Sunday, November 28, 2010

You know what? Sod it

Top 7 Results: 28th November 2010

We join Dermot backstage, where the contestants are anxiously awaiting their fate. Hilariously, someone is putting the finishing touches to Liam from Wan Direction's ridiculous barnet for him. A weary-sounding Dermot reminds us of the impending double elimination, and how two acts will be SENT HOME FOR GOOD within the next hour, as he makes his way to the stage and opens the show.

We're reminded briefly of how we left things last night, with Cheryl proclaiming that Cher "smashed it" and Simon and Louis arguing about whether Joe Cocker was or was not a rock singer. Still fighting for survival amidst all this are Dannii and Lazy DECORATOR, Louis and the overs, WAGNER and Tesco MARY, Cheryl and her in-no-way-artificially-supported three remaining girls, Cher LLOYD, Rebecca JAZZNOODLE and Katie WAISSEL, and Simon and the last group, Wan DIRECTION. Coming up tonight with an exclusive performance are The WANTED (shudder), celebrity lesbian Justin BIEBER (SHUDDER), and former guest judge, winner of Dancing With The Stars and all-round slab of gaymazing awesomeness, Nicole SCHERZINGER (hooray!). It's time to face the music, as backstage Simon tells backstage Louis he's definitely losing an act this week. If we get through this week and Cheryl still has her three intact, I will not be held responsible for my actions. Titles!

Dermot's been stood in the same place for all that time, but finally strides to centre stage to welcome us to the show, reminding us of all the famous people who will be popping in tonight. The judges make their entrance: Dannii in basic black, Cheryl in an ill-fitting gold number, Simon looking exactly like he did yesterday, and Louis with a dickie bow. No one exactly looks their best, so let's just move ahead. Dermot tells us that the wretched charity single is number one this week, as we all knew it would be, and reminds us that there's still time to vote for our favourites.

With all these celebrity guests this week, there's no time for a lip-synched group number, so we proceed straight to guest act number one: The Wanted, who should think about changing their name to The Contractually Obligated for the purposes of this show. The usually bombastic video intro is unexpectedly hilarious, because it has literally nothing to say about them apart from "number one debut single", so just goes straight to "The Wanted" after that, after a lengthy gap for video clips, in which I discover that one of them looks a bit like Ed Westwick from certain angles. The new single, 'Lose My Mind' sounds a bit like 'Use Somebody' at the beginning, and they are singing live, though it does not sound terribly impressive. Oddly enough, they sound far more harmonious on the chorus, leading me to suspect that they have taken the Cheryl Cole cheaterrific approach to live performances. Then they all start riding around in bumper cars. You know, as you do. Dermot assists The Curly One (honestly, it's like Wan Direction coming back to visit five years down the line) to shill the album, and then they're gone.

Dermot tells us the vote is close, so our votes are hugely important, and that. Recap of last night: Wagner sang Creep well, and gained rare praise (of sorts) from Dannii and he was very pleased about this. Cheryl was pleased to see him with no gimmicks. Wan Direction sang a song about a time when their parents weren't even born, and Louis thought they were the next big thing. Zainwreck declares it the most fun performance ever. Tesco Mary bellowed through 'All I Want Is You' and garnered praise from Cheryl. Mary says that she connected with it so much that she enjoyed every moment. Cher's take on 'Girlfriend' was hideous, but you wouldn't know it from the panel's responses. Rebecca honked through 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For', and was admired for her risk-taking despite doing absolutely nothing different. Rebecca thinks she's coming out of her shell, while Louis toes the party line by saying there is NOTHING ABOUT REBECCA THAT ISN'T ENTIRELY AMAZING. Lazy Decorator embarrassed us all with 'I Love Rock 'N' Roll", but enjoyed himself and got good comments. Katie sang 'Sex On Fire' and got a warm response. "No one's ever chanted my name before!" enthuses Katie backstage. "Ever ever ever!" Maybe Eva is the name of her latest personality. Wagner's Addicted To Love was a return to form, including criticism from Dannii. Wagner thinks people are never indifferent to him, which seems to be true. Three-fifths of Wan Direction sang 'You Are So Beautiful To Me', and Simon was very proud of them. Tesco Mary had 'Brass In Pocket', and was shouty at times, but enjoyed herself regardless of the comments. Cheryl thinks Mary delivers, as long as you pre-book a two-hour slot, pay £3.99 and agree to wait in for her to arrive. Eyethangyew. Rebecca failed at moving her legs during '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' and Simon thought she had an authentic soul voice. Rebecca liked having fun for once. Katie massacred 'Everybody Hurts' and hopes she's done enough. Simon blames Cheryl, until he realises she's behind him, lollerskates. Lazy sang 'Nights In White Satin' and made the panel moist, and Dannii thinks he stole the show. Cher closed the show with an ill-advised 'Walk This Way' and decided it was the best appearance she's ever given, while Cheryl thinks she is objectively awesome whether you like it or not. Cheryl's grasp of taste is a strange thing indeed.

Oh sweet Jeebus - time for Justin Bieber now. Dermot informs us that he started out as an internet sensation before becoming one of the world's biggest popstars. His video intro is a little more informative than The Wanted's, telling us that he's sold 17 million singles worldwide, has the number one most viewed video on YouTube, with one billion total YouTube views (seriously, teenagers of the world, FIND A BETTER USE OF YOUR TIME) and eight million album sales worldwide. Not to mention all those covers of Non-Threatening Boys Magazine. Wikipedia informs me that this performance is a medley of two songs 'Somebody To Love' and 'Baby', which I take to mean that Justin is declaring himself to be on Team Wagner. I have to say that prior to this moment my main exposure to Justin Bieber has been as a recurring annoyance in the trending topics on Twitter, as his deranged fans try to find new and increasingly cloying ways to get his name on the list, and having seen all of this now...I don't really get it. Sorry, teenage girls! I shan't be uninstalling my shaved Bieber plug-in any time soon. Also, apparently the smiley one out of Wan Direction is totally gay for Bieber, or something. So I'm told. I bet he's hoping they'll have hot lesbian sex later. Dermot congratulates Bieber on his "billion Google hits or whatever" (HAHAHAHAHA, it's almost like the Dermot of old is still in there somewhere), and Bieber says hi to him, though curiously the headset microphone he was wearing for his performance DOES NOT PICK UP ANY SOUND WHATSOEVER. HMM. Dermot proffers his own, actually working, mic and Bieber says that he was pretty "cool, calm, collective" (what IS that, all of a sudden? I keep seeing that cropping up in various places. It's the new "fustrating"). Bieber thanks the fans and says hi to Cheryl. Dermot calls him a "highly precocious young man" and warns us that the lives will be closing very soon, as we head into the ads with the promise of Nicole Scherzinger, THANK GOD.

After the ads, Dermot welcomes us back, just as Simon and Cheryl return to the studio late from their cig break, their heads bobbing into the bottom of the shot as Dermot tries to do his piece to camera. The professionalism on this show, it just astounds. (And of course it would have to be those two, wouldn't it?) Dermot declares the lines officially closed. "Wooooo!" say the audience. But now onto the most important matter of the evening, Nicole SCHERZINGER. Dermot pretends that Louis "took a shine to" Nicole when she appeared earlier in the series, and kisses him on the head. Bizarre. Nicole's VT tells us that she's shifted nine million albums and 35 million singles as part of the Pussycat Dolls, but now she's going solo, bitches! [AGAIN! - Carrie]

There's a giant cage on the stage, replicating her video to some extent, and Nicole is lowered into it on some kind of elaborate hamster wheel to perform her new single 'Thanks Cheryl, But You Can Go Now (I'll Take It From Here)'. Sorry, not quite sure what happened there - that should read 'Poison'. The performance is ridiculous and epic and utterly gaymazing and basically shows what a dire state of affairs it is when Rebecca "Zzzzzz" Ferguson standing on her box and waving her arms qualifies as a "performance". She's singing live as well, and doing a far better job than all of the contestants, while dancing as well. I hope the Blue Screen Queen is feeling suitably ashamed of her own inadequacies as a popstar while watching this.

Dermot asks if that was her first solo performance of that single, and Nicole says (INTO HER OWN, ACTUAL WORKING MICROPHONE, ARE YOU WATCHING THIS JUSTIN BIEBER) that it was her first time ever performing this song. She adds that it's nice to see all the judges again, and Dermot points out that as a judge in Manchester, she selected Rebecca and three of Wan Direction, and Nicole says she watched the show in her hotel room last night, and she's very proud of all of them. Applause, and then Nicole is gone. Come back soon, Nicole!

After the ads, it's time to reveal the results. The judges march back on with the contestants, who we haven't actually seen all evening. Cheryl and her coven, Dannii and Lazy Decorator, Louis and his fogeys, and Simon and his Biebers. Niall is wearing a Ramones t-shirt. I'm sure he's a massive fan and in no way a total fucking try-hard. [I actually facepalmed when I saw him. Tosser. - Carrie]

Dermot says he'll reveal which four acts are safe and which acts are in the bottom three, at which point the act with the lowest total votes will get booted and the other two will perform in the final showdown. Like it worked in the first two episodes, basically. Rebecca is through, and hugs Katie. Cheryl has a face like she's chewing a wasp, for some reason. I guess if it isn't Cher, it doesn't matter. Also through is Matt. The third act safe and definitely returning is Cher. Surprise - Cheryl's actually happy this time. So there's only one more spot of sanctity left, and it goes to Wan Direction, obviously, leaving Tesco Mary, Wagner and Katie in the bottom three. So essentially at this point we know that Wagner's boned whatever happens, because they'd save either of those two over him in a heartbeat.

Katie puts her arm around Mary, and Dermot prepares to announce the name of the contestant with the fewest votes. That person is...Katie. Katie nods, like she knew this was coming. Dermot sends Mary and Wagner off to prepare for the final showdown, and they head off with their arms around each other's shoulders. We see Katie's "journey" and all of her ridiculous personalities, all of which were the real Katie, lest we forget. I will always have a grudging respect for her for singing 'I Wanna Be Like You', mind, and of course for "you know what? Sod it." She was one of a kind. Or several of a kind, but you know what I mean. After the VT, Dermot asks her how the experience has been for her, and Katie says she's so grateful to have got this for, and everyone's been so amazing, and she hopes she's inspired people to keep their heads up, no matter how many knocks they get. She hopes this is just the beginning of a beautiful journey. Okay, so she's a massive deludanoid, but that was a surprisingly gracious exit. I'm kind of disappointed, to be honest. After all the drama we've had with Katie, she went out with a whimper rather than a bang. I was hoping for at least one more final showdown meltdown, but sadly it was not to be.


We return, and Dermot reminds us that Mary is taking on Wagner in the final showdown. To be honest, I'm not sure why they're even bothering to go ahead with it, but I guess they've got 12 minutes of airtime left to fill, and there's probably something in the small print somewhere that says they have to, so here we go. Dermot asks Louis to introduce the first act. Louis does not know who is up first. "Wagner's up first, Louis," Dermot sighs, and Louis introduces "Wagner", with a soft W, even though Dermot just said it the right way. Wagner is singing Nat King Cole's 'Unforgettable', and you know what? It's pretty decent, if somewhat wobbly. I daresay this is the sort of thing Wagner hoped to do when he entered the show before he became the obligatory joke act/hate figure. Mind you, he's taken the whole thing in good spirit, and continues to do so now - he knows he's going home, but he's made sure to pick an appropriate sing-out song and he's just having fun in his final moments.

Back to Louis, and this time he knows that Mary is next, fortunately. Mary is singing 'This Is My Life' by Shirley Bassey, and still kind of sounding like Jane Horrocks impersonating Shirley Bassey. To be honest, I kind of think Wagner had the edge on her vocally as she's kind of out of control and shouty, but it's not like it matters, as she's basically singing "I work in Tesco" and the judges are going to lap it the fuck up. It's just a shame that the three acts who ended up in the bottom this week are the three I find the most entertaining.

The audience chant for Mary, and Dermot comes to the judges to decide who's going home. He starts with Louis, who looks vaguely horrified. However, Louis suddenly picks this moment to be the most likeable, professional and diplomatic he's been in years and says that he's had a great time working with both of these acts, and they've both got better as he got to know them. He thinks Wagner is unforgettable, but this is Mary's life (ooh, clever!) [I liked that he said, "This IS your life!" I was expecting Michael Aspel to wander on with his big red book. - Carrie] and in the sing-off Mary won hands down, so he votes to send home Wagner. And that, CHERYL COLE, is how you choose between two of your acts in this situation. Because I tell you what, I have far more respect for Louis Walsh (Louis Walsh, lest we forget) for handling that in a way that was entirely mature and professional (Louis Walsh!!!!) and making it clear it was nothing personal, than I ever could have had for you and your obnoxious, disingenuous, self-serving bout of fence-sitting in the TreyC/Katie sing-off. In short, madam, you have just been schooled. BY LOUIS WALSH. Hang your head in shame, if you still have any. Incidentally, Wagner's response to that? A big grin and a bow. I love Wagner.

Dermot comes to Dannii. Dannii says she wants to keep the person in who has heart and soul and a fantastic voice, so she's sending Wagner home. Again, Wagner bobs his head cheerfully. Hee! Over to Cheryl, who says Mary did another incredible vocal, and then says "Wagner, I know you and I haven't always seen eye to eye in the past but I have to say you've been a really gracious man and apologised to us and I accept that wholeheartedly." JESUS WEPT. You accept his apology? Where the fuck is your apology to him, you sanctimonous cow? God, Cheryl Cole is vile. I really hope the scales are falling from people's eyes during this series and she's stripped of that bloody "people's princess" title any day now, because she really is a repellent human being. Anyway, she wishes Wagner luck and sends him home, so Wagner is dunzo. Wagner sticks his hands in the air and cheers "I'm going home!" Quite possibly the best contestant ever, with the possible exception of Stacey "there's always Asda" Solomon.

Dermot sends Tesco Mary backstage and asks Simon how he would've voted, and Simon says that he's got to know Wagner over the past week and he's been a great sport. It's funny how now that he's out of the competition they're more than happy to paint Wagner as a nice person, isn't it? You know, since they've spent the last couple of weeks leaking stories to the papers about how he's a violent drug-dealing baby-eater. Oh, and this is where it gets amazing: "Why I am happy with the decision though is because there were people out there trying to derail this show for different reasons, and what has happened tonight is that we've put this show back in the hands of the public, and we're backing talent." I absolutely love that. Simon on his little high horse about the competition getting "derailed", like he isn't perfectly happy to derail the competition himself when it suits his purposes. I think the fact that Wagner lasted so long genuinely quite irked him, despite the amazing publicity it garnered for the show - possibly because the show kept leaking all those damaging stories to no avail. You can almost see him twitching as he says all this, it's truly marvellous.

Wagner's journey, being operatic and hairy, wanting to please people with the sound of his voice, getting a second chance as a wildcard, playing the conga drums, having lots of dancing girls, confusing Daniel Radcliffe, totally owning Cheryl Cole (oh wait, that bit gets left out, what a surprise) and ending on, of course, "I don't belong here". Dermot asks Wagner why he's gone now, and Wagner quotes 'Bat Out Of Hell' at him. Heh. Dermot asks Wagner what his highlight was, and Wagner loved every moment and is so pleased to have achieved so much. He's a very happy man, and he misses his cat. Dermot reminds us that we'll see him on the tour. For a parting gift, Dermot asks Louis to say Wagner's name properly, and Louis does, thereby proving that all this time he was entirely capable of saying it properly and just chose not to because doing so got him more attention. I don't know whether to feel amused or horrified. Perhaps both?

That's it - we're done. Wan Direction, Tesco Mary, Cher and Lazy Decorator are in the semi-final [um, sweetie, so is Rebecca. Although she is so dull I'm not surprised you forgot her - Carrie], [Hahaha! I swear to God, that was an actual forgetting and not a Tyra-Banks-forgetting-to-make=a-point=about-boringness, honest - Steve] and next week we'll be joined by the cast of Glee, "Xtra Factor winner Alexandra Burke" (hmmm), and the Black Eyed Peas. See you next week!

The Rock-ish Horror Show

Top 7: 27th November 2010

LAST WEEKEND! There was another shock result, largely because the final showdown did not involve Katie Waissel in any form. Instead, another of St Cheryl's Sacred Cherubs, Cher LLOYD, ended up there, along with Dannii's wünderkind wildcard Paije RICHARDSON. Paije gave a solid, competent, and all-round not-too-shabby performance of a new track, while Cher whimpered her way through a song she performed on the show three weeks previously. Of course, Cher was saved because she was SO EMOTIONAL BABY, and Paije was sent home, leaving Dannii with just one act remaining after a rough couple of weeks for the boys category, while Cheryl, who's had an act in the final showdown every week apart from week two, still has three acts intact. But this show is still totally fair and in no way propping up the image of Cheryl as the underdog people's princess upon which a large chunk of her current success is based.

Now, we are told, the battle is more serious than ever. Rebecca's going to move her arms! Oh, and next week is the semi-final. Even though we still have SEVEN ACTS in the competition, because this entire series has been ridiculous. I apologise in advance for the fact that I will probably be using ALLCAPS a lot in this recap. Simon says that there are no second chances, and at this point, a bad song choice means you're out. Unless your name happens to be Matt, Rebecca or Wan Direction, obviously, as they could all pretty much come out on the stage and sing a mash-up of 'Smack My Bitch Up' and 'I'm A Little Teapot' and still sail through to next week. Tonight it is Rock Night (it says here), and fighting for survival are: Dannii and the last remaining boy, Lazy DECORATOR, as Dannii points out that she only needs one act to win this competition; Louis and the over-28s, Tesco MARY and WAGNER, as Louis says he's very confident in his acts because the public always get it right (really? I seem to recall most of the judges claiming that the wrong acts were in the bottom two last week, including Louis); Cheryl and her UNSTOPPABLE ARMY OF THE UNDEAD, Rebecca FERGUSON, Cher LLOYD, and Katie WAISSEL, as Cheryl insists that there's no question of not making the semi-finals: "it's heads down and hard work all the way." And then when they've all finished with the cocaine, they might do a bit of singing. Finally, there is Simon and his last remaining act, Wan DIRECTION, insisting that he wants to hear their name as the winners. That's assuming he actually knows which names to listen out for:

It's time to face the music, you guys. I mean, I tried to turn my back on The Music once, but to no avail - this show made me FACE IT. It's hardcore like that. Titles!

The opening theme for this week is 'Sweet Child O' Mine' by Guns And/Or Roses, because this is Rock And/Or Roll week, so we are led to believe. Dermot strides out onto the stage looking the worst he's looked in weeks, in a three-piece grey suit and black shoes. That colour really washes him out - blue was a better idea for him. Also, seriously, is there not a single tailor in the world capable of constructing a suit that doesn't make this guy look all dumpy? I mean, I know they're not the easiest of things to look your best in if you don't have exactly the right body shape for it, but come on. The amount of money this show gets thrown at it, and Dermot still walks out every week looking like he's about to open his briefcase and try to sell us a dodgy Rolex.

He reminds us that we're down to "just seven very nervous acts". JUST seven? We should have booted at least two of them already by now. As if to compound my misery, Dermot reminds us that each act will be performing twice tonight, which is why this show is nearly two hours long again. Sometimes I actually wish I were dead, I really do. Dermot lies that each act tonight will be taking on "big stadium anthems" (in other words, songs by somebody who might have touched a guitar, once), and summons the judges. Dannii's wearing a rather extravagant red dress supported over one shoulder, Louis is in a purple tuxedo, Cheryl's in a black and gold sequinned lace number and Simon's got his man-forest out. Dermot reminds us that we can buy these performances on iTunes if we really want to (and I don't like to question the decision-making of others, but WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THAT? WHY?) and throws to Louis.

Up first tonight is Wagner, in the show's latest attempt to throw him under the bus that, like so many I have tried to catch recently, seems to be somewhat behind schedule. His VT has clearly been designed to get us to hate him, by showing him celebrating backstage, and painting him as some sort of weirdo loner, especially now he's left the contestants' shared house to move into a Holiday Inn. And get this - at the hotel, he practises singing his scales! WHAT A MONSTER! And he has a relaxing swim which he follows up with a spot of time in the jacuzzi. DOESN'T HE KNOW THERE ARE CHILDREN DYING IN AFRICA? Louis says that he's chosen a song for Wagner that everybody knows, and Wagner explains that he won't have any dancers on the stage for the first time. Dannii reacts in horror to the news that Wagner is not doing a medley this week: "I mean, why not ruin three rock songs?" Louis thinks the other judges are JUS JELASS because he's getting it right, and they're getting it wrong.

Wagner takes to the stage, and he's singing Radiohead's 'Creep''s actually quite good. Seriously. It's a song that suits his voice, and he's actually in tune, and suddenly I remember why I quite liked him in the auditions. [I really do feel sorry for Wagner. He's been totally fucked over by this show as Louis has increasingly created him into LOL COMEDY FOREIGNER and has been thrown under a bus by Cowell's PR machine. Given the right material, usually slow melodic ballads, he's adequate as a singer. And that's probably the highest compliment you can give anyone in this series. - Carrie] Hilariously, he appears to be singing "I'm a creep, I'm a window" during the chorus. Also, he appears to be standing on a giant spool of cotton. The song's arrangers have chosen to end it on a repeat of the line "I don't belong here", just in case we haven't GOT THE MESSAGE YET. Dannii is shocked, because that's the best Wagner has sung in the whole competition, and she thinks it's because he's connecting with the lyrics. Louis, of course, takes exception to this, but misses the point entirely: "are you saying he's a creep?" No, Louis, you absolute simpleton, she was referring to the "what the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here" couplet. Simon intervenes all "you chose the song, Louis, you can't get precious about it now". Unfortunately, Dannii then kind of mealymouths her way through saying that it's important to choose a song that the contestant connects with and that's what she meant, when clearly she didn't quite have the guts to say that Wagner doesn't belong here. I guess that all those complaints to Ofcom after she happened to mention that an openly bisexual contestant was bisexual has made her a bit nervous about too much truthiness. Cheryl blahs that she agrees with Dannii, yoda-ing that "that was your best performance singing". Incidentally, Cheryl is basically wearing a permanent expression of surprise tonight, much like the one she has lacquered onto her face in this photoshop disaster of a video:

Seriously. I would love to believe that that's an attempt at self-parody, but after last week and the whole debacle with Wagner I don't credit Cheryl with that level of self-awareness. Scratch that: I don't credit her with any level of self-awareness. Simon says that Louis can't have a go at Dannii because he picked a song called 'I'm A Creep'. That's not the title of the song, Simon. Louis argues that the lyrics are "I'm a creep, I'm a winner." Those aren't the lyrics, Louis. Jesus Christ, does anyone on this show care about anything any more? Simon points out that the line is actually "I'm a weirdo." I keep waiting for Wagner to interject: "actually, it's 'I'm a window'." Louis insists that it's "winner". Simon says to Wagner that within the parameters of this competition, that was very good for Wagner. Louis says it was his best performance and very believable, and he thinks that Thom Yorke would love it. Dermot asks Wagner how he feels, and Wagner says it's good to have a compliment for the first time in the competition. Dermot asks if it was important to him to be stood there by himself for one performance, and Wagner replies that he "missed the dancers terribly." Hee.

Ad break. When we return, it's time for the groups and Simon, who names all of Wan Direction individually, BECAUSE HE CAN, DAMMIT. They talk about how the audience's reaction gets louder every week and Zain adds that you know you're doing something right when the reaction is that big. Yes, because this show's audience is renowned for its discerning tastes. Tiny Nicholas Hoult says that their main competition is Lazy Decorator and Rebecca, just because no one has mentioned the pre-ordained Lazy/Rebecca/Wan Direction final for at least five minutes. This week, they went to HMV to check out the CD of their charity single. There is screaming from the fans. Well, you know you're picking up a CD correctly when the reaction is that big, right, Zain? Tiny Nicholas Hoult says that it's great to have a single with the other contestants, but they want one of their own one day. Simon says that they need to make a rock song young. Louis thinks everyone loves the song the group will be singing. Simon thinks it's the kind of record they would release.

That song? Is 'Summer Of '69' by Bryan Adams. Because what the world really needs is a group of British teenagers pretending to be Americans in their fifties. Could they not at least have updated it to 'Summer Of '99' or something? The performance is lip-sync-tastic as ever, and Tiny Nicholas Hoult appears to be clawing desperately at the scarf around his neck. Is he suffocating, or is this just what Rock looks like? They also have their troupe of age-inappropriate backing dancers. They parade onto the platform behind the judges, and the Zainwreck looks as utterly lost as ever, bless him. Sometimes I wonder if he even knows what show he's on.

Louis tells them that was a great choice of song, and that he loves how they've gelled as friends and that he thinks they're the next big boyband. Dannii likes how they've stepped it up. Chroma Key Cheryl thinks they keep growing and growing - well, yes, Cheryl. They are still adolescent, that's generally how it works. Simon says that he had nothing to do with this song choice -- at which point Louis misreads the room entirely and starts screaming "you were in New York, Simon! You were in New York! You left your act!" -- after which Simon clarifies that the reason he didn't choose this song was because Harry had selected it personally. Louis, continuing down his cul-de-sac of irrelevance, keeps it up: "Why were you in New York, Simon?" Simon, faux-modest: "I got quite an important award." Louis: "What was it for?" God, SHUT UP. Simon says that Harry chose the song and that the boys have worked their butts off to get there. Either that, or all those low-slung jeans have finally taken their toll. Dermot enters, saying: "the last thing we should be doing is bigging up Harry any more than people big him up." Nice, Dermot. That's real classy. Also, it kind of didn't make any sense either, but you're still an incompetent tool. Dermot asks Harry if he really picked that song, in the same way you might ask a five-year-old "did you really paint that?" as they pin a big swirly mess of colours on a sheet of scrap paper up on your wall. Harry says that the boys were open to it, and it was great that Simon listened to their own opinions. Even if he thinks they're all called Graham.

Back to the over-28s, it's Tesco MARY, who was kind of epic last week. Mary walks into an entirely empty branch of HMV and picks up the single, which is coincidentally placed right next to Chroma Key Cheryl's new album, and talks about OUR BRAVE BOYS a bit, and I think Rad more than adequately summed up all of our feelings on that particular subject last week, so I'll just move along. Mary says that she never dreamt she'd have a single in the charts at her ADVANCED AGE. Louis has picked a song for Mary by one of Ireland's best known bands (is it Bellefire? It's Bellefire, isn't it?) Mary says that it's a song that relates to a time in her life where all she wanted was this one particular person.

Have you guessed what it is yet? Yep, she's singing U2's (/Bellefire's) 'All I Want Is You'. I wouldn't say this was an especially Rock performance, but it's a less egregious flouting of the theme than will be committed elsewhere tonight, so I'll give it a pass. Her vocals are nice enough on it - still kind of shouty, but there is some subtlety here, and again it's a song that suits her voice. She gets the back-up choir and the firework curtain, just to really ram it all home.

The audience chants her name. Dannii tells her that "it's happened again - they are loving you!" She loved the emotion and the performance. Live Via Satellite Cheryl thinks Mary really connected with the performance. Simon thinks this is what happens when you get the song choice right, and he doesn't know why Mary wasn't singing this song weeks ago. Perhaps because it didn't fit the themes of: The Beatles, Elton John, American anthems, Halloween, or guilty pleasures? Just a thought. Louis says that he wants people to lift the phone and vote for her, because he doesn't want it to end for her tonight. Dermot tells Mary she looked nervous earlier, as though that's a strange thing for someone about to sing in front of 13 million viewers. Mary's all, "I was nervous, but I gave it my all." Dermot says that, like Rebecca last week, Mary's singing a song by an act from her hometown. Oh, come off it - they're both from Dublin, but it's the fucking capital city of Ireland. Would we have made a big deal of John or Paije singing a song by a band from London? I suspect not. All this hometown glory bollocks is starting to get on my tits. Mary's all "I hope U2 are watching and I hope they enjoyed it." No one wonders if Bellefire are watching. Poor Bellefire. [Bellefire >> U2 > Tesco Mary. - Carrie]

After another ad break, and Dermot praises St Cheryl Of The Blue Screen for still having three acts left, as though the entire fucking show hasn't catered to her every whim to make that happen. She's sending Cher Of The Stairs out first, and Cher says it felt like the judges were ripping her heart out when they were deciding her fate last week. She says that she was a wreck afterwards and was crying, and had to talk to Cheryl. I know, I know: Cher Lloyd in "needy and emotionally unstable" shocker. Cheryl tells her to take being in the bottom two as a positive thing. After all, look at all those previous winners who've been in the bottom tw...oh. Never mind. The girls go out together to look at their single. Cher says she wants to be buying her own single next time she goes into a shop. Cheryl says that Cher's song is more "pop-rock", but it's perfect for her. Dannii worries that Cher might get swallowed up by the production. Or indeed by a hungry reptile that mistakes her for a stick insect. Cher says she wants everyone jumping up and down: "I want to tear the whole roof off."

She's dressed like a Real Doll and singing Avril Lavigne's 'Girlfriend', because that worked so well for Mawliddle Diana Vickers. Cher has made the odd decision to bug her eyes out and twirl her hair around her fingers for this performance. After the chorus, she breaks into Li'l Mama's rap from the remix of this song (and it saddens me that some people genuinely thought that this was a self-penned rap from Cher, because it took me less than a minute to find that on Google). When Cher tries to sing, she's genuinely dreadful - she's out of tune, and all the jumping around makes her sound really breathy and makes her voice sound very thin. Mercifully, it ends.

Louis trots out the old "well, we DEFINITELY made the right decision saving you last week" line. He says she's becoming like her mentor - chroma-keyed in from elsewhere. Dannii says this was her favourite Cher performance, and made her want to go to her concert. Simon thinks this was her best performance so far by a mile, because it didn't sound karaoke (it did) and she put her own stamp on it (she stole it wholesale from an existing version) and it should make her bounce back. The Blue Screen Queen says that Cher smashed it and "we're back". Oh cram it, you vacuous bint. Cher tells Dermot that being in the bottom two was horrible, but you have to take the good with the bad, and "you've got to go back in with a big smash." Dermot asks her what she said to herself after last week's bottom two visit, and Cher says that it gave her a big kick. Is she entirely sure that wasn't just Katie? Dermot asks what she wants to say to the people at home. Cher's all, "...please pick up the phone?" An entire nation does just that, and orders more alcohol.

Next up is "my gorgeous girlie Rebecca Ferguson". I'm considering saving time in future by vomiting before Cheryl speaks. That'll save me valuable seconds. Last week Rebecca survived despite being terrible, and she says that the pressure of it being BEATLES WEEK and being FROM LIVERPOOL got to her. She giggles that Rock Week is unsuited to her, because she is literally the most boring person alive, and Cheryl says she had to be really careful with the songs she was choosing for her, to ensure that Rebecca could pay lip service to the theme while still standing rigidly on the spot and honking like a duck trapped in the reeds. Simon thinks Rebecca has the best voice in the competition and is the one we've all got to beat (/is Cheryl's best hope of victory and therefore must be propped up at all costs and will of course become Simon's showpony the second Wan Direction cease to become a viable prospect for the title), but she has to show us all that she wants it.

Rebecca is singing 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For', presumably "the correct melody to this song", or possibly "a personality and any stage presence whatsoever". HONKY HONK HONK HONK RATTLE BELLOW. I just don't get what's so special about her at all. She's dull, she's inconsistent, and that jazz voice is a total affection. I mean, I could do what she does, and I can't sing for toffee. [Oh Steve, you lie. You're better at singing than at least three-quarters of this year's finalists. Though that's not saying much, obviously. - Karaoke Carrie] I'm not saying that Rebecca's a terrible singer, but I do think she's massively overrated and she's lucky that all that faux jazz noodling is a good way of concealing her vocal shortcomings.

Louis tells Rebecca that he didn't think rock would work for her, but it did. Except where it didn't, because that was not a rock song. He thinks she has the most distinctive voice in the competition. Dannii thinks that sometimes those mid-tempo songs can get lost in the show, but this really stood out, but she'd like to see a bit more performance from her (/any performance at all, we're not fussy). Simon tells Rebecca that he could see her nerves and parts of the performance were stiff, but she has a beautiful, distinctive voice. He's never heard that song sung that way before, even though that song has been sung that way by about a gazillion people, not least The Chimes, and it was a risk worth stand there and do exactly what she does every week. The Queen Of The Blue Screen says that this show divides households, but the one thing that everyone agrees on is that we all love Rebecca. Yes, excellent work there, Cheryl, use your role as mentor to tell Rebecca she has NO DETRACTORS ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY. You have now offically bypassed useless and proceeded to "actually damaging". Dermot asks Rebecca about her nerves, and Rebecca says that everyone's nervous, but she thinks she's improved from the girl who looked at the floor in her first audition. Not much, she hasn't.

Competition. Ad break. Go to Specsavers. New series of Take Me Out!

When we return, we're over to Dannii and her last remaining act, Lazy Decorator, who forgot his shirt last week. Lazy claims that the vest was accidental because they couldn't decide what shirt he was going to wear. Yes, I am so sure it was not even remotely pre-planned and gratuitous. Lazy says that it didn't really dawn on him when Paije left that he's the only remaining boy, but now he doesn't want to let Dannii down. Dannii says that Lazy's first song is a rock classic, and Lazy says they're going to turn the song around and make it something it's never been before. Dannii vows Lazy is not going to leave the competition.

Lazy sings 'I Love Rock 'N' Roll', which appears to be the Britney Spears version rather than the Joan Jett one. It's fairly unpleasant-sounding, because his voice can't support the chorus, judging by the way he's holding his stomach throughout, and on the verses he's just kind of plaintive and whiny-sounding, which isn't how you should do that song. He also ends the whole performance on the worst closing note since Danny Gokey.

Louis tells him he's the most consistently good performer in the competition, and he's definitely safe for next week. Cheryl says there's so much love for him out there, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS THERE IS FOR REBECCA WHO IS UTTERLY BELOVED BY EVERYONE, Simon thinks this is "living the dream" for Lazy because of all the girlie dancers, and he didn't think it would work, but it was terrific. The audience chant "Lazy! Lazy! Lazy!" (or possibly his actual name) and Dannii says that he's been sick all week, but that song makes her think of having a party. Dermot asks Lazy if he enjoyed that, and Lazy's all "who wouldn't?" My hand shoots into the air. Dermot asks him about being ill, and Lazy says that everyone has been ill this week, but everyone's "smacking it" this week, so "hats off". And indeed he is not wearing his hat tonight.

Next up is Katie, whose sheer ridiculousness at this point has won me over, so I shall no longer be calling her The Kooky Monster. Last week she was saved by the public and went mental. Explaining last week's hairdo, she explains that people can obviously understand why she did it, and now "the mask has been removed". Ah, so this is the real Katie. All those other Real Katies? Phonies and imposters, the lot of them. See, this kind of utter shamelessness is why I kind of love her now. Louis claims that he likes Honest Katie. I don't think we've met that one yet. I think she's next in line after this one and Levitating Grapefruit Can Opener Katie. Katie says that she doesn't have to try to be anyone else to make a good impression, which she has learnt from several weeks of trying to be somebody else and making a terrible impression. Cheryl says that Katie's first song is one she really wanted to do. Katie says that she loves rock because it's just sooooooooooo *mimes masturbating over a fretboard in such a way that the NME immediately gets on the phone and offers her a full-time position on their writing staff* Cheryl thinks she's going to rock out, because it's part of her personality. This one, at least.

Katie is singing 'Sex On Fire' by Kings Of Leon, with actual flames behind her. Her voice is thin and reedy and she gives one of the most pathetic "woo!"s I've ever seen. Also, she's clinging to her skirt around her thighs while singing the skirt, which kind of makes it look like her sex is indeed on fire. She struts around the stage trying to rouse the audience and ends by slamming the mic stand to the floor. Not a single cliché here, no siree.

As she finishes, the audience is chanting her name. See what I mean about them not being remotely discerning? Louis thinks he can see her fronting her own rock band. Yeah, that'll happen. Dannii thought the performance was a bit frantic and that she was trying too much with it. Katie? Trying too hard? Heaven forfend! Simon thinks that whatever the genre, the performance needs to be fun and risky, and that was what he loves about her. He thinks that only she would sing "my sex is on fire" after the week she's had, and once again, those are not the words, Simon. Even if you do not invest in popular music, pay attention to your own fucking show, for fuck's sake. Louis screams that he wants people to vote for Katie. Cheryl's all "you threw the mic stand, you got into the character." What character, Cheryl? This is the Real Katie, remember? No artifice here. Cheryl is kind of surprised to hear the audience chanting Katie's name, as we all are. Dermot asks Katie how that makes her feel. Katie says she feels amazing, and thanks everybody for their support. She adds that she's taking it all seriously, and is focused and working hard in order to not let us all down. Er, thanks?

Dermot opens the voting lines now that everyone's had a shot, and informs us all of the numbers, imploring us all to vote carefully lest we accidentally vote for Wagner when we clearly intend to vote for LAZY DECORATOR REBECCA WAN DIRECTION. And now it's time to do it all again. Jesus wept.

But first, some ads. Come on everyone, buy more stuff!

When we return, Dermot reminds us that the lines are open and we should totally vote and give Simon Cowell more money. Wagner's on first again, and Louis says that he's chosen "a total classic" for him. Wagner says that he was born in 1956, the AGE OF ROCK, so he was probably a rocking foetus. Simon says that if people spend money on a phone call, then Wagner is entitled to be in the competition, "I guess". How charming. Louis tells Wagner that if he does this song justice, they could be on their way to the final.

This song is 'Addicted To Love', and we're back to normal Wagner service at this point, so the barest hint of lip service is played to the tune, and he's surrounded by lovely dancing ladies. Wagner is wearing bizarre earrings as well, for reasons that I can't quite determined. The dancing girls all have glitter cannons which they set off at the end of the song, although one suffers from delayed ejaculation. There is clearly audible booing, because some people have no class whatsoever. Also, why waste time booing Wagner when you could be putting chewing gum in Cheryl's hair? That's the trouble with people these days: no ambition.

Dannii says he's gone back to the Wagner that they know, and she's beginning to think that he has an identical twin who he sent out to do the previous song. Cheryl thinks that Wagner has enjoyed himself more this week than in any other. Simon liked the band, and says it was like they were making the show in Egypt in 1956. It's another one of Simon's analogies that really doesn't stand up to scrutiny, but essentially he thinks that Wagner is a poor standard of contestant. However, Simon says that there is also something fascinating about Wagner. Louis is all "You got an Emmy, didn't you Simon? I think you should give it back," giggling all the while like he's making a real funny, and everyone else just looks at him like "'re strange." Anyway, Louis thinks that not everyone likes Wagner, but that doesn't matter. Dermot asks Wagner how it was for him, and Wagner says that he loves having the beautiful dancers on stage, and he would like to return Simon's compliment: "not many people in this world have more charisma than you." Dermot asks Wagner if he can understand Simon's fascination with him; Wagner is just glad to have received a compliment.

Time for Wan Direction's second turn of the evening. Simon says that the second song has been chosen to prove that the boys are good singers. Makes me wonder what he'll do with Zain, in that case. Harry thinks this song will show how far they've come in terms of being a group and developing harmonies. Louis thinks "it's a brilliant rock song" (take note) and he hopes they can get the vocal right. Simon thinks they can do well with this, but it's a tough song to sing.

They're standing in a line and singing 'You Are So Beautiful To Me'. Well, Liam is. The rest of them are just standing there. Then Harry gets to do half a verse by himself. I'm so glad they put in all that effort working on harmonies. Then - oh my God - ZAINWRECK GETS TO SING BY HIMSELF IN A NON-ECHOING CAPACITY! Bizarrely, he's in tune for most of it too. [Although he DOES only have five notes to sing. - Carrie] Niall and Tiny Nicholas Hoult do absolutely nothing for the entire song. I don't think they even open their mouths. So much for this proving how they're all great singers.

Louis says that they've proven that they're a great boyband and a brilliant vocal group, and have just proved that everyone in the group can sing. Except for Niall and Tiny Nicholas Hoult, for the reasons I've just given. Keep up, Louis. He loved everything about it, but his only problem is "I don't think it's a rock song, Simon!" Then why did you say it was a brilliant rock song in the VT, Louis? Please, do tell. Dannii tells them they were "stunning", and the Blue Screen Queen says it was great to see them having fun and having all the dancers (ooer), but she loved just watching them stand there and sing. Which would explain why she likes Rebecca so much, I guess. Simon tells "Captain Boring" that "Joe Cocker actually was a rock singer, so do your homework", completely neglecting to consider that not every song performed by a rock singer is actually a rock song, and continues that it was in some ways his favourite performance by them, because it was beautifully sung and he can totally remember when Zainwreck was all Zainwrecky and stuff. He means during bootcamp, but I think we all know he really means "in every single performance except possibly this one". Dermote celebrates the rule book being out again (O JOY), and asks Zain how it felt to be commended by Simon, and Zain says that it's just nice to work with someone as powerful as Simon (hmmm) and appreciate getting to come out and perform with "five of our best friends" every week. So we should probably add "basic maths" to the list of things the Zainwreck struggles with, along with "singing", "dancing", and "working out where the hell he is".

Back to Tesco Mary, who Louis says is going to "sing her heart out". I hope not literally. Louis thinks we'll see Mary with her mojo back, and NotLouis has given her some choreography, which she finds nervewracking but also exciting. Dannii is looking forward to actually seeing a performance from Mary. Mary's all "mmm, I'm going to swing my hips big time", and it's kind of scary.

Her second song is the Pretenders' 'Brass In Pocket'. She's performing behind the judges on the little platform, and it's funny to see in the closeups that there's still confetti everywhere from Wagner's glitter cannons. This performance isn't too bad - it's honked a little too much for a track that really needs to be underplayed, but the singing itself is decent enough. [I loathe Tesco Mary. No sense of subtlety or interpretation. BELT BELT BELT BELLOWY SHOUT. Shush. - Carrie]

The crowd chant her name again, and Dannii tells her she looks like she was having a good time - vocally it was "heading towards the karaoke", but she liked seeing her having fun. Cheryl says it's amazing to see Mary moving and singing. Yes, revelatory. Simon's with Cheryl, he thinks everything on the show has got a bit negative, but he thinks it was good for Mary to do an uptempo record, even if she was a bit shouty at times. Louis says this is Mary's last chance, and if we don't vote, she won't be here next week. Dermot asks if he saw "Mary Byrne walking, nay dancing around the stage". I love that even the people who are on this show's payroll struggle to determine what is walking and what is dancing. Mary says that even if her performance was karaoke, she had a ball. Dannii clarifies that she said heading towards karaoke, like the specifics matter at this point.

After more products we might like to purchase, we're back with the girls, whose performance order has changed, meaning Rebecca is on first. In her VT, Cheryl says she's picked a great song that will allow Rebecca to show a different side of herself. We see NotLouis teaching Rebecca some choreography. Rebecca opines that people might have put her "in a miserable box", but she also likes having fun. In rehearsals, Cheryl thinks Rebecca has a cheeky glint in her eye. Louis thinks that with the right performance, this song can get Rebecca through to the semi-final.

She's singing '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'...on a raised platform with a diameter of about a meter. Yeah, I don't think we're going to get much movement from this one after all. She's a bit flat at points, and quite sharp at others, so is essentially a bit all over the place, and while there's a level of armography, she remains rooted to the spot the entire time. Seriously: does she have an illness? I would even accept a little bit of walking-up-and-down "dancing" at this point. [Also, please note, this stony-faced look of tedium is actually Rebecca having FUN. I'd hate to see her when she's bored, the dull mewly-voiced statue. - Carrie]

Louis says it's great to hear her doing something uptempo, and she sounded "authentic" - he thinks she could be a great Motown star. Dannii thinks Rebecca sang rock, but made it Aretha. So...not rock, then. Simon thinks the last two weeks have seen Rebecca faltering, but this song turned it around again. He thinks this is like meeting her for the first time, and likens her to Aretha again. I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. Rebecca is not even fit to hold Aretha's bag while she takes her coat off. Cheryl remembers "back in judges' homes" when "Will" said to her that Rebecca had a superstar voice. Cheryl, Will also apparently thought that laughable video I posted further up the page was a good idea, let's not get too invested in his opinion. Dermot asks Rebecca how she feels, and Rebecca says that she started off really nervous, and she's grateful to everyone for supporting her.

Next it's Katie's turn, and Cheryl says that she's picked "a gorgeous song" where "you can't help but feel what the lyrics are saying". Katie says it means something to her, and it's relevant, so she's excited to sing it, and she feels that she sings best when she's "giving the message". AHAHAHAHA. Simon says that if Katie makes it through, it'd be the greatest comeback ever. I think Jesus would beg to differ with you there, Simon.

This miraculous, life-changing song is...REM's 'Everybody Hurts'. Sigh. Get some new ideas, Cheryl. Unsurprisingly, Katie's voice is not up to this song, and her attempts at passion and genuine angst fall rather flat. Nonetheless, Cheryl manages to squeeze out a tear or two(/pokes herself in the eye furiously when she knows the cameras are pointing elsewhere).

Louis tells Katie that he believed every single word of it, "because you've had such a tough time in the press." Yes, I believe REM originally thinking about Katie Waissel's run-ins with the tabloids when they wrote it. Good God. Also, like a single word about this show ever gets written in the papers without Cowell's say-so. Pull the other one. He believes in her "as a person" and wants people to give her a chance. "I know you're hurting inside, but come on, you are an artist." A piss artist, perhaps. Dannii says that this was a much better song for Katie, that she sang it like a 'save me' song and that's where her strength is. Cowell says she's at her best when she's on the ropes, but this song doesn't work when it's cut up as much as this one was, and he thinks Cheryl should've known better. Cheryl thinks that's one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and Katie did it justice. In response to Simon she says "we had the same amount of time as everybody else and [Katie] filled in the time absolutely beautifully." Now there's a ringing endorsement! Dermot appears and is all "Simon, Simon, Katie can only sing what's put in front of her!" Dick. Katie says she hopes she's done enough to get through, and that song means a lot to her and to everyone else (and it kind of tramples all over the idea of this song being special to you if you then claim it's special to everyone) and she hopes she can sing the whole thing one day. I don't think anyone's stopping you from doing that, love. Dermot asks her what it would feel like to get to the final. Katie says she'd feel so grateful, and it would be amazing. I don't like this new Katie so much, she's a bit dull. When she adopted her latest personality, I wasn't expecting her to just mimic Rebecca's.

Adverts. JLS play Wii Party. As my boyfriend put it: "Oh now I have hid my remote in my clothing, the others will have to strip me, oh no." Indeed. We know what you're up to, Aston.

When we return, Dannii lines up Lazy Decorator again. She says that this song could capture everyone's imagination and give him a standout performance. Lazy thinks it's "a very forgotten song" and he hopes to bring it to people's attention tonight. So it's either 'Crocodile Rock' or 'Imagine' then, right? Except Cheryl has actually heard of this song (shock!) and thinks it's a great choice. Dannii thinks Lazy is going to blow everyone away. Lazy vows to get Team Minogue through to the semi-finals.

He's singing 'Nights In White Satin', while miming playing the guitar (seriously, his hand movements are nowhere near close to the actual sounds the guitar is making). Ah, it's almost as if Tabby never left us, isn't it? He's singing it down his nose again, and really it's just a series of yelps at increasingly high pitches, though I suppose I have to give him some credit for how long he manages to sustain the final note.

Louis thinks it doesn't get better than that, and it was a great choice of song, and it was emotional and heart-wrenching. Cheryl thinks Lazy's at his best when he sits still and plays the guitar. Good God, this woman has the most boring taste in the world, doesn't she? "I love it when you are entirely inert, that's my favourite." It's her favourite performance by any and all lazy decorators ever. Simon says he was worried about him when he first learned of the song choice, but Lazy made it sound contemporary. He loved the little kick that Lazy gave to show how hard he was pushing. Dannii thought it was romantic and real, and it's what he would record. Dermot asks Lazy how it was, and Lazy says loves that song from the bottom of his heart. Dermot tells Lazy he's a long way from Halstead in Essex right now (Google Maps estimates it is about 63 miles by road, so not really) and Lazy says that he couldn't want this any more if he tried.

Finally, closing the show, it's back to Cheryl and Cher. Cheryl says we're going to see Cher at her most fun and at her coolest. Louis thinks he's heard this song so many times, he doesn't know how Cher can put her own stamp on it. Cher says she's going to go out and perform it like it was made for her. She says she's going to go in with a bang, "fireworks, the lot."

Her song is 'Walk This Way', and she basically gives the lie to the whole "I'm going to sing this like it was made for me" schtick by doing the Girls Aloud vs. Sugababes version, complete with carbon copies of all the vocal riffs on particular phrases, only less well executed. There's something quite uncomfortable about Cher's expression throughout too - she looks sad, somehow. I don't know if that's just her attempting to look tough and misfiring, or whether it's symptomatic of a deeper problem.

Louis tells Cher she's had two brilliant performances tonight, and she came back fighting after her dip into the bottom two. Dannii says that nobody performs like Cher does (thank God) and she goes for it every week, though on a technical level she felt Cher was being swallowed up in the verses by the backing track. Simon disagrees with Dannii, saying that Cher has had a fantastic night and has reminded us that this is not a karaoke competition. By copying this and then copying this? Get real, Cowell. Also, that's not so much disagreeing with Dannii as it is expressing an entirely unrelated thought. Cheryl says that we've never seen anyone like Cher on the show before, and she may not be everyone's cup of tea, "but you're my cup of tea with two sugars." Bless. She continues that she believes in Cher as an artist who'll have a credible career when this show is over. I really, really doubt it. Especially not when you've sent her out looking like a blow up sex doll twice tonight, Cheryl. Dermot comes out and asks Cher how she's feeling, but Cheryl is feeling rude right now, and her needs trump Cher's, of course, so she hollers for Dermot's attention and then begs everyone at home to vote for Cher. Dermot asks Cher what she wants to say, and Cher says that she's young and just wants to have fun. Again, I hate to play armchair psychologist, but "fun" seems to be a long way away from the experience Cher's having at the moment.

Finally, that is it. Dermot runs through the numbers, and we get a quick runthrough of tonight's performances: Wagner being a Creep but actually delivering an honest-to-goodness good performance, and then going back to normal in the second half; Wan Direction trying not to giggle while singing about 69 and then practising for a boring, Westlifey post-show career; Tesco Mary delivering two solid if shouty performances; Cher demonstrating her originality by being entirely unoriginal; Rebecca still failing to fight that brutal paralysis in her legs; Lazy Decorator doing A KICK; and Katie showing off her new tortured rock chick personality that she just downloaded off the internet.

Dermot then drops the bombshell that tomorrow's show will see a DOUBLE ELIMINATION (like, no shit Sherlock, there are only two more week left after this and we still have seven bloody acts left), and promises us the likes of The Wanted (yeuch), Justin Bieber (YEUCH) and Nicole Scherzinger (yay!) on tomorrow's show. Who's going home? Your guess is as good as mine. We'll be back with the results soon!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Like a little Robert Allen

Beatles week - the results
Tx: 21st November 2010

Last night, everyone massacred the worst songs The Beatles ever recorded and one they didn't, and they gave Katie the pimp slot because they know she’s the only one anyone’s talking about. Tonight my misery is compounded further as we have the hells of another charity single, Olly FUCKING Murs and not enough wine in the world.

Dermot welcomes us back, and introduces "our very own Essex boy Olly Murs" - speak for yourself, O'Leary, but I'm claiming no ownership of him - and reminds us there's going to be a charity single for Help for Heroes, like we would dare forget. He introduces the judges, and I hate how it’s always either Simon or Cheryl first and the other one last. Dannii contributes much more than they do in the way of mentoring and constructive feedback, and Louis contributes much more in the way of general idiocy and hatefulness. Dermot reminds us to buy downloads from ITUNES and go to see THE TOUR. He lies that it was a great Beatles night last night and says they took on songs from the biggest bands (he actually says the biggest bands, not one of the biggest bands, or the biggest band. Too much time spent with Simon, methinks) of all time.

Dermot asks the judges who nailed it. All of them. To a wooden crucifix, which they then burned. And pissed all over. Louis: Rebecca, Mary, One Direction. Dannii: Cher, Matt, Paije. She says Cher was soft and beautiful (Dannii, really??) and she liked the stairs. Dermot then tries to reignite last night’s non-row about the stairs some more because he is the worst host ever (except maybe Konnie Huq). Cheryl: everyone. Dermot: The Nation's Sweetheart speaks again. Given Terry Wogan introduced her as such on Children in Need the other night I am beginning to wonder if her people have trademarked the phrase for compulsory use in the same way Michael Jackson did with the phrase King of Pop. I dare Jarvis Cocker to stage invade next time she mimes to a slightly wan single. Simon liked One Direction, Matt, Rebecca, Katie - i.e. THE CHOSEN THREE and the one they're keeping in for the press. No alarms and no surprises there.
Last night is revisited along with Cher staircase non-row again, One Direction calling the Beatles a boy band, and Simon calling Wagner three times as worse (as his grammar). We see all the positive comments about Katie, but not Dannii’s comments about her multiple personality disorder. Iiiinteresting.

Dermot "welcomes" back Olly. We see last year where he was a cocky cock who couldn’t dance and did a smug and terrible duet with Robbie. I hate him so much. [Why's that, Ruthie? HAHAHAHA - Carrie] See what I go through for you all. Still, this should have the opposite effect of JLS/Alexandra making last year's lot look terrible by comparison, so every cloud and all.

He opens with a prop newspaper saying "Olly to play Royal Wedding". I really, really hope that's a lie and the Queen can do him for treason or somesuch, because poor, poor William and Kate if there's any smidgeon of truth in that. Of course he might not mean that Royal Wedding, just some event by minor royalty in some tiny country somewhere, but still, I feel the nation should brace itself in case. He wears a tight white polo neck and braces. They're really trying to sell that Olly is a GOOD BRITISH BLOKE and loving him is our patriotic duty along with Beatles reverence, Cheryl worship and wanking to pictures of soldiers, but it's not working. Is it? Please say it isn't. The song, such as it is, is a horrible cod reggae/ska abomination that makes Alexandra Burke's recent Lilt jingle replica single sound progressive. He has weird dancers dressed as bankers and red call boxes and Union Jacks on the stage cos he’s a TRUE BRITISH LEGURND etc. Tonight's episode really feels as though it's just been sponsored by The Sun, doesn't it? The song is utter drivel and unmemorable and badly sung. He has a horrible Jedward quiff, his dancing is still horrible, and he still seems about as humble as Danyl. Then, on Twitter, Aweeslice pops up with the following quote; 'I can't look at Olly Murs without thinking about Robbie and Gary making man-love and producing a baby. #xfactor' and I think our collective souls are all ruined.

Dermot asks Olly who his favourites are. Olly thinks One Direction will win because Simon said so, and unlike the other guests he knows exactly when his single and album are out and when he’s on tour. Like I’m going to tell you when that is.


Welcome back! Not content with pissing on Elton and The Beatles, the finalists are going to do the same to David Bowie in their cover of Heroes, because soldiers are HEROES in case you missed that the last time they did a song called HERO for the soldiers.

We then segue into some rather uncomfortable SoldierGriefPorn. As we always say, if you want to give to the charity, here’s how you can do it. Don’t, whatever you do, encourage this lot by buying the single. Also: given one of The Soldiers was an X Factor contestant (albeit not finalist) who had friends WHO WERE DEAD, wouldn’t they have been ideal special guests tonight? They got rumba-ed all over on Strictly last week, so it’s not like they’re choosy.

OK, given I've slagged off The Beatles, Rebecca and Cheryl I could already be a national hate target so I may as well make things worse - I find all this wanking over soldiers pretty distasteful. I'm not saying they don't need help and support, because they do, but the whole fetishisation of soldiers as our beloved heroes and how it's our patriotic duty to help them seems to me to be very little about the actual men (and women, though the women are always brushed out in these campaigns) who serve and suffer than it does about trying to make those of us not out there in war zones feel good about ourselves in some weird way, and about feeding the egos of the likes of The Sun, Simon Cowell and Max Clifford who have a hard-on for soldier porn (disclaimer - not literally. Or maybe literally, but that's their own private business and nothing to do with me. Unless you mean in the Simon Cowell sense of the word literally, i.e. figuratively, in which case…) because they know that if they 'stand up for our boys' (and it's always fit, rugged, moderately attractive, young, white, working-class blokes they use as the poster boys for these things), it will give them good PR.

So, you know, by all means support Help for Heroes or The Royal British Legion, but don't fuel the coffers or egos of smug media twats who couldn't actually care less about anything but their own PR, or force yourself to listen to dreadful records in order to support them. [I couldn't have put it better myself. - Steve]

Onto the song, which is being very badly mimed by "our" final 16, resplendent in white LIKE ANGELS. The interesting thing about these group sings is who gets pimped and who gets sidelined by the staging and the amount of vocal given to them (2008 pimpage: Alexandra, JLS, Ruth, Eoghan, Laura. Sidelined: Dead Wife Daniel, Bad Lashes. 2009 pimpage: Joe, Olly, Danyl, Lucy. Sidelined: All the groups, especially Kandy Rain). Matt opens and closes this year, which Joe did last year, fact fans. Whatever they might say about One Direction, it's clear they know Matt's the most popular at the moment. Rebecca gets plenty, but Belle Amie only get to share with Rebecca. This, however, is more than Wagner, Diva Fever, Nicolo, Storm or FYD, none of whom get any bits to themselves or even as duets. In fact, I didn't even see any of them on the stage first time round, but on rewatch, they were all there, just massively, massively sidelined, with no camera time at all. It'll be interesting to see if they're in the video (Bad Lashes and Kandy Rain were absent from their respective videos, except in the big group sing parts).

Paije sounds very different on record, and it's hard to tell it's even him. Katie gets the lines about dolphins. Zain gets an autotuned line, as they clearly recorded this in the days when they were trying to give him little bits to do because he's the one the girls fancy. John then turns up to do a backing line for Mary and I had totally forgotten he even existed until then. Then it gets utterly ridiculous, as a huge battalion of soldiers enter behind them (and sing better). It's like Cowell defying any of us to hate the record because now it has ACTUAL SOLDIERS on it so we'll just look like meanies if we do.

Ads: fuck knows what for. I'm still trying to recover.

We're back with the results. Safe: Katie. Louis goes batshit mental. Katie cries like a loon and starts to hug everyone, refusing to get off the stage. Hee. One Direction. Simon embraces the hugging for once. Dannii looks sick because clearly one of her acts (clue: Paije) is going. Rebecca. Louis looks a bit shocked. Mary looks defeated. Paije looks sick. Matt. Louis starts counting the acts on stage. Heh. Paije looks terrified. Mary. The audience boo. Interesting. Last act safe: Wagner. Paije did well to get this far, given he was always a bit of a fodder boy. The audience boo Wagner. Cher looks sick. This really cements Rebecca's place as the chosen one amongst the girls, as if there was still any doubt.

Paije says he's doing 'Stop' but doesn’t say which one – Spice Girls, Sam Brown? Cher will be doing 'Stay'. Lisa Loeb? Eternal? Hopefully not Shakespears Sister, given that doing the same song again is usually an act of desperation, eh Cher? Nicolo reveals on his Twitter that they’ve known who's going since 5pm. Paije, I take it, judging by the looks on his and Dannii's faces.

Ads: Jedward playing with their DSes. Poor Nadine, I remember when that used to be her.

Defeated Dannii introduces a beautiful man, Paije RICHARDSON. He stomps onstage. Poor Dannii. I couldn't care less about Paije but I feel so sorry for her (and loved how, on The Xtra Factor, Konnie and Dermot asked how she felt losing two acts in a row and she said 'like shit'. Love. Her.) He's doing Sam Brown’s 'Stop'. The tune goes for an almighty wander, though his voice has a bit more oomph in it than of late. Steve will have a word here, though, as I know he feels rather strongly about this one. [It's my favourite song ever, and therefore people shouldn't be allowed to sing it on talent shows. Although to be fair, Paije didn't make a terrible job of it. - Steve]

Cher's up next, and what baffles me is why, if rap is her thing, and it seems to be where she's most confident, she doesn't do a song with rapping in it rather than reheating 'Stay'. It's similar to before except with a greater stench of emotional manipulation, and it's even more wobbly and then she cries at the end. Have Mary and Susan Boyle taught us nothing about the follies of trying to relive past glories? [In fairness, SuBo's problem was more in trying to sing something different when everyone just wanted to hear 'I Dreamed A Dream' again. The goalposts, they keep moving. - Steve]

Simon's up first. The audience shout 'we want Paije' – to stay or go? Be specific, fools. He's going to go with the person he's continually supported (the audience shout 'Paije, come on Paije') and sends home Paije to boos. Cheryl whines about how much she hates the sing-off. Everyone hates something about their job, Cheryl, but at least you're rewarded handsomely for yours. She says neither should be in the bottom two but is sending home Paije. Dannii repeats that neither should be in the bottom two (so who, other than Wagner, do they think should be?), sending home Cher. Louis says he’s always supported Paije but Cher was great in sing-off. He says it’s difficult because both are brilliant. Dermot tries to press him for a name. Louis looks kind of gaunt tonight, and even though he clearly likes Paije better than Cher, he's sending home Paije. Perhaps he'd run out of famous black men to compare him to. Tiger Woods, Louis? Sidney Poitier? Nelson Mandela? The audience boo again. We see Paije’s best bits, which were not that ‘best’ really. All in all it's a ho-hum, predictable mid-table eviction for a vaguely nice but terribly bland man. See also: Dancing, Strictly Come.

Next week! The two acts Simon's based One Direction on: The Wanted and Justin Bieber. Either this will be all about how One Direction are the future because they're just like the cool special guests, or it'll backfire horribly when the audience think they prefer the special guests. Also! Special guest judge Nicole Scherzinger! Except she's performing not judging, which isn't what we want. And the acts all get to sing two songs (already!). Thank fuck I'll be out of the country. I just hope given the amount of national offence I must have caused in this weekend's recaps that I'll be allowed back in. If not, Bitch Factor German readers, I'll be kipping on your sofas. Join Steve and Carrie then for all the carnage!

She loves you no, no, no

Live show: Beatles Week
20 November 2010

Last week! The show got its revenge on Elton John for insulting it by desecrating several of his biggest hits (and Crocodile Rock, which according to our blessed Lord and Saviour Cheryl Cole is obscure)! Katie got the all-time X Factor record for bottom two survival! Aiden went home and stuck his bottom lip out. Some more. Again.

Tonight! Songs by contemporary artists The Beatles! All of which are now available on the blessed ITUNES!

Drive My Car plays as Dermot skips onstage in a very odd shiny purple suit with red shoes. Um. He gives us a joke worthy of Bruce Forsyth saying there are four twisted people who love to shout – the judges.

Dannii is looking great, with her hair up and a nice red dress, Louis is trying to up the male judge style wars in a grey suit and purple shirt, Cheryl needs to remove her hair extensions, because she’s wearing them down and they just look lank and greasy, and boy is it time to get rid of the red already, but she has a nice dress on. Simon has got his chest wig out again as if this week’s show wasn’t going to be hellish enough for me.

Paul McCartney VTs that it’s great the contestants are doing Beatles and makes my night by saying he’s far away in Brazil (missed opportunity to fly Wagner home for a live link-up methinks) and then he says to just ‘get on with it’. Now, I am no lover of Fab Macca Wacky Thumbsaloft, but if that was a joke about this show’s tardiness and over-reliance on filler then that’s halfway to a decent burn.

Dermot reminds us to go to ITUNES and download the contestants’ performances. Is anyone really doing that? I can’t imagine any of tonight’s are going to sell well (whoops, spoiler).

The boys are going first again. They really want to bus them, don’t they?

Lazy DECORATOR is our first performer, and he comes onstage wearing a wife beater vest and scruffy tracky bottoms, looking like a jobless dosser, which he is, so fair enough. He’s doing ‘Come Together’, which is one of my favourite Beatles tracks but that’s mainly only because I like the various rocky covers of it. In fact, though I know it’s probably being a traitor to my nation on a par with not calling all soldiers, ever, ‘heroes’ or worshipping at a shrine of our blessed Lord and Saviour Cheryl Cole every morning, I usually prefer cover versions of Beatles songs to the originals. I mean not tonight’s lot, obviously, but generally. Oasis’s ‘I am the Walrus’, Bananarama/Lananeeneenoonoo’s 'Help!', even Candy Flip’s ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ – all superior to the originals. *Whispers* I actually find The Beatles rather overrated, even though I was a huge Britpop fan and as such I was supposed to have spent my teens brushing up on The Fab Four’s back catalogue. I may as well get prepared for all the flaming coming my way seeing as I don’t have anything nice to say about Rebecca tonight either. [You'll get no argument from me. I'm more of a Rolling Stones guy. - Steve]

Oh, yeah, back to Lazy. He has lots of ladies in sparkly red hot pants being ‘sexy’, and his backdrop looks like the Magpie Electricals logo. He’s on a raised platform. This will become a theme tonight. Although there’s nothing special about this performance, save his rubbish dancing, I do prefer rock to falsetto for him but that probably just shows my musical preferences. Scissor Sisters aside, male falsetto doesn’t do much for me but chuck a two-bit indie rock sound at me and I’m generally happy. The vocal’s average throughout, and given the stream of effluent that is to follow, it’s actually one of the better performances tonight, but he’s still a tosser.

Louis says there’s something missing tonight – a proper outfit perhaps, Louis? Cheryl really enjoys him and says he could be in the final. Simon says he was missing a shirt and the styling sucks. Ugh, when Simon and I are on a wavelength that’s a worry. Simon says he looks like he was dragged from the loo onto the stage, which is a nice mental image. The audience boo like mad despite it being true and Simon says he loves his singing and the SEXY LADY DANCERS. The audience go mental for him. Dannii says that girls want him dragging to their bedrooms, which: no thanks, and that he’s a star. Dermot says he has the painter/decorator chic going on, which is kind of true given that the impression I get from when he was a painter/decorator is that he probably slobbed around at his parents' home in skeffy jogging bottoms rather than going to actual clients’ homes and doing any work.

Ads: Half price autobiographies from people who had autobiographies out last year. I blame Jordan for this unnecessary and annoying trend.

Dermot encourages us to chat online at the X Factor website. In the interests of research, I went and had a look. It’s not a chat room, it’s a load of scrolling ‘I love Cher’, ‘I hate Cher’ messages, and you can get that on Twitter or Facebook with the added bonus on those sites of actual interaction. Rubbish.

Cher apparently tends to hide in the room with her IPOD. She says that Cheryl could be her big sister and there are lots of shots of them bonding because the theme of this week seems to be ‘look the mentors actually do mentoring, honest’. The girls did a magazine shoot where she looked dreadful.

She’s sitting on a staircase to nowhere doing ‘Imagine’ which is not only one of the worst songs in the world ever (the absolute worst song in the world ever is ‘Mull of Kintyre’, there’s a theme here) [I thought the worst song in the world was Olly MURS' new single - Steve][I hadn't heard that when I wrote this - Rad], it is also NOT BY THE BEATLES. For FUCK’S SAKE. It’s not as though they don’t have a big enough back catalogue. It’s pretty rubbish, there is the odd good note but mostly it’s wobbly and not very Cher and not at all The Beatles and just blah. My friend Kerry reckons Cher missed a trick tonight by not doing a mashup of 'The Frog Chorus' (also not a Beatles song, but better than fucking ‘Imagine’) and ‘Crazy Frog’.

Louis says he thought she was contemporary before but on this song there was no rap and no choir. Louis’ definition of contemporary music = rap and a choir. Good to know. Dannii thinks she was fantastic. Cher is wearing less eye make up this week and it’s strange to see her looking actually young, she looks so different. Anyway, Dannii says the sung songs have been her favourite Cher performances. Simon is partly happy she did this. Erm, OK. There’s a heckle, and Simon says the heckler said he was hot and he agrees with them. He says Cher’s sweet and nice and he doesn’t like the tabloid stories about her. Simon says little girls want to be like her (really?) but the staircase was rubbish. Cheryl blabs on about nothing while Simon keeps babbling about the stairs. Dermot says he’s going to speak on her behalf – so Dermot’s reading the contestants’ minds now? - and to win she has to sing something every week and be versatile. Simon says you have to set the performance right. Dermot says 'blame the stairs, do not blame Cher', as if the removal of the stairs would miraculously have made that any better. [It might have done if the stairs had been removed while she was still sitting on them. - Steve]

One Direction get the annual Cowell gay panic VT where they discuss how much they love Football and the Beatles and other macho straight boy stuff. Simon says they can one hundred million percent shine.

They’re all in suits under spotlights on raised platforms looking rather Take That as their ripping off of a new boy band each week gathers pace. They’re doing ‘All You Need is Love’, yet another shit Beatles song (given the amount of potential Beatles songs they could choose, tonight’s offerings are so uninspired) though they’ve made it a bit up-tempo [/ripped their arrangement wholesale from the Blackberry ads. - Steve]. There’s lots of offstage backing singing as usual, and Zain’s mic is off again. The blond one has a better voice than I remember even though Harry and Liam do most of the singing as always. They then have a mob of backing dancers come on and do that matey boy jumping thing around them, because they are so straight.

Louis says they lifted the energy in the studio and good to see the "fab five" (ugh) singing the fab four and he thinks they’re here for the long haul. The audience scream like mental dimbos all over the other judges’ comments, but essentially Dannii says the guys on “backing vocals” with silent mics were struggling and not to let the others down, presumably by lip syncing out of time, as we couldn’t tell if they were singing or not. Cheryl says she could go on about the platform but won’t, because she loved them. Simon snits ‘who cares about the platform’ and Cheryl snits about the stairs. Gah, I hate both of them. Simon says they made it new (DRINK) and the other judges don’t want them to be safe. The other judges all say they do. Heh. Dermot says he can’t hear the judges above the audience. Well, if only there was someone whose fucking job it was to shut the audience up so we can hear the comments, eh, Dermot?

Ads: The Beatles version of this song now available on ITUNES, at which point I decide to atone for the lack of Rolling Stones in my CD collection and promptly buy some of their music. Xenophobic Dolmio fail.

Rebecca next. Cheryl says she’s the one the audience have been waiting for. Yeah, the members of the audience who like to have a cup of Horlicks and be asleep by 9pm. She goes on about how wonderful Cheryl is and being from LIVERPOOL where the Beatles are from, so I hope everyone from LIVERPOOL votes for you. You know who else is from Liverpool? Sonia. If Rebecca did ‘You’ll Never Stop Me Loving You’, properly, not in a cod-jazz-snore-tune-free way, I’d potentially like her. For one week only. There’s a funny bit in the VT where she tries to go into Cheryl’s dressing room and Cheryl looks like she’s stopping her coming in.

The piano hits bum notes despite surely being pre-recorded, which can’t be a good start. She gets black and white footage of The Beatles behind her, as if to rub in how much she’s desecrating them by wearing a fuckawful red jumpsuit, and hitting lots of bum notes. This is by far her worst performance yet like anyone cares, because she’ll still be here in the final. Even her defenders seemed to admit this week was pretty shit, though. On Twitter, Caitlin Moran calls her Fozzie Bear, which makes my evening. She looks pretty terrified throughout. The pressure of LIVERPOOL getting to you? It’s alright, your football team can sympathise with that one.

Louis said she made it her own, he hopes everyone votes for her and various other drinking game clichés. Apparently this is the most recorded song by The Beatles. I assume he means ‘covered’ unless it’s some bizarre fact about how many takes The Beatles did of each song in the studio. Who can tell? Dannii says it was not her favourite performance, Rebecca sounded a bit sad, and seemed a bit off. Simon said she looked nervous, but because she comes from LIVERPOOL she means the words of the song. That’s right, because that’s exactly how lyrics work. Fool. Cheryl, clearly realising how that VT looked, says she can come to her dressing room whenever she wants.

Rebecca says she was nervous and says this is the first time she’s walked round, by which I presume she means not standing still, because all she essentially did was walk about five steps. Oh, the energy that must have taken, Rebecca. Wagner moves every week, AND he sings several songs, AND he finds the tune about as much as you, you lazybones.

Louis and Mary had SRS BIZNESS chats this week and Louis VTs that ‘there’s something about Mary’. I’m not entirely sure Louis is taking this whole thing seriously any more, you guys. Simon says Mary wants to win. I can believe that. She seems kind of scary in how much she believes she’s a chosen one. She’s wearing Alison Moyet’s old 1986 knockoffs to sing ‘Something’ in a sadly gender changed lyrical stylee. She gets what I believe might be our first string band of the series though. She seems more confident than the last two weeks but has mistaken volume for tune like every other X Factor contestant since the show began. Is this all Yvie’s fault? The backing music then gets weird and all jazz loungey, and the last note is very honky.

Dannii says when she’s on it she’s on it and that was up there with her best, but she needs to have confidence every week. Cheryl says it’s a comfort when Mary sings and she feels relaxed. See – I don’t find Mary’s SHOUTING at all relaxing, it tends to wake me up after Rebecca’s put me to sleep, mind. She says Mary sings with experience and knows the song, BECAUSE SHE IS OLD. Simon says it was a good choice, better than last week, and she's got her confidence back. Has Rebecca got any confidence yet? They forgot to tell us this week, though I am suspecting not, given her performance.

Ads: More Beatles. Apparently their songs are available on some music thingy or other, can't think of its name right now.

Paige was shocked to be here after last week. Me too. He's wearing a blue suit and shiny purple top that Dermot could wear to have shiny purple everything. He's doing 'Let it Be'. Such boring choices of songs tonight. He does some awkward dancing, and his voice is his voice. I'm not a fan, but some people are. There are lots of places where he overdoes it on the frilly bits rather than sticking to the tune. At the key change, he is graced with a troupe of backing singers in white frocks like ANGELS being all gospelly. There's also a bit where he sounds like he’s clearing phlegm from his throat, then another bit like that, then it's over.

Louis says Simon was rude to tell Paije he couldn’t win, even though that was the truth. He says he’s like Lenny Henry, Luther Vandross AND Marvin Gaye this week. Louis - that hole you're in - you're not exactly digging yourself out of it there. Simon admits he was a bit rude last week (/honest) but Paije was good tonight and the staging Dannii did was better. I am so confused about the staging this year - according to Simon, Dannii and Cheryl do their own staging but his is blamed solely on NotLouis. I can't believe One Direction are the only act NotLouis is working with so someone's making stuff up here. I'm looking at you, Cowell. Dannii says this week Paije hit the ‘big’ 2-0 (big whoop) and reminds us that he was a wildcard (like Wagner, though this isn't mentioned). She says she wants to hug and squeeze him tight. Dermot, utterly failing in his hosting duties as per ruddy usual, stokes up the whole stupid ladder thing again with Cheryl and Simon and then says he wants to go over "ladder gate" and into beige. That’s Rebecca, Dermot.

Louis pronounces Wagner with a soft W again because he's being deliberately cunty. Casual racism isn't that funny, Louis, just ask Anton du Beke and Carol Thatcher. Wagner says he was happy to be through last week, and that some people don’t like Pavarotti and some don’t like Bob Dylan so if people don’t like him it’s OK. I would have loved him even more if he'd added that some people don't like Paul McCartney. Louis tells him not to worry because people always hate his acts (paraphrase). Wagner talks about his love of Karate, in what seems like a bizarre plea to be given the role of Mr Miyagi in the next Karate Kid remake. Simon says it’s the end of world, no, the end of the universe if he wins - although I can't see how Wagner being a one hit wonder is going to be any different to Rebecca or Matt being one hit wonders.

Awesomely, he's wearing a Sergeant Pepper coat. He starts with 'Get Back', which turns into 'Hippy Hippy Shake' with a load of backing dancers in bright dresses balancing on chairs looking precarious. Did health and safety approve these props, NotLouis? He shakes his hips a bit. Louis is shown nodding, while Cheryl looks incredibly sad. Then 'Hey Jude' comes in and I love him for properly, unashamedly pissing all over the worst song The Beatles ever recorded (as opposed to everyone else who sabotaged them unintentionally). Say what you like about Wagner, but this is a helluva lot better than when Paul McCartney gets all his celeb mates to do it at the end of every benefit gig ever like he thinks it's a total anthem for world peace or something. It's a well-known rule of pop that all songs about pop stars' kids are terrible: Oasis's 'Little James' (about the son of Patsy Kensit - did her other husbands try as hard as that?), Madonna's 'Little Star', Will Smith's 'Just the Two of Us' - all terrible, and 'Hey Jude' only proves the rule. (Actually, Tanya Donelly's 'Keeping You' is quite good but that's a rare exception.) [You forgot 'My Baby' by Britney Spears. *dryheave* - Steve]

Dannii calls him by his proper name because she is the only judge with a) any class and b) who actually seems to care about the contestants as much as about her own publicity. She wants to know where his stage wife is, but other than that, she doesn’t know what to say and then she literally headdesks. Cheryl 'don't believe everything in the papers' Cole then snits that he’s talked about her coming from a council estate in the press and says yes, she’s proud and she is lucky but he should focus on his own performances, not everyone else's. Wagner tells her not to believe what the press say. On that note, is it just me, or has the press for the contestants this series been universally dreadful? Matt, Katie, Cher, Wagner and Storm have all had several stories slagging them off, as have all the judges, and Simon's blatant favouring of One Direction has hardly gone unnoticed. Not that any of this will make any difference whatsoever to the show's success (and will no doubt even boost it), but there seems to be a real air of negativity around the whole thing in a way that there isn't normally - at least not to the same extent. [I am very interested in Wagner's terrible coverage. Normally with joke contestants, eg Jedward, there's mockery but not horrible stories - I suspect Wagner's voting percentages are worrying Cowell, hence the PR machine going into overdrive. - Carrie]

Simon uses a soft W and audience all shout the correct pronunciation. Simon gets annoyed and snips ‘Vagner' in a really over-exaggerated way as if to suggest it's such a petty thing he was being picked up on, rather than getting the contestant's ACTUAL BLOODY NAME wrong. He says that was the worst version of a Beatles song he's heard in his life, though he doesn't specify which of the three he didn't like. Louis loves him, but not enough to get his name right or anything.

Wagner says to Cheryl that he didn’t think the guy was a journalist and says he thought Cheryl was a role model because she lived on a council estate and is talented, beautiful and now the most famous woman in country [Oi! Right, that's it, we'll show this bitch who's boss. Can we put on a Royal Wedding or something? - The Queen] so she's good for people to look up to. For a moment, I thought it was going to go mental there. [I love Wagner for defusing that so thoroughly and making Cheryl look like an idiot. I mean, it's not difficult, but still. Girl got OWNED, and owned good. - Steve] Dermot fails to diffuse any tension whatsoever, but reminds us to vote for him and at least uses his name properly.

Ads: I was too busy getting water to notice what for. The Beatles, I am guessing.

In the pimp slot this week, we have Katie. Wow, they must have paid an awful lot to buy her out of her contract, mustn't they? Cheryl introduces Katie as being back AGAIN. That's a bit bloody rude, Cheryl. Katie says it’s great surviving the bottom four times but it also sucks. She can’t believe she’s still here and says she doesn’t believe half the schtick she gets. She means stick of course - schtick is the thing we get from her that we don’t deserve. Cheryl says she’s a cat with nine lives and has only used four of them so far. You know, regardless of what you think about Katie, having been in the bottom two four times is going to be pretty gutting, so she can't be feeling too great, and Cheryl doesn't exactly come across like a reassuring mentor trying to boost her act's confidence.

Katie has chosen her own song, though Cheryl lies that she'd have chosen the same thing. Simon says it's a perfect song for Katie. Katie says she's going for a(nother) drastic image change.

In another selection from her big bag of 'Save me, please' songs, she's doing 'Help', and her drastic image change this week is short cropped elfin brown hair and a '60s-ish dress. [She looked like Connie Fisher. - Carrie] The set has flock wallpaper! Her voice still weak, though the 'please please help me' bits are quite good. She gets better in the middle then gets a bit worse again, as the tune goes for a wander. It's all too slowed down, but, you know, better than Rebecca was tonight at any rate. Steve the other day suggested she should do Kylie's 'The One' ('I'm the one, love me, love me, love me') and I am so hoping she stays to the final just so she can do that one then. It would be amazing. [Bonus points if they play the Hypnotoad from Futurama in the corner of the screen while she does it. - Steve]

Louis says she does need help and doesn’t know why people aren’t voting because vocally she was incredible. Dannii says this was the first time she’d put her 'save me' energy into her show performance (it’s all about the sentiment, Dannii) but says that every week Katie says 'This is the real me' and every week it’s a different real me. She has a great voice but maybe she should go into acting and doing characters and says she just feels confused as which is the real Katie. Katie says 'I understand, I feel like now' and looks like she's about to say 'this really is the real me, honest' but then realises she totally can't say that so just gives in and says 'yeah'. Simon is not confused about Katie because he’s glad she remained in the competition. Oh Simon, as comprehensible as ever. He says that this is her stripped back bare (ewww) and that lyrically it was absolutely genius – though surely the credit for that would go to Lennon/McCartney, not Katie. He says a lot of people on these shows are not what they appear and they act in front of the cameras – awesomely the audience start laughing at this. Simon gripes that he's being told to wind up in his earpiece, but he won't. This would be Dermot's cue to say that he was running out of time, but no. This is why the finals go on for ever, Dermot. Do your bloody job, Gillian McKeith's waiting in the jungle needing to eat kangaroo bum. Simon says she's genuinely nice and he likes that she comes back as a different person each week as it makes her interesting (more interesting than One Direction, Rebecca or Mary who do the same thing week in, week out, and get praised to high heaven for it regardless, I grant you). Cheryl says she’s interesting and it was her performance of the night, though it's not like you had rich pickings to choose from, is it Cheryl?

Dermot says the judges always believe in Katie, it’s the people she needs to win over. I think it may be a little late for that unless they give her the pimp slot every week from now on. Katie is grateful to be here and wants to be here next week.

Recap: Lazy DECORATOR not bothering to get dressed, Cher LLOYD there on the stair, right there, One DIRECTION being BLOKEY, Rebecca FROM LIVERPOOL shaming her home city, Mary BYRNE turning the volume back up, Paije RICHARDSON being a little Linford Christie, WAGNER still experiencing casual xenophobia, Katie WAISSELL needing help, and everyone sucking the life out of the worst of the Beatles.

Dermot reminds us to tune into the results tomorrow, with Olly Murs, and the annual charity single pap. What the actual FUCK did I do to deserve that? Join me later for the recap!