Live Shows week 2: 15 October 2011.
Welcome back! Last week was a big barrage of mediocrity, with one of the loosest themes ever, but on the plus side, four acts got the chop, even if one of them was, sadly, the last group standing (Frankenbands aren’t really proper groups, are they?). I’d forgotten John Joe was even in this show until the recap. Thankfully, whilst NotLouis may be gone, his spirit lives on in the staging. At least until Gary Borelow, destroyer of all fun, has his way.
Having read spoilers about this show from people who watched it live, I fear it’s going to be another long night (or afternoon as it actually is for me). Tonight, the public are finally deemed important! Odds on for a BixMix/Nu Bile bottom two? It’s! Time! To! Face! The! Somewhat less fun than it would have been with 2 Shoes in! Music!
Oooh, the night-time shot of London looks so pretty in HD.
Dermot suitwatch – ugly, grey, with a weird button arrangement that means it bunches in his middle. I bet Steve Jones looks immaculate in his suit. The theme is ‘love and heartbreak’ which is also, essentially, ‘songs’, isn’t it? [Next week's theme: "songs that are about stuff". - Steve] Judges’ outfit watch. Tulisa wins in a weird slashed up ballgown style frock. No-one else appears to have bothered that much. Gary has a really ugly old man’s hankie in his pocket and gives a terrifying ‘I. Like. Fun. Me.’ wink with a grimace. Fortunately the men are not showing chest hair. I really do not miss Simon.
In the slot of doom tonight, Nu Bile. Last week it was obvious that they all hated each other, they sucked badly, but Tulisa put them through because they sucked. We see Tulisa telling them they need to be a FAMILY like her and Dappy. Umm?
In rehearsals we see her telling them off, and in their pre-show interview, they’re all scowling and most of them refuse to look at each other. I’m kind of tempted to say they should stay til the bitter end just so we can see how messy this can get. They’re doing ‘With or Without You’ with some kind of dance beat behind it. They really, really cannot sing in harmony with one another, and they’re all stood atop Perspex boxes, really spaced out, as if to emphasise how much they hate each other. It’s rare this show has wanted to bus one of its own Frankenbands so early on, but I guess they’re pinning all their group hopes on The Risk this year, which is probably wise. In a nice memorial to One Direction, the backing vocals are so loud they drown out the band’s. They end by having about ten seconds together at the front in a scrum.
Louis says the best thing about them is the image. Which is as backhanded a compliment as you can get, really. He says they have no chemistry or vibe. No Vibe. Very good, Louis. Kelly disagrees because they ‘shut it down’. Is that different to ‘putting it down?’ [In 30 Rock, "shut it down" is what you say following something irredeemably awful. I think Kelly was correct without even realising. - Steve] Gary repeats Louis’ ‘no vibe’ joke because he has no original thoughts in his brain. Tulisa says they’re great because they’ve realised which one (Ashford) is the best singer. I can’t see that going down well with the others. Ashford better get himself some police protection after the show. She thinks they’ve ‘improved’. Improved does not equal good though, does it? Ashford’s the only one that gets to speak and he tries to claim that they’ve ‘gelled’. Bad Bradley fixes him with a proper death stare. Heh.
Ads. Dairy products, of course.
Next up, Sami CRUISESHIP. Who is apparently, according to things that are not this show, a lesbian. I would suspect Hell will freeze over before this show ever mentions this. Instead, her storyline is that she is FAT. Unlike Craig, she does not have to diet, but can be an inspiration to overweight children who now want to learn to sing as well. The mixed messages on this show are somewhat astounding. She refuses to lose any weight. She claims she does not look like a pop star, unless you count the winner of Pop Idol 2. Incidentally, 2 Shoes claimed they were best mates with Sami and Johnny this week. Now colour us all surprised. And the pictures of Sami, Kitty and Johnny out on the lash that were in the press this week definitely made me want to be Team Overs! All the rest of this year’s contestants (except Misha) have been spending too much time near Borelow’s fun sponge. That said, there’s nothing much fun about Sami’s song tonight. I was quite happy with a bit of Ultra Nate last week, but tonight is ‘I Will Always Love You’, for the mams presumably. Her hair’s come dressed as Summer from Neighbours. The new one that is, not the mousy, curly one from years ago. The vocal is as you’d expect. This is very dull.
Tulisa loves her, because she has great personality. Surprise. Kelly wants to stomp on the man who broke her heart. Oh, the heterosexual agenda. Borelow says she was a bit too cruise ship. Oh bugger, I feel violated that we’ve used that term now. Louis wants people to ‘pick up the phone and vote for you’. Oh Louis, never change. Dermot asks Borelow what he means by cruiseship. Oh, Dermot. Sami, rather wonderfully, says Jane MacDonald is a cruiseship singer and she’s fabulous and she’d be well up for duetting with her. Nice to see someone on this show with realistic career expectations for a change. [Best attitude since Stacey "there's always Asda" Solomon. - Steve]
Dermot tells us that this year we have a new innovation, voting by TEXT! So new that they used to do that for several years before stopping it for reasons unknown. What next, the red button?
Craig next. Last week Borelow thought he was the number one performance of the night, but he also said that to Misha, so I wouldn’t pay too much attention to Borelow’s endorsement. In rehearsals, Craig is wearing a twat hat. Borelow blabs about how he’s here to give Craig support. Yeah, support like stopping him eating, forcing laxatives down his throat and calling him Fatty Boom Boom or whatever your crazy diet regime is. He’s doing a slowed-down version of ‘Best Thing I Never Had’. He puts a bit too much affectation on the verses which makes them hard to listen to, and he gives some great sidegob in the chorus. I think he’s probably got quite a good natural voice, but he has some incredibly bad habits like most people on this show that actually make it quite painful in places. He’s still got the Bieber hair, too.
Louis says doing a Beyonce song is brave, and he ‘deserves to be on that stage’. Louis is on self-aware auto-pilot these days, isn’t he? [He is indeed, and I love him for it. - Steve] Tulisa liked it, although she wasn’t keen on the song choice. Kelly thinks it wasn’t the best song choice because ‘maybe I’m biased’ but likes him. Borelow thinks the song choice was perfect. Well, duh. Dermot asks if anyone could do a Beyonce song and please Kelly. Kelly says yes, and she did qualify her comment with saying she might be a bit biased. I would love it if Kelly started to properly put Dermot in his place. He then calls Kelly ‘Miss Kelly ‘You are putting it down’ Rowland’ and Kelly gives him the bitchiest ‘oh no you di’nt' stare in return’. Kelly vs Dermot IS ON.
Janet next. Her hair looks a state. She lies that she used to be into heavy metal and tells us how SHY she is. Oh cram it, hag. Kelly says she’s smashed every performance so far. Yes, into itty bitty pieces. The plinky-plonky piano music of doom tells us that Janet’s granddad died this week. It’s not quite the parent who died during boot camp coup one of the USA contestants pulled off, but it’s a good start. (Gah, I hate being flippant about grief, but this show STARTED IT).
She’s doing ‘I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’ which is a song I’ve never enjoyed that much. They’ve curled her hair and it looks somewhat better, although I still want to drag a comb through it. Her voice is still ridiculously affected, and I swear her mispronunciations are deliberate, rather than a result of her accent, because they’re inconsistent. In places, when she forgets to be kooky, she has a nice, if rather unexceptional, tone, so I completely don’t believe her schtick. It’s boring, although the song is boring anyway. Louis ‘believes’ her because she’s Irish. Tulisa said she heard the song before she became a judge (what, for the first time?) and wanted one of her acts to do it. It would have been hilarious to hear Nu Bile or BixMix do that one. She then realised that ‘no other person’ could have done this song as well and it was meant for her. Borelow says she’s a ‘one-off’ (lie) and a ‘great translator of music’. Into what – cat calls? Kelly says her ‘G-father’ would be proud. G-Father?? Dermot makes her feel uncomfortable by rabbiting on about her dead grandfather. As much as I don’t care for Janet, losing a grandparent is sad, especially at that age, and you don’t need to rub it in, show. [Loathe as I am to ever defend this show, at least it wasn't as crass as this. - Steve]
Ads. Beds with a TV in the footrest. That feels like the future, but is surely a recipe for disaster.
Next up is Arse TAT, doing a Coldplay classic. They’re getting as bad as Adele with their ubiquity. In rehearsals, Arse forgets his words and throws a strop, after they changed the song at the last minute. He’s doing ‘The Scientist’ and it’s even worse than his previous performances. It’s really, really bad. He’s wearing a Peter Brame cast-off jacket, and seriously, when you can’t even be as good as Brame or even fucking Tabby, you’re never going to be the nation’s next best thing. He is really, really out of tune and looks very uncomfortable. That was awkward.
Louis says at boot camp, he seemed like the one to beat, but the song choice was average and he’s lost his swagger. Cher Lloyd might want to stage an intervention. Kelly asks if Louis knows what swagger means. Louis says he does (though doesn’t qualify if he knows what Jaggering one’s swagger is) and he’s lost it. Kelly says ‘don’t you ever say swagger again’. Heh. Tulisa says he has star quality but wasn’t sure about the song choice and he’s capable of a lot more. The audience clap this, whilst they booed Louis for saying exactly the same thing. Kelly says she wanted more from him this week. Louis’ all ‘that’s what I said!’ She says he needs to up his vocal. The audience whoop at this. Gary Borelow, fun crusher, says ‘back in the real world, that was fantastic’ and responded to the song change ‘as I thought you would’ – by looking miserable and fluffing it, Gary? Dermot snips at Louis that a mentor’s role is to step in and change the song if it’s not working. Louis says ‘absolutely, but I always get a better song!’ Heh. The audience whoop again. This is really not working out for Borelow and Arse TAT is it? Borelow then, inexplicably, says he should have given him ‘I Will Always Love You’ which might be some weird burn on Louis and Sami, but doesn’t really work. I can just read the interviews on Digital Spy with Arse TAT slagging off Borelow now, can’t you?
Next up Johnny wore Bacofoil, hung about in a big Glitter ball and did a sadly auto-tune free version of ‘Believe’, which was actually the stuff of nightmares for me for a while. When I was a student, I lived with two French girls who played that song on repeat for a whole year. Eventually they bought the album, but it all sounded exactly the same. Anyway, Johnny hopes to impress Kylie tonight because she’s on Twitter, and everyone in the house is tweeting. He then does one-fingered typing as he tweets Kylie. He says his performance is dedicated to Kylie. And Gary Borelow. Heh. If this series ends up being all the contestants and judges vs Borelow, I will cackle with glee. It’s only a matter of weeks before Craig snaps and goes on a rampage against him, Arse TAT already hates him, and whatsisface the other one isn’t going to be on the show for long anyway. This could get FUN.
It’s ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ and Johnny emerges in a kimono with eye make up and a fan. Oh NotNotLouis, well done on keeping up the good work. He misses his timing at first, perhaps distracted by the bevy of dancers and all their fans. (Sinitta would be proud). The singing is on and off but it’s a lot better than most tonight and it’s nice to finally have an upbeat song given the dirges they’ve been foisting on us all evening. He then ends by shouting ‘Vogue’ for no good reason, but gives a big beaming smile and a bow. Bless him. I do love him.
The audience whoop his name really loudly and you can’t hear Tulisa’s comments although she does say he’s entertaining, but she’d like him to do a song that shows off his vocals. Louis says they’re working on it ‘but it’s only week one’. So last week didn’t count? Kelly looks forward to what funsponge Borelow has to say. She’s rendered pretty inarticulate and can only say ‘Hi Johnny’ and she says one of the dancers was cute, but distracting, and wants to hear him sing and not hide behind Kylie. Given she’s five foot one and he’s a tall lanky thing, I think it’d be hard for him to hide behind her. Borelow, though, is SAD. Because he does not want to have fun. He doesn’t want people to laugh at Johnny – although I’d say that tonight at least, Johnny was in on the joke, so it’d be laughing WITH him, not AT him - because he can actually sing. If that’s a double burn on Johnny and Kylie, Borelow, you can sod off. Being able to sing does not equal dull ballads. Johnny says Borelow can rub his lamp any time, he’s the genie in his bottle (um, kay?) and he thanks the judges for the comments. Dermot asks if he’ll do a ballad next week. No! Death to ballads! Johnny sadly says yes. Go away Dermot. He then freaks out at a weirdly long fingernail Johnny has on his hand, so Johnny starts to terrorise him with it and Dermot pulls away from him. Heh.
Still coming up: Misha B, Kitty, and a load of fodder!
Ads. Why should we care that Downton Abbey has won an Emmy? What is this, America?
We’re back with ‘my super smooth singing Scouser’ theotherone. It’s not quite as bad as mawliddle, Borelow, but it’s close. I do not get how, of all the new judges, he’s the one that’s become the new nation’s sweetheart. I think that article in the Guardian Guide the other week about the rise of the ‘new boring’ is right. Speaking of boring, theotherone’s VT tells us he doesn’t want to go home. SNORE.
He’s doing ‘Russian Roulette’ which is Rihanna’s most boring song, although at least there are lots of flaming torches on the stage, and a lot of contemporary dance to look at, as well as graphics of a hand on fire. Mmmkay. It’s hard to know if he’s any good or not because I think this song is probably impossible to sing well, but he fluffs the last notes majorly.
Louis likes him but thinks Gary gave him the wrong song, but he… DRUM ROLL… wants people in Liverpool to vote for him. Tulisa thinks the song choice was rubbish and he can do a lot better. Kelly wanted to see more emotion from him. Gary doesn’t understand what the others are on about, because he can’t take criticism. Dermot asks Louis if getting out of the comfort zone is what it’s all about. Louis says yes, but Gary gave him the wrong song. Kelly disagrees but it’s not clear why. Theotherone says he tried to connect with the song. Dermot points out that the staging makes it look like we’re in Hades. Indeed. NotNotLouis hates this week’s snorefest as much as we do.
Tulisa introduces the bext girl band ever on this show. She says in her VT that there is a ‘curse of the girl band’ and we see some selected ‘highlights’ of terrible girl bands this show has lost (most of whom are Franken). BixMix don’t want to be like the other girl bands. Good luck with that one. Tulisa is pleading with the public to give BixMix a chance. They have a very cool graffiti effect of their name on the staircase they start out sitting on, which is probably going to be the highlight of their performance. They’re doing ‘Like a Bird’ and their styling is as messy as ever, much like their harmonies. Like Nu Bile before them, they spend most of the performance spaced out on the stage and don’t look at each other much. Jesy’s still the only one I could pick out in a line-up. One of the others pulls a ‘we’re doomed’ face before the song even ends. [They were awful when singing individually and yet curiously tuneful when harmonising on the chorus. I smell the One Direction Memorial over-amplified backing track at work again. - Steve]
Louis says they were fun and have great energy and he agrees that they’re the best girl band ever on X Factor and they could be the next big UK girl band. I’m struggling to think of the last one, other than The Saturdays. Tulisa says girls need to vote for them because they’re not going to steal your boyfriend. Er what? Kelly thinks people should vote for them. Borelow says other girl bands on this show have tried to be like the Spice Girls or Girls Aloud – I can’t think of a single girl band on this show that ever managed to be 5% like either of those groups. Dermot asks why people should vote for them. Tulisa says because they’re NORMAL GIRLS. But isn’t Sami the one that NORMAL GIRLS are supposed to vote for? I’m so confused right now. [Tulisa's "all other girl bands ever want to steal your boyfriend" attitude is both offensive and baffling. - Steve]
Ads. The dairy product agenda continues.
Last week the competition ended as Misha trounced everyone else into tiny pieces, but ITV need the advertising money so we’re going to continue with this charade of a contest for several more weeks yet. The VT tells us that Misha is nervous, lest we think that she is some CONFIDENT MONSTER. She praises the stylists, who finally get names, although their names flash by too fast to take any notice of them. We see them styling Misha and Kelly says she loves Misha because she’s into her style. I can’t help but feel this isn’t the most flattering way to present a contestant if you don’t want people to take against them for arrogance.
She arrives in an amazing purple power suit, part MC Hammer, part Dynasty on drugs, slashed right to the waist, flanked by dancers. She’s doing ‘Would I Lie To You’, which is a song I bloody love, and instead of slowing down a fast song, she’s amped up a slow one. Good girl. Yet again, she’s the only one who’s doing anything vaguely contemporary. In places, her vocal veers on a screech at the very high parts but she’s still got the best voice in the competition and she’s the only one (except perhaps Johnny and Kitty) who’s a decent performer.
Louis loves her and thinks she could be a new ‘urban Queen’. Because she is black? Tulisa can’t wait to see more from her and hopes she keeps reinventing herself. Borelow calls her the Queen of Soul and says she was Extra-ordinary and watching her was like watching one of the guest artists they have on the show. Given Lazy DECORATOR last week and presumably Cher LLOYD and One DIRECTION will be up later, I’m not sure that’s a compliment. Misha says she’s loving every moment of it, and would like people to vote for her please.
It’s been far too long since some people tried to hawk us some stuff, hasn’t it? So here’s that smug Max Beesley job hunting advert and some others. ITV2 are still trying to make Peter Andre happen apparently.
Next up, ‘the ladies’ favourite’, The Risk and their ever changing roster of members. Last week they surprised everyone by actually being quite good.
Their stringy backing music is WAY TOO LOUD and it’s hard to hear their vocals, but they’re doing ‘Just the Way You Are’ in a memorial to Lazy DECORATOR, who probably did this a bit better. They’ve been afflicted by the curse of the Westlife memorial stools which makes them seem a helluva lot duller than they were last week and they spend the whole thing fighting to be heard over the backing track. There’s not even a bit where they stand up at the key change, so then they awkwardly have to get off their stools at the end. They’re better than this.
Louis says they’re a brilliant boy band and names ‘not just Charlie, there’s Andy, there’s Ashley, there’s… everyone’. Oh poor the fourth one. Kelly says they should be proud of themselves. Borelow calls them ‘pure class’ and compares them to Take That, who were also manufactured – and he makes out that this is a good thing. Tulisa says she then doesn’t class them as manufactured as they should have ‘found each other anyway’. Tulisa, I like you, but you speak utter nonsense. She then does an awful Scottish accent for Andy and calls their fans the Riskettes. I didn’t realise Tulisa was old enough to remember Brosettes. Dermot snarks about the stools and Louis says that stools work. Dermot snarks about the stools some more and The Risk are all like ‘um yeah, whatever’.
Kelly babbles about this next girl being ‘the voice and I’m in love with her and I hope you all love her even though she’s my theotherone and none of you care’. Sophie says that nobody likes her as much as Misha or Janet and she felt a bit fed up. We see Kelly at the house watching Sophie cook, and Kelly says people need to love her as much as she does. Sophie whines that she’s not in the papers as much as everyone else. [Poor Sophie. When even the show is pointing out your complete lack of impact, things really aren't going well are they? - Steve]
She’s wearing a bright red dress that looks like one of those Virgin air stewardess outfits, or something a TV presenter twenty years older than her would wear. In keeping with this evening’s theme of ‘utterly boring’ she’s doing ‘Wherever You Will Go’ by The Calling, who surely could compete with The Script for most nondescript group of the past fifteen years. It’s not especially good, and she looks rather uncomfortable standing static on a little box to sing it. I really don’t think this show knows what to do with her.
Louis says she needs to believe in herself more and he wants people to notice her. Tulisa says she can relate to her because they’re both ‘representing’ North West London. ‘I hope North West London votes for you’ is always going to be a bit too much of a mouthful for the regional voting. Borelow says she’s good but hasn’t got a spark, which is fair. Kelly says she ‘brought it up a coupla notches’ which doesn’t sound that exciting, but makes her ‘not just a normal person’ but a star. Oh, Kelly.
Dermot asks what Borelow means by a spark. Borelow says it’s not just about being a good singer. Dermot asks if she’s got more. Sophie unconvincingly says she’s definitely got more.
Up next, doing Björk, is Kitty. Thank fuck.
But before that, you can win a car in the competition. And the ads. Health Lottery fail.
Dermot welcomes us back by saying Jedward are in the audience. Way to rain on the parade of this year’s mediocre crop, Dermot. Louis says they’ve saved the best til last and given Kitty the pimp slot. In her VT she wears a weird sub-Gaga wig and calls people who booed her disrespectful. Her eyebrows are mad, like Romulan eyebrows. Brian May forgets which show he’s supposed to be supporting and apparently likes her. Because this show has DISCOVERED TWITTER this week, she says her fans have got a hashtag, #kittysdivas. Except this show misunderstands Twitter and puts #kittys divas which would never work.
She opens played out on her back, lookling dead, on some giant playing cards. Bravo, NotNotLouis. She’s in tune lying down, which is more than Blessed Saint Laura White ever managed. Then the set becomes the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, with her as a demented Alice, and the song adds some rock guitars, and already this is amazing. She can sing well and then everyone gets up and dances on the table, and quite frankly, if this whole show was just Kitty and Misha with maybe the odd turn from Johnny and the return of 2 Shoes it would be damn fine entertainment indeed. Everyone else is just so incredibly boring. [Seconded. All of it. - Steve]
Tulisa babbles that she’s speechless. Kelly says she has to get people to love her as it’s not just about her voice. Borelow says he’s not bothered about all the talk about her, and ‘if this was really a talent contest and not a popularity one’ she’d be here next week. I love how Borelow just massively accidentally burned this show. Louis loves her. Kitty nervousterviews that she’s having fun and is having a great time. Dermot tries to shit stir that people hate her. Bore off, Dermot.
Dermot reminds us that text messaging voting has been (re)invented and tells us all the voting details. Then there are recaps of tonight’s performances with all the voting details again: Nu Bile being resentful, Sami by numbers, Craig learning the fine art of boring from Gary, Janet can’t help falling asleep, Arse TAT falling out with his mentor and the tune, Johnny going geisha, themaleotherone looking like a doomed man, BixMix preparing to fly away, Misha owning everyone else as usual, The Risk discovering stools, thefemaleotherone being utterly lost, Kitty embodying the spirit of NotLouis.
Tomorrow night, Katy Who? And winners of last year’s best pre-performance hyperbole award, THE WANTED. Join me then.