Monday, December 13, 2010

A Christmas Cardle

Final, part 2: TX 12th December 2010

So here we are again. It seems like only yesterday that Wan Direction were mere children, and...oh, wait, that was yesterday. But still! It's the "grand" final, which won't actually feel all that grand, but will somehow feel bloated and overlong and kind of not really fun at all and ultimately even less impressive than last year's final, which in turn was only good because of the Alexandra/JLS duet, which was a small isolated puddle of actual-quite-good-ness in a sea of tedious mediocrity. Just to give you some indication of how no-one on this show seems to care about the actual result any more. Still, they manage to stretch all that not caring out for two hours, so we'd best get on.

Last night! This hot fucking mess right here. In a VT that Peter Dickson clearly recorded before that show actually happened, he voices over that the finalists gave the "performances of their lives". Give over - Lazy Decorator sounded like he was performing from his deathbed, and Rebecca barely even remembered to turn up for her duet. And the less said about Wan Direction the better. Seriously, it's a sad state of affairs when Cher probably gave the best performances of the night - not that it saved her, of course, because the show finally realised it could prop her up no longer and she went back to the mean streets of Malvern. Now, after weeks of "fierce competition", just three acts remain. To everyone's shock and surprise, they are Rebecca, Lazy Decorator and Wan Direction, which also just happens to be the trio that were "tipped for the final" (/engineered to get here by hook or by crook) from the very beginning. Tonight, someone wins! Unless they implement that "none of the above" voting option I keep pushing for. So Wan Direction are batting for Simon, and Harry intones gravely that winning will change their lives forever. Especially Tiny Nicholas Hoult, who will have to live out the rest of his days as a functioning mute. Lazy Decorator is still in for Dannii, and he wants to win. And Rebecca is still honking away merrily on Cheryl's behalf, though Cheryl clearly doesn't give a rat's ass now that her mini-me has exited. It's time! To face! The welcome prospect of getting your life back!

Dermot strides into the studio, in a tuxedo, bless him, which appears to have snakeskin lapels. It's a fashion choice, I suppose. Still, I don't really advise wearing a bow-tie to this show, lest someone mistake you for Louis Walsh. [Poor Dermot. Trying to engender a sense of occasion for this pile o'shite. - Carrie] He's once again greeted by the world's most pathetic firework display, and blathers a bit about how the judges were a gang of bitchy little children again this series, "but we wouldn't want them any other way" (speak for yourself), and welcomes them to the show. Dannii's wearing a long off-white gown covered in sequins, Louis is sporting another dickie box, Cheryl has ditched last night's Kirstie Allsopp-inspired hairdo for a strange Princess Leia one, and a dress with a neckline that suggests a giant X across her tits (subtle!), and indulges in that stupid salute-off with Simon for hopefully the last time ever.

Dermot reminds us that the lines are still open, and that all the votes that were cast last night still count. He claims that we've got "three great finalists to choose from" and tells us we're going to see them one more time, already sounding as bored as I am by the whole prospect. He turns to Simon to ask what the acts have to deliver tonight to ensure that they win. Simon: "They've just got to sing better than the others, Dermot." Ah, so this is suddenly A SINGING CONTEST once again. I get so confused.

Blerg. They're singing 'Never Forget', though I think they're missing a trick by not getting Lazy Decorator to falsetto through the pre-pubescent choir bit at the beginning. Wan Direction come on first, and not only fail at harmonising, they also fail at singing the same words at the same time. Good job, lads! *golf clap* Then Rebecca comes in, screeching something that does not appear to resemble the words to this song, and finally Lazy Decorator arrives, still sounding rather ill, and squeaking off his falsetto as a result. It's a bit of a shambles - you could be forgiven for tuning in at this point and thinking it was the Obligatory Parade Of Losers. Then suddenly OMIGOD IT'S TAKE THAT, THIS IS TOTALLY UNEXPECTED. Seriously, how much bloody Take That must I be subjected to recapping this weekend? Also, apparently Howard sings lead vocals on this song, which I'd never realised before but someone on Twitter assures me has always been the case. The more you know, I guess. The finalists, who've been bobbing around aimlessly throughout the second verse, suddenly come in again for the chorus, except they can't actually be heard, since their mics all appear to have been given the Tiny Nicholas Hoult treatment. They all get lost in the clapping too, and there are several shots of Wan Direction (particularly the Zainwreck) staring at each other all "which bit is this again?"

After that, we get another recap of last night's performances (filler? On this show? Perish the thought!) The extra footage does at least credit Lazy Director with some level of self-awareness, as he confesses that he'll "need to do better than that" [his first performance] next time. I mean, his second performance was still a car-crash but hey, he still has a better sense of performance reflection than about 95% of people who've ever been on this show. There's more footage of the judges walking down that damned corridor chatting to the cameras, and I find myself hoping that someone's left a trapdoor open for Cheryl to fall down, but to no avail. Dannii's impressed with the notes that Lazy hits, Simon thought he was terrific, and Cheryl thinks it's great to watch people "almost achieve their dreams." Worrabitch. Rebecca's just happy and grateful to be here. Louis feels passionate about her. Simon thinks she's just sneaked ahead. After Wan Direction's performance, Tiny Nicholas Hoult thinks they're one step closer to winning, while Louis (Walsh, not Tiny Nicholas Hoult) thinks they could be the new Beatles/Take That/Westlife. It saddens me so much that he mentions Westlife in the same breath as the Beatles, and I don't even like the Beatles. "How big are these guys going to be?" wonders Cheryl. "It's mindblowing." Well, probably another inch or two before puberty's done with them, by my reckoning. Simon's nervous for them. Lazy thinks that singing with Rihanna was "the best moment of my life - again", while Cheryl giggles that he almost had a heart attack then. Rebecca enjoyed the three or so words she sang with Xtina, but confesses to being "really starstruck" and having basically forgotten what to do in that situation, so she just stood there like a goon instead. Star quality! Dannii thinks it was obvious she was nervous. Louis, without a shred of irony: "it was beautiful, in every way". Cheryl tries to summon up some tears (presumably using Cher's elimination as her motivation), and Rebecca says that a change has come and now she believes in herself. Let's see if it inspires her to move! Robbie Williams claims to have had "so much fun" with One Direction (presumably after he gave them some of his "special medicine"). Simon declares it a "magic moment", and Harry says that they want to be the first group to win. Louis thinks absolutely anyone can win. Simon thinks it's too hard to call. Yada yada.

Time for an ad break, even though nothing's actually happened yet. Oh X Factor. Never change.

When we return, it's time for Lazy Decorator's first performance of tonight's show. His pre-performance VT reminds us of what he did last night EVEN THOUGH WE LITERALLY JUST SAW ALL OF THIS BEFORE THE ADS, JESUS CHRIST SHOW, DO YOU THINK WE ARE ALL DRIBBLING IDIOTS? Lazy cannot believe he's in the final, and Dannii thinks he's been plugging away for "about 17 years" (she may be rounding up to the nearest 17 there). Lazy talks about how he's "dedicated his life to [this]", even though he told us that he was BASICALLY A BUM at his audition, and Dannii thinks he's destined to be a star. Lazy is so close to the victory, and wants to get it.

He's singing Katy Perry's 'Firework' for reasons best known to Dannii and Lazy, but the most important thing about this performance, which I must ensure you are all aware of, is that Lazy is wearing yellow trousers. Why? No idea. It is never explained. Does anyone ever wear yellow trousers of their own free will? [I assumed it was a blatant attempt to curry our favour given we love Yellow JLS so much. On the subject of JLS, I miss the Christmas songs. They didn't even have a bloody tree in the studio this year - Rad] Has Lazy somehow angered Grace Woodward to the point where she'd send him out dressed like this in an act of spiteful revenge? Your guess is as good as mine. [Um, according to a popular gossip website, Ms Woodward has ALSO been sick with a sore throat this week. How did she get that? - Carrie] Anyway, it's Lazy singing another song originally sung by a woman just to prove how TOTALLY AWESOME AND GROUNDBREAKING he is. I am disappointed that he doesn't have rockets shooting out of his tits like Katy Perry does in the video. I guess he's not that groundbreaking. As has been the case this weekend and last, he really struggles with the high notes, and I suspect that if he continues to force his voice like that, he's not going to have much of a voice left in about six months' time. Also, I never realised this before because I try to pay as little attention to Katy Perry as possible in the hope that she might get the message and fuck off, but the lyrics to this song appear to be "make 'em go oh-oh-oh/As you shoot across the sky-y-y." I know Katy Perry's a bit of a fucking moron at the best of times, but come on - that's not even trying to rhyme. [He was still better than Katy Perry though - Rad]

Afterwards, Louis tells Lazy that he's in the final. Just in case he hasn't noticed. He continues, "you've paid your dues, you've played all those small gigs." SMALL GIGS, OH NOES, SUCH HUMILIATION. You'll note that I am not especially convinced by this "he's worked so hard to get here" argument the show has suddenly latched onto. He also cites these mythical "17 years" that Lazy's been striving so hard to get into the music business, which would mean he has been paying these aforementioned dues since he was about ten. I remain unconvinced. Cheryl thinks Lazy has been consistent throughout and it would be "lovely" to see him win. Simon is confused about the trousers, but thought it was fantastic. He thinks Lazy sounded better tonight than he did yesterday, not that that would be difficult. Dannii says that whatever people say about him being given too many girls' songs, she dares any other guy to tackle them all. And not to blow my own trumpet here, but I could probably do it. I mean, I'm not exactly Maria Callas but most of my karaoke staples were originally sung by female vocalists, and I kick ass at several of them, even if I do say so myself. It's not that unheard of, anyway. Also, Dannii, just because he can do these songs doesn't mean he should. Lazy jokes to Dermot that the trousers are his dad's, and continues with the usual fairly boring stuff about feeling honoured and lucky not to have been sent packing yet.

Now we get to the actual good part of the show: over to Colchester to see what Lazy's hometown made of the performance, courtesy of the amazing Stacey Solomon. We can actually see her properly tonight, something which excites Stacey greatly. Stacey meets a mad woman who has made Lazy's face into a pizza. It sort of looks like Lazy, but then it also sort of looks like Olly Murs, so I'm guessing you can just make a generically male face out of pizza topping and people won't ask you too many questions. Stacey: "It is the most beautiful pizza I've ever seen, I can't wait for a slice!" [TV moment of the year - Rad] She pauses for breath like once in this entire segment, by the way. She's amazing. Can Stacey host The Xtra Factor next year please? Stacey then crosses to talk to Lazy's "old landlord", momentarily confusing me because as we all know, Lazy has been sponging off his long-suffering parents for years, but it turns out this is the landlord of Lazy's local tavern. Dermot cackles that he's glad Stacey "sings better than she talks". He's such a fucking snob. Stacey's doing a much better job of live television than Dermot's done on several occasions, so he can fuck right off.

More ads. Yay? [It's better than the singing. - Carrie]

When we get back, it's back to Simon and Wan Direction. VT for amnesiacs. Liam interviews that they're excited to be in the final. Simon thinks they deserve to win. Liam recalls how odd it was that they were initially rejected only to come back as a Frankenband. In my favourite, and perhaps the most honest interview, Simon says "it's not like it would change my life, but it would change theirs." Harry agrees with this, and says that they're all ready for their lives to change.

As predicted, they're singing 'Torn', with Liam on lead vocals. Tiny Nicholas Hoult joins in enthusiastically with the "ooh"s, despite his microphone being switched off as always. Poor Tiny Nicholas Hoult. He's my favourite, because I think we all know how it feels to have our microphones switched off in life every now and then. Or permanently, in his case. Harry comes in and mangles the lyrics ("there's nothing left, I used to cry" instead of "there's nothing where (s)he used to lie", unless this is some pathetic attempt at bowdlerising a not-really-dirty lyric) and proceeds to make GRR ANGY FACES just to prove how totally legit they all are as musicians, and then all the offstage backing singers come in for the chorus, and just to make my night, there's even a Zainwreck echo. Then they all start clapping to the beat, except they can't clap in time with each other or indeed the backing track. Finally, they all feel each other up a bit at the end, much to the delight of the fangirls.

Louis tells them they're in the final. Seriously, does he think all the acts have recently sustained serious blows to the head? I mean, I know we all expected Cher to take her elimination poorly, but even she wouldn't go that far. He thinks they've got brilliant chemistry, and he loves the harmonies that someone else did for them. Dannii thinks they've done all the right things, and whatever happens, Simon's totally going to sign them because he smells money. Cheryl really believes that they've got a massive future ahead of them. Simon says that it's a competition, and he thinks that "based on the future of something we haven't seen before" (what?) he wants them to win it. Dermot asks them what it's like to be here for the finals (he's already done it three times, surely he should know by now?) and Tiny Nicholas Hoult bleats that it was great to reprise the first song they ever sang together.

We go over to Doncaster, the designated home of the Frankenband, where poor Michelle Keegan is getting trampled by Wan Direction fans. Michelle is with Tiny Nicholas Hoult's best friend, and says "we know that [Tiny Nicholas Hoult] can sing" -- we do? -- "but why is he such a great mate?" Tiny Nicholas Hoult's friend mumbles something. Some women have brought buns for Harry, because he used to work in a bakery. Dermot declares this "unequivocal proof that Doncaster loves Wan Direction". I'm not sure that VT was an entirely unbiased source.

Next, Cheryl's introducing Rebecca as "a girl we've all taken to our hearts as a nation", with a very weird sarcastic intonation. Seriously, why does everyone sound so bored tonight? I mean, apart from the fact that this is a really dull show. I'm sure you're being paid enough to at least pretend that you care, Cheryl. After the entirely pointless recap, Cheryl interviews that Rebecca would never say outright that she wants to win (no, indeed, that'd be far too interesting) so she's going to do it for her. Rebecca interviews that it would mean her kids will have a nice Christmas. Yeah, I'm sure it'll be awesome for your kids if you were to win this show and suddenly have a tiring promotional schedule that would constantly take you away from home and make you travel all over the country. I'm not falling for that one, Mother Goose. Cheryl says that this is Rebecca's time to shine.

Rebecca honks her way through 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)', wavering uncertainly over most of the notes until the stomping disco beat kicks in and Rebecca...remains rooted to the spot. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST. I'm not asking for much here, woman. A little bit of stagecraft, that's all. You can make her turn between the cameras all you want, studio director - we would like her to actually move around, please. A popstar really ought to be able to move around. THE POOR BOY WHO WAS BLIND from 2 To Go moved around the stage more than Rebecca does. Vocally, it's all right, but I'm no more convinced by Rebecca the disco diva than I am by Rebecca the smokey jazz mistress - both of them need to lose that annoying inflection and learn to enunciate their damn words properly. I didn't take this shit from Diana Vickers, and I'm not taking it from her.

Louis thinks Rebecca is the best role model that Liverpool has ever had, and thinks she's "living proof that nice people can do well in the music business". Tell that to Joe McElderry. Dannii thinks Rebecca has connected with her inner diva, and it's fantastic to see her in the final. Simon says "that's what you call pulling the rabbit out of the hat." Why has he turned into Miranda's mum all of a sudden? He thinks it's a great song choice and a stunning performance. Well, I was left stunned by it. Comatose, to be precise. Cheryl: "I've been trying for weeks now to find out a way to give you the right words, or something to give you that confidence that was taken away from you or whatever, but to be totally honest Cher and Katie were here and they were my number one priorities, and you were kind of third on the list, and by the time I'd dealt with them and filmed my L'Oreal commercials and flown to LA to play Derek Hough's facial hair for a bit longer and phoned The Sun to leak some more stories about how Nadine's totally the bitch preventing the Girls Aloud reunion and it's really not me at all, I really didn't have that much time left to do anything about it, but you got there by yourself in the end, so howay for that." Louis beseeches Dermot for more time, and Dermot's all "fuck off, she's not even your act, you mentalist", but Louis gets his way and pronounces that Rebecca could sell more records internationally than any other artist in the competition. Don't get carried away, Louis - they have actual jazz singers in other countries, so people internationally might well spot Rebecca for the second-rater that she is. Rebecca: "Ehhhhm, that's nice." We throw to Coleen Rooney in Liverpool, who says "that's what we call The X Factor", so it appears that Miranda's Mum Disease has reached pandemic stage. Such fun! Coleen speaks to the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, who calls her a role model. Blerg. Then Rebecca's cousins are allowed to speak, one of whom is very young and sounds like she's on helium, bless her. Coleen ends by telling Rebecca she wants to see her in the final two. Just the final two, mind. Not winning or anything like that. Clearly they don't like people to get above themselves in Merseyside. Dermot asks Rebecca if she's met the Mayor before. Rebecca giggles that she has, because the Mayor presented her with an award. But for what? Sadly, we are never told. [One would think a professional television presenter might have had the nous to ask that question. - Carrie]

Dermot tells us that the lines will be frozen very soon, and one act will be kicked out. What's that, you say? Time for another recap? Sure, it's been at least six minutes since the last one, so let's go. None of them improve with repeated listens, by the way. Lazy Decorator vs Rihanna remains particularly painful. Actually, Rebecca's 'Like A Star' sounds even worse once the novelty of her being slowly rotated like a rotisserie chicken on a giant cotton wool spool has worn off.

Oh, sweet Moses. It's time for the annual Parade Of Losers. I've been dreading this bit. [I swear this was absent last year. - Rad] The preliminary VT features Michael the bad Michael Jackson impersonator, Chloe Maffia, G&S, the weird Sharon Osbourne lookalike whose husband left her, Jahm, Ablisa, amongst many others. Footage of them is soundtracked by Cee-Lo Green's 'Forget You', like, chance would be a fine thing. Right, let's get this experience which demeans all of us over with. They return to sing 'Bad Romance', starting with Ablisa, then G&S, then Michael, a heavily-accented woman I don't recognise and I'm buggered if I'm trawling through six episodes' worth of audition recaps looking for her, mad Sharon Osbourne lookalike (who misses her cue and fluffs her words), Temple Fire (who can't sing in time or in harmony, but hey, it never stopped Wan Direction), and Jahm (who appear to have lost the bloke somewhere on the way to the studio). This is meant to be HILARIOUS, obviously, but it isn't really, because (a) this sort of thing stopped being funny after the first thousand times, (b) this is probably what the group sings would sound like if they weren't lip-synced, and (c) this is what Lazy Decorator's duet with Rihanna sounded like, and he's being presented to us as a credible artist. Good job trampling all over your own point there, show. One of Ablisa completely loses interest halfway through the chorus and just stands there idly rubbing her finger over her lip in a bored sort of way. More losers turn up. Chloe descends from the ceiling on a giant pair of glittery lips, and I'd love to say she sings all the real contestants off the stage in a triumphant revenge victory for herself and Kandy Rain and everyone else who ever got called a whore by this show, but unfortunately she biffs it big time by attempting an Xtina-style riff and failing miserably. All the way through, Cheryl's got this look on her face, like "yeah, you criticised me for miming, but I look PRETTY SMART NOW, don't I?" Simon and Cheryl trade unfunnies about signing the losers, amusing no one but themselves. Exeunt losers. The lines are now FROZEN. Ooh, someone's going home - after the break, naturally.

Following that, Dermot welcomes us back to the exciting (not) and tense (not) final. The finalists and their respective judges (you mean mentors, Dermot, surely?) return to the stage. In no particular order (natch), the first act through is Lazy Decorator. "Get in!" screams Lazy, suddenly not struggling with his voice in a manner eerily similar to the great Diana Vickers Toffee Apple Scandal Of 2008. Dannii's fairly thrilled as well. The second act through is...Rebecca. So sadly the power of nice hair and woobie eyes only extends so far, and Wan Direction are going back to their various homes, which are not all in Doncaster, despite the videos. Tiny Nicholas Hoult looks like his heart just broke, and indeed the rest of them all look like they've just found out the truth about Santa. Rebecca looks like she's going to toss her cookies. The boys troop miserably across to congratulate Rebecca, with Zainwreck lagging behind, wiping a tear from his cheek (Jesus Christ, this is actually starting to sound like slash fiction now) and Dermot beckons them back over to centre stage. We review their time on the show, including all five of their auditions (Tiny Nicholas Hoult's has no audio accompaniment, of course), and that time they met Emma Watson and she cared who they were for about thirty seconds. Back in the studio, Dermot asks them what the highlights have been, and Tiny Nicholas Hoult says that it's been incredible, and they've done their best. Zainwreck promises that they're staying together and (wait for it) This Isn't The Last Of Wan Direction. Simon says he's gutted for them, but thanks everyone who's voted for them and swears this is just the beginning for them. And then Wan Direction troop dejectedly offstage to go and make each other feel better with a bit of special touching (shit, there's that slash fiction again).

Dermot welcomes back Lazy and Rebecca, who literally only just went away. This is the most Rebecca has moved all series. I'm surprised she doesn't need a cup of tea and a nice sit down. Dermot reopens the lines and reminds us that all of our previous votes for both of them still count.

MOAR ADVERTISING.

When we return, it's time for the last competitive performances from Lazy and Rebecca, who'll both be performing their own individual winners' singles, chosen especially for them (/picked out of a hat by the work experience kid in exchange for an Associate Producer credit). Dannii introduces Lazy again: "He's singing from his heart, this is especially for you, it's [Lazy Decorator]." It would've been so awesome if he actually were singing 'Especially For You'. He'd be Kylie, obviously. No, as we've all found out off the internet by now, his winning single is 'Many Of Horror' by Biffy Clyro. He growls the low notes rather inelegantly, and quite a few of his high notes are entirely unsupported. The chorus also includes the line "when you hit me, hit me hard", which is asking for trouble, especially if he sings it at a book signing. Just ask Leona. He bottles out of some of the high notes in the middle eight, Robbie-style, and approaches the obligatory key change from entirely the wrong direction. He goes for a final high note, which comes out completely strangulated and off-key. Why do I get the feeling we're about to crown our very own Lee Dewyze here?

Louis blathers that Lazy "sang every word like you meant it" and he's looking forward to hearing his album, because it will be "contemporary". Well, yes, in that everything is contemporary when it is first released. Cheryl echoes that he sang that from the heart and thinks it was his best performance from throughout the series. Simon thinks both finalists deserve to have made it this far, and he agrees that this was Lazy's best performance of the series. So either the bullshit machine's on overdrive or everyone's just too drunk to care by this point. Dannii thinks they're looking at a true star. Dermot asks him how it felt to perform his potential winner's single, and Lazy calls him "bro" and says he's lucky to be there, and he's "feeling it for 1D" (pervert) and he's really happy for Rebecca. Dermot jokes about Lazy's "paint-splattered hands" from when they first met him, which is IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED by a clip of his audition when he said that he was "a painter by trade every now and again FROM TIME TO TIME, but I'm A BIT OF A BUM IF I'M HONEST." (Emphasis mine.) So much for "he's worked so hard to get here", eh? We see him caterwauling his way through various lady songs, wearing that idiotic fucking hat, kissing Helena Cardboard Box, wearing a vest, and being much shorter than Rihanna. Lazy tells Dermot that being here now is his highlight of the series, and Dermot introduces another filler VT, in which people such as Lazy's parents, brothers, and friends tell him how awesome he is, framed with white backgrounds like the recently deceased. Dermot throws to Dannii, who calls Lazy "a true gentleman" and "a nice guy", and not being funny, but those are the sort of phrases that are usually followed by a "but" when you're dumping someone, aren't they? From there, we go to Amazing Stace in Colchester, talking to the cheerleaders from the University of Essex (nah, that joke's too easy) and the Mayor of Colchester. Seriously, it's Mayor overload tonight.

Over to Cheryl and Rebecca. Rebecca's winner's single is 'Distant Dreamer', originally by Duffy, although if they were going down that road, they should've just given Rebecca WEH WEH WEH and had done with it, as she could've honked her way through that and not sounded out of place at all. This song is kind of tedious and doesn't really go anywhere (I know! A Duffy song!) and Rebecca's habit of marblemouthing the words is even less fun when you're not already familiar with the lyrics. Still, at least she's embracing choreography for the first time in her li--oh, why bother with the lie, she's stood stock-still as per fucking usual. She's quite noticeably sharp throughout a lot of it, and it really doesn't make for pleasant listening. I'm almost starting to miss Wan Direction at this point. Hell, I'm starting to miss KATIE, that's how dire things have become.

Louis says that this is his last chance to beg people in Liverpool to vote for her. He adds that they started out looking for "an original, authentic recording voice" and Rebecca's crappy Madeleine Peyroux knockoff is totally it. Dannii says it was a beautiful performance and she's so glad that Rebecca turned up to audition, and they've seen her grow through the competition, unlike Lazy, who is still tiny. Simon blathers on about how she was a shy little thing at her audition, and clearly she's LEARNT THE ART OF STAGECRAFT since then, and declares that a perfect song for her, because it was tuneless, boring and didn't go anywhere. (I may be editorialising here.) Simon claims he has no idea what's going to happen. I am so sure. Cheryl says that Rebecca has been a dream to work with, and that they've watched her blossom, and she'd like nothing more than to see Rebecca win. Rebecca cries a few boring tears and tells Dermot that she's very blessed to be here, and she feels a lot stronger as a person now. Journey VT: shit, overrated audition. Lots of honkeriffic performances. Copious mentions of LIVERPOOL. Louis losing his shit. That time where they gave her choreography which amounted to waving her arms once or twice, and that time that she forgot to duet with Xtina. Rebecca dabs her eyes with a tissue and says that the whole experience has been amazing, especially the duet that wasn't. Her loved ones get their turn at the VT FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. Cheryl calls Rebecca "a true star, inside, outside" and hopes that Rebecca is crowned the winner tonight, because otherwise she'll have to head over to America and won't be able to sell herself as a triple-winning mentor. Over to Coleen, who's talking to Rebecca's former colleagues Helen and Laura, who tell her she's a winner no matter what. Nobody in Liverpool actually thinks Rebecca can win, do they? Coleen crosses to Paul who taught Rebecca performing arts, and will therefore clearly be fired first thing on Monday, and he's very proud of her. Dermot reads the voting numbers out again, Rebecca ambles off the stage, and then there's ANOTHER FUCKING RECAP JESUS CHRIST JUST KILL ME NOW.

OH HAI, MOAR ADVERTISING. WHY YES, I WOULD LIKE MOAR CONSUMER GOODS, HERE, HAVE MY MONEYS.

Dermot welcomes us back and tells us that we are close to crowning the winner, but there's still time to get our votes in. While we're doing that, it's time for "something very special" - or alternatively, something you saw on BBC1 about two hours ago. Here, "with the title track" of their new album, it's Take That. Except it's not the title track, because the album is called Progress and this is 'The Flood'. Yes, again. No, seriously, again. I think I made my feelings about Take That perfectly clear in that last recap, and I have already heard this song enough times this weekend to last me an entire lifetime. Dermot congratulates them on being So Fucking Successful and asks them who their favourites are. Jason's all "this is where you're supposed to say 'I love them all', but I'm picking Rebecca, so ner." Fat Bob starts chanting for Wagner. Gary decides he'll be "controversial" and go for Matt. I suspect that is very much as controversial as Gary Barlow gets. [Oh, Gary Barlow. I miss the days of 'give Leona a bloody good single instead of screwing up her career like you usually do'. But then there is no Leona this year. There's not even a Diana VICKERS - Rad] And then, just like that, the lines are closed. Someone has already won, but who is it?

Competition trailer, for the last time of the year. I guess if no-one signs Rebecca, she can at least be guaranteed some work next year as the official honk that blanks out the word we're supposed to guess. Also, dear The X Factor, when trying to convince us that this year's finalists are worth bothering with, it might be an idea not to use people like Alexandra who actually had a good voice and stage presence for your competition VTs.

After our final MOAR ADVERTS of the series, it's into the very last part of the show. Hold my hand, together we can make it. Dermot tells us that we'll be hearing the results in just a minute (what, no Joe McElderry/Olly Murs duet? Swizz!), but first we go to Stacey in Colchester, who is with some people pretending to be painters and decorators, much like Lazy used to do. Stacey tells Lazy they're all voting for him like mad. Then we go over to Coleen, who wants to give us "one last good mess" and appropriately enough, sticks her microphone in the face of someone who is paying no attention whatsoever, and then when she finally speaks, Coleen whips the microphone away again mid-sentence. Who hires these people?

Dannii, Lazy, Rebecca and Cheryl are ushered back out onto the stage. The winner of The X Factor 2010 is...

...LAZY DECORATOR!

Lazy cries into his hand. Dannii squeals. Rebecca claps. Cheryl smiles outwardly while thinking FUCK YOU ALL I AM SUPPOSED TO WIN EVERY YEAR. Lazy hugs Rebecca, Dannii hugs Cheryl. Lazy is looking a little nonplussed, and Dermot hugs him for a fraction of a second too long and maybe sniffs his hair a bit (seriously, everything in this final sounds like it wants to be porn) and Cheryl reaches in awkwardly to pat Lazy on the back. Smooth, Cheryl. Dermot asks Lazy what he wants to say to the voters, and Lazy tearfully thanks all for voting, and congratulates everyone who got to this stage, because they should all be very proud of what they've achieved. And that was actually kind of nice. I mean, I'm not really a fan of his voice, but I know a gracious winner when I see one, and I appreciate that. He wants to thank all the judges, especially Dannii. There's time for a quick word and some applause for Rebecca, who is So Happy And Grateful To Have Got This Far, and then departs. Dermot is handed a copy of Lazy's CD from offstage, and Lazy is entirely the opposite of Alexandra, in that he doesn't take it even when it's thrust in his general direction. Also, he's not crying on Beyoncé. Lazy giggles that it feels weird to hold his CD. Dannii thanks everyone for voting and promises that Lazy won't let them down. [Because his previous CV totally bears out his strong work ethic. - Carrie]

Dermot asks Lazy if he has it in him to perform the single one last time. He barely had it in him to perform it the first time, Dermot. Lazy hugs Dannii again, and hooray for a Dannii win, if nothing else. Perhaps she'll have more luck with Lazy than she had with Leon. Lazy struggles his way through 'Many Of Horror' again, except apparently now it's called 'When We Collide' because that's a bit more X Factor-appropriate, and he has problems with all the same notes as he did the first time round, as well as a few new ones. That bodes well, doesn't it? As he hits the final chorus, the other finalists all flock onto the stage and he's promptly tacklehugged by Wan Direction, who seem to have cheered up a bit. [Underage drinking. Tsk. - Carrie] Various finalists including Aiden and Niall Direction proudly hold up copies of Lazy's CD, and Lazy does an ill-timed fist-pump that ends up connecting with Dannii's face. Poor Dannii. I bet Cheryl orchestrated that. Lazy loses all sense of the tune and Aiden basically starts dry-humping him and eventually Dermot comes to rescue him from the scrum and asks him what it was like performing his debut single, and Lazy hopes the next time he sings it, he'll do it better than that. Well, there's always hope, isn't there? Dannii says that she "can't even speak", but being socked in the face will do that to you. Simon blathers on about how wonderful it is that people are supporting the show, Dermot tells us to switch over to ITV2 for Matt's first interview with Konnie (and possibly Konnie's last interview with anyone, judging by how she's been received so far), Harry from Wan Direction leans over to tell him that now would be a good time to visit the cat sanctuary, and we're done.

That's it for another year, then - thanks to everyone who's read and commented on the blogs. We wouldn't, nay, couldn't do it without you. Same time next year?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Cher Waste of Time

The Final (part one)
Broadcast 11 December 2010


Previously on The X Factor! Thousands applied, and yet we still ended up with four incredibly mediocre finalists! Some people we barely remember like Nicolo, FYD, Storm and John apparently were on this show! And now only our Holy Trinity of Lazy DECORATOR, Rebecca FROM LIVERPOOL, and Harry, Zainwreck and the WOO WOO BOYS are left. Oh, and Cher, but she’s presumably only here because Cheryl would throw a strop if she didn’t have two acts in the final. We’re told to expect fireworks, but no word on whether this is literal or not. I imagine it will be. Simon lies that there will be a shock tonight. IT’S! TIME! TO! FACE! THE! MUSIC!

Dermot, in a very boring black ill-fitting suit enters, to a few literal fireworks and a gold glowing X and reminds us that this is the biggest weekend of the finalists’ lives and then cuts to the terrible hometown crowds. I’d forgotten about that bit of the finals. Matt’s supporters are in Colchester, Rebecca’s in what appears to be a TV studio in LIVERPOOL, One Direction’s “hometown” has been designated Doncaster, though we’re not told which of the band comes from there. Cher’s people are in what appears to be a cave in Malvern, possibly bottling some mineral water while they’re down there [/gross regional stereotyping].

The judges enter to Live and Let Die, Dannii looking fabulous in a red dress and up-do, Louis working all black, Cheryl wearing something that appears to be a cross between a wedding dress and a towelling bathrobe, and Simon showing off too much man rug for my liking.

Dermot says each act will perform two songs tonight and then someone will go, and unlike last week, our votes will decide, not the judges. He welcomes the final 16 back to mime to ‘What a Feeling’. Katie’s wearing a bolero made entirely of mirrorball. They have some dead dancers at their feet. Belle Amie appear to be no more of a group now than they were then. [They were amazing. They looked like they'd never met each other before. - Carrie] Aiden, Katie, Treyc, Paije, Belle Amie and Wagner all get a little bit to do before they’re dismissed for each of “our” final four. Cher does a weird rap about musical chairs, Rebecca is forced to actually walk on stage. Careful, love. Lazy sounds really rough, so maybe he isn’t miming. One Direction have some rather odd outfits on, apart from Liam who’s in a hoodie and looking mardy, as usual. The other finalists get shoved on in the background, with Storm, FYD, John, Diva Fever and Nicolo being as hard to spot as they were in the performance of ‘Heroes’. I didn’t see Mary, though I presume she was there somewhere?

Dermot declares lines open for our votes. I don’t think I’ll bother. [I haven't bothered since Alexandra BURKE. - Steve]

Dannii introduces Lazy DECORATOR as the bookies’ favourite, and I am pretty sure he won’t win, but really, will a Rebecca victory be in any way a shock given the way she’s hypnotised most of the nation during her snoozeathons into thinking she’s the best thing ever? I mean, I guess Lazy and One Direction could win, but I don’t think they will. Anyway, we see his VT of his time on the show: Hats, falsetto, being a lazy sod. He took Dannii back to Colchester, to his favourite pub. Someone gives him a pint. I bet he didn’t pay for it. He takes Dannii to meet his parents. Steady on, mate, she’s got a fit fianc√© and a baby. He cries and his mum gives him a kiss. His dad lies that he never gave up on him and cries at the hope that his son might eventually one day leave home and stop sponging off them. He did a gig at home, some little girl declares that she loves Matt more than her mum. It wasn’t specified which Matt, though, so let’s assume she means this one.

His live performance incorporates the Journey South memorial guitar of irrelevance. It’s Dido’s ‘Here With Me’ which is a song I absolutely love, though doing Dido on this show is a kiss of death, usually. Despite some weak bits, I actually quite like this performance – his voice is more expressive than Dido’s (though that’s no difficult feat). He’s a cock as a person, but I do genuinely think he’s better than Rebecca or One Direction as a performer. So yeah, I liked that. Steve and Carrie can chip in here to say otherwise. [He doesn't understand how his voice works still. The slips between falsetto and the top of his range are terrible. But he's been worse, I'll concede that. - Carrie]

Louis calls him a star, Cheryl says it was a great song choice and performance, Simon reminds us Lazy was ILL and says it was a great song choice.

Stacey SOLOMON is in Matt’s home town trying to interview Matt’s dinner lady but you can’t see her or any of the people she’s with, just stock footage of the crowd, and then she’s cut off and Dermot’s all ‘oh yeah, those segments suck and guess what, we’ve got loads of them to come’. The ITV1 professionalism, it burns.

Cheryl lies that we’ve all come to love and adore Rebecca. Her recap VT: snoozing, standing still, Liverpool. She goes back to LIVERPOOL. They’ve clearly forgiven her for ruining The Beatles, then. She cries at a school assembly about how she never used to fit in. Oh, whatever. She talks about all the singers who used to come to their school and she never got an autograph. We never got any singers at my school! Dumbing Down! We never even had Take That when they did that tour of schools for about three years when they were trying to get famous.

She’s doing a gig on the Royal Albert Dock and compares herself to THE BEATLES.
For her performance they’ve made her hair look a bit Leona and stood her on a huge platform. She’s doing Corinne Bailey Rae’s ‘Just Like a Star’ which is a good choice for her, but Dido and Corinne Bailey Rae? Really? This is meant to be a primetime ITV1 light entertainment show, isn’t it? It feels more like Sunday afternoon on Radio 2. She looks as bored as ever throughout and there’s one very bad bum note but the rest of it is just as dreary and slightly flat as usual, though she gets an orchestra, a choir and some petal confetti, as well as some men standing around her. Poor NotLouis. He’s had the time of his life this series with the likes of Diva Fever, Wagner and Katie, and then our anointed three end up being the ones he’s had so little to do with. At least he’s got a couple of Cher performances left. They then make the stage spin around so they can technically claim they got Rebecca to move.

Louis adores Rebecca and wants Liverpool to vote for her, but sadly doesn’t call her a young Dina Carroll or something. Dannii says she’s beautiful and hopes her CONFIDENCE grows. Simon also calls her beautiful and says she was magical. Cheryl starts crying about how much she respects Rebecca as a woman.

Midget Dermot strains up to talk to Rebecca as he asks her how great being from Liverpool is. Coleen Rooney is in Liverpool surrounded by people, including Rebecca’s sister who looks just like her. Poor Coleen looks like she’s about to get squashed by all those people. Someone call health and safety!

Dermot reminds us to DOWNLOAD the performances. I do hope they release stats on the downloads after the show finishes.

Ads – wow, that was a long time before they arrived! Coca-Cola apparently sponsors ITV1 now. Tough! Economic! Times!

Dermot reminds us that groups never win this show, but that Simon’s tried everything he can to make One Direction win. Except making them be any good. Their VT: being a frankenband, being boring, Simon claiming they can win. They visit some of their hometowns. They don’t go to IRELAND for Niall because the weather is bad / Louis isn’t managing them. Doncaster, apparently, is Louis’ hometown. I’m not sure why Donny gets the pimp slot given Louis’ only notable thing was being bitten by a stingray, and it wasn’t even a stingray, but some lesser fish. Harry goes back to his SMALL TOWN and his family have party poppers. Zainwreck gets mobbed by some incoherent girls in HMV in Bradford, whilst Liam’s home town of Wolverhampton gets their gig. Simon introduces them from what looks like the back of a van. We don’t see them sing [no change there then - Steve], then the police chase them out of town.

They’re doing ‘Your Song’ because Simon has no idea of originality whatsoever. Liam gets to open and looks as angry as usual. I think he might be my favourite, just because he’s the one likely to leave in a huff and break up the band (though I’d also wager Zainwreck could be the one to go off on a bender and get the sack. Niall and Louis can fight it out for the roles of Howard and Jason). Harry is wearing a weird woolly cowl-style top. The arrangement of this is appalling, with really, really loud backing music, and then the customary offstage backing singers. It snows a bit, Harry looks like he’s in a worship service or something, then Louis (who has his hood up like it’s cold or something) and Niall have a little hug and realise it looks a bit gay, so try and drag Harry in, but he’s having none of it.

Louis tells everyone in Ireland to vote for Niall, though I’m not sure voting for any of them individually is an option. Dannii says they deserve to be here, Cheryl repeats what Dannii said, the audience scream like morons throughout. Dermot does bugger all to stop this. Simon reminds us that they are SIXTEEN AND SEVENTEEN [Louis is eighteen. It upsets me that I know this. - Steve] and that they proved that they should each be there as individual singers, which, clearly not given you didn’t put them through as individuals. Dick.

Michelle Keegan from Coronation Street is being even more crushed than Coleen in Doncaster and looks terrified as their friends and family scream, and then she disappears into a mass of people. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we’re about to have the mysterious fourth corpse the anniversary episodes promised.

Dermot reminds us to vote and buy downloads but doesn’t mention ITUNES so I guess the product placement ran out. He reminds us Cher’s still to come, like she’s anything other than an irrelevance right now.

Ads. Burlesque looks awful, doesn’t it? [If by "awful" you mean "amazing", then yes. - Steve] ‘Place Your Hands’ selling fabric softener.

Dermot reminds us about the X Factor tour, like anyone would want to go to that. Cheryl introduces Cher as being ‘entertaining’. Poor Cher, apparently now the joke act. Cher’s ‘journey’: Turning her swag on, ring-a-ding-a-dinging, crying. In Malvern, some children scream ‘we want Cher’, presumably because they, too, heard the rumour that she was going to be a guest performer this week. Cheryl has a cup of tea with Cher’s family and her brother does a little cry. [Seriously, Cheryl's all "I'm so nosy! I love to meet people!" but neglects to mention that she's been mentoring this girl for the best part of a quarter of the year and still apparently hasn't met her family. - Carrie]

Apparently Cher’s doing The Clapping Song, to further cement her position as the new Komedy Kontestant, and she’s wearing some dreadful MC Hammer pants with lipstick prints on. It then becomes a medley with Get UR Freak On. So that’s both Katie and Wagner they’re making her channel here – why not just put either Katie or Wagner in? [Katie, Wagner and Cher would've been the greatest Frankenband ever. - Steve] She has some dancers but the staging isn’t half as mad as we’d expect.

Louis reminds her she’s in the final and says he loves that she did the Rihanna – what, the other week? Dannii says The X Factor is a good springboard and needs to create her own future. Simon’s happy they put her through and calls her a brat with a heart of gold. Essentially no-one’s even pretending she can win. Scott Mills is being mobbed in Malvern but manages to get himself out of the crush, then he has to wander back in because he can’t find Cher’s teacher. Jeff Brazier would never have stood for this. They then cut the VT off mid flow. Feel the quality, people.

Dermot reminds us to vote and recaps the performances. No ads.

Lazy’s back, doing ‘Unfaithful’ and he fluffs lots of the notes, though even Rihanna tends to fluff her own notes on this song, it’s a very hard one to sing. This is far from his best performance. He then seems a bit relieved as he introduces Rihanna, but Whitney Houston apparently walks on instead. Rihanna/Whitney also misses some of her own notes, but the stage erupts in flames. She has a dress with a huge slit up the side which means you can see the whole of her leg. They both look like they’re in hell with red lighting and the flames (which get very high at one point), then they have a little flirt and almost snog. [This was terrible. It would have been amazing if either could sing it competently and had any chemistry. - Carrie]

Dermot asks Lazy how he feels and he says he’s always looked up to Rihanna. Rihanna says she loves his work. Dermot asks if he did her kitchen. That’d be a funny joke if Lazy actually did any decorating instead of being a dosser.

I keep expecting to type ‘Ads’, but no, it’s Rebecca now. She’s wearing a very, very weird sequinned thing on her shoulders that defies description. Unsurprisingly, it’s ‘Beautiful’, and she gets to stand atop a lit staircase to sing it. She then introduces ‘the beautiful’ Christina Aguilera, who’s rocking her look back to the way it was about six years ago, all boobs and thighs and blonde hair, and sings Rebecca offstage as you’d expect. The comparison is actually painful, and Rebecca can barely even sing when they’re supposed to be duetting, but then she gets to do a little warble which isn’t nasal and is actually quite nice, then she remembers to hit the snooze button and returns to form, and it’s over. Christina says she was ‘pretty blown away’ by something she’d heard Rebecca do and Dermot tells us to make Merseyside proud and vote for her. [Rebecca actually didn't bother to sing at several points, meaning Christina SANG ABOUT FIVE-SIXTHS OF THE SONG. What is the point, please? - Carrie]

Ads. Buy your meat for Christmas, folks. Won’t somebody think of the vegetarians?
Simon lies that there was only one person One Direction could duet with. I mean, Westlife, Joe McEldery, Justin Bieber, The Wanted, kd lang, the possibilities are endless. Simon strokes a weird Paris Hilton dog in the VT, and it’s unclear if he’s trying to be Dr Evil.

They’re doing ‘She’s the One’ and Liam fluffs his notes, then there are some dreadful harmonies where they forgot to switch the autotune/backing singers on. Robbie arrives, without Take That, sadly, and manhandles Louis. Stingray Louis, not actual Louis. He remembers his words this time. The backing singers kick in. That was all very underwhelming. Robbie tells us all to vote for One Direction, unlike the A-List American guest singers who couldn’t be arsed to plug the acts [or maybe thought they were SO SHIT that people shouldn't vote for them - Carrie]. Robbie then tries to find out who the Robbie in the band is, and several of them claim they are.

Cher tells us she loves the music of her guest singer, but neglects to mention how much he needs to redeem himself after last week’s abomination of a live performance. Cher’s performance of ‘Where is the Love’ is at least better than that shambles. Then Will.I.Am comes on to do ‘I Gotta Feeling’ and is truly awful – out of time and tune. Cher tries to get him back on track and actually outperforms him. Oh well, at least one of the guest singers showed themselves up. Cher said Will.I.Am made her feel very relaxed, presumably because she realised if someone with that little talent can be a global megastar she’s got a fighting chance. [I miss Beyonce. - Steve]

Recap: Lazy’s first performance not being as good as I remembered it, Rihanna channelling Whitney and Satan, Rebecca spinning around and being outsung, One Direction continuing to be the world’s blandest boyband, Cher being completely doomed.

Dermot asks the judges why they should vote for their acts, Dannii says Lazy is normal, down to earth and has the voice of an angel. Cheryl says the girls are ‘extremely different in their own right’ and that Cher is ‘going to be the new generation of music’ and Rebecca is ‘everything you want from a world class star’ (except personality, and talent), and Simon says the boys like animals. Louis says Rebecca should win.

Dermot introduces ‘the first’ of tonight’s performers. Whuh? They’re really chucking the kitchen sink at this, aren’t they? It’s Rihanna – she’s doing well out of this series, isn’t she? Three live performances and several of her songs being covered. She’s got some huge hoop earrings in and a stripey dressing gown on. A dancer then strips her of her robe so she’s down to her underwear (well, kind of). The vocal is a bit on and off, and the new single ‘What’s My Name?’ is really dreary. She then dances in a pretty provocative way and, according to the papers, the whole nation calls Ofcom or something, like ITV gives two hoots about anything these days other than publicity. Dermot says she’ll be back next year and Rihanna tries to plug her tour but doesn’t really get to.

Ads. Jason Donovan and his band of boozed-up mums who don’t have any noticeable kids. How they can still use ‘mum’s gone to Iceland’ in the 2010s, I do not know. Even if it weren’t entirely, reprehensibly sexist, you’d have thought the Jamie Oliver obesity/junk food panic would have killed it off.

Dermot welcomes us back and lies that the duets stole the show. The vote is frozen, but it’s not yet time to send Cher home. Christina Aguilera has to hawk her dreadful[/amazing - Steve]-looking film first, and yes, the burlesque dancers in underwear, everyone’s baps being out, provocative dancing and a song about burlesque dancing are entirely inappropriate pre-watershed, especially when the camera zooms in between the dancers’ legs, but the show will lap up the publicity, and let’s face it, this series has proved that ethics aren’t exactly its strength. The song is a dreary slab of nothing, with just the word ‘burlesque’ repeated a lot and a few hey, heys thrown in for Christina to shout. It also goes on FOREVER.

Dermot asks Christina when her film is out and she says ‘sorry, say that again’. She then remembers to get back on message and plug the film, then runs off stage as fast as she can.

Dermot tries to get us interested in the elimination, with all the scantily clad dancers behind him. It’s not really working.

Ads. Buy THE BEATLES on ITUNES, even though they didn’t get the all-Beatles top 40 we were told was definitely going to happen when they went to download, rather than the almighty shrug that actually ensued.

O Fortuna welcomes us back as we go through the tedious formality of getting rid of Cher, despite her being the most (vaguely) interesting one left. Cher knows it’s her and looks desperate for Dermot to just get on with it, like that’s going to happen. Your chosen ones are Rebecca, One Direction and Matt. Well, colour us all shocked, hey? Tonight's whole show has essentially been pointless, hasn't it?

We see Cher’s best bits: essentially the same as the ones they showed earlier. She says her highlight was being onstage with Will.I.am and thanks everyone that arranged that for her (/threw Mary under a bus last week). Dermot reminds us that tomorrow we have to endure the most boring final in history and someone will win this thing, not that that will mean anything in terms of a successful career afterwards.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Mary Mary quite contrary

Semi-final results
Tx: 5th December 2010

Blah blah final blah blah semi-final Alexandra BURKE Glee Black Eyed PEAS blah TIME TO FACE THE MUSIC!

Titles!

Dermot reminds us of the concept of the show, and then talks about the special guest appearances we heard about literally thirty seconds ago. He then introduces the "four glorious warriors you know as the X Factor judges". They are all dressed in black and look like they are going to some kind of vampire cocktail party. Cheryl makes bunny ears behind Simon's head, because they are THAT mature. [Except she's too short to make it work properly, so just kind of looks like she's scratching him. - Steve]

First up this evening, Alexandra BURKE, performing her new single. Prior to her singing, we get a montage of her X Factor JOURNEY, which includes a very brief clip of the epic Beyonce duet. Tonight she seems to be dressed in an oversized Angel costume from a nativity play, but fortunately this does not affect her vocals, and we can all hear how it sounds when people can sing in tune. Nice, isn't it? Then it all goes cracktacular with people on ribbons descending from the ceiling, but really, we wouldn't expect anything else. OH AND THEN ALEXANDRA FLIES INTO THE AIR AS IF SHE IS ACTUALLY AN ANGEL! Oh that was ace. She tells Dermot that if people buy her album, they too may be able to fly, and then high-fives him. I LOVE ALEXANDRA BURKE. [Me too! - Steve] [Me three! - Rad]

Some backstage bollocks - Simon is happy for Cheryl's fantastic song choice for Rebecca, except he's not and pulls a face; Mary enjoyed singing and that's all that matters, except it's not, and Louis lies that she sang every note perfectly; Lazy Decorator says You Got The Love was one of his favourite performances, and then Dannii tells the heinous lie that no other man could sing that (unless she missed off "that badly"); Cheryl says that Cher has stage presence; Cheryl and Simon bitch about One Direction's song choice and she lies that she never plays tactics; Lazy thinks Always A Woman was one of his worst performances, and Louis is tasked with reminding us that Lazy has been sick all week; Mary says she's done everything she can, so it's a shame that the "everything" didn't include "singing in tune"; Cher is very proud of herself, and Cheryl likes that she is true to what she is; Rebecca scousewibbles about something, and Louis says she stole the show; and Simon tweaks the nose of a One Direction.

Oh, fuck, time now for some mediocre karaoke, as if we don't have enough of that. It is the cast of Glee, a show I despise with actors I despise, but I know Steve likes it so he can comment on it instead. [I LOVED IT. - Steve] Although I will just point out that the girls are wearing dresses made of gold quilting. Then everyone indulges in extensive Glee product pimping. SIGH.

Ads! The Alexandra BURKE album has got her name written the wrong way round - they have it as "ALEXANDRA Burke".

We get back and Dannii and Louis are nowhere to be seen. They run back in while Simon heckles, and then both nominate Matt and Rebecca as the best ones; Cheryl liked all of them; and Simon liked One Direction. For. Fuck's. Sake.

Time for the Black Eyed Peas, who always seem to be on this show, but probably they haven't performed this series, it just seems like they have because will.i.am is always on. They sing their dreadful robot-sounding lifting of (I've Had) The Time Of My Life. Still, at least they didn't take She's Like The Wind and ruin it. That would really be sacrilege. Anyway, they are wearing perspex skullcaps and Fergie is terrible. That is all you need to know. OH AND THEY HAVE ALBUMS AND SINGLES AND TOURS AND THINGS SO BUY THEM!

Ads!

And now some results. The acts take to the stage, and Dermot announces, in no particular order, the safe contestants - One Direction, Rebecca and Matt, like you couldn't have fucking predicted that trio before yesterday's show even began. Mary is going to reprise her performance of It's A Man's Man's Man's World; Cher sneers unattractively about the stupidity of the voting public and is going to sing Everytime. Not Stay, then?

After some more ads, naturally.

Mary goes first, and shouts her song with no concept of light and shade or tonal variation or DOING ANYTHING BUT BELTING LOUDLY. She genuinely has got worse through this competition. I blame Yvie. Then Cher comes on, wiping away tears ever so subtly. Also, it is very funny that Dannii said yesterday that Cher should have done a ballad and then she and Cheryl got all snippy about KEEPING IT REAL AND URBAN AND SHIZ and now she's singing a ballad as her last-ditch attempt to stay in the competition. On reflection, I've come to conclude that I think Cher might be able to be quite a good singer with some proper training and if she reins in that dreadful tendency to force vibrato from her throat, because she does have quite a nice tone and manages to vary her volume, which is more than some people. Not yet, obviously. At the moment, she's wobbly and all over the place. Anyway, and then she cries. [Seriously - both of them could be good with proper vocal coaching. Instead, they're a hot fried mess - Rad]

So then Louis decides to send Mary through to the final because she is a "real person", and Dermot gets all weird and "we have to be totally transparent" and gets him to repeat it eighteen times in eighteen different ways. Dannii says that Cher tugged at her heartstrings and send her through [I was so willing Dannii to send Mary through just to derail this whole contrived way of getting Cher through given she clearly had the lowest public vote - Rad]. Cheryl obviously sends Cher through to the final. Simon gets a bit odd with Mary about something she said on The Xtra Factor, and finally admits that he's sending Cher through, like we didn't all know this 15 minutes ago.

Mary montage. Lots of shouting and black outfits. She tells Dermot that the highlight of the series for her was meeting the soldiers and making the CD. Louis thanks everybody in Ireland for voting for her. If you live in the rest of the UK and voted for Mary, Louis does not give a fuck about you.

So next week! Cher, Rebecca, One Direction and Lazy Decorator are competing in the X Factor final! Who will win? Find out then!

Like being clubbed over the head

Club classics
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!"

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!