Sunday, November 07, 2010

We speak no Americano

Top 10: 6th November 2010

I really don't think it's a good idea for this show to open with black-and-white tinted shots of the early stages and Peter Dickson loftily reminding us that "thousands auditioned!" because I should imagine the common response here is "and yet the top ten contestants somehow include Katie Waissel, Paije Richardson and One Direction". [Poor Paije. He is by no means one of the most objectionable performers in this show. And I cannot believe you have got me defending a singer of average talent. DAMN YOU, X FACTOR. - Carrie] Still, that's how we begin again this week, and we are told that just ten remain. "Just" ten? I feel like I've watched my kids grow up and leave for university since the live shows started, and yet we've still got ten bloody contestants left. [Allegedly this is only live show five. HOW CAN THAT BE? - Rad] Of course, only one can win that "life-changing" recording contract, and by life-changing, they mean "you won't be able to go to the supermarket anymore without anyone asking 'weren't you that person who won The X Factor that time? What happened there, then?" At least that's what happens to Leon Jackson (who is curiously absent from the accompanying montage), I would assume. And speaking of the accompanying montage, it also features JLS and The Claw, neither of whom won, rather giving the lie to the whole "only one contestant actually gets a recording career at the end of it" business.

Anyway, over shots of last week's impenetrable alleged Hallowe'en episode, we're told that "the battle is on" (and judging from my experience of watching the show in real time last night, the main battle will be fighting the urge to change the channel). Still in the competition are Dannii and her three remaining boys: Lazy DECORATOR, Paije RICHARDSON and Aiden the SERIAL KILLER. Dannii assures us her boys will give us the performance of their lives tonight. Just the one between the three of them, Dannii? Louis and his two remaining over-28s: Tesco MARY and WAGNER. "Tonight my acts are going to fight," says Louis. Will it be pay-per-view? Cheryl and her four (ugh) girls: Rebecca FERGUSON, Cher LLOYD, Kooky MONSTER and Treyc COHEN. Cheryl smarms that she's still got her four acts and she believes they're stronger than ever. And finally, Simon and the only act he ever gave a shit about anyway: Wan DIRECTION. Simon says he will be standing there at the end of the competition. Yes, giving the Blessed St Cheryl a standing ovation when she gets her third consecutive victory. Probably. Louis thinks Simon could be out of the competition tonight. Cheryl smarms (in fact, assume she's smarming every single comment she makes tonight unless I inform you otherwise) that Simon needs to prove himself now he's only got one act left. Simon, predictably, does not give a tiny rat's ass. Titles!

Dermot comes out gurning, and his habitual salute has now become some kind of air punch, just in case there were some people out there who missed his recent interview with Time Out magazine and thus were unaware of quite how self-satisfied he is these days. He is, however, wearing quite a snazy pair of burgundy-coloured shoes which I quite want. He reminds us that we're down to ten (TEN!) finalists, and this week's theme is American anthems. I'll quote for clarity here: "Big hits all the way from the US of A." Just so we can remember that when we get to closing number, which was performed by an artist from Chiswick.

The judges make their entrance, predictably enough to 'Born In The USA' (personally, I was hoping for 'American Idiot'), surrounded by cheerleaders and fireworks. Say, I wonder which country is launching its own version of this show next year? Dannii's dress has a ridiculously enormous bow on it that covers the majority of her torso. Normally I'm a fan of her style, but I think tonight is a bit of a misfire.

First up tonight are the girls, since they're on the verge of outnumbering the other acts all by themselves. Cheryl makes an introductory speech, but it seems no one's bothered to actually turn her microphone on. I can only assume they'd got wind of the comments she'd be making later tonight and figured it wasn't actually worth recording any of them. Anyway, since Cher went on at the end of the show last week, it seems fair that she's opening it this week. So, last week Cher wobbled her way through Shakespears Sister's 'Stay', but it was hailed as the greatest vocal ever produced by our generation because she didn't do any rapping and therefore reassured the voting masses that she's also capable of stuff that isn't SCARY FOREIGN MUSIC. Predictably enough, Cher tells us that that was essentially her reason for doing it (though she doesn't actually say "scary foreign music", obviously) and was thrilled when Simon called it "the best performance of the season", by which of course he meant "autumn" because we don't have seasons on television in this country, we have series. Cher reminds us that she's from Malvern in Worcestershire, and tells us that her nan has been such a big help and paid for all her singing lessons. I think Cher's nan got swindled, then. Perhaps Cher had the same vocal coach as Mad Shirlena who we're supposed to have quietly forgotten about? Cher's nan, Janice, says that she's very proud of what Cher's achieved and she's sure she'll achieve a lot more. Cher's nan is also ridiculously young. Like, probably late forties at the most. Suddenly I feel very old indeed, and Wan Direction haven't even been on yet. Cheryl tells us that Cher's got a song that she loves, and Cher likes that Cheryl knows exactly who she is. Cher says that the lyrics are about wanting something so much, and needing to get to the right place to get it. "It's basically the story of me being here today," she concludes. Yeah, we'll see about that. Oh, and Cher adds that she's got a tattoo on her arm with a lyric from this song on it. All issues of tackiness aside: isn't Cher 17, and therefore not actually old enough to legally get a tattoo yet? Tsk tsk tsk. NotLouis tells us that Cher has been singing this song since the day it came out. Cher snots unnecessarily in an interview that she didn't come here to finish fifth or sixth, she came here to win, at which point Carrie quite rightly pointed out that Ruth Lorenzo finished fifth, and could sing rings around this little madam. [Actually I called Cher a rancid little cow, and that LORENZO could sing her scrawny little arse off the stage. Which was probably a bit of an over-reaction now I've considered it. I stand by the sentiments though. - Carrie.]

So you've probably all worked out by now that Cher's singing 'Empire State Of Mind'. Her first note is off-key, which is an excellent start. The first line, by the way, is "I grew up in a town that is famous as a place of movie scenes." Does that apply to Malvern? See, we're only one line in and already Cher's little ruse of "this song is totally about me and my journey on this show" has fallen apart. Like last week, her singing is passable, but anything that requires her to hit a particularly high note or sustain any note for a length of time doesn't end terribly well. Then the rap section comes in and the whole stage is suddenly filled with hip hop dancers, and people doing tricks on ROLLERSKATES (don't forget to check that one off on your official NotLouis Bingo cards) and BMXs. Then somebody arrives on a weird three-wheeled bike (I'm assuming I'm just not cool enough to actually know what that is) and Cher hops on the back and he takes her...about half a metre across the stage. Why? No idea.

Louis tells her that tonight she sang and rapped (he does not say whether she did either of these things well or not) and she looks comfortable on the stage. He thinks she could be in the final. Dannii and her Bow Of Insanity tells Cher that song could've been written for her (don't you start, Dannii) and it would be incredible if she could find writers to write in that style for her. Heh. I love the underlying assumption that Cher can't write in that style for herself [Oprah Winfrey! Tiger Woods! - Rad]. Dannii's not sure it beats last week's performance, but she liked it. Simon says that any other week he would've called that an incredible performance, but following last week, he's a bit disappointed. Cher shrugs. Simon tells her that last week was "100% original" (HOW? She gave a fairly straight cover of a Shakespears Sister song, Simon), while this was a bit copycat. He's not blaming Cher (OF COURSE), he just thinks Cheryl's getting lazy. Cheryl disputes this by referring to the unrivalled barometer of taste that is the studio audience, and she thinks she's found "the perfect balance" for Cher with this song.

Dermot appears as if from nowhere and asks Simon how it feels to be a lone voice in a very big studio. Simon reminds Dermot that he's just trying to help Cher, because the standard is so high this year so making the final is going to be harder than everzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.... oh, sorry. I nodded off for a second there. He tells Cher to think original, because she can't copy stuff. Except that's what she's been doing every single week so far, and most of the time you tell her it is original, so what the fuck ever, Simon. Cher says she appreciates Simon's comments, and that she has to have something to back herself up behind the singing and rapping. Then go and get your A-levels, petal. That'd be a good start.

Next up, we're over to Louis and the over-28s. Louis tells us that Tesco Mary will be singing an American anthem by Faith Hill. So, 'There You'll Be', then? It's not like any of her other songs are terribly famous over here. "I've wanted this all me life," says Mary, although at first it sounded like "I've wanted a zombie life" and I thought we might still be in Hallowe'en week. She's done pubs, clubs, dumps - you name it. She's very touched to be accepted for who she is, and how she looks, even though that second part really shouldn't be relevant. Louis says he wants Mary to be in the final, and he doesn't want her going back to GENERIC NON-BRANDED SUPERMARKET, because she was born to sing. Mary's moderately fit Tesco colleagues Albert and Patrick talk about how brilliant it is to see her up on stage. Louis says he's given her a big, emotional song. Mary says that it's a more modern song than what she'd sing, and it's not a belter. Dannii says the song is a huge sing. Mary says she's having difficulty to get out of the song what she wants, but she's looking forward to taking that challenge and conquering it.

It is 'There You'll Be', just as we all suspected, and much like Cher, Mary starts entirely off-key. She claws it back a bit during the first verse, but then entirely loses it again when she hits the chorus. This is not Tesco Mary's Finest at all. In fairness, I suppose she did say in her intro that she'd done "dumps" before, I just didn't think she meant "on stage during a performance". Since there isn't really anything encouraging I can say about her performance, can I ask the show's wardrobe team to consider attiring her in a colour other than black? Just once, give it a go. [This was awful, truly awful. Was she ill or something? She really felt absent throughout the song and the judging - Rad]

Dannii and The Bow That Ate Manhattan tell Mary that they can see what the competition means to her, but she thinks that Mary didn't feel like she was inside the song tonight. While the audience boo and chant "MARY! MARY!" like the ridiculous fools they are, Dannii continues that people love Mary, and she gives everyone strength. And also cashback, as long as they're not at an Express till. Dannii finishes by telling Mary that the only person who can win this for her is her [Mary, not Dannii] and likewise, the only one who can get in her way is Mary. That's not strictly true, is it? I mean, there are nine other people who can get in her way - that's sort of the point of the show. Cheryl agrees with Dannii, and thinks Mary seemed "very emotional" tonight (which is apparently a bad thing, unlike last week when Cher ACTUALLY CRIED WHILE SINGING and everyone loved it) but hopes Mary will be back next week. Simon thinks everyone's in "this state of mind" tonight - an Empire one, presumably - because they all want to do well. He thinks Mary sang "pretty well". Louis thinks Mary is "the people's champion" and "a real person". He vows to do whatever he has to do to get her into the final.

Dermot tells Mary she looks shattered. Nice. Mary says that she hasn't been "in the zone at all this week" and has been missing her daughter. She says that she's very nervous, and she "honestly [doesn't] know why." Dermot encourages us to give it up for Mary, though it seems a bit like Mary's giving it up for herself. [Completely. She seemed very strange - Rad]

Time for some advertisements for products you might like to purchase. A PlayStation 3, perhaps, or some Special K Chocolate and Strawberry *dryheave*.

When we return, it's time for the girls again. Cheryl's microphone is malfunctioning again, but we do pick up the only word of any import: Katie. Last week our very own Kooky Monster came on stage with cocaine all around her eyes and one of RuPaul's old wigs on, ended up in the singoff, caterwauled appallingly and ended up in deadlock, but still managed to get more votes than poor, poor Belle Amie. Kooky says that last week was "intense", and to illustrate this we see her crying on Rebecca's shoulder, snivelling "I HATE IT!" That'll win her a few more votes, I'm sure. Nothing stirs up the voting public more than a simpering spoilt child, right? I freely admit that other people crying is one of the main things that is guaranteed to make me crumple in seconds, and yet I'm strangely immune to Kooky's tears. I can't imagine why. Cheryl, proving that nothing gets past her, thinks this whole experience might have knocked Kooky's konfidence. Kooky says that The X Factor is the biggest opportunity she's ever had, and she definitely, definitely never had a recording contract prior to this or her own YouTube show or anything like that, no siree. Kooky's own account of this is that she flew over to America and had doors shut in her face. And in fairness, she does have the sort of face that you'd never tire of dreaming up new and inventive ways to damage, so shutting doors on it would probably be the least of her problems. Cheryl says she's chosen a cooler song for Kooky this week. Simon thinks Kooky is a battler, and adds "she gets in the bottom two, bottom lip comes out, very sulky, and then she comes back with a great performance every time." And while that last part is absolute rubbish, remember the rest, because it'll be important later.

Kooky's singing 'Don't Speak', presumably because her new-personality synapses sprang into life last week when Simon mentioned Gwen Stefani. She's also wearing pleather, and I can only hope the same curse strikes her that hit Tina O'Brien last week. She's pretty flat, and as always her voice has no depth or substance to it whatsoever, but the performance kind of tips over into amazing madness at the chorus, when the video screens behind her start showing this weird performance art piece of Kooky lying in a pristine white bed, mascara-tears all down her cheeks. NotLouis truly is on fine form tonight. Meanwhile, Kooky is still flat. Then as she starts adlibbing towards the end, she goes sharp. Just to mix things up a little bit.

Louis tells Kooky that he likes that she's a fighter, and she always seems to work better when she's under pressure. He wants people to give her a chance and judge her on her vocal ability, not the "silly stories in the papers". Louis, we have been judging her on her vocal ability. That's why she's been in the bottom two twice. Dannii and The Attack Of The 50ft Bow didn't enjoy it, and she thinks Kooky performs better in her "save me" songs. Simon says that it fell apart in the middle and it looked like she was struggling. Kooky blathers that she's having a great time on stage and if it means her voice falters because she's so passionate, then she's sorry. God, she is wretched. Simon says he liked the staging and the look, and he likes that she's not a whinger. Which is a direct contrast to how he described her in the VT. No one cares on this show any more, do they? [NotLouis. But he's definitely the only one bothering to put any effort in - Rad] Cheryl loves that she's a fighter and "eccentric", and she wants to thank Kooky for being strong. Like when she burst into tears like a great big baby last week. Dermot asks Kooky if she's better under pressure. Kooky says that she's better when her heart is in the performance, and she really believes in "the message of this song". She doesn't want to go home. Now I regret saying that she's never had an original thought in her life, because I'm fairly certain she is the first person ever to think "I want Katie Waissel to still be on The X Factor next week."

Time for the boys, and Aiden's up first. Aiden says that he thought last week's performance "went okay", but the comments weren't so good. He's feeling homesick because this is the longest he's ever been away from his family. Dannii says that this week she just wants Aiden to "come out onstage" and be himself. I don't think he'll be coming out yet, Dannii, he's still got that Syco-sponsored beard to protect him for a bit. He'll probably do what Joe did, and wait until he's got a single to promote. Cheryl thinks Aiden doesn't need to be so intense every week, she wants to see him being young and having fun. Louis says "he is what he is", and what he is needs no excuses. He deals his own deck, sometimes the ace, sometimes the deuces. There's one life, and there's no return and no deposit. One life, so it's time to open up his closet. Hang on, where was I? Oh right, Aiden: Cheryl thinks it'd be a shame for Aiden to sing every song "with a dark twist". Dannii says she isn't trying to make Aiden into something that he's not. Aiden says he's just happy to be doing a song that he likes, and he doesn't want to leave.

Aiden's singing 'Nothing Compares 2 U', a song which revealed the ignorance of a lot of people on Twitter last night when they all screamed "OMG SINEAD O'CONNOR ISN'T AMERICAN!!!!!!11111!!!!" [To be fair to the ignorant, the Prince version could hardly be called an American Anthem, and Sinead's version is far more the anthemic one. Like THAT matters given the other songs tonight - Rad] Aiden has his eyes shut and is positioned to one side of the microphone. Perhaps if he opened his eyes, he might notice that. He's sidegobbing to a degree that Long John Jessie would be proud of, too. I wait eagerly to see if he'll be singing the line about throwing his arms around every boy he sees, but sadly the arrangement of the song omits it. Stupid gay panic. Anyway, it's a fairly standard Aiden performance in that he's snarling and looking for all the world as though he's about to pull a knife on someone in the vicinity. At some point the stage erupts into flames, and then the song is over.

Louis tells Aiden that he gives a great performance every week, and he's trying to find something negative to say about the performance, but he can't think of anything. I think that says far more about Louis's imagination than it does about Aiden's performance, personally. Louis likes that Aiden is intense, anyway. Cheryl says she's accepted that Aiden is intense, and she can't fault his singing. Simon points out that Aiden was given that song last night and only had "24 hours to learn it" (does anyone out there really not know 'Nothing Compares 2 U'? Aren't we all born knowing that song? [not those of us born long before it was written. Which includes all of us. *Sob* - Rad]) and taking that into account, he thought it was absolutely brilliant. He adds that surrounding Aiden with flames like he's in hell makes him look ecstatic. Heh, I suppose. Dannii and Bowzilla say that the reaction of the (bored, moronic) studio audience speaks volumes. The only thing it tells me about anything is that this show needs a presenter with a level of crowd control. But instead, here's Dermot, to ask if Aiden's feeling good following that feedback. Aiden is. Dermot enthuses that Aiden is "authentic". That's true - I wouldn't even know he was a robot if I hadn't seen the blueprints on the internet.

Adverts. Wow, you can barely see the strings holding Susan Boyle up in her Piers Morgan interview.

When we return, Dermot shills for the tour before we're back with Dannii and the boys - here's Paije. To fill some time, Paije talks about his first audition and the long queue. He's very proud of himself for being here now. He explains that if he wasn't here now, he'd probably still be in that AWFUL TERRIBLE SOUL-DESTROYING JOB AT THE CINEMA. He says that life on this show is so hectic that he almost forgot that EastEnders exists. I think he's not trying hard enough. Dannii tells us that Paije is mixing two songs together this week, and Paije is pleased that he's getting a chance to be youthful for once. Louis wants to see the real, fun, soulful, bubbly Paije. Paije says that every week is fun, and he doesn't want it to end. These VTs really are formulaic this week, aren't they?

The first song in Paije's mash-up is 'I'm A Believer'. I'm not really all that sure what it is about this song that lets him be youthful, but okay. He's wearing a bright yellow cardigan under his purple suit jacket. I'm no fashionista, but I still think that's a bad idea. Halfway through, the song segues into 'Hey Ya!', which works better than you might think, although the change in tempo seems to throw Paije a little bit and he can't quite keep up. He tries a bit of vocal riffing, which doesn't work at all and ends up just sounding awful and screechy. Then the song goes back to 'I'm A Believer'. He'd totally have walked home in the public vote this week if he'd changed the lyrics to 'I'm A Belieber'.

Aaaand here we go with the controversy storm. Louis tells Paije that he's getting better and having fun. He likes that we're starting to see Paije's personality, and follows this up with: "you're like a little Lenny Henry!" Oof. Anyone have any possible idea what Paije has in common with Lenny Henry? Has he recently divorced Dawn French? Does he like staying in Premier Inns? Has he been getting critical acclaim for his performance in the title role of Othello? Or has Louis, in his ill-advised habit of constantly trying to liken contestants to other famous people, essentially outed himself as a bit of a racist who considers "black" to be a personality trait in its own right? You be the judge; I'm not getting involved. Simon, to his credit, gives Louis a look of genuine bewilderment on the back of this. Cheryl thinks Paije made her night and it was her favourite performance of his so far. Simon's still all "Lenny Henry?" and tells Paije that he loved the Austin Powers nature of the performance, and it was definitely his best performance of the competition. Dannii and the Great Bow Of China loved the performance, because the songs were brilliant mashed together and he coped with all the action on stage brilliantly. Dermot asks Paije how he's feeling. Paije is feeling excited, and says the whole thing gets more fun every week, and he feels he's showing more of his personality.

After that, we're back to the girls and Cheryl, and back "to light up the stage like a glittery firework, it's Rebecca Ferguson." Considering Rebecca's complete dearth of personality, I'd liken her more to a slightly sodden sparkler myself. Rebecca reminds us that she is FROM LIVERPOOL, and has been singing for years, but finally feels like she's getting somewhere now. She says that she speaks to her kids a lot, and that reminds her why she's here. Cheryl thinks Rebecca is a dream to work with, but Rebecca's struggling to learn the words for her new song. She thinks the song's quite emotional, and Cheryl tells her to believe that she can pull out a real spine-tingling moment. Simon thinks Rebecca is on a roll.

Rebecca is stood atop a perspex platform singing 'Make You Feel My Love'. As always, she's doing that awful affected jazz-inflection thing rather than actually singing, and it's throwing her off the tune quite a lot here. Honk honk honketty honk. I don't really know what else to say. I mean, people keep comparing Rebecca to Leona, and it's a comparison I understand even if I don't entirely agree with it, but while Leona was boring as fuck too, at least she had stage presence. There was something about her that commanded your attention when she was singing. When Rebecca's on, I'm always surprised that the camera people actually remember to film the right part of the stage, because it would be too easy just to pan past Rebecca entirely and land on a nice bit of dry ice or something instead.

Eventually Rebecca finishes. I think. She might still be going, I can never really tell. She might be doing a handstand on a unicycle and firing croissants out of her hoohoo, and it probably still wouldn't grab my attention. Louis thinks that he hopes the people who say there's no talent on The X Factor are watching tonight. Yes, Louis, I am, and I have yet to see anything to disabuse me of that notion. He thinks Rebecca stands out, and he can definitely see her getting a recording career. He loves everything about her. Also, she reminds him of a little Winnie Mandela. Dannii and the Great Bow-rier Reef think that was an amazing performance and Rebecca sang with so much soul, but she also loves watching her perform, because it's so subtle and understated. See, that's exactly what I said: boring. Simon thought the performance was absolutely fantastic, and he thinks it's easy to say that Rebecca will get a recording contract like Louis did, but he thinks she wants the public to give her something (fnar) and believe in her. He thinks that "by any standard" with what's going on in the music scene, Rebecca would be "the most incredible ambassador for this country and this show." Sure, stick her in the UN. That's full of people who look bored already. Cheryl says "I know we had a little moment in the dressing room yesterday" (LESBIANS!) and thanks Rebecca for a great performance. Cheryl says her heart was pounding and her stomach was churning. I'm not entirely sure that's a compliment. Dermot appears and says something that appears to be "eulogies from the judges". [It was definitely eulogies. Dermot is weird - Rad] I've listened to it back several times and I can't think what else it could've been. "Unities", perhaps, but that doesn't make any sense. At least we know what this year's Bitch Factor Christmas present to Dermot will be (after the previous three years' gifts of "suits that fit" were apparently unwanted): a dictionary. The Not-Yet-Dead Rebecca says that she was nervous, but she's feeling really good now. She says that it's such an emotional song, and she was determined not to cry, "because I'm always crying". Heh. Rebecca sticks around long enough for Dermot to read out her voting number, just for a change.

Weird second-half trailer reminding us that we still have Wagner, Lazy Decorator, Treyc and Wan Direction to come. Adverts. I feel that trailer for the Harry Potter segments on Daybreak would've done better not to display the show's logo while a sinister voice intones "THEY'RE COMING". I could do without worrying that Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley are going to murder me while I sleep, thank. I'm already worried enough about the prospect of Aiden doing it.

Upon our return, it's back to the over-28s and "V-V-V-V-V...Wagner!" Louis really does delight in his own ignorance, doesn't he? [He's such a vanker. - Carrie] Wagner interviews that he loves being in the competition and works very hard, because he doesn't want to let down the people who enjoy watching him. He talks about growing up in Brazil and how his father did a variety show and was adored, and he feels a bit like that now. Wagner says his only problem with Louis is that Louis still can't say his name right now. In a meeting, Louis greets him, "Wagner, how are you?" and Wagner corrects him, to no avail. It's just like poor Katarzyna from America's Next Top Model all over again. Wagner will be performing Elvis tonight, and Dannii thinks that if he can remember where he's going and not get distracted by the dancing girls, it'll be a miracle. Wagner thinks Elvis is back "with a moustache and a funny foreign accent."

Wagner opens his act with 'Viva Las Vegas' complete with hordes of dancing girls. He's out of tune the entire way through, and not really in the entertaining way that he usually is. Oh God, my Wagner-love can't desert me, that's about the only thing getting me through this crappy series. The song then segues into 'The Wonder Of You', where Wagner wanders amid the dancers who all compete for his attention until he reaches the only one dressed in pink, and decides to take her for his bride. Then a minister arrives to conduct the ceremony (I swear I'm not making this up) and the backing dancers start throwing confetti everywhere. The final note is actually not all that bad. Maybe my Wagner-love is safe for another week. [Man, I adore NotLouis this series - Rad] [I'm still on Wagner's side because of the horrendous way the X Factor PR machine is trying to stitch him up with all the nasty tabloid stories. Though it is quite funny that they're now resorting to telling us that Wagner hit one of One Direction in an effort to make us hate him. Dear X Factor, that will only make us LIKE WAGNER MORE. - Carrie]

Dannii and Mount Bow-verest say that there's a church in Vegas that wants Wagner to sing there. She doesn't know what to expect from him in future, and adds that the second half was more in tune than the first half. Cheryl thinks his calling may be to sing in a church in Las Vegas, and ends her comments there. Has she said anything useful at all tonight? Simon likens Wagner to the Big Dipper at the funfair in that you like him even though you shouldn't. He doesn't know what Louis is thinking - and Louis intercedes here and snits that he must be doing something right because Wagner is still in the competition and hasn't yet been in the bottom two. He goes on to say that he wants people to lift their phones NOW and vote for Wagner. Ye gods, seven series in and Louis still hasn't got the hang of the whole "lines don't open until the end of the show" thing, has he? Oh, and Wagner reminds him of a young Ayrton Senna. Wagner tells Dermot, "I was gambling and all of a sudden I got married, it was amazing." Heh. Dermot asks Wagner if this was his best performance to date? Wagner says he can't concentrate with all those girls around him. In light of the recent allegations against him in the paper, I'm not sure that's the wisest thing to say. Wagner tells the judges that he loves being here and "if I sometimes sing out of time or out of tune, I'm only human." And still doing more singing than Cheryl. Also, if that was the dig at Kooky Monster's little post-performance speech I suspect it might have been, then I love him even more.

Time for the final boy of the night: Lazy Decorator. Last week he was whiny and shit, but apparently it was sufficiently distanced from all the other shit, whiny performances he's given for the judges to object to it. Lazy says that he can't afford to have a bad week, so he feels lucky to still be here. He says that he feels he's decided enough of his life to this to deserve it. Shame you weren't devoting any of your life to DOING THE JOBS PEOPLE WERE PAYING YOU TO DO, YOU LAZY WORKSHY PIECE OF CRAP. Lazy complains about all the SOULSUCKING MENIAL WORK he did to earn money for his music career. Lazy's parents say that they never doubted him [I bet they've changed the locks since he's been away, though - Rad]. Dannii says she's chosen a song that Lazy's passionate about this week. Simon thinks the audience will consider him back in the game. Lazy wants to go out there and do himself justice.

It seems that Lazy Decorator has now become so lazy that he can't even be bothered to learn new songs any more, and has resorted to doing 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face', again. I do wonder what he's actually going to do if he has an actual post-show career and has to sing original material rather than just relying on covers where his main selling point is "THIS SONG WAS FAMOUSLY DONE BY A WOMAN AND YET I AM A MAN!" He falsettos his way through it, and I wasn't terribly impressed with his rendition of this song the first time I saw it, so I'm not sure how a direct retread is supposed to change my mind. [Simon really adores this song, doesn't he? Snore. Every bloody series - Rad]

Louis tells Lazy that it was another outstanding performance and he thinks he's stolen the show. He thinks Lazy is "all about the voice" and that he's the person everyone else will have to beat; "I think you're unstoppable." In which case the point of this whole rigmarole is...what, exactly? Oh, and Lazy reminds him of a little Samuel Botero. Cheryl says that he absolutely blew her away and she felt every single word. Simon thinks it was "completely and utterly stunning" and he likes that Lazy knew he fucked up last week and didn't blame anyone, but just picked himself up and got on with it. Simon thinks it's "The Matt And Rebecca Show tonight." I bet Syco Productions are getting that underway as we speak. Working title: Dull And Duller. Dannii and Every Bow's Bigger In Texas tell Lazy that he got the audience on their feet as well as all four judges. She wishes that everyone at home knew the story he told her about why he sang that song and why it's personal. Did he see someone's face for the first time ever once? Did it feel like the sun rose in their eyes? WE MAY NEVER KNOW. [Where was the WHO IS DEAD that little story demanded? - Rad] Lazy tells Dermot he's feeling "a bit weak" and last week was a real struggle, but he wanted to do the best with that song this week. Dermot talks about him being the favourite and adds "knowing you, I don't imagine you've ever been favourite for anything in your life." Wow, Dermot is being an even bigger jerk than usual tonight.

Competition. Ads. Creepy-Ass Bird's Eye Polar Bear.

When we return, someone in the sound department has finally seen sense and turned Dermot's microphone down as well. Perhaps he can perform with Wan Direction in a minute. (ZING!) Cheryl introduces the last of her girls: Treyc. Treyc says that every single week is a fight, and she's looking forward to it. Before the show, she was studying music at university and working weekends in a call centre, and doing gigs on Saturday and Sunday nights. She'd be singing "25, 30 songs a night, and people were not bothered." As opposed to now, when she's singing one song a night and people still aren't bothered, judging by her bottom two visit the other week. Cheryl says she's chosen a song for Treyc that'll take her back to being a big, belty singer. Cheryl mentors "imagine singing to your boyfriend - you don't want to go to sleep because you miss him so bad." So we all know what the song is now. FYI, Cheryl: vaguely paraphrasing the lyrics of the song =/= mentoring. Dannii harps on again about not knowing what Treyc's own style is, as she will no doubt continue to do until Treyc's eventual elimination. Treyc wants the judges to realise that she can sing.

Treyc is, of course, singing 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing'. This song is completely overdone on talent shows these days, but she does as good a job with it as can be expected under the circumstances. There are a few off-notes, but it's a fairly sincere performance and one of the more tuneful of the evening. She's on a perspex platform for the entire thing too, for some reason. I'm sure NotLouis could tell you why, but I've got nothing.

Louis loves her attitude and that she always bounces back. He thinks she can sing anything. She reminds him of a young Oprah Winfrey. Dannii and the Burj Du-bow tells Treyc that she sings incredibly and they saw some of that spark back with her tonight. She's still unsure what Treyc's thread is that goes through all her songs, but the rockier side of things is when she seems to sparkle. Except, y'know, that that's what landed her in the bottom two last time. Simon says that he can't fault the vocal and she's a great singer. However, "if you have a lion, you want it to bite you, not lick you." You do? I think I'd rather it licked me, personally. [If I had a lion, I'd want it to bring me Maltesers and load my dishwasher. Or if I were an X Factor contestant with a lion, I'd want it to maul my opponents. - Carrie] That's what he thinks Treyc is missing anyway - the killer instinct and the belief that she could win. Simon, she was bottom two at a point where there were 12 acts left. Can you really blame her for not thinking she can win? He blames Cheryl for not giving her that self-belief. Cheryl thinks it was a "gorgeous" vocal and she thinks that she doesn't need people to tell her she can sing, because it's obvious to everyone. She thinks being a fantastic vocal is Treyc's "thread". Dermot asks if she needs a thread. Treyc thinks her thread is being a little woman with a big voice, and she can hear what Simon's saying, and she feels she's getting there on the confidence and belief front.

Unnecessary ad break. Trailer for boring-looking doco about Take That.

Last act - it's Simon and Wan Direction. Their VT is utterly ridiculous: ostensibly it's about the fun of living in the contestants' house, but in reality it's a chance to show them all in states of undress as frequently as possible to galvanise the teenage girl (/paedophile) vote. We see Zain in his boxers for no apparent reason, then Louis lifting his t-shirt up in the background. Then there's Harry in his pants doing laundry, with about twenty socks stuffed down the front of his boxers. When they finally manage to all dress themselves, they go off to see "Uncle Simon" *shudder* and he gives them a song for this week that he thinks they could have a hit with. Harry says what so many other contestants have said tonight: they don't want to come fourth or fifth, they want to win. Cheryl smirks that "Simon has literally got one direction. One." Oh fuck off, you self-satisfied bint. I don't even like Simon, but Cheryl's grandstanding in this episode is really getting on my tits. Liam says that Simon's worked so hard for them (Belle Amie, sitting at home crying into a big box of Maltesers: "Yeah, tell us about it.") and they want to repay him. Fortunately this does not segue into Simon saying "oh, I'm sure I can find a way for you to repay me..." and the bam-chicka-wah-wah music playing.

They're singing 'Kids In America', as sung by Kim Wilde (from Chiswick), written by her father and brother (probably in Chiswick), and which reached the lofty heights of No.25 in America. Sigh. The verse lines are split between Liam, Louis and Niall, and then Zain gets to do the bridge, completely flat as usual. Never change, Zain! Someone really needs to teach this lot the art of "looking busy when someone else is singing" too, as they have a tendency just to shuffle a bit aimlessly when they haven't got anything else to do. Oh, and the offstage backing singers do the lion's share of the work in the chorus, as always. They finish, and there's lots of hugging.

Louis (the judge, not the member of Wan Direction who looks like a tiny Nicholas Hoult) thinks it was a great way to end the show, and says that they remind him of a young Take That or Westlife (he actually does say that this time, I'm not making it up). [And Boyzone! Don't forget Boyzone! - Carrie] Then he fishes out the rule book and raises the objections that I listed above. Dannii and the Pacific Bow-cean, having correctly grasped how meaningless the themes are on this series, point out that the song title had "America" in it and there were some American-looking cheerleaders behind them. Good old Dannii, the voice of sense as always. She thinks it was a great performance, though it wasn't the best of the night vocally. Cheryl thinks it cheered her up and brightened up her night. She loves chatting to them backstage, and they're nice lads. Simon says that when they came out, it was like sunshine on a beautiful day, and then "Louis the thundercloud comes along and dribbles on everything." I don't think we need to hear about Louis dribbling all over Wan Direction thanks, Simon. Simon thinks it was their best performance by a mile. Dermot, trying to hustle things along, says that they have to be happy with that, and wafts the microphone somewhere vaguely between Niall and Harry, with the outcome being that neither one is quite sure who he's talking to. Harry eventually says that they're happy to be here and they're glad people are voting for them.

The lines are open, and Dermot reads out all of the voting numbers. Quick visual recap: Cher singing about New York some time last week, Tesco Mary possibly in danger for the first time following a fairly disastrous performance, Kooky Monster trying to channel Gwen Stefani and ending up with Spagna, Aiden surviving an entire song without killing anyone yet again, Paije being youthful in the swinging sixties, Rebeccazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, Wagner Las Vegas, Lazy Decorator lazily revisiting a song he's already done, Treyc licking but not biting, and Wan Direction being the kids in Wembley Park.

Dermot reminds us that another act will leave the competition tomorrow, and the celeb guests will be Shayne Ward and Kylie. Join us soon for the results!


Fiz said...

The show wound on for ever, but who cares? I love you, Steve, forever. I now have an aching face and ribs from laughing so much! Thank you!

Sam said...

Watching the results show now...

I think I just did a bit of sick in my mouth when Dermot kissed Kylie's hand

Hellraiser said...

Absolutely adore your reviews Steve. La Cage aux Folles??? Really??? And Dannii's bow: CLASSIC!

StuckInABook said...

Oh this is so funny... don't tell the others, but you're my favourite recapper... EVEN when you're mean about Lovely Rebecca. (It does seem odd to me when people just call her Rebecca; I only ever refer to her as Lovely Rebecca, leading me to forget that her name is simply Rebecca).

Simon's lion line was the oddest thing he's said yet... and nobody questioned it. Odd.

Oh, and LOVE your bow jokes. You should be proud. Take a bow, etc. etc.

StuckInABook said...

p.s. what's wrong with 'eulogies'? Doesn't it just mean praise of someone? I know it's usually dead people, but it doesn't have to be... did I miss something?

Sasha said...

These reviews always leave me giggling, even though YOU DON'T LIKE REBECCA OMG!1111!!!!!1!

Keep doing what you're doing!

Arbee said...

Hilarious as usual!

Cher didn't even write that 'Tiger Woods...gotta get that Oprah!' rap. It was from Swizz Beats' song 'That Oprah!'

Anonymous said...

this deserves more than 7 comments. so here's no.8