Sunday, November 08, 2009

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!


Christopher said...


Christopher said...

Also I was going to make a joke about Laura White being the Stay Puft Marshmallow but then I decided I was better than that, and then I realised I wasn't.

Dex said...

Love how Olly tried to make his shirt pulling a Spontaneous Moment, when Cheryl commented on how she saw it in rehearsal and wasn't sure if it would work.