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!


thiago said...

what a good recap, i laughed all the way through! i'd love if kelly was gone for good, alex is amazing but she was kelly.2 (and i felt really betrayed). louis was on fire and i agree: he should be him and kelly for now on.

i really like littlemix they're cute and always seems very happy after their performances.

and how come adele song is not a ballad? bitch, please!

Patrick said...

Guys Janet was clearly dressed as Miss Havisham. Don't you know a Great Expectations reference when you see one. (I have to admit that X Factor going all Charles Dickens on our asses was one of the last things I would've expected.)

Steve said...

Great Expectations may have been the intention, perhaps, but I stand by my assertion that the actual outcome was the result of a drunken night between Fester and Itt.

StuckInABook said...

I was confused by how (a) Set Fire To The Rain was considered either uptempo or in any way related to Hallowe'en, and (b) why Craig's own father got him to sign a T-shirt - is he starstruck of his own son?

Great write-up, except that I'm totally Team Tulisa - love that girl. Personally I don't think calling Misha out bullying is any worse than Louis' endless "You sing well, but everyone in the world, including your parents, hates you - soz!"

OH, and I was shocked that X Factor could make a Great Expectations ref. Shame the singing was so dire (then again, Miss Havisham probably wasn't much with her pipes)

seminaranalyse said...

dear god, whats so hard for rtulisa to say shes sorry. For fucks sake, Louis managed it.
I loved Alex for calling out Frankie and tought she did some good comments.
Again this is a shit year.

Patrick said...

Lots of Patricks around, we are multiplying!

I don't get Little Mix... is it meant to sound like Little Miss? Am I missing something obvious?

I'm upset I still have no favourite, just people I don't want to see again. Is it worse to have all the people I am indifferent to left in the competition, should I revel in my dislike for Frankie, Craig and Janet so at least I am thinking/feeling something?!

fused said...

Lots of programmes have been made more interesting by throwing in a madwoman in a wedding dress, so I didn't get that it was supposed to be a Miss Havisham reference at first until I saw they had put in the rotting wedding cake.

I don't really blame LittleReRhythmWeetaPickNBixMix for playing the "we're NORMAL GIRLS!!" card. The X Factor audience have proven time and time again that a lot of them don't like girlbands and aren't willing to give them a chance. I think what they're trying to do is to convince people who probably have prejudices about girlbands to vote for them.

I thought Marcus gave the best performance this week. I'm liking him more and more.