Sunday, October 24, 2010

You Zoom, You Lose

Results Show: 24th October 2010

“Last night”! The theme ‘guilty pleasures’ was stretched as far as possible, given that none of the songs chosen were guilty, and none of the performances were pleasures! Lots of nonsense was spoken about taking risks, but everyone was pretty much the same as they always were! “Tonight”! Cheryl Cole! Mickey Bubbles! One of these suckers is going home, which isn’t going to make next week’s show much shorter, now, is it?

By the way, the opening VT of the acts is really weird and shows half a second of everyone pretty much screaming in the middle of their performances, which is a bit random.

It’s! Time! To! Face! The! Music!

Dermot welcomes us back with the news that Mickey Bubbles, ‘one of the biggest stars in the world’ will be performing. Is he? I still haven’t forgiven him for Leon Jackson.

The judges enter. Cheryl is wearing a silver Barbarella-style dress which is very short. Dannii is wearing a black and silver prom-cum-bridemaid’s dress. Louis has a bit of an Aiden/Jedward tribute quiff thing going on with his hair.

Dermot reminds us that we can download last night’s performances from ITUNES. I would be fascinated to see what the sales were like, and even more to see if anyone actually listened to them.

Group performance – CeeLo Green’s Forget You (the clean version). I am very pleased that this show’s finally discovered the 2010s after six years of nagging them to leave the last century alone. It’s all mimed and autotuned of course, and it’d be an interesting exercise to play some of these and some of last year’s back to back with a blindfold on and see if you could make out anyone’s voice, given they all sound Gleed to the max. Still, the autotuning means we’re essentially spared poor singing, and half of them can’t mime quickly enough which would make them great fodder for Auntie’s Bloomers clips of Top of the Pops were it still the 1990s – although the lip syncing on tonight’s episode is all over the shop anyway.

Recaps of last night: Paije screeching, John’s dancers shagging, Rebecca in a silly dress, Cher being pushed around in a giant slinky, Lazy Decorator pretending to be Travis pretending to be Britney, One Direction being a hot fried mess backed up to the hilt by backing singers who will nevertheless probably win, Treyc’s dancers blowing fireworks out of their crotches, Mary’s bosoms, Aiden threatening to make diamonds last forever, Belle Amie having even more backing singers than One Direction, Wagner forgetting his congas, Katie becoming even more of a cartoon character, me dying of boredom.

I keep waiting for adverts, we’d have had two breaks by this time last night.

Up next, Mickey Bubbles, who is loved by many for reasons I cannot fathom. I’d prefer to listen to a Lazy DECORATOR album, and that’s saying something. He mimes (I think) his single ‘Hollywood’ and it’s as boring as usual, though he dances about so if you like that kind of thing, then you’ll be happy, I suppose. [He had the mic NOWHERE NEAR HIS MOUTH. Mimed to the max. - Carrie] [Ah, I was in the kitchen making my tea so I didn't notice - Rad] Apparently he’s come off holiday to perform on this show. Really? Really? Dermot asks him if he lives on tour and he says that the new single’s been tacked onto the album, is that right, and Mickey Bubbles says ‘oh no, it’s a new edition of the album, the Hollywood edition’ which effectively means yes (although according to the advert they showed later, it means eight new songs. If you've got eight new songs then wait until you have a couple more and release an album. [Or you could just release half an album like The Saturdays did, although even then it was only about 50% new material. - Steve] I really hate it when they do those "reissued" CDs with extra tracks, just to either annoy or fleece those who bought an album first time round). He then asks everyone to watch his video on YouTube.

Ads. Mawliddlejaw has an album out. Rufus Hound and Keith Lemon are still pretending to be different people.

Dermot asks the judges who excelled. Louis singles out Matt, Aiden, Rebecca and Treyc. None of his own acts. Interesting. Dermot asks Dannii if she is proud of the boys. She is, and was also impressed with Rebecca. Dermot asks Simon who ‘came of age’ last night. Nice choice of phrase there, Dermot, given a) the pubescent contestants in some categories and b) the rumours about certain other contestants shagging everything in sight. Simon says Matt, Rebecca, One Direction and Aiden. Not Belle Amie.

Next up, Cheryl singing her new single ‘Promise This’, which is OK I guess, better than ‘Three Words’, anyway. She’s wearing really weird thing length ribbonny stockings and a white jacket, and her hair extensions look a ratty old mess. L’Oreal can’t be pleased with that. She seems to be singing live, or at least live over herself. It’s hard to tell with the lip syncing being all out. [I think it was a mixture. There were some notes that were so shonky they had to be live, but there was also very obvious miming. Ugh. Cheryl's solo career is ASS. - Steve] She’s accompanied by a bunch of male dancers with shaved heads in shirts and ties. The dancing seems very similar to ‘Fight for This Love’ and it’s all rather energetic for someone who had Malaria not very long ago. She tells us that the single is out now and the album’s out next week, which is more than the celebrity guests on this show usually know. Having not watched the Piers Morgan thing last night (I was watching the Xtra Factor, which is only really worth it for the phone calls from the public, which is always comedy gold, particularly when they flummox Simon as they did last night), can anyone enlighten me as to whether she is the Nation's Sweetheart again or not? I must know the party line. Vote Danyl! [I didn't watch it either, I was too busy stripping naked and covering myself in honey before sitting on an anthill, or any number of vastly preferable activities. - Steve]


Results time. Safe are: Cher, Aiden, Wagner. Paije looks resigned, Simon looks grumpy, Dannii looks sick. Also through: Katie (to a chorus of boos), One Direction, Rebecca. Treyc and John look terrified. Also safe: Belle Amie. Really? One week’s grace, surely. Simon punches the air and then makes a 'told you' face and gesture to Louis. Classy. He’ll still be the first mentor down to one act, though. Matt is safe, as is Mary. So the three black acts are left. Oh, racialist British public, the most successful acts to come from this show have been black (or mixed race) you idiots. So it’s Treyc and John in the sing-off and Steve’s worries for her were clearly founded. [I CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT PAIJE SANG LAST NIGHT. - Carrie] [Something boring, I think - Rad]

John is going to do Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Because of You’ because it means so much to so many people. Isn’t it about having a horrible childhood and being afraid because of that? It’s hardly an upbeat sentiment for a save me song. Still, Kelly Clarkson’s writers are getting plenty of royalties from this series, aren’t they? Treyc will be doing ‘One Night Only’ and apparently it’s the Jennifer Hudson version, not the Beyonce one (or the original cast version(s) lest Carrie shout at me). Though she sounds like she says Delta Goodrem’s version. [This made me so angry. "Jennifer Hudson's One Night Only." Grr. - Carrie]

Ads. That was a more “normal” length segment (i.e. about four minutes).

John’s up first. Louis calls him john Ade-Lay whilst voiceover man says Ade-Lay-ee. I am guessing Louis can’t pronounce any of his acts’ names apart from Mary from IRELAND. The backing music is distractingly loud and off-putting, and he is really struggling with this song. He loses the tune in places and strains to get the notes. This is such a bad song choice, and he knows he's doomed.

Treyc is indeed doing the slower version of the song and it’s strong and emotional if a bit overblown. [It was RUBBISH. She's lucky John was so dreadful. - Carrie] [Alright, it was rubbish, but as Treyc is the only one I vaguely like I'm trying to deceive myself - Rad] It’s not quite the sing-off triumph I’d expect of her, which I am putting down to song choice. Those really were two odd songs for them to pick. [They were both pretty terrible, weren't they? I suggested on Twitter we call it a draw and eliminate Katie, and that way everyone wins. - Steve]

Louis saves John (the audience boo, even though surely it’d be more cause for booing if he sent John home?). Dannii says she knows the kind of artist John is, that Treyc can sing anything and do something different every week and it’s not clear if she means that as a compliment or not. She sends John home – to boos. Weird audience, make your minds up. Cheryl says John shouldn’t be there but sends him home. Simon says last night’s song didn’t help John and he doesn’t think Louis has looked after him properly. He said he didn’t think Treyc doing Led Zeppelin would connect with people and he has to judge the sing-off, so is sending home John. He was only ever a fodder contestant, anyway, but at least he lost his annoying hat along the way.

John’s footage: annoying hat, working in a nursing home, wanting to only be a millionaire, singing a song that WAS number one, being a bit boring.

Dermot tells John he was ‘such a gentleman’ and Louis says he is a great singer and hopes someone gives him a record deal. [If only Louis were a prominent figure in the music industry who was capable of making that happen! - Steve]

John says he’s going to ‘put some music down’ and ‘tear it up’ whatever that means.

Next week: Rihanna, Bon Jovi and, er, Jamiroquai. Err, OK. On The Xtra Factor, Simon says the theme is Halloween next week, though I have no idea if he's joking or not. [Hooray! Someone, probably Wagner, will do Monster Mash, and someone else will do Things That Go Bump In The Night! Gosh, I wish JLS had done that. - Carrie] Join us then to find out!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Guilty displeasures

Live Shows: Guilty Pleasures Week
23 October 2010

Welcome back! Last week the term ‘musical heroes’ was stretched as far as possible! Everyone was thoroughly average at best! Storm and Diva Fever left! Tonight! The term “guilty pleasures” will be stretched to mean “songs”! IT’S! TIME! TO! FACE! THE! MUSIC!

In the pre-show VTs, Cheryl thinks tonight will be a good week for her category and Louis thinks Simon will lose another act. I hate how this series is making Louis look right so often.

Dermot suitwatch: weird shade of purple-blue mismatched with a horrible brown tie and hankie. And of course, it doesn’t fit.

The judges enter to ‘Live and Let Die’. *Has horrible flashbacks to Paul McCartney* - Please tell me he’s not coming back.

Paije has the suicide spot this week. Oh well, never mind, eh? Dannii’s hair looks good again – she’s had some fab styling this series. This week, the contestants went shopping. Some fools mobbed them. Paije loved it, apparently. Perhaps it reminded him of the queues in the foyer on an Orange Wednesday. He says he’s going to lay himself bare on the stage – as we said to Len Goodman last week, DO NOT WANT.

He’s singing ‘Ain’t Nobody’ and is wearing a hideous red jacket. Paije’s styling this series has been worse than Dermot’s. He’s turned it into an Aiden-esque murder ballad, which is almost as cardinal a sin as the various assaults this show and its ilk have committed against Billie Jean. Also: this song is in no way a ‘guilty pleasure’ though I don’t believe in that term anyway, because there should be no guilt involved in musical pleasures. *Wears ‘Blame it on the Weatherman was a great single’ badge with pride*. Going on the coverage of this evening on the Guilty Pleasures club night website, I am suspecting product placement, unless that’s too cynical of me. (Remember to shop at TESCO, kids, even if they are no longer the EXCLUSIVE seller of X-Factor magazine).

The singing? He has some good notes, very very occasionally, but also a lot of bad, bad notes and a fair amount of screechy bits. Better than some of his previous work, I guess, but he’s never going to set this show on fire – though my hopes are high for some literal infernos tonight, if NotLouis is on form. The judges like him, though Simon doesn’t like his styling. Simon tells him he needs to believe he can win it, although I’m not sure why, as he clearly can’t.

Dermot says ‘Simon thinks you need to behave like a pop star, what do you say to that?’ Paije burbles in a lifeless manner that he thinks he’s already like a pop star but he can try harder to be, and he says he’s having fun despite sounding like he’s spent a wet weekend in Grimsby (which I spent the first eighteen years of my life doing before any mad Grimbarians rush to defend the place). Dermot says ‘don’t turn all diva on me’. Nothing in that exchange makes any sense.

Ads! The new Professor Layton game that Steve is very excited about. [Not as excited as I am about this, though. - Steve]

John is apparently showing a ‘smiley’ side tonight. His terrible hat is absent, in favour of some very strange arrangement with a kind of wide-bun on the back of his head and a shiny silver jacket. He’s singing something called ‘Zoom’ that I really don’t know if I’ve ever heard in my life, and to be honest, it’s very dull. [How DARE you. This song is amazing. It's one of my dad's favourite songs. - Steve] He screeches quite a bit but he has some backing dancers doing weird contemporary dance-cum-ballet-cum Jimi Mistry-style-cartwheels in the background. John and Paije are really stretching the definition of “fun” tonight.

Dannii says the song isn’t great but she liked him. She then blames Louis for the dancers, and Louis turns it back on NotLouis who is shown in a powder blue jacket doing frantic angry pointing. Cheryl tells Louis he should say ‘no’ to Friedman. Like any of you can say no to him. NotLouis and his cracked-out ways RULE this motherfucker, bitches. Simon says when he once watched the news, two dogs were mating. Err thanks. He says the song was horrible and all you could think about were the dancers getting it on in the background. Louis said the dancers were a distraction but he loved the new hair and look (“new” circa 1972) and he owned the stage.

Dermot asks if John would like people to see a new side of him – wasn’t tonight meant to be ‘new John’ night?

I missed Rebecca’s VT to answer the door, other than the bit where she had her photo taken with some deranged members of the public, but I presume she is going to bring it tonight, she needs confidence and she’s from Liverpool. Am I right? [Of course. - Carrie]

She’s singing ‘Why Don’t You Do Right’ which is surely only a guilty pleasure if you do that dance remix from a few months ago? Her dress is a very weird satin fuschia pink thing with a hideous bow that flares out like the dress on a loo-roll cover doll, except a factory-reject one, as it’s all lopsided. Her hair has been coloured red, though, which quite suits her. The performance is the same as every other Rebecca performance ever, i.e. a load of sub-Norah Jones snooze the likes of which you can see in the corner of any pub having a "jazz night" up and down the country. *Shrug*. [I thought she was fractionally more tuneful this week. She still sucks, though. - Steve]

Louis says she’s a new popstar. Dannii says she would buy her record and this was her favourite Rebecca performance ever (how can you tell? They’re all the same) but she hates the styling. Simon sounds really subdued and waffles about how tonight is the night when you see people for who they are (in the case of all three performances tonight, who they are is pretty much the same as who they always were) and that tonight she’s a real star. He snits that Elton John says the shows don’t produce stars and he’s going to send Elton Rebecca’s tape to prove him wrong. Err, surely her long, multi-million selling recording career would be the proof he was wrong? Cheryl says she ticks every box.

Dermot says ‘for now, we give you Jessica Rabbit’, a joke lost on most of the audience who weren’t even thought of, never mind born, when Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was released.

Ads. Bing Crosby turns into Cher Lloyd, but does her schitck better.

Cher is next, and Cheryl introduces her as CHAIR LLOYD. Last week she took a “risk” by doing Jay-Z’s worst ever single (from the 90s, lest we let them call it current) and Dannii didn’t like it. She thinks she could get used to being photographed.

She has a mad, huge curly wig on and is wearing jeans halfway down her legs in the way really annoying boys do - seriously, if students come into my classroom like that I tell them to pull their trousers up [hahaha, not even I do that - Carrie] - and a purple PVC jacket. She's performing ‘No Diggity’ and there is a big metal slinky onstage, which her dancers perch on top of. The song turns into the chorus of ‘Shout’ by Tears for Fears, and there’s a bit where she keeps going as the dancers push her around on the metal slinky, which deserves some credit, as I would totally fall over in a fit of giggles in her position. Some of her notes are OK, some are off, but as with everyone else, it’s essentially the same performance as she gives every week, so if you like Cher, you’ll like it, and if you don’t, you’ll hate it. This week is so boring so far.

Louis loves her, loves that she was in her comfort zone, loves NotLouis’ staging and thinks that Elton John would love her too, because apparently Louis has an insight into Elton's mind [GAYLOLZ!]. Dannii said tonight was really her, that she loved the staging, and that she could see this in Cher’s live show. Simon said she felt like someone who’d had five hit records (more than the majority of X Factor winners, then) and she looked comfortable and HEALTHY.

Dermot asks if this is the kind of artist she would want to be. She replies yes, this was her being her. Which is fair enough, I suppose.

Dermot tells us that ‘Matt Card-ELL’ and 'Wand Erection’ (has he been reading the internet?) are coming up later. Ads again, meaning the breaks are probably getting longer than the actual sections of this show. I do wish the “bright dancers” would stop singing ‘She’s So Lovely’, which is the second worst song in the history of forever, behind ‘Mull of Kintyre’.

Last week Lazy DECORATOR still failed to do any decorating but people loved him. Aside from his clients with half-finished wallpapering jobs they're waiting for him to finish, I imagine. This week he’s bringing back the Journey South memorial guitar of irrelevance!

He’s doing the Travis-ified version of ‘…Baby One More Time’ and I will leave Steve to insert his rant about the indiefication of pop songs to make them trendy. [SERIOUSLY. My friend Fraser calls it The Indie Validator, like singing a pop song with an acoustic guitar is somehow supposed to REDEEM it from its sinful poppiness or something. I hope someone rams that fucking guitar right up Lazy Decorator's indolent arse. - Steve] Remember the car crash of the usually-quite-good G4 doing this song? Oh, series one, such innocent times. Well, it’s all earnestness and emoting and a bit less falsetto than his previous performances, except at the end, and it’s, well, a Lazy DECORATOR performance. Everyone’s so predictable tonight.

Louis says he made it his own (except he essentially made it Travis’s) and that it could be another number one. I love how Lazy DECORATOR has had several imaginary number ones now. Can he put that on his official discography do you think? Cheryl says she thought she was hearing an acoustic set from ‘an artist’. [A piss artist. - Steve] Simon also says he made it his own. Dannii says the audience know who a pop star is. If their definition of pop star is ‘someone who doesn’t do decorating’ then yeah, fair enough. Dannii says she can’t wait to buy it on ITUNES. Dermot thanks him for not being Darius and reminds us to download it.

One Direction next. Dermot reminds Simon that his acts are doing badly and Simon says it’s not about quantity, but quality. Except they don’t have that, either. Some silly girls VT scream that Liam winked at them. They are happy about screaming girls, apparently. They changed their song because Simon didn’t like the first one. Dannii worries that changing the song is too much. Simon says they’ll deliver it. It doesn’t matter because they could not turn up at all tonight and still be shoo-ins for the final.

Pink’s ‘Nobody Knows’ seems a weird choice both for this week and for this group (and it's hardly the first or even second or third Pink song that anyone would name, were they asked). Liam takes lead and is mostly in tune. Zain is doing "harmonies" and is nowhere near any semblance of a tune. I would suggest they just make him the one that dances, but of course, he doesn’t dance. [They really need to just turn his mic off. FOREVER. - Steve] When the others come in, it’s just a racket. Some of them can sing and some of them really, really can’t, and they just don’t sound good together. The chorus is very shouty, and full to the brim of offstage backing singers again, and there isn’t enough NotLouis gimmickry to make this in any way interesting. They foolishly let Zain sing the last bit, which is dumb, given he’s the worst singer.

The audience go mental like the fools they are. Louis calls them five Justin Biebers. Dannii doesn’t understand why Pink is a guilty pleasure. Cheryl calls them her guilty pleasure and compares the hysteria around them to the Beatles but doesn’t comment on the performance. Simon said they chose a song and it didn’t work. I presume he means the first song but it sounded like he meant this one. Simon said they’ve “improved” vocally which is damning with faint praise anyway.

Dermot snarks at the judges that guilty pleasures is going to be a very loose theme anyway so they can’t talk and goes on about how they’re being mobbed. There’s then a weird VT bit where all the upcoming acts are shown. Running short of filler, were we?

Ads. Buy your X Factor pizza folks! Full of stale old cheese, leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and has a habit of repeating on you. Eyethangyew. [And results in a number two. - Steve]

Dermot welcomes us back and reminds us that Cheryl will be performing tomorrow.

Treyc invoked the spirit of Lorenzo last week. She liked having her photo taken with people. Cheryl says she needs to put on an amazing performance. NotLouis says her performance will be big. Treyc wants to show people she’s more than the little girl with a voice. I’m not sure she’s been referred to as a little girl by anyone on this show, but whatever.

She’s doing ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and is wearing a Katie Waissell-knock off with ridiculous feathers on the sleeves. She has a big metal bike rack to stand under and has a bunch of topless male dancers behind her in, I kid ye not, red tights, black American football helmets and black codpieces. Oh, NotLouis, you really miss Storm don’t you?

There are a guitarist and drummer onstage as well, and, pleasingly, her bike rack sets on fire. I’m very chuffed at that. Her vocal, whilst competent, isn’t as good as usual, though there are still some very strong bits and it’s not a very “singy” song, so I can’t really complain. At least she’s done something a bit more different than everyone else, so props to her for that.

Louis says he never thought anyone would sing Led Zeppelin on this show. Truedat. Dannii says she can sing the phonebook but wonders why she’s not been out here singing before this year. Because of Saint DANYL, Olly MURS and Jamie AFRO, of course, Dannii. Simon says she didn’t make all the notes but apparently she’s been ill. Cheryl wonders if they should go more rock in the future.

Dermot speaks to Treyc, who does indeed sound very hoarse and tells her she needs to complain more and be more of a diva. Dermot is so weird tonight.

Mary BYRNE next, and comedy music plays over her VT. Some woman tells Mary she’s ‘doing everything I should be doing myself’ – what, working in Tesco? Auditioning for this show? Because, you know, they’re both pretty achievable dreams, lady.

She is wearing a black dress with a mesh on top that reveals her boobs. Is this appropriate? She’s singing ‘I Who Have Nothing’ which is an incredibly boring song. These are the worst guilty pleasures ever. Only ‘…Baby One More Time’ really fits into what most people would understand by that term anyway, and it wasn’t done straight (well, no, I suppose it WAS done “straight” in the other sense of the word) so defeats the object. Mary’s performance? Surprise, surprise, it’s Mary. She’s going back to her overblown dramatics from week one which is good, but it’s not that exciting overall. She looks sick when she finishes and she has weird make-up on that doesn't help her with the looking ill. [And she never even stood a chance of beating Jordin Sparks on this song. - Steve]

Dannii loves her but says she’d like to hear her sing more current songs, which the audience boo the first time she says it and cheer the second time she says it. Weirdos. Cheryl, in her usual patronising manner, says REAL WOMEN with REAL EXPERIENCES will love her. [Cheryl is utterly intolerable this week. - Steve] Simon says she can’t sing the same song every week and they need to see more variety. Louis says they changed the song, which seems to be said for no reason other than to give people playing drinking games a ‘sing another song’ shot. [As if anyone us needed a reason to drink more by this point in the evening. - Steve]

Dermot asks Simon and Dannii if they were criticising Mary or Louis. They say ‘Louis’. Louis asks what kind of song Dannii means by ‘current’ and she fails by replying ‘Coldplay’. Oh, Dannii, I expected better of you. Mary says she doesn’t mind doing a more current song as long as she can do it in her style. Dermot says ‘wait for Grime week’. Oh Dermot, you disappointed me that time you said there would literally be murder on the dancefloor, don’t be breaking my heart again with promises like that.

Ads. Apparently the new RoC eye cream is their most talked about launch in history. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been speaking of nothing else for weeks.

Lesbian Vampire Killer (as in he is a lesbian vampire who kills, not a killer of lesbian vampires… oh, never mind) Aiden GRIMSHAW is next. Last week he was a mess but still better than a lot of these other losers. Tonight his epic quiff has reached Jimmy Ray heights and he’s doing ‘Diamonds are Forever’ which is really not a song that anyone other than Shirley Bassey should even bother attempting. I keep hoping for some Nick Cave. [He should've done 'Crazy Possessive' by Kaci Battaglia. It would suit his performance style perfectly. - Steve] His mic stand is made of chain links and he has a band playing under scaffolding as well as some weird big silver lycra dancing things on screen. He has some good notes in places but a lot of it is screechy and wobbly. Still, he does a few mental serial killer faces to please the fans at the epic moments, so that’s something.

Louis says he’s the perfect pop star and loves that he did a Shirley Bassey song. Of course. Cheryl says it was an amazing song choice and delivery and says he was “intense”, which “me personally I love" but thinks others wouldn’t like. She wishes he’d added the Kanye bits to it and wouldn’t want to watch him doing 22 songs on tour. Simon says he’s not like Kanye, though I think a stage invasion of Katie’s vote for me bit would be quite funny. Dannii said he did it Arctic Monkeys-style, and that’s his thing. It sounded more Last Shadow Puppets than Arctic Monkeys to me, but apparently the Arctic Monkeys performed it at Glastonbury. I looked it up, and, as you might expect, Aiden’s version was much closer to the Bassey version than it was to theirs, but oh, how I’d love to see some actual Arctic Monkeys songs on this show. Aiden could do Mardy Bum in an ironic way, and Wand Erection could do Brianstorm, given NotLouis’ lack of staging for them (“Brian, top marks for not trying”). This show needs more Sheffield. In fact, forget just an Arctic Monkeys theme, we could have a Sheffield theme week - Pulp, Longpigs, Human League, Heaven 17, Def Leppard… come on, it would be IMMENSE, and they could also do other regional theme weeks: Manchester would give us the Stone Roses, Oasis and the Happy Mondays, Liverpool: The Beatles, Cilla Black and Sonia and I HOPE THE WHOLE OF SCOTLAND VOTES FOR YOU could be represented by Michelle McManus, Leon Jackson and The MacDonald Brothers.

Oh goody, more ads.

Belle Amie next. They’re this year’s ‘fight with the mentor and jump under a bus’ act. Hi Conway Sisters and Rachel HYLTON! They refused to do the song Simon chose and are instead doing ‘I’ll Stand By You’. Not sure either Chrissie HYNDE or Cheryl COLE would appreciate their bands being guilty pleasures. Some of them are very, very out. They let the ones who never normally do anything sing, which is a mistake. Two of them have very weird hairstyles with big chains on the side. They have a LOT of unseen backing singers added to the final chorus to make them seem more in tune, but essentially, that wasn’t very good at all.

Louis says they’re potentially a great girl band but they’re on their own because Simon’s putting all his efforts into One Direction. Simon tries to look offended but actually smirks. Dannii says it wasn’t a surprising song choice and it didn’t have the wow factor but it was good. She says a lot of songs could have been cheesy with this theme but the standard has been high so they struggled. I wish some of the songs had been more lively tonight, Dannii, and if you call that "cheesy", so be it. Cheryl says she loved the song and wishes she was up with them. They say she should come and join them. Hee. Simon says Louis should stop being bitchy although he doesn’t refute Louis’ claims. He says it wasn’t a very interesting arrangement of the song and snips at Louis that John should have done his own thing like the girls did – except, they didn’t really, did they? You just said it wasn’t very original. Oh, whatever.

Up next, Louis still refuses to pronounce Wagner’s name correctly. No wonder he snarked about you earlier this week, LouLou. Some members of the public also pronounce his name wrong in the VT. NotLouis wins my heart forever by saying Wagner will be playing the congas. As a percussionist I have been shouting at everyone who incorrectly called them bongos the other week (bongos are the small ones, congas the tall ones, FYI). He’s doing ‘Spice up Your Life’ and there’s some hip wiggling and girls in large leafy headdresses. It turns into ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ in a very clumsy way – it’s not a splicing of two songs into a seamless medley, it’s two bits of song sung back to back. Not Wagner’s fault, obviously, but it’s about as clunky as some of the Dorothy medley/mashups. His dancers then do weird things where the girl dancers balance on the male dancers’ stomachs. [Ruthie, they were SIMULATING SEX. - Carrie] I didn’t see any conga drums, though, so boo to that.

The official X Factor Twitter feed shouted “Khan!” during this. Love the Official X Factor Twitter feed! It’s much less corporate than hollow-souled Dermot. Another sample tweet? 'Personally I'd like Mary to have a crack at The Beastie Boys' Intergalactic'. Excellent work.

Dannii says Wagner embraced the theme and could understand every word. Cheryl wasn’t impressed. Simon snits about the Spice Girls being chosen, even though this was one of the few song choices that fit the stupid theme, Simon. [Not according to Nicolo. Who apparently would've sung the theme from Flashdance tonight. I miss him so much. - Steve] Simon refers to Wagner’s comments in the press and asks if he’s happy with the song choices. Wagner says he prefers opera and classical but Louis is “wise” and knows he comes from a country where – and he shakes his hips as a response to this. Dermot tells him to remind Louis of his name and he tells him, and then Louis goes “It’s Wagner” with a W sound and makes a W in the air. Vanker.

I thought that was the last performance of the night, but I had forgotten Katie. Oh.

Ads. R2-D2 and C3PO, you sell-outs. Oh, and buy Dannii’s book, in which we are mentioned! Or our ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Dannii Minogue’ Facebook group is, anyway.

I have heard many rumours about Katie’s song and I am really hoping they’re true. In her VT she tells us Madonna is one of her idols and the ‘being mobbed on Oxford Street’ gave her a glimpse into what Madonna’s life is like. I would imagine Madonna’s life is NOTHING like that of an X Factor contestant, but there we go. [Also, the whole 'I felt like a star!' thing that everyone was doing in their VTs was ridiculous. You don't have to be a celebrity to get mobbed on Oxford Street. You just need to be a shopper. - Steve, Who Is Mobbed On Oxford Street Every Weekday And Does Not Enjoy It Katie says she’ll be dancing this week. Simon is horrified by the song choice.

She enters through a beaded curtain, wearing the same kind of outfit Tallulah wore in Daleks of Manhattan on Doctor Who. She IS doing ‘I Wanna Be Like You’. Hee. I am a little disappointed, though, as I had visions of her coming on in full Jungle Book attire, complete with animal dancers. That, Katie, would have won my love. [Then you'll enjoy Bristol Palin on Dancing With The Stars. - Steve]

I guess embracing the comedy was the only way she could go in order to stay in the show, so it’s probably a smart move on her part, though not as smart as if she'd embraced it PROPERLY. There’s some dancing about (mostly by the dancers, she just trots a bit) and a bit where the dancers lift her above their heads and she keeps going, and, as with Cher, well done her for that bit.

Her voice sounds even worse than usual, though, very weak and not entirely tuneful, but I think that “the tune” and this series are only passing acquaintances anyway going on tonight’s evidence. So, yes it’s really awful, but I suppose that if we have to have her (and unfortunately it appears we do) then I’d rather awful, taking the piss out of herself Katie than ‘earnest artiste’ Katie. I may retract that statement if she stays in much longer, of course.

Louis says ‘at long last the real Katie has arrived’ – what, she’s a cartoon? That explains a lot. Dannii says it was a clever twist on the theme and she loved seeing Katie having fun and dancing. Simon loved her and says he’s glad she took a risk as he loved it. Cheryl says she’s a breath of fresh air.

Katie says she’s had so much fun and is really excited.

Recap of the performances, in which they show Paije losing the tune, Belle Amie and One Direction being drowned out by backing singers and one of Treyc’s dancers with a firework exploding from their crotch, something I apparently missed first time round.

Dermot informs us that tomorrow we’ll only be losing one of the acts. Belle Amie, Paije or John would be my predictions, but then they've been my predictions every week (along with FYD and Storm) so what do I know? [I'm nervous for Treyc, though I don't know why. - Steve] See you then!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

An imperfect Storm

Top 12 Results: 17th October 2010

Last night, people sang, there were comments, blah blah, tonight two will be eliminated and bloody Diana bloody Vickers and Katy bloody Perry will perform as if we weren't put through ENOUGH. Louis PTCs that there was a mishap that wasn't his fault, and Simon steals Louis's "divas" line from last week and turns it into "I love drama queens, I work with drama queens."


Dermot welcomes us and lies that any of us gave a tiny rat's ass about Diana Vickers when she was on the show, and reminds us that Katy Perry was a guest judge on this series. I had actually totally forgotten that because it was SO LONG AGO. He introduces the judges, and pokes us to vote if we hadn't got round to it yet.

Oh fuck, it's the X Factor Finalists in their group sing, Telephone. Katie peers through her fingers. Wagner, obviously, is epic. Belle Amie are autotuned [weren't they all miming as well? - Rad]. Diva Fever pretend they are singing harmonies, and Joe's Phil Oakey hair flops everywhere. Cher does the rap and needs to be slapped. Aiden is fearsome. [Rebecca has the most terrifying bow ever in her hair. It's like all the Fergie bows left over after the 80s boom congealed into a mutant beast - Rad]

Time for a recap of what happened last night. Storm yodelled Born To Run, and tells us he is totally rock'n'roll and doesn't want to be cute and pretty - he'll leave that up to One Direction. Treyc thought her comments were fantastic. Paije thought his comments were amazing. One Direction mimed their song with their mics turned down, but Simon maintains they were the stars of the show. Cher doesn't want to leave the stage, she wants to keep singing. We don't want you to, love, shut the fuck up. John assures us that he gave 150 per cent. Diva Fever say they went for it and jumped about. Rebecca doesn't know if she's done enough to get through; this is because she has NO CONFIDENCE. Aiden hugged Dannii with a sad face. Wagner says he feels like he is in heaven, and if heaven is like this, he wants to die tonight. Um, OK. Katie assures us that she was herself, like she even knows what that means. Belle Amie were...a bit strange. Mary was overwhelmed. Dannii thought Matt closing the show was amazing.

Back into the studio and we have to sit through a bloody banshee crab who we didn't vote for in 2008 and had laryngitis while also shouting at Bonfire Night parties. She makes the sensible decision to mime to a heavily produced track; however, the production is entirely dreadful, as is the single, as is she. But she is KOOKY. Don't forget that. She reminds Dermot and us that she is on tour. Seriously, who'd GO to that?


Dermot tells us that the lines are now closed, so DON'T VOTE, MORONS. He then introduces Katy Perry. I suspect Steve will be switching over for the next five minutes. [I was in the kitchen, cooking dinner. I planned my evening well. - Steve] To give her credit, she is singing live. It's not GOOD, but she is at least singing live. Men dance around with fireworks exploding out of their hands. She then screeches an interview with Dermot, concluding that she is waiting for the call from Simon, presumably to invite her back as a permanent judge. Scherzinger's ahead of you in the queue, lady.

More ads!

Dermot brings the judges and their squillion acts on to the stage, ready for the results. Romance-watchers may be interested to note that Mary is holding Wagner's arm. The first acts safe are: Katie, John, Lazy Decorator, Rebecca, One Direction and their backing singers, Mary, Cher (for FUCK'S SAKE), Paije, Treyc, Wagner and Aiden DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE PERFORMS LIKE A MURDERER.

So the bottom three are Belle Amie, Diva Fever and Storm. Who is the least loved act who will be leaving the competition now? It's Storm, obviously. He was in the stitch-up position to sing [when everyone was still watching Strictly - Rad], and is a pissy little bitch. And then he continues to be a pissy little bitch: "You have not seen the best of me yet, let me tell you. Let. Me. TELL. YOU." [He reminds me of Seamus from Any Dream Will Do and his "I have been promised a show of my own" sing-out - Rad] After the break, the two groups will sing off. This should be interesting.


Diva Fever go first. They sing I WILL SURVIVE. Seriously. Craig is actually really quite good at singing. Joe is very mediocre. They strut around like they're doing a PA at G-A-Y. Which is funny, really, bearing in mind that will be their career. Belle Amie sing Big Girls Don't Cry. Which is funny, really, bearing in mind that they are ALL CRYING. [It amused me when both groups were stood together at the end. I mean, if you came to the show cold and you knew that one group was called Diva Fever, and the other was called Bel(le) Ami(e), and you had to guess...would you get it right? I probably wouldn't. - Steve]

So what will happen? The judges must decide. They must decide. Even though they made them (Belle Amie) up, they must decideeeeeeeeee. Louis says he likes both acts, but he will save the act who will grow and get better, so he's sending home Diva Fever. Dannii is making her decision based on the two performances in the sing-off, and so she must send home Diva Fever. Call yourself a gay icon, Minogue? Cheryl says the act she is sending home is also Diva Fever, and thus that saves Simon from having to make his choice. After he hauls all the Belle Amie girls off the stage, Dermot asks Simon who he would have saved. Simon replies, "Dermot, that's not fair. They've left. Leave it at that." Poor Dermot. He is very bad at his job and when he does try to do it he gets hamstrung. [Also, Dermot referred to it as being "like Sophie's Choice" for Simon. Fuck off, Dermot, and don't come back until you have thought about what you just said. - Steve]

So we have a Diva Fever montage. Then Dermot points out that Simon has lost two acts in succession, and he then asks the boys what went wrong. They blame Simon. Simon accepts responsibility. Diva Fever then brilliantly/snittily tell him that he needs to make it up to them. I don't even want to think about that.

So! Two more acts down! Who will go next? Tune in next week!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

No more heroes any more

Final 14
Tx: 16th October 2010

Last week! Shit happened! Steve recapped it! Time actually WENT BACKWARDS as we listened to all 3,452 acts perform! Nicolo and FYD both got booted! Tonight, we get Lazy DECORATOR, Paije RICHARDSON and Aiden GRIMSHAW for the boys; John ADELEYE, Storm LEE, Mary BYRNE and Wagner NO-NAME for the over 28s; Rebecca FERGUSON, Cher LLOYD, Katie WAISSEL and Treyc COHEN for the girls; Belle AMIE, Diva FEVER and One DIRECTION for the groups. Oh yes, bitches, it's TIME TO FACE THE MUSIC!


Dermot informs us that tonight our contestants will be performing songs by their musical heroes, and then introduces the judges. You know who they are. They take their seats as Dermot reminds us to spend money downloading shit from iTunes.

First tonight, the over 28s, and Louis introduces Storm. Last week, Storm sulked a lot because people didn't recognise his genius. He began to sing when he was 4, and has travelled round the world to pursue music and become a better singer. Tough luck that didn't happen then, Storm LEE. He says that he once had a dream that Simon would tell him that he is one of the world's greatest male singers, and knows it will happen one day because his dreams always come true. Oh, Storm LEE. Are you on crack? [Given the story he's just related, I'm quite keen to see what evidence he has to support this statement. - Steve] He sings Born To Run astride a motorbike, and then marches on to the stage as leather-clad dancers cavort around him and the pyrotechnics. I actually think he's not bad as a front man for a rock band, but he's jigging around the stage like he has an unfortunate itch, and he's wobbling his chin like he's controlling his vibrato, can't actually hear any vibrato. Or any sustained notes, come to that. Dannii says that Storm sings very well and she is now loving the presentation of the performance. Cheryl would like to see Storm "stand there and sing, if that's what you want to be judged on". Storm gives her a few epic bitchfaces. Simon tells Cheryl that she looks much less orange tonight. HAHAHAHA. Cheryl tells him his teeth look much whiter. Oh, judges. Simon then turns his attention to doing his job, and says that Storm is like a singing fly: "It's so crazy, I can't take it that seriously at the moment." When Simon says that it's not the best version of Born To Run he's ever heard, Storm pulls some more bitchfaces. Ah, grace and dignity, X-Factor contestants. Storm tells Dermot that he is ONLY TRYING TO ENTERTAIN (that's what Daphne and Celeste said when they got bottled off the stage at Reading 1998) and that nobody takes the piss out of Bono when he is trying to give energy to people. Hmm, I think they do.

Ooh, shall we have an ad break? I think so.

Last week, Treyc was good at singing. We see that she has always been good at singing since childhood. Remember this, it'll be important later. Vocal coach Yvie tells her the problem with being good in the first week is that you need to maintain that standard; Louis thinks she's peaked too soon. This week she's singing Purple Rain, and her second verse, where she rolls out her vocals properly, is really quite impressive. Louis says Treyc reminds him of Tina Turner. DRINK! Dannii says everyone has a soft spot for that song (I don't. I hate it) [I like it, but I hate how what was a moment of awesome for Ruth LORENZO has been monopolised into an X Factor standard - Rad] but she put her stamp on it. Simon says Treyc looks gorgeous (in what looks like a dress made of a duvet). Cheryl agrees with everyone, and says that Treyc is the least assuming person ever and her confidence is so little. And then Treyc pretends that she has no confidence because that is the narrative Cheryl wants for all her girls, because the voting public hates a confident woman, but the problem here is that she is good and she KNOWS she's good and she ADMITS she's good AND WE SAW IT FIVE MINUTES AGO. So stop trying to con us, stupid show. [Seriously. The whole "none of these people believe in themselves" rhetoric this year is beyond idiotic, especially when you consider that people with no self belief do not apply for televised talent shows which claim to be able to make you a superstar. - Steve]

Phew. Ads.

Paije gender-changed Killing Me Softly last week for absolutely no reason, and it was the most amazing experience of his life. He has been performing since he was a kid, and at the age of 11 appears to have been one of the Greek chorus in Little Shop Of Horrors. This week, Yvie has told him that he needs to get his lung capacity going, so he's been running on a treadmill, wearing a Team Minogue t-shirt, and singing away. Paige is wearing something rejected by Madonna circa 1987 and singing a very fast version of If I Ain't Got You, while six dancers perform a routine from Cabaret behind him. And then there is a key change! Louis tells Paije to believe in his soul, he has the power to know, he's indestructible. Cheryl looks forward to seeing what he does in the weeks to come. Simon likens Paije to sunshine because he puts everyone in a good mood, and then slags off the choreography. Dannii, of course, thought the choreography worked. [Weirdly, Simon slagged Dannii off for the choreography, when surely that's NotLouis' responsibility? They still cut to NotLouis doing a bitchface anyway - Rad] Louis claps like a seal. Paije says he loves his dancers.

Simon introduces One Direction, as stupid girls scream in the audience. The boys were buzzing last week - "You will NEVER UNDERSTAND WHAT IT WAS LIKE," Zain tells us. Niall once played Oliver in Oliver! Zain has always sung and danced (but not dance routines, of course, as we know from boot camp). We see that in soundcheck, Harry nearly vomited with nerves. "If he can't really sing, there's no point him being here," says NotLouis. Oh, NotLouis, you could say that about so many people on this series. They're singing Kelly Clarkson's My Life Would Suck Without You. Hero? Really? I like her as much as the next person, but seriously? [I think it makes sense in context. Kelly won a show like this, after all - the implication being that anyone who wins a show like this can become a hero to millions. I mean, it's a flawed theory, but Kelly is one of the stronger examples. - Steve] The chorus sounds really good, but please tell me everyone else can hear what I can hear - THE BOYS ARE NOT SINGING THIS ALONE, THEY HAVE EXTENSIVE OFF-STAGE BACKING VOCALS. Yes? [Yes, and some of the boys are in tune, and some of them are painfully out - Rad] It becomes more evident when Zain tries to do a big wobbly melisma-laden cadenza and his MICROPHONE IS TURNED DOWN. Louis points out that the song was a weird choice. Dannii calls them heart-throbs. Ugh. Cheryl says she can't cope with how cute they are and she wants to hug them. "In a nice way," she adds. Simon calls them the most exciting pop band in the country today. If that's true, this is a sad, sad time. [Especially when they're just The Wanted but a bit younger and more Bieber-esque. Also: is this a slight on JLS? - Rad] [If the warped reality of this show is that Wan Direction are the most exciting band in the country, then I DEFINITELY have no problem with Kelly Clarkson as a musical hero. - Steve] Dermot asks Harry about vomiting. "I just felt sick a bit," he says. Then Simon interrupts once more to tell Louis off about criticising the song choice. Come ON, Dermot, sort this out! EARN YOUR CASH!


Cheryl introduces her tribute act Cher. She says she never shut up as a child, and we see horrible footage of her fancying herself as a musical theatre diva and ripping the limited melody out of Defying Gravity. This week she is doing a mash-up of something theatrical and something that people want to listen to nowadays. She assures us that she likes to put her twist on things. She begins to sing the bridge from Hard-Knock Life, from the musical Annie, and it's TERRIBLE, she has no lower notes, and it becomes obvious that she can't do harmony either because she gets given a really odd line to sing. And then she breaks into the Jay-Z version of this song - and I don't really see how this is putting her own twist on it when it's basically what Jay-Z did in the first place [it was, and remains, Jay-Z's worst ever record, but then I hate the original song anyway. Hope I haven't committed a faux pas in admitting that, Carrie - Rad]. I really am beginning to hate Cher more than I hated Pirate Jessie Buckley. At least Pirate Jessie Buckley could actually sing as she lurched around the stage. Cher just sneers and swaggers around like a marionette puppet with her strings cut. Louis says the risk worked and she looks like a pop star. Dannii doesn't think the risk worked. Simon loved it. Cher raises her arm like it's vindication of everything ever. "I see the future here," [and it looks like late-90s rap singles. Still, that's a couple of decades' worth of progress for this show - Rad] says Simon, before adding, "Teach them well and let them lead the way." Cheryl says Cher is a pop star. Except not. Dermot tries to get Dannii and Cher to bitch at each other. They don't.

John is a nice man who sang a No 1 last week and unwittingly instigated the Northern v Southern Hemisphere war. His earliest memory of singing is making his sister leave her class at primary school to perform with him. This week he is singing an emotional song that keeps making him cry. And making Yvie cry as well. John says it would be the worst thing EVAH not to finish a song because he was too emotional. Never mind, John, if that happens, you can always sit on the steps. He's singing A Song For You (as performed by Nicolo in auditions), which I never think works when sung by sometone too young, but he's vocally very adept still. Dannii comments on his "natural" voice, and Cheryl says that part of the beauty of being a performer is to sing with emotion. Simon says that it was a fantastic song choice from Louis. Tell you something, guys, Louis really has done very well with the hand he's been dealt so far this series. [I know! And he can legitimately claim to be the best mentor after last week. What is the world coming to? - Rad]


Simon introduces Diva Fever, who say that last Saturday was the one they have been waiting for all their lives - "with the dancers behind us and disco lights." Way to be cliche, guys! Diva Fever tell us singing has always been a part of their lives. Craig says he was never going to be a bricklayer. No, really? This week Joe has been ill with laryngitis, perhaps in honour of the Claw's imminent arrival, and Craig has been mocking him while he steamed his face. Dannii says they need to forget about the Fever and bring all of the Diva to the competition. Cheryl and Simon apparently have no opinion on this. OH MY GOD BRIAN FRIEDMAN HAS WHEELED OUT THE TOPLESS BOYS IN SWIMMING TRUNKS. Alert! Alert! Diva Fever are all in white, with sunglasses tucked into their jackets. They do, sadly, look like two Andrew Ridgeleys. However, I do totally believe that Boney M are their musical idols as they're singing Gotta Go Home with its beach and summer holiday theme. And when they shout out names of divas - Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland etc - they end with "Louis Walsh" which is both funny and sickening. Dannii's Christmas party playlist is apparently getting longer and longer because this has been added to it too. Cheryl gets a bit of mocking in at NotLouis, which is always comedy. Simon says that is the kind of record the boys would have a hit with and he thinks it will be No 1 on Sunday. Really? [He means the Duck Sauce song 'Barbra Streisand', which is what they were performing, and looks like it's going to number one this week. Get me and my POP FACTS! Though how a one-record act can be a musical hero is anyone's guess - Rad] [I suspect the musical hero is Boney M. Who Duck Sauce have ripped off. - Carrie] And then Simon and Louis enter into their usual epic battle about whether or not Louis understands the concept of "fun" before Simon reveals that the concept behind the staging was "Miss Friedman's". NotLouis pulls a mock-horrified face. Am increasingly loving Friedman week by week. [So NotLouis is responsible for Diva Fever's staging, but Dannii is responsible for Paije's? Fuck off, Simon. Also, I think it took a few years to get NotLouis, but now I would really miss his staging. I think he saw the Peter Kay show the other year as something to aspire to and become better than rather than a parody - Rad]


Cheryl introduces Rebecca. She says last week was amazing and she had to get into "a zone" before she went on stage. She can't remember not wanting to be a singer, and admits to being "a little show-off". Cheryl says Rebecca has an amazing song that suits her voice. NotLouis tells her to open her shoulders out. Rebecca reminds us that she is shy. Cheryl reminds us they are working on her confidence. YEAH WE GET IT. She is singing Feelin' Good. Bellowing Beverly sang this and wore a flower on her shoulder. And she might have bellowed but she did at least have power rather than a wobbly little fake vibrato in her upper register. [Am I alone in thinking that Rebecca has not managed a single good performance, ever? People seem to love her and I feel like the madman in the crowd trying to point out that the Emperor is, in fact, starkers. She's like the Kooky Monster, all affectations of what she thinks talent sounds like. - Steve] Louis says Rebecca has star quality and is also from Liverpool, which he loves. Apparently being from Liverpool is a guaranteed in with this year's judges. Dannii says that song is a risk because you can overdo it, but Rebecca made it fresh, and she suggests it could be on the James Bond soundrack. She then admits to a style crush on Rebecca - "you're good to go, girl." Siimon says this is a big week for Liverpool, because he is a HETEROSEXUAL MAN and KNOWS ABOUT SPORT (because this is a reference to the American takeover of Liverpool FC). Cheryl says she would buy Rebecca's album because she has a unique-sounding voice, and "you represent Liverpool and Liverpool women very, very well." Oh FUCK OFF. Rebecca tells Dermot that she is coming out of her shell more, and then says hello to a little boy who came to visit them this week. [And then Simon snips about her lipstick for ages for no real reason. Weirdo - Rad]

Dannii introduces serial killer Aiden and his lesbian hair. He says last week was awesome. His musical theatre debut was as Teen Angel in Grease, after which he was given singing lessons by his mum. HA. Backhanded compliment. He yodels his way through rehearsal, and Dannii admits that he's struggling with the stress of singing a song that he loves. Her advice? "Make it your own." Brilliant. Anyway, he sings...and I don't even recognise this. Serial killer fans will be pleased to note that he is still jittery and staring into space with mad eyes. OH, it's JEALOUS GUY. Who knew? He is veering all over the place and this is dreadful. Louis says he didn't think Aiden could better last week's song, but he walks on to stage and he sees the next big thing. Cheryl sees that he could be credible, but that was a shaky performance. Simon agrees with Cheryl but thinks Aiden could be brilliant. Lie. Dannii says the expression on Aiden's face gave away that he wasn't enjoying it. He's biting his lip and looks like he might cry. Dermot wanders on and presses Aiden to give his opinion - "It was a bit rubbish," is his conclusion, and then Aiden pretends to give a wobbly lip but I suspect that is just to cover up the fact that he's struggling not to sob. Still, manly reassuring hug from Dermot - that'll make it all better. [Awww. He was still better than One Direction - Rad]


Louis introduces Wagner, with a soft W. Again. Idiot. Wagner says last week was fantastic, but watching the footage back he thought he looked crazy. We then see photos of Wagner as a younger man. Gosh. I now have all sorts of conflicted weird feelings. There is much debate in rehearsal about whether Wagner knows what beat to come in on. Conclusion - no, he hasn't got a clue. He's singing Help Yourself, and I have NO IDEA WHAT HE IS WEARING. Is he actually...not wearing a shirt? This is not as fun as last week. Dannii screeches and then upsets everyone by asking Wagner if he sang it all in English. He apologises for his accent; she apologises for hers. Cheryl thinks the production was fantastic; "it was like being on Planet Venus in 1965," says Simon. And then he proceeds to ask, "Are you getting it on with Mary?" [Ugh, Simon has been so repellent this series. You know for a fact that if Dannii asked that there would have been questions in Parliament, but when Simon does it, apparently ir's fine. - Steve] Wagner says that Mary is a noble soul and a great friend, which Simon takes as a yes. Louis witters on about the laydeez loving Wagner. Wagner tells Dermot that he loves being on stage. Bless Wagner. Love him.

Louis says he likes the real Katie. We don't. She says Louis saved her dignity. I don't think that's true, is it? She says that she used to dance around to Kylie and sing to her Care Bears, and I am starting to think she is older than she is admitting if that is the case. She looks like Billy Idol today. Billy Idol if he were carved into the shape of a garden gnome, that is. I don't recognise this song either [it's I Would Rather Go Blind, an Etta James song, which I am guessing is the kind of stuff she was signed to do when she was Lola Fontaine, rather than the Sandi Thom stuff she did when she was Katie Vogel - Rad] and I don't understand ANY OF THE WORDS. Her upper register actually sounds pretty good, though. Louis starts poking the air with his biro and demands that people give Katie a second chance. Simon says there is something about Katie that he really likes. What? There is NOTHING TO LIKE.


The judges are late back to their seats, but Simon finally manages to introduce Belle Amie, about whom I had ENTIRELY FORGOTTEN. The girls chat about how they always sang and performed as kids. This week they love their song but they have been bickering who sings what bit and whether people get the same number of lines. Cheryl speaks from experience: "Sometimes, other people [Nadine] sound better on certain songs." The girls are singing You Really Got Me. Louis says they remind him of a young Girls Aloud. Dannii rips their styling to bits and the audience bray. Cheryl says she really enjoyed it and likes the look. Simon wants to thank everyone who voted for the girls last week because they were RIGHT TO DO SO, and then does a piece to camera about how GIRLS SHOULD VOTE FOR THE GIRLS BECAUSE IT IS GIRL POWER.

Louis introduces Mary who I thought was mediocre last week. MEDIOCRE MARY! She has always loved singing and has always performed but never have the confidence to sing properly before. Oh whatever. Dannii says Mary needs to keep it real. Vocal coach Yvie concurs. Mary frets about sounding cabaret, and says she will prove that she is a great recording artist. Oh WHATEVER. She's singing You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, and it's a competent vocal and she acts the lyrics, which is something. But it's nothing special. Even if she does have a noble soul. She finishes and does her tearful shaky hand thing again before sobbing as the audience continue to holler despite Dannii trying to start her feedback. Cheryl says she respects Mary as a WOMAN. [Cheryl to Aiden, earlier: "You know I would never patronise you." Cheryl to Mary: "I RESPECT YOU AS A WOMAN." Bint. - Steve] Simon says Mary is the reason why he never puts age limits on his shows. OH WHATEEEEEEEVER. Mary thanks the audience for their love. Oh, seriously for fuck's sake WHATEVER. Mary snogs Dermot. [Hee! I do quite like Mary, but in a 'coming in fifth place' and ending up in Blood Brothers kind of way, were she not destined to be an ambassador for bloody TESCO for the rest of her life, poor thing - Rad]


And finally we get to the Lazy Decorator. He says that when he was little he used to make a lot of noise, and when he was a teenager he started to get into Nirvana. He reminds us that he is a lazy fuck and music is the only thing he's ever stuck to. Meanwhile the vocal coach man is wearing a peroxide wig. Today Lazy Decorator is going to sing a high C. Everyone tells us what a risk it is. And then Lazy Decorator has the temerity to tell us - US, remember, the ones with jobs and stuff - that "you never get anywhere if you don't take risks." He sings Just The Way You Are, straining all the way through it and veering into falsetto much of the time. His smug little face at the end as he does a little mock bow BEGS FOR A SLAP. Louis says that will be a No 1 record [it was No 1. It's just that it was No. 1 for Bruno Mars. They seem to be doing a good job of selling other people's records this week - Rad] [It's either that or no one's told Louis that the iTUNES DOWNLOADS that this show is shilling are not chart eligible - Steve], and then asks Simon if it can be downloaded. "Why are you asking me?" says Simon, who's in a right mood [and who was the one crowing about all the songs being available to download in the pre-live shows publicity, so cram it, again, Simon - Rad]. Lazy Decorator continues to look smug. Simon loves the production, as does Lazy Decorator, evidently, as he smirks and nods.

Dermot declares the vote open. Phonelines are open overnight. We will find out which of these thoroughly average-at-best performers will get booted out tomorrow!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Music from the masses

Top 16 Results: 10th October 2010

Last night! (Yes, it was just the one night, despite what it felt like.) The live finals returned, and each judge got a wildcard, which meant that a good 20% of the UK population was present on the X Factor stage at some point in the evening. Tonight, two acts will be leaving, and where this would normally be greeted by "*gasp* two whole acts?" it's now met with "really? Only two acts?" Fighting for survival, Dannii and the boys (Lazy DECORATOR, Paije RICHARDSON, Nicolò FESTA and Aiden GRIMSHAW), Louis and the over-28s (John ADELEYE, Storm LEE, Tesco MARY and Wagner WHOSE SURNAME NO ONE IS EVEN GOING TO BOTHER WITH IN A MANNER WHICH AMOUNTS TO EITHER LAZINESS OR MILD XENOPHOBIA), Cheryl and the girls (Rebecca FERGUSON, Cher LLOYD, Kooky MONSTER and Treyc COHEN) and Simon and the groups (Fuck Yourself DAILY, Belle AMIE, Diva FEVER and Wan DIRECTION). Plus! Last year's winner, mawliddle Jor McElderry, will be in the studio, and so will Usher. Il est l'heure de faire face à la musique! (Yeah, don't even write in about my French...)

Titles! Then we're live in the studio, and Dermot has swapped last night's snazzy blue suit for a duller, sort of a muted grey. Dermot reminds us that two acts will leave the competition tonight. Someone in the audience whoops, and Dermot responds "woo indeed", because apparently he's just as over this series as the rest of us. We also have international superstar Joe McElderry. Oh, sorry, "international superstar Usher", and then Joe will be here after that. Dermot's introduction runs thus: "with the first performance of his new single reigning X Factor winner Joe McElderry." Dermot's Brucie-esque inability to punctuate his sentences correctly makes it sound like 'Reigning X Factor Winner' is the title of Joe's new single. Which would be awesome. Although not as awesome as 'It's Raining X Factor Winners'. Hallelujah! [I TOTALLY thought that's what Dermot was about to say. That would have been AWESOME if Joe's new single was a cover of It's Raining Men. - Carrie] Dermot says he "can't wait to get Joe back", presumably for the time Joe swapped Dermot's pocket square with a frozen coley fillet and it took Dermot a full 90 minutes and a lingering fishy smell to notice.

We have judges, entering in the usual blinding lightshow. Dannii looks lovely, like a particularly spiffing toilet roll holder. Her hair is very Tracy Turnblad, only with less volume. Opinion was mixed about it on Twitter, but I rather like it. Dermot reminds us that the lines are still open, and the numbers scroll across the bottom of the screen. There are so many of them, it's like watching Sky News, only with a higher quality of journalism, natch.

Dermot suggests something that may help those floating voters to decide: a group-sing! I had totally forgotten they did these! The song of choice, rather unexpectedly, is Corona's 'The Rhythm Of The Night' (though Wikipedia informs me that this version is actually the one performed by Dutch pop group Hermes House Band) [It was the most random song choice ever. Oh, the memories of downing Blastaways and Special Red on the way to nappy nights (underage discos) at Grimsby's finest nitespots. Turning a mid-90s dance anthem into a holiday camp singalong circa 1950 was a very weird choice for the show, but kind of oddly refreshing - Rad]. The girls are the first to take to the stage, and Rebecca makes the clear mistake of trying to interact with Kooky Monster during the song. Not a chance, Rebecca: Kooky Monster only has eyes for the cameras. Hungry eyes. The vocals are autotune-tastic, and the contestants are about as good at miming as last year's lot were. The boys are out next, and Aiden in particular is overacting to a ridiculous degree. Then Wan Direction and Fuck You Daily arrive, and the former are still an odd mix of cheesiness and earnestness, while the latter try to show everyone else up with some tight choreography. Then Belle Amie and Diva Fever arrive, closely followed by the overs, with Wagner several steps behind the others as though he was just shoved on by a flustered production assistant. There is a RIDICULOUS number of people on that stage. They could actually apply to be their own nation state. It goes on and on. Storm and John help Mary down the stairs, presumably because of her arthritic knees, which is quite sweet. And then it is over, and everyone poses cheesily centre-stage.

Recap of last night's performances, voting numbers, and assorted judges' comments. For some reason, one of the comments they choose to replay is Cheryl's "you're a scouse, and I love those" to Rebecca, in case it wasn't offensive enough the first time. Storm is quoted backstage saying "I don't know how you could be a failure and be in the finals of X Factor ." So he's never seen this show before, then. One of Wan Direction is still incredibly off-key. Wagner feels like he's given an aerobics session. I think that was Diva Fever, wasn't it? Aiden is no more articulate backstage than he was for the cameras post-performance.

Dermot's with the judges, and it's time for Usher's performance. Following the obligatory brown-nosing VT, he is lowered from the ceiling like he's a finalist on Britain's Next Top Model and begins a passable performance of his single 'DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love'. He isn't bothering to sing half of his lyrics either, just letting the backing track do it for him. I love that this is the ideal that the contestants are supposed to aspire to. It then fuses into 'OMG' and he's not really bothering to sing very much of this one either. And to think the judges were giving Fuck Yourself Daily shit for exactly this sort of thing last night. It ends, there are pyrotechnics, the crowd goes nuts. You know the deal by now.

Dermot approaches Usher for a nice chat, and asks Usher when he's coming back to tour. What an entirely spontaneous question! The answer is January, by the way. Dermot reminds us that Usher signed Justin Bieber (yeah, thanks for that, Usher) so he knows what to look for in signing a star. Usher reads something incoherent from a card about "a star is born" and people needing to "come out with confidence". Backstage, Joe McElderry's all "yeah, I already did that, thanks." Usher delivers this speech to the studio audience, apparently mistaking them for the contestants. That's a silly mistake to make; there are clearly far fewer people in the audience than there are currently competing in the series.

After an ad break, Dermot declares the lines closed, and a message comes up on screen "vote is now closed", which is such an ugly sentence. He asks the judges to tell him who nailed it last night, on the proviso that they can't pick their own acts. Louis takes umbrage at this, but plumps for Aiden. Dannii thinks "there's something about Mary". Is she a transsexual? Cheryl also picks Mary. Simon picks Wagner. Ho ho ho.

After that, it's time for the return of Joe. We see his original audition in his VT, with the text 'HE WAS A BOY FROM SOUTH SHIELDS' in mahoosive letters. I wish I'd noticed the exact point this show became so self-aware. Then we see him on the live shows, duetting with George Michael, winning the compettion, skipping up and down delightedly, performing to arena-sized crowds, filming his new video, and we end with some lovely still pictures. I love how his last ten months amount to 'done a concert, made a video'. He's been such a busy boy, our Joe.

After all that, Joe returns - looking older and more mature, I must say. I know it's been less than a year since we saw him last, but then he's a teenager, and they grow up so fast, don't they? Lord only knows what Wan Direction might look like by December. Perhaps they'll have beards. My money's on Belle Amie. Anyway, Joe takes to the stage, and I'm fairly sure he's miming, because he's autotuned out the wazoo just like Usher and the group sing were before him. The song's pretty good, though - I'm not sure about the amount of time he spends in falsetto, but I approve of the general concept of sending the winners down the discopop stomper route rather than just giving them a load of Westlife cast-offs. Also questionable: the part in the choreography where the crowd bear him aloft, because it just looks daft. Still, it's as triumphant as comebacks go (though nothing's ever going to top Alexandra and JLS coming back for last year's final and making everyone else look incredibly feeble in the process). [FACT. - Carrie]

Dermot lifts Joe up in all his excitement, and Joe admits that he was "so nervous" about performing, but it feels like he's come home. Except for the part where he is not in SOUTH SHIELDS. Dermot plugs the single, and Joe reminds us that he is "living the dream". And then he's gone. Bye Joe! [FOREVER. - Phoebe]

After more ads, we're back, and Dermot informs us that the results are in. The lights darken, and it's time to welcome back the judges and the contestants. Watching them all walking onto the stage together is ridiculous. There are so many people! It feels less like The X Factor and more like Waterloo station at half past eight in the morning. Dermot reads the names of the acts who are safe, breaking them up into groups of two to help us digest the news more easily. Kooky Monster has her eyes closed and an expression of ecstacy on her face, like she's waiting for affirmation. I mean, I know it's probably a nervous thing, but it makes what's about to happen so much more delicious. The first two acts to be called safe are Treyc and John. I knew Treyc would be safe, but John was a real surprise. Good for him, though, managing to make an impact in all that melee last night [I presume his supporters, and Belle Amie's for that matter, saw everyone on the internet saying they were doomed and actually voted - Rad]. Also through are Aiden (whose coat I quite want) and Diva Fever. Joining them are Cher and Storm, both of whom take the news with all the quiet dignity you'd expect. Belle Amie are through, and so is Matt. Dermot reminds us that this is in no particular order (duh) and goes on to declare Wagner safe. I cannot even tell you how loudly I cheered at this. MOAR BONGOS NEXT WEEK PLZ. The tenth act through is Rebecca. Kooky makes it all about her, naturally. Tesco Mary is declared safe next, meaning all of Louis's acts are through [it's a rare thing when Louis is the most successful mentor of the night - Rad]. The twelfth act through is Wan Direction, who break out all the hugging. So that leaves us with Nicolò, Fuck Yourself Daily, Kooky Monster and Paije. Who do you think is through? Surprisingly, it's Paije. I honestly though it was going to be Kooky Monster, and that they'd left her hanging that long just to torture us.

So the bottom three are Nicolò, Fuck Yourself Daily and Kooky Monster. Dermot summons them all to the centre of the stage and informs them that one of them will be kicked out immediately. The act who received the fewest votes from the public is...Nicolò. Ouch. That's really got to hurt. Dermot sends Fuck Yourself Daily and Kooky Monster off to prepare for "the final showdown" (I wish they'd just call it the sing-off, I really do) while Dannii hugs a stunned Nicolò. Dermot asks him how he's feeling. "I feel like crap," Nicolò replies. Heh. I really think it's a shame people didn't really "get" his personality, because that answer right there sums up exactly why I was so fond of him. Dermot asks Dannii how she feels, and Dannii says that she thought Nicolò sang fantastically (bonus points to Minogue for correct use of adverb, so rare on this show). Dermot tells Nicolò that he's been a fantastic contestant, and we see his best bits, which are of course constructed around the whole diva edit that he got, just to make sure the elimination really stings. Poor Nicolò. I mean, I know we only get to see a small bit of every contestant's personality, but I really do think he was stitched up by this show. Dermot reiterates that it's always tough going out first, and Nicolò gives us a little fist pump. If nothing else, at least it's fortunate that Nicolò seems to have the sort of ego that won't take a knock like this too personally. He'll be fine.

Another ad break. When we return, Dermot explains the rules of the sing-off, on the off-chance anyone has literally never watched television before. Simon introduces Fuck Yourself Daily, but he's so over it already, because he knows that Kooky Monster equals drama equals headlines equals ratings equals ££££££££, so he's preparing to lose the battle in order to win the war. Fuck Yourself Daily are singing Rihanna's 'Don't Stop The Music' (clever!) and I'm not sure all of their microphones have been turned on. Either that, or they haven't mastered the art of holding them so they actually pick up your voice. Whatever the reason, parts of the singing are inaudible, and the bits we can hear aren't that great. I mean, they're competent enough, but as a career-saving performance, I don't think this is going to cut it, especially considering the cash cow they're up against. They pull pleady faces on the final "please don't stop the music", just in case we didn't get the message the first fifty times.

The crowd are chanting for Fuck Yourself Daily as a breathless Cheryl introduces Kooky Monster. She's singing The Beatles 'Don't Let Me Down', a song with which I must confess I am unfamiliar, but which is also clever in its terms of getting a very obvious message across. She's also dressed as the Statue of Liberty, by the way. Her lower register is still shit, and there's no power to her voice, and she's clinging to the front of her dress like a toddler with a potty emergency, but six years of watching and recapping this show leave me in no doubt whatsoever that the judges will see this as performance that shows us just how much potential she's got (she's humble! she's vulnerable! she's totally learned her lesson!) and so she's going absolutely nowhere. Her voice cracks on the final few notes, and then she's done.

Time for the judges to decide who stays and who goes. Simon's first to vote, and he sounds bored. He wonders why Katie didn't sing that song last night, but backs his own act, "for obvious reasons." Then it's Cheryl's turn, and she states it's "not just a biased opinion" (I love it when the truth slips out like that) and votes to eliminate Fuck Yourself Daily. Dannii stares into space before saying that she's deciding based on the performances she's just seen, and the "person" that she's going to be sending home is...Fuck Yourself Daily. Ooh, you almost had us going there, Dannii. So Louis gets the deciding vote. Louis blathers on for ages and Dermot keeps telling him to get the fuck on with it, and eventually Louis says that he's "going to do the right thing" and sends home Fuck Yourself Daily. There are some cheers from fans of the Kooky Monster. There are also clearly audible boos from her detractors. Heh. Kooky cries and goes in for the hug until Dermot peels her off so he can talk to Fuck Yourself Daily. They cite getting The Doom Spot in the running order as a possible reason for their departure, and possibly being seen as a dance group rather than a singing group. We see their best bits, which aren't all that great. Dermot says that the strange thing is that they're "the only act who got together organically", which is bollocks, because a) Diva Fever, anyone? and b) weren't they basically assembled by NotLouis? Just because they weren't assembled during the recording of the show doesn't mean there wasn't still a heavy bit of X Factor-adjacent influence in their creation. They assure us that it is not the end of Fuck Yourself Daily (of course not), and Simon turns up essentially just to shrug, and then Nicolò's there as well, and it's goodbye from them.

That's it for now. Dermot teases next week's guests, Diana Vickers and Katy Perry (aka The Claw and The Cunt). Sounds like fun. See you then! (And since Joe was allowed to make a shameless plug, I shall do the same: don't forget to watch Rad and me in our television debut.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My super swelled 16

Top 16(!!!): 9th October 2010

Previously on this damn show: auditionees came in their thousands! And somehow Katie Fucking Waissel still made the live shows. After a gruelling boot camp and a dramatic judges' houses, Gamu's citizenship was revoked, Cheryl lost her damn mind, and the top 12 were revealed. OR WERE THEY? We see endless tabloid headlines and TV reports about the controversy, including one in which Kate Garraway appears to call her "Gamo" (this in addition to Christine Bleakley referring to her as something that sounding like "gnu" on Daybreak earlier this week, like, is her name really that difficult to pronounce?) Cheryl insists it's been a tough week, but she stands by her decision and her girls, at which point the haters are all "suits us, that'll make it even easier to take you all out in one go." Tonight, they will sing LIVE! Fighting for your votes are Dannii and the boys Aiden GRIMSHAW, Lazy DECORATOR and Nicolò FESTA. "I know I've got a strong category," Dannii insists, just to remind us that she missed all the auditions and really has no idea what she's been lumbered with. Louis and the over-28s Mary BYRNE, Storm LEE and John ADELEYE. "This is where the competition really starts," says Louis, vowing he's going to win despite clearly knowing he has about as much chance of surviving as Katie has of developing any degree of self-awareness. Cheryl and the girls, Cher LLOYD, Katie WAISSEL (whose intro VT features her doing a facepalm, summing up her presence on this show more succinctly than mere words ever could) and Rebecca FERGUSON. "Forget everything you've seen before," says Cheryl, in an abortive attempt to manipulate the audience. Derren Brown is having precisely no sleepless nights. Simon and the groups, Belle AMIE, FyD and One DIRECTION. Simon thinks they're "genuinely the best groups we've ever had". We'll see, shall we? And the much-anticipated BIG TWIST, which everyone has worked out already. It's time to face the music, folks.

Titles. Now more than ever, I wish for the giant space X to land on my house and put me out of my misery.

We're live from London in the colossal studio, and Dermot is gurning rabidly. As always, he salutes and tells us that the live finals start right here. Someone has apparently had words with his tailor, as his suit seems to be slightly better-fitting than the boxy messes we've all known and mocked up to this point. I'm disappointed, but then I remember that Tess Daly looked quite nice on the first night of Strictly only for it all to go horribly wrong on the second, so I live in hope that I will still be able to scorn his sartorial decisions this year.

Dermot tells us that for the next ten weeks, we are in charge, which is as much of a lie as it ever was: we have no say in the themes or the song choices, and the judges still get the ultimate decision in who goes home. We're sleeping partners at best. Dermot introduces the judges, "reunited for the first time this year", and they stride out onto the stage. Dannii is looking fantastic for a new mum, by the way. [I think most new mums would look pretty good with a crate of Botox and a team of stylists. - Carrie] Dermot and his burgundy shoes remind us of The Twist, and finally reveal that each judge has picked a wildcard. So let's find out who they are, shall we?

SPEEYACK! Bloody fucking 'Hometown Glory', otherwise known as the one song guaranteed to hit my berserker trigger in just about any circumstances, plays as Simon intones that he could've made a case for three or four of the groups, but that this is the one that sprang into his mind when he was asked to make a decision. I hope that whoever asked him to make this decision called him a "turtle-faced bitch" in the process. Cheryl says that it's always horrible to say no to someone (the apparent exception being whenever any of the rest of Girls Aloud ask her if they can get back together now) and it was apparently very tough so say no to this girl in particular. Dannii says that giving "this guy" a second chance is an incredible feeling. Louis reveals that his choice is different and "very unique" (AAARGH) and there's never been anyone like this person on the show before. To compound my musical misery, sodding 'Never Forget' is lined up on the soundtrack, and this show seriously needs to find some new musical cues. The judges all arrive at their destinations and are followed across muddy front gardens by long-suffering camerapeople. Dannii has to go through a big iron security gate with a load of bags of rubbish behind it to access a block of flats, whereas Simon appears to be approaching a fairly swanky looking house in the country. Poor Dannii. Louis rings the doorbell of his wildcard, and it's...WAGNER! I don't say this very often, but excellent choice, Louis. Dannii also rings a doorbell, and we can see Paije appearing in the hallway and shouting "oh my God" in a not-terribly-surprised-sounding manner. Although he is wearing Crocs, so if he did actually know she was coming, surely he would've put on some more dignified footwear? Cheryl taps on a letterbox and the door is opened by...TREYC! Thank God for that. Treyc's first words to her are "are you serious?" I love Treyc. Simon rings the doorbell and when it's opened, immediately holds up a finger to his lips to shush the person who opens it. Two things about this anger me: first of all, how did he know the person opening the door wasn't the person he'd come to see? Second of all, I don't care if you're Simon Cowell, you do not have the right to shush people in their own homes. Anyway, Simon walks through to a living room almost entirely devoid of furniture but containing both of Diva Fever and a selection of pals. There is a montage of all of the judges informing their acts that they will be joining the live shows as a wildcard, and there is much screaming and hugging. Wagner kisses Louis. Louis calls him "Wanger". Heh.

Back in the studio, Dermot welcomes the sixteen finalists. Who will all be singing tonight. I hope you're sitting comfortably, because it is going to be a LONG night. And before we even get going, there's an ad break. Sigh.

When we return, Dermot reminds us that 782 contestants are waiting backstage to perform, and wonders how they're feeling right now. Why don't we get Dave Berry to ask them? This week's theme is "number one records from anywhere in the world" (remember that, it'll be important later) and all of the studio performances will be available to download, if you really hate yourself that much. Also, the more I look at Dermot's suit, the boxier it looks.

We're starting with the groups and therefore with Simon, who's sacrificing FYD to the opening slot of doom. They introduce themselves as Matt, Ryan, Kalvin, Alex and Jordan, and let's hope they're around long enough to make learning their individual names worthwhile, eh? Matt says that they're all from different backgrounds and jobs, and that he was a sausage for a job once. He goes on to add that they have lots of levels to their performance tonight, such as dancers, choreography, harmony, making sure the vocals are right. So, "singing and dancing", then? Dannii says they've got to stand out. Matt says they're going all out because the pressure is on.

Fuck Yourself Daily take to the stage, and they're singing 'Billionaire'. Ugh. They change the line about "smiling next to Oprah and the Queen" to reference Simon. Double ugh. The harmonies are rather hit-and-miss and thin-sounding, and I hate to invoke the dread word "karaoke" so early on, but that is a little bit what it sounds like. Decent karaoke, but karaoke nonetheless. Alex is wearing khaki trousers with red spots on them. On what planet is that a good idea? On the plus side, it's nice to have a song on the live shows that was actually released within the last 10 years.

Louis opens for the judges and loves the song choice, styling and choreography. His only negative is that he thinks they're better dancers than singers. BOO, says the audience. Dannii also loves the song choice, but warns them to be careful not to dance so much that it gets in the way of the singing, which she thinks was happening during the chorus. "You don't need to move that much," she summarises. Newly-single Cheryl Cole thinks they should move more. Also, this wasn't really noticeable when the judges first walked out, but now they're in their seats, Cheryl is fucking yellow tonight. That is quite the tanning fail. She says that it's harder to teach a good singer to dance than it is vice versa, and she thinks "the singing will come". Simon snarks that Louis would direct Fame and tell the cast not to dance, and then claims that Fuck Yourself Daily are relevant to today's charts because people are singing AND dancing nowadays, at which point The X Factor is finally dragged kicking and screaming into the 1980s. Hey, it's progress, right? Simon congratulates them on (his) song choice and tells them they did well. Well, actually he tells them they did "great", but if I were to pick up on all the poor grammar, I'd be here all night. Not that anyone ever complains about Simon's poor grammar in the real world, because everyone's saving those brickbats for poor Alesha Dixon. It is at this point that I realise Kalvin has a bowtie somehow attached about two inches below his collar. How is it hanging there? More importantly, WHY IS IT THERE? It saddens me to warn you that this is a drop in the bucket in terms of questionable wardrobe choices tonight.

Matt says that they came out to show what they're about, and they sing first and foremost, Louis. Dermot reads their number out, gabbles the small print, and they make the obligatory "use your phone to save us!" gestures.

We're over to the boys next and their mentor Dannii, who Dermot reminds us has just had a baby: "so you won't have missed the whinging, the crying, the tantrums - you'll have had it all summer." Dannii rewards this non-joke with a non-laugh and says that she's got lovely guys to work with in her category, and loves having a wildcard too. "Have you got a winner?" asks Dermot. Dannii replies, "I think we're going to try our best." So that's a no, then. Her first contestant is Lazy Decorator, who uses his VT to complain that he lives with his parents, which is not cool when you're 27. Well, perhaps if you weren't such a LAZY FUCK you'd be able to afford to move out. Dannii says that there is no question that Lazy has the voice. Lazy admits that he needs to stop closing his eyes when he sings, and says that NotLouis has been screaming at him for doing it. Cheryl Cole, Amateur Psychologist, says that closing your eyes when you sing is a way of taking yourself off, but what Matt needs to do now is bring us in. Well, at least she's making Dr Pamela's insights over on Strictly Come Dancing seem profound.

Lazy takes to the stage to sing 'When Love Takes Over'. His eyes are closed. Excellent start. I'm not sure that this general theme of having him sing songs originally performed by female vocalists is a terribly good idea, because it forces him into his upper register, which is weak and whiny-sounding, and tends to result in him shouting rather than singing, which is not only unpleasant sounding but is probably going to fuck his vocal chords by about week five. That said, the rearrangement of the song into something sub-Coldplay is more effective than I expected. Then again, the entire melody is lifted from 'Clocks' so it's not like it was a huge logical leap to make.

Louis tells Lazy that he's proved he's the real deal, and that if he was at home, he would download that song now. What a lovely, spontaneous, entirely non-scripted way to remind us that we can download tonight's performances in our own homes! Louis loves everything about Lazy because he's a music man. Cheryl thinks it was a fantastic song choice for him, and she always imagines him "painting a skirting board, whistling along to the radio." I think the part where you're imagining him actually doing any work was your first mistake, Cheryl. Simon remembers Lazy's first audition and not being genuinely convinced, but then he did "the Roberta Flack song" at boot camp which was great, and this topped that. Simon thinks that if he put this song out in a week's time, he'd have a monster hit record. Well, yes, because he's just performed it on a live TV show with an audience of around 12 million people. Simon tells Lazy he needs to believe in himself more. Dannii thinks he's "really versatile" (if you say so) and can't wait to hear his next performance. Dermot asks him how it was for him. It was great. I'm glad we get these illuminating insights into people's characters.

Ad break. I hate myself for quite wanting to watch The Only Way Is Essex.

We're back, and only 1/8 of the way through the contestants. Sob. We now move to the over-28s and Louis, and "the soulful voice of John Adeleye." John says that being in the live finals is "so amazing", and tells us that he lives with his mum in North London and works in an old people's home as an activities co-ordinator. He really enjoys his job but deep down he wants to take to the "world stage". That won't do, quite frankly. Your job needs to be HIDEOUS and SOUL-DESTROYING and THE MOST UNTHINKABLE TORMENT EVER FACED BY MANKIND. "I quite like it, but I'd rather be a pop star" is not going to cut it around here. Louis thinks John is the dark horse of the competition. Racist! Simon thinks John needs to be more visible. Tell your editors to give him some of Katie fucking Waissel's airtime, then.

John is singing 'One Sweet Day' by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men. He has a nice voice, but the song's a bit too low-key to get attention on a show like this, and he looks awfully alone on that gigantic stage, and the gospel choir that appears halfway through does little to alleviate this. I don't think John is long for this competition, I'm sad to say. [This performance seemed so out of place compared to everything else in the show - Rad]

Dannii loves his composure and his passion, but isn't sure that the song choice made him current, though it was a beautiful performance. It's one of Cheryl's favourite songs ever and she thinks he sang it beautiful. She thinks John is gorgeous, but isn't sure she knows much about him yet. That's because he wasn't on this show before tonight. Simon thought the final note was good, but John wasn't given the opportunity to do much with the song. Impending Tedious Mentor Wank: Simon says that Louis was going to pick this song whatever the theme was, and asks Louis where it was number one. "America," Louis says. "No, it wasn't," Simon replies. "It was definitely number one somewhere," Louis retorts ineffectively. Simon sneers that this song was number one in New Zealand. Right, let's tackle this one, shall we? First of all, if you, the creator and executive producer of this show, have okayed the theme week "number ones from anywhere in the world", then a song that was number one in New Zealand is no less valid than a song that was number one in the UK or America. Second of all, Louis was right, this song was indeed number one in America. Third of all, where was 'Billionaire' number one, Simon? The Netherlands, you say? Is that higher or lower than New Zealand on the world ranking scale? Simon is so full of shit. I can't believe he's got me defending Louis. Louis says that it's an amazing song, and no one but John could take on a song by Mariah and Boyz Eleven Men. He says that John has lots more to give, and needs people to vote for him. Ain't that the truth. Dermot tells Simon that a number one is a number one. "I think New Zealand is stretching it a little bit," says Simon. Not according to parameters Dermot gave at the top of the show less than half an hour ago, it isn't. Dermot scoffs that this is rich coming from Simon after last year, and he's got a point. Dermot says that John said to him he wanted to put his personality out there, and John gives him the most personality-free answer in return. Poor, doomed John.

Over to the girls and the "reigning champion" (ugh), Cheryl. Rebecca's on first. Rebecca interviews that it only kicked in that she was on the show "when we were doing the glamour shoot, and we did that thing where you turn your head." HA! If she's going to hang lampshades on all of this show's tropes like that, Rebecca can stay. She talks about how hard it's been to leave her kids behind, but she's had a massive opportunity to change their life. Louis thinks Rebecca is shy and unassuming, but must deliver on the stage. Rebecca is excited to give the best performance she's ever given. From what I've seen of her so far, that's setting a fairly low bar.

Rebecca is singing an odd arrangment of 'Teardrops' and is completely off-key, but sadly I suspect the show is trying to justify it as just her unique, unconventional approach that's totally different to everything else that's out there. She claws it back on track a little bit as the song goes on, but there's no variation in her tone at all which makes it all rather boring - and it's not even like she's doing anything worth watching on stage apart from pacing up and down nervously. And then she loses it again on the key-change, meaning she's been off-pitch more than she's been on, and then it's over. Thankfully. [I did enjoy the pointless key-change though. It was just a shame Rebecca was singing over it. - Carrie]

Louis calls her "a class act" and loves everything about her. He thinks she has an amazing recording voice (the implied insult of "but a shitty live one" remains hanging in the air) and that she reminds him a bit of Sade (or possibly Shara Day, he's mumbling, it's hard to tell) and Norah Jones. Dannii loved watching (the tapes of) Rebecca's audition and seeing how Rebecca has learnt to look up since then. High praise indeed! Simon asks Rebecca how old she is. She's 24. He thinks she's been "pigeonholed by us to keep talking about things which are sad" - on this show? Surely not! - when she's not really that kind of person. "You've got kids, fantastic, but you're a fun girl and a great singer." I am annoyed at how Simon is suddenly trying to pretend that this show is not all about the sob stories. Actually, I'm just annoyed at Simon in general tonight. He wants to start seeing the person who he thinks Rebecca really is. I don't even know who that's meant to be. He thinks the song was a safe choice, but he thinks Rebecca could really surprise them. Cheryl thinks that the amazing thing about Rebecca is that everything is real. So, no boob job then? "And you're a scouse, and I love those," she finishes. Wow, culturally sensitive! Dermot asks Rebecca if she's enjoying herself. Yes, she is. Rebecca goes to walk off before realising Dermot hasn't read her number out yet, and spends the rest of her time on stage cringing. Heh.

After another ad break we're back, and now it's time for the second of the over-28s. From Scotland, it's Storm Lee. Storm tells us that he was born in Edinburgh but at the age of 17 he sold all his things and moved to the US to pursue his music career. Storm says that someone told him not to give up: "it's like a revolving door - at some point it's going to open, and when it opens, just run." Revolving doors don't really open as such, do they? Also, if you run at a revolving door it tends to get very confused and come to an abrupt stop, so I'm not sure this particular simile is a terribly effective one. [I think he's thinking about scary portcullises in video games, maybe? - Carrie] Storm talks about the part in his performance where he has to fall backwards from a 15ft platform. He thinks it's the sort of performance you do at the Grammys or the Brits. He vows to keep singing even if he injures himself. More's the pity.

Storm's singing 'We Built This City' by Starship and has some inexplicable sort of glitter mask sprayed across his eyes. When he reaches the chorus, about thirty dancers emerge from under the aforementioned platform in rubber catsuits with white rubber gimp masks over their heads. Oh, NotLouis. Never change. Storm drops off the platform, and is not horribly injured. Not that I was hoping for that or anything. His singing's actually not too bad, but I'm struggling to see what is relevant about this performance, since "relevant" seems to be the key word this year. He finishes, and the gimp dancers depart. [You missed the bit where the camera does a horrible close up on his crotch. Mine eyes - Rad]

Dannii wonders where Louis got those costumes from. I think it's better for us all if we never know. Dannii tells Storm that he sang well and the audience loved it, like they're supposed to be any kind of effective barometer of taste. She thinks he definitely put on a show "and you can return those costumes to Louis's wardrobe after the show." Cheryl thinks the image is a bit much and he doesn't need to push it that far (so speaks the woman who dressed as M. Bison to promote her first solo single), but she thinks he's the prime example of someone who never gives up on hope. But who gives up on dignity all too quickly, am I right? Simon thinks Louis has turned him into "something out of Batman" and the performance was very "'70s glam rock", but he thinks that without that he's a failed rockstar. He thinks it's absurd, but perhaps it will work. Louis loved it, and says that Storm has waited all his life for this moment, and he loves that Storm took a chance - "you did your hair red!" Simon clarifies that he thought Storm sang it well. Louis wants everyone in Scotland to vote for Storm. Does anyone even have any alcohol left at this point? Dermot asks Simon if he's going to give Storm a chance, or if he's going to call him a failed rock star every week. Simon dodges the question. Storm speaks directly into Dermot's mic, for some reason, because it's not like he has one of his own in his hand, or a radio mic attached to his jacket or anything.

After that, we're back to Simon and the groups, with Belle Amie. Named after David, presumably. They introduce themselves as Geneva, Sophia, Rebecca and Esther. Simon says that he didn't want to do "girlband does girlband" this year, and chose a song that's done really well. Geneva likes the song, and thinks it's "current" and "girly". They are very nervous at the soundcheck, which doesn't go unnoticed by Louis. "They should've gelled by now," he warns.

They're singing 'Airplanes' by B.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams, and oof, this is not a promising performance. The harmonies just sound nervous and unrehearsed, and Esther is lumbered with doing all the rapping parts. There are isolated moments where individual members (mainly Geneva and Esther) pull off good notes, but the overall effect of the performance is just a bit clumsy.

Louis tells them it looks like they're having a good time, and they have a great image and chemistry, and "we need a new girlband, don't we?" Because they always do so well on this show. He singles out Rebecca for praise, despite her not having really done anything. Dannii thought the song choice was great, as was the image, and admits that it always takes longer to get to know the groups, "to know who's the fun one, the cheeky one..." The gay one, the racist one... Cheryl says she felt uncertain and unsure watching them, and thinks they need time to simmer together and get their chemistry together, but she thinks the song choice saved them. Simon agrees, "that's exactly why they're here, because they need time." Except "you need more time to develop" is generally used as a reason to send people home, isn't it? Simon thinks that of all the girlbands out there in the market at the moment, there's a place for this one. However, they need girls to put them through to the next round, and that's as clear an indication as ever that boys do not cast votes on this show. Sophia says that they're just happy to be here and don't want to go home. "Girl bands never do that well, we need a girl band to do well." There really is some excellent lampshade hanging going on tonight.

After another ad break, we're back with Cheryl and the girls: specifically Cher Lloyd, who is RIGHT UP HER STREET. Cher says that she keeps having to pinch herself that she's actually here. She talks about living in Malvern with her family, and she has just finished her first year of sixth form college. Cheryl thinks she's picked a cool, young and fresh song for Cher. Cher says that she knows some people out there don't think she's strong enough to be here. And one of them is Louis, apparently. Cheryl says she's got a strong instinct on Cher, and she's going to prove to everyone why she's in the competition.

Cher is singing 'Just Be Good To Me' while dangling from some sort of climbing frame, which is quite mad as staging goes, but still not quite up to the insanity of The Claw on a swing. Cher struts around the stage looking for all the world like a mini-Cheryl, and makes a decent, if flimsy-sounding, fist of the opening, before suddenly deciding it would be a good idea to break into the rap from the Professor Green version. Which has not been a number one ANYWHERE. The fail, it burns. [She should have done the rap from the Beats International version. That WAS number one and also had a more entertaining rap - Rad] I can't help thinking that Cher's actual singing voice is rather weak, and that they're trying to make up for it with sass. I am not fooled.

Louis thinks that when she sings, it's very powerful. Looks like she fooled at least one person, then. He also loved "the staging, by Brian Friedman". Heh. Dannii loved it too, and can't take her eyes off Cher, who "commands that stage like no one else in the competition". That's true, at least. Simon thinks any doubts anybody had about why "this one" (rude) picked her have just been blown away. The thing is, we all know why she was picked, it was just that a lot of people didn't agree with the decision. Cheryl stands up and applauds, the silly bint. Simon thinks she's exactly what they're looking for - "a new little star". He loves her, "which is probably the wrong thing to say because I'm 51 years old." I'm not quite sure whether he means that he shouldn't "get" her as a concept because he's too old, or he just doesn't want people to make paedophile jokes about him like they do about Louis. On this show, who can tell? Cheryl says that Cher is a star, and she's so proud of her. "You're cool, you're current, you're young, you're exactly what this competition needs." Dermot says to Cher that she probably needed that performance. Not as much as Cheryl did. "Yeah, I really needed that," Cher replies. God, this year's contestants are fascinating, aren't they? Dermot asks her how it felt. "That felt wicked," Cher replies. "I think I've proved myself now." Yeah, I'm sure the fact that "HATE CHER LLOYD" was trending on Twitter last night was a total coincidence.

Ads. JLS circlejerk!

When we return, it's time for the first wildcard of the night - Diva Fever, batting for Simon. And for Louis, he claims, though I can't imagine what he could possibly mean by that. If their VT is anything to go by, they have taken to referring to themselves in the third person, which is never a good sign. They don't introduce themselves by name, but Wikipedia informs me that the twinky one is called Craig and the one with scene hair is called Josef. Craig lives with his parents (in the house we saw Simon go to earlier) and Josef lives in a flat with his flatmate and a Jack Russell. Dogs in flats = rarely a good idea. Giving us an indication of the tedium we'll have to endure as long as Diva Fever remain in the competition, Louis tells us that he's not surprised that Simon put them through because "they're very him. They're very camp." And thus began the obligatory "you're a homo" "no, you are" Simon/Louis bore-off for the year 2010. Josef says they're going to go out there and put on a show "with a little bit of a swing in our hip." Louis doubts whether they can be popstars. "Bring it on," says Josef.

They're singing 'Sunny', which is oddly ubiquitous on reality shows right now. They're both wearing oversized sparkly pastel-coloured suits, so you know something hilarious and costume-related is going to happen. Craig appears to be the only one doing any singing. A dancer appears wrapped in a large silver blanket, which is unfurled across the front of the stage, and behind it Josef and Craig remove their suits (Craig seemingly having a lot more trouble getting his clothes off, and I'll leave you to invent your own jokes on that one) and when the sheet is pulled away, they're now just wearing the t-shirts they had on under their suits and some neon-shaded cycling shorts. That is far more of Diva Fever than I ever needed to see. There's a wonderful cut to the judges just after this, where Simon and Louis are finding it all very amusing, while Cheryl and Dannii are clearly trying to work out if they're allowed to be amused by it or whether frankly it's all a gay joke too many for them. Josef joins in the singing occasionally in the second verse, but is jarringly off-key. It ends with a couple of misjudged glory notes, and Diva Fever fan themselves in an arch sort of way.

Louis tells them that they bring "the fun factor" to the show (drink!) and asks them if they know who they remind him of? Everyone in the viewing audience braces themselves for one of Louis's predictable gay jokes at Simon's expense, and sure enough: "Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan". Tee hee, gays are so funny. Dannii makes an odd comment about how this would be track one on her Christmas party playlist, and she's looking forward to what track two will be. Cheryl: "I'll tell you what it was like for me - you know when you turn on the TV at 6am and there's people motivating you to get up to exercise?" Apparently Cheryl lives in 1992. She enjoyed it, anyway. Simon says that putting them through "might create a few raised eyebrows" but he thinks the world's become a boring place in the last few years. Again, he acts like he's had no part in this when he sits on the judgement panel of shows that turn out endless supplies of boring, rote-learnt performers. Anyway, he thinks music should be fun and entertaining, and these two make him smile when they're performing. Dermot asks them how it felt to be wildcards. Craig says that when the doorbell rang, they actually thought it was the pizza man. Snerk. Dermot asks them what they'd be doing now if they weren't on the show, and Josef says they'd probably be back at work, and both of them agree that they'd "not be doing much", because they are also lazy, though not as abominably lazy as Lazy Decorator, naturally.

To get the show back on its usual boring track, we go back to the boys category as Dannii introduces Paije. Paije talks about living in a maisonette with his mum in London: "it's enough for us." Again, this WILL NOT DO. Where are your TEAR-FILLED STORIES OF POVERTY? Do you think we watch this show to see people being CONTENT WITH THEIR LOT IN LIFE? Simon says Paije is like a yoyo, having been in and out of the competition so many times. Well, it's better than the "unflushable turd" simile that I was expecting, I guess. NotLouis thinks that being the wildcard and having to prove he belongs in the competition is a lot of weight on Paije's shoulders, and then adds "the weight is making him insecure", which probably made several people who weren't paying attention thinking we're going to get a fat-complex storyline. Dannii thinks he just needs to keep it all in control.

Paije will be singing 'Killing Me Softly With His Song'. For reasons best known to himself, he has decided to genderswitch the lyrics, despite there being nothing sexual about this song whatsoever. I know this show runs on a delicate balance of gay panic at the best of times, but this really wasn't necessary. It's not like the lyrics are "fucking me senseless with his cock", are they? The song goes all Fugees halfway through, at which point Paije loses what little grasp he had on the tune and the whole thing becomes rather strained. The final note sounds, as loath I am to descend to scatological references yet again, like he is trying to pass a particularly difficult stool.

Louis tells Paije that he's glad Dannii gave him a chance to come back to the show, which he deserves, adding that he reminds him of a "soulful little cuddly Luther Vandross". I believe Louis making a thoroughly outdated pop cultural reference is another check for the drinking game [Louis was on fine drinking game form last night. The only cliche he didn't use was 'The Poor Boy's Blind, Simon'. If only someone had thought to put out one of the contestants' eyes beforehand - Rad]. At this point, I'll need to send out for more alcohol. Cheryl tells him that he owned the stage, and that he sings like a diva "with soul and passion." Simon says that he was praying Paije would be Dannii's wildcard choice, and though he doesn't like Paije's outfit, he's pleased that Paije has come back without an attitude - "there's nothing surly about you, you've come back to prove a point", which sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, and it's odd that Paije is the only one of the wildcards who gets this comment tonight. Is there any reason why he would be surlier than the others? Dannii welcomes Paije back "again" (heh) and says that he stamped his personality all over the song. Dermot calls him "the comeback kid" and Paije says that he's so grateful to be here and have these comments and "have everyone love me". Don't get carried away there, kiddo. Dermot says he's glad Paije is back "because you work in the cinema around the corner from me, and I was dreading bumping into you there." Well, consider your middle-class guilt officially lessened, Dermot.

More ads. Robbie Williams on Daybreak. As good a reason for a lie-in as I can think of.

Up next - oh God - is Katie. We see snippets of her ridiculous journey so far in which Katie tried to manufacture some sort of kooky personality for herself and succeeded only in pissing off half of Great Britain. "Being in the live shows is amazing!" simpers the Kooky Monster. She tells us that she lives in Harefield, west London, with her mum and dad. So for those of you who blame the parents, now you know where to find them. She reminds us that she works as a receptionist in a hair salon "and I love my job. Obviously this is better." The Kooky Monster understates that there has been a lot of controversy about her category and that her performance at judges' houses was "emotional". Simon thinks she doesn't have the best voice, but she does have a point to prove, something that's echoed by NotLouis and Cheryl. Her performance intro VT is intolerably contrived.

She's singing 'We Are The Champions', again, and let's take a moment to discuss the staging. She's dressed like a LaRoux tribute act in a ridiculous silver coat and pink leggings, with a [Daft Punk-style - Rad] helmet and several visors to accessorise. She's also "playing" a keyboard which is both suspended from the ceiling and balanced on the heads of two dancers. It is the least convincing playing of an instrument on this show since Tabby and his obviously unplugged electric guitar back in series one. The Kooky Monster cannot hit the lower notes any more than she could the first time around, though at least she remembers her words this time. Like most of the other girls in her category, she's mistaking an inability to sustain a note for having a distinctive, interesting voice. Once the key change kicks in, the song overwhelms her, but she gives a hugely self-satisfied sigh of relief when it's over all the same.

Louis says that he thought she was more style than substance when she auditioned, and that performance hasn't changed his mind. He thinks the song was too big for her. I think 'The Cheeky Song' is too big for her. Dannii thinks it must have been hard for her to get up there and sing after everything that's happened this week, but she thought it was "fierce", vocally. She doesn't get the look, though. Simon disagrees with Dannii, he likes what she's wearing (but Paije's jacket was not acceptable? What is Simon smoking tonight?), because she's different. I quote, "I am so bored of all these people coming out onto these competition shows, trying to look like somebody else, not having anything original about them, and that's what I've always liked about you, I think you're original." I realise Simon likes to consider the people who watch this show to be complete morons, but I'd be sincerely surprised if anyone out there believes Katie has ever had an original thought in her entire life. Apart from possibly "Katie Waissel is brilliant", because I doubt anyone else has ever thought that. He says that she's got an interesting voice and reminds him of Cyndi Lauper. Following up "you're so original" with "you remind me of" doesn't exactly strengthen your opinion, Simon. He says that despite the bad press, she's been great fun to work with, and he thinks she's a pop star. Cheryl says that a lot of people out there who won't get the styling, but there's a whole new wave of people out there like Lady Gaga who are allowing themselves to be expressive. Cheryl, Lady Gaga has already been on this show. She was amazing. We can distinguish the original from the pathetic me-too imitators, thanks. Cheryl then lathers it on thicker and thicker by claiming that the Kooky Monster is "helping me embrace difference" and SERIOUSLY, WE GET IT. Cheryl snips to Louis that there's still time for him to get to know her, and Louis gets all three years old about it: "I have an opinion, Cheryl, it's not all about you!" Dermot asks The Kooky Monster how this week has been for her, and she says that everyone has been wonderful and supportive and she just came out here as herself, like anyone even has any idea who that is, and tried to rock it. The Kooky Monster looks forward to proving to Louis that she's not just style over substance [HA! On The Xtra Factor she asked Kelly Rowland if sometimes style could be more important than substance - Rad]. Don't hold your breath. Or maybe do. Dermot asks Cheryl for her opinions on Her Terrible Week, and Cheryl blathers that she's proud of her girls and they've all done her justice. I really hope Cheryl doesn't win this year.

Up next, "from Dublin, Ireland" (can you guess who said that?) it's Mary Byrne. Mary lives with her daughter, who is now going to be "watching Mammy up on stage." Tesco Mary talks about how a few months ago, she was still working at an unspecified supermarket, hoping and dreaming. Louis reveals that Mary contracted laryngitis (anyone else waiting for a VT of her yelling "toffee apples!" at this point?) this week, which was pretty poor timing. Dannii says it'll be devastating for Mary if she doesn't make this work. Mary vows to give it her all.

Mary is singing 'It's A Man's Man's Man's World' and her singing, like Lazy Decorator's earlier, is on the shouty side because she's really having to strain her voice to hit some of the notes, but her performance outside of that is brilliant - all finger waggling and dramatic gestures. I'm tempted just to mute the show and enjoy the performance that way.

Mary finishes, and the crowd goes nuts. Dannii tries to speak, but can't make herself heard over the screaming. The crowd gets louder. Dannii waits for them to finish. The crowd continues screaming. The viewing audience shifts restlessly waiting for the show, which has already been on for over 100 minutes, to get the fuck on with it. EARTH TO DERMOT: shut the bloody audience up. That's what you're paid for. Finally, they quieten down, without Dermot's intervention (he's almost as indolent as Lazy Decorator), and Dannii finally gets to speak. She says that was one of the best vocal performances on the show, and she thinks Mary is a new wave of popstar. [Lie. Mama Morton, maybe. - Carrie] She thinks it would be a crime if Mary went back to her day job, as this needs to be her day job. Cheryl says that you can feel the energy in the room, and she felt every single word of that performance. Simon says that he can see how Mary's developed her image from Cheryl's (because they're both wearing black and have their hair pulled back, lolerama). "I'll never be as pretty as her," says Mary, right on cue. Simon tells Mary that they've had "real diversity" on the show tonight, adding "every little bit does help." Oh Simon, that was shameful, even by your standards. He tells her that people love a trier (note to the Kooky Monster: a trier, not a try-hard), and gives Louis credit for believing in her. Louis tells Mary she's become a diva, and he wants everyone to vote for her because she's got the X factor. Dermot asks Mary how it feels to be here (drink!) and Mary thanks "these four gorgeous people" for giving her the opportunity.

Mary departs, and Dermot throws to Dannii, who isn't ready. Heh. Dannii scrambles wildly before introducing Nicolò. Nicolò explains that he's originally from Italy, but now he lives in east London and is taking a break from his studies. Dannii says that Nicolò makes things interesting. Nicolò says it's crucial to make an impact and he wants to entertain people. Simon says that with a guy like that you don't know whether it'll work or not. Louis adds that you'll either love him or hate him.

Nicolò is wearing sunglasses and singing 'Just Dance' by Lady Gaga. He's kind of nasal, but there's still something appealing about his voice that I can't quite pin down. To add further confusion to this evening's genderswitch soup, he does not alter the line "can't find my drink or man", although he does change "we're all getting hosed tonight" to "we're all getting it tonight", for what that's worth. I'm not convinced that he's a great singer, but I think he might be quite an awesome pop star given half a chance.

Louis tells Nicolò that he might not be everyone's cup of tea, but he's definitely his because he's a diva (drink!) and he's quirky (drink!) and he was in tune (that would be a drink if anyone on this show was ever in tune). Cheryl, presumably having a traumatic Girls Aloud flashback, calls him "Nicola" and simpers that she didn't love it, largely because he was wearing sunglasses so she couldn't see his eyes. Simon thinks he's gone nuts because he quite liked that performance - he thinks Nicolò looks better than he sounds, but it's an improvement from his first audition. Dannii thought he sounded fantastic and though he's her "big risk", that's what she loves about him. And, she adds, "people say diva like that's a bad thing. It's a good thing!" And then this bit's amazing: Louis chimes in: "I agree! I'm working with three!" DEATHLY SILENCE. Seriously, not a single person in the entire room is laughing. There is a very awkward pause, and complete dead air. HELLO DERMOT, THIS IS YOUR CUE. EARN YOUR FUCKING WAGES. LEARN HOW TO RUN A LIVE SHOW. GOD. Dermot arrives, far too late, and asks Nicolò if he's a diva. "No," says Nicolò, clearly uncomfortable. "I'm normal." Dermot tells Cheryl that a popstar is about the façade and the dress (adding "you should know", which I'd love to think is a burn, but I suspect was not intended as one). Cheryl sighs that she knows that, but she thinks we need to get to know him before he goes that fast. Dannii agrees, and says that Nicolò has a quirky sense of humour that she didn't get at first, but we'll love him when we get to know him. Nicolò, like Rebecca, tries to walk off before Dermot's read the number. I'm not sure I blame him.

More ads, and then when we return, it's time for Simon to introduce the final group of the night, the Bieberiffic One Direction. They introduce themselves as Louis, Harry, Niall, Liam and Zain, and Simon says that you wouldn't connect them normally with the song he's chosen, but strangely it works. Zain admits that he was off time with the music when they rehearsed, and the others had to help him out. Obviously, he notes, he can't afford to make that mistake on the live show. Cheryl notes that they're under a lot of pressure.

They take to the stage looking like they've been diving in the bins behind H&M to sing a rather sickly-sounding version of 'Viva La Vida' [which is made to sound exactly like The Wanted's 'All-Time Low' - Rad]. Perhaps Wan Direction would be a more apt name for them. Kiam's on lead vocals to start with, and sounds decent enough. Zain comes in on time, but has such a featherweight voice that it's barely audible. Niall gets a verse to himself, and probably has the best voice of the lot of them. Harry is doing lots of hilariously enthusiastic shoulder pumps. They get to the chorus, and it seems that three of them are singing the melody while two are attempting to harmonise by going "ahhhhhh ahhhhhh", and one of the people harmonising is REALLY off. I think it's Liam, but I can't be 100% sure. It also doesn't help that I keep expecting Cher to burst on and start rapping about how the Jerusalem bells are ring-a-ling-a-ding-dong-dinging. They're all terrifyingly telegenic, though, and I fear they're going to be completely unassailable once the teenies start voting.

Louis says that he was worried when he heard they were doing Coldplay, but he thinks the song worked. He loves how they're gelling, and takes the credit for forming them into a group in the first place. Simon disputes this. Louis thinks they could be the next big boy band, but they have a lot of work to do, and he's not sure about the styling. They have all got, as Rad texted me to point out last night, crotches right down to their knees, so I do see what he's getting at, but I guess that's how the kids are dressing these days. Dannii thinks they got it together like a perfect band, and she thinks they made it their own. Cheryl agrees, and thinks they look like they were meant to be a group, and she thinks the girls at home will be going crazy for them, but she thinks they need more time to develop as a group. Simon snips that they'll review the tapes over Louis's involvement in putting them together. Simon says that they were put together because their boot camp auditions weren't good enough, but they were too good to throw away. He says that what was so impressive was that when one of them started to screw up at the end (and he doesn't name names, possibly because he doesn't actually know names), Liam came in to help get them back on track, and that's what bands do. As for styling, he claims he doesn't want to style them, and allowed them to style themselves. Dermot chips in, with a look on his face like this is the funniest thing the world has ever heard, "Louis, how do you know what 18-year-olds should be wearing?" and then quickly realising he's inviting far too many kiddy-fiddler jokes and swiftly moves on, to ask them how it felt. Harry says it was the best experience of all their lives. Their very, very short lives. I feel so old. Sigh.

Over to the over-28s, and Wagner. Yay! Wagner interviews that having a second chance is "like being resurrected from the dead." Heh. He explains that he was born in Brazil, "and now I live in a bungalow in Dudley." I love Wagner. I want him to stay forever. Louis likes Wagner because he is different. Wagner was worried about the song, because he doesn't know it, and he forgot the words in rehearsal. Cheryl says that "forgetting your lyrics is the worst thing that can happen." This from a woman who selected two people for her top three who were incapable of finishing a song. Wagner realises how important it is not to mess up. His intro VT simply says Wagner. I am sad, as I was looking forward to Peter Dickson screaming "Wagner FIUZA-CARRILHO!" every week. Or even just once.

Wagner is singing - tee hee - 'She Bangs'. They've got him in a velvet jacket. He looks like Tony Ferrino. He hasn't got a terribly good handle on the lyrics, and his accent makes him sound like he's singing "I'm teaking away like a bum" instead of "I'm ticking away like a bomb". At the chorus, the screens part and reveal a set of bongo drums behind them, which Wagner promptly trots behind and begins to play arrhythmically, at which point the song suddenly changes to 'Love Shack'. This is amazing. I could watch this forever.

He finishes, and Dannii looks stunned. "Just when you think it cannot get any crazier...Wagner! A medley! With a bongo thing in the middle! ... Yeah!" I love Dannii. She says that it was entertaining, but they're looking for a recording star. "It was fun, but it was very karaoke." Cheryl says "you're very earthy. And nice. I like you, Waggoner." Patronising bint. Simon says the show feels like they've made a milkshake out of a sausage, an onion, a strawberry and a lemon. He calls Wagner's performance "bonkers", but he's embracing the madness. Which is a good cue for Louis. Louis calls him "Wagner" with a soft W, at which Wagner protests that it's pronounced 'Vagner'. Louis says that everyone will be talking about "Wagner" tomorrow. Wagner, getting distressed: "It is 'Vagner', Louis!" Dermot comes on to clear it up, and Louis makes an unconvincing attempt to say it correctly. Wagner tells Dermot that with all these women around him, he didn't know what he was doing. He forgot his name (he forgot his telephone number), he forgot everything. I want Wagner to be here every week. I suspect I'm going to be deeply disappointed. Dermot reads out the voting number, and pronounces Wagner's name correctly.

Final ad break. We're nearly there, folks!

On our return, Dannii introduces the last of the boys, Aiden Grimshaw. Aiden tells us that he lives in Blackpool with his mum, stepdad and little sister. He says he's quite a mummy's boy. Dannii thinks he has something unique, and there's a vulnerability to him. Aiden says that he needs to "externalise" his performance, and Louis agrees that he's "introverted". Cheryl thinks he needs to get over that fast. He models the TopMan A/W 10/11 collection in his VT.

Aiden will be singing 'Mad World', ANGRILY. Seriously. In his battle not to internalise the whole thing, he is clenching his teeth and looking like he's about to snap and kill everyone in the room. There are some ridiculous close-ups of his face, and attempts to create atmosphere with moody lighting, but let's be honest, no one is ever going to out-Adam Lambert Adam Lambert where this song is concerned. Nice try, though. Aiden is actually shaking on his final close-up. I'm almost as concerned for his mental wellbeing as I am for Cher's. [I loved it. But then I love the Tears for Fears and Gary Jules versions of this song, and I'm very much into 80s electro/goth music. I'm far from being a teenager, though, so not sure if it hits the target market - Rad]

Louis thinks they've found something special. He thinks it was one of the best performances of the night. He thinks Aiden is the "next big male popstar". Cheryl is taken aback, and Aiden was the surprise of the evening for her - "that was of popstar level already". Simon says that this is the second time he's been on one of these shows and been blown away by that song. He loves that Aiden is so "current, in this whole Robert Pattinson, Twilight" thing (so, Aiden is really pale and looks like a foot?) and his voice reminded Simon of Michael Stipe. It was Simon's favourite performance of the night. Dannii says the performance had real substance, and she loves that he has both strength and vulnerability. "Blackpool, turn the lights on, Aiden is here!" she finishes. Dermot asks Aiden how it was for him. Aiden cannot summon actual words. Where did they find these people? Aiden eventually manages to thank Simon for his kind words. Dermot vows that Aiden will get better at the interviews. Let's hope so.

It's the final act of the night. "Last, and by no means least, it's Treyc Cohen," Cheryl introduces. "By no means least," my arse. She wasn't even on your original shortlist, you disingenuous witch. Treyc says that she lives in a two-bedroom semi-detached house with her boyfriend Nick, who she's been with for nine years. [I suspect Nick will not make an honest woman of Treyc. I suspect on first glance he may not be the marrying type. - Carrie] They work in a call centre together. Treyc says that walking into the studio to meet the final 12 was difficult: "you could've cut the tension with a knife." Cheryl pontificates that it's hard for everyone when the wildcards arrive, as the Top 12 have to accept them. Treyc: "Cher and Katie, their reception weren't great. We'd been to judges' houses together, so I was expecting a little bit more from them." Did she just call them both bitches? I think she did. TEAM TREYC! We see rehearsals, and Cheryl telling Treyc she needs a big power moment in the song.

Treyc is singing 'One', which is a bit of a let-down song-choice wise, but I love Treyc so much I don't even care. She's perhaps drawling a bit too much for my tastes, but she's singing well and she's got real stage presence. Also, I'm loving the artful bedhead that she's rocking. The final performance is definitely not lacking "power moments", so it looks like she took Cheryl's advice to heart. Also, there are no dancers, no (visible) gospel choirs or anything like that - just Treyc, on stage, by herself, and yet she doesn't look dwarfed by it at all. Awesome.

Louis says that Cheryl did a good thing picking her as a wildcard, because she's got so much soul and she's a fighter. "This is your time, Treyc," he finishes. Dannii says there have been so many incredible performances, and to start with one like that means Treyc has set a very high bar for herself. She thinks her voice is phenomenal, and she wants to see Treyc's stamp on it every time. Simon says that Treyc's body language makes her look vulnerable, and she doesn't have any confidence, and he's amazed that they overlooked her in this competition (for Jamie Afro, Humble Danyl, and OLLY FUCKING MURS, which just makes it even more insulting). He hates what she's wearing - and again, Katie gets a free pass for dressing like a space hooker, but a blue dress is apparently a no-no? - but it doesn't matter, because that was the best vocal of the competition "by a clear mile". Cheryl tells Treyc that she feels like the luckiest judge tonight to be able to welcome her back, and she's so happy to have her here representing her category. Dermot welcomes her to the stage finally, Treyc says it feels like home. He asks if she feels like she belongs, after all the controversy, and Treyc says that she does, and she wants to thank Cheryl and promises not to let her down. Dermot asks her for her opinions on what Simon's wearing, and Treyc comments tactfully that she thinks Simon looks beautiful. "You're playing the game early on," Dermot notes. You're a fine one to talk, you soulless corporate shill.

Dermot opens "the vote" and reads through all the contestants' numbers, getting a bit confused by the time he gets to Aiden and Treyc, perhaps understandably. 16 is a big number to count up to.

Video recap: Fuck You Daily performing about six weeks ago on an entirely different series, Lazy Decorator not doing any decorating and therefore feeling right at home, John being completely doomed, Rebecca trying to remember how to move, Storm and his army of angry sperms, Belle Amie needing a lot more than a wish right now, Cher hanging out in the playground, Diva Fever giving us a song between exercise class appointments, Paije needlessly genderswitching a song, the Kooky Monster having delusions of relevance, Tesco Mary flailing like a mad thing, Nicolò not providing Cheryl with the requisite amount of eye contact, Wan Direction winning this damn thing whether the rest of us like it or not, Wagner making the most of his only performance on this show, Aiden On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown, and Treyc showing us what a damn fool Cheryl was at judges' houses.

"Now that was a show!" says Dermot. Actually, I think it was at least three. Dermot then breaks the non-surprising news that tomorrow's show will be a double elimination. I would think we're in for quite a lot of those. We'll also have a homecoming performance from Mawliddle Joe McElderry, and a performance from Usher. Join us later for the results!