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.)


Anonymous said...

Thank you bitches, you're always sum up my feelings about the show, altough i think you had some great talent to start with. It just isn't in the liveshows.
By the Way: I can't watch your television debut from germany. Do you have another source, where your televisiondebut is visible.
Greeting André

Anonymous said...

" It feels less like The X Factor and more like Waterloo station at half past eight in the morning. "


I love you, guys.


Patrick said...

Very nice to see you on there!

Anonymous said...

Bitches , I look forward to your blog more than the actual show. Keep up the good work.

Can't wait for the horror that is Big Band Week - how will Cher incorporate a rap into Mack the Knife?

Anonymous said...

Way to stick it to the brain boxes my bitches. It was an enlightening show, mostly because I always thought Rad was an asian man...

Rad said...

Um, why did you always think I was an Asian man? I'm not offended, just curious. (For reasons unknown to me, I often get people assuming I'm male, and sometimes that I'm a gay man, but that's the first time I've ever been perceived as Asian).

Anonymous said...

Well, I know a Rad (who is indian) and like me, people assume that all people on TEH INTERNETZ are hairy blokes unless stated otherwise.

Seriously, it took me five minutes of shouting "WHERE'S RAD????" before it made sense.