Monday, October 12, 2009

In which irredeemably slutty girls get what's coming to them, as mandated by National Treasure Cheryl Cole

Top 12: Results
TX: 11th October 2009

Last night! The final 12 sang live for our votes, and aside from Stacey and Miss Frank, they were all terrible. This is not the recap that the show itself gives us, naturally. Instead we recap the seeds being sown for this year's obligatory X Factor feuds, such as Cheryl pulling a squinty face when Simon pointed out her Giant Feminist Fail (about which I chucked in my two penn'orth in Carrie's recap yesterday, but the title of tonight's recap serves as a handy reminder of my feelings on the off chance you've forgotten). Interestingly, the saga of Dannii vs. Danyl and the tabloid-friendly swarm of kneejerk-reactions calling for her to BE THROWN INTO THE STOCKS for cracking an entirely harmless joke about one of this show's more egregious self-promoters that just happened to backfire is entirely ignored, and by the way I am sure that Simon Cowell and ITV are horrified that so many headlines were generated as a direct result. THIS. FUCKING. SHOW. God. It's just as well Carrie recapped last night's show instead of me, because I probably would've exploded with fury before the closing credits and it would've remained unfinished forever.

Anyway, tonight, one act must leave, and we will see the return of Alexandra BURKE and Robbie WILLIAMS. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Titles!

We begin with lights flashing everywhere, and that besuited, saluting berk Dermot O'Leary, demonstrating how utterly out of his depth he is with this show when he attempts a segue from "agonising wait for the contestants" to "the tragic death of Stephen Gately" and doesn't really succeed, throwing to Simon with a "terrible news" in much the same tone of voice that he might say "bit of a mixed bag for Eoghan, there". Simon says on behalf of the show and everyone there that their thoughts are with Stephen's family, and of course with Louis, who will not be attending tonight, since obviously this is a matter of considerable personal relevance to him. And if you're looking for any kind of crass joke here, you're not getting one. I'm not that tasteless. So, yes, Louis is not present tonight, but Simon says, "The show must go on", and Dermot responds, "Thank you very much, Simon. 'Preciate that." Do you, Dermot? DO YOU REALLY?

The voting lines are still open at this point, and Dermot reminds us that Alexandra will be back tonight, and Robbie will be giving an exclusive performance of his new single. But to really start the evening off with a show of high quality, we have a group sing from the top 12. Oh dear, oh dear. It's 'I Gotta Feeling' by the Black Eyed Peas [oh, is that what it was? - Carrie], starting with Jamie sounding somewhat flat, then cutting to Olly, who looks desperate and is off-key, then cutting to Danyl who is even more off-key than the first two. And this is supposed to be the category with the winner in it? Then the boys and girls enter at the same time, sounding considerably more in tune, but looking demonstrably more as though they're miming. I'm not going to walk you through every stage of this, but if I say that it makes last year's recording of 'Hero' sound like a tasteful, understated work of considerable harmony, you'll have some idea of how truly, embarrassingly dreadful this is. The only redemptive factor is John and Edward occasionally leaping into the air, Busted-style, to moderate comedy value. Also, I can't help thinking that this song was a bit of a poor choice given the tragic news they were just addressing. I know that the song would've been chosen far in advance, but it's a rather uncomfortable mood whiplash.

Time for a final reminder of the performances "and all the drama" from last night: Rachel is awesome but was made shit by having to perform a Robbie Williams track, KANDY RAIN DRESSED LIKE EVIL SLUTTY WHORES AND WERE RIGHTEOUSLY SHAMED BY QUEEN OF HEARTS AND GUARDIAN OF OUR NATION'S MORALS CHERYL COLE, Olly struggled his way through 'She's The One' and got vaguely backhanded compliments from Simon for his troubles, bloody Rikki did an appalling, gender-confused version of 'Back To Black' and got torn a new one by Simon, Stacey's performance of 'The Scientist' was the only enjoyable performance of the evening and she continues to squeak excitedly backstage, Miss Frank sang the obscure (for this show, anyway) 'Who's Loving You', but got props from the judges, Jamie was barely audible throughout 'Get It On', though no one on the panel seemed to notice, Lloyd's smiley interpretation of 'Cry Me A River' was an affront to humanity, but since quality control went out the window long ago on this show, he was praised to the heavens, Lucie cracked her way through 'Footprints In The Sand' and committed the cardinal sin of not being Leona Lewis (though this is not so severe a sin as WEARING SHORT SKIRTS OMG), John and Edward were predictably shit but at least vaguely amusing, and Simon worried what would happen if they won, Joe's blandly competent 'No Regrets' went down well, and then, of course, Danyl's tediously cynical rendition of 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going' prompted a witchhunt of epic proportions because heaven forfend anyone's liking for same-sex action ever be acknowledged on this show, though once again this is not shown. Hmm.

While the votes continue, it's time for a performance from Alexandra BURKE. Her intro video reminds us of her Journey and the epic win of her meltdown on the final. She now has the fastest selling single from a female artist in UK chart history to her name, and is here tonight to perform her new single 'Bad Boys'. I say "perform" because there has been much debate over whether she sang live or not. As far as I can tell, this looks pretty mimed and I can't understand why, since at no point during last year's finals did Alexandra suggest she lacked the chops to sing live for the duration of one song. Also, it may interest you to know that Alexandra, mentored by one Ms Cheryl Cole, is wearing a dress that barely skims the tops of her thighs. Demure being the watchword that it currently is, you understand. Still, it's nice to see her back, and it serves as a handy reminder that even in week one, Alexandra would've made mincemeat of every last act in this year's Top 12.

Dermot asks Simon for his comments on the performance, as though any one gives one tiny crap at this stage, and Simon's praise is fulsome, which I'm sure has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Alexandra is signed to his record label. An out-of-breath Alexandra (see? Totally miming) tells Dermot that she wants to thank everyone for voting for her and making her dreams come true. She doesn't cry again, sadly, but it wouldn't be as much fun without Beyoncé there anyway. Alexandra is very excited that Flo Rida was there for her performance. I always think Flo Rida sounds like a slang term for someone who enjoys having sex with women during their menstrual period, but perhaps that's just me.

Post-adverts, the phone lines have closed. Ooooo. Dermot tells the judges that he thinks last night was perhaps the strongest opening night ever - if that's true, then it's a pretty sorry comment on the state of the show over the years. Cheryl says she's feeling good - even more so after Alexandra's performance. I'm sure Cheryl's good mood was bolstered considerably by the modesty and conservatism of the outfit Alexandra was wearing. Dannii, of course, is forced to use this time to apologise for her comments last night, not that she should have to, and clarifies that she and Danyl had been joking about it before the show, and he was not upset by her comments. She gets a round of applause for her troubles, at least. Simon pretends that the drama on this show is entirely unscripted (please, this shit makes The Hills look spontaneous) and says that he possibly overreacted last night, and that Dannii is the last person in the world who would ever wilfully offend anyone, and clarifies once more that Danyl was NOT OFFENDED, and hopefully everyone who decided to be monstrously outraged on Danyl's behalf can now put a much overdue big fat fucking sock in it.

And now it's time for Robbie Williams, who I kind of hoped was done for good after the colossal embarrassment that was 'Rudebox', but no, it's time for a comeback. He gets the obligatory intro VT touting how many records he's sold worldwide, which only serves to show how volume of sales is not even close to an indication of quality, and it goes on for far too long. I don't want to get our lawyers involved in this (largely because we don't have lawyers, and we certainly can't afford them), but he looks rather bleary and his eyes are out on stalks, so draw your own conclusions from that. The whole thing is a big mess, and I'm not sure if that's because this single is terrible, or this performance is terrible, or some combination of the two. Largely, I don't care, I just want it to be over. Oh, look! There's the fast-forward button. I haven't been so glad to see you since Ray Quinn was on Dancing On Ice. Eventually, Dermot thanks Robbie for his mentoring, and Robbie says that he really likes Olly, Rachel and Stacey, but he can't pick a favourite. Except for those three he just mentioned. He squeezes in a plug for his single, which is out the same week as Alexandra BURKE's.

Back from the ads, Dermot is about to reveal the results, but first, we welcome back the judges and the contestants. Well: they return, at least. I don't feel especially welcoming towards most of them.

The following contestants are safe, in no particular order: John and Edward (shot of Simon looking annoyed, even though he obviously knew this would happen), Lucie, Lloyd, Jamie, Rikki (thanks for nothing, Scotland), Stacey, Danyl, Joe, Miss Frank, and finally Olly, whose name the crowd have been chanting for about five minutes prior to this. I don't know whether this is just due to Louis's absence or not, but the acts' mentors are not with them on stage this time, and it looks really weird to have them up there without that support that we're used to seeing.

So, the bottom two are Rachel and Kandy Rain, a result that will surprise no one. Rachel is in the bottom two because she was on first, and only one act in the entire competition has ever managed to escape being bottom after performing first in week one (Robert in series three, and God knows how he of all people pulled that off), and Kandy Rain are there because they are DIRTY DIRTY WHORES who should be ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES for daring to stray from the GREASY POLES WHERE THEY BELONG. (Did I get that right, Cheryl? You wanted copy approval on that bit, I seem to remember.)

As we return from the break, the first act is singing for survival. It's Rachel, and she has chosen Pink's 'Nobody Knows' as her song. There are some tuning issues here, though I rather think it's due to a clash with the shitty pre-recored backing tapes they use and the general absence of sound balance. However, it's a million miles better than last night's performance, because she's singing an actual song and not a three-minute slice of "entertainment". She looks kind of crushed when it's over, as well she might.

Then we have Kandy Rain, who've chosen the rather apt 'Fighter' by Christina Aguilera. Again, there are tuning issues and more sound level fuck-ups (seriously, who's in charge of this? Perhaps all the people who've been calling out for Dannii to lose her job should turn their attentions to that joker), and they're clearly being carried by the backing vocalists, though this is still probably better than almost everything we saw them do prior to the live shows. [They go A BAR OUT at one point. How? - Carrie]

Time for the judges to vote. Dermot shows up the obvious flaws in the elimination process by explaining that even without having seen the sing-off performances, Louis would've voted to save Kandy Rain. Heh. Dannii votes to send home Kandy Rain. Cheryl (doing super squinty face once more) votes to send home Kandy Rain. Simon says that he's surprised that Rachel ended up in the bottom two, even if not so much about Kandy Rain. However, he doesn't think Kandy Rain have been given a fair chance, so he votes to send Rachel home because he wants to see Kandy Rain perform again. The audience boo, prompting that obsequious toad Dermot to scold the audience: "Please respect the judges' opinion, guys." Cram it, flathead.

And so we go to DEADLOCK OMG. The public vote is king once again, and the act that's going home is...Kandy Rain. They hug Rachel, who is promptly ushered off the stage and goes to hug Dannii. She doesn't fall over this time, at least. In possibly the most appropriate piece of inadvertent editing ever seen on this show, Dermot invites them to look at their X Factor journey, and we cut immediately to the credits. HA! It's quickly sorted, though, and we see them being largely unimpressive throughout the competition, though they seem like nice girls and it's not their fault that they are HIDEOUS, SOILED SLUTS who no SELF-RESPECTING WOMAN could ever consider voting for. I liked it better when it was "you don't need to dress so provocatively", as Dannii put it in their first audition. Really, that's as far as it needed to be taken.

Dermot pulls a constipated face watching the video, looking alarmingly like Olly Murs. He then idiotically says that they gave it "a fair crack of the whip", like that isn't just like pouring the entire inventory of BP onto the fire, and Azi (I think) says they couldn't have done any better, and they were hoping people would give them a second chance, but it wasn't to be. And there go Kandy Rain, though we're spared the sight of Cheryl running up to the stage with a mop, bucket and industrial-sized bottle of disinfectant.

Next week, Cheryl will be performing her mediocre new single, and Whitney "Euston" (Dermot's words, not mine) will be returning to British TV. I can definitely wait.


Tiggerboy0301 said...

After watching the first episode of the new series I decided I'd wait until the first of the live shows before watching again.
Whilst reading theses recaps to keep in touch I knew things were bad, but only after watching the first two shows did I realise how bad things had got!
I don't think anyone can sing well and the winner I can vision following in the footsteps of Jackson and McMannus!

Poppy said...

"I always think Flo Rida sounds like a slang term for someone who enjoys having sex with women during their menstrual period, but perhaps that's just me."

- Possibly the funniest thing I've ever read on the internet, ever. Loving your work!

Fiz said...

Who in their right mind would vote for the gruesome twosome???? Frankly, this year's series has been rubbish from the very beginning. I've never thought Cheryl "The Mouth" Cole was all that good, either. Pretty, yes, talented, no.

s_cains said...

I don't think Alexandra mimed. That is all.

Oh wait, leave Rikki alone!!! ;)

Louise said...

"I always think Flo Rida sounds like a slang term for someone who enjoys having sex with women during their menstrual period, but perhaps that's just me."

That'll stay with me forever. ;)

Yeah, the results were fine. I actually liked the "I Gotta Feeling" performance, mainly because of John and Edward.

Oh, and get Rikki out! :D