Tx: 4th December 2010
Hello there, children, and welcome to the latest instalment of Cloth-Eared Idiots Do The Funniest Things! We have a pre-titles montage that reminds us how absolutely wonderful Rebecca is because everyone in the country loves her, that Lazy DECORATOR is a lazy tosspot who needs to be taken into the street and kicked, that Tesco Mary doesn't want to work in Tesco, that Cher is a rancid little cow, and that One Direction are the most anonymous boyband ever. So these are our contestants, and this is TIME TO FACE THE MUSIC.
Let's get on with it, shall we? Oh, it's so late for 'shall we'...
Here is Dermot, who leaps on to the stage. He is once more in a three-piece suit and a tie that looks stupidly short because it's tucked in to his waistcoat. He predicts "murder on the dancefloor" (albeit not "literally" this year) as he introduces the judges. Dannii looks beautiful in an ecru gown with some kind of stole on her left shoulder; Louis is wearing a linen suit like some kind of raffish expatriate; Cheryl is wearing some origami; and Simon's chest is even hairier than usual. How?
Rebecca is first to sing. We see her screeching in the corridor and talking to Nicole Scherzinger last week and nodding vociferously when she tells her she was flawless. This week she went to a premiere and met Liam Neeson (who politely says hello and then gets on with his evening, which is spun out into a good 20 seconds of VT) and Boris Becker and his wife, whose name they can't even be arsed to find out for captioning purposes. Cheryl promises us that Rebecca's performance will get us up and dancing this week. Yes, but will it get REBECCA up and dancing? This is surely the question.
Ooh, too much echo, and lots of mewling as Rebecca sings Show Me Love and walks in a straight line as the cast of Men In Black: The Musical dance around her. It's very dull and quite rubbish [If this is a song Rebecca and her mates love to "dance" to, then I suspect she's older than she claims - Rad]. Cheryl looks around expectantly. Louis, of course, loved it because Rebecca has shown she can do EVERYTHING; Dannii loved it; Simon thinks it was cool with her vocals "on the money". Oh, come on, seriously? Cheryl gurns to the audience, who cheer like the fools they are. Rebecca tells Dermot she wanted to enjoy herself. So why did she look so entirely bored with her own performance? She assures us that she has other sides to her - "I can do fast songs as well!"
Ooh free Nokia apps! Get them! And then Louis introduces Mary, who was dreadful last week because all she can do is BELT and not even do that in tune. She VTs about singing with all the passion that God gave her in the sing-off last week, though frankly she needn't have bothered because she was never going to go in favour of Wagner. Louis tells her, "I can only do so much!" Ain't THAT the truth? Dannii wants Mary to get her disco shoes on. We see NotLouis walking her through what seems to be a densely-populated dance routine. This should be fun.
Mary sits on a big glittery chair while dancers shield her from view, and she starts to bellow Never Can Say Goodbye in something not really resembling the right key. And apparently her disco shoes are black ones that don't encourage any dancing, because she stands at the front of the stage SHOUTING AT US while about 40 dancers mill round behind her. Although she does wheel out some fabulous "Ooh!" noises, and then gets a bar out, despite the backing vocals being so heavily over-produced that she really should be able to hear what she should be doing.
Dannii lies that Mary has got her mojo back; Cheryl loves to see Mary out of her comfort zone and admires NotLouis's work on the visuals; Simon suspects the staging wasn't NotLouis's idea, but instead a scene lifted from Louis's bedroom, and then everyone gets in a big fight about who likes Gloria Gaynor and who does not. Simon then says that Mary should have done something more contemporary, and Louis whines about Mary being sick, and Simon demands to know how that affects the song choice. Dermot calls them the "two tantrum boys" and Mary reminds us that she has been ill this week. Got that?
You guys? LAZY DECORATOR IS ALSO ILL. Dannii says that he has "got worse". Very, very true. Lazy says he is used to working his voice hard, even if he's never worked hard in any other situation. Lazy's mum sad-VTs about how dreadful it would be to have everything taken away from him because of something as stupid as a sore throat. Man up, Lazy! [Let's be honest, Lazy's mum and dad are just dying for him to win this so he can stop mooching off them - Rad] [If that's the case, I suspect they're going to be sorely disappointed in about 12 months' time. - Steve]
Lazy is singing You Got The Love, complete with falsetto sections, gulped breathing and a guitar that doesn't seem to be plugged in and yet still magically keeps playing even when he's not playing it. A million people flood on to the stage to clap their hands above their heads (apparently NotLouis's inspiration ran out when he got to this routine) and a gospel backing choir kicks in from NOWHERE.
Louis says he knows that Lazy was sick. How did he know that? It's not as if it had been MENTIONED. He also says that boys and girls all like Lazy. Cheryl says, "Sometimes as an artist you're going to get sick." [I heard it plays havoc with your miming. - Steve] Or, you know, sometimes AS A HUMAN BEING you're going to get sick. Simon says, "Forget about the fact you had flu or whatever. Nobody cares." Word, Simon, for only about the second time this series. He then says, "You can see through that," but fails to add, "FOR THE OUTRAGEOUS SYMPATHY-GRABBING PLOY IT IS." He then tells us all about the cold he has had this week, and says that Lazy is a sincere, cool guy. Simon Cowell there, folks, telling us about who has acceptable levels of sincerity and who does not. Dannii, of course, thought Lazy was great. Dermot takes the piss out of Simon and asks him about his cold, wailing, "It's not Matt's fault he's got a cold!" Shut UP, Dermot. Lazy doesn't say anything. This is because he has a sore throat. Just in case you forgot.
Ooh, buy X Factor tour tickets! Or alternatively hit yourself in the face multiple times! Cher talks about the first day of auditions when...she was actually significantly thinner than she is now. That's a bit scary. Cher whines about wanting to do The X Factor for her mum, not for her own desperate wish for fame, and then talks about how she's not really a cocky little cow, but that's how she performs. What the fuck ever, Cher. She then whinnies on some more about having a dream. You've got to have a dream, guys. Else how you gonna have a dream come true? I wish someone would sing songs from South Pacific in this show. Or maybe Miss Saigon. Or La Cage Aux Folles. They both had clubs in them.
Instead, Cher sings Nothin' On You, really badly, but her hair does look beautiful, so there's that at least. And there is a triangle made of fluorescent lights. And Cheryl pulls an epic face that makes her look like a pig. Louis loves it all, of course, because he's an idiot. Dannii talks about Cher's "incredible journey" but doesn't think that song showcased her vocals well. Simon mentions "the disaster of the Beatles week" and gets daggers from Cheryl for his trouble. Cheryl then jabbers on about Cher being a 17-year-old girl with a dream, the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe. Fuck off, all of you.
One Direction next. They talk about how excited they are to be in the semi-final. They too have been to the Narnia premiere this week, and met Joe McElderry, who's adorably camp in his little gloves. [I like to think that had we been able to hear Joe McElderry's advice to them, it would've amount to "RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN". - Steve] One Direction moan about not having a mentor this week because he has got a cold, just in case you hadn't heard that, and then they make him a get well soon card. Suck-ups. Cheryl then tries to be their mentor for the week: "Anything you need, I'm here for you." One Direction then talk about how they may get distracted on stage because of all the hot girls dancing around them, just in case you thought they were gay.
Oh, amazing, Zain gets to sing! Again, he gets five notes and manages some of them nearly in tune! They're singing [a really madly gender-changed version of - Rad] Only Girl (In The World), and the number of invisible backing singers they have this week is truly hilarious. It's a really dull performance, but brainless teenage girls scream anyway. They scream so much we can't hear what Louis says, so that's one bonus. Dannii lies that the boys have "stepped it up for semi-finals". Cheryl thinks they were too current, or something. So there's a fine line to tread between "too current" and "not contemporary", mark you. Simon accuses her of being tactical, and then says "current" about a millilon times in the space of ten seconds. The boys tell Dermot how wonderful Simon is (KISS-ASSES) and Dermot quite rightly points out that Simon has been in bed with manflu.
Right, that's the first half of the show over with. So the phonelines open, and we have to sit through a recap of what each contestant has done so far, even though they also have another song to sing.
The second lot of songs are basically chosen according to our favourite theme "songs to get you into the final". Lazy Decorator is singing first this time round, and he talks about how great his parents are to support him even though he is a grown able-bodied man who could really get off his arse and get himself a job to support himself rather than scrounging off Mummy and Daddy in his late twenties. Anyway, he's apparently singing a really romantic song, and Dannii and Cheryl are really excited. Pfeh.
Oh, it's Always A Woman [Why no Damien Rice? I'd have thought The Blower's Daughter or Cannonball would be perfect for Lazy - Rad], sung really quite flat, amidst a cloud of dry ice. And he doesn't use any falsetto, instead opting to howl right at the top of his range and it is BAD. Oh, I know he's had a cold, so it makes it hard to pitch when you can't hear properly, but that's no excuse for shoddy technique. Still, Louis hasn't noticed, because he doesn't think Lazy has ever had a bad performance. I, meanwhile, am unsure that he's ever had a good one. Cheryl reminds us that Lazy is feeling ill. Simon says something truthful - that this has been his worst song. He goes on to clarify what he means - Lazy is not a 'safe' artist and he (Simon) doesn't like the song. Dannii accuses Simon of playing tactics, and says that they chose to go with Lazy's strengths, despite his "cold and flu" (whoa, cold AND flu? Tough cheese, Lazy Decorator). Lazy tells Dermot it was his worst performance but he doesn't know why. Because you're shit?
Mary does yet another "confidence" VT, and Louis tells us the song she is singing means a lot to her, while Dannii reminds us that Mary must believe in her soul, she's got the power to know, she's indestructibleeeeeeeeee. Spandau Ballet Week would be amazing. Tony Hadley would wipe the floor with these losers.
Oh dear me, she's singing The Way We Were. She completely misses her first three notes, and doesn't get much closer to the rest of them, before bursting into tears in the last bar, possibly at her own ineptitude rather than being moved by her performance. Seriously, I don't have the belt she does, but I can sing this better than her. Time for Tesco Mary to get back to her checkout. Or alternatively to the Cambridge Theatre. Dannii wonders why she's crying, and Mary wibbles about how much it means to her and how she hasn't sung it for 15 years. For good reason, some might argue. Cheryl congratulates her on changing her life. Simon tells Mary to stop fucking crying and get a grip: "you are a good singer!" Bloody Louis says that Mary is a role model for women. Got that, Ruthie? Mary IS OUR IDOL [Rather Mary than Cheryl - Rad]. Mary weeps some more at Dermot about her "happy tears" for someone she loved and lost [Her mum. WHO IS DEAD! I gave a little cheer for the return of the dead parents - Rad]. Dermot will brook none of this and cracks straight on to voting numbers and download information. Quite right, O'Leary! Those mp3s won't sell themselves!
Cher next. Cheryl tells us the song was done by two artists and Cher can do it by herself for her album. Whatever. Cher sneers into the camera about wanting to get the country on her side. Dannii is worried that Cher will be compared to the original, which is dangerous.
Cher is channelling Diana THE CLAW Vickers at the start of the routine, sitting on steps and looking winsome. She is singing Love The Way You Lie, by Eminem ft Rihanna, and it is actually lolarious when she suddenly starts SHOUTING THE RAP, when surely this song depends on the contrast between the two artists. Still, what do I know, I don't think any of the X Factor contestants are very talented when clearly they are all the collective saviours of pop music. Louis thought she sang well and loved the staging (which consisted just of dry ice, as far as I could see). Dannii still thinks Cher is better at singing than rapping [Not on the out of tune evidence of that screech-fest - Rad], and suggests that perhaps she could have performed a ballad. Simon thinks the risk worked, because Cher hasn't sold out, like being on the X Factor isn't selling out by definition. Cheryl then says, weirdly, that it wasn't about competing, and then talks about the competition. What? Dermot has a dig at Dannii: "What has she got to do to impress you?" She reiterates that she thinks Cher should sing a ballad, and Cher snits that ballads have been done and she wants to CHANGE THE FACE OF ENGLISH MUSIC. Oh, fuck off. [Presumably she'll cover it in two feet of make-up, if her own face is any indication. - Steve]
Then Rebecca again. She says she's wanted to sing this song for a while, because it touches everyone who hears it, and Dannii says that it is very special, while Louis thinks it is amazing, and if Rebecca does it her way (boringly and out of tune) she will be in the final. We're reminded about Rebecca's children, because we've not seen them for a few weeks. Did we mention that she's from Liverpool?
Whoa, Rebecca has an immense gospel choir, all the better to attempt to drown out her caterwauling attempt at Amazing Grace. She clearly thinks her floated head notes are really good, judging from the look on her face, but they ARE NOT. There is polite applause. Louis says Rebecca is his favourite contestant ever and wants everyone IN LIVERPOOL to VOTE FOR HER. Dannii wants to see her in the final; Simon thought it was stunning and that Rebecca is a class act. Cheryl talks about how classy Rebecca is, because Cheryl is eminently qualified to judge class. [I know I only buy music recorded by classy people who are nice behind the scenes. - Steve] Rebecca dullterviews about the comments to Dermot.
Obv, One Direction have the pimp slot. This is because they have a SAD STORY to tell us, with plinky-plonky piano music of tragedy, because Zain's grandad has died, which means that he's not in rehearsal this week. Zain, not Zain's grandad. Though obviously Zain's grandad's not there either. Poor Zain. The rest of the boys talk earnestly about how tough it is rehearsing without Zain, like he's not a massive tonedeaf hindrance [On the Xtra Factor, Konnie asked Zain how it was rehearsing without him and he was all 'why don't you ask the others, I wasn't there'. When you get owned by One Direction you need to consider your career choices - Rad].
They're singing Chasing Cars. Did Asbestos Andy sing this? Upside down or something? Anyway, it's very dull, although they do attempt some harmonies, which is progress. And of course there's a pointless key change. They all cuddle. Louis lists their names to show us that he knows them. Well done, Louis. "You're the next big boy band - I said that last week," he says. Well, you also said it about 40 minutes ago as well, but don't let that stop you repeating yourself ad infintum, Walsh. Dannii says they are the best group ever on The X Factor, despite the fact that they are neither as good as JLS nor Same Difference [they're not even as good as 2ToGo. Where's the blind one? - Rad]. Cheryl says they deserve a place in the final because they coped without Simon and Zain this week, or something. Simon says that the boys decided to get in early this morning to rehearse "and that's what it's all about - not about excuses." Yeah, Lazy DECORATOR.
So lines are now open! One of these acts will be going home tomorrow! But who will it be? Join us then to find out!