Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Always gonna be an uphill battle

2009 Final: Part 2
13 Dec 2009

Oh my. Two more hours of the bloated X Factor final, and I forgot to record it when I was watching it live so I have to rely on the horrors of ITV Player. In the words of the Pet Shop Boys, 'what have I done to deserve this'? Weirdly, because it ran til 9.30, I have to tell the ITV player I'm over 18 in order to watch it because they're apparently so lazy that anything that crosses the watershed on original broadcast is potentially 'adult' rather than actually checking whether or not programmes DO contain offensive content. Actually, I have a feeling this programme will contain a lot of offensive content, but not in the way they mean.

Anyway, enough of my grumbling, we've got a final to endure enjoy!

Last night! The celebrity duets were a bit mediocre! No-one sang a Christmas song! Stacey went home! The recap shouty E4 sarky voiceover man shouts about last night: 'BUT! FOR! STACEY! IT! WASN'T! ENOUGH!' which isn't very catchy. Tonight! Time for a big vat of Pro Plus! It's! Time! To! Face! The! Music!

The first six minutes are full of nothing whatsoever, and then we have the group song I think we were all expecting in Take That week, 'Never Forget'. They all sound way better on autotune as usual. Their baby photos are projected behind them for some unknown reason, but the camera doesn't show us Kandy Rain or Miss Frank's pictures. There's a sleigh bell percussion sound in the background. That, and the tree buried at the side are your token nods to Christmas, people. I can't believe in FOUR HOURS of padding and repeat performances they didn't include a Christmas song. NotLouis is probably unimpressed, too. Weirdly, everyone comes out and sings together, then John and Edward get a little bit, then Stacey, then Joe and Olly, which makes it look as though J&E came in fourth. Dermot says 'admit it: you forgot about Jedward for a bit didn't you?' which: no.

Lots and lots of filler about last night - a good five-six minutes' worth in fact (ITV Player has some uses).

Ads - there are about as many of these on the ITVPlayer as on the darn show itself.

Our acts are now singing their favourite song from the series. I thought they did that last night? They sacrificed Christmas for this?! [Boooo! Cowell hates Christmas! Rage Against the Machine for Number One! - The public] Simon misses the whole point of Robbie's 112% joke and in all seriousness, says Olly has given not 112%, but 150% every week. Headdesk. He's singing 'Twist and Shout'. I can't watch this for a third time. You know my feelings. There is a very weird bit at the end when all the dancers seem to do Thriller rather than THE TWIST. The judges love it, the audience shout his name like the demented idiots they are. We then go to Colchester and as Steve pointed out yesterday, it feels so much like the lame local filler bits on a telethon I'm expecting people to pop up with large cheques and novelty hats (or even novelty blue ear headbands like they had in ITV's Telethon 1990).

More ads. Sob.

Joe's doing 'Don't Stop Believing' but I hate recapping things we've already recapped. I feel I should write a letter about how the repeats on TV are getting worse. Take away all the elements of this show that are essentially a repeat of something they've already done or said and all you'd have left is about ten minutes, if that, and very little of it would contain Joe or Olly. The performance is good, competent, pleasant, inoffensive, unexciting, just like most of Joe's performances, though there is an ill-advised 'hey' in the middle. I like Joe fine, but it depresses me that he's essentially only ever singing songs from '70s popstars. Oh, this show and its contemporary relevance. Dannii says he is definitely the best voice on the stage tonight but doesn't tell us whether that includes the mystery special guests we'll be seeing later or if she means the best voice tonight SO FAR. She congratulates him and makes it sound like he's won already. Simon tries to pretend the song isn't well known. More hometown glory indignity and they've got the Mayor out who says 'you're a winner, and you're gonna win'. Insightful.

We then welcome back our first special guests of the evening, last year's winner and runners-up; JLS and Alexandra BURKE. JLS come on, singing 'Bad Boys' and I actually get goosebumps. Dear X Factor 2008, I apologise for some of the bad things I said about you (except you Austin DRAGE! And you Laura WHITE! And you Eoghan QUIGG!) - compared to 2009, you were a veritable feast of talent and excitement. Michael Jackson week was still shit, though.

They're singing new lyrics about them being the bad boys and 'the ones to make you beat again' and they dance behind her. On the broadcast version it sounded like Alexandra might be lip syncing but on the ITVPlayer it definitely doesn't so I don't know what happened there. Anyway, this is awesome and has a lot of energy, and all five of them look like they're having loads of fun. I would totally buy this, and I already own 'Bad Boys' in its original form. Alex then sings the opening of 'Everybody in Love' and even though I'm still not sold on this single, the performance is great and I totally heart the Alex/JLS five-piece thing. All they are lacking is yellow JLS wishing us a 'Merry Christmas'. Seriously, I loved that. [Me too. It was the only good thing in this entire programme. - Steve]

During this performance, the whole internet explodes with people commenting that it's not a great idea to show up the piss-poor quality of this year's finallists by showing how good last year's were. Chances of a Murs/McElderry duet next year seem pretty slim, I feel. Dermot interviews yellow JLS though he doesn't bid us any seasonal greetings, and he asks Alexandra if she has any advice. 'Just don't cry'. Love her. Simon talks about how proud they are of last year's finalists and then Dermot tries to bring it back to this year's because clearly the producers got worried, and the atmosphere immediately drops as the judges half-heartedly bicker about whether Olly was the best (Simon) or Joe (the others).

Weirdly, Dermot introduces the next section as 'with a look back at this year's highlights... Leona Lewis' which makes me think she's going to actually talk us through it. But no, there are just projected images of "our"finalists and auditionees behind her as she sings her rubbish cover of 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out'. I like Leona fine, and I liked her cover of 'Run' but not every indie ballad has to be turned into an overblown SyCo ballad, you know. This is one of the best Oasis songs there is, and I've heard some nice enough covers of it, but it works much better as a simple song than with all the dramatic diva stuff. Still, I suppose I should be thankful it's not 'Feeling Good' or 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'. Again, is it really wise to be bringing out good former winners when it's clearly a Shayne/Brookstein/Leon year? This show does not do good male winners, which makes it all the stranger that they've been so desperate for one.

Now it's time for the winner's song - Miley Cyrus's 'The Climb' which was only released about five minutes ago, although the lyrics are perfect for this kind of show. Olly is up first, and during this show I was in a chat room, and the conversation during Olly's performance went as follows:

[rv] the amazing stage and light show is the real winner of the x factor this year.
[R] I like the lighting
[f] Stage was awesome
[Sf] He really really can't sing.
[f] It really is the true winner
[R] The final is so exciting we're complimenting the stage
[E] the stage has been best thing of the series.
[sc] It's like he knows he sucks...
[LG] Oly was mae favourite today though. I really can't bear the idea he might win.
[Sf] Couldn't Stacey come on and give us her version?
[f] To be fair, I LOVE the stage
[sc] Stacy would have whipped this. Bless her.
[E] I hope the stage returns next year.
[Sf] The stage is epic.
[f] The stage would win if we voted
[Sf] Simon has mouth in hands.
[sc] The stage is amazing, it's true.
[f] It and Lloyd's haircut were my series highlights
[sc] Ah, fireworks and choir. Drink.
[Sf] Simon is applauding the stage's pyrotechnics.
[f] Oh fuckin hell
[E] Can we just have the stage with no one singing on it. the singers are ruining the stage.
[f] Inspired idea
[f] Just an hour and a half of a lightshow
[f] I'd watch that
[E] We can call it "X Stage"
[f] I imagine the Stage will be off to America next year

And that, ladies and gents tells you pretty much all you need to know. Olly tries, but his voice is really weak and he misses a lot of the notes. It's actually pretty painful and he's clearly out of his comfort zone. The stage on the other hand, has been amazing all year.

The judges try and pretend he was good, and Simon lies that he has 'answered every criticism' unless he means 'answered' as in 'proved'. He asks Dermot if he can do another song. Dermot says 'we'll see later'. His 'best bits' consist of premiere of DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, terrible dancing, not very good singing and being a NORMAL BLOKE. Yawn. His family and Robbie Williams send him messages saying how much they want him to win. There is a load more blah about Olly during which time I put my tea in the oven. [And I put my head in the oven. - Steve]

Joe's first few notes can't be heard but after that it's polished and good and clearly, clearly much better than Olly's version could ever be. I feel denied that we didn't hear Stacey's version of this.

Louis puts his 'neck on the block' and says Joe's version was better. Dannii says it was effortless and beautiful and it's one of her absolute favourite songs. Really? Simon says it was the first time he saw Joe's nerves and he tries to fake tension by saying he 'genuinely can't call it' but I'm not sure his heart is in it. Cheryl says he's been a pleasure to work with. We see Joe's 'best bits'. Lots of changing hair, being a geordie and being competent but a bit dull. Oh, and going to the premiere of DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL. We see lots of boring VT support messages including one from George Michael which wishes him good luck but doesn't have the same weird 'please be my mate' vibe Robbie's did. Cheryl bursts into tears and we have go back to South Shields for even more torture good luck messages. People want him to keep living the dream. Sigh.

There are still FORTY MINUTES left. Cripes.

More recaps. More hometown filler. More recaps.

George Michael arrives to perform 'December Song'. There is some really beautiful animation of rooms in a house going on in the background, and his pretty animated video plays on the side screen. This is quite a nice, sweet song, though perhaps a little subdued for THE! X! FACTOR! FINAL! Still, along with the Alexandra/JLS bit, this is one of only two performances worth YouTubing from tonight. It snows! He sings about Christmas! What's not to like?

After the break a 'world class surprise' even though everyone knows who it is because it was revealed ages ago, and I, for one, am not too excited at the prospect.

We're back with the special guest, Paul McCartney, as if you didn't already know. He starts with 'Drive My Car', presumably because of the Sienna Miller advert, and "our" finalists come on to join him and make him more exciting. The judges give him an extended standing ovation while the roadies struggle to move the stage around. He's wearing a Sgt Pepper style outfit and playing behind a psychedelic-painted piano to do 'Live and Let Die'. His voice is pretty weak but the stage and lighting are very exciting, all flames and explosions and flashing lights, and this song is actually one of the Macca songs I don't mind. I swear this montage went on ten times longer on TV and ended in 'Hey Jude' as always but that's probably just my inbuilt Paul McCartney prejudice coming to the forefront, as it doesn't appear that he sang that from the rewatch. Dermot says 'I know you watch this show at home' and asks who's the best. Paul jokes that they're both good and one of them's gonna win. Oh, my sides. Simon makes an even worse joke by telling Paul he's through to the next round.


More nonsense with the local public. O Fortuna. And the winner is..... JOE MCELDERRY. He screams a bit and jumps on tiptoes and looks like an excited little puppy. Aw. Dermot applauds Olly for being a great runner-up. Olly describes Joe as being 'breathless' with his vocal. Um. Dermot lets Joe touch his actual single - a CD, rather than a download. Will next year's winner get to do the same, or will we be wholly downloading in the next decade? It's not the same in this futuristic late noughties era without Andi Peters at the CD pressing plant. The cover is really uninspired and fugly.

Cheryl blubs/goes off to be sick (depending on which internet rumours you favour) and Joe sings it again. The other finalists come on, all in white for no good reason, and Rachel mobs him and starts shouting down the mic, which isn't quite as bad as Eoghan sabotaging Diana's final song but is still a bit weird.

And with that, we're done for another year! thanks for your readership, your comments and your patience. Don't forget to join the team on Strictly Come Bitching for Saturday's Strictly Come Dancing final... and remember...



nick said...

Joe looked so overcome at the end I was worried his legs might collapse beneath him. Bless.

Thanks for guiding us through the past however many weeks and being 100% 112% 150% 200% 100000000% (delete according to taste) more entertaining than the show itself.

And have a relaxing Christmas after your herculean efforts.

Tony said...

Each week, as the X Factory gasped its last with the yattering of Dimwit O'Leary, I'd get the mucky feeling of having just ogled another car crash but thanks to you, your blogs brought me some kind of absolution.
So have a good solstice and thank you to everyone.
PS Cheryl was shuffling back to her pew after a couple of quick fags.

Hudsondoglets said...

Great job - look forward to next year!

オテモヤン said...