Sunday, November 29, 2009

Drop the boy

Last night! Take That and Elton John theme week proved to be not all that bad actually! Well, apart from Danyl’s murder of Your Song! Tonight! The final five sing for a place in the semi-final! That means there are only two weeks left! Hooray!

Dermot welcomes us back and there are some very spiffy firework lighting effects. We will be joined tonight by Alicia KEYS and RiHANNA. He is wearing a badly buttoned blue suit that is designed to show off his shirt cuffs, but it looks ill-fitting. As usual. He reminds us that tonight’s vote is all in the public’s hands, as if that hasn’t been the case for the majority of weeks anyway.

The judges enter, and Simon has finally broken away from black and is wearing a grey suit. I wish he’d put his chest away though. Bleurgh. Dannii is wearing a nice pink dress. Cheryl has a nice enough black dress with massive amount of ruffle on the shoulder.

The group song is ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancing’, and the men are dropped in on strings. This song is too high for all of them, and it sounds appalling. [I miss Same Difference. And Eton Road. - Carrie] Shayne Ward is still the only X Factor contestant to ever vaguely pull off falsetto. The dancing is pretty poor as well. I actually caught a clip of them doing ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ (I didn’t see last Sunday’s) and it wasn’t too bad. This, on the other hand, is. I don’t blame the contestants, I blame whoever chose the song, Yvie and the person who does the arrangements. Still, NotLouis throws a load of balloons on the stage at the end to try and hide the noise.

Dermot plugs the tour, which promises to be the biggest tour in Britain, 2010. Riiiight.

I love the really long filler about the previous night, as I’ve been able to make myself pudding and a drink during it rather than sitting and typing. [I put the ironing board away and took the recycling out. This show is definitely helpful when it comes to finding time to do those little chores. - Steve]

Dermot asks the judges who was the best. Simon says his acts, then concedes Joe on his second song and Stacey on her first song were also OK. Dannii says Joe and Stacey. Louis says Joe, Stacey and Danyl, in that order.

It’s time for the first of our special guests, Alicia KEYS. She has her hair straightened with a kind of reddish tint. It looks nice. She sings that ‘New York’ song that I’ve heard on the radio a lot lately, but I didn’t know it was actually her singing on it. She has a giant Perspex piano. Is this show sponsored by them this year? The song seems to turn into something else and then reverts back again. It’s not very exciting, but there’s a bit where she STANDS UP. Dermot asks her who was good and she refuses to answer, but says that each one is different, and she loves that there’s only one woman in the flow, apparently. Riiiight.

Dermot asks the judges who’s at risk. Simon and Louis think Lloyd. Cheryl and Dannii think everyone. I’d be inclined to agree with the women. Olly/Danyl bottom two would be the sweetest outcome, mind.

Rihanna is up next. She’s sitting in a giant white sofa wearing a ghastly beige dress and gloves. She really does look a lot like Rachel ADEDEJI. She stares into the distance and it’s a little scary. I would not mess with this lady. She’s singing that ‘pull the trigger’ [it's called 'Russian Roulette', just FYI - Steve] song, which, in keeping with the tradition of special guests, is a slightly dull addition to her back catalogue. The singing isn’t all that, but the song's not all that, either. Still, on the plus side, there are lots of nice fire lighting effects. She has clearly been taking lessons from Louis Walsh and stands up at the key change, at which point her hair falls in front of her face. She gamely pushes it out of the way and carries on. She ends by being sultry in the chair again and then collapses in giggles like she’s a contestant on Strictly. Heh. Love her a little bit. Dermot asks her about her records. She knows, unlike previous guests, that they are out in the stores right now. She’s on tour in Spring. She doesn’t get asked her views on the contestants. I wish she’d been a guest mentor. Heck, even Howard Donald as guest mentor would have done, anything other than those ‘oh look, we’re number one’ blah VTs we got last night.

We see more recaps and blah about why they all want to win, but nothing of any consequence is said. Suffice to say they all want it and they all deserve to be in the semi-final.

The first act through is Stacey. She and Dannii explode. The second act through is Joe. It pleases me that these two are through, because now I don’t really mind who goes home (though I’d laugh my head off if Lloyd stays). The third act through is Danyl. Poor little Lloyd, like a lamb to the slaughter… Olly takes being through rather ungraciously and punches the air, making YES noises and grunting faces. Ugh. I hate him. [Me too. I've said this before, but it bears repeating - it's really fucking classless to make so much noise about getting through when your survival automatically means someone else is going home. So shut UP, Olly. Find a slightly more subdued way of celebrating. - Steve] [Particularly as Simon looked sad for Lloyd and gave him a little pep talk as Olly cavorted round the stage. Twat. - Carrie] Lloyd takes it on the chin and smiles. I can't imagine certain other people in the final five taking it as graciously, and he's only sixteen (at the risk of turning into Cheryl).

Cheryl says he’s only 16 and he’s got loads of time to grow and blossom into a little star. Dermot commends him for always smiling despite getting lots of flak. We’re reminded of his ‘journey’ which, for a change, genuinely was a bit of a journey – of all the contestants, he’s the one that actually improved as he went on. He sings ‘A Million Love Songs’ and holds it together remarkably well. Bless him, he was never the best act, but he did get a lot better, and he seems like such a sweet kid it’s hard to take against him. [I agree - I said in the earlier recaps that I hated Lloyd more than any of the other contestants, but he quite grew on me in the end because he seemed like a genuinely nice kid. And his singing did improve as he went along, even if he was still easily the weakest singer left by this point. - Steve]

So Ma Little Lloyd Daniels has gone home, and we’re left with Stacey FROM DAGENHAM, MA LITTLE GEORDIE Joe, ORDINARY BLOKE Olly and OUR BLESSED HUMBLE LORD AND SAVOUR Danyl. Next week it’ll probably be the inevitable ‘songs to get you to the final’ snoozeathon, but if rumours are to be believed, Janet JACKSON and Lady GAGA will be performing. [There are no words for how much I want next week's theme to be Lady GaGa songs. C'mon, there are only four contestants left, so the numbers work out. - Steve] NotLouis is probably giddy with excitement already.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday night's...alright?

Take That/Elton John week
Tx: 28th November 2009

Last week! John and Edward left! Bizarrely, we're reminded that 200,000 people originally applied for this show, and Cheryl thinks the competition is on NOW. Simon believes everyone left deserves to be there.

This week! The judges don't get to vote at all! Our remaining contestants sing two songs, one by Messrs Barlow, Orange, Owen and Donald (and formerly Williams), and one by Mr Reg Dwight (and more than likely Bernie Taupin)! Dannii wants Stacey to win; Simon guarantees that Danyl and Olly will both reach the final. Obviously, it is time to face the music.


I do believe Dermot has a three-piece suit on tonight. [I just want to know what the fuck was going on with his lapels. That shit was weird. - Steve] He welcomes us to the show and explains the concept of the show - "celebrating Great British Pop Royalty" - before utterly cocking up his autocue reading to introduce the judges. Dannii is wearing a bed sheet with a belt slung round her. Dermot then reminds us to buy the X Factor charidee single; I remind you that if you want to support GOSH, you can do so without having to listen to that travesty, and what's more, you can do so at any time of the year.

Quick VT explaining who Take That are, and then it's time for Simon to introduce Danyl. This week he is going to sing a song that's very different for him. One that's in tune, and one that he doesn't whine about having to sing? Plinky magical music in the VT as Danyl talks about having a number one single for such a great cause. Then scary dramatic music as NotLouis shepherds a gang of dancers into the rehearsal room ready for a mad big production number. Muchos panic about whether Danyl can keep up with a high-energy routine.

Heh, he's singing Relight My Fire. He yelps the opening bars a little before the number begins properly and the lights comes up on a load of gold Lycra-clad dancers in a tableau. Whenever he sings the word "fire", a load of flames flare up from the floor. Oh, NotLouis, you are INSPIRED tonight. The Lulu break is a bit flat in terms of melody and energy. Danyl's throwing his head about and his earpiece has fallen out, which may explain some of the tuning issues. Then there is a KEY CHANGE as fire-eaters EAT FIRE and then RELIGHT IT. By the way, all the way through this, Danyl is HUMBLE, lest you have forgotten.

Louis has refound his book of tedious anodyne statements, and ludicrously claims that Danyl has "won round one". Danyl to his credit points out that he is the only person to have sung so far tonight. Dannii liked the choruses, not the verses. Cheryl says it is HARD to sing and dance at the same time and he did well. Simon says it was very complicated and Danyl was PERFECT, proving that he is the type of artist who can do anything.

Cheryl introduces "the baby of the competition...little Lloyd Daniels". Lloyd VTs that he was awesome last week. Seriously. That's what he says. This week he is doing a big ballad, and Yvie says if he sings badly, everyone will notice. Well, Cheryl probably won't. She hasn't so far.

He sings A Million Love Songs, beginning by sitting on the steps. NotLouis clearly does not realise that this is an ill-fated piece of choreography. To be fair to Lloyd, this is fairly inoffensive, but he's not performing it as a big ballad; it's a pleasant, relatively tuneful pub singalong, drowned out in most places by the backing vocals. Oh, and a KEY CHANGE.

Louis says obviously other people like Lloyd more than he does, but it was pretty good rather than great. Dannii begins the LLOYD LIKES GIRLS AND GIRLS LIKE LLOYD whitewashing by saying that a million girls want his phone number, and suggests he doesn't overcomplicate melodies for himself. Simon says it was OK, and thinks that in his second song he needs to show that he has fire in his eyes. Cheryl says that he will. Simon starts to talk to Dermot a bit, and the morons in the audience drown him out with their idiotic heckling and whooping. Lloyd assures Dermot of his dedication to the X-Factor cause.

Simon introduces Olly MURS. He had to sing off last week, and NEARLY cried about the potential loss of his dream. He fails to point out that he was singing off against John and Edward and there was no way he was going. NotLouis has given Olly a stripped-back performance this week, possibly because he's splurged his budget on scores of dancers and gold Lycra.

Ew EW. Olly begins by serenading a woman in the audience. [I'm just grateful there was no crotch thrusting - Rad] He is singing Love Ain't Here Any More, and he is NOT a natural ballad singer. The stripped-backness of the performance exposes the weakness of his voice - he hits a big note and he's got nothing there to support it, so it's in his throat and there's a massive wobble in the middle of it. C'mon, Yvie, you should have sorted that out. The tone is nice, there's just no power. Anyway, that was not a classic.

Louis witters on about girls wanting to marry Olly. Dannii says there wasn't any sparkle in the eyes. Cheryl says it was nice to hear him sing. She is wrong. Simon makes inappropriate comments about the girl Olly sang to at the start, and then reckons not having sparkle is OK for this song. Interestingly he adds that Olly doesn't sulk or complain. NOT THAT ANYONE ELSE DOES, OF COURSE; EVERYONE IS HUMBLE AND IS GRATEFUL FOR THEIR CHANCE. Dermot mocks the girl as well.

Cheryl introduces "Geordie Joe". Last week he was technically superb, and he says it was amazing. His VT has Cheryl's song as the backing music, by the way. The editing of his comments is very scratchy. In practice with Yvie, he keeps going flat. She says this isn't good. THAT is why she earns the big bucks. Simon says the song Cheryl's chosen is obvious. Joe says he cannot afford to let his chance go.

Joe has a wardrobe full of people behind him. Or maybe on second viewing it's a picture frame. I'm unsure. Anyway, he's singing Could It Be Magic, which is a Barry Manilow song and I wonder if Louis will be producing the rulebook shortly. [I note with interest that every time this song is used on this show, they use the exact same arrangement, and it ain't the Take That arrangement. - Steve] When the beat kicks in, the dancers begin to move. Some of them appear to be dressed as peacocks. And some of them appear to be dancing like peacocks. Joe, meanwhile, sings beautifully, with the occasional dodgy piece of breathing, and he doesn't even have the excuse of dancing, because all he's doing is walking across the stage every so often. He hits the big note just before the end magnificently, and everyone claps.

Louis says words. Dannii says Joe "absolutely smashed it". Simon says Joe was in control all the way through, and thanks NotLouis for his production. Cheryl says it was flawless. Joe thanks everybody who has voted for him so far, and then beams into the camera.

And finally, Dannii introduces "the beautiful Stacey Solomon". Stacey was nervous last week; Dannii assures us that Stacey is the best singer left in the competition. Stacey and Yvie fret about the fact that the song Dannii's chosen is "a man's song" and "low at the beginning". Here's a thought. CHANGE THE KEY. Bump it up a tone or two. What's the problem?

Stacey has a lovely voice and is certainly talented, but the start of Rule The World is weak and wavering. However, she does walk along a platform that lights up as she sings the relevant words. I'm a bit disappointed with Stacey's performances and song choices for the past few weeks, y'know. She's nice, fun and likeable, and she can really sing, but they don't seem to know what to do with her apart from shoehorn her into a Leona LEWIS big ballady belt box.

Louis hopes people will vote for her; Cheryl says it is very HARD to sing a man's song and urges her once again to "represent"; Simon says at least it doesn't sound like karaoke. And then he congratulates Robbie on his engagement (that never existed) [and was exceptionally poorly-worded even if it did exist - Steve]. Dannii is pissed off at the spotlight-grab from her act and promptly turns the attention back to Dagenham Stace. Dermot does an impression of Stacey which is scarily accurate. Then she says, "I think I'm growing. Not in height. In confidence!"

Right, round one over. Time for the Elton John singalong to begin. Not before a recap and the judges giving their thoughts on who was best first off, though (Simon and Cheryl pathetically say their own acts; Dannii says Joe and Stacey; Louis says Joe). Oh, and a montage of Elton John songs.

Cheryl introduces "lovely Lloyd", who has a tough song to sing. In the VT, Lloyd wails about having to do a lift, and he is scared of heights. NotLouis says that it keeps going wrong because he always thinks it will go wrong. Louis chortles that Lloyd will never have to deal with the dizzy heights of stardom. Cheryl says Lloyd is going to prove that he deserves a place in the semi-final.

Ooh. He's singing I'm Still Standing, and sadly Jill Halfpenny and Darren Bennett are not there to jive. Instead, Lloyd and the dancers each have canes. This isn't a bad song, mostly because he doesn't have to sustain anything, but his diction is fairly poor. Louis attempts some wordplay and thought it was too karaoke. Cheryl retorts, "You haven't got ANYONE still standing!" and Louis bleats, "In the charts! In the charts I have!" [Oh Louis. You started out so well this series. - Rad] Dannii says it was shaky but better than the first; Simon thought it was a silly song and worse than the first. Cheryl says it is hard to come back week after week when you're getting tough criticism, and she hopes that Wales will vote for him.

Time for Danyl's second song. Classic bit of VT where Yvie tells him, "You CAN'T start in the wrong key!" Danyl panics about not hitting the notes. Simon thinks if he sings it properly, he will go right through to the semi-finals. [The VTs really didn't disguise how much Cheryl and Yvie apparently hate him, did they? - Rad]

Danyl gets the big note at the start of Your Song, but then chooses to veer into the wrong key for the rest of it. And THEN a choir of small children trip-trap on to the stage to provide a nauseating cute factor for the end. Still, Simon liked it, and he hauls Cheryl on to her feet for a standing ovation too. Louis admires that Danyl always bounces back from criticism, but he did not like the choir. Dannii thought it was better than the first song, and Danyl replies, "Thanks, babe." Ugh. [Seconded. - Steve] [Thirded - Rad] Cheryl says we are now seeing the Danyl we fell in love with back in the audition process. Simon claims that performance was what the entire show is about, and then picks a fight with Louis about the children's choir - "They are little children who want to be on the show! Let them!" Danyl says the children were polite. Everybody applauds. I feel we've moved away from the point somewhat.

Simon re-introduces Olly, after an appalling bit of business about Louis being Scrooge. For this round, Olly is doing "the only butch Elton John song" [fuck off, Simon - Steve], because, remember, he is an ORDINARY BLOKE. And of course that means he's doing Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting. Girls in bikinis strut around the stage with cards announcing the rounds in a boxing match as Olly stands in a one-dimensional boxing ring. The band and backing singers are so loud that you can't hear Olly (in fact, the backing singers are on the melody line rather than a harmony for most of the way through).

Louis liked the "funny dancing" but thought there was something missing. Dannii thought it was "an absolute knock-out" and that the sparkle in his eye has returned. Cheryl doesn't know how Olly concentrated with all the lovely dancing girls around him. Simon thought it was brilliant, obviously, because Olly added an "extra ten, 15, 20 per cent".

Joe has sung this song before in the judges' houses round. Simon thinks that means they're playing it safe. Cheryl, Joe and the guru that is NotLouis do not. And they are right. When Joe sings Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, it's low-key and compelling - no lightning striking in the background on that line of the song, as you'd expect with NotLouis' productions, just a spotlight on him as he begins to put some emotion into the words.

Louis says Joe has it all and was born to sing. Dannii admires the passion with which Joe sings. Simon is gobsmacked and reminds us that his day job is that he runs a record label and that Joe has become a man. Total non sequitur. Cheryl is proud to be a Geordie. Joe beams a bit more.

And finally, "saving the best till last" (a la Dannii), Stacey's final song. NotLouis is making her lie down while singing, which is hard because you can't breathe. What is with these attempts to restrict her lungs? Not that I am implying that this series is set up for a male winner, of course. Simon says that all Stacey's performances are starting to sound the same to him now, and I sort of see what he means. [Yeah, me too. But then so do most of Danyl's, Olly's and Joe's. I do wish they'd given her one upbeat song, though - Rad]

Anyway, she's reclining on a sheepskin rug on top of a piano, which looks weird. She's singing Something About The Way You Look Tonight. She gets up and tries to do "slinky" and just looks awkward. Louis thinks Stacey deserves to be in the final, but didn't really like the song choice. Cheryl thinks she looked uncomfortable but did well in the circumstances. Simon says that he didn't like it because Stacey isn't a belting singer (which is what I thought about the first song too), and getting these kinds of songs makes her into a dull identikit vocalist, or a "wedding singer", rather than the singer with originality we saw at first. Dannii says that she pushes Stacey and doesn't know what Simon's talking about. Stacey doesn't want to be a wedding singer - "no offence to any wedding singers, they're very good" - and then giggles about loving sheepskin rugs. Dermot looks nonplussed.

So a recap - Danyl lighting fire with a gold Lycra troupe and singing a song for YOU in a HUMBLE manner; Lloyd putting together a million love songs and remaining standing; Olly imploring girls in the audience to love him even though love don't live there any more, and then assuring them Saturday night is alright for fighting; Joe speculating on magic and the difficulty of saying sorry; and Stacey hoping for world dominance and assessing appearances tonight.

Tomorrow night, Alicia Keys and Rihanna, and Rad taking you through the results! Join her then!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Don't bother waking me up before you go-go

Results show
Tx: 22nd November 2009

Last night! It was George Michael night! Louis wore a bow tie! Everyone sang in a mediocre way, apart from those who were rubbish! Tonight! Susan BOYLE and Mariah CAREY and ELIMINATION! And Louis and Cheryl shouting at each other in corridors, apparently!


Yes, we're live from London, complete with pyrotechnics, Dermot and another ill-fitting suit from the House of O'Leary. He welcomes us and triggers more pyrotechnics. He promises us an incredible night (fnar) because people who can actually sing will be performing. [I loved his comment about how Susan Boyle won people's hearts with just one song. An unfortunate turn of phrase, given that she only sang two songs on Britain's Got Talent and one of them was kind of a disaster. - Steve]

That'll be after we've met the judges and had the group sing, though. It's Wake Me Up Before you Go Go begins with some Abbaesque choreography for John and Edward. Lloyd sounds very good, because he has been autotuned to fuck. [And now I have an image of Lloyd in my head as some kind of sex-robot. There is not enough brain bleach in the world. - Steve] Also, there are lots of dancers, some of whom are female, which evens out the girl-boy balance a little. Danyl, Lloyd and Olly do a little arm-waving at the front of the stage, which makes me think of the trio of boy Yellowcoats in Hi-De-Hi! Then they take out the reference to it being "warm in bed" and CHANGE THE KEY.

Dermot thanks them and talks about "Leola Lewis" being number one album, and the shitey X Factor charidee single being number one single and making "a lot of money for the kids". Remember - if you want to do something for charidee, you don't have to buy The X Factor single. You can just make a donation to GOSH anyway and when they ask, tell them you paid never to hear The X Factor single again. Simon enthuses about how generous the public are, and then lists a variety of nouns without any connecting words. Dermot does the corporate shill bit by reminding us that these crappy acts are on tour next year and we too can see them in public if we cough up £50-odd quid.

Then it's time for a recap. Lloyd had his hair cut [which made him HUMBLE -- oops, sorry, wrong contestant - Steve]; Simon thought he was "pretty good" and Cheryl thought he looked comfortable. When Louis points out that Lloyd is out of his depth, Cheryl hollers at him to shut up. Stacey sang lots of high notes and was told to believe in herself. Cheryl wants her to REPRESENT for the girls. Dannii and Stacey screeched at each other. John and Edward were bad at singing and dancing and also talking backstage. Louis reckons they are making him feel young. They snigger. As do I. Danyl was Keeping It Real and Humble while Respecting The Song. Danyl was Humble back stage. Cheryl and Simon bicker about Danyl's flatness, and Cheryl pulls faces behind Simon's back, which is both childish and awesome. Olly was tedious with his non-contemporary-contemporary song. Olly wants to concentrate on singing and then have sex with lots of girls, whom HE LIKES. Simon thinks Olly is an ordinary guy and that is why people like him. Well, not THAT much, Cowell. Oops, spoiler! Joe was lovely but dull as always, and he can't believe he got a standing ovation from the judges. Cheryl thinks he has set the ball with a winning performance.

Time for tonight's first special guest - Susan BOYLE. She VTs that she was once lost and lonely. SHE SANG....AND THE WORLD....LISTENED. TONIGHT...THE DREAM....CONTINUES. Hooray! She sings Wild Horses, which is fine, and then tells Dermot that fame is BLOODY FANTASTIC, warning the public to LOOK OUT, which sounds vaguely threatening.


Dermot welcomes us back, thanks us for voting, and tells us the phone lines are now closed. He tells the judges to answer honestly rather than shitly and partisanly, and asks who the best acts were - Dannii says Joe and Stacey, Louis concurs, Cheryl says her own acts, the stupid cow, and Simon opts for Danyl and Joe. Dermot tries to get Dannii to say she's gutted at the possibility of losing Stacey, but she chooses to mock Simon instead. Louis admits that he's worried. Simon doesn't appear to be paying attention or perhaps he's just deaf.

Now time for the second special guest, Mariah CAREY. She has covered I Want To Know What Love Is. Presumably she also Respects The Song, because that is what singers should do. She has a sparkly mic stand of yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. Shiny pieces of paper fall from the sky. It is like the Crystal Dome. Dermot reveals that they are in fact little butterflies. Mariah mocks Simon, and is generally pretty nice. I miss the Mariah masterclass.


Results! Dermot welcomes back Cheryl and the boys, Dannii and Stacey, Simon and Team Ordinary Humble Blokes, and Louis and John and Edward. The acts singing next week, in no particular order, mark you - Stacey (she and Dannii hug and murmur words of love to each other); Joe (who claps his hands in the gayest way ever); Danyl; and Lloyd.

Heh. So it's Olly versus John and Edward in the sing-off. What way will THIS go? Simon looks appalled. The boys are going to sing No Matter What by Boyzone "because they are a great Irish band and we've got all their records". FROM IRELAND. Olly is going to sing Clapton's Wonderful Tonight, but provides no justification for this decision.

Louis is clearly not shocked but pretends he is anyway, and says that the people booing them are very rude. True. Simon still looks appalled and says Olly must prove why it is right for him to stay in the competition. Louis introduces his act, who are welcomed to the stage with booing, which is really mean. And dear me, John and Edward really can't sing, even by Boyzone's standards, and they look upset, pointing at the audience during the line "No matter what they call us". They attempt two-part harmony, and Louis is singing along. The one who is the weakest singer totally loses the melody and begins singing the harmony line as performed by the backing singers. Simon introduces Olly, who is also relatively rubbish, but he is obviously better vocally than John and Edward, and fortunately there is no gyrating in this particular song to make us want to vomit or bleach our brains.

Dermot asks the judges for their decisions. Simon says that if John and Edward go, he will miss them, but obviously he will save his artist. Cheryl blows kisses to the boys, but saves Olly. Louis can't believe that Olly is in the bottom two and Lloyd is safe, but he's sending Olly home anyway.

So it's down to Dannii, who is frankly magnificent. She asks, "Is it a singing competition that we're voting on? I need to know the answer to make a decision." A marvellous display of snark. Simon either can't hear her or is ignoring her. Dermot whines, "Who are you asking?" Simpleton. [I think he's turning into Louis Walsh. - Steve] She works on the premise that it's a singing contest, and sends home John and Edward.

Dermot tells people to stop booing and to cheer them as we view John and Edward's JOURNEY, during which Louis has loved them, Ronan Keating has looked puzzled at them, Mickey Bubbles deemed them "sweet", NotLouis has given them creative direction on crack, and never once have they sung in tune or danced in time.

They confess that Olly shouldn't have been in the bottom two, and they hope he and Stacey will go all the way to the final. Fnar again. Louis says he feels young again and has had an amazing time with them. Fnar squared.

So that's the end of the road for them. Next week! People will sing two songs, and the judges don't get to make any decisions! Alicia Keys and Rihanna will both perform! And we will be back then!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

By George, they're taking the Michael

Top 6: George Michael/Wham week
21st November 2009

Last week, we had Queen week, Lloyd and Jamie were in the bottom two and the Afro was shorn.

This week, rather randomly, it’s Wham! and George Michael week. Is there a new best of out this Christmas or something? Now, between Wham! And George Michael’s solo stuff there are a lot of great songs (and some dross, too). Nevertheless I am not convinced that this will be a classic night, and suspect there will not be enough Wham! and too many George Michael ballads done badly. I hope NotLouis has been given enough crack to produce the urinals set from the 'Outside' video. Or the swimming pool from 'Club Tropicana'. [Or to somehow recreate the 'Shoot The Dog' video. - Steve]

Dermot enters to Young Guns wearing a beigey suit. I have no idea whether Steve will approve or not, but I suspect not. [I tend not to even notice Dermot's suits these days. They're not as offensively ill-fitting as they used to be, but I've come to the conclusion he's just not a natural suit-wearer. - Steve] He describes the judges as our very own George, Andrew, Pepsi and Shirlie, though doesn’t specify which is which. They enter to… I Want Your Sex. Inappropriate much? Cheryl’s hair is piled up with a big bow and she has horrible huge Pat Butcher earrings on. Louis looks rather odd in a spotty bow tie. Dannii has curly short hair which looks really nice. Dermot says ‘such a weird choice of music!’ You’re not kidding.

We have some George Michael is great spam, and here’s where you expect a big reveal that he’s a surprise special guest or something. But no, apparently he has ‘called the show’ and is watching it at home. If that was really the case, surely he could be here? If nothing else, I miss the A-list mentors being snarky about the acts and then providing a car crash performance. Speaking of which, not only have we no George Michael masterclass, we are also denied another Mariah one, and even a Susan Boyle one. Surely they could have got ONE of them to do it? Sadface. I miss the crazy.

First up is one of the boys: Lloyd. I am guessing they’ve put him in the ratings fail slot of the show (i.e. the bit that clashes with Strictly) because they’ve decided his time’s up. In the VT we learn that this week their single went on sale and they walked into HMV and saw it. It’s a physical single, like they had in days of yore. Remember kids! You can do a good thing and donate to GOSH direct without buying that abomination (also: why is the video for it EXACTLY THE SAME as the hero one except with the soldier montage being replaced by a sick kiddie one?) We are also reminded of his hometown which is small. His family miss him, but I assume they’re not to worry as he’ll probably be home by Monday. He is singing one of George Michael’s favourite songs apparently and Yvie tells us it’s important to breathe. Thanks for that expert vocal coaching, Yvie.

Oh my. It’s Faith. He’s been styled with a Nick Carter style crop which would suit him if he was living in 1995. [I actually quite like his new hair, as much as it pains me to admit. - Steve] The staging is simple, with just a backing band. To give him his credit, he seems to have improved; I mean, it’s Lloyd so it’s never going to be sensational, but he’s got a better grasp of the tune than usual and it’s by no means his worst performance (nor the worst of the evening. Whoops, spoiler).

Louis, with his boy band head on, loves the hair and the dress but not the voice. He then says Lloyd’s a pop star but his time was up. Um? Anyone? Simon enjoyed it – the vocal wasn’t all that but the performance has improved. Cheryl feels like he’s turning into a little man (??) in front of her eyes and then she says he looks adorable. Poor Lloyd, he’s just like a little puppy isn’t he? Sara Cox called him a little boy made of rainbows and origami today on the radio which was a bit strange but nonetheless rather fitting.

Dermot tries to fight with Louis, though it feels even more half-arsed than usual. Louis says Lloyd’s a great performer but there are better singers. Dermot calls Louis Professor Yaffle, which isn’t much of a burn considering how fabulous Professor Yaffle is.

Ads. Already.

Stacey is next. Last week she was popular, this week she saw her single in the shops next to “proper famous people”. She went home but reveals she goes home every week to see her family, so essentially it’s no big deal. I’m quite glad the show actually lets her see her child as I wouldn’t put it past them to ban her from doing so. Mind you I suppose she only has to go to Essex. Her son is cute. She went back to her old college and her friends are supportive. She wants to do good. Steve explodes at the grammar abuse. [Well, they are releasing a charity single this week, so I suppose technically they are all doing good, in a passive sort of way. I'll let it slide THIS TIME. - Steve]

She’s doing ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’, and to be honest I find George Michael’s version of this incredibly dull, and Stacey’s isn’t that much more exciting. She’s mostly fine, though a little flat in some places but maybe that’s the fault of the song. I’m fed up of Stacey getting ballads all the time. I want to see something with a bit of life in it from her. Also: she looks too Leona lite with her curly hair. Simon thinks she’s nice, which is not something you’d ever hear them describe a certain other contestant as, however much that person is being portrayed as HUMBLE DAMMIT. He doesn’t think it was as good as last week but everyone likes her. I do too but it was kind of forgettable. She babbles at Dermot some and he says that she brought the Dagenham militia with her. The thought of militia from Dagenham is quite frankly terrifying. Dermot says she can’t make you vote for her, I don’t think she needs to - surely her militia will do that for her?

MORE ADS? Bloody hell. If we’re having a break in between each act I’m going to need a lot more wine.

And we’re back. Those were long ads.

Dermot badly attempts a snark on Louis caring about the rules which was so rock week, and aren’t we over this yet? Or is he hinting at some terribly scripted argument that is to come later in the show? The audience drown Louis out in boos and a handful of cheers when the twins are announced. They go home like everyone else and we learn they were doing exams before the show. Oh, boys. What is it with this show and preventing people from doing useful stuff with their lives? One of their classmates lies that she wondered if they would be famous when they were at school. Going home gave them loads of spirit and pride apparently. NotLouis wants intense focus from them. Simon thinks Louis is doing too much with them – surely he means NotLouis is doing too much with them, not Louis (head explodes). Louis says they practise more than anyone else. [I loved how in all the choreography rehearsal footage, every single time we saw NotLouis he was literally shoving them into place. Hee hee hee. - Steve]

‘They’re doing ‘I’m Your Man’. Even though I know it won’t be good, I’m just grateful for some Wham! They’re dressed in white suits with white T-shirts with Choose LIFE on in fluorescent pink. Many people on the internet complained it was the wrong song for those T-shirts. I’m not sure historical accuracy is entirely NotLouis’ forte, people. They’re dancing on a podium, surrounded by dancers with terrible bleached hair and ugly silver bomber jackets. It actually starts OK but they can’t do the deep bits and then it descends very quickly. There’s a break in the middle for Wham Rap, but the two songs do not mesh well together in any way. The camera then reveals they’ve been standing on perpex staging with John & Edward written on. Oh, NotLouis. How you will miss these two when they go. The high bits in the chorus are done entirely by backing singers, I suspect. Someone on stage is breakdancing and he gets more attention than the boys. Their dancing is as bad as Olly’s. This was not even fun in a ‘Ghostbusters’ way, it was just a mess. I still prefer them to Olly and Danyl but really, I suspect the joke is over.

The audience are screaming, so much for the boos they gave the twins earlier. Dear X Factor cue people; get on message. They’re so noisy that it’s hard to hear Dannii over them but she says something about it being out of time, which it was, not least because the two tracks they tried to merge have completely different tempos. Louis says it’s what young kids like. Dermot says you’d know and Louis says yes I’m working with two. Was this a failed burn on the judges, or an unintentional burn on 18-year old John and Edward. Louis is a strange man. Cheryl says they’ve been on a journey. DRRRRRRRRRRINK! Simon says it wasn’t George and Andrew, it was Andrew and Andrew and you just know he coined this week entirely so he could deliver that 'joke’. He says they were good but Louis is giving them too much to do and has turned them into Action Men dolls, giving them crazy choreography. Again, he means NotLouis, surely? Or are the two indistinguishable in Simon’s mind? It would explain a lot about series four. Louis says they can do it, everywhere he goes he hears people shouting Jedward. I don’t really see Louis as a man of the people, more a man of sitting in his big house in Dublin counting his money, so does he get his accountant, Ronan Keating and Kian from Westlife to ring up and shout Jedward down the phone at him everyday? The audience shout ‘Jedward’ like the morons they are. Simon says they have converted a lot of people as if they were some sinister cult, that they are nameless (insert huge dollop of WTF here) and unstoppable. [Except that two weeks ago they were seventh out of eight in the public vote, and could quite easily have been stopped had Simon chosen to do so. - Steve] Louis says the public love them and the show would not be the same without them. One of them (I feel sad I don’t know which is which, but the show hasn’t exactly made any effort to distinguish between them) says Louis always chooses the right songs, songs that have never been done before (except by the original artists, one assumes).

Dermot says, ‘For now there’s John, there’s Edward, they are the enigma that is John and Edward.' There are many things John and Edward may be, but I wouldn’t have considered enigmatic to be one of them. Still, who knows what goes on in Dermot’s head, especially recently when he’s been seemingly going into meltdown. You want to watch yourself, Dermot. Kate Thornton went a bit wobbly in series three and was never seen again.

Next up, we’re promised what I swear sounds like no thrills (though it could be frills) [I think you were probably right first time - Carrie], no gimmicks, just singing. Then we’re told it’s Danyl. No gimmicks. Danyl. Those two things together? Does not compute. By the way, has anyone else noticed how we have two of Simon’s acts at the end? Hmmm. He went home like everyone else, and his mum seems nice - how did she spawn that? He feels that he’s really lucky to be here. [I liked how he said he was going to see "all [his] friends", and there were...five of them. - Steve] Sorry, I forgot OH HUMBLE DANYL, YOU’RE SO HUMBLE. NOT A COCK AT ALL. Nope, still not working. Simon says this song is what everyone thinks of when they hear of George Michael – and there’s no mention of the song change hissy fits that have been all over the media this week. Because as we all know, Danyl is HUMBLE. Anyway, it’s Careless Whisper, and I can totally imagine Danyl demanding the BEST SONG be his; the only surprise is Simon not requesting it in the first place. As for the performance, it’s too slowed down and he adds in a random long note on pain is allllllll you find. I wish he’d just sing things properly sometimes so I could work out whether he can actually sing or not. As usual, it’s too over-emotional and lacks enunciation, not to mention any pretence at subtlety. Randy Jackson would call it ‘pitchy’: it’s squeaky, he’s stretching his voice, there’s no subtlety, and not even in the right key half of the time. Simon will say it’s the second coming, of course.

Louis thought it wasn’t the right song choice. Cheryl says he was flat in places. Dannii continues her Cowell-dictated rehabilitation by saying it was a good arrangement, which is the last thing it was, and shame on you Dannii for towing (toeing?) the party line so obediently. Simon says that is called respecting the song: taking it and doing something different with it. Like when Austin raped Billie Jean, Simon? I know pointing out Simon’s contradictions is a fool’s game, but if any other act had done this he’d have told them to stick to the original. Whatever this was, it was not respecting the song. And the thing is, I’m not entirely sure it’s all Danyl’s fault. For all his cockitude, he’s clearly been encouraged to behave that way by Simon and no-one’s reining him in or teaching him proper vocal technique. I doubt Yvie dares criticise him, but with some training and toning down maybe he could actually be good – but LOUDNESS, no matter what Simon thinks does not equal either talent or emotion. Le sigh. We say this every year and do they listen to us?

Louis says they tried too hard with it. True dat. Singing it properly might actually have worked. Simon says Danyl was right to make that decision about changing the song. See, I can’t imagine Simon being pleased with his act changing the song, no matter how much he wants us to believe Danyl is the second coming. The audience autocue instructs them to shout “Danyl! Danyl!”. Danyl says they sat down and chatted about the song choice. Here my notes simply read: Simon is such a wanker. Dermot says Danyl’s been making the news about disagreements. I find the dynamic interesting this year. Louis and Cheryl clearly hate Danyl. Dannii is biting her tongue since lyrics-gate, and now Dermot seems to be expressing a dislike for Danyl too? Wow. Of course, Humble Danyl is just pleased to be here and grateful for everyone’s support.

Ads. Time for alcohol.

It’s time for the last of Simon’s acts and it’s the incredible Olly Murs. Incredible as in not credible, I presume. Last week he ‘did great’ according to Simon and now he’s going home to Essex where people have posters saying Vote for The Ollly. Yes, THE Olly. Oh my. Do they have a flip side that says ‘Vote for the Stacey?’ The nation needs to know. There then follows a toe-curling segment where Olly has been told to play up on his Jack-the-Lad persona as much as possible ‘because the public like it, innit?’ He brings his washing home to his mum, despite being in the OVER 25s CATEGORY and not the 19-year old boy they seem to want to make out he is. His dad has bad hair and calls him Oliver, which suspects he might not be that much of a Jack-the-Lad after all. He plays footy with his mates, THE LADS. They are called laddish things like Lee and Ryan (and are better looking than Olly). He goes to a pub with THE LADS. He goes to work and says he always dreamed of being an entertainer.

Simon chose the song for Olly to make him contemporary. In George Michael/Wham! week? And we’re told this is the kind of record Simon thinks he should make. I wonder if this statement had anything to do with how things went this week (whoops, spoiler)? NotLouis and Olly go on about him being sexy. NO NO NO. It was bad enough when they tried to make maliddleJoe sexy – I think I might rip out my own insides if they’re trying to do the same to Olly.

Your contemporary song, ladies and gents? Fast Love. From 1996. Before a large section of the audience were born. It’s an odd choice for Olly really – surely some Wham! would be more his thing? His singing is really off in places and he stands with his legs apart and wearing black shirt buttoned up to neck and tightish black jeans. It goes without saying that he is not in the least bit sexy. Then there is some truly horrible stuff where he gyrates against a dancer (the dancers all have ribbon things in their hands, a bit like reduced pom poms, which doesn’t exactly conjure up sexy ether). He sidestep skips across the stage like a clumsy 6 year old. Then he does a nasty nasty grinding motion. MY EYES MY EYES MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP. Danyl should be grateful, because his performance suddenly looks bearable.

Dannii said there were tuning problems. No kidding. Though I would put up with the bad singing if it meant they would take away the horrible horrible dancing. Louis says he has the potential to be “a new pop star in the UK” (note not worldwide) and there’s nothing fake about him, everywhere Louis goes girls ask if Olly’s single. Louis is going a lot of places this week. [Harry Hill take note - if The Knitted Character ever retires, I think we've found you a replacement. - Steve Cheryl says people like him: lads want to knock about with him and girls like him. Why are people buying into this story still? I feel like the only person in Britain who’s repulsed by him. Cheryl really likes him. She says nothing about the performance, then Simon nudges her and makes her say she likes it. Simon says he will have no trouble with “the chicks” when he gets out. Yep, just like this guy. Apparently Olly is a fearless performer and the song had a dance break in the middle which made it original, but I didn’t notice that bit because I was too transfixed by the HORROR to feel the originality.

The audience whoop for him as Dermot says it was a hard song. Olly goes on about just swinging his hips, in all seriousness.

Ads AGAIN. Bloody hell.

Dermot welcomes us back by saying it’s a strong night tonight. Strong DRINK night, maybe.

Cheryl tells us to be ‘ready for a beautiful ending’. It’s Joe. Last week he was the same as always; competent but a bit dull. He went home to the NORTH EAST and he was pleased to see his grandma who seems nice enough but isn’t a patch on Alesha’s nans. [To be fair, nobody is. - Carrie] Then he went to college and his ‘classmates’ (I’m sure college students love being described thus) were chatting and he VTs that he ‘think[s] they got a shock when they seen us’. Or not, given the camera crew and all. Cheryl has apparently chosen him a massive song. Yvie has seen him stumbling over a BIG NOTE in rehearsals. Simon thinks he’s guaranteed a finals place if he nails it. Like he isn’t guaranteed one regardless. Cheryl thinks he can do it a million percent.

It’s ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’, at which point the whole internet goes IT’S AN ELTON JOHN SONG. Considering he is doing the George Michael version, I am really hoping for a Mister Elton John bit in the middle. C’mon Elton, that’s two of your songs the boy’s done now. As you might expect from Joe, it’s all very musical theatre, which isn’t an insult, but it’s not very pop-starry, and it’s quite overblown and dramatic: both him and the music. The lighting effects are big balls of sun flare that hurt the eyes. Of course, it’s probably the best of the night but there’s nothing new here, nothing surprising or even very interesting. Louis snarks about it being an Elton song. Cheryl said George Michael sang it. Simon says, “Here’s a new rule we’re gonna stop you from speaking” (to Louis) – whilst I endorse that rule, I think it should only be applied if the same is true for Simon. Simon says Joe nailed it and Louis has the AUDACITY to sit there with his rule book. Who cares? Everyone on Twitter, pretty much, but whatever. Simon takes the credit for Joe for some reason I can’t fathom. Cheryl loved it.

Dermot says Louis should have come out and done the Elton John bit. Dannii is shown hitting him Louis on the head with her script. [Which I assume just says "DANYL IS HUMBLE AND LIKEABLE" over and over again on every page. - Steve] I kind of get the feeling the people working on this year’s show have given up.

Simon thanks George Michael for letting them use his songs and for being an amazing songwriter, which is pretty funny, coming after the last song. Tomorrow! Susan Boyle! Mariah Carey! Hopefully lots of crazy! And someone will be going home! Hooray!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The show must go on, sorry.

Last night! It was Queen night! And there was no holding back (the stream of effluent)! My DVR didn't record Jamie, Lloyd or Olly's performances, so I feel as if I've been shown some small mercy! Tonight! Someone else must go!

PLUS! Shakira! And the final 12 reunite for their charity single which has a video almost identical to the last one but will no doubt be even more mawkish!

Randomly, the pre-credits bit goes on about Calvin Harris's stage invasion a lot, without mentioning it was him, even though they clearly know who it was, and it has Louis claiming he's cashing in on John and Edward's fame. Odd.

Dermot tells us to expect fireworks. Topical joke fail. He implores us to vote, although why anyone would want to vote for any of this lot, I'm not entirely sure, unless it's to try and get the worst acts in the bottom two.

Now it's time for the first of TWO group performances... Bohemian Rhapsody (of course). They open with that uplighting thing a bit like the Queen video but more rubbish. And then there's a large choir on stage with them who drown them all out, thankfully, so it ends up sounding OK. Then Brian May comes on for big guitar wankery and Jamie and Danyl get to show off in the 'so you think you could stone me and spit in my eye part'.. Joe, Olly and Stacey get to finish. I'd say poor Lloyd and Jedward, but I think we all know it's for the best they didn't get too much to do.

Dermot declares it the BEST X FACTOR MOMENT EVER, but let's face it, it was no Beyonce/'Xandra. Dermot asks Brian and Roger who their favourite is. Brian says 'we like the girl' (sigh) and Dermot calls him a wily old dog. Brian says she's very employable which is an odd kind of compliment. Roger agrees and says she turns into someone else when she sings (unlike her former girls' category teammates who turned into Stacey when they stopped singing) and he says everyone's very nice and charming (note: not 'very talented'). Dermot thanks "Queen" by saying we have gods in our presence. He's coming across as more and more of a creepy fan each week. Stop it, Dermot!

Then we get the usual uberlong recap of last night which is the bit that makes doing these recaps so much easier. There's a random bit about Calvin Harris where they don't acknowledge who it was but they already did that bit pre-credits. [I did love Simon referring to him as "an idiot who wanted attention". If any show would know about people like that, it'd be this one. - Steve]

Shakira's up next. Her hair makes her look a bit Beyonce-ish. She has some random ladies with drums on stands behind her. Not sure if this is her quirk or NotLouis'. The song's no She-Wolf, nor is it that one with the humble breasts. Memo to special guests: better singles, please. Dermot says our guys want to do this stuff, this big epic stuff, and I don't know if he means the staging, because if so, surely that's a slight on NotLouis' hard work. If he means being a global superstar, then excuse me while I choke.

By the way, Ant and Dec: Wii in pubs? Seriously?

It's now time for the charity single, and thanks to the dual miracles of watching this on fastforward last night when I got in from watching Doctor Who at a friend's (and therefore only seeing the sing-off) and ITV player cutting out at the adverts after Shakira, then reloading with the ads in a different place, I miss the mawkish video about Great Ormond Street. Now, don't get me wrong, it's a good cause, but I am guessing this show milked the human tragedy angle for all it was worth and then milked it some more. Am I wrong? [You are not wrong. - Carrie]

The stage is bathed in yellow light so bright it hurts my eves, and we have "tasteful" photos of "our" X-Factor finalists meeting patients from the hospital plastered all around. By the way, you can donate to GOSH or your local children's hospital without actually buying this record. Just sayin'. [Yep. I said last week I'd pay good money not to hear this record, and as soon as they started singing I opted to log on to GOSH's website and make a donation rather than listening to that pile of tripe. - Carrie]

It's 'You Are Not Alone' as if they haven't desecrated Michael Jackson's corpse enough with that theme week last series (and yes, I realise he wasn't even dead then, but the memory lingers). This song was incredibly syrupy and mawkish anyway, but it looks like it was done by Napalm Death compared to this version.

Joe opens it with his best Boyzone/Westlife impression (sans Irish accent) and he's dressed in white, as is everyone else, because they are like ANGELS, see? Like the children who are LITTLE ANGELS and the nurses who are ANGELS. Anyway, it's autotuned to fuck of course, and there's no unfortunate staging mishaps like last year. Interestingly the people who get solo bits are: Joe (who starts and ends it), Olly, Lucie, Danyl, Rikki (why?), each of Miss Frank, Stacey, Jamie and the one from Kandy Rain who could sing. I'm sure conspiracy theorists might get some mileage out of all that. The funniest bit is when they keep cutting to some kid from GOSH looking bored with the whole affair. Danyl mugs his way through it of course, and he and Joe get the most attention as you'd expect, given that this show clearly wants one of them to win. It sounds like they've got a big gospel choir in the background, too, though they're not on stage. I feel somewhat sick after all of that and almost turned against the idea of charity. Compassion fail.

Results time. Safe... Joe (like there was any doubt), Danyl (booo!), Stacey, Olly and John and Edward, which means someone rubbish is going home! Yay!

Louis says he'll save the person with the potential to get better and Dannii says she'll save the best singer.

Jamie is singing 'The Show Must Go On' - I didn't know they had to sing Queen in the sing-off too. He is OK in parts and really, really bad in parts. I probably hate him less than Olly or Danyl but it's all levels of cockitude really, so I'd be happy for him to go, especially as Simon having three acts left when everyone else only had one left would be too much to take. Lloyd is singing 'Last Request' and it's generally really bad with occasional moments of tune in the chorus. His days are numbered, and if he doesn't go tonight, I can't imagine he'll last next week.

Simon and Cheryl save their own acts, of course. Louis wants to vote for the person with the most 'appeal' and sends home Jamie. Dannii saves the best singer, which is apparently Jamie, in case you weren't sure. The judges' vote is DEAD like a parent this series, no? The only time it's been used is when Louis was away and there were only three judges. [Yeah, so anyway, Jamie has the least number of votes and he is en route to the exit. Hooray! - Carrie]

Anyway, bye Jamie, and don't whine too much on the way out, will you?

Join us next week for whatever the mystery theme is and for special guest Susan Boyle!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Seven Seas Of Why?

Queen Night
Tx 14th November 2009

Last week! Everyone whined like bitches, then Simon went to deadlock and in doing so saved John and Edward, and more people whined like bitches! It's Time! To Face! The Music!

Dermot welcomes us and assures us that our Saturday night starts here. He reminds us that anything can happen and probably will, and giggles in recollection of the farcical aftermath of last week's show. The judges enter to the sounds of Flash Gordon. Cheryl is dressed in something that looks like PVC but I'm sure it can't be. Dannii's hair looks lovely. Quick montage of Queen videos and performances, just in case we are not aware of their oeuvre.

First up, Simon and the over 25s, and he is roundly booed. He is REVELLING in it, don't tell me he's not. He takes on Sting for a start, saying that the show and ones like it have given Leona, Alexandra, JLS and Susan Boyle a shot, and invites Mr Sumner on to give the contestants the benefit of his wisdom. [Nice to know that Simon's debating skills amount to "come over here and say that." - Steve]He then lies through his teeth that he never plays with people's lives and thus never plays tactics.

His first contestant of the evening is Jamie Afro-Archer, who yodelled Crying last week, and assures us that he will always mean what he sings. This week, the poor contestants have been to see We Will Rock You and do a masterclass with Brian May and Roger Taylor. Jamie tells them he does not want to do a Freddie Mercury impersonation. Don't worry, Jamie, I'm fairly sure you won't. Everyone talks about him "not being Freddie Mercury". On the plus side, Queen liked to put on a show, so NotLouis should be in his element this evening.

Jamie has decided to dispense with the nicety of singing in tune to Radio Gaga. And his hair is different. Still big, but in ringlets. He shouts at the audience to get them involved, which is the most engagement he shows with this song that he purports to love. His voice sounds a bit weedy. Simon looks gleeful.

Dannii's back on the end of the panel. She liked the pyrotechnics and the way Jamie got the crowd going. She doesn't think it showed off his vocal ability. He thanks her. Louis thinks Jamie is out of his depth. I really hate having to agree with Louis, but I've done that an inordinate amount this series. Cheryl thinks it is tough being first up, but he kicked off the show well, and she doesn't like his hair in curls, she likes it frizzy [But I bet she has a L'Oreal hair product she can recommend - Rad]. Simon is disbelieving of Cheryl's banal comments. Jamie says it doesn't matter what the judges think, it only matters what the public think. Fate, have a bit of temptation, right here, right now.

Time for rubbish Lloyd, who is rubbish. He doesn't feel out of his depth, and thinks that going through last week shows that he has a place in this competition, because crazy teenage girls are voting for him. He plays the "oh I am SO YOUNG" card, telling us about being born in the 1990s. NotLouis says that Lloyd needs to be cheeky; Louis does not think Lloyd can do such a thing. [Another thing to agree with Louis on. Show, what are you doing to us? - Rad]

He's singing Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and there is a big glittery heart on the stage. He cannot sing any of the low notes, and he's struggling on the higher ones. The backing vocals are overpowering him. He has girl dancers in thigh-high boots, and hearts on their dresses, rather similar in design to Kylie's in the Hand On Your Heart video. Bored now. He tries to riff at the end, but fails.

Dannii says it was his best performance so far, which may be the case, but it still wasn't good. Simon thinks he's trying to lighten up a bit and that comes across, but likens him to a puppy in the Grand National (which Cheryl takes exception to, possibly because she doesn't understand the concept of metaphor). Cheryl thinks the penny has finally dropped with him. Dermot shakes his hand and exclaims about him "growing up".

Next is Olly, who was electrified by last week's response. No mention of the fact that the crowd is actually told when and what to shout. He tells us that he had "a little accident" earlier in the week, and I an half-expecting to hear that he failed to get to the loo in time. No - he was pissing about with a punchbag and cracked a knuckle, which meant that he had to have a big sling on his arm all week. Not sure why such extreme measures were needed. However, this does make for highly entertaining rehearsal footage as NotLouis tries to teach him choreography (having wailed about a cracked knuckle being the WORST THING HE CAN IMAGINE - funny, I was fairly sure that his imagination was rather overactive), and Olly is trying to dance with one arm.

Olly performs Don't Stop Me Now and it is the perfect illustration of what Sting was saying about glorified karaoke. It's out of tune, it's over the top, and very self-satisfied. Dannii admires his performance skills, but thinks his vocals were swallowed up by the music. Louis thought it was electrifying and he is the person everyone needs to beat, and then ludicrously likens him to Robbie Williams, Gary Barlow and Will Young BUT BETTER. Cheryl thinks Olly is "in it for the long haul". Simon tragedises about Olly nearly BREAKING HIS ARM and says that Olly HASN'T MOANED ABOUT IT. Apart from that whole fucking VT about his cracked knuckle and how hard it was to rehearse with the injury? Olly tells Dermot that he cracked his knuckle because obviously he punches "like a girl". Tell you what, Olly, come round here and I'll show you exactly how a girl punches. Repeatedly. [Take out Danyl as well while you're at it, please. - Steve]

Last week, Joe sang a song I hate from The Lion King. He was pleased that Cheryl says he is like her little brother, and reminds us that they are from the same area and BOTH AWAY FROM HOME. I suspect Cheryl's actual home with her Horrible Husband is in That London, but we get what he's saying. Brian and Roger seem to like Joe and admire his voice but are underwhelmed by his stage presence, which is fair enough comment.

He sings Somebody To Love, and it is relentless. He has a choir too, of course. This is the most melodic performance so far this evening, but he's a bit - meh, isn't he? I don't really know what else to say.

Dannii says that Freddie finds that particular song hard to sing. Well, I guess he probably does NOW. Because HE IS DEAD. Louis thinks having a choir helped Joe. Simon mocks Louis and his mythical rulebook. Cheryl says that people at home have ears.

And now, the act everyone's been waiting for, greeted by a mixture of cheers and boos - it's John and Edward. Last week, they busted ghosts, sang off, and stayed in. Simon thinks "there is something about these two" - what, the amount of media coverage you get from them? The boys had mixed emotions last week and did not know how to react. The boys specify that this week they met Queen the group, rather than the Queen, our happy and glorious monarch. Brian and Roger agree that if people love you or hate you, you'd got something - indifference is dangerous. The background music in the VT changes to Womanizer, which is inexplicable and distracting.

They sing Under Pressure. Which turns into Ice Ice Baby. Now personally I think that's a much under-used song on reality TV shows. There's a stage invader, with a pineapple, who turns out to be Calvin Harris, and who I didn't really notice because I thought it was just another NotLouis moment of genius/lunacy. [Also, they were so fucking miming for at least the first half of the song, if not more. - Steve] Dannii takes Louis to task for his bending of the rules, and Louis avoids the question by beseeching her to agree that they were great. Cheryl is pleased to hear the sheeplike audience chanting their names, and reminds us that the boys are only 17. Simon thinks it was their best performance, and congratulates them for not whining during the series. UNLIKE YOUR CONTESTANTS, COWELL.

Dannii introduces Stacey Solomon, and tells us that last week she was incredible. Stacey muses over the problems of being the only girl, and having to sing a Queen song - "this was just CHOSEN for me," she despairs. Yvie gives her some technique practice to do. Brian and Roger admire her voice and her ability to move the listener. Stacey knows that it must be perfect - "Pressure. [beat] Under pressure!" she giggles.

She comes onto the stage in a long gown and dimmed lights, and sings Who Wants To Live Forever. Her pitching is a bit dodgy at first. I can really imagine Leona singing this now - Stacey does a decent job but it's not amazing. Ooh, then fire falls from the sky. Cheryl thinks it was stunning and congratulates Yvie for all her hard work. Simon thinks it was the best performance of the night. I actually cannot remember what anyone else pre-John and Edward sang. Dannii says Stacey has grown into a woman overnight. For goodness sake, Stacey is an ADULT WOMAN WITH A CHILD. Stop patronising her. Simon then outdoes her by patronising Queen for writing good songs.

Last week, Danyl was NewDanyl, who was not cocky and had a lovely, sweet new demeanour. Remember? This week he galloped on to stage to meet Brian and Roger, and Brian suggests that he doesn't sing to the floor, and should sing to the crowd. Danyl wibbles about the fear of being thought cocky. Brian says some people thought Freddie Mercury was arrogant, and really, who gives a fuck what anyone else thinks, I thought you were A ROCK STAR, YOU WHINY LITTLE BITCH? (I'm editorialising.)

Oh, he's singing We Are The Champions, which is one of my favourite songs in the history of forever. Not this version, though. This version is a) tuneless and b) performed by Danyl, pretending to be all humble. He tries to riff (dreadfully) as a choir marches on. At the end, he does a little thumbs-up to the choir, thanking them EVER SO HUMBLY for their help. Grrr.

Dannii thinks it was his best performance in the live shows. Louis says there is nothing wrong with confidence if you've got the talent to back it up - and Danyl hasn't. Oops, no, sorry, Danyl HAS. Cheryl is lusting after him. While the Horrible Husband's away, eh, Mrs Cole? Simon thinks it was outstanding. Danyl gibbers at Dermot, in a truly humble way.

And that is it. Time for a quick recap of the performances - none of which, frankly, are worth a second hearing. Rad will be here tomorrow for the results - with Shakira and a Queen-based surprise. [Also, Dermot calls Shakira a "Latino superstar", which, unless she's had a sex change recently: no. - Steve] We can only hope for a Derek Acorah-led seance. Join her then!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Camp shock

Movie night - the results!
Tx: Sunday 8th November

Last night, the competition was fierce. Presumably the competition to be the worst singer in a very dismal year of TXF? Tonight, one more act must leave! And we must see The Black Eyed PEAS and Leona LEWIS! It's TIME! To FACE! The MUSIC!

Weird snippet of VT, where Simon says, "I think my category has gone up a notch," and Cheryl replies, "It had to go somewhere!" and then cackles, like it's some kind of brilliant comeback. Maybe it was; maybe you had to be there. [I do vastly prefer snarky Cheryl to simpering Cheryl though - Rad]


Dermot greets us. I suspect Steve will like the indigo suit and purple tie combo. [It's still BOXY, so regrettably not. - Steve] Dermot then reiterates exactly what we heard pre-titles re special guests, and the entire concept of the competition, reminding us that the lines are still open should we wish to vote.

He introduces the judges, who appear from behind the screen. Dannii's fringe is wonky. Cheryl's hair is laden with "some natural extensions", as featured on L'Oreal adverts the world over.

Oh, fuck, I'd forgotten about the hideous mime-fest that is the group sing. This week it's Hot N Cold. They are all very bad at both miming and acting. The boys seem to all be in some derivation of tartan, for reasons unclear to me. John and Edward flail around, and then there are pyrotechnics.

Dermot fluffs reading the autocue, and then we have a recap of last night. It's a very LONG recap. In fact it's so long I feel like I didn't need to watch the main show. In previously unseen footage, Simon walks past Stacey backstage and says something; Lloyd said something dull, while Cheryl and Louis bickered about something random; Jamie Afro Archer says his song was from a film and thus not cheating, and Simon suggests Louis should be a traffic warden; Lucie felt she showed the real her last night and is very very happy (spoiler alert: AHAHAHAHAHA sweet fate and twist of irony); Danyl is no longer cocky, in case you missed that; NotLouis was on crack and John lost his brother backstage; Joe understands what Louis means, which is nice. Gosh, everyone is really quite dull this year.

Here are the Black Eyed PEAS. They have sold 60 million records world-wide. That is a lot. Fergie looks a bit like a melted Joss Stone, and is standing in a crescent moon. [NotLouis and the BEP - a match made in crack heaven - Rad] Then there is flying on wires and I feel a bit like I'm watching the wrong reality TV show. There's also too much dry ice. And there's scurrying into the crowd and keyboards and audience participation, and then an excruciating Dermot-Peas interview as usual (in which Fergie reveals she is wearing Cheryl's shoes, which I find oddly fabulous and endearing). Please, someone, please stop Dermot talking to proper people.

Oh, God, and then he starts talking to the judges, calling Louis "mardybum". They all agree that individually they made no mistakes in song choice. Louis thinks Lloyd is in danger. Dannii refuses to answer, and Dermot tries to press her, "I'm Paxman! Give me an answer!" [Pac-Man, more like. - Steve] and then totally lets her off the hook, rather disproving his previous statement. Simon says Lloyd or one of the girls are in trouble. And that is that.

Ooh, now Leona LEWIS. Little montage of her career. Does anyone think that R*y Q*i*n would have had similar global success had he beaten her to top spot in 2006? She sings. Dermot talks to her. She says "amazing" and "um" a lot.

Time for the results. Who is safe? Joe; Olly; Stacey; Lloyd; Danyl; and Jamie. Which means a sing-off between John and Edward and Lucie. Simon guarantees us that the past will be forgotten and it will be based on who gives the best performance now. Dannii confirms that it is a shock because Lucie was one of the best last night; Louis says that John and Edward need to have fun. Dannii thanks everyone on behalf of Lucie for supporting her thus far. Well, they haven't supported her a lot, have they? Lucie comes on to stage, looks a bit pissed off, and then coughs. She sings One Moment In Time very boringly. John and Edward perform Rock DJ in their own inimitable style. Hang on, are they singing in two-part harmony occasionally? Cheryl is beaming.

Louis tells Lucie that she is incredible and shouldn't have been in the bottom two, but he has to save John and Edward. Dannii saves Lucie. Cheryl opts to save John and Edward home even though she loves them. Whatever. And Simon, with dollar signs spinning round in his eyes, lies that he is not surprised that both acts are in the bottom two, and he would rather see the boys sing again. Those boys, you recall, that he calls "horrors" who cannot sing on a regular basis. So he decides to go to deadlock. [FUCKING deadlock as I think it should now be called. Even numbers of judges suck - Rad] Lucie has her head in her hands.

As well she might. Because Lucie is the one going home. Dannii looks like she's about to vomit. John and Edward look shellshocked. Quick montage of Lucie's JOURNEY from her SMALL VILLAGE in WALES which is actually next door to BEAUTIFUL CARDIFF. Lucie is in bits and Dannii wanders on to hold her hand. La Minogue proceeds to bitch about wishing "the good singers luck in this singing competition", which is rather classless and also a total fallacy - since when has The X Factor been a singing competition? [I actually thought this was awesome - it was a total sideswipe at Cowell who is ALWAYS trying to pretend this is a singing competition when it suits his own purposes - largely this year every time someone tries to criticise Danyl. So while it was a bit catty, I thought it was justified. - Steve] [I think it would have been better had it been at a time when Jedward weren't on the stage looking mortified. - Carrie] Dannii blames herself, Lucie tells her not to, there is a lot of hugging.

Next week, the contestants face a new challenge, and Shakira will be singing. As will all 12 Finalists, who'll be performing their charidee single in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital. I would pay good money not to hear that.

Hey ho. Join us again next week!

Box office poison

Songs From The Movies: 7 November 2009

I can't believe I haven't recapped this show since the week one results. More to the point, I can't believe I actually begged to recap this week because I actually missed doing it. That's quite disturbing, isn't it? Then again, I suspect the reason is that I have more anger to vent than I can possibly convey in a set of parentheses.

LAST WEEKEND: "Rock" week happened, and involved a mixture of pedestrian (Jamie) and deranged (Lloyd) song choices. Olly wore a red beret on his shirt and pretended it was a poppy, and then ripped his shirt open. Lucie won Cheryl ovah. Danyl pouted his way through his song but escaped the bottom two, and poor Rachel was finally put out of her misery.

This week it's movie week! The contestants are going to a movie premiere! Dannii's not prepared to lose another contestant. Cheryl is feeling protective. Louis is chuckling away, as well he might. Simon smugs that he's still the only judge with three acts left. Yes, and at this point last year so was Dannii, and look what happened there. He claims that he must be doing something right (apparently ignoring the part where his favourite contestant was almost voted off two weeks ago) and that his contestants are the three to beat. Well, he's got me there. I would certainly like to beat all three of them with a large plank of wood. Preferably one with splinters and rusty nails in it. Louis claims we're in for a treat tonight. I'd say either that or a trick, but I suppose any Halloween references should've been made last week. Anyway, it's time to face something masquerading as music!

Post-titles, tiny Dermot enters and stares at his feet a lot. Perhaps the shame is now too much even for him. The contestants will be singing songs from "big famous movies", he tells us - and remember that when it's time for Lucie's performance. He introduces "four people who are locked in their own version of Star Wars" - the judges. Dannii appears to be dressed as Princess Leia tonight, except without the cinnamon bun hairdo. Cheryl has learnt from her free-flying mammary mistakes of last week and is wearing a demure LBD, and looks lovely. Incidentally, Dannii and Louis have returned to their usual seats this week, meaning that all that wank in the tabloids about a possibly permanent seat move was fruitless.

Dermot appears to completely forget what he has to say next, and squints and scratches his head and thinks REALLY HARD before suggesting that Dannii introduces the first of the girls. [Oh, it was embarrassing. I think Dermot is having a meltdown. - Carrie] It's Stacey, who was really pleased with her comments from Simon last week. "I'm not one of the over-25s, and he likes me!" she giggles. HA! I love how Stacey brings the snark without ever actually sounding like a bitch. That's quite a gift - I wish I could do that. This week, all the contestants went to the premiere of A Christmas Carol (sorry, DISNEY's A Christmas Carol), where Jim Carrey's beard was eating his face and Bob Hoskins ran past The X Factor's cameras as quickly as possible. Stacey's outfit is hideous, but she loves being on the red carpet and giggles and squeals. She ponders that if she wins, she might get to go to premieres all the time. Y'know, like Leon Jackson does. Dannii's chosen a song from Pulp Fiction for Stacey - Stacey had not seen the film until this week and thinks it's "a bit violent". She's "more of a Toy Story girl" herself. She rehearses into a bottle of water (am I missing something about the acoustic qualities of Highland Spring receptacles here?), and is worried about it because it is a sexy song. NotLouis thinks Stacey is not a natural mover. Cheryl thinks Stacey is adorable, but that she hasn't got it in her to be sexy. I would think the father of Stacey's child might beg to differ. Dannii thinks Stacey is getting better and better.

Stacey's singing 'Son Of A Preacher Man', and is decked out in PVC and a cardigan, which is an odd combination. She sounds good (though she's sounded better), and I think she's not doing bad on the sexy front. I mean, it's all a bit obvious (PVC! Hip-shaking! Caressing her own buttocks!) but I'm not sure I should be expecting subtlety when NotLouis is the creative director. She ends it on a glory note, and it's a good finish. [I listened to this from the kitchen and I thought it was a dreadful vocal - much her worst performance. - Carrie] Louis loves Dusty Springfield (shocker!) and Stacey's new sexy look. He thinks that if the competition was based on personality, she'd walk it, but he thinks her performance lacked emotion. Cheryl thinks it's great to see Stacey looking sexy and young (O RLY?) because that's how she should be looking. Simon thinks that Stacey's performance was like eating Chinese food, because "you don't feel anything afterwards". "I feel good!" Stacey counters. Simon thinks the song choice was lazy, and that Stacey might be vulnerable tonight. Dannii snits that Simon is out of touch, and that this got Stacey her best reaction yet. She says that Stacey was cool and sexy, and that this was "what Duffy and Amy would've done". Eh, maybe. Dermot says that Stacey came in looking like Olivia Newton-John and that the audience thinks she's sexy, "even if most of you are girls!" He's hinting that some of the audience might be bisexual! Quick, call Ofcom! He reads out Stacey's voting number and off she goes, while Dermot teases upcoming performances from Olly and Lloyd.

Sigh. The adverts are no respite when they contain trailers featuring Piers bloody Morgan.

We return with Simon, and "the incredible Olly Murs". He says that every week he feels much more confident, and talks about ripping his shirt open last week, and tries to pretend the entire thing was spontaneous. What the fuck ever, Nipples McGee. This week he also went to DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, where Olly was overwhelmed by screaming fans. His reaction to being on the red carpet is essentially a more restrained version of Stacey's. Simon has chosen a song from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which is one of his favourite movies of all time, apparently. He thinks that Olly is like Ferris because he's funny and cheeky. Olly has loved the movie since he was little, and wants to do the song justice, but also wants to make it "more contemporary and more modern". Dannii points out that Simon's choosing the same songs for Olly week in week out (actually I'd just say he picks the same very restricted batch of songs every year regardless of who he's got as a contestant). Olly trusts Simon's judgement, and says he's just got to go out there and make it his own.

He's singing 'Twist And Shout', and doing a very odd looking version of the twist at the top of the stairs. [Also, how on earth are you going to make a 1960s song used in a 1980s film "more contemporary"? It's the fucking Twist! - Carrie] He's wearing a suit again, which is a shame. I mean, not that I'm vastly invested in Olly's sartorial choices, but I thought after last week's denim shirt they might have finally stopped dressing him like a temp in a call centre. The vocals are fine, as much as you can really do anything with this song, and I would say that Olly is a far more deserving recipient of the "not a natural mover" edit than Stacey is, but there you go. [He makes my flesh crawl. LITERALLY. In the way this show uses that word, obviously. Not literally literally. - Rad] Louis loved Olly's performance last week, but he wasn't crazy about "the silly dancing" and he thinks Simon picked "a silly song" - he thinks Olly is much better than this. Dannii didn't think Olly believed in the song, and wondered why it went into a Thriller routine halfway through. Cheryl's like "if you haven't seen the film, that would look random, yes." Cheryl thinks it went down a storm, but she thinks Olly is singing a lot of retro songs and wants to hear him do something more contemporary. The audience drown her out with their vacuous whooping and Simon's all "unfortunately, guys, the audience are speaking", because if there's one thing you can rely on an X Factor studio audience for, it's a considered and objective response. Hilariously, the audience's vacuous whooping then drowns out Simon and Louis's silly ensuing argument. Simon thinks the other judges have been "mean" tonight because Olly put on a show tonight and was entertaining. Dermot asks Olly for his thoughts on the "mixed bag" (drink!). Olly says he'll take it on board. Dermot asks him if he wants to do something more contemporary and Olly is all "I'll do whatever Simon tells me! Next week I'll be singing 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' while rubbing money all over my chest!"

Cheryl's next, and introduces "the lovely Lloyd Daniels". Lloyd's bizarre performance of 'I Kissed A Girl' put him in the bottom two last week, and his sore throat made him sing badly on Sunday. Or rather, even worse than usual. Lloyd talks about going to DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL and thinks it was a taste of what his life would like if he won. Cheryl's picked him a song from Stand By Me (guess which one?), which according to Lloyd is "about four friends who go on a journey". Yes, that is literally everything that happens in that film. Sheesh. Simon in VT says that Cheryl needs to pick a current song from a current movie for Lloyd, which is followed by Cheryl saying they've picked an old song but made it "more contemporary" (drink!). Louis thinks the song is too old for Lloyd. Lloyd says he's got this far, and nothing's going to stop him fighting for this, dammit. I may have added the "dammit".

Lloyd is sitting on a stool and looking like Aaron Carter, and then the camera cuts to Simon talking to Cheryl with a very serious look on his face for longer than is necessary, which is quite jarring. Lloyd noodles around in a sub-Cullum style and is exactly as underwhelming as you'd expect. Nice kid, okay voice, but hopelessly out of his depth. Oh, and apparently they are making it contemporary by having him sing the first verse of Sean Kingston's 'Beautiful Girls' in the middle of it. Wow, that's some real thinking outside the box right there. Louis says it was much better than last week, but thinks Lloyd isn't good enough a singer for this stage of the competition, because there are four male singers better than him. As long as he doesn't think any of those singers are named John or Edward, I concur. Dannii thought it was well-chosen for his vocal range ("because there's a certain range you can sing in, and you can't go above that" - ouch!) and she points out that he missed a couple of notes, and sums up that it was "a nice performance". "Like having tea with your Mum," agrees Simon [who reiterates that he does indeed very much like having tea with his mum - Carrie], and repeats that Lloyd is out of his depth, suggesting that Lloyd is giving up a little bit at this point. Cheryl thinks that's unfair, because Lloyd's confidence was knocked after his B2 appearance last week, but she thinks this was his most confident vocal to date. As for the accusations that this was too old for him, she says that if she'd given him "a younger movie", it would've come across as cheesy. I'm not sure the decision is quite so binary as that, Cheryl. Lloyd openly admits that he was terrible last week and that it was hard to pick himself up, and he hopes he's done better. He does look kind of miserable, the poor kid.

We return after the commercials with Simon, and Jamie. He thought last week was a tough week for him, being rock week. Oh, SHUT UP. I don't care about you whinnying about the "expectation", if you can't do bloody rock week of all weeks, you have no place in this competition. Jamie attends DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL premiere and looks a bit of a twat, to be honest. [Because he is one? - Carrie] He went into his sound check to do 'Unchained Melody', and Simon decided it wasn't working again, so now he'll be doing 'Crying', which was apparently the song he wanted to do in the first place. I literally could not care less about Jamie's switcheroo song choices week in week out. Get a new gimmick. Simon's all "it was in the movie Gummo - it's not very well known, but it's a movie!" and at this point the goalposts have been moved so far apart they're actually outside the walls of the stadium. Louis is unimpressed. Jamie has always wanted to perform this song on the show. Simon says that this is Jamie LITERALLY from the heart. Hey, maybe he'll cough up some blood!

And if this is from the heart, then I suspect Jamie is due some serious health problems in later life. It starts out weak and feeble, and then gets loud, but at no point is there any noticeable emotional connection, no matter how many times he blinks or raises his free hand in the air. As far as reality show performances of this song go, this one isn't fit to stand within a 100 mile radius of Carrie Underwood's, which actually had some degree of emotional consistency in the vocal, as opposed to LOUD quiet LOUD quiet LOUD, which is what this was. Louis is pleased Jamie has stopped with the silly rock stuff, and thinks it was Jamie's most emotional and best performance, though he calls Simon out on cheating with the movie. There follows literally the only known example of Simon Cowell claiming that popularity is not everything, when he says that the theme is "movies" and not well-known movies. I'll remember that next time he criticises someone for singing a song that didn't make the Top 10. Dannii thought it was emotional and heartfelt, and not a pub rocker - this is what they want to see. She thinks he should choose the songs in future. Corporate Cheryl thinks Simon did well in changing the song, because 'Unchained Melody' is cheesy and this song was a much better fit. Simon scowls that they intended to base it on U2's version and that U2 are not cheesy. Oh, PLEASE. (Also, was U2's version from a movie? Because if not - STILL CHEATING.) Cheryl's all "U2? WTF?" and Simon tells her to look on YouTube (or should that be U2Tube?) and Cheryl's chagrined face is epic indeed. "I was nice to him by the way!" Cheryl snits. Simon doesn't care, he's just annoyed that Cheryl called 'Unchained Melody' cheesy. Dermot reignites the cheating debate, not that it's ever going to get resolved. Jamie's all "it was in Mulholland Drive as well!" That might have been a better one to go with. Jamie takes the opportunity to thank everyone for their support, and he's outta here. [I felt all smug because I've heard of Gummo. Those years reading indie mags didn't go to waste! - Rad]

After the break, we're back with Dannii and the girls - specifically, "I love Lucie". Her Guns 'n' Roses last week got the Cowell seal of approval at long last, and Dannii thinks that Lucie found her direction last week - young and cool. Lucie thinks that going to the premiere of DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL was the best thing ever, and that it inspired her to give her best every weekend. She's doing a song from Camp Rock, which I swear that no one above the age of 16 has seen. Dannii says it's about a young girl who dreams of being a singing star, so it's perfect for Lucie. Yvie lectures her on the need to convince everyone that this is the story of Lucie. Simon says she needs to show us all who she is, because he doesn't think people know.

Her song is called 'This Is Me', apparently, and has that whole anaemic DISNEY rock vibe, and I'm trying to decide whether the fact that Lucie does bear a passing resemblance to Demi Lovato is a help or a hindrance. I think the sound levels are off here, because even when Lucie's singing with almost no accompaniment, she's still really quiet, and not in a way that suggest she's doing it on purpose. It's a decent enough performance, I guess, but I kind of forgot about it before it was even over. Louis thinks it was a fantastic choice - very cool and contemporary, and he thinks she'll be the last girl standing. Cheryl thinks she's found her niche - she wasn't familiar with the song, but she thinks it could've been written for Lucie. She advises Lucie to just loosen up a little bit more. Simon says that this is the first time Lucie has made herself relevant as a pop artist, because the song was working together with her. He thought she looked comfortable, and while it's not a well-known song it's a good song (of course, because it's DISNEY). Dannii smiles that she's not the only person who loves Lucie, and calls it a "beautiful performance". Lucie says she really enjoyed the song, because it is cool and DISNEY (no really, she actually said that). She too has started to mimic Stacey in the guffawing stakes. Are there bizarre genetic experiments going on backstage? The Bitch Factor insists: WE MUST BE TOLD.

Apparently next is "a new Danyl Johnson". Good, I couldn't stand the old one. Danyl says that Saturday night wasn't his best performance, and that Dannii and Cheryl were completely right to criticise him. How very HUMBLE. When he got through, he felt he'd been given a second chance, and he's determined never to be in the bottom two again. Going to the premiere of DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL was great, he says. Shocker. Oh, and here comes the heresy of the night: he's singing 'Purple Rain'. Yes, that one. No mention is made of Ruth's iconic performance that turned her from fodder to a contender overnight, just of it being one of Simon's favourite songs. Dannii thinks there's a chance of it going back to being another overproduced performance. Cheryl, in arguably my favourite pre-performance VT segment of the series to date, says "I'm sure he's going to do a big long note at the end, but I'm kind of over it." HA! Excellent. She really did sound entirely over it, as well. Simon says Danyl has to be amazing this week, and it's time this became a singing competition again. Oh, Simon. This has never been a singing competition, and you know it.

Danyl sings. He has a new haircut. He is not a patch on Ruth Lorenzo.

Louis says that he "won everybody over" and that he deserves to be in the competition, and he is a talented guy. He thinks he'll be in the final. Dannii loves the new look, and thought it was a good performance. He loves the falsetto, but doesn't like it when he screams too much at the end. She tells him to use his voice more moderately. Cheryl likes his demeanour and thinks he's lost his cocky attitude. Jesus Christ, anyone wonder what kind of message we're supposed to be taking home about Danyl this week? Simon says it was an outstanding vocal (it wasn't, especially) and that he thinks this show has found a great singer who was almost broken and who has now got his performance back up, and we should be proud of him, and we should be supporting him. As we all shall be from now on! WE LOVE DANYL. WE LOVE DANYL. WE LOVE DANYL. WE LOVE DANYL. WE LOVE DANYL. WE LO----hang on a minute. No, he's still a tool. Nice try with the brainwashing, though. You almost had me there.

Dermot The Stooge comes out and does a bit more brainwashing with Cheryl as an accomplice (reminder: THERE WAS NO COCKY ATTITUDE THERE), and talks to Danyl about what it's like to not have hair any more.

After an ad break and some shilling for next year's tour, it's time for the elephant in the room - John and Edward. Last week they were an even bigger mess than ever, and yet they are still here. They went to the premiere of DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL with everyone else. They liked being called "Jedward" by the fans because "it's like Brangelina" [The funniest thing about Jedward, even more so than the twincest implications, are all the confused American tweens on Twitter trying to figure out if it's Edward Cullen and Jacob from Twilight. For that reason alone, I approve of the moniker - Rad]. Louis says that they were the act that were in all the papers the day after the premiere. Simon points out that even Gordon Brown thinks they're shit. Louis counters that Simon and Gordon have something in common - not knowing what the public want. Ooh, this political satire is SPICY! They'll be singing 'Ghostbusters'. Jedward say that they wanted to be Ghostbusters when they were younger, but they weren't brave enough. [They are aware that 'ghostbuster' is not in fact a real job? - Carrie] Dannii, in my second favourite pre-performance VT of the night, says "I ain't 'fraid of no ghost, but I'm starting to get afraid of John and Edward." Snerk. Their rehearsals with NotLouis are disastrous. Simon thinks the appeal has to wear off eventually. Louis thinks Simon is terrified and he's loving every minute.

The staging is cracktacular, of course. [NotLouis is really earning his biscuits when it comes to this pair. - Carrie] They start off sitting in a cardboard cutout Ghostbusters station wagon, and they even have lines! "John, save me!" "Don't be such a baby!" Oh dear. There's someone dangling on wires behind them in white rags, and I'm not entirely sure it isn't Laura White. And then at the end, there's even a Stay Puft marshallow man coming on behind them in a costume that is terrifying for all the wrong reasons. It ends, and there are cheers and boos in equal measure. Dannii has no idea what she can say that's constructive - she says they always either talk or rap, so she's not really sure what they'll release if they win. Cheryl says they bring fun to the show, and that children aged 3-10 adore them. Wow, she's been studying her demographics. Simon says that we've established that they can't sing, but that this was a good song for them because it was "sort of good" compared to some of their earlier performances, albeit "in a very childish, average age of one-and-a-half" way. Louis says that all he knows is that people are talking about them everywhere he goes. He says the world is full of doom and gloom and these guys are having fun, which is what this show is all about. Which is the exact opposite of the comment he used to give Same Difference every week. Dermot asks them what it's like to get such a hard time every week. Edward says they just go for it, and they're just young and having fun. Dermot asks if they think they can win, and John says that they need public support, and they won't be safe without the public vote.

I honestly thought that was the end of the show, until Dermot reminded me that Joe hasn't been on yet. I honestly forgot he existed. [Me too! - Carrie] [Me three! - Rad]

After the ads, Cheryl introduces her "gorgeous Geordie boy Joe". He says that last week, being able to stand out in the audience felt like he was at his own concert. Going to the premiere of DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL was amazing - he was stood in front of the photographers, and he could see flashing everywhere. Naughty! He says that it all felt like a dream that he never wants to wake up from. Cheryl says she's chosen a beautiful and epic song for Joe from one of her favourite DISNEY films, The Lion King. Louis says that the song is famous for being from a movie, but more famous for being from a musical, which: no it isn't. Simon says that Joe's a musical theatre singer, and so will have all kinds of gimmicks thrown at it. Cheryl, essentially, does not give a shit about any of this, which I kind of admire. Besides, like half of this show's finalists don't end up in musical theatre anyway. [Don't even get me started on the use of "musical theatre" as a derogatory term. - Carrie]

So yes, it's 'Circle Of Life', done more in the style of the West End show than the Elton John version, and Joe starts out barely audible, but someone manages to sort out his mic level after a while. NotLouis probably thought all his Christmases had come at once when he had the opportunity to stage this, and he doesn't disappoint. Joe is competent in a bland sort of way, much as we've come to expect at this point. I preferred him last week, to be honest. Louis says that Joe's definitely one of the best singers in the contest, but they're looking for a pop star, not a musical theatre star. He thought it was a bit predictable and safe, and he thinks Joe is better than that. Dannii is incredulous: "coming from you, with John and Edward - 'we're looking for a pop star'? Okay." HA! She tells Joe that he's the best male vocalist in the competition, and the most likeable guy, and she's going so off-message when clearly the most likeable guy and best singer is DANYL that I half expect Simon to pull out a gun and shoot her at any second. Her only criticism is that she didn't like the staging, so if Simon doesn't kill her, NotLouis probably will. Simon thought it was a perfect song for Joe, because it's what he's all about - he liked the production, but he thinks Joe needs to stop "this stage-school swaying", and he takes the opportunity to clear that up that Joe is definitely NOT the best male singer in the competition, thank you very much. HAIL DANYL! Cheryl loved it and thinks Joe is starting to feel like a little brother to her. Dermot arrives and suggests to Louis that going from Journey to The Lion King makes Joe a well-rounded popstar, at which point Louis totally loses it and screams "but you're not a judge, Dermot! I'm a judge!" Dermot, quite correctly, points out that the public are the real judges, though he does it in such an obsequious way that I quite want to smack him anyway. Joe flashes that winning smile while Dermot reads out his voting number.

Performance recap: Stacey being sexy in the sort of way that this show actually condones; Olly dancing like the entire world has run out of WD-40; Lloyd reminding us all that Sean Kingston exists, so thanks for that; a look into the hollow where Jamie's heart would normally be; Lucie welcoming our new DISNEY overlords; Danyl failing to live up to Ruth Lorenzo's standards; Jedward being Jedward; and Joe holding a newly-born lion cub up to the heavens.

That's it - we'll be back later with the results, featuring the Black Eyed Peas and Leona LEWIS! See you then!