Top 16 Results: 9th October 2011
It's all very dark and sombre in the studio, almost funereal. Derwood reminds us solemnly that 16 acts performed last night, but four of them might as well have stayed at home painting their toenails and eating Kettle Chips, because their journey on the show will end tonight.
Of course, with this being The X Factor, that gloomy atmosphere is crassly shattered by a VT in which everything happens at hyperspeed and Peter Dickson shouts at us. We're reminded of the BIG TWIST that Derwood has already just reminded us of (Jesus wept), and of that fact that Gary Barlow doesn't like fun. Apparently he's on Twitter now; I can't wait for him to suck all the joy out of that as well. The judges bickered amongst themselves, and Kelly Rowland may have said the words "put it down" once or twice.
We're reminded of the people fighting to stay in the competition: Tulisa's groups: BixMIX, Nu BILE, 2 SHOES and The RISK; Louis's fogeys: Johnny ROBINSON, Jonjo KERR, Sami BROOKES and Kitty BRUCKNELL; Kelly's heroes: Misha B, Janet DEVLIN, Amelia LILY and Sophie HABIBAS; and Gary's bores - sorry, "boys": Craig BISCUIT, Marcus COLLINS, James WHASSNAME and ArseTAT. Also on tonight's show are Lazy DECORATOR (you know, him from last year with the falsetto) and Cee-Lo GREEN. It's time! To face! Some girls crying!
Post-titles, Derwood welcomes us to the show, and tells us that the judges will be getting rid of people in just under an hour, which basically means "go off and watch Antiques Roadshow if you like, because bugger all's happening until at least quarter to nine". He also reminds us of the guest stars who are coming up, but first, time to welcome back the judges. Gary has ditched the tweed, but is wearing a suit with a buttoned-up shirt and no tie, which is very nearly as bad. Kelly has a striking pearl-coloured dress on that's slit up to the woo-hoo and trimmed with feathers, Tulisa has a short purplish dress on, and Louis is...well, no one cares what Louis is wearing, let's be honest.
Regrettably, there is no lip-synched group performance this week. I know, it's an outrage. Instead, we go straight into the clips from yesterday. Amelia opened the show by being loud, looking like Charlotte Church and making Louis go all squeaky. The backstage footage involves Borelow saying she did a good job. Wow, this show's written her off already, hasn't it? Poor Amelia. Johnny gayed the place up real good with a Cher cover, and Gary hated it for all the wrong reasons. Backstage, he "takes Louis to task" and Louis shrugs that he was just copying Take That. Sigh. BixMix were horrendous but got me in the paper, so it's all good. (That tweet wasn't really my finest work, but I'm guessing it was the only one that was sufficiently profanity-free.) Backstage, Borelow blahs that he thinks there's so much for us to see with them. Like how they cope when they're in the bottom two next week (spoilers!). Arsetat somehow managed to make Ed Sheeran sound even less appealing, and backstage Borelow told him that "the vocal couldn't have been better". Apart from if he hadn't whined every single line. And if he hadn't taken a big gasp at the end of every phrase. And if it wasn't coming from such a nauseating person. But apart from that, it was spot-on. [Maybe he meant Arsetat couldn't do any better? - Helen] Sophie took time out from her day job overseeing two tech support workers with poor social skills to perform a tortuous Katy Perry cover, and backstage she babbles incoherently like Shirley Bassey on poppers.
Jonjo was an embarrassment even by this show's standards, to the extent that even being A SOLDIER couldn't help. Backstage, Jonjo: Master Of Delusion thinks they will fix this by keeping him around and testing him every week. Kelly reiterates her disappointment. 2 Shoes were hen-night-tastic, but under Gary Barlow's new 100% Fun-Free Regime were declared persona non grata. Backstage, Lucy giggles that no one told her she had lipstick all over her face by the end of the performance. Louis does seriousface to camera without spotting that Kelly's doing sassy head bobs behind him. James lived in the horror of RENTED ACCOMMODATION and was also the first person ever to cover the Beatles. Backstage, Kelly was disappointed in him too. The baby voice that Kelly does when she's disappointed is kind of sinister. Gary skulks behind her but does not do sassy head bobs, because he is super-lame. Misha came out and completely owned everyone else to a ridiculous degree, but was also a confident black woman, and that's not allowed. Still, Barlow thinks she wiped the floor with everyone tonight, despite having claimed yesterday that Craig Biscuit gave the performance of the evening.
Nu Bile were shit and got told to shape up sharpish by Kelly, and backstage they think they "brought it". Oh dear. Louis: "I did Boyzone, I did Westlife, I see something in you guys." That's just too easy, I'm not going there. Marcus was surprisingly good and got positive feedback from the judges, and Kelly's gaydar failed her a little bit. Tulisa thinks everyone loves Marcus. Sami stood like a linebacker while bellowing a dance classic and everyone was very glad she's not Goldie. Everyone in the studio, that is: Rad, Helen and I felt quite the contrary. Backstage, Sami thinks she sounded better in rehearsals, but Gary thinks she's got nothing to worry about. Despite a few iffy harmonies, The Risk did well, and backstage they got all homoerotic about it. Craig collected a jar of farts and was spectacularly overwrought, which is pretty much a home run on this show. Tulisa thinks they all have huge decisions to make. Kitty was dramatic and mad, but not especially pleasant to listen to, and the judges handled her with kid gloves. Tulisa thinks she "smashed it tonight". Janet squeaked and yelped and hiccuped her way through 'Fix You' and was generally intolerable, and backstage Janet thinks she surprised herself in a good way. It's a shame that surprise didn't cure her hiccups.
Time for our first guest of the evening, Lazy Decorator, singing his proper debut single, which was written by Gary Barlow - who will also be writing this year's winner's single, so it's a good chance to see exactly what's in store. We get a VT of Lazy's journey on last year's show which features Simon and Dannii but not Cheryl (RESULT). He won, and glitter rained down from the sky, and the other acts rushed the stage, and I find myself wondering at this point how much pussy he ended up getting in the end. [Anyone else think he looked unwell? He was the same colour as porridge, well, he is musical porridge, isn't he? Pale, lumpen and uninteresting - Helen]
I've heard his song a few times on the music channels, so I won't pretend I'm surprised by what follows: it's impossibly tedious, like music for people who find Snow Patrol just that little bit too exciting and inventive. I remember wondering a few weeks into the live shows last year, given that Lazy's schtick was singing songs made famous by female vocalists, whether he'd be able to stand out when he was stuck performing original material, and here we have our answer: he sounds like every tiresome plaintive cod-indie act that Radio 1's been throwing at us for the past couple of years. He's not even doing a particularly good job with his own song - he struggles with some of the high notes, and at one point sings with his jaw clenched shut, possibly because he forgot the lyrics. So: anyone else looking forward to the winner's single yet? No, me neither. I'm positively terrified about what sort of turgid bollocks that Misha might get stuck with if she wins. Not that Misha's winning, of course, because see above re: the trouble with being a confident black woman.
Lazy does prayer hands, and Derwood shares the album release date with all of us, before saying "since this time last year, that's just what you've been working on?" with what sounds like a faint note of disgust in his voice. Heh. Lazy says it's been a long time since he's been on stage. And that might be why his single is faltering in the midweeks at the time of writing. He says it's good to be back, and that it feels like home. You know, the one he lived in with his parents, because he was a lazy fuck who couldn't be arsed to earn enough to move out. Ahhh, memories.
After some ads, we're back and Derwood asks the judges if they slept well, looking and sounding uncannily like Gordon Brittas. He asks if they've made their decisions, and they have. Brilliant, let's hear them and then go straight to Downton Abbey! Oh. Apparently it doesn't work that way. Tulisa tells Derwood she only made her final decision 30 minutes before the show started, and has changed her mind twice today. Well, that fills me with confidence. Gary says he decided at about 5pm, and Louis says that it's been incredibly tough, and sending someone home is tough on anybody. Kelly is "just mad that y'all waited until now to do this". Heh. Derwood says that there are some "terrible decisions to come". He doesn't know how right he is.
To fill some more time: Cee-Lo Green, who's sold six million albums and 10 million singles worldwide, and won three Grammys and a Brit award. He's shuffled onto the stage while sat on some kind of chair with a glass glove on each arm, looking a little bit like Davros, and begins to perform a song called 'Satisfied', which is apparently not his new single. Odd. He has dancing girls on rollerskates. I thought NotLouis wasn't working on this series? Halfway through, the song segues into 'Forget You', and he appears to be having serious trouble hitting some of the notes, and tries to cover by getting the audience to sing for him, a technique known in the business as "doing a Robbie". It's all a bit of a mess, to be honest. Even the version he did with Gwyneth Paltrow was better. At least that one had Muppets. At the end, Derwood thanks him for doing a song that we've actually heard of. He asks what Cee-Lo is doing over here. Cee-Lo's reply is not "I am over here having discussions with the BBC about reprising my role as a judge for their version of the new hit singing contest format The Voice", but I wonder if perhaps it should be. Derwood asks when he'll be coming back. Cee-Lo says he'll be here "for most of next year". Hmm.
Adverts. Hey, Cee-Lo Green has an album out! If only there were some way that I could've just heard some songs from it. That was such a missed opportunity.
Upon our return, Derwood tells us that we've run out of filler acts and it's finally time to make some important decisions. We're starting with Louis and the overs, so let's welcome them back to the stage. Yes, even Kitty. Louis is asked to reveal which three of his acts he wants to keep in the competition. My God, can you imagine if they'd made Cheryl do this last year? She'd probably still be sat there now, refusing to choose and making it all about her.
If I were any act apart from Jonjo, I'd be feeling pretty damn safe right now. Mind you, showbiz is a capricious mistress at the best of times: when I was at university, I auditioned for a dance show and was pretty much the only guy who got the routine right in the audition, and yet was also pretty much the only guy who didn't get cast, NOT THAT I'M BITTER ABOUT IT OR ANYTHING. Ahem. Anyway, Jonjo is still A SOLDIER and this show is nothing if not efficient at pandering to the lowest common denominator, so there's still some level of suspense here. Louis maintains that it was a tough decision, but the first person to be declared safe is Sami. She goes nuts and runs down to the judges' table to give Louis a hug before being ushered offstage. The second act through is Kitty - and the brilliance of what Sami did is that it now means everyone who follows her feels compelled to do what she did so they don't look ungrateful in comparison, but obviously they all feel a bit awkward about doing it, and you can tell Kitty's weighing up the pros and cons for a few seconds before deciding to just rush Louis and have done with it. Also of interest: both Kitty and Sami gave Johnny a big hug before rushing off, but neither of them hugged Jonjo. So, we're left with the two Js, who give each other a little hug for the sake of equality. The audience is cheering for Johnny. Louis says it was not an easy decision, and he loves both of them, but he has to keep the person he thinks the public are going to like most, and that person is...Johnny! Johnny is ecstatic, Jonjo the tough burly soldier cries into his vest. Hee hee hee. Sami and Kitty are thrilled as well, jumping up and down on the sidelines. Johnny gives Jonjo another hug and a very dignified handshake before heading off to join the others.
We see Jonjo's best bits, and I'm reminded of Liz Lemon in 30 Rock saying "Legal says we can't use the word 'best'", because Jonjo's performances on this show have not been very good at all. Derwood asks Jonjo how he thinks he did last night, and Jonjo mumbles that he probably could've done better, and something about having broken his heart. Derwood reminds Louis that he has basically just dispatched Jonjo back to the army, and Louis says that he changed his mind a lot, but he had to make a decision. Jonjo cries a bit more, and will probably not live this down for a while.
Up next are Gary and the boys, who I thought might have been saved for later, but apparently not. Arsetat, Craig Biscuit (I live in hope that eventually Tulisa will join them together in a group called Arse Biscuits), James and Marcus return to the stage, and Gary says that it's a very tough decision, but the first boy he's putting through is Marcus. Marcus is thrilled and practically launches himself at Craig. He doesn't hug Gary, though. The second boy through is Craig, who smiles and hugs the other two before heading off. James knows he's totally buggered at this point. Gary lies that he's totally basing his decision on last night, and then fluffs his lines, saying "the last boy I'm sending home" before correcting himself and saying that he's putting through...Arsetat, of course. Sorry James, but I did warn you about wearing hats. [I feel this was a victory for us, however small - Rad]
James's best bits are played, and they involve growling squeakily through a bunch of acoustic tracks while wearing a lot of hats. Yeah, he and I were never going to be friends. Back in the studio, James is crying, and Gary says "we're at such a high level here", once again forgetting that Arsetat is in his category. Gary really has settled in to the Very Special X Factor Bullshit like he's been doing it all his life, hasn't he? Either that or he genuinely believes what he's saying. Either way, it's not encouraging. A sobbing James vows to carry on with his music now matter what happens. His highlight has been "performing to millions of people", and Derwood insincerely tells him that he hopes it's not the last time it happens for him. I suspect it might be, y'know.
Adverts. Volkswagen advert involving felt-tips that some people found upsetting.
Back in the studio, it's time for Tulisa to reveal her decision. The groups return to the stage. Tulisa says that they are all her very special friends and that this is her very own Sophie's Choice etc etc etc, but the first act she's putting through is...BixMix. Really? I can't decide if she genuinely has no idea how this show works and doesn't realise girlbands are basically a fool's errand, or if she knows how this show works far too well and is scared that it'll fall apart completely if there isn't a girlband to eliminate in the opening weeks. Anyway, for whatever reason, BixMix are through, which means things aren't looking good for 2 Shoes because I can't see her getting rid of The Risk or Nu Bile. Sure enough, the second group through are The Risk, leaving just Nu Bile and 2 Shoes awaiting their fate. Tulisa wells up, and let me quote verbatim here, because this is kind of nonsensical: "Watching last night's performance back, the group that I'm going take through with me to the next week I was a little disappointed in, it didn't sound the same in the studio as it did live on television, and I know that they can do better than that, I've seen them in rehearsal, I've seen what they're capable of, and I believe in them, which is why I've decided to make the decision to take them through to the next round." So, if I've understood that correctly, she is taking this group through because they sucked last night, thereby making a complete nonsense of the whole "we're doing this to get rid of the acts who can't cope on the live shows" conceit of this weekend. Anyway, she's keeping Nu Bile, who were indeed shit last night, so she's right about that at least.
2 Shoes are graceful about the whole thing - indeed, they take the bad news better than anyone else does tonight - and part of me wonders if this wasn't a nice easy way out for Tulisa, in light of Charley's pregnancy: a way of letting them go without actually making it about the pregnancy and all the legal kerfuffle that would involve. However, I can't help noticing that the audience are booing, and also that not a single one of the groups remaining on the show actually auditioned as a group. No wonder they didn't bother showing many of them in the audition programmes. Lucy cries, but giggles that it's "totes emoshe" and we see their best bits, which are totes amaze. I feel a little bit like I felt when Nicolo was eliminated last year: not entirely surprised, but still a little bit cheated of how amazing they could have been. Sadly I think 2 Shoes were, as much as anything, casualties of this show's new-found need to be "relevant" and "authentic", and regardless of their vocal ability, I think their image might have sunk their chances, particularly with Borelow looming over the proceedings and Tulisa being green enough to be influenced by him. If Louis had been their mentor, they'd totally still be in it. I can't quite believe I live in a world where I now believe that Louis Walsh is the mentor who best understands how this programme works. [I know. But this and the American version are both making me think he's secretly the only thing that makes The X Factor work. What a horrifying thought - Rad] Back in the studio, Tulisa sobs that she wants to stay in touch with them. Charley says they're just so proud to have made it this far, and the journey has made them even closer. "I love you, Shoe!" she tells Lucy. Awww. I hope they end up on The Only Way Is Essex.
Finally, it's time for Kelly to take her pick. The girls return, and Misha's costume is amazing. You can barely see her beneath the hair and the shoulder pads. Kelly's crying already, and says that they're all talented in their own way. The first girl she's putting through is Janet, because this show hates me and wants me to suffer. Second to go through is "Miss Misha B". Misha nods demurely and departs. It's down to Amelia and Sophie, both of whom look utterly defeated right now. Kelly dabs her eye with a tissue. Kelly says that she wants them both to know that they are SUCH STARS, and starts sobbing. The third girl she's putting through...is Sophie. Sophie can't believe it. Amelia is gutted. Tulisa reaches out a consoling hand to Kelly. Poor Amelia. She got that awful pink colour wash for nothing. Maybe she and Anastasija can form a support group.
Amelia's best bits play, but inexplicably her only genuinely memorable performance ('Fucked By An Alien' by Katy Who? at judges' houses) is barely even featured. A tearful Kelly joins a tearful Amelia on stage, and Derwood says that Twitter last night was full of people saying Kelly had the toughest decision to make. Kelly says that Amelia has an incredible voice, and we're going to see her everywhere, because the sky is the limit for her. Derwood asks Amelia how she's feeling, and she's too choked up to speak. Amelia is dismissed, and Kelly trots after her looking guilty.
That's it! We now have our Top 12, and next week we even get to vote. Derwood tells us that next week we'll have performances from Katy Who? (that's not going to be awkward at all) and The Wanted. See you next week!