Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Only Way Is BixMix

Final - Results: TX 11th December 2011

Last night
: three acts sang twice each and one of them got eliminated. Somehow this took TWO HOURS. Peter Dickson tells us that the final took place in front of an audience of 10,000 people. That's the audience within Wembley Arena itself, not the TV viewing audience, though I can understand why you might get the two confused. He sang! Then they sang! Then she sang! Then he sang with his mentor! Then they sang with their mentor! Then she sang with her mentor! You get the general idea. A dodgy bit of editing pretends that Derwood said last night he was about to reveal who had the fewest votes when in fact he made no such announcement and only gave the names of the two acts who were through. (ITV FAKERY! Why isn't this getting extensive coverage in the tabloids, eh? Do we only care when it's Frozen Planet?)

Now just two acts remain: BixMix mentored by Tulisa, and Marcus, mentored by Gary. Basically, however you vote, one of these dickheads gets to claim they're the best mentor of the year. It's Kang vs Kodos all over again. I really wish they'd include a "none of the above" option in the final vote. Plus, we can look forward to performances from the two of the most exciting acts in popular music: Westlife and Coldplay! Jesus Christ, chuck Adele in there as well and call it Music To Crush The Human Spirit, why don't you. Anyway, tonight the victor will be crowned, so the battle is on. It's time! To face! The fact that five million fewer people are watching than they were this time last year!

Titles! Poor titles. They got all spruced up for nothing.

Aerial shot of Wembley Stadium. Not Wembley Arena. I'd recommend a little more attention to detail, otherwise we might have Derwood declaring Bombay Mix the winners in two hours time (oops, spoiler). Derwood enters, and he's wearing a tuxedo especially for the occasion. Sadly, it doesn't fit any better than any of his other suits. I think the next X Factor charity single should be raising money to help Derwood afford a more understanding tailor. [You think they would have sourced a thigh-sensitive tailor back in the Olly Murs days, but no - Helen]

Derwood swings for an imaginary baseball (or rounders ball, since we're in the UK) and reminds us that tonight is the result of the final and the end of a very long road: "it's all come down to a straight contest between Marcus and Little Mix". Well, Little Mix are winning then. LOLGAY. Sorry. The judges are reintroduced, to the strains of 'Live And Let Die'. WEMBLEY makes them all look really tiny, doesn't it? Tulisa is wearing an utterly ridiculous dress that restricts her movement so much, both Louis and Kelly have to help her off the podium. It's not even a nice dress: she's basically come as the Big Purple One out of a box of Quality Street. Kelly's isn't much better - it's silver, which looks nice on her, but it's one of those hideous dresses where the front is a miniskirt and the back is full-length. Why? It just looks like you accidentally ripped your outfit on the way to the stage. Borelow, of course, is still in just-returned-from-the-hunt chic, and Louis is wearing a natty dinner jacket. Tulisa shills her perfume, as is her wont. REPRESENTING CASH-IN FRAGRANCES EVERYWHERE!

Derwood reminds us that the lines are open and all the votes cast for Marcus or BixMix last night still count. Brilliant, I shan't bother voting the---ow! Tulisa! Get off me! I don't care, I'm not voting for BixMix, and you can gnaw my ankle all evening if you want to, I'm not changing my mind. Derwood introduces "The X Factor finest!" Is that a bit like Tesco FinestTM? Because that statement is followed by the appearance of Marcus and BixMix, who appear to have been plumped straight from the Basics range.

They're "singing" 'We Found Love', incidentally, just to remind us that BixMix found LOVE IN EACH OTHER BECAUSE THEY GET ON REALLY WELL, ALTHOUGH IT IS JUST FRIENDLY LOVE, THERE'S NOTHING LESBIAN IN IT SO DON'T GET THE WRONG IDEA. Marcus is barely audible beneath BixMix, just in case you were wondering how this evening was going to pan out: there's your answer. It segues into 'Party Rock Anthem' [It was like Stars on 45 gone very, very wrong - Helen], and a group that I think is the Sugablokes but could just as easily be NuBile joins in. For all that people have been complimenting Tulisa's mentoring this year, her boybands were an absolute shitshow, weren't they? Like proper, The Unconventionals levels of inept. It all gets a bit mimey from this point onwards, by the way. 2 Shoes are here! Did you see how 2 Shoes got fewer votes than Jonjo No1Curr in the "vote to return"? Madness. Then the track shifts into Jennifer Lopez's 'On The Floor' and Misha B takes lead vocals, while Janet stands behind her and tries not to show her pain at being exposed to this POOR IMITATION OF REAL MUSIC. Janet takes the next line, and is followed by Sophie "Hilarious in Islington" Haboobies. Then we have GOLDIE! Oh, my beautiful Goldie, how I've missed you. I love that she's invited here for all of this and Frankie Cockface Arsetat isn't. Also, Goldie's better in these ten seconds than Sami Cruiseship ever was, so anyone complaining about Louis' initial selection for his final four can shut their damn cakeholes, quite frankly.

In a just world it would end there as we all bask in the glory of Goldie, but no: it turns into 'Moos Like Jagger' sung by Johnny and...oh God, Sami Cruiseship. I knew I shouldn't have invoked her name. I bet she's absolutely gutted that BixMix turned out to REPRESENT WIMMINZ EVERYWHERE when that was totally her idea first. Biscuit is also there. As is Kitty, who takes us into 'The Edge Of Glory', which BixMix and Marcus finish off, because they are very much on the EDGE OF GLORY, you see. Incidentally, Marcus sounds better in his handful of lines on that song than he does at any other point in the final. Maybe Marcus should've been doing more Gaga and less Jackie Wilson.

Derwood poses with Goldie, because he knows that's the happening place to be. Goldie waves to the audience, and Derwood scolds her: "Don't milk it, Goldie." [Oh the irony - Helen] Yes, heaven forfend anyone try to pad their part this evening. Lord knows it really does take TWO FUCKING HOURS to say "BixMix win", doesn't it?

Time for a recap of last night: Woo! Marcus! Woo! Wembley! Woo! Backstage, Derwood kisses Marcus on the cheek, and it makes Marcus all giggly, which is quite funny. Unfortunately, those oversized glasses are doing him no favours whatsoever. Borelow is proud of Marcus, in case you were wondering. BixMix REPRESENTED PEOPLE WHO HAVE GOT THE LOVE (AND A LOUD BACKING TRACK) EVERYWHERE, and backstage, two of them get very excited about hearing the names being chanted. Yes, I'm sure hearing "the ones who aren't Perrie and Jesy! The ones who aren't Perrie and Jesy!" must be very fulfilling. Tulisa thinks they "smashed it". She really has no other synonyms for "performed above expectations", does she? Then Marcus sang weirdly about his mum, and Marcus says that he'll remember that forever. "I will too!" Gary lies. Then BixMix did backing vocals for Tulisa (and here we all were thinking Kelly Rowland was going to be the glory hog) on 'Empire State Of Mind', and Perrie exclaims that this was the best experience of her life, and she wants to do it again. Well, you can't, so tough tits. Derwood pretends that he enjoyed any of that, and then we're into the sweet release of adverts.

When we return, Derwood tells us it's "best in show" time, and referring obliquely to this year's finalists as dogs really isn't helping matters. Borelow introduces Marcus, singing his "song of the series". Woo! They're just taking the piss with that at this point, aren't they? Marcus has selected 'Higher And Higher' for his reprisal (and Sofabet's analysis of why this was a terrible decision makes for interesting reading), because he wanted to have a gospel choir and he thinks it worked really well. He's realised that this is what he wants to do every day, yada yada yada. "It would mean so much to me if I won The X Factor," he muses. "It would mean that I could secure a life for myself." Yeah, sure, tell that to Leon Jackson. Or Joe McElderry. Or The Dread Brookstein. I mean, fuck's sake, Marcus. Do your homework, pet. Marcus vows to give it everything.

Marcus is on stage, and...Woo! Yeah, there it is. He has the choir again, and they're doing a very impressive job of backing him up, considering no microphones can be seen anywhere near them. I remain baffled as to why someone who's delivered, both vocally and performance-wise, as consistently as Marcus has, can have gone so utterly to pieces in the final. Also, this song really highlights his shortcomings because it makes him look and sound so very dated, whereas BixMix are bound to reprise either 'Fucked By An Alien' or 'Don't Let Go (Love)', both of which have a far more modern feel to them. (I know that the latter came out in 1997, but it still sounds conceivably like a song a contemporary girl group would record. 'Higher And Higher' is the sort of thing that a current act would only cover ironically, or possibly for a film soundtrack if someone drove a ton of cash up to their house.) Anyway, Marcus manages some decent notes to close the number, so this is perhaps his best work of the weekend, not that that's saying much.

Louis thinks Marcus is a born little popstar. Tulisa, in a voice so utterly emotionless that she might as well be ordering the death of every newborn child in a ten mile radius, tells Marcus that that was definitely his best performance of the series and he looks like a star up there tonight. Mind you, it's odd how Tulisa can enunciate when she talks to/about Marcus, an ability she loses whenever she's discussing BixMix. Kelly, who's wasted no time in going the full Louis Walsh now that she has no acts left, tells Marcus that he lifted THIS CROWD higher and higher, and she hopes that he enjoyed every single minute of the time that he was here. Because he's losing to BixMix at around 9.20 this evening. Borelow congratulates him on another amazing performance, and says he can't remember a finalist or winner in the history of the show that takes hold of a stage like Marcus does. EXCUSE YOU, Borelow. You don't need a gospel choir to command a stage. You come back to me when Marcus could hold his own with Beyoncé like Alexandra did. Marcus tells Derwood he feels lucky to be here, and that it's all amazing. It's like Leona never left, isn't it? Time to cut to Caroline Flack and Olly Fucking Murs. Caroline is with Marcus's proud mother. Marcus's mother is proud of him. Can she believe he's come this far? She can't believe he's come this far. How would she encourage people to vote for him tonight? She'd like people to vote for Marcus. I feel like I'm living in an echo chamber. Marcus thanks his mum for believing in him. Marcus departs, and Derwood promises BixMix after the break. But first: ads!

When we return, Derwood promises us that the winner will be announced tonight, definitely, honestly, please don't switch over to BBC1 and watch Antiques Roadshow or anything, we're sorry. He plays the party line of "OMG A GIRL GROUP HAS MADE THE FINAL" and throws to Tulisa, who is glaring into the camera with frankly terrifying intensity, doing that weird semi-South Shields accent that she's adopted, introducing her "little muffins". I've never been entirely sure where that nickname comes from. Is it because muffins are also frequently put into casings which can't fully contain them and end up bursting out? (Before you accuse me of being the sort of heartless internet bastard who makes St. Jesy cry, try to convince me that the show hasn't been squeezing her into those hideous leggings all series deliberately so that we might feel guilty about judging on appearances and vote for BixMix out of shame. Go on, I dare you.) They are, of course, reprising 'Don't Let Go (Love)'. I have to admit I was hoping for the Katy Perry track because that was genuinely the performance I considered to be their breakthrough; this one was more just the point where they turned into One Direction and surrendered all the heavy lifting to the backing track. But I suppose you can't deny they still had a Moment with it, so here it is again. One of the ones that nobody cares about says that this was truly the moment when they first came together as a group, which means that we should now disregard all those other moments where they first came together as a group, like boot camp or judges' houses or previous live shows. St. Jesy talks about how it was fun but also powerful and REPRESENTING WIMMINZ EVERYWHERE. They think that the adrenaline at Wembley will make the backing track even louder them even better.

They are literally thrown onto the stage from a trapdoor, in a moment that has lived on as a screencap on Tumblr ever since. The backing screen has chains all across it and suggests one of those moments in the Phoenix Wright games where you activate a Psyche-Lock. Hmm. I wonder who's hiding something here. (Apologies to anyone who's not nerdy enough to get that joke.) To be fair to BixMix, they are a lot less reliant on a backing track in this version of the song, though by the same token it sounds a lot rougher around the edges. The fireworks go off a few seconds after the performance, which feels a little off, timing-wise.

Louis tells them that they've blossomed into four popstars, and he predicts that this time next year they will be the biggest girlband in the UK by a mile. Big whoop: they'll only have to overtake The Saturdays. (I bet they're really regretting recording that "we can't wait to have a new girl group to compete against!" visit now, aren't they? Which, incidentally, was the same week that BixMix performed this song for the first time.) Also, I would like to make a prediction of my own: this time next year, they will have released a grand total of two singles, thereby making claims of "the biggest girl group in the UK" somewhat premature. Kelly is crying because she is so happy for y'all, and y'all have such a great friendship, and y'all have performed y'alls buts off. Y'all. She tells us "You've got to vote for [BixMix] as well." As well? As well as Marcus? Thereby cancelling out both of the votes that we've just paid money to cast? You, Kelly Rowland, are a jabbering idiot. Borelow is happy that they came back with that song, because he thinks this is the direction their future lies in. Tulisa, sounding increasingly deranged by the second, wants to ask the viewers why they've been voting for BixMix. Oh Tulisa, I've been asking that question all series, but I've never had a satisfactory answer. Oh, it turns out it was a rhetorical question: people voted for them because they wanted BixMix to win. Therefore, Tulisa spits, those votes mean NOTHING unless we VOTE FOR BIXMIX NOW. SERIOUSLY. THOSE VOTES ARE SONS OF WHORES. THEY ARE WORTHLESS. THEY ARE STEVE BROOKSTEIN. IF WE DON'T VOTE TONIGHT AS WELL, WE ARE WRECKING THE DREAMS OF ST. JESY, THAT ONE THAT SINGS, AND THE OTHER TWO, AND THAT MAKES US LIFE-RUINERS. Gosh, thanks for that Tulisa. I think you need to wipe a bit of rabid drool from your mouth. There you go. Incidentally, by far the worst thing about Tulisa at this point is the way that the second she's finished berating us all for not spending enough of our cash on allowing her to win this competition, she leans back in her chair with a Cheshire Cat grin on her face. It's nauseating. Derwood asks them if they ever expected to get this far. Of course they didn't, because they are HUMBLE. Derwood points out that they just made Destiny's Child cry, like that wasn't something Mathew Knowles did on an hourly basis. Backstage, Caroline is with the proud mums, who are proud. WHERE ARE THE FACE PIZZAS? I am so bored of all this now, and it's not even bloody halfway over. Meanwhile, Olly beatboxes for some girls who appear to have styled themselves as a BixMix tribute band (RE-EVALUATE YOUR LIFE CHOICES NOW) as they do a frankly embarrassing rap about how amazing BixMix are. Even BixMix themselves are a bit "wut" in response to this. Derwood asks BixMix what they want to say to their mums, and Perrie reminds us that their mums are PROUD. Yes, Perrie, I think we got that memo from Caroline.

After the blessed relief of more adverts, we are back, and it's time for Marcus and BixMix to try to win us over with a Christmas song. Borelow gives a typically charm-free introduction as Marcus takes to the stage to sing 'Last Christmas'. FAIL. The definitive X Factor performance of this song is and always will be this one, and to even try to live up to that is a fool's errand. Marcus gives it a valiant try, but his wail of "Happy Christmas!" into the abyss of the arena just doesn't have the same effect. Still, at least he got the words right, unlike Yellow JLS. Unless, of course, you believe that Yellow JLS's interpretation is now so iconic that it has come to be recognised as the correct lyric in its own right, in much the same way that "nauseous" used to mean "causing nausea" but is now more commonly used to mean "feeling nausea". (Told you we had education and stuff.) ANYway, Marcus has gone back to sounding like he's just smoked twenty cigarettes and run a half-marathon, which is a shame, and this song does him no favours.

Louis's mic isn't on for half of his commentary, but I doubt we missed much. We do hear him telling Marcus that he is a lovely person backstage (can we retire this next year, please? I really do not give a shit which of the contestants hold the door open for you and which contestants let it slam in your face. I'd rather we had a Top 12 who were all arseholes but were fantastic singers with masses of stage presence than another bunch of mediocre milquetoasts) and has a brilliant work ethic (again, who cares? Holly Valance's barely-present work ethic on this year's Strictly was one of her most endearing traits) [and someone with no work ethic won this thing last year, lest we forget - Rad]. Tulisa thinks this has been a long journey for everyone, and that we've all got so caught up in it that we forgot it was (nearly) Christmas. Speak for yourself, lady: I remembered that Christmas was around the corner, it was the approach of The X Factor final I kept forgetting about. Anyway, she thanks Santa Collins for reminding us that Christmas exists. "WHAT A GREAT EARLY CHRISTMAS GIFT, YAY! HO HO HO!" trills Kelly. That's actually the most useful part of her critique, believe it or not. The rest doesn't merit transcribing. Borelow tells Marcus he's going to do something now that he hasn't done all series. I have my fingers crossed for "be remotely interesting or charismatic", personally, but once again I am disappointed: he's going to tell us all to vote for Marcus. I have my doubts that this is the absolute first time he's doing that, but if you think I'm going to go back and check when I still have over an hour of this bollocks left to recap, then you are very much mistaken.

Derwood joins Marcus, and Marcus enthuses that it feels like Christmas in the arena now. Derwood asks Marcus where his head's at. Marcus does not seem to know. Backstage, Caroline is with the Mayor of Liverpool, who thinks Marcus has hit it right on all night. Last night, however... Olly is with Marcus's best pal Amy, who thinks Marcus is amazing every time. Olly asks her how long Marcus has been singing for, and Amy, who has apparently not been briefed to say "EVER SINCE HE COULD BREATHE, OLLY" like this show demands, merely shrugs "quite a while". I think I love Amy. Olly asks her if Marcus annoys her at times. Amy looks like she's on the verge of replying "no, but you do".

Derwood, his soul dying a little bit more, makes a desperate joke about the Mayor of Liverpool wearing "serious bling". Oh Derwood. I think it's time to just take the money and run, love. It's back to Tulisa to introduce the groups again, and she thinks this next performance "will say it all". I wasn't aware there was a song called 'Representing Wimminz Everywhere (At Christmas)'. Also, she calls them "little muffins" again, and I have to add muffins to the long list of things that have been ruined forever by this show, which now of course includes Tulisa herself. (In fact, it's wrecked Tulisa in less than half the time it took to wreck Cheryl. That's quite a feat.)

They are trilling 'Silent Night' with just a piano for comfort. I'm not sure what this is saying, quite frankly, apart from "even though Perrie is clearly the best singer, she still has some fairly irritating vocal tics". In an effort to help us recognise them all as individuals, they are wearing pink sweaters with their names across them. If I were in charge of making those, they would have read "SINGER", "CRIER', "NIALL" and "NIALL". They hug afterwards, because they like each other, which is of course so rare for women working together.

Louis blathers some nonsense about them having "four lead singers" when clearly Perrie's going to be the Nadine of the outfit, though at this point I'm so used to being given inaccurate information about BixMix by the show that I've almost started to just accept it. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, and so on. He goes on about how everything works with them. Kelly's batteries are running down, so she slurs about how great they sounded on that "rec-urrrrd" and wishes them a "mer-ry fri-ken Chris-murss" before an unseen stagehand swiftly replaces them for her and suddenly she's all smiles again, squealing "I love your sweaters! You look so kyoooooo-oooooote!" like she's talking to Paris Hilton's dog. Gary thinks it was very Christmassy, and in the spirit of Christmas, makes a petty and pointless joke about Louis. GOD BLESS US EVERY ONE! Tulisa is sounding faintly bored now, and plods her way through "proud", "journey" and "a girl group can win", gradually losing the ability to enunciate as she goes along. It's like someone's been rubbing ice cubes along her jaw. Derwood says that Tulisa is "like Winston Churchill", by which I can only assume he means that they both like cigars, and then tells Kelly how worried it makes his little corporate compliance soul every time she says "freaking". This from the man who called Katie Weasel a cunt. Derwood talks to BixMix about the stripped back performance, and one of the Nialls, the one from the North East, says how nice it was to do something simple and show off wor harmonies. Olly and Caroline are with the BixMix fans, and Olly is joined by Prudence, who is a "food artist". Hold on, she's got a pizza, this could be the moment that justifies this entire programme! It's a BixMix pizza! Except it's not really as exciting as the Lazy Decorator one last year. "Does it taste good?" Olly asks. "Yes, all my food art tastes fantastic," Prudence replies, sounding faintly offended. I heart Prudence. Caroline is with St. Jesy's first music teacher, who is asked how much they've improved, and doesn't have an answer for us, so he just screams at us to vote for BixMix.

Derwood is with the judges, desperately filling time. He asks them what their highlight of the series has been, and Louis says "working with these three judges has been absolutely amazing, I love the three of them." HA! Funniest moment of the series. Also, he likes Johnny and Kitty. Tulisa's highlight has been watching BixMix get through on the results show every week. Yeah! Who cares about performances? Tulisa cares only for results! Kelly can't even hear Derwood, and doesn't care anyway, but her highlight was being a mentor to all the talent. Gary bores on about real music, but his highlight, as it should be, was Goldie putting her leg around his neck on the first day.

To take us through some highlights of the series, here are Westlife with their "farewell X Factor performance", not to be confused with their farewell Daybreak performance, their farewell T4 performance, their farewell ITV1 special, etc etc. I know that we all have to serve notice periods, but this is just silly. Anyway, they sing 'What About Now?' while clips from the series play on a screen behind them. I am not paying attention to any of the clips, because I am too distracted by the fact that Westlife are all standing stage right, leaving the other side of the stage entirely empty. Why? I have no idea. Westlife finish, and wave goodbye, FOREVER. (Hopefully.)

After some more ads, we are back (those of us who didn't head off to the Tesco on the corner for more Doritos/M&Ms/vodka/whatever you need just to get through this) and it's time for the finalists to sing The Winner's Song. Sorry: the winner's song. We begin with Marcus, and before he sings, we're going to look back at his journey. Oh, for pity's sake. Marcus never dreamed he would get this far. Aww, he looked so cute in his audition when it hadn't been decided yet that he must wear suits and hipster glasses at all times. There are clips of him being interesting on the live shows before being turned into a throwback (soundtracked to 'Rule The World', so another nice payday for Borelow) - it's actually quite depressing to watch all the things that were good about Marcus gradually getting eroded on a weekly basis until he was basically an old man in a young man's body. I remember when I really liked Marcus and wanted him to win. Sadface. [imagine how awesome he might have been with a different mentor. Stupid Funsponge - Rad][Agreed. I liked him from the first audition then he was killed by the machine. - Helen]

Time for the winner's single. I'm so excited, Gary's writing this especially for the show, it's the first original winner's single since 'That's My Goal', it's going to be...hang on a minute, this is 'Cannonball' by Damien Rice. What the fuck happened there, then? This song does not suit Marcus's voice at all, and it really shows. I can't imagine it's going to suit BixMix either. Who on earth picked this? Were they expecting Janet to win or something? [Looking at the voting percentages, yes. Or else they just forgot to give it to lazy DECORATOR last year - Rad] Also, the first line of the song is "there's still a little bit of your taste in my mouth", which makes me giggle uncontrollably. What? I never said I was mature. Anyway, well done to the show for picking a winner's single that isn't going to do either of their finalists any favours. I can only begin to imagine the trainwreck that would have been Amelia Lily's version of this, largely because it hasn't leaked onto YouTube yet, though I'm sure it'll show up there eventually. Anyway, Marcus squeaks and wails his way through the performance and this really is a very undignified ending for him, considering how on point he's been most of the rest of the time. Poor Marcus. You deserved better than this.

Louis tells him that if he were looking for a perfect popstar and put everything into a computer, he'd get Marcus. Hands up everyone who wants to see a remake of Weird Science starring Louis and Marcus? Just me? Suit yourselves. [I'm in - Helen] He tells Marcus he's done everything he possibly can, and all he needs now is votes. Marcus is genuinely all "lol, thanks Louis" at this. Tulisa tells him he has everything: the voice, the star quality, the personality, and a beautiful smile. She sounds so very, very bored: she knows she's won this and she is just waiting out the clock at this point. Kelly tells Marcus that she wants everybody to vote if they want to see him win. Glad to see she understands the mechanics of the show. Gary would never have picked that song for Marcus, and neither would anyone else with an iota of sense, but he thinks Marcus sings it beautifully. He hopes that's not the last time we hear that song: "that should be the winner's song tonight." It is - it just might not be Marcus singing it in future. Derwood asks Marcus how that felt, and Marcus says he really connected with the song and felt every word, and thanks Gary for getting him here. Then, of course, we go to the Marcus fans backstage: Steph was one of Marcus's old hairdressing clients. I think we're really scraping the barrel of support here, aren't we? Although: interesting how the opinion of Marcus's boyfriend has not been sought at any point. I guess the show's more liberal this year, but still not that liberal. Steph says that Marcus is better at singing than at hairdressing, and Olly throws to Caroline, who throws to Derwood. On stage, Derwood wasn't listening properly, and thinks Steph said that Marcus was better at hairdressing than singing. Oh, Derwood. It's been a long night, hasn't it? Marcus thanks everyone for supporting him.

Derwood: "The country has grown to love you, but here are some messages from people who've loved you your entire life." The first person to feature in this VT? Robbie Williams. *facepalm* Marcus's mum is PROUD. Marcus's brother is PROUD. Marcus's grandparents are PROUD. His boyfriend is presumably also PROUD, but not permitted to feature in this VT either. Marcus loves them all so much, and is trying not to cry.

Tulisa drones through her final intro for BixMix, and manages not to use the word "muffins" at any point. At this point, I'll take whatever bonuses I can get. Their journey reminds us that they were formed at bootcamp by the judges and performed for the first time at judges' houses, where J-J-J-Jessie J was "slightly in love with them" because she likes BOYS AND GIRLS AS WELL OKAY, SHEESH, WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL, WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP MAKING AN ISSUE OUT OF IT. That's the notoriously shy and private Jessie J, there. BixMix made it onto the live shows, were crap, somehow proved popular and stuck around, becoming less crap along the way, although not as less-crap as the show would have us believe. Tulisa blathers on about how she FEELS for them and GETS them and UNDERSTANDS them, which has definitely always been the case, and she definitely didn't only start really getting behind them once all her other acts had been booted or anything like that. BixMix cry a bit in their VT and talk about how they are all BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.

They too are singing 'Cannonball', and it suits them slightly better than it did Marcus, but it's still not really the sort of thing you'd pick if you wanted to select a really BixMixxy song to promote them in the aftermath of the show. Loath as I am to agree with Borelow, they need some decent up-tempo Destiny's Child sort of things. The Nialls struggle with the low notes, and the production on the whole thing is a bit anaemic, though it does the typical "throwing all the bells and whistles on at the eleventh hour" X Factor trick. Afterwards, they are all overcome, and get all huggy with each other. Tulisa and Kelly give them a standing ovation, Gary and Louis do not.

Louis repeats all of his comments from earlier and throws a "girl power" in for good measure. Kelly congratulates them and says how dynamic they are together. Gary says that they twisted the song and made it into a BixMix song. He also liked how St. Jesy looked to the others for support, grabbing their hands etc, just in case we haven't quite yet worked out that BIXMIX LOVE EACH OTHER. Give me strength. Tulisa tells Niall that she's adorable, St. Jesy that she's inspiring (VOMIT), Other Niall that she reminds Tulisa of herself, and Perrie that she was born a star. Tulisa hopes that the BASTARD INGRATE PUBLIC have voted. North East Niall is very grateful to be here, and tells Derwood as much. Then of course we must go to their supporters backstage, and Perrie's nan is PROUD. I'd suggest we institute a drinking game for every mention of pride in next year's final, but I'm genuinely worried that everyone reading this would die of alcohol poisoning.

They too get their VT from Loved Ones And Other Randoms: Holly Willowboobies loves them, as does J-J-J-Jessie J, and the extended BixMix family. Everyone is very PROUD. Back in the studio, St. Jesy tells Derwood that they all love their mums and in fact are doing this for their mums, because they are WIMMINZ EVERYWHERE and thus are represented by BixMix, of course.

At this point there is supposed to be a link up to Phil Schofield and Christine Blankley for the upcoming Text Santa, but the video link up doesn't work and all we get is Phil and Christine's disembodied voices. We remain on Derwood throughout, visibly panicking and trying to communicate with the gallery. Hee. Time for yet another (beautiful, merciful) ad break.

We're back, and we're on the home straight. Derwood "treats" us to a review of all the performances from across the weekend (except those involving Amelia Lily of course, because she is now dead to us) and once we return, Derwood warns us that the lines will be closing after the next guest performance. Which is, of course, from Coldplay, and Derwood is very happy to have some Real Music on the show, you can just tell. 55 MILLION RECORDS SOLD! 6 BRIT AWARDS! 7 GRAMMY AWARDS! OVER 6 MILLION CONCERT TICKETS SOLD! SOUNDTRACK TO EVERY MAUDLIN MOMENT ON A TV DRAMA UNTIL ADELE CAME ALONG! COLDPLAY! Coldplay begin playing, coldly, and the arena goes dark, and everyone's wristbands light up in the audience. I think it speaks volumes for the quality of this evening's entertainment that this is the most exciting thing that's happened by a very long way [truly. It was the only good bit. That and Marcus made out of toast - Rad]. They open with 'Charlie Brown' and in many parts of this performance, Chris Martin's voice sounds every bit as shot to pieces as Marcus's has all weekend. Must be something in the air in the men's dressing rooms. *looks accusingly at Tulisa* Once the first song finishes, they move on to 'Paradise' to do the job of being that song that everyone knows and mashes along to [or the song that sounds like a rip-off of Roxette's 'Wish I Could Fly' - Rad]. I am largely enjoying Coldplay's appearance because it makes for very easy recapping. Then it ends, the lights come back on and we all see that Chris is very sweaty. I very much look forward to Gwyneth's anti-perspirant tips in the next Goop newsletter. Derwood is so very excited, he doesn't know which member of the band to brownnose first. "Thank you for these!" he squeals, showing his wristband. Sadly Derwood doesn't realise yet that his wristband is not the right combination of colours to allow him into the afterparty. That's showbiz, I'm afraid. Derwood touches Chris Martin a lot like the fanboy that he is, and asks what advice they have. "Don't get so sweaty," Chris advises. Sound indeed. "Ladies, one more time, Coldplay!" Derwood finishes. I guess the gentlemen weren't supposed to enjoy that performance. The lines are now closed, and the winner has been chosen. Time to head into the final ad break. Woo! Sorry, I turned into Marcus for a second there.

Derwood welcomes us back, and for one last time (hooray!) we go to Olly and Caroline backstage with the dafties. Caroline's with the Marcus fans who are chanting "we love you Marcus, we do!" The BixMix camp over by Olly are less organised, just cheering while he stands in the middle of them, shouting. Louis and Kelly are sat behind him at the desk by themselves, so we know what that means: time to welcome back the finalists. Gary with Marcus, and Tulisa with BixMix. BixMix are struggling to walk because Tulisa's idiotic dress keeps threatening to devour them whole. "From the thousands that applied, it's all come down to this," says Derwood. Most of us would not view that as a good thing. The winner of The X Factor 2011 is...







...BixMix, of course. They go mad, and the smug look will now be etched on Tulisa's face forever. That's the price we pay for Empowering Young Wimminz, I suppose. (The right sort of young wimminz, obviously, the ones who are meek and polite and a bit insecure and therefore represent wimminz everywhere, not the ones who "might be too confident" and...oh, fuck it, I've had this rant enough times. Let's just call Tulisa a fucking hypocrite one last time and have done with it.) Marcus hugs the girls, Gary hugs Tulisa, and neither of the runners-up looks especially surprised. Non North-East Niall is speechless, which is fine, because no one is interested in her anyway. "The first group to win The X Factor! The first girl group to win The X Factor!" Derwood exclaims. Well, yes. One of those kind of follows on from the other, doesn't it? North-East Niall is grateful to everyone who voted, even the SCUM who cast USELESS votes in weeks that weren't the final. Derwood remembers that Marcus exists, and asks him how he feels. Marcus thinks his performances went well, and thanks everyone who voted for him. Borelow enjoyed every minute he spent with Marcus, and is - you guessed it - PROUD of him.

Derwood shows BixMix their CD. They scream - presumably in terror, because people their age have never seen a CD before, and probably think it's about to attack them. Tulisa snatches it out of his hands and bears it aloft, definitely not taking any of the glory for herself or anything, and St. Jesy says that they can't thank the public enough for picking up the phone and vo--- and then Derwood cuts her off with a bored "we're so thrilled for you, all right." I guess St. Jesy's emotions are less interesting now she's a winner rather than an underdog.

While, behind him, Tulisa struggles to get back behind the dress in her entirely impractical dress, Derwood introduces BixMix in their new capacity as X Factor winners. They're a bit too choked up to sing properly, but they bear up reasonably well. There are a few iffy harmonies, but I can overlook those given the circumstances. At the key change, the glitter cannons go off and the rest of the contestants swarm the stage to congratulate the victors. BixMix are swept up by various people and start screaming, though the vast majority of the singing continues without them. Good ol' backing track - there to the end.

Derwood reappears one last time to thank everyone involved, and to promise that the show will be back next year, inviting us all to go to the website and apply if we too would like the opportunity to represent wimminz everywhere. There's a plug for the tour, and we're outta there!

To avoid any commenters accusing us of being jelus hatterz like they did to Helen in Saturday's recap, I would just like to clarify that we have little against BixMix themselves - they seem like nice enough girls, and Perrie's got a good voice [albeit one that doesn't blend with the other three's. Oh well, at least they're all the same height - Rad]. Our problem has always been the way they were promoted to us: the whole "representing women everywhere" bollocks and the sheer pandering that it involved, the constant implication that it's utterly impossible for women to work together in all other contexts because they're always so violently unprofessional, the invitations to wash our sins away as we bathe in the blessèd tears of St. Jesy, Patron Saint Of People Who Discovered It Was Unwise To Google Themselves, and so on. I was never a fan, because I honestly didn't see anything in this lot that any number of failed X Factor girl groups in years gone by didn't also have, beyond the compelling backstory, but I certainly wish them nothing but the best for the future.

Tulisa, on the other hand, can fuck right off, now and forever.

And that's it! I'd like to run through a few thank yous before signing off for another year. First of all, thank you to Rad and Helen for splitting the workload with me and helping me not to go completely mad. Thank you to all of you for reading: I love you all, even the BixMix fans and the troll who called us uneducated. Finally, thank you to everyone involved in making series eight so crap that we were seldom short of material. You've all been wonderful. See you next year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tell me Wembley

The Final, Part one – 10th December 2011

Hello, and welcome to part one of your recap of this year’s X Factor final. It’s been a heck of a journey, eh? Well, it has been for me. I for one have been fired and reinstated numerous times so it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster this end. [You are officially the Louis Walsh of this blog. - Steve] I’m now officially on probation so as long as I don’t mention I like BixMIX or JadeFromFife we should be ok. Fingers crossed!

Did I mention that this was the FINAL? I’m sure we’ll be left in no doubt if the number of times Semi Final was mentioned last week is anything to go by. Did they mention it was at WEMBLEY? Did they mention that BixMIX are the first girl group to make it to the final? They must have mentioned it in passing. That’s how it begins, anyway, with one of the Geordie BixMIXes talking about what an amazing thing it is to be in the final as a girl group. YAWN, HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE. You’re not the first girl group in space. You’re not revolutionaries, BixMIX, you are SyCo puppets whipped up in a storm of scripted publicity and hair extensions. You’re not changing the world. Heck, you’re not even changing your own underwear without someone pulling the strings.

Marcus wants to be known in every corner of the globe. I thought globes were round? Amelialily wants to do her family, and presumably her moderately creepy dad, proud. The voiceover man reminds us we are live from WEMBLEY ARENA (which is not Wembley stadium, let’s get that straight) and does the whole bit about the Saved by the Bell, the New Class of Judges looking for a global superstar. Well, someone to release a single then see how they get on before SyCo pumps any money into them. I wonder how Credibility Cardle the lazy decorator is getting on. Who?! I hear you cry. EXACTLY.

Montage of the mad people. GOLDIE! Montage of the good people. YAWN. The competition is tougher this year, apparently, so we see another montage of everyone going on about how difficult it was. I miss Johnny Robinson. He never moaned, did he?

Three acts remain. We see a picture of Wembley stadium with Wembley arena a dot in the background. We’re introduced to the finalists, BixMIX screech, Marcus doesn’t want to fall at the last hurdle and Ameliallily wants to pay back her family. All good reasons for wanting to win, no? NO.

Time to face the music!

We open on an empty stage and are asked to welcome Dermot. We go to a VT of him leaving a hotel to the Austin Powers music. This is going to be hellish, isn’t it? It is. There’s one brief moment of respite when Goldie appears, but the rest is so bad that I want to cut my optic nerve with a shard of broken mug. He arrives on the stage in a taxi and makes a big show of saying “Hello Wembley!” Fuck off, Dermot. Suitwatch – Meh, it’s awful, you know that by now. He tells us that the acts have got to work especially hard tonight. They’re not going down a mine or anything, Dermot.

He introduces the judges as people whose year would be marked by bitchy critiques. I don’t know about the others, but I’m sure it’ll be more memorable to Funsponge as the year he had to spend some time pretending to like Robbie Williams for approximately a metric fuckton of cash, but who’s counting.

They come out. Only Louis and Tulisa are holding hands. Uncle Louis is looking rather fetching in a black velvet jacket and no tie. Tulisa’s in what looks like a Vivienne Westwood polka dot number that looks nigh on impossible to sit down in. Kelly’s in a grey thing that’s slashed to the navel and Gary is in a maroon velvet suit. You would think that Louis and Gary would have checked what the other was wearing. I can only imagine the backstage drama that kicked off over that one. Dermot says the judges are all hungry for success and Louis is hungry for his dinner, whilst Tulisa tries to find a way to sit down in her dress. Didn’t think that one through, did you love?

Dermot tells us to expect flashing lights and pyrotechnics because it’s the biggest night of Amelialily, Marcus and BixMIX’s life. Moody black and white shots of everyone walking around backstage. Kelly thinks Amelialily has got what it takes, Marcus WANTS IT and Funsponge thinks he’s the winner. BixMIX just scream and Tulisa burbles some shit about it being the Next Generation Next, hold it down, feel the noise, etc.

The finalists arrive on stage from the ceiling in a lift that’s got Health and Safety hazard written all over it. They perform a group song, which is the slow one by Take That which isn’t the Flood. I see what they’ve done here, because this could be THE GREATEST DAY OF THER LIVES! The camera cuts to the judges and Tulisa’s having to fight to keep her skirt out of her face and Funsponge is no doubt counting the money he’s making from this. It ends with a choir appearing from nowhere with torches, presumably to BURN THE BIXMIX WITCHES. Dermot suggests doing Wembley every week when it’s over. Don’t say things like that. Dermot tells us that one act will be going home tonight. Numbers! Adverts!

We’re back. Who’s first? It’s Funsponge, who’s had his baby blues on the prize since the start. He introduces Marcus. Marcus has been to Liverpool in a helicopter this week, for reasons best known to the X Factor. Marcus lands in his old school playground and sings in the hall where he once had assembly. Did I mention that the whole of Marcus’ VT is soundtracked by Take That? Anyway. Marcus goes home and the producers have put lots of Vote Marcus posters in his neighbours windows. He and Funsponge and Funsponge's massive bodyguard go to visit Marcus’ mum and family. Funsponge asks if he can take his coat off and asks for a cup of tea. Funsponge asks Marcus’ nan and granddad for the gossip. Marcus then wants to spend some time, just he and his mum, LIKE IT’S ALWAYS BEEN BECAUSE HE’S IN A SINGLE PARENT FAMILY. Marcus can’t put into words how grateful he is for his mum’s sacrifice. They say they love each other and hug it out. Marcus ends his day doing a gig at Liverpool One to his adoring fans and his crying mum. HE wants this more than everything, and he’s going to do everything he can to make it happen.

Marcus arrives onstage with lots of dancing girls [because the show is STILL trying to turn him straight - although I thought I heard him sing 'he' in reference to 'my baby' - but only the first time and then it was back to straight-acting - Rad] and going “Woo!” and “X Factor final!” He is, and I’m not winding you up, singing Hey Ya by Outkast in front of a giant aeroplane, complete with dancing air traffic controllers. The performance is such good fun that you barely notice that Marcus is singing the same note over and over again. To say there’s tuning issues is a bit of an understatement, but he’s clearly having fun.

Louis orients us to the situation, as he does so very well, buy telling Marcus he’s in the final and he’s in Wembley. Who says Louis is pointless. Louis thinks he ticks all the boxes. Tulisa thinks he did it. Kelly agrees with me that it was clear he had a good time and she was excited. Funsponge thinks that Marcus has got better every week and he loves working with him and spending time with him.

Dermot asks Marcus if he heard any of that because ten thousand people are screaming his name. Marcus seems a bit confused. Dermot then does a Louis and tells Marcus that he just sang a song in front of an aeroplane and is wearing a suit. Marcus says he’s on top of the world because his dreams are coming true. Aww, bless.

Instead of awkward home town satellite links with random Z listers, we’ve got the supporters right here in Wembley with Caroline Mrs Robinson-Flack and Olly unbearable cod reggae shithead Murs. I hope this still means we get Face Pizza? Please? We go over to them and we meet Marcus’ music teacher who says that he and all of Liverpool are proud. Olly Murs shouts that he can’t hear himself. This marks the first time I’ve ever wished I was Olly Murs. Marcus’ brother has got Marcus shaved into his head and Dermot points out he looks like Theo Walcott which goes down really well with the audience of X Factor fans who obviously know who all the footballers are. [Also: racist. - Steve] Marcus thanks his music teacher and all of Liverpool.

Next up, the ONLY GROUP IN THE COMPETITION and the only girl group to ever make the final. Tulisa reminds us that it’s the final and introduces her little muffins. Amelle BixMIX, the BixMIX spokesperson tells us what an exciting week they’ve been having. BixMIX are in the car and Tulisa is leaning on Amelle BixMIX whilst other BixMIX is telling us about High Wycombe and how excited she is to go back to her old school. If I ever had to go back to my old school for any reason, it would be to let them all know that I don’t want anything to do with them. We meet Other BixMIX’s sister who is proud of all of them. Other BixMIX cries because everyone believed in her. Next up we’re going to St Jesy’s hometown of Romford to do a PA in the Liberty shopping centre. A girl with an ill advised hairband cries and St Jesy says some shit about how they wouldn’t be here today without their public. Next stop is South Shields. We’re starting at Zool BixMIX’s mum’s house. Zool BixMIX’s mum pretends that her house is where BixMIX started and that she knows the other girls who are basically strangers to her. Tulisa says that meeting the family has made her want BixMIX to win even more. How so? Have you just realised that they’re human? Amelle BixMIX then brings everyone to a theatre she sang at once and her mum says that she’s a little star. They then do a concert in South Shields and Tulisa cries because they’re SUCH GOOD FRIENDS AND SHE LOVES THEM SO MUCH.

BixMIX are proceeded by someone doing backflips on the stage, then they arrive on motorbikes. They do a rap about how they were put together at boot camp. Really.

“On this stage we formed as one
This is where it all begun
Something something unity
Four young girls that have a dream
Stand up THREE FOUR”

Where’s that shard of broken mug? I want to do my ears.

This madness now descends into You Got The Love, which featured in that programme about those four friends who are friends just like BixMIX and never stole each other’s boyfriends. I amuse myself through this double denim atrocity by trying to decide which one is which. I think St Jesy is Carrie. Zool BixMIX is definitely Samantha. Amelle BixMIX is Charlotte which makes the other one Miranda, I suppose.

Louis makes reference to starting off the competition and now it’s finishing and Louis thinks they’re the next big girl band and wants girl power back in the charts. Kelly is happy for them and wants them to take in the moment. Gary thinks its amazing that three months ago they didn’t know each other. Funsponge, because he’s been in a band you know, thinks BixMIX have all the ingredients for being a successful band, the most successful ingredient of which is FRIENDSHIP. OH PUHLEEZE. He even compliments them on their stage spacing. Tulisa is so proud she’s lost for words and tells them that they got here because of their hard work and of course, the votes.

Dermot wants to know how they’re feeling. They talk some shit about the buzz of being here. Over to Olly and Caroline! The BixMIX mums are proud. Zool BixMIX’s mum has VOTE BIXMIX written on her arm. The rest is just screaming.

Oh for the respite of some adverts. We’re promised a JLS/WandErection mashup after the break. I bet it’s not really a mashup.

We’re back. Final – check, Wembley – check, ten thousand – check.

Kelly introduces us to Amelialily. She’s going to tear the house down, apparently. But first, she’s off to her old school in Middlesbrough. She can’t believe the reaction she got from ‘the kids’. Of which she was one a few weeks ago no doubt. Various random schoolmates scream in her face before she heads off to meet Kelly, who’s pretending to be excited to meet her family. Kelly keeps her coat on in Amelialily’s house and tries not to sneer at the home baking laid out on the breakfast bar. Amelialily’s mum starts crying but creepydad is nowhere to be seen. The pink guy is back though. Kelly tells Amelialily her family is beautiful on the way to the Empire in Middlesbrough, which is apparently cool because Ellie Goulding once played there. Some more people scream in her face and cry. It’s been Amelialily’s best day and she’s going to treasure it for the rest of her life. She wants to be the winner next time she comes home.

Amelialily is doing Christina Aguilera stars in their eyes. It’s like she wants Louis to say that she reminds her of a smaller faced Xtina. Seriously, it’s a straightforward copy, except Aguilera wouldn’t be seen dead in pink DM’s. When the camera cuts to the judges, Tulisa looks terrified. It’s Ameliaguilera by numbers. She’s legs akimbo the entire time. Louis helpfully orientates us to our situation again. She was voted out in week one and came back and he urges Middlesbrough to vote. Tulisa accuses her of only giving 100%. Funsponge thought it was amazing and points out that she’s the youngest and she made it to Wembley beautifully. Kelly is so proud and urges Middlesbrough and everyone else to pick up their phones. Dermot summarises the youngest/comeback situation again and Ameliaguilera urges everyone to vote for her. Dermot then initiates a bizarre conversation about chicken and cheese which Kelly pretends to understand and she just shouts ‘Abso-freakin-loutley’.

Over to the Middlesbrough corner of the arena, Ameliaguilera’s teachers shout about how great she is. Olly talks to the pink man who thinks that Ameliaguilera is a real winner. Ameliaguilera admits to knowing the pink guy who is apparently like a brother to her. We are urged to vote for her so she can make the comeback of all comebacks. I’m starting to liken Ameliaguilera to that person who’s always in the Big Brother final because they’re so bland as not to have made an impression either way. [Come to think of it, she does have a touch of Sophie Dogface about her - Rad]

We are ‘treated’ to a recap of all tonight’s performances, and I notice that Ameliagulera’s set does not involve an automotive prop. I call fix!

Apparently now it’s time for something special. I bet that’s a lie. It is. It’s JLS and Wand Erection. We start out with JLS, who are singing “She Makes Me Wanna”. They say “JLS!” a lot. There’s fire and stuff. Purple JLS is wearing Yellow and it’s all a bit confusing for someone who is 12 years out of their teens. The showmanship of JLS is then sharply contrasted by the appearance of Wand Erection, who bound on to stage like puppies on a sugar rush shouting something about being beautiful. Marvin JLS then says “One D! JLS” and they sing their songs at the same time. This is apparently a mashup. This is not a mashup. It’s two bands of varying talent singing their songs at the same time. NOT A MASHUP. It’s basically a performance designed to appeal to every twelve year old pop fan in the country and is clearly very cynical attempt to do so. [It is also nowhere near the wonder that was 2009's JLS/Alexandra awesomeness. Where IS Alexandra, anyway? - Rad] [I know, right? I was expecting her to be the climactic final that they were all building towards, dammit. - Steve]

To the refuge of advertising, after which, the contestants will be performing with their mentors. WHERE IS MY TAINTED KOOL AID, DAMNIT?

We’re back. Final, ten thousand, Wembley. WE GET IT.

Three of the judges chairs are empty behind Dermot though, that’s because the finalists are dueting with their mentors. Dermot then goes over to Louis NoMates and laments that there’s no over 25’s left in the competition, which is a shame because Louis has been learning the bongo part of Love Shack. Louis says that if he did have a finalist, he would have done something. Dermot asks if he’d like to have performed with Kitty, and Louis replies he’d rather Johnny.

I’m sure we’re going to get vote begging VT’s again, so instead of me boring you all again, let’s just assume that Marcus wants to do it for his mum, BixMIX are doing it for each other and WIMMINS EVERYWHERE and Ameliaguilera can’t believe she’s back, yes?

Marcus first. He’s never met anyone as talented as Funsponge and he’s more than a mentor to him. The song he’s singing means a lot to him because his mum is special to him. TOLD YOU. He’s singing 'Always A Woman' for her tonight. Have you listened to the lyrics, Marcus? Please do. It’s not the song you want to sing to your mum. We’re treated to Marcus’ baby photos again. Can we get on with this please?

Funsponge is on the piano, but he’s so clearly miming he might as well be sat in another room. He takes the first line for himself, Marcus takes the next and they harmonise on the third. And so on. Louis is now missing from his chair though. Wonder what he’s up to? Bad show not watching his ‘buddies’ though. Funsponge and Marcus hug at the end. Dermot calls Marcus Fella twice and asks Funsponge what he’s like to work with. Funsponge likes that he listens. I bet you do. Dermot reels off the final checklist (Wembley, Final, 10,000) and Marcus says dream come true and talks about his mum. Flack and Murs are now with Marcus’ boss in the audience. Marcus’ boss urges us to vote for him because they want him back in Liverpool, which makes lots of sense. FACE ON FOOD KLAXON! Someone has made Marcus’ face out of marmite and toast. It’s no pizza, but it’ll do. It took an hour to make. That’s dedication. Olly eats a slice. Dermot states his disappointment at not seeing Marcus’ mum cry. Dermot loves to see the ladies cry. [He must be Team BixMix, then. - Steve]

Next up, it’s BixMIX! St Jesy says that when Tulisa walked through the door after boot camp they were so happy because Tulisa was everything they were about as a band that hadn’t performed together yet even once. They’re such good friends and Tulisa is like the fifth member of BixMIX. Tulisa is excited to be singing with gels for the first time. We are promised a medley of Empire State Of Mind and If I Ain’t Got You. JOY. I’m suspecting that it’s all a big ruse to get one of the Geordies to say Alicia Keys because that sounds really funny. They’re going to give their best performance tonight. We’ll see.

Tulisa is standing in the middle and has nicked what looks like one of Misha B’s dresses. She’s greased up her legs like Kelly in a Destiny’s Child video. Tulisa is singing lead and BixMIX are her backing singers, which I’m sure isn’t how a duet works, but who am I to question these things? We then get some St Jesy beatbox action and we’re into Empire... It’s all a bit screechy and Louis is still missing. [If he isn't preparing for his duet on 'Bad Romance' with Kitty and Goldie, I am going to SHIT A BRICK. - Steve] That’s how much he cares, everyone.

When they’re finished, Tulisa pretends that BixMIX are her friends and she’s never met more honest, lovely girls. She loves them. Amelle BixMIX says they wouldn’t want to duet with anyone else. Over to their shouty corner. Olly is with the Mayor and the Mayoress of South Shields. The mayor is incomprehensible. Someone has a BixMIX tattoo. Oh dear, that’s a long way to go to get on to television. I bet she’s glad she got that before the name change though [after? - Rad]. As Dermot reads out the BixMIX number, St Jesy and Amelle do a little forehead touch thing that makes me want to eat my own face off in embarrassment. Tulisa then puts her head on St Jesy’s and I’m actually contemplating seriously hurting myself to MAKE IT STOP.

Oh, I so look forward to you, ad breaks. You are my respite.

When we return, Dermot urges us to social network and Jedward sell us the app. Lovely.

One more duet and it’s time for Ameliaguilera and Kelly Poundland (I’ve resisted it so far, c’mon, it’s the final). Kelly lies that she knew Ameliaguilera had something from the start and glosses over the fact that she ditched her in the first week. Ameliaguilera thinks that Kelly is the BEST MENTOR EVER and she never thought she’d be friends with Kelly. Oh Ameliaguilera, she’s not your friend. They’re doing River Deep, Mountain High. This could be amazing. Could.

Kelly is the only mentor with the good grace to let her act sing first. They tell each other to come on, and take it away lots. It’s serviceable, but it’s not THIS. Nothing could ever beat that. Nothing. Come to think of it, it’s not even this, if we’re talking in general, not just X Factor terms.

Dermot asks Kelly why we should vote for Ameliaguilera. She doesn’t have the good grace to say it’s because she ditched her in the first week and she feels bad. Ameliaguilera says that Kelly is the most important person in her life right now. Let’s see what her dad has to say about that... Back to Flack and Murs, and it’s screechy and pink in her corner. Her odd dad says she’s amazing and reminds us that she’s seventeen. Someone’s made a cocktail in her honour and Olly downs it because he’s an arsehole. I hope he gets a mega ice cream headache. Dermot is at great pains to point out it’s not an alcoholic drink. Dermot reminds Ameliaguilera that her dad is very passionate about her and the whole internet raises its collective eyebrows.

Dermot tells us that that is the last performance from the finalists tonight. Numbers! Yet another unnecessary recap of what we saw mere minutes ago!

Leona Lewis time! Dermot tells us that she won in 2006 with a voice that was out of this world. Shame she didn’t have a personality to match. She’s sold 20 MILLION RECORDS WORLDWIDE though, and has had 30 GLOBAL NUMBER ONES, 34 PLATINUM RECORDS and her name is LEONA LEWIS.

Leona Lewis is singing Hurt by Nine Inch Nails, but it’s the version that Johnny Cash did. There’s an artily untuned piano playing. This performance seemed to split the internet in four different directions of rage.

1. How dare she cover a Nine Inch Nails song

2. How dare she cover a Johnny Cash song

3. How dare all the people saying she’s covering a Johnny Cash song not acknowledge that it’s a Nine Inch Nails song.

4. How dare all the music snobs dismiss a cover version just because it’s being sung by an X Factor winner.

Which camp are you in? Please phone in and let us know. I was in the secret sub group of number five which hated it mainly because it was shit and she clearly didn’t understand what she was singing about. [I was in secret sub group number six, which was 'I wish she'd do more stuff like 'Collide'.' - Steve] Her nose is looking a bit different though. Had some work done, dear? The judges are back in their outfits though. Leona tells us that she can’t imagine how nervous the contestants are, even though she’s one of the few people who have actually been in their position.

Dermot issues the five minute warning. This is nearly over! BOOBLAY FOR THE MAMS after the break.

After the break, the voting is closed. Over to the judges table and Louis is asked what he thought of the duets. HE thought they all nailed it and he didn’t know that Tulisa could sing and Kelly put it down. Tulisa is so nervous but it’s out of her hands now. Kelly thinks everyone that performed tonight was incredibly amazing. Dermot wonders if Funsponge is feeling the pressure, but he can’t call it.

Next up, a friend of the X Factor. It’s BOOBLAY FOR THE MAMS! [Bublé's in the fridge. - Steve] He’s sold 35 MILLION RECORDS WORLDWIDE, he’s a MULTI PLATNUM SELLING ARTIST and he’s had 4 SOLD OUT WORLD TOURS and is the BIGGEST SELLING MALE ARTIST OF THE DECADE and he’s here tonight hawking his Christmas album. BOOBLAY FOR THE MAMS seems to be suffering a bit of Aguilera face bloat these days, but that’s the only remarkable thing about the performance. [He's starting to look like Arg from The Only Way Is Essex. - Steve] I’m going to the loo. When I come back, Dermot is plugging BOOBLAY FOR THE MAMS’ Christmas album, and Booblay plugs his Christmas special which JUST SO HAPPENS to star Kelly and Funsponge.

Another break? Already? The X factor competition offers us the chance to see Booblay, Bruno Mars or Jesse J and some tickets for the live shows. OH MARVELOUS. WHERE IS MY PHONE SO I CAN PAY A FORTUNE TO VOTE.

We’re back... Who is through? I don’t know Dermot, why don’t you tell us? Finalists and judges are back on the stage. Who will it be? Stop milking it, Dermot. In no particular order, first one through is... BIXMIX! Oh the humanity. YOU FELL FOR IT, GBP. Kelly looks genuinely pleased then the camera does an upskirt on Tulisa. Second act still in the final is... Marcus! He and Funsponge are as gracious as ever. He hugs Ameliaguilera and she does a very good job at hiding how gutted she is. We see Ameliaguilera’s journey. From shouty sixteen year old to shouty seventeen year old. What a transition! What a journey! If you hadn’t have been out in week one you never would have been here. Dermot wishes her well in her career. She thanks everyone that voted for her, and she’s happy because all she ever wanted was to make it to the final. She’s seventeen!

Dermot brings back the final two. This is your final two, Britain. BixMIX representing WIMMIN and Marcus representing... ER... people who are functionally good but a bit bland. BixMIX are going to try hard tomorrow because they want to win and Marcus promises not to let us down. We’ll see. Lines have re-opened and your votes still count.

So who will win? I don’t actually care. Join Steve for his recap of the final to find out.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Misha B Gone

Results Week 9/ Top Four – 4th December 2011

Even though I got fired in my live show recap for falling under the BixMIX spell, I’m back to give you the results. Pray for me, Bitch Factor readers, for I had to watch the Biebster twice to do this and I think that qualifies me for some kind of medal. It surely earns me my reinstatement for tonight, no? [Fine, but you're on probation, lady. - Steve]

We begin with the camera pointing at the floor. It swings up to reveal BixMIX on one side of Dermot, and Marcus MCELDERRY, AmeliaLILY and MishaBYEBYE (I would type SPOILER here, but we all know what’s going to happen) on the other. Marcus has adopted an AmeliaLILY style pose in her honour. There’s a foreboding DUFF noise and Dermot welcomes us to the Semi Final results. He seems to be wearing a black suit again, but seems to have straightened out his hankie which means he’s got his shopping but seems to have, yet again, forgotten to purchase a sense of shame.

The crowd whoops and we get a recap of last night. I hope Tulisa hurt her hand banging it on the table last night, is that wrong? Anyway, we are told YET AGAIN that it’s our vote and our vote alone that decides the result tonight, but first, we have to sit through the Biebs and Kelly doing her awkward singing judge section. Funsponge says “semi final here we come” punctuated by punching at the camera, Louis reminds us that it’s all up to us, and hopes we get it right and Funsponge tells him to go back to his dressing room whilst Kelly laughs, in a segment that can only be designed to make them look like hideous bullies. Louis isn’t bothered though, because he was totally going back to his dressing room to get away from him anyway, so there.

IT’S TIME, TO FACE... oh you know by now. TITLES.

We are introduced to Dermot again, who swings an imaginary bat to the final DUFF of the music, mainly because he’s a twat. He reminds us that the Biebs is coming, and we’ll all have to pretend Kelly Rowland is AMAZING. We’re deciding who’s through to the WEMBLEY FINAL.

He introduces us to the judges, who he hopes without their power will be meek, mild and extrembably polite, the X Factor judges! No hand holding at all tonight. Louis is in a black suit and shirt combo, Tulisa’s in a silver minidress from the Eighties, Kelly’s in a longer shimmery dress which is also silver but she’s wearing it with blue shoes so it’s TOTALLY DIFFERENT and Gary is in his Lord of the Manor usual, but is mixing it up with a flower pin.

Thanks to us, so we’ve only got ourselves to blame, the charity single is now number one. We’re having a group song, which is surely awkward with four acts. We start with BixMIX and I realise that they’re murdering the pop classic, Hold On by Wilson Phillips, which I’m absolutely sure has nothing to do with the DVD release of Bridesmaids. AmeliaLILY and Misha BYEBYE come in and it’s such a girl’s song I wonder where Marcus comes in, but he has the break down bit all to himself. The whole thing seems like a bit of a BixMIX propaganda film. They sing the whole thing to each other, because THEY’RE SUCH GOOD FRIENDS AND THIS IS THE TYPE OF SONGS GOOD FRIENDS SING TO EACH OTHER WHEN THEY’RE OUT BEING GOOD FRIENDS AND NOT STEALING BOYFRIENDS AND REPRESENTING ALL WOMEN. Seriously, I’ve had enough of this now. I read a magazine interview with them yesterday and it was all about how they don’t like to get drunk and they’re good girls and how much they love each other and the whole thing made me want to vomit my insides out. [I really, really hate how obvious the pro BixMIX agenda is and how people seem to actually be falling for it. And I feel really sorry for all four of them as they seem a bit young for all this crap - Rad]

For those who are wondering, AmeliaLILY did finish the song with her legs akimbo, as is the norm and is exactly how things should be. When the song is over the judges get to their feet in what is surely the most contrived standing ovation in the history of the universe.

Recap of last night with backstage reactions next, starting with Motown week. Misha BYEBYE says that X Factor is what dreams are made of and Tulisa thinks that Motown week was made for her. AmeilaLILY loved it, surprisingly and Kelly is proud of her. BixMIX have to do better because they have to get to the final, Louis reiterates almost exactly the same line in the corridor. Tulisa says they will and Kelly all but tells him to STFU and even puts her hand out in a ‘shut up’ gesture. Not nice. Marcus MCELDERRY is painted as a bit cocky backstage. Probably more BixMIX propaganda there. Songs which are songs section next. MishaBYETHEN hopes she’s done enough. AmeliaLILY wants to make it to the final so much she can’t put it into words. You just did love. Louis thinks she shines, shines like a star, shining so bright, like the star that she are. MarcusTERRIBLEPOSTMAN is painted as cocky again, and Funsponge declares attacking the song choice as the lowest form of attack. BOKAY. Cos you’ve NEVER done that. Zool BixMIX is proud of her BixMIX buddies and she knows they can do it. Funsponge doesn’t think they’re up to semi final standard, which is fair.

Dermot tells us that there’s an awful lot of nail biting going on backstage and invites us to join him for another episode of World’s Shortest and Most Pointless Satellite Link. He talks to Marcus first. Dermot asks him about three questions at once and he answers the last one which is about whether he is nervous. YOU JUST SAID EVERYONE WAS NERVOUS, SHEESH MAN. He asks how AmeliaLILY would feel if she made the final and she thinks it would literally be the best thing that could happen to her. She’s been on a JOURNEY and she wants to get to the end. Misha BUHBYE is asked the same question and gives pretty much the same answer. Dermot then tells BixMIX that no girls have ever made it to the final. He corrects himself, but the statement has only recently been as pointless as the one about girl bands. Amelle BixMIX who is the spokesperson on the matters of how they are feeling spouts something about how it’s all amazing and she hopes people keep voting for them. Dermot wishes them all luck.

After the break, BIEBER. Adverts. That New Years Eve film looks like it’s treading the so bad it’s good/total car crash line verrrrry carefully.

And we’re back. We’re reminded that Bieber is only seventeen. His montage boasts 13 MILLION WORLDWIDE ALBUM SALES, PLATINUM ALBUM IN 26 COUNTRIES, 23 MILLION SINGLE SALES and finally, OVER 2 BILLION YOUTUBE HITS. I was hoping that NOT THE DADDY would have been added on there, but sadly, no.

The Biebs is dressed up as Michael Jackson, complete with leather gloves, singing a cod reggae song that Olly Murs would have dismissed as a step too cheesy. It’s more Sid Owen that Shabba Ranks. More John Alford than Alton Ellis. Are you getting the point here? It’s AWFUL. [And about the least Christmassy a Christmas song could be - Rad] The only positive I can glean from the whole experience is that he’s lost the backwards hair, probably heard that BISCUIT copied it. The most exciting thing that has happened so far is that he’s sat on a bench. I really don’t have the words for how bad the lyrics are. It rhymes “I know” with “Mistletoe” and has the word “shorty” in it lots. He does a really embarrassing bit where he sits on the judges desk then sings at Kelly. He sings at Tulisa with a little less conviction and I’m 99% sure he winks at Louis.

Dermot is sent out on stage to interview him. He looks like a man with a gun to his head, which to all intents and purposes he is. Dermot tells off the Bieber for flirting with the judges again and he apologises that it’s a habit which is a kind of dodgy thing to say as that lady said that he likes older wom[REDACTED BY BITCH FACTOR LAWYERS]. Dermot says that’s who the Bieber is. Justin plugs his new album and it’s all over. Thank goodness for that.

After the break, KELLY ROWLAND. Audition for next year, will you? KTHANX. Adverts! That advert for Black Mirror must’ve been pricey...

And we’re back, but WHAT’S THIS? There’s a vacant seat on the judging table. It’s KELLY TIME. But not, because Dermot wants to speak to the judges. Louis is asked as the impartial judge who shone and he thinks it’s AmeliaLILY. Dermot makes reference to Tulisa’s desk bashing and says it was because she’s so passionate about BixMIX. She is. She prays that people are voting for them because they deserve it. Dermot loves her shoulder pads. Dermot calls Marcus Funsponge’s boy again and asks if he thinks he’s done enough. Funsponge thinks that his second song wasn’t as good as his first then makes reference to how consistent he’s been. Is that apart from last night? I don’t understand.

Dermot gives us our five minute warning then notes that a judge is missing because they are performing. He gives Louis a little hug and tells him his time will come. Dermot introduces Kelly as a Multi Million selling popstar from America who we have adopted as our own, the X Tacter’s (sic) very own Kelly Rowland! The Kelly montage consists mainly of Destiny’s Child. 80 MILLION RECORDS SOLD, 20 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS AND 5 GRAMMY AWARDS probably refers to them too.

Kelly is descending from the ceiling. My god, she’s doing a talky bit. It’s too good not to transcribe.

“I’ve been here for a while, when I was a child I was destined to be. Look at me now. I command this. I’ve seen a lot and I’ve heard a lot and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but now, I can feel the love”. Cue ‘When Love Takes Over’ kicking in. It continues... “It’s time to give it back. I love you, UK. Are you ready? Here I am.” All delivered without an ounce of self awareness. She’s wearing a corset made out of sparkle which seems to have a tail on it. The stage is all smoke and lasers then she takes off her corset, strips down to sparkly underwear and begins to sing ‘Work’ then it goes into ‘Down for Whatever’. It’s an Honest to goodness medley about making love on the floor and getting creative. It is a medley, but as the marvellous @SophieHaII pointed out on twitter, was sadly missing this Rowland Gem, which once made me cry in an alcohol and hormone fuelled state. She’s COULD’VE BEEN A MOVIE STAR BUT HER LIFE WAS STOLE. Anyway, Kelly’s doing some BeyonceDancing, only slightly less convincingly and we finish on a bit of ‘Commander’. I’m not entirely sure what just happened, but Dermot says “Kelly Rowland” then “Thanks Kelly Rowland” then asks her if her dancers were fit enough and if they were mail order. She replies that she loves her dancers. He then asks her if this is her day job, and she replies that so many people helped to make it a great performance, especially the people from her label.

Her album is out tomorrow! COINCIDENCE. Dermot asks Louis what he thought and Louis thinks she put it down, girl. A nation groans. She reminds him of a young Tina Turner.

Lines are closed! After the break, who’s in the final? Win a JLS holiday etc. Adverts! Oh look, the Boots Adverts can get more awful and BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES, THEY’VE GIVEN PEREZ HILTON A SHOW. *Orders some Kool Aid and a religious zealot*

We’re back! So who’s going into the final? One final round of vote begging, even though the lines are closed. AmeliaLILY still can’t put it into words. Kelly thinks she is someone who stood out from the beginning so she ditched her in the first live show, but that’s glossed over. She wants to be in the final for her family too. Kelly thinks she’s got an amazing voice. Amelia likens being in the final to a dream becoming reality because it’s her ambition to win.

Marcus didn’t know he would get this far when he first auditioned, but Funsponge knew all along. He applied because he wanted to better the lives of himself and his family. He’s grown so much over the weeks as a person and a performer and being in the final would be out of this world. Funsponge thinks he has to be in the final because he can sing, dance and entertain. Marcus has dreamed of this for years and years and he would be devastated to go home so close to the end.

Kelly was blown away by Misha B the first time she heard her sing and she gets excited every time she gets on stage because she knows she’s going to bring something exciting. Misha says getting the yes was the best feeling and she can’t believe out of the thousands that auditioned she’s in the final four. Kelly makes reference to her having a hard time on the show but she’s watched her grow as a person and an artist. Misha wants to be in the final and doesn’t want it snatched away.

Sorry, I know we’re nearly finished, but what is the point of this section? The lines are closed now, aren’t they. Sorry, was being silly there, there is no point. On to BixMIX. Tulisa remembers their first performance. Amelle BixMIX tells the other BixMIXES that she loves them and does a cry. They’re so real! Tulisa hammers home the point that they’re not just singers, they’re normal girls and BEST FRIENDS. Amelle BixMIX doesn’t know what she’d do without the other MIXES. It would mean so much for them to get to the final.

But never mind all that, the results are in. Everyone is back on stage with their mentors. BixMIX look like the girls do in Taken when they’re being brought to the auction. Dermot wishes everyone luck.

First one through is...BixMIX. There’s lots of screaming. Also through is Marcus. He and Funsponge do a little dance whilst Kelly does a ‘come ON’ face. Dermot points out they’re both Kelly’s acts, but only one of them is going through. It’s AmeliaLILY. Told you! Amelia tells Misha she loves her and has to be dragged off.

We see Misha’s X Factor journey, from unpolished to fierce, to cowed and back to semi-fierce again. Misha wants to thank everyone at the X Factor as the crowd chant her name. She thanks Kelly as the best mentor in the world and thanks everyone for sticking by her. Dermot calls her one of the most creative acts they’ve ever had and asks her to sing again.

She starts out with a rap that tells us the B stands for Believe, and that Dermot told her so. She then goes on to sing that Jesse J song again and it marks the third week in a row that it’s appeared on the results show [and yet it still fails to be any cop - Rad]. Good job. Tulisa at least has the decency to cry, because if it wasn’t for her, Misha B would definitely be in the final.

Dermot reminds us that four minus one is three and brings them out on to the stage. They all hop about. Dermot wants to know how they’re all feeling. AmeliaLILY can’t believe it and thanks everyone who voted for her. He reminds BixMIX that they’re the first girl group to make the final. St Jesy tells them that they can’t believe it before tearily thanking everyone for voting for them. He calls Marcus fella and he promises that he’ll keep working hard.

Next week, one of those three will win and guests will include Coldplay. Who on earth could resist? [Well... - Steve] Join us then to see how it pans out.

Final thanks to Bitch Factor fan and birthday girl Jill Boyd for the title of this post.