big projected arch things on stage and dry ice, and it’s all very dramatic and I keep expecting Rhydian to turn up. She gets up and SCREECHES the hell out of the rest of the song and it’s really unpleasant. I keep hearing all this stuff from the judges about Laura’s brilliance and I have yet to hear it. Sure the girl can sing, when she stops putting on an affected voice, but she sure as hell needs a lot of training. [And to learn how to sing the beginnings and the ends of words, not just the middles. Her enunciation is worse than Leon's. - Steve] [I would be interested to see inside that piano. Any hammers, strings, dampers, anything like that? Or was it all off-stage playing, similar to JLS's harmonising last week? - Carrie]

Louis liked it, Dannii said her confidence was growing and if Mariah saying ‘no notes’ on performance didn’t do it for her, nothing will. Notice how Dannii makes no comment on the actual performance. Simon bitches about her style and says tonight was one of her weakest performances. Cheryl goes apoplectic and stops making sense and babbles. Oh, Cheryl. Please don’t turn into Louis.

Next up, it’s Rachel – last week she blew. If she doesn’t get through, she will feel really bad for her children. Because they’d rather she acted like a diva on telly than be a good mum or anything. She’s fed up of people telling her what to do, she’s allegedly done what everyone’s asked her to do (conveniently forgetting she chose to do ‘Dirty Diana’ and its not working). Dannii says Rachel’s doing things her way because this is her children’s future and she needs to make her own decisions. Simon lies that an artist has never decided to do this on their own. Well, apart from when the Conway Sisters sacked him and got better overnight. Mariah has also had issues with authority, too, apparently, so she can identify with Rachel.

Rachel’s hair is a bit longer, and over her face, and is wearing this horrible dres that looks like one of those dolls who cover toilet rolls wear, only it’s black. She’s singing ‘Against All Odds’, which, like ‘Endless Love’, is not actually a Mariah song anyway. She sounds a bit subdued, and screeches a lot, frequently losing her acquaintance with the tune. She sounds bored as hell, and lovey, when you make us long for Steve Brookstein’s version, you know it’s all going wrong.

Louis says people at home shouldn’t hate on her (even though she was shit), Cheryl says she seems emotional (but was shit). Rachel pretends to wipe a tear. Simon likes her and hopes the public give her another chance (even though she was shit). Dannii says this weak was a massive leap for everyone and clarifies they work together each week and the VT was all lies about their relationship and then she lies that it was a great performance. Rachel cries and tiny Dermot says she seems very subdued. And she does, she clearly doesn’t seem right, and it’s all very uncomfortable.

Ads. Apparently Wikipedia says that it’s ‘R&B/hip-hop’ next week. Whilst this is clearly lies, hearing some Warren G, or Beastie Boys, or Salt ‘n’ Pepa, or N*E*R*D* would be great fun. Sadly you know it would all be drippy R&B ballads, but we can dream.

Cheryl is not looking good, and is about to introduce someone who’s had a terrible week. TERRIBLE. It’s my Diana Vickers. We see footage of her looking like hell in bed, but still wearing a ton of eye make-up. Heh. She has laryngitis but as if they’ll let her have a week off. She didn’t get to meet Mariah and squeaks and sounds very ill, but then it all gets overblown and X-factored. And ZOMG! She has SEVERE laryngitis and isn’t even performing! Wow, this is the first case of the show ever being nice to a contestant. [And indeed the audience. - Steve] And probably only cos she’s a favourite. Joel isn’t best impressed about her being sad about her free pass to next week, but he can elaborate here. [It was just so disingenuous. 'She r so DEVASTATED to not sing and get a guaranteed pass to next week! It's killing her inside!' And you know. When you're picking out something in the X Factor as too disingenous to overlook, you're in pretty bad territory.

JML Direct are next. Louis bitches that they are definitely here, and yet if he got laryngitis, he’d milk it for all the sympathy he could get. Cretin. JML are excited about having their hair and make up done for the video. Lulz. The tall, vaguely fit one who doesn’t have stupid hair any more seems to think Mariah fancies him. They flirt with her a bit. She pretends to find it cute and orders a restraining order.

They’re doing ‘One Sweet Day’. And DWD missed a trick, there. Sadly, NotLouis has been a bit restrained and there are no background photos of dead people. [Seriously, where was NotLouis this week? Admittedly I only remembered he was even connected to this show when he popped up on The Xtra Factor afterwards, but with hindsight it was odd not to have him pop up in a VT pointing out how if someone didn't turn in a good performance they might go home. - Steve] Sadface. I blame Peter Kay’s ‘R Nan’ montage for this. Without that, we could have had Niki’s dead dad, and Nikita’s dead mum, and Daniel’s dead wife, and all the dead soldiers on the wall. Dry ice! Key change! Fireworks! Choirs! Westlife waistcoats. Boo. Suppose they were better than most tonight but were still blah. Whilst I love THEM, their performances have yet to be particularly great.

Dannii loves them. Cheryl tells them not to let Louis turn them into Westlife. Louis says Westlife have had more hits than Girls Aloud, which, not in anyway the point, and also, Westlife, 23 top tens since 1999; GA 19 top tens since 2003. GA have also had a number one very recently, and Westlife haven’t had one since 2006. So cram it. Simon bitches about her daring to slag off Westlife and says she hasn’t got a clue. Louis and Cheryl bitch at each other and then Louis says ‘in the words of Barack Obama (who robbed them off Bob the Builder, as my friend pointed out), can we win it? Yes we can. Oh. No. He. Didn’t. Dermot is completely horrified and all ‘he did not!’ [Srsly. What the hell was that? Just... because they're black? Because you think the X Factor as important as the presidency? On what planet is that an all right thing to say?-Joel]

The ads forget to appear for a minute, which is rather exciting.

Next up, Daniel. Everyone thinks he’s shit! And so do we! But he keeps getting through! He wants to make Dannii proud. Not his dead wife? Yvie says he does well until the key change and then it all turns to shit. Although nice Yvie would never say shit. Mariah gave him some good feedback apparently.

There are TREES projected onto the stage. Simon pulls a face as it begins, but the’s done that with everyone this week. And this series. Simon, if you hate doing this show so much these days, just take the exec producer salary and let someone else do the judging. Oh, and also? Stop picking such silly theme weeks of fail.

What is this song? It’s boring as hell. It’s called ‘Open Arms’ apparently. [Also not originally a Mariah song, it was originally by Journey. Jesus, they might as well just declare it Kidz Bop week or something. - Steve] Cripes, this is dull. He’s performing it vaguely competently, but that’s not enough to make anyone care. Mariah’s latest best greatest hits of all time ever has nosedived in the sales as everyone watching goes ‘sod this, I’ll just download ‘Vision of Love’, ‘Dreamlover’ and the Christmas one and ignore the rest, cos they’re a right bag of old shite’.

Louis says he’s not going to win, Cheryl lies that he’s got his mojo back, even though his dead wife wasn’t mentioned once. Simon says for him it wasn’t bad, presumably to stop him getting the sympathy vote.

Cherly has chosen Alexandra the bestest ever Mariah Carey song. Except, as we shall soon see, it’s not actually a Mariah song. Mariah lies she’s now friends with Alexandra. Simon lies that this week will make her or break her. Not when she’s up against an even bigger pile of bobbins than Michael Jackson week, it won’t.

She’s singing fucking ‘Without You’ because this show has no originality at all. Again Dead Wife Daniel should have been doing this one. Projected chandeliers! TIMPANII ROLLS! FEEL THE DRAMA! Dry ice! A choir! She’s by far the best of the night, but still, it was hardly a good night.

Louis says she was the best of the night. Simon says you’re 19 years old and she says ‘I’m 20 now’ and he gets the hump and actually says ‘yeah whatever’. He liked it though, as did Cheryl.

And that, my friends, made even Michael Jackson week look like a good idea.

Results Show

Welcome back. Apparently the remaining acts raised their game. Well only if that game was ‘Go For Broke’, where you have to lose everything to win. Which reminds me of one of the theme weeks we would like to see implemented: songs by former soap stars week. (Kylie, Delta and Dannii for the good ones; Jason and, um, Martine McCutcheon for the middling ones, Nick Berry and Sid Owen for the losers. Seriously, that would be so good. Think about it: ‘Mona’, ‘Torn’, ‘Too Many Broken Hearts’, ‘Every Loser Wins’, ‘Perfect Moment’, ‘Don’t it Make You Feel Good’... it would be amazing.)

Recap of earlier: Most of them sucked! But Mariah was even worse! Her back catalogue apparently has a right load of old shite in it (apart from the cover versions)!

We’re reminded that ‘our’ X Factor finalists are at number 1 and this is the woman who wrote the song. Mariah is back, in a browny dress, boobs akimbo, hair still a bit messy. She is singing live. This is probably not a good thing as her famous powerful voice sounds a bit weak. Stop warbling, Carey. The weakest wind machine ever blows tiny ripples. She has backing singers that aren’t even the contestants, which has little point. The tambourine and clarinet are distractingly loud. The contestants come out for the final chorus and don’t even have mics or sing live – they’re not even miming to their own voices. It’s all very silly and rubbish.

The contestants go off and there’s a funny bit where Mariah tries to leave and Dermot has to stop her and ask if she has a favourite and she says they all were shining, because she has clearly been in a dressing room doing something other than watching this shower of shite earlier. Mariah admits she doesn’t watch the show and then says, very loudly, BECAUSE I DON’T LIVE IN THIS COUNTRY to stop the audience booing. Heh. Simon says she’s the biggest star in the world. I think Barack Obama would dispute this. And the Queen. And Madonna. And Brad Pitt. And Angelina Jolie. And, well, a whole bunch of other people. He fawns some more. [Seriously, I loved how Mariah could not have given less of a shit about this show or the contestants. Team Mariah! - Steve]

The phone lines are closed, ads.

The results are in, and safe: Rachel. Shit. That means Ruth is probably in the bottom two then. JML. Alexandra. Eggnog. I assume the next one safe will be Laura, but it’s DANIEL. DANIEL?

I want Laura to go. Bye Ruth.

Louis is all cunty going ‘hi girls’ to the two best official mentors in this thing, which, you still lost two acts in the first two weeks, Walsh, so really.

Ruth is doing ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’. Likes her rock, does Ruth. And she’s good at it. Dannii, please take note. Laura is doing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and such obvious-uninspired-judgey-crowdy-pleasing-vom-bollocks can fuck off. She’s doing it for her grandad. We do not have clarification on whether he is dead or not.

Ruth rocks it, of course, and is so doomed. Laura mixes her whiny cat voice and her good natural voice. This is better than I thought it would be and the big note at the end is good. But still, Ruth over Laura any day.

Simon says neither should have been in the bottom two and then he sends home Laura and shocks me. Cheryl thought they both sang fantastic, because she speaks English as well as Simon, and sends home Ruth. Dannii says it’s been a tense night and everyone did brilliantly, because she can use the English language, even if she can’t tell the truth, and that both performances were brilliant.

Louis says the sing-off was unbelievable and both were great and he loves them both and he picks the person with the most fight (which is Ruth but I’m feeling he’ll pick Laura and send it to deadlock). He sends home Laura. WOW. [HOORAY! - Steve] [WOOHOO! Even though she's probably never going to win now, I just hope she gets to rock a bit more. If we're stuck with best of British week, she really has to do Queen's The Show Must Go On. And I won't rest until I hear her sing some Pat Benatar. Also, I love how she kept saying 'I'm so SORRY!' to Laura. Sweet girl.-Joel]

Ruth and Laura cry. We see Laura’s best bits: lots of bad hair, histrionics and overpraising. The odd good vocal and lots of oversinging and cat impressions. The judges fawning over her.

Next week, we’re not told of the theme, but Leona will be here to show these bitches how it’s done.