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!
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.