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!


Bridget said...

Things I didn't know:

Charo (of Go Fug Yourself's Fug Madness bracket namesake fame and countless other achievements) is also from Murcia. This is another reason why Ruth should be in the final - it would make an awesome hometown duet.

Bridgey xxx

Brian said...

I think the thing about Dermot clarifying Rachel's song was that she called it "One Love", which could have literally (in the true sense, not the Dermot sense) been a different song, and would have been a great car crash moment if Rachel had started singing it to the backing track for "One"!

Anonymous said...

I haven't been following this in the media at all so I'm confused as to how Rachel is being blamed for St Laura's OMG SHOCK EXIT? Am I going wrong by trying to apply logic to the situation?

Also re what you said about all the people bitching about Laura being voted out and yet not having voted for her, my sister's boyfriend is an example. He's said he'll never watch the show again because of it! Haha! Although he blames Diana for Laura's exit. (Not himself for not voting!)

Leigh said...

Keep campaigning for Dannii. We can't lose her for bloody Robbie Williams. She's the only judge that talks any sense