Disco week: 1st November 2008
Last week: the competition was hotter than ever (lie). Louis called someone "absolutely world-class" (and here the shot cuts to Eoghan, even though he actually said it to Laura, so: lie), and the final 12 launched their charity single (except Ruth and Daniel were stuck behind a door somewhere, so: lie) which captured the hearts of the nation (I am in this nation, it did not capture my heart, so: lie). Tonight is disco night, about which I'm oddly excited! Well, perhaps "excited" is stretching it, but at least disco night is seldom dull, even if it is often shit. Simon reminds us he's not out of the competition yet, Dannii has still got three contestants and isn't planning to lose any, Cheryl considers this the hardest week so far, and Louis knows JLB8 will be GR8 tonight. It's time to face the music! And Louis says we'll see some car crashes on that stage tonight, which: duh.
'That's The Way I Like It' makes a nice change from 'O Fortuna', and the doors open on Dermot pulling possibly the most half-arsed Travolta pointy-finger impression I have ever seen. Dermot: "For our nine remaining finalists, it is quite literally murder on the dancefloor." Remember that, folks. If there isn't at least one bloody corpse on the stage by the end of the night (preferably Laura), be sure to phone ITV and complain in the strongest possible terms until Dermot and a senior channel executive have been forced to resign. You'll get an extra ten points if your outrage makes the front page of the Daily Mail. Anyway, Dermot introduces "SC and the Sunshine Band", aka the judges, and a brief snippet of 'O Fortuna' seques into 'YMCA'. Dresswatch: Dannii is wearing some weird ruched Chinese-print sort of thing (seriously, it defies description) and Cheryl is wearing something which looks like plastic/vinyl/a bin liner, and has a slit up each side to the top of her thighs. Cheryl, Cheryl, Cheryl. Please fire your stylist.
The judges take their seats, and Dermot declares "life doesn't get better than watching Louis dance to YMCA!" Oh, Dermot. Your life makes me feel very sad. Dermot tells us the 'Hero' single is "on course" to be both number one "on Saturday" (you mean Sunday, Dermot) and the fastest-selling single of the year. Surely if it's on course to being the fastest-selling single of the year, it's a dead-cert to be number one? I dunno, I'm just splitting hairs here. Anyway, Louis Walsh is fiddling around with something in his pockets before he sits down. Draw your own conclusions. Simon thanks everyone who supported the record and dismisses Dermot's cautious statistic-giving by saying it WILL be number one tomorrow and it WILL be one of the fastest-selling songs of all time. Gordon Brown is apparently wiping off the VAT, so the retailers are giving away their profits, and Britain is the place to be right now. No, seriously, he says all of that. [I could think of several reasons Britain is not the place to be right now, and this show would feature high on that list - Rad]
Will Young will be here later - a picture of Will appears behind Dermot and Dermot gets a bit aroused by it. Dannii kicks off proceedings with Rachel, and we see her kicking all kinds of ass last week on 'Feeling Good', though her VT package chooses to select probably the worst three seconds of the entire performance. Seriously: show us the bit where she puts Harold Pinter to shame with the pause she leaves before the final note; THAT's the best bit of the song. Rachel was pleased with her feedback, and tells us how they all got to go to the premiere of Quantum of Solace this week. Rachel couldn't believe she was at a premiere, and was doubly ecstatic to know there's a song in the charts with her voice on it. "I don't want it to end!" Rachel tells the cameras. "I need to win The X Factor now!" Heh. Rachel was also very excited to have a masterclass with Will Young, who thinks Rachel is wonderful, and who also sounds gayer with each passing second, bless him. Will advises her to tame her vocal a bit to give light and shade to the song, and Rachel describes the encounter as "inspiring", because that could be her in a few years. Y'know, if she has a sex change and develops a severe case of vitiligo. Dannii says that Rachel's going to prove she's here to stay, and Rachel wants to prove she's a contender. What, no insert from NotLouis saying how if she messes it up, she could be going home?
Rachel is singing 'Lost In Music', and has been given a deeply unflattering hairdo (wig?) that makes her forehead look HUGE. The first line of the first verse doesn't happen, and I can't say for sure whether it's because she's forgotten the words or because she just wasn't holding the mic close enough to her mouth. Anyway, apparently G-A-Y is half-empty tonight because NotLouis has a bunch of high-street hipsters and shirtless men in angel wings as Rachel's backing dancers. Some of her adlibs rather miss the mark from a tuning point of view, but she gets her trademark "woo!" in, which is always nice to know, and she continues to adlib even after the song is over and while the audience is applauding, because she's a loose cannon like that.
Louis is not sure about the song choice and declares it "pretty average". Cheryl asks what happened on the first note and Rachel admits she went blank (that answers that one, then). Cheryl says she recovered in the second half and it was the perfect song for her (not really). Simon says that everything he loved about Rachel disappeared tonght: it was clumsy and gimmicky and she looked uncomfortable. He calls it "one of your worst performances", and says it's a track, not a singer's song. Where was this distinction when he called 'With Every Heartbeat' a piece of shit, eh? [Also - With Every Heartbeat might have worked quite well this week. Or is that just me? - Rad] Dannii says she knew Simon would hate it, and tells Rachel that messing up your lyrics happens to "the best of every singer around the world, even the very very best". I think not saying "the best of us" was probably a wise move there, Dannii. Rachel tries to apologise, and Dannii tells her to forget about it, because the audience loved it. Dannii says that disco is a hard week.
Dermot arrives and says that he never thought he'd hear Louis Walsh call hunky angel dancers average (which: talk about the hairdresser calling the ballet dancer fey), and Louis tries to attract Dermot's attention several times, while Dermot ignores him and talks to Rachel instead. Good boy, Dermot. Although you could've avoided that whole situation, which diverts the audience's attention away from Rachel, by not making a pointless and unnecessary nelly joke in the first place. Anyway, Rachel's all "whatever". She cops to the lyrical fuckup, but she really enjoyed it.
After the break: Austin tries to melt our hearts, and Diana tackles a Blondie belter. Sweet Jesus.
Dermot tries to convince us that Simon secretly loves disco, and Simon's all "eh, I quite like it". Austin's next, and we flash back to his mediocre performance of 'Mack The Knife'. Austin, Alexandra and Daniel go into HMV to gawp at their single. Austin is very excited to buy his first single. Also his last single, but he doesn't know that. Austin goes to the premiere and is very excited, and says that to lose it would make him a big giant woobie, or something. Simon thinks this week's song is possibly the best they've ever chosen for him, and an unconvinced-looking Will says Austin has a lovely tone to his voice, and we see Will in the masterclass telling Austin to think about the lyrics and relate to them emotionally. NotLouis says that if Austin doesn't command the performance, it's going to be awkward to watch. His soundbites just get more and more informative, don't they? Louis thinks Austin could be in trouble this week. Simon prays it works.
Austin is singing Rose Royce's 'Wishing On A Star' - BADLY. [Seriously. It rivalled Billie Jean for a 'mine ears' moment - Rad] The song's too high for him, and no amount of noodling around the notes is going to disguise that. He has dancers stood on podiums around the stage who come to life when he touches them, which was way better when Same Difference did it last year. And then Austin's performance is over, hooray!
Louis didn't like the song choice, and thinks Austin isn't connecting with the public. He says "there's a likeability missing somewhere". God, on this show? Where do you start? [I find it funny that Louis deems himself the expert on what constitutes likeability. - Carrie] Dannii loved the production and the vocals, and advises Austin to enjoy himself. Cheryl thought the song was stunning, and applauds NotLouis for his choreography. NotLouis is sitting in the audience wearing a stupid sleeveless top and a stupid hat and applauding himself stupidly. Jackass. Cheryl reminds Austin to make more of an emotional connection with the song. Simon tells us that Austin was distracted because he has the hots for one of the dancers. BECAUSE HE IS NOT GAY! HE IS SO VERY HETEROSEXUAL! HE WAS CHASING PUSSY WHEN HE WAS FIVE! HE'S GOT TWELVE RESTRAINING ORDERS, ALL FROM MEMBERS OF THE FEMALE SEX! We're all clear that Austin's heterosexual now, right? Simon's all "well, you're in trouble if you've got a girlfriend", like we weren't all told in capital letters that Austin had a girlfriend a few weeks back. Simon liked it, but still doesn't think we've seen the best of Austin.
Cheryl thanks "everyone that's went out and supported the heroes" (oh dear) and says she doesn't mind being knocked off the number one spot for this cause only, before laughing feebly, just so we know that in all other circumstances being knocked off number one is SRS BSNS. First up from the girls is Diana Vickers. Last week she managed to be understated while ON A GIANT FUCKING SWING. We see her backstage weeping because she thought she was in the bottom two, and she feels less and less confident as things go on. Has she not looked at the bookies' odds lately? Little Diana From Blackburn (sigh) enjoyed the premiere [there's a film coming out? Dear God why did no-one tell me? - Rad], and Gemma Arterton makes me hate her by likening Diana to Kate Bush. Diana still does not possess a hairbrush, and is worried about the high note in her song for this week. Will tells her she can do it and not to be afraid. Simon says that Diana and disco is a tough combination, but Cheryl thinks Diana will surprise everybody.
Diana is dressed like an extra from Fame and indeed surprises everybody by WEARING SHOES! Wow. She's singing 'Call Me' by Blondie, which is not disco in any way, but nice try Cheryl. Oh shitting Christ, she has dancers on rollerskates. Did NotLouis not learn anything from last year? True to form, one of the dancers almost falls over as she skates on. Diana is still doing her enforced kookiness on the song, but if I'm honest, I don't hate her quite as much this week. Maybe because having a song with a lively backing track for a change detracts from how annoying her vocal affectations are? Anyway, let's just say this is the most bearable I've found her and leave it at that. She makes the high note without too much trouble, although to be honest she just shouts it. She looks very gleeful to have finished the song. [She did fine, the kookiness is annoying but she toned it down a bit. I'm still on the fence about her, but erring on the side of quite liking. The shots up her crotch, though? Did. Not. Want. - Rad]
Louis doesn't think Blondie is disco (Blondie can be disco, just not this song) and says he wants to see her dance at some point. Dannii says that disco and Diana should not mix, and the audience boo because they really are criminally stupid and couldn't see where this was going. Dannii says as much to them and completes her sentence by saying that it worked well and really suited her. Simon criticises the dancing, and NotLouis looks DISGUSTED behind him. Simon then goes on to compliment Diana's performance, at which point NotLouis The Camerawhore starts scowling and waggling his finger behind Simon, making it look like he's disagreeing with Simon's positive appraisal of Diana's singing. Idiot. Simon says it was the best performance so far, and says Diana is proving herself to be a very adaptable singer. I think that's pushing it a bit, but never mind. Cheryl says Diana gets better and better and tells Louis it's not a dancing competition. "My acts dance!" says Louis, and Cheryl sadly does not correct him by advising him not to use the plural there, but instead says Diana is versatile. Dermot asks Simon if he fell over on rollerskates as a child (because apparently every dislike on this show must be related to a childhood trauma) and Simon makes the perfectly reasonable observation that all attempts to incorporate skating into the routines on this show have ultimately resulted in colossal suckitude.
Laura and Daniel next. Just for a bit of background, on my first viewing of the show, this is what drove me into the kitchen to start cooking dinner because I just couldn't face DevilChild and DeadWife in direct succession.
Post-adverts, we return to the over-25s and "soul man" Daniel Evans. Last week he was in the singoff, invoked his dead wife, and survived to tell the tale. In his VT, Daniel whines that Louis has never had a good word to say about him, despite the fact that Louis had the casting vote last week and opted to send the other guy home, so whatever. Daniel can't believe "after all the abuse" that Louis saved him. Abuse? Fuck off. Daniel is very excited to be at the premiere, etc etc. Simon is derogatory about Daniel doing disco. Will finds Daniel a nervous patient, and advises Daniel to control his breathing to hide his nerves. Will is actually a pretty good mentor. Louis warns that Daniel hasn't won him over yet.
Daniel is singing 'Don't Leave Me This Way' [And misses a trick by not dedicating it to his wife - Rad] in that hideous lounge-singer way of his [He IS Vic Reeves' club singer - Rad], sounding worryingly like Johnny Bravo. He has spangly dancing girls, but this does not detract from the fact that his performance is dreadful. Is his singing what Dermot was referring to earlier when he promised murder on the dancefloor? Dannii gives him a standing ovation; the other judges do not. Louis says that he hated the whole thing, and calls it "cruise ship". Cheryl tells Daniel to stop taking the criticism to heart, because it's not even half what he'd get as a recording artist (oooh, BURN!). Cheryl then earns my ire by saying she'd rather Daniel enjoyed himself and hit a few bum notes than had a miserable time and stayed in tune, because this is an entertainment show. And are we not entertained? Simon tells Daniel it was once of the worst performances they've had on the show, because of the "ghastly choreography" [Simon is after NotLouis's head on a plate this week - Rad], the winking, the interaction with the dancers, etc. "This has got to stop," says Simon, and I can only hope he's talking about the whole show. Dermot arrives on stage too early and Daniel begs him for help; in response, Dermot reminds him that Dannii still has to speak. Dannii thought that Simon's comments weren't funny and that this song suited Daniel's voice. Dermot then asks Simon and Louis to change the record for one week (shameless attempt to appear "the voice of the people" in the manner of Len Goodman) and then says that Daniel is 10 years older than most of the other contestants and therefore disco is not going to be his natural week, a comment which makes not one lick of sense. Simon's response is "Tom Jones", and I kind of give up trying to make sense of the show at this point. Simon clarifies that he wasn't criticising Daniel's voice, just what he was made to do. SO FIRE BRIAN FRIEDMAN ALREADY. Seriously: this shit could be solved so easily. Daniel gives Dannii props for keeping his morale boosted after all the abuse he suffers every week, and then he's gone, which would be a blessed relief if it weren't for...
Laura. Who was shit last week, and got praised to high heaven for it regardless. Cheryl was choked up when Laura sang last week. Me too, from the vomiting. You will, I'm sure, be ASTOUNDED to hear that Laura of the contrived credibility is Edith Bowman's favourite contestant. Shocking, I know. I'm surprised that the mere act of watching a show about manufacturing popstars doesn't cause Edith Bowman to burst into flames, but maybe that's just wishful thinking. Laura is very excited to have her voice on a single. She mentions that things have been written about her in the papers (like how she's dating the guy who runs ApplauseStore?) and then goes to see Will, who says that she was having an off day, and massages her ego a bit.
Remember how I said earlier that I was driven to the kitchen by this show last night? Well, at this point I was still there, toiling over a hot wok, and on hearing the first note of this song, I was so incensed that I ran into the living room and yelled to my boyfriend and flatmate, "oh, she is NOT singing 'Somebody Else's Guy'!", which is pretty much the gayest thing I have ever done. Seriously, I was a z-snap and a "get it gurl" away from being Jack McFarland. Anyway, yes, Laura is singing 'Somebody Else's Guy', a song I love, and is oversinging it in that horrid, horrid scratchy voice of hers. To add insult to injury, the performance is utterly lifeless and as the song hits the second verse, she pays even less regard to tuning than usual. Ugh.
Louis says that she was incredible last week, and this week she did a difficult song perfectly. STOP ENCOURAGING HER. Dannii tells her she shouldn't be able to do that at her age. She shouldn't be doing that AT ANY AGE, because it's awful. Simon says it was a fantastic vocal, but it felt forced (THANK YOU) and says she's not connecting her performance and her look, emotionally. He says that compared to Diana, who's growing as a performer, Laura isn't quite the full package yet. The audience responds this useful and constructive criticism with a round of boos, naturally. Cretins. Cheryl asks Laura if she was comfortable with how she looks tonight, and Laura says yes, and Cheryl considers the matter resolved, missing the point "by a clear mile", as Simon would say. Cheryl calls it Laura's most fun performance, and given that it felt like having a lung removed by a rusty butter knife without anaesthetic, that's quite a good indication of how awful her other performances have been. Cheryl says she loved it and she did work hard with Laura, thank you very much. Cheryl's kind of defensive, y'know.
Coming up: Eoghan takes on some Manilow magic (wow, wonder what that could be?) and Ruth takes on a song previously sung by Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand. Well, at least Ruth is a light at the end of the tunnel, I guess.
We're back with Simon and the last of the boys: Eoghan. His horrendous performance last week got rave reviews, and Eoghan says it was a change to enjoy himself on the stage. I don't think he meant that quite how it came out. We are reminded that he is from a tiny village in Ireland where nothing ever happens and they only got electricity ten minutes ago and they don't have entertainment or theatres or popstars or anything like that. Eoghan goes to a premiere, sees Daniel Craig, excitement, etc etc. Do we really need one of these for EVERY contestant? Louis is not sure that disco is Eoghan's thing. Eoghan says he has never performed a disco song in his life, which began twenty minutes ago. Will says that Eoghan has a softer (ie. shitter) voice than the others, which doesn't mean it's a worse voice (yes it does), just that it's different (by virtue of being the weakest). NotLouis has given Eoghan a leading lady to dance with, which apparently makes Eoghan forget his words. Simon is very confident about the performance. Eoghan is hoping it all falls into place tonight. The bionic eye thing they do in the intros is really creepy.
Eoghan is singing 'Could It Be Magic', of course, and his voice is still barely strong enough to fluff a pillow. NotLouis has also employed two unfortunate guys to be Eoghan's "friends", which I'm sure he doesn't have in his tiny village in Ireland, and trying to act normal around them makes Eoghan look like a puppet with severed strings. And then the Leading Lady comes on, and Eoghan barely acknowledges her at all. All the while, he's dreadfully flat and the strain in his voice is showing. And then it's over, wheeeeee! [I still feel the same way about Eoghan's performances as I did when he sang 'Ben' - the kid looks so uncomfortable, and I bet there's a pushy parent somewhere forcing him to do this show, because he sure doesn't ever seem to enjoy being on the stage - Rad]
Louis says Eoghan has the cute factor and every mother will vote for him. So he's basically Eoin McLove, to no one's surprise. Louis expects to see him in the final, and sadly, so do I. Dannii says that Eoghan tackled an era that he wasn't even alive during and made it current by way of High School Musical and Britannia High, which: no. Unless I missed the part in that routine where he tried to be a brainaic and be in the school play, while Ashley Tisdale's Nose plotted his demise in the background. Cheryl says that last week was wow, whereas this week was cute. She too thinks it was High School Musical (why? How? What? Blerg?) and that he looked uncomfortable, with which Simon disagrees. Simon thinks it was a brilliant song choice for him, and that it was a brilliant performance, despite a few bum notes. He says that Eoghan has got guts, which is good, I guess. Eoghan tells Dermot he is growing in confidence each week and Dermot goes "awwww LOOK AT THE WIDDLE FACE!" or something to that effect.
Ruth is next, and was great last week, where she said she felt like a movie star - Jessica Rabbit, to be precise. Hee. Ruth also went to the Bond premiere, and was very excited to have people shouting her name. [What they didn't show us is that she met Dame Judi Dench who said Ruth was her favourite and she's been voting for her. Dame Judi Dench has spoken, nation. - Rad] Ruth hasn't been well this week, and struggles during her masterclass with Will. She's scared it will affect her performance this week. She's worried because all of the other girls are such good singers.
Ruth is singing 'Enough Is Enough', and the beginning is kind of rough and poorly enunciated, with the strain showing on the high note. She's kind of lifeless on the stage, too, but her singing improves greatly as the tempo rises. It's not her best performance on the show, by a long way, but it's probably one of the better performances tonight, and I think this was a great song choice for her because the kind of ridiculous bombast suits Ruth very well.
Louis thinks she picked a hard song, and that the other four girls in the competition are better than she is. Cheryl loves the belief in Ruth's performances, but points out that Ruth is FROM SPAIN and therefore doesn't have a region or a city that's voting for her (hee!), and is therefore being kept in for her talent alone. Simon says he can't argue with the passion there, and that he felt like he was being dumped. Ruth finds this hilarious, bless her. Simon isn't sure that Ruth's the best singer, but that no one tries harder than she does - she's a fighter, and he hopes the public keeps her in. There then follows an extremely odd moment where Dannii accuses Louis of stealing Ruth's red dress from last week, and Louis is all "yes, Simon asked me to get it for him, ho ho!" and Dannii's all, "idk, but it went missing!" and it's all very odd. Dannii says that Ruth did fantastically despite all the adversity. Ruth wants to thank the British public for keeping her in and giving her this opportunity, and also tonight her family is here. Aww.
More adverts. Nearly there, everyone, don't stop now!
Back from the break, and judging by his attempts at conversing with the audience, Dermot's been swigging from his hipflask. Alexandra's next, and everyone loved her 'Candyman' last week. This week has been her best week so far, because people want their picture taken with her, and also she got to to the Bond premiere. She ran up and harassed Judi Dench, who looks slightly bemused by the whole experience. Cheryl says Alex's song is the best disco song of all time, and Alex is excited to have hot male dancers. Will advises her not to belt too much to avoid raspiness, to start at 70% to give her somewhere to go. Alexandra wants to make it to the end.
Alexandra is singing 'On The Radio', and is dressed in some kind of chain-mail outfit. One of her shirtless male dancers has some really tacky tattoos (which is a bit of an oxymoron), and the camera seems to be paying more attention to them than it is to her. Alexandra's oversinging a tad, but I think her connection to the camera and audience is much better this week, and the bit where she spontaneously scats at the end is hilariously brilliant.
Louis says that last week was amazing, and that she performed brilliantly this week. He also says that Simon is still wearing platforms from the disco era, which is a pathetic attempt at a put-down and bafflingly irrelevant, much like Louis himself, so we'll move on. Oh, and he praises NotLouis's choreography, which was pretty much strut-strut-strut-strut all the way through, but he couldn't have been distracted from that by the greased up male dancers, could he? Dannii tells Alexandra that the best and most successful acts are the ones who can do big tours, and that tonight's performance made it clear that she would put on a heckuva show. Simon stumbles over his words a little bit but eventually calls her the most improved performer over the past two weeks and says that something has now clicked with her. He still doesn't understand why Louis didn't put her through three years ago, to which Louis's response is that that was the year Shayne won, so he did her a favour, really. So, if I follow it correctly, Louis's logic is that she wouldn't have won because someone else did. What, exactly, would have been the alternative? To have called the whole thing off? To have handed the recording contract to an empty space where a person might have been standing? Actually, both of those would've been preferable to Shayne winning, but I digress. Simon says that Louis is on his period [which is rich coming from him with the mood he's been in all series - Rad], and brings the whole thing back to Alexandra, FINALLY. Cheryl says Alexandra gets stronger every week, and she's starting to believe it and enjoy herself now.
Dermot arrives and says that from a layman's point of view, he doesn't think it was camp enough. Do you mean from a layman's point of view, Dermot, or from a gayman's point of view? Alexandra says that she feels more confident after last week because she's learnt to enjoy herself, since she doesn't know how long it's going to last. And then, brilliantly, as Alexandra walks off: a shot of Shayne Ward, sitting in the audience, looking vaguely annoyed. HA!
Finally: JLB8, who are apparently the best group we've ever had on the show, hotly contested field though it is. They enjoyed Big Band week, and Louis thinks that Simon is only criticising them because he is JUS JELASS. Louis claims there is a real buzz surrounding the boys, which I doubt, but never mind. They - guess what? - had fun at the Bond premiere, and Will thinks their voices blend perfectly. He thought they were fun and professional, and tells them to match the moves to the voice, not the voice to the moves. One of them invokes the dread phrase "vocal harmony group". NotLouis says he's stripped down the performance so it's just about the singing (read: at this point, could not be arsed to choreograph anything) and adds that if we don't hear a perfect vocal, they'll go home. DRINK! Louis thinks Simon will have nothing to criticise this week.
They're singing 'Working My Way Back To You', and it is painfully obvious that the three who are not Aston are being overwhelmed by the offstage backing singers in the exact same way that Phoebe's Woo Woo Girls were last year. They're all wearing ear monitors in both ears, which looks slightly weird and creepy, but it's a good performance - solid, but not overwhelming. Dannii says that song suited them so well, and that it was the performance they knew would come when the boys first auditioned. She then reminds them not to get overshadowed by the backing singers, which I would say is a comment that needs to be directed to the sound supervisor rather than to the acts themselves, but hey, at least it was said. Cheryl says they're the best group ever on the show, and that it's important to know who should take the lead, and that giving the lead to Aston was the right choice. Simon says they're back in the race, and that it's a sign of maturity that they allowed "this" to happen tonight, and it was the first night he could see them getting into the final and becoming recording artists. Oh, and it was their best performance by a clear (not country) mile. Louis reminds us that they are BEST BAND EVAR and demands that we vote - though admittedly, he does not specify for whom. The group are very happy with the comments, and away we go.
Simon thanks all the team, particularly NotLouis (in other words, NotLouis had a snit fit during the ad break that his l33t choreography skills were being ridiculed and threatened to do a Sharon if Simon didn't issue a retraction) and says that Will was great with "the kids" [At which Dead Wife Daniel splutters, well, probably- Rad], as though this is a surprise.
The lines open, and we get our obligatory video recap: Rachel being entirely forgettable, Austin surrounded by buxom beauties and barely able to contain his erection because he is so amazingly heterosexual, Diana neatly sidestepping the theme but being surprisingly bearable, Daniel being neither use nor ornament, Laura cutting open a vein, bleeding onto the stage and making a sacrifice to our dread lord Satan, Eoghan looking more awkward than a casting director who's just found himself unwittingly standing next to Jessica Simpson, Ruth being fierce, Alexandra embracing her inner disco diva, and JLB8 attempting to make themselves audible over people who are not visible.
Dermot corrects his previous flub over JLB8's phone number (X FACTOR VOTING SCANDAL!) and bids us farewell for now.
Also: does ITV not have anything worth trailing right now other than Britannia High, Katie & Peter and I'm a Celebrity? I feel like I've seen those trails enough to last me a lifetime.
A very sombre Dermot welcomes us back as the acts all stand in a line, looking like they're awaiting sentencing. Somebody is going home. It's time. To face. The music.
Why does Dermot punctuate every sentence by pointing at the ceiling and staring at the ground? It's very disconcerting. Will Young will be performing later on, and we will of course have the results. We get the same recap again, and nothing's changed, obviously, so we'll move right along.
Dermot plugs the live tour for next year, and introduces Will Young, pretending as he has done all night that the only thing of note Will has ever done when he had a fight with Simon live on ITV. Indeed, this is the first thing we see on his VT, with Simon's hair looking hilariously bouffant. This is followed by the moment he was revealed as the winner of Pop Idol, the expression on both his and Gareth's faces being an endless source of amusement to me. Ten top 10 singles, eight million records sold, winner of two Brit awards (which feels like a rather lame statistic to me) - Will Young. He's singing his new single 'Grace', and at some point over the past few years he's developed a worrying habit of giving the camera a glassy, empty stare while he's singing. It's one of the more obvious single choices from the new album, but it's no 'Disconnected', quite frankly. Still, I unashamedly love Will's voice, and seeing him in this environment against the background of all those losers we saw earlier reminds me why he deserved to win in the first place. And he does still have a lovely smile.
Dermot says that all the contestants loved meeting Will, and Will says that it was great for him too, especially since they all improved so quickly. Dermot tells us that Will brought them each a CD, and Will clarifies: "Not my own CD - that would be awful! [Pause.] No, I mean, it's good! Sorry, I didn't mean it like that!" Hee! More Will, please! Anyway, he brought in Jeff Buckley for Austin, and Emiliana Torrini for Diana, and I'm not really caring about this bit, so let's move on. Dermot asks Will who nailed it, and Will says he thought Diana was very good.
Dermot does the dramatic "phone lines are now closed!" bit, but Will is still behind him in full view of the camera, frantically returning the mic back to the stand and scurrying off the stage while trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, with the inevitable result of meaning you ignore Dermot and look directly at him, which is brilliant. Will has been excellent value for money this week: well done Will.
Back from the ads, and it's time to break out 'O Fortuna' and welcome back the acts to find out the results. As my boyfriend pointed out, the over-25s' picture on their screen kind of makes it look like Daniel's so tubby that Rachel and Ruth got pushed out of shot to make room for him. Heh.
So, who's safe? In no particular order, the following people will be back next week: Daniel (who sinks to his knees and says "you're kidding me!" while Louis mugs to the camera), Alexandra, Eoghan, JLB8, Diana (whose caterwauling "yeaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!" removes the goodwill she built up earlier), Ruth, and Laura. So that leaves Austin and Rachel in the bottom two, which isn't really a big surprise, since they were (a) the first two acts to perform, and (b) not very good. Dannii says Rachel's going to show everyone what she's made of, and Simon says that Austin has a chance of staying in if he sings great(ly). Austin will be singing 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?' by the Shirelles, and Rachel will be singing 'No More Drama' by Mary J Blige. OH HELL YES. Now that's what I'm talking about.
Back from the break, and Rachel's up first. Rachel comes out looking pissed off, like she got really drunk at a wedding and snatched the microphone off the best man to tell everyone what a slag the bride really is. This is in a whole different league to her performance earlier, and letting the contestants pick their own songs for the final showdown is, by and large, demonstrating how much better they are at choosing songs than their mentors are [or at least how shit the theme weeks are - Rad]. It lacked a bit of finesse, perhaps, but it was her best performance in this whole thing by a long way.
Even Simon seems vaguely defeated about Austin's prospects, basically saying "he's probably boned, but I hope not" by way of an introduction for Austin. Anyway, Austin comes out and sings, and it's quite an interesting slowed-down version of the song, but that does have the unfortunate side effect of making Austin sound even whinier than normal. Also, the title of the song seems both an unfortunate comment on the transient nature of reality TV fame and an undignified plea for approval.
Rachel is all *shrugs* about the whole experience when Dermot asks for her opinion, which is part of the reason I like her, whereas Austin snivels and says he sang that song for his mum (which would make me feel rather offended if I were his mother - "will you still love me tomorrow, when I might not be on the telly any more?"), which I guess is his nearest equivalent to playing the dead wife card, but I have a feeling it's not going to work this time.
Dermot fills ineptly as usual, and Simon is asked to cast the first vote. Simon says it's a worst-case scenario to have one of his own artists against Rachel, but has to keep his own act in, and votes to save Rachel home. Cheryl does the obligatory "oh this decision is so hard!" spiel, and says that she thought Rachel's performance in the showdown was her best yet, and that while Austin sang beautifully too, she thinks Rachel hasn't had a chance to shine yet, and votes to send home Austin. Dannii thought it was a fantastic song choice for Austin, and that Rachel sang from the heart, and that disco was a hard week for her, but she'll do well next week, because she's sending home Austin. So Louis has the casting vote: he thinks they were both good and they both have a lot more to give, but he's going to save the person he thinks have a lot more to give, so he'll be sending home Austin.
Brilliant moment of the evening #24: one of Rachel's friends/family whoops rather ungraciously in the audience and Rachel, moving in to envelop Austin in a bear hug, makes a "not now!" gesture to them. Hee! Rachel hugs Austin for a very long time (blocking him from the camera, which is also hilarious) and Dermot nags her to get off the damn stage already. He passes the mic to Austin for comment and Austin does the usual "you haven't seen the best of me" bit, and he's just so pleased to have sung for his mum, and thanks anyway, thanks for watching. We review Austin's best bits, including his rubbish hairdo at auditions and him crying a lot at pretty much every opportunity, and obviously being very very heterosexual.
Dermot tells us that no one has tried harder every single week than Austin, which means at some point Austin and Ruth will have to have a trying-hard-off to see who is the ultimate victor. Simon joins Austin onstage and says that Austin was one of the best singers tonight, so he can go out with his head held high. Dermot asks if we've seen the last of Austin, and the scallywag replies "no, I'm still here!" El oh el. Next week is Mariah Carey week, which is bound to be an assault on the eardrums. See you then! [No murder then? Complaints to ITV, folks. I've sent mine off already - Rad]