Saturday, October 29, 2011

Scare tactics

Top 10: 29th October 2011

Last week: there was great confusion over what actually constituted "rock music", but going by this brief clips that we are given, it involves squeaking off-key with your arm stretched out in front of you. Good to know. The judges had entirely spontaneous fights which were in no way connected to the show's gradually declining ratings and the negative slant to most of this year's press coverage. THERE IS DRAMA ON THIS SHOW, YOU GUIZE! Oh, and Sami Brookes got sent off on a round-the-world cruise, which will hopefully be like the one Marlene from Neighbours went on that never actually came back. This week, we're down to ten contestants, and it has been The Most Dramatic Week Ever (it says here). Judges At War! Contestants In Meltdown! Judges Going AWOL! Viewers Switching To BBC1! Tonight, it's Hallowe'en, and fighting for your votes are: Tulisa's groups, BixMIX and The RISK; Louis's over-25s, Johnny ROBINSON and Kitty BRUCKNELL; Kelly's girls, Misha B, Janet DEVLIN and Sophie HASNOPERSONALITY; and Gary's boys, Craig CUSTARDCREAM, Marcus COLLINS and ArseTAT. It's Time! To Face! Low Ratings!

Titles. Giant X flies in from outer space, travelling at great speed, landing on Arsetat's rear as he finishes adding BixMix's name to the list of girls he's had.

Six girls in PVC catsuits stand on stage awaiting Derwood's arrival; the doors part and he salutes, at which point the girls take formation and escort him down the stage. Are they his bodyguards? His entourage? His rider? We may never know. Dermot does a few moves upon hitting his mark, since at this point he's beginning to think getting himself on Strictly next year might be a sensible career move. He informs us that our Saturday night starts right here, and tells us that the curse of Hallowe'en has already struck, since Kelly is seeing Mathew Knowles for emergency career counselling not well this week. Fortunately, someone was able to step into her shoes at the last minute: one of the show's few most successful winners and a platinum-selling artist. Oh yes, it's Alexandra BURKE! (Obligatory.) [Sing it GIRL! - Helen] The judges enter, and since there are no shots of Alexandra looking solemn while flames dance around her, some shots of her videos are used instead. They enter to the tune of 'Ghostbusters', and Gary is shamelessly trying to amp up the crowd. This wouldn't look as bad if he weren't dressed like Man At C&A yet again. Alexandra has a sequinned dress on with a sort of Bat-Signal on the front, which is presumably the emergency flare the show used to summon her here in the first place. Tulisa is in a leather catsuit with a little cat-ear headband accessory, and Louis always, Louis.

Gary pretends that Kelly will be upset to (a) have missed the show and (b) not witnessed Derwood's dancers. Derwood asks for Tulisa's thoughts on this, and Tulisa was not paying attention, so she has nothing to say. Eventually she catches up and lies that everyone loves Kelly and that she definitely did not hide Kelly's passport in her bra to make sure Kelly couldn't be here this week or anything like that WHAT STOP LOOKING AT ME, I'M JUST A CAT, MEOW! Quite. Derwood asks Alexandra if she's looking forward to this, and she is - she's here in loco parentis for Kelly's girls, and she's not taking any shit from "this one over here" - apparently meaning Louis, but everyone thinks she means Tulisa, and it ends up being much funnier as a result, even though Kelly and Tulisa are DEFINITELY BEST FRIENDS.

Up first tonight are The Risk, and Tulisa mentions that they've had "the toughest week ever", because war broke out and the economy collapsed and a deadly virus swept through--oh, hang on a minute, they just lost a member. Never mind. They've got a new one! Plucked from Nu Bile! So without further ado are Three Quarters Of The Risk And Some Bloke (name to be confirmed later in the week, probably) [Or, really, one bloke from an original boy band, two solo singers that were then 2/5 of the first version of The Risk and one of Nu Bile. Oh sod it, can we just call them the Sugablokes already? - Rad]. A little caption flashes up "Thursday" in the VT as Andrew, Charley and Derry announce that Ashley has just dropped a bombshell on them and announced that he doesn't want to be in the group any more. Ashley tells us separately that the whole experience is not for him, and he doesn't want to be in a boyband, but this is the Hardest And Saddest Thing He's Ever Had To Do In His Life. No disrespect, love, but it's hardly The Hunger Games, is it? Tulisa says she couldn't believe it when she heard, and counsels Ashley that he has to do what's right for him. Ashley departs, and then it's Friday, Friday, Gotta Get Down On Friday and the group are rehearsing as a three-piece. They phone Tulisa as Andrew (I think?) tells them they want a fourth member and they know who it is - they want Ashford from NuBile. They phone Ashford and ask him if he wants to join The Risk. He does! [OF COURSE he does - Helen] Tulisa clarifies that she definitely cleared this with the other judges, and then Ashford meets the other boys in the studio (where there are weird "keep out" temporary security gates halfway across the stage, for some reason). Ashford is excited to be back in the competition for the 465th time, and Tulisa says that she knows her (new) boys will not let her down.

Three Quarters Of The Risk And Some Other Bloke are singing 'Thriller' with some fairly ropey harmonies. I know they're working on about two days' rehearsal (at best) as a four-piece, but the whole thing feels a bit like a technical rehearsal to me - it's lifeless, tentative and a bit meandery on stage, and the vocals, as previously stated, are not impressive. [My favourite bit was when they put up their promo shot and it was four blokes in silhouette because they haven't got a picture of The Risk v3.0 yet - Rad]

Louis tells them that he's always loved the band, and welcomes Ashford back. He thinks they have something special. Alexandra says it was a fantastic to the show, and tells Ashford that as a new member he needs to "find that balance of being a bit more organic", whatever that means, but she loves that they're a fantastic group, and they need to work out where they sit amongst the JLSes and One Directions of this world. Deep below in the discount bucket, I would imagine. Gary says that before he really liked them, but how he REALLY REALLY likes them. Wow, steady on Borelow, don't pop a rib or anything. He breaks out the whole "Take That lost a member, by the way" story and says that at this point you either lie down and lose, or you get up fighting. He neglects to mention that in his case, Take That sort of sat on the floor whimpering, did a Bee Gees cover and then all went off to embark on unsuccessful solo careers. Tulisa says that they've fought their way through this week and made their own decision to get it together (read: Tulisa was busy with other stuff and did not give a shit).

Derwood asks Ashford what the last 48 hours have been like for him, and the answer is "life-changing". Fair enough. Ashford thanks the other boys for inviting him back, and they're all "eh, you almost have the same name as the other one, it was a no-brainer".
Andrew says that you have to move fast on this show, and that Ashford was the best replacement they could've thought of. And that Sami Brookes wasn't answering her phone.

Over to Louis and the overs next, with a little bit of Johnny. Johnny tells us that the audience reaction was great last week, but the crowning glory was Gary liking his performance. Gary interviews that while he liked Johnny last week, he needs to "step it up big time if he's going to maintain my interest". I think the "step it up" part here basically means "be as pedestrian as you possibly can". Johnny says that he's being recognised everywhere, and he loves to have a chat with people. He goes for a night out and gets a free pina colada. He says that he was never popular and didn't fit in when he was going up, and now it's all changed around because people were chanting his name when he went out, and this time they weren't even waving pitchforks. As if to demonstrate, someone who looks like a tidier version of Cher Lloyd runs up to him in the street and tells him that he rocks. Johnny says that he wants Gary to get "right behind me" tonight, and I'm not going to make that joke because it cheapens us all.

Heeeeeeeeeere's Johnny! ("That's from The Shining," he tells us.) He's singing 'That Ole Devil Called Love', in a bid to give something to all of those people who are all "WE WANT TO HEAR JOHNNY SING THE SOUL CLASSICS", with the unfortunate side effect that those of us who want to hear Johnny being the high-camp novelty act he was born to be are likely to be really bored. I can't tell if he's just enunciating the word "heart" really poorly or if he genuinely is singing "rocks in my eyes". Or possibly, "rocks in my arse". Hey, whatever works for you. It's a disappointingly static performance, though I will concede that his voice sounds all right. He can clearly hold a tune, he just doesn't have that much of a range. It finishes, and the pianist gets out there quicker than you can say "free sandwiches in the green room". Gary Barlow rushes the stage - no seriously - and hugs him, and gets a big kiss not-quite-on-the-lips for his trouble.

Tulisa shouts that he "finally got to sing a ballid!" [I can't believe nobody's corrected her yet. It's bordering on cruel. Unless she has and she's just brazening it out. It's probably that. - Helen] She whinges that Louis has been hiding his skills for far too long - I'd argue that Louis was merely encouraging him to display a different set of skills, personally - and that she found him really sexy tonight. Of course you did, dear. Alexandra tells him it was a great song choice and he "sung your little heart out". She wishes him "the best of luck, because you are very special, I do adore you." Alexandra is so patronising. I LOVE IT. Gary tells him "it's that simple, that's all you needed to do, because you're not a novelty act, you're a great singer." Gary's like one of those annoying teachers who refuses to fail his students in case it harms their self-esteem. There's nothing wrong with being a novelty act, and I'd argue there's far more longevity in it for Johnny career-wise than being some sub-Rebecca Jazznoodle bore standing rigid on the spot droning through the classics. [I think the lesson here is that we all know who Chico is - Helen] Louis thinks we could be in Ronnie Scott's tonight. But we're not, we're here. Regrettably. Derwood thinks that winning the competition is no longer something Johnny cares about now he's been able to grope Barlow. He asks if he would like to do more boring shit. Johnny would. Once again, Borelow ruins everything.

Ad break. That cow in the KFC advert can complain all she wants - if she insists on bringing fast food back to the office and stinking it out for the rest of the afternoon, being asked to do a bit of extra work is the least of her problems. I'd have her sacked for lesser crimes than that.

Derwood welcomes us back to the show and begs us to care about the show on Facebook or Twitter. In lieu of Kelly, Alexandra introduces the first of the girls: Sophie. Alex has taken to this like she's been doing it all her life, incidentally. If there's a retooling of the line-up next year (I wouldn't bet against it, and also emphasis on the "tool"), I wouldn't be surprised to see her name in the hat. This week, Sophie has mostly been having some time off, and going to visit some friends and family. She has also been not wearing her seat-belt correctly in the process, because she is WILD AND CRAZY LIKE THAT. She returns to the pub that she worked at, and informs us that when the judges called her shy and timid, the whole of Islington was in hysterics because they know she's not like that. That's right, she's HILARIOUS AND OUTGOING IN NORTH LONDON! If you think she's boring, then you just don't appreciate her SPECIAL ISLINGTON HUMOUR! A friend/relative/random person dragged in off the street tells her that everyone's supporting her, even those who barely know her. There's even a newspaper cutting from the local paper in which someone has referred to Sophie as "popular" and "bubbly", like she's just been murdered or something. Sophie vows to go out there tonight and DO IT FOR ISLINGTON, WHERE SHE IS A LAUGH RIOT!

She's singing 'Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)' fairly tunelessly and in a very emphasised London accent, as if to remind us that she's from Islington, where she is funny. I live in hope that when she gets to the chorus a thumping dance beat will kick in and it will turn out she's actually doing 'Shot You Down' by the Audio Bullys, but no such luck. Instead, she continues grasping for notes that elude her as various shirtless men do erotic contemporary dance behind her. Sadly, they're being lit "atmospherically", so there's not much interesting to see. It ends. Hooray!

Louis tells Sophie that she's a great singer and a really nice girl, but he's not sure about the song choice - there's something missing for him, like she's a secretary that sings at the weekends. At the moment, Louis, that's what they all are, that's how the show works. Sophie snorts "no-ho!" and then realises where she is. BOO! STONE THE ARROGANT BITCH TO DEATH! Tulisa thought she was nervous tonight, but thinks she had no reason to be because she nailed it, adding: "I thought you were starting to find your own tone, vocally, there was a bit of a Kate Nash twang in there tonight as well." If only the audience had the presence of mind to give this contradiction the slow clap it deserves. Gary points out that this is the fourth week running that she's chosen to sing a dreary ballad, and while he loves her voice, her song choices are as dull as dishwater. I love it when Gary criticises people for being boring. Now I want Louis to start criticising people for being Irish. Alexandra says that she'll "keep it real" and that there were "some slight tuning problems, babe" but that she's a beautiful performer, and that the song choice was appropriate for Hallowe'en. "Just remember each week, shine, because you can shine," she finishes. Amazing. Guest Judge Alexandra Burke is my new favourite thing. Sophie tells Derwood that she loves the song, and of course she wants to do an upbeat song, and if she gets kept in, she'd like to do that. Derwood takes Louis to task, and Louis says that he's looking for the next big thing, and she's not it. "Take it up with Kelly when she gets back," Derwood shrugs, clearly over it in a massive way.

From here we segue to the boys, and Gary Borelow. Who's the sacrificial lamb being thrown on first in this category? Marcus, obviously. Marcus doesn't have much of a storyline this week other than how he is very very nervous, so it's time for Uncle Gary to lean back in his rocking chair, take another puff on his pipe, and talk about how he still gets nervous even after 48 years in the music industry. He encourages Marcus to watch his performance back from last week (something that Arsetat is already doing each week, although he prefers to do it in the privacy of his room while masturbating furiously). Gary tells Marcus that he's really good, and they should build on that each week. He also advises him to stand behind that screen each week and say "I'm the man."

The Man is singing 'Superstition' by Stevie Wonder, in a strange world where its iconic bassline has been replaced by that from INXS's 'Need You Tonight'. Marcus has a cane, and a bunch of male dancers. Somehow I doubt Dermot is planning to ask him if he'll be trying to shag any of them later. Despite my distaste for the backing track, I think Marcus is pretty good - he's one of the very few contestants this year with stage presence, and his voice is reliably strong. It's just a shame that the one time they gave him a decent soul song to sing, they had to give him this awful arrangement.

Louis tells Marcus that he brings it every week, and that he's got everything. Tulisa says that Marcus nailed the Hallowe'en theme. "You went for it, you weren't afraid to put a bit of make-up on." I doubt this was much of a new experience for him, somehow. She thinks he had fun and made everyone else have fun. Alexandra thinks he worked that stage, and he's got a great look. Gary's all "you totally delivered!" with both thumbs up, like a very embarrassing dad. Marcus tells Derwood that this was one of his favourite performances, and he loved being able to do a bit of dancing as well.

More ads. Mmm, pizza.

On our return, Derwood mingles with Marcus's mum in the audience (you know, the one he's going to REPAY WITH PRIDE) [Still vomiting here - Helen] and then Alexandra introduces the next act: Misha B. Misha talks about not having been thrilled with last week's performance, and always worrying about what the judges will say to her. Somehow, I doubt she was expecting that ten-ton truck Tulisa sent hurtling in her direction last week, though. We revisit Tulisa being absurdly unprofessional, and Misha admits that it upset her to the point where she couldn't quite believe it was happening. You and about ten million viewers, love. We see shots of all the press coverage it gained (LOOK! THE TABLOIDS STILL CARE ABOUT US!) and Misha discusses how she's behaved like a bully in the past and she's not proud of it, but she wants to change. Over footage of Misha walking sombrely in the park, she talks about her tragic childhood and how she made mistakes and she's genuinely sorry if she's upset anyone, but she was saved by music and has never bullied anyone on the show. "I want people to love me for what they see on the stage and off the stage," she reasons, while wearing a "say no to racism" t-shirt. "I want people to know that I'm not a bad person." Dear God, they are properly Humble Danyl-ing this girl and no mistake. That's TERRIBLE. I don't want endless VTs of Misha being contrite and HUMBLE, I want to see her being brilliantly talented and entirely unapologetic about it. But obviously, we can never have that, because strong confident young black women need to learn their place. THIS FUCKING SHOW, I SWEAR TO GOD.

Misha is singing 'Tainted Love' with a load of puppet gimps, and she's had her hair styled into a giant rhino horn. If this performance ends with her running headfirst towards the judges and spearing Tulisa with it, I will vote for this girl until my fingers bleed. Alexandra Burke is loving it all, by the way, and having a proper boogie in her seat. Misha inserts her obligatory freestyle section, which includes her saying "it's too late to apologise", which I hope is aimed at Tulisa. At least despite the subdued nature of her VT, her vocals are still amazing and she's still more talented than everyone else in the show put together. Alexandra leaps to her feet when the song's over. Good girl.

Louis says it's rare to see someone as vocally and visually talented as she is, and he knows that if Kelly was here she'd say "you put it down, baby girl". Louis Walsh doing an impersonation of Kelly Rowland is every bit as amazing as you would expect, by the way. Tulisa tells Misha she smashed it tonight, and that she was born a star. So far so good, then: "I want to let you know that anything I say to you is only because I want you to be the best you can be and be as successful as you can be, and the point I was trying to make is that you don't have to fight any more for your right to be here, because you deserve it, I relate to you and I get you, so I'm letting you know that I know that." What utter, utter horseshit. Your point last week, Tulisa, whatever it was, was definitely not "you don't have to fight for your right to be here", and if you genuinely want Misha to be the best that she can be, I would suggest you start by NOT CALLING HER A BULLY ON NATIONAL TELEVISION, because I hear the voting public don't really like that sort of thing, and that mud sticks. God, that little bit of backpedalling was shameful. Go fuck yourself, Tulisa - I'm done with you. Seriously. Gary tells Misha that she was "out of the stratosphere" tonight, and that it was like she was signed by a record company at the age of nine and developed for 10 years. I find it deeply saddening that this is the only way that Gary can imagine a 19-year-old displaying such an obvious suitability for a pop career. Alexandra tells her that she's had so much pressure put on her shoulder, and that she needs to ignore it all and focus on herself. She adds that vocally, Misha never disappoints, and that she can't wait to see her completely stripped down (ooer) and showing everyone what she's made of. Misha seems genuinely touched, and since she is NEWLY HUMBLE, she doesn't say much beyond a meek "thank you", much to Dermot's horror, because filling dead air is really not his strong suit. Also not his strong suit? Suits.

Ads. Martine McCutcheon still taking care of her gut, presumably because it's only sensible when you're naturally full of shit like she is.

We're return to the last of the girls: Janet Devlin. With an entirely straight face, Hideous Yelping She-Beast Janet congratulates herself for last week's performance, "the most upbeat one I've done", despite the song being so utterly dreary than even Adele was thinking "fuck's sake, put a bit of BOSH on it, love." Janet is enjoying being in That London, but she is missing home. Her parents Patricia and Aquinas (HEE HEE) have been informing her that the locals back home in Gortin are dead behind her and that. There's posters at the top and the bottom of the village! They've sold 100 t-shirts with her face on! Blimey, with support like that I'm surprised the rest of the contestants haven't conceded defeat already. Her parents are very proud of her, rather than being deeply ashamed of themselves for raising a shrill piggybacking copycat, which would've been my suggestion. I like that one poster in a Gortin window simply says "X Factor", though. That's the very definition of "couldn't be arsed", right there.

Janet is singing 'Every Breath You Take', starting on the wrong note and continuing that way for several bars. She has also been styled as the secret lovechild of Uncle Fester and The Thing, for reasons best known to the hair and make-up crew. I like that the show is addressing how fundamentally creepy this song is, but it'd be nice if Janet was singing in tune, or if she moved at all, or if she weren't so fundamentally awful, but I suppose you can't have everything.

Louis tells her that it's a big task, but he loves her interpretation, and the best thing about Janet is that she's real. Yeah, down with fictional singers! He opts for another Kelly impression, because he knows where the money is, and tells her that "you got it all goin' on, babe." At this point I think they could save on a salary each week and have Louis be himself and Kelly. It would be AMAZING. Tulisa says that Janet came out here with a different energy tonight, as if Janet is even familiar with the concept of "energy", and now she's starting to see the real her. Vocally, however, it wasn't the strongest she's been. Gary is a massive fan of hers, but he wants to share one little worry: he knows what to expect from her. "You're predictable in a good way," he assures her. Sadly on this show that's probably true - nothing wins over the voters like knowing exactly what the performance will sound like before the contestant's even opened her mouth. Alexandra wants to cuddle Janet and take her home (DON'T LET ME STOP YOU, ALEXANDRA BURKE) because she means every word she sings, and she's just done Ireland proud. Derwood asks Janet if she wants to do different stuff in the future. Janet says that if she gets through to next week, she's got a little trick up her sleeve, and one week she'd like to get her guitar out. I swear to God, if she sets foot on that stage with a guitar, I am throwing a brick through my television. (Disclaimer: I reserve the right to not actually go through with that, but whatever happens, I will still be VERY ANGRY.)

As if that weren't infuriating enough, here's Arsetat. Arsetat's verdict on last week: "I loved my performance, I loved being on stage, the adrenaline was just incredible. The comments were rubbish again, but that's all right, I still enjoyed myself." Arsetat then "confesses" that he went out after the show, got off with an Aliona Vilani lookalike, and did some things that he "wasn't so proud of", as if Arsetat hasn't been entirely proud of everything shitheaded thing he's done in his entire life leading up to this moment. Borelow's all "I've tried to tame Frankie, but I am POWERLESS! Luckily he is an engaging, charismatic and talented performer, so it's all fine." [Has anyone put Gary saying "If I put him through, The one thing I'm not going to do is make him behave" then giggling behind his hand with Robbie on YouTube yet? Because they should. Oh they have! Three minutes in - Helen] Arsetat is similarly deluded, thinking that the reason we all hate him and think that he sucks badger penis is because he's not a "cheesy little choirboy-type singer". Dear Arsetat: we'd settle for you just being a singer. Regards, The Entire Population Of The United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland.

He's straining his way through 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go'. He should go.

Louis says it was a lot better than he was expecting, but he thinks Frankie will always be known more for his "antics" offstage than on. Some idiot girl screams out how much she loves Frankie, because she is deeply, deeply unhappy. Tulisa thinks Frankie's won her over this week, because she is every bit as awful as he is. She thinks this is the real him, "rebellious" and "wild". Yeah, nothing says "anarchist" like auditioning for The X Factor. Next he'll be doing something really subversive, like READING THE DAILY STAR or RIDING A MOTORBIKE. Bitch, please. Alexandra is confused about him because she thinks he sucks ass, despite giving an energetic performance. She doesn't think he's taking the competition seriously and that's her only problem with him, despite having just said that he can't sing. Borelow's all "don't worry, she's only here for one night". Not if I have my way. ALEXANDRA BURKE FOR HEAD JUDGE! She can come back every week and continue merrily patronising the living shit out of everyone, and it'll be far more fun than watching Gary Barlow desperately trying to be interesting and failing miserably. Derwood asks Arsetat if he's taking the competition seriously, and Arsetat says that he'd be an idiot if he didn't. Oh Arsetat, I think you're running that risk either way, dude.

Adverts. They are yet to make one of those Philadelphia Local Heroes adverts where the end product doesn't look entirely like cat sick.

Post-ads, it's time for the always entertaining Dame Kitty Brucknell. Last week she was in the bottom two with the QE2, and realised she had to step up her game. She doesn't want to go home, because she's living her dream. She admits that she's obviously not connecting with the public in some way, and not doing something right. She notes that a lot of people already made their minds up about her at her first audition. Mind you, I made my mind up about her at her first audition too, and my feelings at the time were that I NEED HER ON THIS SHOW. She says that she's sure she would want to slap her if she was watching herself on the telly at home, and I suspect that being Kitty Brucknell must be a very strange experience. Kitty stresses that she doesn't want to say that this is a new her this week (LOL KATIE WEASEL BURN) because that's irritating, so instead she goes out for the night without wearing any trousers. A drunk man says he wants her to win, and if this was the only person they could find willing to go on record with that opinion, then I think we might have found the root of Kitty's problem. Kitty finishes by saying that she shouldn't have to change who she is just because she was in the bottom two.

Indeed, if anything she's just dialling up who she already is, because she starts her performance SPINNING ON A CATHERINE WHEEL WITH SPARKS FLYING OUT OF IT. Seriously, this is why we need her. Can you imagine Sophie Hasnochance doing this? Indeed not. She's singing 'Sweet Dreams (Are Filled With Parentheses)' with some serious vocal effects being done on the opening verse, which confuses me, because she then goes on to sound the best she's ever sounded, and I'd like to think that this is just Kitty being genuinely awesome off her own back, but what if it's just more vocal effects? What then? I tell you, it's come to something when you can't even trust The X Factor not to lie to you. Anyway, it's a real circus of a performance, and assuming it's genuine, a very good vocal. Probably the best of the night, in fact, not that that's a particularly ringing endorsement.

Tulisa calls her "my fellow Kitty Kat tonight", and says that she's the most inventive performer on the show who's always got her own ideas. She thinks that Kitty is the least manufactured act on the show, which is an odd thing to get your head around. Alexandra is impressed with Kitty's pipes and thinks that she's very entertaining, but worries that it could come across slightly cabaret. "Cabaret?" squeaks Louis. "That's burlesque, darling, that's not cabaret!" Alexandra takes exception to this: "Did I say 'it was cabaret'? I said 'comes across as cabaret'. You'd better get the words correct," ALEXANDRA BURKE FOR HEAD JUDGE. Seriously, I want this sort of thing every week. There's your answer to ratings freefall, right there. Gary was disappointed to see Kitty in the bottom two last week, and says that the things people don't like her for are all the things that he does like her for. In particular, he loves that she dusted herself off and gave a performance like that. Louis knows that he made the right decision in keeping her on the show because she's a hard-worker who never lets him down, and he hopes the public give her a chance. Kitty explains to Derwood that they tried the wheel with pyrotechnics for the first time this afternoon, and she also wants to stay in and keep doing mad theatrical stuff.

More ads. I hope Katy Wix and Anna Crilly got good money for that Harveys Furniture advert, that's all I'm saying.

We're back, and it's time for the last of the groups: it's BixMix. They can't believe that they're still in the competition and that YOUNG GIRLS LIKE THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE LIKE GIRLS IN THAT THEY ARE NOT PERFECT AND KIND OF UGLY AND A BIT SMELLY AND HAIRY IN THE WRONG PLACES AND BECAUSE HAVING AMBITION TO BE ANYTHING OTHER THAN THIS WOULD BE ENTIRELY INAPPROPRIATE AND TOTALLY WORTHY OF YOUR HATRED. God, fuck off, BixMix. And by extension: fuck off, Tulisa. Meanwhile, people have been writing nasty things about Jesy on the internet. They were obviously written by mean boys because GIRLS RELATE TO BIXMIX BECAUSE THEY ARE JUST LIKE THEM, as we've just established. It's not made clear specifically what's been said that's upset Jesy so much (normally I'd feel guilty here, but my criticisms of BixMix have been that they suck as a band and I've not singled any of them out individually for anything, so I'm feeling fairly confident that, on this occasion at least, it wasn't me). Meanwhile, they've also had to change their name this week because there's already a charity existing with the name Rhythmix. This section is a great joy for many reasons:

1. It's exactly like the first night on The Apprentice, right up to the point where I hope they decide to call themselves Winning Women.
2. They're all "THINKING OF NAMES IS HARD" which, considering what they come up with at the end, is even more hilarious in hindsight.
3. At one point we get a close-up of the sheet of paper they've been jotting potential names down on, and in one corner is just "Rhythmix" written over and over again.
4. Jade suggests RTMix, leading Leigh-Anne to wonder what the RT stands for and Perrie to wonder if people would pronounce it "rittumix". "Nobody's that stupid," snorts Jade, to which Perrie responds "I am! I would!" BIXMIX: THEY'RE IDIOTS, JUST LIKE REAL GIRLS!

Eventually they decide on Little Mix, but since BixMix is not a charity of any sort, that is what I shall be sticking with. They're dangling on strings with weird Cassandra-from-Doctor Who masks painted on their face, squeaking their way through 'Fucked By An Alien' by Katy Perry. The make-up is pretty cool [The make-up was awesome - Rad], the vocals are not, and they barely move for the entire song. Seriously, they're making Rebecca Jazznoodle look like Usain Bolt. Tulisa leaps to her feet at the end because THEY'RE JUST LIKE HER. Nobody else does.

Louis tells them that they're four of the nicest girls they've ever had on the show, and tells Jesy that anyone who says anything critical about her is a JELUSS HATAH. I think Louis needs to stop listening to Cher Lloyd songs. Alexandra thinks they're talented girls and that there's a space for them in "this big old market here". Gary thinks it was a great song choice, and he could hear them all sing. He adds that he can't pick the top three this year, which feels different. Indeed, it's hardly the MATTREBECCAONEDIRECTION mantra that we had forced down our throats last year, but perhaps the fact that no one's establishing themselves as a frontrunner after four weeks is a problem in itself. Tulisa is proud of them, and proud of Jesy for being able to tell us all about her securities BECAUSE GIRLS ARE INSECURE AND RELATE TO THAT. Tulisa is a feminist's nightmare.

To finish us off, here's Craig Custardcream. He tells us that his parents have been calling him to inform him of all the Craigmania currently going on back home, as various people with braces give their support, while the woman from the Chinese Chip Shop runs through his usual gargatuan-sounding order and her horror that Gary Barlow is making him eat lettuce. Apparently they're also playing his version of 'Jar Of Farts' on Juice FM in Liverpool, and one of the DJs explains that people keep requesting it. Do people still request songs off the radio in 2011? Apparently so. I wonder if there's a massive turf war between Marcus fans and Craig fans in Liverpool. Gary thinks Craig's going to shock everyone who thinks he only ever does ballads.

Apparently he's going to do that by...singing 'Set Fire To The Rain'. By Adele [Thank fuck. We hadn't had any Adele for a couple of weeks. I was worried - Rad]. YEAH! BUST OUT OF THAT BALLAD BOX, CRAIG! MAYBE GO REALLY MAD NEXT WEEK AND DO SOME CELINE DION! Gary's small reference pools are by far the most frightening thing about this show tonight. Biscuit Boy's wearing his coat indoors, so I can only assume there's a bit of a nip in the air in the studio. He's struggling with this song too - the high notes elude him a lot of the time. Louis thinks Craig is the heart and the soul of the competition, and that he's now a contender. Tulisa thinks the reception in here tonight is fantastic - she knows because she's got her mobile under the table and she's voting for BixMix because they're REAL GIRLS LIKE HER. She thinks that the more she hears Craig sing, the more she thinks he could sell albums. Her only criticism is that she's finding him predictable, and she wants him to shock her one week. If Craig's not around to do this, then I would like to recommend James Jordan for the job. He'll shock her but good, I'm sure. Alexandra wants to "break it down" for Craig, and thinks he has a beautiful, soulful voice, but the key is to come back every week and shock everyone: "give 'em suttin' every week!" she tells him. Gary calls it the performance of the night, and then Derwood comes on to bitch out Alexandra for talking too much. Shut it, Derwood, I could listen to her go on all night.

That's it! The vote is now open, and will close in the results show. Brief recap, anyone? The Risk Minus One Plus Another strugging through 'Thriller'; Johnny realising that potential to be boring that Gary always knew was in there somewhere; Sophie giving a performance that THEY WOULD HAVE TOTALLY UNDERSTOOD IN ISLINGTON; Marcus being much better than his arrangement; Misha having a horn section of her own; Yelping She-Beast Janet dropping a clanger; Arsetat asking a question with an answer so simple it's likely to be used for a competition on This Morning; all eyes on Kitty in the centre of the ring just like a circus; the artists formerly (and still) known as BixMix; and Mandele.

Someone's going home tomorrow night, and we'll be joined by Cher Lloyd and Nicole Shirtlifter. Join us later this week for the results recap!

Monday, October 24, 2011

You and cruise army?

Week 3 Results: 23 October 2011

Hello, and welcome back for the X Factor results, which sadly weren’t that everyone involved with trying to push Misha under a bus were held into account for their actions in a court of law in a country that has the death penalty. It’s just that someone is going home.

Dermot suit watch – Grey and shiny but giving him Murs Thighs. We have a recap of the performances last night, with all the dramatic bits, then the voiceover man actually telling us that it all “kicked off” last night. We see Tulisa redefining rock again and a very sanitised version of Tulisa having a pop at Misha.

Tonight! Kelly Clarkson, ‘Professor’ Green and Bruno Mars. I hope this means there’s no time for a group song. Oh please, let it be...

Over the It’s Time To Face The MUSIC bit, we see Funsponge Tightpants tell us that Tulisa is going DOWN, Funsponge Tightpants punch the camera and Funsponge Tightpants being told to lighten up by Louis. It’s all about him, isn’t it? I bet that’s stipulated in his contract and everything.

Dermot bounds in applauding himself and tells us it’s a blockbuster of a show. He explains to us what voting is and tells us again who is on. Bruno Mars is the biggest selling artist in the world... Who knew? Dermot then introduces the judges as ‘four stars who are determined to outshine each other’. I agree with the latter half of that sentence.

The doors open – Tulisa is not holding Kelly’s hand! Ooh, TENSION. Funsponge Tightpants is in a grey three piece, Kelly is rocking that “hotpants under net curtain” look, Tulisa is wearing a tight green dress which caused twitter to explode with whether she looked more like a brand of sweet bought in tins at Christmas time or a bluebottle. Either way, she can’t walk again. Louis is breaking up his usual look by wearing a blue shirt. Funsponge Tightpants then tries to rile up the crowd. It works. Tulisa’s dress foils her stupid salute thing and this brings me no end of joy. Funsponge Tightpants does his trademark nod. It’s irritating.

Dermot explains what voting is again and goes through the numbers before concluding that it’s “Tight at the bottom” which he surely said for a bet? He then introduces us to Kelly Clarkson who is here to show us what a real winner of a talent show looks like. Her VT is very light on the Angry Kelly years, which in my opinion were the best ones. Kelly’s performance features the arty drumming which seems to be ‘in’ at the moment. Kelly’s dress isn’t very flattering. I don’t think that it would be flattering on anyone. At this point I’m slightly aghast that she’s being treated as the warm up act. Surely the winner of the first American Idol deserves higher billing? [She certainly deserves better than being the warm-up act for PROFESSOR FUCKING GREEN. - Steve] But I digress... She finishes and everyone gives her a standing ovation. She seems stunned. She gives Dermot a wave but doesn’t deign to talk to him.

Dermot reminds us again that it got spicy last night, and that voting is a thing and we have to do it. I wish for once he would tell us something instead of just going over new ground. Everyone’s performance gets an additional comment. Marcus gave it 100% according to Louis (original), Janet is a threat to Funsponge Tightpants, 3 out of 4 judges ain’t bad as far as Sami is concerned but Funsponge Tightpants thinks that Louis has sent her to the dogs, Bixmix comment on the judges catfight and Tulisa doesn’t think Funsponge Tightpants knows what he’s talking about. Sophie Habibis thinks Louis don’t know nothing and Kelly thinks he better check himself. Biscuit, according to Kelly, came out swinging. Kitty’s performance meant everything to her and Funsponge Tightpants loved it. Arsetat was gutted with his performance. So were we. Louis thinks he’s redeemed himself though. The Risk are a good, hardworking band according to Funsponge Tightpants and Johnny wasn’t expecting that reaction. Finally, Misha quite rightly says that what happens backstage and Tulisa thinks that she’s got to be honest so no hard feelings.

Hang on... No hard feelings? NO. HARD. FEELINGS? What exactly have you got to feel hard done by about Tulisa? You were the one being bitchy, not the other way round. Just be quiet, yeah? [I liked Tulisa until this week but this was a bit too Cheryl Cole vs Wagner for me - Rad]

Next up, ‘Professor’ Green and Emilie Sande. ‘Professor’ Green apparently has won Mobo and MTV awards and definitely isn’t a character in Cluedo. Emilie Sande seems a bit too good for all of this. I may sound like someone’s grandma, but ‘Professor’ Green just sounds like noise. I can’t make out what he’s saying. It all sounds like noise to me. I think he’s got a beef. Plus I don’t understand why he looks like Ron Weasley’s understudy but has tattoos on his neck. Ooh, confetti! That’s appropriate.

Dermot offers us a five minute warning that the lines are about to close.


When we get back Dermot tells us that the competition was wrongly labelled yesterday and everyone is getting their money back whilst Louis makes ‘Whoops’ faces behind him. The whole farrago reeks of stunt more than Evel Knievel’s trousers.

Dermot then takes the judges to task over their appalling behaviour last night. Well, kind of. He says it was a bit spicy. Louis replies that everyone is very involved in their acts and he got carried away. He apologises for calling Misha a bully. So you bloody well should. I feel a bit proud of Louis for taking the rap though, because Tulisa isn’t called into question at all. [Although Louis's apology was a bit "LOLWHOOPS", so I don't know if he was being massively sincere. - Steve] Dermot then swiftly changes the subject and asks who stole the show for everyone last night. Funsponge Tightpants votes Marcus and gets told off for mentioning his own acts. Kelly admits Johnny put a big old smile on her face, Tulisa goes Misha and Louis Misha and Johnny.

Next! Bruno Mars who’s bestseller status is downgraded to “Best selling male artist in the world this year”. He’s been number one in fourteen countries and has had 25 number ones and sold several million singles. He seems to be dressed up as Cliff Richard and is singing one of Ricky Martin’s cast offs. The sound is terrible and you can barely hear him sing [I know! Someone's getting fired for that one - Rad]. I have sat through some crap on behalf of various television blogs, but I’m going to have to fast forward this. I’m sorry.

That’s over. Goodness me, he’s shorter than Dermot. Dermot plugs his tour and it’s nearly vote time!

Adverts! Oh look, an advert for Bruno Mars’ album.

When we get back, the acts are brought on stage with their judges.

Time for the results! Dermot explains the format again. Do we need this every week?

In no particular order... Marcus! He hugs Arsetat and Biscuit. Misha B next whilst Kitty looks like she’s going to kill someone. Johnny next, well deserved. Bixmix are also through and they squeal. Janet is safe next, and actually comes close to showing some emotion. Biscuit is next! Louis looks worried. Sophie next through, followed by Arsetat who is very ungracious and gets a massive boo. Who will be final one through? The Risk, Sami or Kitty. Kitty prays, but it doesn’t work because it’s the Risk!

Sami and Kitty are in the bottom two. This is a travesty beyond any words I have. I shall try to think of some during the adverts.

Nope, TRAVESTY is the only word I can think of. It’s cruise ship vs. Cruise missile.

Cruise ship is up first. Louis blinks back the tears as he introduces her cos he’s in a trance. Sami comes out without her shoes on and sings “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman” in the club style. I know I used that joke yesterday but it’s the only one that fits this. It’s the very essence of Cruiseship, including “whatyadonetome –ah” and “sogoodinside-ah” and some very forced hand movements. Oh Sami, you can’t blame Louis for this one.

Next up – Cruise missile Kitty. She’s actually dressed as Britney Spears. She sings a beautifully understated version of “The Edge Of Glory” and by the first line I know she’s got this in the bag, even though her fishnets are full of holes. Not like that, you know what I mean. I’m further convinced she has it in the bag when the camera cuts to Kelly doing her ‘feeling things’ face.

Kitty and Sami have done everything they can. They hug and have a chat behind Dermot. Dermot invents an X Factor ‘Precedent’ about when judges decline to vote it goes to a majority. [Ugh. Entirely invented for Cheryl Cole, and possibly Sharon Osbourne or any other judge who decides to be a madam about voting for their own acts. I call Funsponge this year - Rad]

Funsponge is impressed with the sing off and applauds them. He then goes on about how tough it is, but admits he finds Sami dated and he’s excited by Kitty so obviously he’s sending home Sami.

Kelly wants to say that they are both talented and make people look at them when they sing but she’s going to send home Sami.

Tulisa is also impressed with the sing off, and her heart is telling her that she connects more with Sami so she’s sending home Kitty. And here’s me thinking that Tulisa will redeem herself and save Louis the heartache. Oh well.

Louis agrees that both girls were incredible. He loves Kitty’s work ethic but she’s not connecting with the public. He tells Sami that she sang her heart out. He doesn’t understand why he’s got two acts in the bottom two and can’t decide between his head and his heart. Dermot calls him Lulu and pushes him for an answer. Louis isn’t going to cop out and send it to deadlock so he’s choosing Sami. Sami looks like she knew it was coming. We see Sami’s best bits. That bit where she met Leonardo Di Caprio, that bit where she turned into Melissa George and kept having the same day over and over, that day she sat on the guns and all the sailors turned up and that day she got the job on Loose Women.

She may not sell loads of albums according to Funsponge Tightpants, but she’s going to sing her heart out every day. Louis is disappointed to lose her. She thanks the crowd and they both leave. Dermot reminds us that 11 minus one is 10 and that it’s definitely Fright Night next week, because Cher Lloyd is returning. Oh dear. Join Steve next week to see how that pans out.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The one where Tulisa is out of her depth

Live Shows week 3 – 22 October 2011

Hello! Welcome to this week’s Bitch Factor. This week it’s Save Arsetat At All Costs Cos He’s Good Headlines Week, but they’re calling it Rock Week and who are we to argue? ONLY THE RUDDY VIEWING PUBLIC. I wish they would stop trying to make Arsetat happen, but that’s a whole other blog post in there so I’ll leave it for now.

And so to business. LAST WEEK – Kitty was AWESOME on TOAST, Nu Bile fell to the curse of the Perspex boxes, Bixmix were a hot mess and I realised that Biscuit looks like Tom from Hollyoaks. Johnny pwned Gary, and Arsetat was in the bottom two and managed to make Red by Daniel Meriwether even more whiny, a feat which scientists are still trying to unpick as we speak.

TONIGHT! Rehearsal drama! Tulisa isn’t giving up, Louis thinks the other judges should be worried, Kelly’s girls are going to rock the house and Gary’s BACK after Arsetat’s completely unforeseen foray into bottom two land. Louis thinks Gary better stop having a go at him, yeah, cos his acts aren’t all that anyway. Agreed. Gary thinks Louis better watch out. Yawn

It’s time to face the music!

We are instructed to get ready to rock. I’m sure that there won’t be a huge amount of rocking going on. Dermot suit watch – Blue three piece with an inexplicable brown spotty hankie in the pocket and trousers which manage to be both baggy and tight enough to see what religion he isn’t at the same time. He tells us again that we are live and it’s the start of Saturday night. Heaven only knows how we are supposed to know when Saturday night begins when the X Factor isn’t on. Dermot tells us that we’re going to be blasting the roof off the place because it’s ROCK NIGHT, with anthems, big guitars and big hair. He leaves big heads and big backing tracks out of that list for reasons only known to himself.

The acts tonight will have to impress four monsters of rock. This makes me think that they’ll be sitting in front of Ozzy, Alice Cooper, Steven Tyler and one of Metallica [or Animal from The Muppets - Steve] but they’re not. They’re only the judges. The only time Gary’s been a monster of rock is in the fat days and it was the type of rock that has a name going all the way through it. As Stuart Heritage pointed out in his liveblog last night, rock isn’t really Barlow’s thing.

The judges arrive holding hands. Gary is in a grey suit. Kelly and her glorious boobies are in a little black leather number. Tulisa is wearing a dress that somehow reminds me of that time we had to collect the ring pulls from Coke cans for Blue Peter and she can hardly walk and Louis is all in black. Louis holds on to Tulisa’s hand for a little longer than necessary. Tulisa and Louis are both the same shade of orange. Tulisa does her ridiculous arm salute and a little wink. Kelly does an overexcited double wave and Gary merely tips his head and lets those baby blues sparkle.

First up is a man who is a picture of steely poise and determination as long as nobody asks to rub his lamp. It’s Gary! Gary introduces Marcus who interviews wearing a Celebrity Juice T-Shirt and immediately loses a little bit of my respect. Marcus tells us that it’s the worst feeling in the world waiting for your name to be called and that he thought he was going home. He blubbed like a babby afterwards but he was comforted by his mum. Marcus then tells us that his mum and him are really close. We see his baby photos and he tells us that his mum is a single parent and it was a struggle. Why are we getting sob stories now? Surely this isn’t the time to create some extra ratings? OH, SORRY, IT IS. [Do sob stories aid ratings? I thought everyone hated them as much as us? - Rad] Marcus then goes on to tell us that sometimes he didn’t even have the bus fare to get to school. It’s ironic you’re talking about buses Marcus, because you’re on first and you’re getting the sob story treatment and this week really isn’t the week for your voice. But his mum has always been there for him and we are told that she had breast cancer but she’s better now. Where are ill parents compared to dead parents in the X Factor sliding scale of tragedy? Pretty close, I’d imagine.

In rehearsals, Gary tells Marcus that he’s got the edge this week, because people who can sing soul in their sleep are plainly suited to rock songs. Marcus tells us that his mum loves Jazz and R&B so rock week should be ok. This makes no sense to me either. Gary tells Marcus he’s been a rock god for years. Gary thinks Marcus is the most versatile singer in the competition so he’s ready to rock. What comes next out of Marcus’ mouth is quite possibly the most mawkish and emotionally blackmailing line of the entire competition. Are you ready? You sure? Here it is...

“I want to pay my mum back. If I can’t do it financially, I’ll do it with pride”

*Vomits copiously* *vomits again*

I’m back! Marcus has borrowed Arsetat’s trousers to sing “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz. He gives it his usual big grin, which doesn’t really befit the song but I think he’s a little cutie pie so I’m not going to argue. There’s loads of dancers and Marcus does lots of high pitched squawking.

The Louis Walsh Cliché Bingo game [We actually need to play that one week. I might make some bingo cards and distribute them via our Twitter. That'd be fun, no? - Rad] continues with him telling Marcus that his performance was a brilliant start to the show and that he was out of his comfort zone and that he smiled, sang and performed. I think the fact they sing kind of goes without saying. If he was marking it out of ten, Louis would give it a ten. [OH MY GOD IT'S ONLY WEEK THREE YOU CAN'T GIVE OUT A TEN ALREADY ALESHA LOUIS - Rabid People On The Internet] Tulisa accuses him of holding back in rehearsals because she watched them and was a bit worried, but she needn’t have worried because he nailed it, went wild and rocked it. Kelly thinks he made the stage his. She’s been worried about his ability to take control of the stage but he did tonight. Barlow actually gets to his feet and points at Marcus and tells him that that’s the way to open a show. Amazing vocals and great energy. Gary wants him to watch his performance back and start believing in himself. Dermot gives him a hug and tells him how happy he is. Dermot wonders if Marcus feels he brought the steely determination. He does. Dermot thinks he looks like he was enjoying himself. Marcus says he wasn’t sure about rock week at first but he really enjoyed it. Dermot asks if he enjoyed dancing with the girls. Marcus rightly laughs in his face at that question, as do the nation. Marcus does phone hands and a wave as his number is read. Dermot gives him a headlock hug to show how manly he is and Marcus walks off.

We’re over to the girls. Dermot introduces Kelly “don’t you dare say swagger” Roland and Kelly looks bemused and ignores it. Kelly introduces her sweet singing sixteen year old who is sixteen [How come she only got to be sixteen when Amelia left? - Rad], Janet Devlin. Kelly knows that Janet will be in to the end. Louis thinks Janet is a bit boring. We see Janet hounded by some showbiz writers from the papers. Peter Dyke from the Daily Star and Colin Robertson from the Sun both tell her in slightly different ways that she isn’t very interesting. She just looks like a limpet and says that she’s “here for the music”. YAWN. If the music isn’t enough then she’ll not achieve anything. She’s got enough self respect just to be herself and sing. She’s not going to be someone else just for votes. Oh poor, sweet Janet...Have you never watched the show before? You’ve got to be whoever the producers tell you you are. [Also, it all rings a bit hollow when the entire premise of her first audition was "Being Ellie Goulding For Votes". - Steve] Peter Dyke suggests that personality may be what the X Factor is. Janet thinks she’s made it this far without a personality and she’s not going to adopt one now. Good show, Janet. Janet thinks it’s useful to be hounded by journalists because she’s learning something new. Colin Robertson is surprised that she has an actual personality face to face. Me too.

Wee Janet Devlin stands beside the judges with massive hair singing “Sweet Child O’Mine” with added harp, burping the lyrics and doing rock hand shapes. It’s a completely original version, just like that lady did in that advert. Some tribal drums kick in and the whole thing is just a bit ridiculous. Like some kind of small Swiss boy yodelling on a hilltop with a ginger sheep on his head with some dead crows hung around his neck. That really is the only way to describe it.

Louis mentions comfort zones again and how pure her voice is. He’s glad she isn’t overstyled (huh?) because it’s all about the voice. Tulisa thinks that it’s a massive rock song but Tulisa isn’t happy because it wasn’t rocky. She liked the vocals and the styling but she’d like to see her doing a rocky performance. Gary thinks it’s beautiful and gorgeous and he’s happy to see her moving around. Kelly is proud because she delivered a rock song (pointed look at Tulisa) and killed it. Dermot wonders what she thinks, because that’s always interesting. She thinks she put her own twist AND vibe on it and she enjoyed it. Dermot then calls Louis out on calling Janet boring, citing the crowd not being bored as an example. Louis explains he just wants to hear her sing a bit faster. That’s easy then. Dermot then searches around for something that’s not boring about Janet and settles on her top. Way to convince us. Dermot asks Janet if she enjoyed herself again. Janet can’t do phone hands because her hair is too big.

Adverts! Seemingly 100% aimed at children for reasons unknown.

We’re back! Dermot tells us to get involved on Twitter and Facebook. Oh Dermot, if only you knew. He introduces us to a man who likes to rock, but normally in a chair with a mug of cocoa... It’s Louis! He gives Louis one of those awkward headlock hugs then ruffles his hair. Louis introduces us to Sami FROM WALES. We see Gary call her cruiseship again. Louis says that Gary doesn’t know what he’s talking about. We see a COMPLETELY UNSCRIPTED moment from last week where Louis tells Gary that they can agree to disagree and Gary replying that they can agree on who sits in the HEAD JUDGES CHAIR. Oooh, HANDBAGS. Gary stands by what he said though. Sami’s not bothered though, because she’s through. She’s got a massive song this week but she’s not happy about it because it’s an icon’s song. Sami says she’s not being a diva but is a diva and refuses to sing a Cher song. Oh a Cher song. It’s almost as if you can see the wheels turning in Louis’ little brain of awesome. He’s sat down and thought “I’ll show you cruiseship, Barlow” and has shaken his little Irish fist in the air with glee. Sami tells some anonymous bloke that she wants to get away from the cruiseship label. Oh Sami, you’ll have to become someone else and get another voice for that. Anonymous man tells her that she needs to flip the energy. I agree. Embrace the cruiseship-ness. Drive that song into a bloody iceberg if you have to because there’s no way you are ever not going to be cruiseship, Sami. Louis says Sami has to trust her. She interviews that she trusts Louis and she’s going to give it a measly 110%

It’s If I Could Turn Back Time! It’s a cruiseship classic that’s so cruiseship that the video is sung on an ACTUAL SHIP. [Albeit more of a warship. If only anyone on the panel had the spontaneity and wit to call her a warship singer. - Steve] Sami is dressed in a black leather look number that really required better underwear than it got. She’s singing it weirdly though, putting the emphasis on the wrong bits. Louis is LOVING IT and bounces around getting all up in the faces of Gary and Kelly. Gary remains stony faced. When she’s finished, Louis is up on his feet. Tulisa thinks that it was a bit karaoke but it was good karaoke and a brilliant performance. Kelly thinks she has a great voice and it looked like she was having a great time. Gary Barlow thinks it was boring. Yes. Gary Barlow thinks it was boring. The man responsible for the song Forever Love [and that trainwreck Matt Cardle just released - Rad] thinks that someone else was boring. Can someone check irony? I think it might be broken. He gets booed and does his ‘yeah yeah’ face until someone in the crowd says something that we can’t hear and he gets all ‘who said that?’ and tells us that someone is swearing at him. He reminds her that they’re looking for someone who’s going to sell singles and albums and be a star and he thinks that she’s none of the above. Oh Gary. I’m going to rename you Funsponge Tightpants. I hope it catches on.

Louis wades in and says that she’s ill and she’s had a terrible day and she’s pulled it out the bag and he’s by no means clutching at straws. Louis thinks that it’s a hard song and she nailed it because she’s all about the voice. “Not to my ears” says Funsponge Tightpants. Tulisa tells him to give her a break. Kelly agrees. Louis thinks he’s being unfair. Sami looks like she wants to cry. Tulisa then says he’s being patronising but Dermot, sensing drama talks over her. Kelly says something like he’s ‘putting 20’ on Sami right now. Dermot regains control several minutes too late because he’s such a good TV presenter and asks Sami how she’s feeling. Sami said she didn’t really want to do the song but she did it anyway and does a horrible, horrible speech about how she knows everyone is poor but can they please spend a pound and vote for her anyway. It’s like a sub standard Children in Need begging speech, only it’s for her own ends and it makes me want to break my television. The only thing Dermot can add to this is that it’s a bit less than a pound to vote. I have my head in my hands, readers. He then asks her what she thinks about Funsponge Tightpants’ comments. She says she loves him and he knows what he’s talking about and does a subpar Will Young and tells him it wasn’t karaoke. He steadfastly insists that it was, because he’s Funsponge Tightpants. Dermot calls him on this and makes him insist that she has a good voice. He agrees she has but then says that Sami knows that Louis takes bad acts and makes them worse. This gets a knowing eyeroll from Tulisa and Louis pops out of his chair in indignation. Funsponge Tightpants then says that Sami needs to stand up to Louis.

I am absolutely indignant at this comment, which is probably fully designed to cause indignation. As opposed to what, Funsponge Tightpants? Taking rubbish acts and insisting that they are good? Fucking ARSETAT? Taking acts with brilliant Soul voices and making them sing insipid crap? Taking good singers and insisting that they have to fit into a box that only skinny people can get into? Puh-leeze.

Sami takes it all in good spirits though, and runs off stage. Dermot tells us that it’s getting spicy, in case we hadn’t noticed. Dermot makes reference to Tulisa being hard and she introduces Bixmix.

What follows is a VT in which we are told of the new doctrine which is thus:









Have we all got that? Good. Write it down if you have to. There will be a test.

Bixmix are singing that rock classic, Tik Tokk by Ke-dollarsign-ha, on Perspex boxes. Not Perspex boxes! They never go well. Oh hang on, it’s a mashup with that other rock classic, Push it by Salt N Pepa. They’re dressed like a six year old with free reign over Claire’s Accessories. The whole thing is like they are dolls being controlled by a hyperactive child who’s had too many lollies. It makes me confused and it makes me feel old. I enjoy neither of these feelings. Louis thinks that the song choices were good but they’re not really rock songs. Tulisa insists that the songs were turned into rock songs. Louis thinks ALL THE GIRLS should vote for Bixmix and they could be really big. Kelly thinks the look needs pulling together and they sang together well but she growls and then tells them that she wants them to be better than the last female group on the X Factor. NEVER! MISS FRANK 4EVA. She wants them to be better. Tulisa then asks her if she’s seen the last girl group that was there. Of course she hasn’t! She meant period. She then thinks that Tulisa should take back her comment about Janet not being rock because Ke$ha and Salt N Pepa aren’t rock. What follows is a bunfight about what rock is. Tulisa thinks that Rock just means adding some guitars. Funsponge Tightpants then comes in and tells Tulisa what rock is, because he’s an expert. Tulisa then goes into “bovvered” mode but instead of saying “bovvered” she says “rock riffs” and insists that it’s Rock Week, not Rock Song week. These parameters should surely have been set before now. Louis sits on the end looking like he’s in the wrong place. Dermot lets this go on for a full two minutes before trying to regain order, because he’s such a good television host. Bixmix talk amongst themselves. He reminds the judges that they are on telly. Bixmix are going to take the comments on board and they’ve made it Bixmix rock. Kelly then shouts that KE$HA POP, KE$HA POP. Louis shouts that it was great and Kelly gives him a warning look. Bixmix leave the stage, understandably bemused and Dermot berates the judges about fighting in front of the children. [On the other hand, I loved all the neon lighting in that performance - Rad]

Adverts! Twilight competition? DOES NOT WANT. They forget to add the honk in to Rebecca’s song though. Oh, they did. Sorry, I was finding it hard to distinguish between that honk and the other honks.

We’re back! Dermot’s in the audience cos he’s a man of the people. Kelly informs us that Sophie Habibis is taking it up a notch. Sophie Habibis is upset because people think she’s quiet. May I suggest being a little less quiet then, Sophie? Sophie is being played this week by Dobby from Peep show. Kelly interviews that Funsponge Tightpants should stop getting all up in her BIZNIS and worry about his own acts. Because she’s quiet, we get to see Sophie being mauled by the journalists. They accuse her of being boring and dressing like Carol Vorderman. Nicola Methven from the Daily Mirror asks her if this is the week we will see something different. She says it is. I can’t wait. Again, the journalists insist that Sophie is much more feisty in person. This is the new doctrine. [HUMBLE DANYL IS HUMBLE. - Steve] We see Sophie wagging her finger to prove this point. Sophie promises to bring plenty of her personality out tonight. I can hardly wait.

So what is this brilliant transformation? It’s Sophie, on a stool, singing a slowed down version of Livin’ on a Prayer which is completely different from anything else she’s ever done because she’s wearing Leather trousers. DEPARTURE CITY.

Louis thinks it’s better than last weeks, makes a comfort zone reference but she’s made the song her own. He also thinks that Kelly should give Sophie equal attention. This comment is glossed over though but it doesn’t stop Kelly giving Louis the side eye. Tulisa thinks that if there’s any rock song that needs to be turned into a “ballid” it’s that one. Tulisa thinks that she shouldn’t worry about her personality because she’s being the best she can be. Huh? Funsponge Tightpants congratulates her for making an emotional connection to her song. Kelly then ponders what Louis knows and makes “DURRR” noises at him which in a week where the word Mong and belming pictures have come under scrutiny may not have been the wisest move on Kelly’s part. The noises continue for longer than is comfortable. Sophie says that she’s beginning to feel like herself and she’s glad she rocked out. Eh? What part of that was rocking out?

More adverts! Can everyone please stop insisting that it’s nearly Christmas please?

Dermot reminds us of the X Factor App when we return. This is all so 21st Century! Funsponge Tightpants introduces Craig BISCUIT, who loves the three minutes a week he’s on stage. Funsponge Tightpants insists that Craig reinvents himself every week. What? He sings out of a different side of his mouth? Sings ballads at slightly different speeds? He sadfaces over Nu Vibe being ditched because they are his mates and that his friends are his competition. He was happy to see his mum and dad. He’s happy to be singing a man’s song. Kelly’s wondering where his spark went. Gary thinks he’s going to shine more than ever. He wants to surprise us...We’ll see.

Someone’s raided Paije Richardson’s wardrobe for Biscuit, who sings Stop Crying Your Heart Out in the club style. Agreed, it is a man’s song, but not when you’re singing it in the style of the Leona Lewis cover. At least his hair is a little less Bieber this week. That’s something. Louis makes a dig at Noel Gallager and thinks that Biscuit deserves a record contract. Tulisa then gets all uppity about it being Rock Week and it should be about “energy” and “guitars” and Biscuit sung a ballid. Kelly and Gary gang up on her and insist it was a rock song. Kelly says something about respecting the roots of the song and that Biscuit is back in the Zone. Funsponge Tightpants can relax when Biscuit is on stage. Dermot says that Funsponge Tightpants always looks relaxed. Craig agrees and tells a little backstage story about how dull he is. Funsponge Tightpants laughs but his eyes tell a different story.

Next up is the over 25’s and Louis introduces Kitty. Kitty’s having so much fun and she loves the public now. Kitty could read music before she could write. She was in a girlband but they fell out over costumes. [She was in All Saints? - Steve] She tried being an actress but she was terrible at that. Kitty then tells us that Louis has to keep reminding her that it’s a family show. Love it. Louis then says that sometimes Kitty’s ideas are a bit terrifying over a VT of her asking if she can set herself on fire. I LOVE THIS WOMAN. Kitty’s here to go all the way. I hope you do, Kitty.

Kitty is sitting at a piano dressed as Blonde Ambition Madonna singing Live and Let Die. The piano then goes ON FIRE as she walks away from it. She then swings her hair around. The piano is still on fire and she plays with the guitarist’s hair. This may be the best thing I’ve ever seen. Funsponge Tightpants shows no emotion whatsoever. The whole thing is AMAZING. Tulisa then vindicates herself by declaring that that performance was rock. She can’t think of anything bad to say and she knows that people have been dissing her personality but she’s got to know her and knows there’s a good person in there somewhere. WTF?! That’s a horrible thing to say, Tulisa. Kelly can’t even front, but she thinks that the performance may be slightly forced LIKE THAT’S A BAD THING. Funsponge Tightpants can see where she’s going and he’s along for the ride. He likes that she’s trying to say something with her music, which is cover versions, but I can see his point. Louis lies that she’s a dream to work with, but follows this up with the truth that she’s on the phone to him day and night. He likes that she’s innovative and that she delivered. She deserves votes because she’s talented. Kitty enjoyed rocking out. Dermot asks her if she thinks she’s won the public over. She thinks she has. Dermot asks if the hair will be higher next week. Kitty responds to this by turning round.

Four acts to go! Blimey, I’m getting tired. Advertising break. I don’t want Diana Vickers selling me clothes, ta. [I didn't even realise it was The Claw until my boyfriend told me. Fame is a cruel mistress. - Steve]

It’s the last of the boys! Take your prophylactic antibiotics, it’s Arsetat! Because Arsetat is such a lad, we see a VT of him going out to get “ruined” and sending some more girls off to the clinic. Arsetat interviews in the toilet about Louis saying he’s lost his swagger. Apparently Louis is just WELL JELLUS cos he hasn’t even got any swagger anyway. Arsetat tells us all about getting papped bringing five girls back to the house and gives us a double thumbs up. Funsponge Tightpants says he worries about him every day. Different story to when you were telling us that you didn’t want him to behave if you put him through. Gary then tells him off. Oh, so it’s not that you want him to be a walking STD, it’s that you want him to be a rebel walking STD. He goes out again and gives the camera the finger. Gary then changes his tune and says he just doesn’t want him in the bottom two this week. He also says he doesn’t want him to stop being a teenager. Seems that we have all learned a lesson from Robbie Williams...

There now follows a personal message from me.

Dear X Factor. Stop trying to make Arsetat happen. I know I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. He’s awful. Stoppit. No.

What follows is the most contrived performance in X Factor history. There’s an empty stage and we see a VT of Arsetat playing with his hair walking through the corridor whilst people talk on walkie talkies. It’s AWFUL. [For a minute I genuinely thought he was just late. - Steve] He arrives on stage with the crotch of his too tight trousers somewhere near his knees and begins badly singing lines about his itchy clap. He then sings into the camera before pushing it away. A dancer grinds up against him and he gets the words wrong and grunts instead. He begins singing the chorus at the wrong time. The whole thing is an absolute shambles.

At least it’s a rock song, eh? [And he got to sing the proper words about junkies and whores in the first verse, unlike when Jamie Afro or whoever did it - Rad]

Louis makes reference to his comfort zone and thinks he did the right thing saving him, but worries that he might be a bit over confident and better than he thinks he is. I’m assuming he meant he’s not as good as he thinks he is. Tulisa is gobsmacked because Funsponge Tightpants has taken him to the extreme and tried to turn him into what he wanted to be in his younger days. Robbie Williams? Tulisa wants the heart back. Kelly disagrees, it is him, but he needs to come up vocally. Funsponge Tightpants said that he would never lie on the X Factor, but he lied last week when he said that Arsetat was good. He wasn’t and deserved to be in the bottom two. Tonight proves he’s back though. Dermot asks if it is Arsetat, Arsetat says it is. He says that he wouldn’t have done it if he wasn’t comfortable. Don’t lie. Dermot then says to Louis that Arsetat so wasn’t over confident because he was nervous backstage.

More adverts! I don’t want sausage meatballs in Philadelphia, thanksverymuch.

Blah blah, it’s the Risk. Tulisa honestly loves them. There now follows a statement on The Risk:






Everyone got that? Good. [Interesting how the show is keen to remind us that BixMix are not one of those evil girlbands who'll steal your boyfriend, but also happy to point out that The Risk are an edgy boyband who'll steal your girlfriend. DOUBLE STANDARDS, WE CAN HAS THEM. - Steve]

The Risk are singing that well known Rock song, Crazy by Gnarls Barclay. It’s generic boyband fodder and all it does is show that none of them are Cee Lo Green. They look a bit unsure of it themselves.

Louis loves them, but points out that it’s not really rock. Charlie is his favourite. In an entirely unscripted moment, Louis notices that they aren’t very happy. One of them has laryngitis and Glandular Fever. Presumably from sharing close quarters with Arsetat. Louis concludes that it wasn’t as good as last week. Kelly is excited for their future and high fives Tulisa, but notes that they need to improve their vocals. Funsponge Tightpants was worried about them but they pulled it off. Gary admires the work ethic of the band. Tulisa admits it wasn’t their best performance, but they can come back stronger next week, because glandular fever takes a week to get over. They talk about their comfort zones again. Dermot reminds us that they are the only boy band in the competition. [I was watching this with my parents last night, who just watched a ten second clip of everyone - the only acts they liked and watched all the way through were The Risk and Misha. They also watched some of the judges' comments, but fastforwarded Funsponge every single time. Heh. - Rad]

Next, iiiiit’s Johnny! Johnny loves Funsponge Tightpants and thinks that he may love him back but he’s fighting it. That’s totally it. Johnny thinks that people may think that he’s a novelty act, but he just wants to perform, and that the popstar door has been closed to him for a long time. We see him having a chat with Janet about the possibility that he may be a novelty act. Janet looks bewildered. Johnny thinks that this may be his last chance, but Louis has faith in the song.

And so he should! I Believe In A Thing Called Love by The Darkness is an absolutely inspired choice. Johnny hams it up to the correct level and it’s absolutely brilliant. My only criticism is that his outfit could’ve been more exciting, but other than that it’s brilliant. Even Funsponge Tightpants cracks a smile. Johnny is clearly enjoying himself and it’s infectious. The crowd love it. By far the biggest cheer of the night. Tulisa congratulates him for doing a proper rock song, because she knows what that is. She declares him rockstar of the night. Kelly calls him a Guilty Pleasure. She’s not sure if he could sell records but she loves watching him. What a backhanded compliment. Funsponge Tightpants gets boos before he even opens his mouth, but he admits that he enjoyed it. He rightly says that only Johnny could sing that one. Louis says that Funsponge Tightpants has to like him because everyone else does. Especially me. Funsponge Tightpants then ruins it all by asking if Johnny got his suit from Argos. Johnny says he got it from his wardrobe. I believe that the kids call that pwning. [Funsponge should really learn not to throw shade at an experienced drag queen. - Steve] Dermot urges us to vote.

Last Adverts! I believe someone is coming with a silver blanket and some Lucozade for me. I don’t even want to know what the health lottery is.

We’re back for Misha B. Kelly tells us that Misha means serious Bidnis and clicks out her name. Misha tells us that she used to think she was Scary Spice from the Spice Girls, as opposed to Scary Spice from All Saints. We see video of her busking and she never thought she’d be singing in front of millions. She’s here to win and we see her having her input into the production side of things. She thinks she needs to put in as much effort as she can. Kelly tells her not to make hip hop noises.

Misha B begins singing Purple Rain and does a hip hop noise in the first line. It’s no bad thing though. It’s still nicely understated in the beginning and builds. She looks awesome too. Plus I get to remember Ruth Lorenzo so we win all round.

Louis tells her that she’s a brilliant entertainer and she reminds him of a little Tina Turner in Mad Max. He reminds her that she’s a confident performer and he hopes she’s not over confident. She answers this with a death stare and a “pardon?”.

What follows is a little bit ugly. By little bit, I mean very. Tulisa can’t doubt that she’s “up there” as a performer and she’s the whole package and the star of the show. BUT... She’s clearly very competitive and Tulisa has seen a different side to her backstage. She may not realise she does it but her feistiness may come across as mean to the other contestants.

Not Misha for the bus... Come ON. We all know that confident women, especially confident black women are not especially celebrated by this series. Even vocal powerhouses like Leona and Alexandra had to pretend to be underconfident to get anywhere. But are we seriously adding fuel to this fire? Misha is no more confident than Biscuit or Arsetat and certainly isn’t as confident as Kitty, so why is she getting thrown under a bus here? MUST DO BETTER, X FACTOR.

Tulisa then goes on to say that she’s been told by a few contestants that there’s been some comments towards them and that she needs to bring that fiestiness to the performance and insists she isn’t putting Misha down, but cleary, nobody would be listening after Tulisa said she was a bitch. Tulisa asks her to put aside the attitude. The whole time Kelly is doing a BITCH PLEASE face at her which deserves its own show. Misha’s isn’t too bad either. Funsponge Tightpants doesn’t care what goes on backstage and berates Tulisa for getting involved. First sensible thing he’s said all night. He’s looking for an artist to sell albums and she’s there in front of him. Kelly says that backstage should be left behind and Misha was clean, clear and on fire. Kelly is proud of her and insists that confidence is a good thing. Maybe in America, Kelly. [Tell that to Pia Toscano. - Steve] Louis, who has been SO GOOD up until now decides to pipe in and says that sometimes in a competition, people “vibe each other out a bit”. Kelly argues that some of his acts could do with Misha’s confidence. Louis then says that one of his contestants has complained about Misha bullying her. Oh Louis, just as we were beginning to like you.

Dermot then joins in the sensible club and asks Tulisa whether she agrees that the contestants should be judged on their voice. Tulisa says it’s about the package and that it’s about character too. Kelly insists it should be about what’s on stage. Louis disagrees and they squabble behind Tulisa as she’s still trying to make her point. Funsponge Tightpants tries to regain some order and fails and I’m proud of Misha for being very dignified and saying nothing. [This whole segment was... horrible. And weird - Rad] [And grossly unprofessional from Tulisa and Louis - even if there was any truth in the accusation, this was neither the time nor the place. - Steve]

Recaps etc, but I’m a bit sad. I’m all for the judges disagreeing but this kind of manufactured drama at the expense of the contestants just makes me a little bit sad.

Nothing more to say really. Join me for the results show. Let’s hope the public are judging on talent...