Sunday, November 06, 2011

Clubbed to death

Week 5 - 'Club Classics' week

5 November 2011

Last week! It was a scary old night indeed! Future Head Judge Alexandra Burke filled in for Kelly who was off sick, or “off sick” if you’re cynical about these matters! Sophie finally left, and our new favourite web thing, Fix Factor Comics, illustrated this perfectly!

Tonight! Kelly is back! Gary and ArseTAT are possibly going to have another fakeout row! But two people will be going, so hooray for that! It’s! Time! To! Face! Some! Terrible! Puns! About! Fireworks!

Incidentally, wouldn’t fire and fireworks be a decent theme night? Katy Perry, Roxette, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown? No? [No. - Steve]

Dermot enters to ‘The Theme from S-Express’ which is something I am surprised this show has any awareness of. Suitwatch? Blue and obviously ill-fitting around the middle, but not his worst ever. He is surrounded by scantily female clad dancers for the second week in a row. He guarantees a ‘ballid free zone’ – does this mean Tulisa has learned to pronounce the word correctly then? Apparently our theme is ‘club classics’, but seeing as the theme was ‘rock’ the other week and it essentially meant ‘whatever the hell we feel like’, let’s not hold our breath on that one.

The judges enter to ‘Disco Inferno’, with Kelly touching Tulisa’s back, although still no hand-holding, so the conspiracy lovers out there still have plenty to consider. Judges’ dress watch: Kelly is wearing a pink ballgown, Tulisa a short spangly thing, Louis a smart black suit and shirt, Funsponge an old Victorian professorial get-up as usual. Note to Funsponge: the only man under 60 in this country who can pull off tweed is Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and seeing as he’s playing a character over 900 years old, he doesn’t class as under 50 really. And even he wouldn’t attempt double tweed with a waistcoat like you are doing. This is no better than double denim. To be fair, if Borelow went the whole hog and adopted a monocle and handlebar moustache (it is Movember after all), I might allow it. Kelly is welcomed back, and Funsponge says ‘can I just say, don’t leave us again DOT COM’. Is that a burn on Alexandra? Because I know this show likes to rag on its male winners but surely insulting one of its only two succesful winners is bad form. Maybe he was just worried that this show might become a little bit too fun if she hung around. [Funsponge is jus jelass because Future Head Judge Alexandra Burke was more entertaining in one show than he's managed to be in an entire series. - Steve]

Dermot asks Funsponge what he wants to hear from the acts. Funsponge dodges the question by saying they are looking for a winner. Yes, thanks for that one. Tulisa and Kelly declare that they are ‘all good’ now because this week’s made-up tabloid drama is going to be caused by a DOUBLE EVICTION and possibly also a crappy SHOCK TWIST if the producers get a bit antsy and need more headlines.

Because it’s the stage where these competitions start to have a John Sargeant memorial panic and the joke acts and fodderbots need to be put in their place, Johnny is on first. We see him rehearsing with his choreographers and flirting with the male dancers. He hopes the judges ‘get up and have a boogie’. He opens with ‘Hung Up’ and his voice is even more helium-tastic than ever. I love this track, but it’s not a very ‘singy’ song and it shows. Johnny’s wearing the same kind of suit as Louis which seems an odd sartorial choice for him in any week, but especially this week when glitter, sequins or even full-on drag would have been very fitting. Still, he’s standing on a stage with a replica vinyl record saying ‘Johnny Robinson’ in the middle, which is more exciting than just a piece of perspex. He starts with a bunch of besuited male dancers, and then the song morphs into ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)’. The literal staging would have worked better if the record he was standing on had actually spun. [I was waiting for it to spin. That would've been awesome - Helen] His fully clothed male dancers disperse and a bunch of scantily clad women emerge. Le sigh. Johnny manages this second song pretty well, even getting the deep notes, even if it's overall a little underwhelming and I have a feeling that an under-par Johnny performance is about as fun as tonight will get.

Tulisa reads her ‘kill the joke act’ memo and tells him it was a bit too predictable. Kelly uses the whole ‘guilty pleasure’ line from the big book o’ judges’ clich├ęs. Funsponge calls it ‘the opening of a bad pantomime in Scarborough’ and lies that it’s making a mockery of the competition, and lies that they’re looking for someone to sell records even though a) Johnny is one of the better singers and performers here – if anyone’s making a mockery, it’s Arse TAT and the fake groups so cram it, Funsponge and b) The most notable success from this show since its one good year in 2008? Jedward. So cram it, Funsponge. Borelow asks if he enjoyed it, Johnny said he did. Funsponge says he thinks Johnny is lying and last week when they made him a bit boring was more enjoyable. Johnny reminds Funsponge that the theme this week is all about fun. This message does not compute. Dermot asks if he should do a ballad every week. Kelly says, no, that’s boring. Funsponge says there are ‘other ways’ of showing what he can do but fails to express what these might be. [This is because Funsponge totally wants Johnny to do a ballid every week but doesn't want to look like a funsponge by actually saying so. - Steve] Johnny says maybe one day he and Funsponge might get married and then they can change the record. Johnny then smiles at us, and you know what – I just love him, because he has no real attitude about any of this at all, unlike some people, FUNSPONGE.

Speaking of attitude, it’s Janet up next. Dermot introduces Kelly as going to ‘put it down’. Kelly does not like this burn and says ‘er, yeah, we’d better retire that’. I’m liking new, post-‘illness’ Kelly so far, let’s see if it lasts. Janet’s VT is a mass of lots of hair, and she’s also choosing her own song. We’re also seeing a bit of female NotNotLouis in these VTs (I believe there are two creative directors this year). She looks a bit like that blonde one from The Bangles. If you squint and imagine her in a tracksuit.

Janet’s wearing some fuckawful get-up – a vest top with no skirt or trousers, tights, a long no-sleeve cardi thing and boots and she looks really uncomfortable. She’s doing ‘I Want You Back’ and sounds really awkward. She loses the lyrics halfway through, and even though she recovers quickly, this isn’t especially tuneful, and if Funsponge is being consistent (Ha!) he will hate it.

Louis likes that she stepped out of her comfort zone. Tulisa says she’d always wanted to hear her go uptempo but now she has, she regrets that and Janet should go back to being boring. [Judging With Tulisa Contostavlos: GET OUT OF YOUR BOX! NOW GET BACK IN YOUR BOX! The End. - Steve] Funsponge says the performance was weak and didn’t suit her and she should stick with Kelly’s song choices. Thing is, I don’t really want to defend Janet, because she’s annoying as all hell and awful, but she at least vaguely tried to go on theme, which is more than Tulisa or Funsponge’s acts seem to do, so, you know, either have the theme weeks or don’t. I don’t know what this show wants anymore. Kelly says it wasn’t Janet’s strongest performance but she had a good time. Dermot lies that this is the first week Janet had mixed feedback. Janet said it’s not the kind of thing she’d normally record, but she at least had a go at the theme. Oh Janet, please don’t make me like you - although given your placing on the show tonight and the cock-up of the song/styling, coupled with two weeks of judges' criticisms, I think we could be looking at you for a 'shock' boot this week or next.

Ads. Do we think one of those Yeo Valley famers will find their way into the SugaBLOKES by the end of the series? [Fnar. - Steve]

Dermot implores us to download an XFactor app. Er, why? Next up is Craig BISCUIT. Last week he stepped out of his comfort zone by doing an Adele song that had no relation to the theme. I know, colour me shocked. Funsponge points out that this theme doesn’t suit Craig. I don’t know, I’ve heard a club remix of ‘Someone Like You’. I’m sure that would be a tenuous enough link for you, Borelow. Craig’s VT shows him attempting some terrible dancing – although not as terrible as that foisted on us by Olly Murs. He starts to sing Bryan Adams’ ‘Heaven’, and though I know this was remixed as a dance song, it’s still stretching the theme somewhat, no? They let him do a whole verse as a ballad but then they do kick in a dance beat. He stands rooted to the spot whilst a load of dancers move behind him, He then attempts some walking and looks like he’s going to crash into his backing dancers. Then he gets to go ballady again. It’s as boring as he always is and I fail to see how that is any more credible than Johnny. At least Johnny looks like he's enjoying himself, whereas Craig BISCUIT looks like a prisoner of war being kept against his will and tortured in Borelow's anti-fun, anti-fat, anti-personality camp.

Louis loves him and he reminds him of a ‘young Gary Barlow’ with his singing and dancing. Gary Barlow who notoriously was the crap dancer in Take That. Craig pulls an awesome ‘did you just burn me there?’ face. Tulisa says she knew he could do something up-tempo. Except 60% of that song wasn’t up-tempo. Kelly says she was starting to think some contestants are getting complacent, but Craig isn’t. I’m not sure Craig is necessarily complacent himself, but there is a definite complacency in the way Borelow and the producers are lining him up to be one of the chosen ones – after all, Adele mk2 didn’t get through judges’ houses, so they may as well go for male Adele. [I was disappointed none of the judges made a Club Biscuit joke - Helen]

Next up, let’s see who is in uber-Frankenband SugaBLOKES this week. They go to meet JLS who tell them they need to progress to the next level. SugaBLOKES ask if there’s a gap in the market they can fill. JLS say ‘not our gap. No only joking. Except not really. That One Direction are bad enough. So we’ll be quite happy if you fall on your arses to be honest’.

I think SugaBLOKES are still on their 3.0 incarnation this week. They’re doing ‘A Night To Remember’ and there’s some terrible microphone dancing, and the obligatory rap bit in the middle (it’s like we’re back in 1990 this series with every other track having a rap break). They let one of the ones no-one cares about do a verse, which may be a mistake, but it’s not Zaynwreck levels of badness. For the most part, it’s pretty competent and super-duper bland. This song isn’t my favourite, and whilst I don’t care that much about the SugaBLOKES, they deserve better than this.

Louis proves he knows one of the other one’s names (Derry) and liked his rap, but points out that Charlie is the lead singer, so there’s now Derry, Charlie and interchangeable Ash (ley/ford/ton/es to ashes funk to funky) The other bloke without a name should probably fear for his P45. Borelow felt like this was their best song choice but they didn’t sing it that well (this is a piss-awful song choice that no-one can sing well) and they need to realise that Charlie is the lead singer, even though everyone knows he is anyway. Tulisa says they have ‘won this competition tonight’. [LOL HUBRIS. - Steve] Oh great, does that mean we don’t need to hear the other five acts? I’ll be happy to allow SugaBLOKES to win tonight if that’s the case.

Ads. The creatures from the Muller ad are lining up to be in SugaBLOKES v15.0.

Dermot welcomes us back by standing in the audience and lying that they are wonderful people.

Marcus is next, and Borelow tells him that everyone else is getting the dancing is hard for tall people ‘club classics are hard for boring people’ edit but he should be fine because he’s done dance music before. Marcus’s face drops as he realises he could be being set up for the ‘you should shine this week and you didn’t’ edit. Especially as they probably need to lose one of the boys this week and black solo male singers get even shorter shrift on this show than confident black girls.

A random black and white ‘TV announcer’ clip introduces him. What is with these gimmicks? ArseTAT’s terrible entrance last week was bad enough. His stage set is full of retro style TV displays and 50s-style dancers. He’s rocking a dubious pencil moustache and wearing a cast-off from Bruno Mars’ weirdly silent 50s-styled performance the other week and doing ‘Reet Petite’ which is a fabulous track and I really like this. The guy can sing, has a reasonable vocal range, and he’s much more versatile than Craig BISCUIT. Plus he does the rolls on rrrrrrreet really well. It's not in the least bit current, other than that the 1950s are a bit 'in'. Howeverm I really enjoyed it. I’ve never really cared much for Marcus before but now I’m thinking he might be quite good. And he’s certainly the best one in Borelow’s category by a country mile.

Louis says he’s the perfect pop star and compares him to Little Richard (all in the pencil moustache, I think), Bruno Mars, Jackie Wilson and Ernie Milton, whoever that may be, and we get what I believe is our first ‘you are the X Factor’ of the series. Tulisa says she was ‘boogie-ing down’ with her PA to Marcus’ rehearsal. A PA, Tulisa? Not very street, is it? Kelly says he’s like Frankie Lymon but loses points for not prefixing this with ‘you remind me of a little’. Funsponge says it wasn’t the performance of the night, but the performance of the ‘season’. No, series. Stop trying to be Cowell. Also: poor SugaBLOKES, robbed of their ‘win’ already. Dermot reminds us to vote.

Last week, Kitty was awesome and span around on a giant target because she's the only one with any notion of being good telly, and this week she’s the second of Louis’ acts doing Madonna. Does this mean Madge herself might make an appearance in the finals? Kitty says in her VT that she wants to do something post-apocalyptic and like Sister Act 2. A post-apocalyptic Sister Act 2 sounds like the best film pitch ever.

She’s doing ‘Like a Prayer’ and starts by wearing choir robes with a yellowy glittery patch at the top that look a bit like the dress uniform they had to wear on Star Trek The Next Generation. It’s like she reached into my mind and combined all my favourite things. To be fair, the opening bit is a little weak, but it improves and then we get pyrotechnics, and she and her choral backing dancers fling off their robes to reveal GaGa leotards. I’m not seeing the post-apocalyptic Sister Act 2 vision I was promised though, so I am disappointed. It’s a little bit shouty as well. It wasn't her finest hour, but I still love her, and rather Kitty than ArseTAT, BixMIX or Craig BISCUIT.

Tulisa says Kitty is the most consistent performer and could keep people entertained on an arena tour. Kelly says this performance was a little flat compared to her others because she too had bought into the post-apocalyptic Sister Act 2 dream. Gary says the vocals weren’t as good as usual and Kitty can’t dance, he says he can’t dance, so he doesn’t, and she shouldn’t either. Louis says she’s too talented to be on this show to be a tribute act and he wants people to keep her in. Dermot tries to stoke up controversy by asking her how she’ll respond to the feedback. She says she’ll take on board the criticisms and work on it. Dermot says, ‘no, but really’ and Kitty says ‘yes, really, I want to work hard and get better, thanks Dermot’. Dermot sucks at creating fake drama.

Last week, ArseTAT sucked as usual but was somehow saved, much to his disbelief. Borelow says ArseTAT is not the best singer in the competition but that’s not what it’s about. I refer you to your critiques of Johnny and tell you to shut the fuck up, Funsponge. Lots of footage of hair, lairyness and ArseTAT being a dick. Craig BISCUIT bets ArseTAT he will go home. Ha. Although I’d laugh even harder if Biscuit went.

He’s doing ‘I Gotta Feeling’ and it’s so out of time it makes Susan Boyle sound like she knows what rhythm is and he has no concept of tuning as usual. He walks around looking uncomfortable and I wonder if he actually kind of wants to go home. His timing does improve as the song goes on but he looks really awkward and his ‘rock star’ moves involve shuffling around the stage as comfortably as Biscuit Boy did, although he had a ‘band’ rather than backing dancers to crash into.

Louis says it was bad karaoke and he doesn’t know why he’s still in the competition. [I fell in love with Louis a little bit at that point - Helen] He says ArseTAT is not a rock star and will never be a rock star and the only thing big about him is his hair. Harsh but fair. Tulisa said she’d just got comfortable with the ‘edgy, rebellious’ Frankie and thinks the song choice was ‘too soft’. Tulisa really, really does not ‘get’ theme weeks, does she? Kelly tells Louis he should never tell someone what they will never be, even though if this show employed some more of that honesty… well, they’d never actually get 16 acts through to live shows for a start. Louis tries to snap back at her and she goes ‘OK, cute’ in a sarky way, which would be a brilliant burn normally if he weren’t being honest. Louis then says ‘at least I’m being honest and not playing to the cameras like you are’. Oh joy, fake judge dramaz again. [I love the idea of Louis believing he doesn't play to the cameras, bless him. - Steve] Borelow tells Louis to get ‘back in your cage’ whatever that means, and Louis tells him to shut up. Funsponge tells ArseTAT he chose the wrong song and it’s disgusting that people boo him. You never said that when people booed Kitty the last few weeks, so cram it. Dermot fails again to cause drama by asking ArseTAT if he hated the song, Arse says no, the song was fine and only just stops short of saying 'please don't vote for me, I'm bored of this now'. Borelow says this was always going to be the hardest week for, well, for everyone except Marcus, apparently. Louis says he still can’t sing in tune. Louis and Borelow then do the ‘shut up’, ‘no you shut up’, ‘no you shut up’ thing. Again. Some more. Yawn.

Ads. I kind of want to watch that Julie Walters thing, but the close-ups of eyes in the trailer are wigging me out. Halloween was last week.

Kelly says the ‘B’ in Misha B’s name stands not for ‘Bryant’ but for ‘Meaning Some Serious Business’. Kelly’s got the Simon Cowell grasp of the English language then. Misha was in the bottom two last week, but this week she went to ‘the Cosmos’ with Janet (Cosmopolitan awards, I presume) and met Kylie. Were they the only two contestants there? Poor Johnny. Misha’s family have come to cheer her up and she cries that they inspire her to be great. What, no death, disease or poverty? Not really a sob story, my love.

She’s doing ‘Proud Mary’ and is wearing a white jacket with big hair as if she’s Heather Small circa 1994, and tight leather trousers as if she’s Catwoman. It’s not a good look for her. She also opens with some weird talky bit about the importance of music, which is just odd. There seems to be something wrong with the sound n places – whether it’s her not singing into the mic properly or it cutting out, bits of it keep cutting off. She affects some Tina Turner dancing. Her vocal is good as always, but the whole thing feels like it’s come straight out of 1975 which is a shame, as until now, she’s been one of the only vaguely contemporary contestants.

Louis says she has natural star quality and she and Marcus are in a different league to everyone else. Tulisa loves seeing her getting dressed up and she also loves her being ‘toned down’ tonight – well, I guess she has less make-up on, but toned down? Gary tells her she’s awesome and Kelly gets the audience to give a ‘hello hello hello hello’. They cheer. Don’t know that a cheer counts as a hello. Louis implores Manchester to use ‘their thumbs’ and vote.

It’s been a while since we had an advert break, hasn’t it? A whole performance. So here are some more. That Rolf Harris interview sounds quite sad.

Next up, BixMIX and they’ve become the first group this series to all get a proper, captioned, name. Perrie is the blonde one who hasn’t yet been allowed a personality, but she’s now discovered one: Geordie. Well, South Shields, but close. About two years too late for that gimmick, love. She used to learn to sing in the launderette, when old ladies gave her 20ps to sing. She’s a veritable Alan Sugar. Leigh Anne is the one with the cool red hair who looks a bit like a Valentine sibling from Hollyoaks, and she’s from High Wycombe. Jade is the other anonymous one and is also, apparently, from South Shields and also used to mug the old people of the community. Does anyone know about this? I wonder if Jade and Perrie were actually in a group at one stage? I’m sure some of the internet conspiracy theorists out there would like to think so. Jesy, from Romford, is the one we actually know about and we see some terrible home video footage of her and her siblings screeching ‘Without You’. They really are trying to make this girl band happen, aren’t they? This week they got to sing with Jessie J who put them through at judges’ houses. We see Jessie J thrusting a mic in their faces and forcing them to sing. Her foot appears to be fixed.

They’re doing ‘Please Don’t Stop the Music’ and the vocals are really bad, especially from Jesy and Leigh Anne Valentine, which is a shame, given they’ve been the ‘main ones’ so far. Funnily enough, the ‘other two’ get a bit more to do this week, although Perrie sings as if she’s in another band/genre/show altogether. They get One Directional memorial backing singers in the chorus, which improves things a lot. I do love the multi-coloured lighting they always do for these girls, but their styling is dreadful this week, as if their mums had made them costumes for ‘come to school dressed as a person from the 1980s' vision of a person from the year 2000’ day, and their dancing is a bit iffy, but they’ve got the pimp slot, and I think they could potentially make some decent pop records given the right team.

Louis loves them and thinks they’ve broken the curse of the girl bands. If they have, that’s nothing to do with them (or to do with the other girl bands) and everything to do with this show choosing to pimp them when it’s previously chosen to bus girl bands at the earliest opportunity – except for Phoebe and the Woo Woo Girls, who Wikipedia says came 5th, which shocked me, as I thought they’d been a solid mid-series boot. It’s a long way to go before this lot make 5th, so they shouldn’t speak too soon. [BixMix are now, I believe, the girl group to go the furthest in the competition without being in the bottom two. Phoebe and The Woo-Woo Girls had already been in the bottom two at Top 10, but were saved over Futurepoofs. - Steve] Kelly says we should hear them a capella sometime. Funsponge loves them and likes that they raided Johnny’s wardrobe. Whatever. Tulisa loves them girls and highlights that there is an Essex Mix and two Geordie Mixes but doesn’t call upon the High Wycombe massive. For shame, Tulisa. The girls would like to be here next week, ta.

Dermot reminds us that two acts are going! Hooray! I hope that doesn’t mean we’re going to be on two performances apiece though, as I’m not yet ready for 14 performances in one show (I know we had 16 at first, but that show did last eight years and they at least had the courtesy to boot four out).

Recap: Johnny spinning right round on a disappointingly static record, Janet trying and failing to do the theme and possibly being lined up for the ‘shock boot’ of the series, Craig BISCUIT sucking the life out of disco, SugaBLOKES being boring, Marcus lining himself up for one of those rock'n'roll pseudo musicals, Kitty failing to make post-apocalyptic Sister Act 2 happen and breaking my heart, ArseTAT begging to go home, Misha being sent back in time, BixMIX being allowed names.

Tomorrow night, Florence and the Machine will be here to inspire Janet, and JLS will be here to shoot daggers at SugaBLOKES across the green room. Plus two people are going.

Dermot implores us to download the songs, like that’s ever going to happen.

Join me later for the results!


StuckInABook said...

Great write-up :) I agree that Marcus was the best last night (in fact the only one I enjoyed) but they did the whole John Adeleyeyeye thing of making a good, potentially-contemporary singer feel hugely old fashioned. They basically put him in Hairspray. But at least he doesn't have John A's stylist.

Oh, and Craig was actually betting Frankie that he'd go out in the sense of going to a club (since Frankie had faux-sincere promised never to be bad again) rather than out of the competition - although that would have been AWESOME.

I think we must be in for a Frankie-Johnny-Janet bottom three, no?

Rad said...

Oh, I agree about Marcus, but to be honest, a future career in retro-musicals is probably a better fate than, say, winning this show.

I totally didn't get that Craig thing (I'm very sick) but I like my interpretation better.

And I would imagine that might well be the bottom three, yes.

StuckInABook said...

Good point - especially for a male. Winning the show would be the kiss of death. I think he should aim for a healthy fourth place.

Patrick said...

Marcus was fantastic.

Also, LEAVE CRAIG ALONE. I have decided he's cute.