Last night: three acts sang twice each and one of them got eliminated. Somehow this took TWO HOURS. Peter Dickson tells us that the final took place in front of an audience of 10,000 people. That's the audience within Wembley Arena itself, not the TV viewing audience, though I can understand why you might get the two confused. He sang! Then they sang! Then she sang! Then he sang with his mentor! Then they sang with their mentor! Then she sang with her mentor! You get the general idea. A dodgy bit of editing pretends that Derwood said last night he was about to reveal who had the fewest votes when in fact he made no such announcement and only gave the names of the two acts who were through. (ITV FAKERY! Why isn't this getting extensive coverage in the tabloids, eh? Do we only care when it's Frozen Planet?)
Now just two acts remain: BixMix mentored by Tulisa, and Marcus, mentored by Gary. Basically, however you vote, one of these dickheads gets to claim they're the best mentor of the year. It's Kang vs Kodos all over again. I really wish they'd include a "none of the above" option in the final vote. Plus, we can look forward to performances from the two of the most exciting acts in popular music: Westlife and Coldplay! Jesus Christ, chuck Adele in there as well and call it Music To Crush The Human Spirit, why don't you. Anyway, tonight the victor will be crowned, so the battle is on. It's time! To face! The fact that five million fewer people are watching than they were this time last year!
Titles! Poor titles. They got all spruced up for nothing.
Aerial shot of Wembley Stadium. Not Wembley Arena. I'd recommend a little more attention to detail, otherwise we might have Derwood declaring Bombay Mix the winners in two hours time (oops, spoiler). Derwood enters, and he's wearing a tuxedo especially for the occasion. Sadly, it doesn't fit any better than any of his other suits. I think the next X Factor charity single should be raising money to help Derwood afford a more understanding tailor. [You think they would have sourced a thigh-sensitive tailor back in the Olly Murs days, but no - Helen]
Derwood swings for an imaginary baseball (or rounders ball, since we're in the UK) and reminds us that tonight is the result of the final and the end of a very long road: "it's all come down to a straight contest between Marcus and Little Mix". Well, Little Mix are winning then. LOLGAY. Sorry. The judges are reintroduced, to the strains of 'Live And Let Die'. WEMBLEY makes them all look really tiny, doesn't it? Tulisa is wearing an utterly ridiculous dress that restricts her movement so much, both Louis and Kelly have to help her off the podium. It's not even a nice dress: she's basically come as the Big Purple One out of a box of Quality Street. Kelly's isn't much better - it's silver, which looks nice on her, but it's one of those hideous dresses where the front is a miniskirt and the back is full-length. Why? It just looks like you accidentally ripped your outfit on the way to the stage. Borelow, of course, is still in just-returned-from-the-hunt chic, and Louis is wearing a natty dinner jacket. Tulisa shills her perfume, as is her wont. REPRESENTING CASH-IN FRAGRANCES EVERYWHERE!
Derwood reminds us that the lines are open and all the votes cast for Marcus or BixMix last night still count. Brilliant, I shan't bother voting the---ow! Tulisa! Get off me! I don't care, I'm not voting for BixMix, and you can gnaw my ankle all evening if you want to, I'm not changing my mind. Derwood introduces "The X Factor finest!" Is that a bit like Tesco FinestTM? Because that statement is followed by the appearance of Marcus and BixMix, who appear to have been plumped straight from the Basics range.
They're "singing" 'We Found Love', incidentally, just to remind us that BixMix found LOVE IN EACH OTHER BECAUSE THEY GET ON REALLY WELL, ALTHOUGH IT IS JUST FRIENDLY LOVE, THERE'S NOTHING LESBIAN IN IT SO DON'T GET THE WRONG IDEA. Marcus is barely audible beneath BixMix, just in case you were wondering how this evening was going to pan out: there's your answer. It segues into 'Party Rock Anthem' [It was like Stars on 45 gone very, very wrong - Helen], and a group that I think is the Sugablokes but could just as easily be NuBile joins in. For all that people have been complimenting Tulisa's mentoring this year, her boybands were an absolute shitshow, weren't they? Like proper, The Unconventionals levels of inept. It all gets a bit mimey from this point onwards, by the way. 2 Shoes are here! Did you see how 2 Shoes got fewer votes than Jonjo No1Curr in the "vote to return"? Madness. Then the track shifts into Jennifer Lopez's 'On The Floor' and Misha B takes lead vocals, while Janet stands behind her and tries not to show her pain at being exposed to this POOR IMITATION OF REAL MUSIC. Janet takes the next line, and is followed by Sophie "Hilarious in Islington" Haboobies. Then we have GOLDIE! Oh, my beautiful Goldie, how I've missed you. I love that she's invited here for all of this and Frankie Cockface Arsetat isn't. Also, Goldie's better in these ten seconds than Sami Cruiseship ever was, so anyone complaining about Louis' initial selection for his final four can shut their damn cakeholes, quite frankly.
In a just world it would end there as we all bask in the glory of Goldie, but no: it turns into 'Moos Like Jagger' sung by Johnny and...oh God, Sami Cruiseship. I knew I shouldn't have invoked her name. I bet she's absolutely gutted that BixMix turned out to REPRESENT WIMMINZ EVERYWHERE when that was totally her idea first. Biscuit is also there. As is Kitty, who takes us into 'The Edge Of Glory', which BixMix and Marcus finish off, because they are very much on the EDGE OF GLORY, you see. Incidentally, Marcus sounds better in his handful of lines on that song than he does at any other point in the final. Maybe Marcus should've been doing more Gaga and less Jackie Wilson.
Derwood poses with Goldie, because he knows that's the happening place to be. Goldie waves to the audience, and Derwood scolds her: "Don't milk it, Goldie." [Oh the irony - Helen] Yes, heaven forfend anyone try to pad their part this evening. Lord knows it really does take TWO FUCKING HOURS to say "BixMix win", doesn't it?
Time for a recap of last night: Woo! Marcus! Woo! Wembley! Woo! Backstage, Derwood kisses Marcus on the cheek, and it makes Marcus all giggly, which is quite funny. Unfortunately, those oversized glasses are doing him no favours whatsoever. Borelow is proud of Marcus, in case you were wondering. BixMix REPRESENTED PEOPLE WHO HAVE GOT THE LOVE (AND A LOUD BACKING TRACK) EVERYWHERE, and backstage, two of them get very excited about hearing the names being chanted. Yes, I'm sure hearing "the ones who aren't Perrie and Jesy! The ones who aren't Perrie and Jesy!" must be very fulfilling. Tulisa thinks they "smashed it". She really has no other synonyms for "performed above expectations", does she? Then Marcus sang weirdly about his mum, and Marcus says that he'll remember that forever. "I will too!" Gary lies. Then BixMix did backing vocals for Tulisa (and here we all were thinking Kelly Rowland was going to be the glory hog) on 'Empire State Of Mind', and Perrie exclaims that this was the best experience of her life, and she wants to do it again. Well, you can't, so tough tits. Derwood pretends that he enjoyed any of that, and then we're into the sweet release of adverts.
When we return, Derwood tells us it's "best in show" time, and referring obliquely to this year's finalists as dogs really isn't helping matters. Borelow introduces Marcus, singing his "song of the series". Woo! They're just taking the piss with that at this point, aren't they? Marcus has selected 'Higher And Higher' for his reprisal (and Sofabet's analysis of why this was a terrible decision makes for interesting reading), because he wanted to have a gospel choir and he thinks it worked really well. He's realised that this is what he wants to do every day, yada yada yada. "It would mean so much to me if I won The X Factor," he muses. "It would mean that I could secure a life for myself." Yeah, sure, tell that to Leon Jackson. Or Joe McElderry. Or The Dread Brookstein. I mean, fuck's sake, Marcus. Do your homework, pet. Marcus vows to give it everything.
Marcus is on stage, and...Woo! Yeah, there it is. He has the choir again, and they're doing a very impressive job of backing him up, considering no microphones can be seen anywhere near them. I remain baffled as to why someone who's delivered, both vocally and performance-wise, as consistently as Marcus has, can have gone so utterly to pieces in the final. Also, this song really highlights his shortcomings because it makes him look and sound so very dated, whereas BixMix are bound to reprise either 'Fucked By An Alien' or 'Don't Let Go (Love)', both of which have a far more modern feel to them. (I know that the latter came out in 1997, but it still sounds conceivably like a song a contemporary girl group would record. 'Higher And Higher' is the sort of thing that a current act would only cover ironically, or possibly for a film soundtrack if someone drove a ton of cash up to their house.) Anyway, Marcus manages some decent notes to close the number, so this is perhaps his best work of the weekend, not that that's saying much.
Louis thinks Marcus is a born little popstar. Tulisa, in a voice so utterly emotionless that she might as well be ordering the death of every newborn child in a ten mile radius, tells Marcus that that was definitely his best performance of the series and he looks like a star up there tonight. Mind you, it's odd how Tulisa can enunciate when she talks to/about Marcus, an ability she loses whenever she's discussing BixMix. Kelly, who's wasted no time in going the full Louis Walsh now that she has no acts left, tells Marcus that he lifted THIS CROWD higher and higher, and she hopes that he enjoyed every single minute of the time that he was here. Because he's losing to BixMix at around 9.20 this evening. Borelow congratulates him on another amazing performance, and says he can't remember a finalist or winner in the history of the show that takes hold of a stage like Marcus does. EXCUSE YOU, Borelow. You don't need a gospel choir to command a stage. You come back to me when Marcus could hold his own with Beyoncé like Alexandra did. Marcus tells Derwood he feels lucky to be here, and that it's all amazing. It's like Leona never left, isn't it? Time to cut to Caroline Flack and Olly Fucking Murs. Caroline is with Marcus's proud mother. Marcus's mother is proud of him. Can she believe he's come this far? She can't believe he's come this far. How would she encourage people to vote for him tonight? She'd like people to vote for Marcus. I feel like I'm living in an echo chamber. Marcus thanks his mum for believing in him. Marcus departs, and Derwood promises BixMix after the break. But first: ads!
When we return, Derwood promises us that the winner will be announced tonight, definitely, honestly, please don't switch over to BBC1 and watch Antiques Roadshow or anything, we're sorry. He plays the party line of "OMG A GIRL GROUP HAS MADE THE FINAL" and throws to Tulisa, who is glaring into the camera with frankly terrifying intensity, doing that weird semi-South Shields accent that she's adopted, introducing her "little muffins". I've never been entirely sure where that nickname comes from. Is it because muffins are also frequently put into casings which can't fully contain them and end up bursting out? (Before you accuse me of being the sort of heartless internet bastard who makes St. Jesy cry, try to convince me that the show hasn't been squeezing her into those hideous leggings all series deliberately so that we might feel guilty about judging on appearances and vote for BixMix out of shame. Go on, I dare you.) They are, of course, reprising 'Don't Let Go (Love)'. I have to admit I was hoping for the Katy Perry track because that was genuinely the performance I considered to be their breakthrough; this one was more just the point where they turned into One Direction and surrendered all the heavy lifting to the backing track. But I suppose you can't deny they still had a Moment with it, so here it is again. One of the ones that nobody cares about says that this was truly the moment when they first came together as a group, which means that we should now disregard all those other moments where they first came together as a group, like boot camp or judges' houses or previous live shows. St. Jesy talks about how it was fun but also powerful and REPRESENTING WIMMINZ EVERYWHERE. They think that the adrenaline at Wembley will make
They are literally thrown onto the stage from a trapdoor, in a moment that has lived on as a screencap on Tumblr ever since. The backing screen has chains all across it and suggests one of those moments in the Phoenix Wright games where you activate a Psyche-Lock. Hmm. I wonder who's hiding something here. (Apologies to anyone who's not nerdy enough to get that joke.) To be fair to BixMix, they are a lot less reliant on a backing track in this version of the song, though by the same token it sounds a lot rougher around the edges. The fireworks go off a few seconds after the performance, which feels a little off, timing-wise.
Louis tells them that they've blossomed into four popstars, and he predicts that this time next year they will be the biggest girlband in the UK by a mile. Big whoop: they'll only have to overtake The Saturdays. (I bet they're really regretting recording that "we can't wait to have a new girl group to compete against!" visit now, aren't they? Which, incidentally, was the same week that BixMix performed this song for the first time.) Also, I would like to make a prediction of my own: this time next year, they will have released a grand total of two singles, thereby making claims of "the biggest girl group in the UK" somewhat premature. Kelly is crying because she is so happy for y'all, and y'all have such a great friendship, and y'all have performed y'alls buts off. Y'all. She tells us "You've got to vote for [BixMix] as well." As well? As well as Marcus? Thereby cancelling out both of the votes that we've just paid money to cast? You, Kelly Rowland, are a jabbering idiot. Borelow is happy that they came back with that song, because he thinks this is the direction their future lies in. Tulisa, sounding increasingly deranged by the second, wants to ask the viewers why they've been voting for BixMix. Oh Tulisa, I've been asking that question all series, but I've never had a satisfactory answer. Oh, it turns out it was a rhetorical question: people voted for them because they wanted BixMix to win. Therefore, Tulisa spits, those votes mean NOTHING unless we VOTE FOR BIXMIX NOW. SERIOUSLY. THOSE VOTES ARE SONS OF WHORES. THEY ARE WORTHLESS. THEY ARE STEVE BROOKSTEIN. IF WE DON'T VOTE TONIGHT AS WELL, WE ARE WRECKING THE DREAMS OF ST. JESY, THAT ONE THAT SINGS, AND THE OTHER TWO, AND THAT MAKES US LIFE-RUINERS. Gosh, thanks for that Tulisa. I think you need to wipe a bit of rabid drool from your mouth. There you go. Incidentally, by far the worst thing about Tulisa at this point is the way that the second she's finished berating us all for not spending enough of our cash on allowing her to win this competition, she leans back in her chair with a Cheshire Cat grin on her face. It's nauseating. Derwood asks them if they ever expected to get this far. Of course they didn't, because they are HUMBLE. Derwood points out that they just made Destiny's Child cry, like that wasn't something Mathew Knowles did on an hourly basis. Backstage, Caroline is with the proud mums, who are proud. WHERE ARE THE FACE PIZZAS? I am so bored of all this now, and it's not even bloody halfway over. Meanwhile, Olly beatboxes for some girls who appear to have styled themselves as a BixMix tribute band (RE-EVALUATE YOUR LIFE CHOICES NOW) as they do a frankly embarrassing rap about how amazing BixMix are. Even BixMix themselves are a bit "wut" in response to this. Derwood asks BixMix what they want to say to their mums, and Perrie reminds us that their mums are PROUD. Yes, Perrie, I think we got that memo from Caroline.
After the blessed relief of more adverts, we are back, and it's time for Marcus and BixMix to try to win us over with a Christmas song. Borelow gives a typically charm-free introduction as Marcus takes to the stage to sing 'Last Christmas'. FAIL. The definitive X Factor performance of this song is and always will be this one, and to even try to live up to that is a fool's errand. Marcus gives it a valiant try, but his wail of "Happy Christmas!" into the abyss of the arena just doesn't have the same effect. Still, at least he got the words right, unlike Yellow JLS. Unless, of course, you believe that Yellow JLS's interpretation is now so iconic that it has come to be recognised as the correct lyric in its own right, in much the same way that "nauseous" used to mean "causing nausea" but is now more commonly used to mean "feeling nausea". (Told you we had education and stuff.) ANYway, Marcus has gone back to sounding like he's just smoked twenty cigarettes and run a half-marathon, which is a shame, and this song does him no favours.
Louis's mic isn't on for half of his commentary, but I doubt we missed much. We do hear him telling Marcus that he is a lovely person backstage (can we retire this next year, please? I really do not give a shit which of the contestants hold the door open for you and which contestants let it slam in your face. I'd rather we had a Top 12 who were all arseholes but were fantastic singers with masses of stage presence than another bunch of mediocre milquetoasts) and has a brilliant work ethic (again, who cares? Holly Valance's barely-present work ethic on this year's Strictly was one of her most endearing traits) [and someone with no work ethic won this thing last year, lest we forget - Rad]. Tulisa thinks this has been a long journey for everyone, and that we've all got so caught up in it that we forgot it was (nearly) Christmas. Speak for yourself, lady: I remembered that Christmas was around the corner, it was the approach of The X Factor final I kept forgetting about. Anyway, she thanks Santa Collins for reminding us that Christmas exists. "WHAT A GREAT EARLY CHRISTMAS GIFT, YAY! HO HO HO!" trills Kelly. That's actually the most useful part of her critique, believe it or not. The rest doesn't merit transcribing. Borelow tells Marcus he's going to do something now that he hasn't done all series. I have my fingers crossed for "be remotely interesting or charismatic", personally, but once again I am disappointed: he's going to tell us all to vote for Marcus. I have my doubts that this is the absolute first time he's doing that, but if you think I'm going to go back and check when I still have over an hour of this bollocks left to recap, then you are very much mistaken.
Derwood joins Marcus, and Marcus enthuses that it feels like Christmas in the arena now. Derwood asks Marcus where his head's at. Marcus does not seem to know. Backstage, Caroline is with the Mayor of Liverpool, who thinks Marcus has hit it right on all night. Last night, however... Olly is with Marcus's best pal Amy, who thinks Marcus is amazing every time. Olly asks her how long Marcus has been singing for, and Amy, who has apparently not been briefed to say "EVER SINCE HE COULD BREATHE, OLLY" like this show demands, merely shrugs "quite a while". I think I love Amy. Olly asks her if Marcus annoys her at times. Amy looks like she's on the verge of replying "no, but you do".
Derwood, his soul dying a little bit more, makes a desperate joke about the Mayor of Liverpool wearing "serious bling". Oh Derwood. I think it's time to just take the money and run, love. It's back to Tulisa to introduce the groups again, and she thinks this next performance "will say it all". I wasn't aware there was a song called 'Representing Wimminz Everywhere (At Christmas)'. Also, she calls them "little muffins" again, and I have to add muffins to the long list of things that have been ruined forever by this show, which now of course includes Tulisa herself. (In fact, it's wrecked Tulisa in less than half the time it took to wreck Cheryl. That's quite a feat.)
They are trilling 'Silent Night' with just a piano for comfort. I'm not sure what this is saying, quite frankly, apart from "even though Perrie is clearly the best singer, she still has some fairly irritating vocal tics". In an effort to help us recognise them all as individuals, they are wearing pink sweaters with their names across them. If I were in charge of making those, they would have read "SINGER", "CRIER', "NIALL" and "NIALL". They hug afterwards, because they like each other, which is of course so rare for women working together.
Louis blathers some nonsense about them having "four lead singers" when clearly Perrie's going to be the Nadine of the outfit, though at this point I'm so used to being given inaccurate information about BixMix by the show that I've almost started to just accept it. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, and so on. He goes on about how everything works with them. Kelly's batteries are running down, so she slurs about how great they sounded on that "rec-urrrrd" and wishes them a "mer-ry fri-ken Chris-murss" before an unseen stagehand swiftly replaces them for her and suddenly she's all smiles again, squealing "I love your sweaters! You look so kyoooooo-oooooote!" like she's talking to Paris Hilton's dog. Gary thinks it was very Christmassy, and in the spirit of Christmas, makes a petty and pointless joke about Louis. GOD BLESS US EVERY ONE! Tulisa is sounding faintly bored now, and plods her way through "proud", "journey" and "a girl group can win", gradually losing the ability to enunciate as she goes along. It's like someone's been rubbing ice cubes along her jaw. Derwood says that Tulisa is "like Winston Churchill", by which I can only assume he means that they both like cigars, and then tells Kelly how worried it makes his little corporate compliance soul every time she says "freaking". This from the man who called Katie Weasel a cunt. Derwood talks to BixMix about the stripped back performance, and one of the Nialls, the one from the North East, says how nice it was to do something simple and show off wor harmonies. Olly and Caroline are with the BixMix fans, and Olly is joined by Prudence, who is a "food artist". Hold on, she's got a pizza, this could be the moment that justifies this entire programme! It's a BixMix pizza! Except it's not really as exciting as the Lazy Decorator one last year. "Does it taste good?" Olly asks. "Yes, all my food art tastes fantastic," Prudence replies, sounding faintly offended. I heart Prudence. Caroline is with St. Jesy's first music teacher, who is asked how much they've improved, and doesn't have an answer for us, so he just screams at us to vote for BixMix.
Derwood is with the judges, desperately filling time. He asks them what their highlight of the series has been, and Louis says "working with these three judges has been absolutely amazing, I love the three of them." HA! Funniest moment of the series. Also, he likes Johnny and Kitty. Tulisa's highlight has been watching BixMix get through on the results show every week. Yeah! Who cares about performances? Tulisa cares only for results! Kelly can't even hear Derwood, and doesn't care anyway, but her highlight was being a mentor to all the talent. Gary bores on about real music, but his highlight, as it should be, was Goldie putting her leg around his neck on the first day.
To take us through some highlights of the series, here are Westlife with their "farewell X Factor performance", not to be confused with their farewell Daybreak performance, their farewell T4 performance, their farewell ITV1 special, etc etc. I know that we all have to serve notice periods, but this is just silly. Anyway, they sing 'What About Now?' while clips from the series play on a screen behind them. I am not paying attention to any of the clips, because I am too distracted by the fact that Westlife are all standing stage right, leaving the other side of the stage entirely empty. Why? I have no idea. Westlife finish, and wave goodbye, FOREVER. (Hopefully.)
After some more ads, we are back (those of us who didn't head off to the Tesco on the corner for more Doritos/M&Ms/vodka/whatever you need just to get through this) and it's time for the finalists to sing The Winner's Song. Sorry: the winner's song. We begin with Marcus, and before he sings, we're going to look back at his journey. Oh, for pity's sake. Marcus never dreamed he would get this far. Aww, he looked so cute in his audition when it hadn't been decided yet that he must wear suits and hipster glasses at all times. There are clips of him being interesting on the live shows before being turned into a throwback (soundtracked to 'Rule The World', so another nice payday for Borelow) - it's actually quite depressing to watch all the things that were good about Marcus gradually getting eroded on a weekly basis until he was basically an old man in a young man's body. I remember when I really liked Marcus and wanted him to win. Sadface. [imagine how awesome he might have been with a different mentor. Stupid Funsponge - Rad][Agreed. I liked him from the first audition then he was killed by the machine. - Helen]
Time for the winner's single. I'm so excited, Gary's writing this especially for the show, it's the first original winner's single since 'That's My Goal', it's going to be...hang on a minute, this is 'Cannonball' by Damien Rice. What the fuck happened there, then? This song does not suit Marcus's voice at all, and it really shows. I can't imagine it's going to suit BixMix either. Who on earth picked this? Were they expecting Janet to win or something? [Looking at the voting percentages, yes. Or else they just forgot to give it to lazy DECORATOR last year - Rad] Also, the first line of the song is "there's still a little bit of your taste in my mouth", which makes me giggle uncontrollably. What? I never said I was mature. Anyway, well done to the show for picking a winner's single that isn't going to do either of their finalists any favours. I can only begin to imagine the trainwreck that would have been Amelia Lily's version of this, largely because it hasn't leaked onto YouTube yet, though I'm sure it'll show up there eventually. Anyway, Marcus squeaks and wails his way through the performance and this really is a very undignified ending for him, considering how on point he's been most of the rest of the time. Poor Marcus. You deserved better than this.
Louis tells him that if he were looking for a perfect popstar and put everything into a computer, he'd get Marcus. Hands up everyone who wants to see a remake of Weird Science starring Louis and Marcus? Just me? Suit yourselves. [I'm in - Helen] He tells Marcus he's done everything he possibly can, and all he needs now is votes. Marcus is genuinely all "lol, thanks Louis" at this. Tulisa tells him he has everything: the voice, the star quality, the personality, and a beautiful smile. She sounds so very, very bored: she knows she's won this and she is just waiting out the clock at this point. Kelly tells Marcus that she wants everybody to vote if they want to see him win. Glad to see she understands the mechanics of the show. Gary would never have picked that song for Marcus, and neither would anyone else with an iota of sense, but he thinks Marcus sings it beautifully. He hopes that's not the last time we hear that song: "that should be the winner's song tonight." It is - it just might not be Marcus singing it in future. Derwood asks Marcus how that felt, and Marcus says he really connected with the song and felt every word, and thanks Gary for getting him here. Then, of course, we go to the Marcus fans backstage: Steph was one of Marcus's old hairdressing clients. I think we're really scraping the barrel of support here, aren't we? Although: interesting how the opinion of Marcus's boyfriend has not been sought at any point. I guess the show's more liberal this year, but still not that liberal. Steph says that Marcus is better at singing than at hairdressing, and Olly throws to Caroline, who throws to Derwood. On stage, Derwood wasn't listening properly, and thinks Steph said that Marcus was better at hairdressing than singing. Oh, Derwood. It's been a long night, hasn't it? Marcus thanks everyone for supporting him.
Derwood: "The country has grown to love you, but here are some messages from people who've loved you your entire life." The first person to feature in this VT? Robbie Williams. *facepalm* Marcus's mum is PROUD. Marcus's brother is PROUD. Marcus's grandparents are PROUD. His boyfriend is presumably also PROUD, but not permitted to feature in this VT either. Marcus loves them all so much, and is trying not to cry.
Tulisa drones through her final intro for BixMix, and manages not to use the word "muffins" at any point. At this point, I'll take whatever bonuses I can get. Their journey reminds us that they were formed at bootcamp by the judges and performed for the first time at judges' houses, where J-J-J-Jessie J was "slightly in love with them" because she likes BOYS AND GIRLS AS WELL OKAY, SHEESH, WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL, WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP MAKING AN ISSUE OUT OF IT. That's the notoriously shy and private Jessie J, there. BixMix made it onto the live shows, were crap, somehow proved popular and stuck around, becoming less crap along the way, although not as less-crap as the show would have us believe. Tulisa blathers on about how she FEELS for them and GETS them and UNDERSTANDS them, which has definitely always been the case, and she definitely didn't only start really getting behind them once all her other acts had been booted or anything like that. BixMix cry a bit in their VT and talk about how they are all BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.
They too are singing 'Cannonball', and it suits them slightly better than it did Marcus, but it's still not really the sort of thing you'd pick if you wanted to select a really BixMixxy song to promote them in the aftermath of the show. Loath as I am to agree with Borelow, they need some decent up-tempo Destiny's Child sort of things. The Nialls struggle with the low notes, and the production on the whole thing is a bit anaemic, though it does the typical "throwing all the bells and whistles on at the eleventh hour" X Factor trick. Afterwards, they are all overcome, and get all huggy with each other. Tulisa and Kelly give them a standing ovation, Gary and Louis do not.
Louis repeats all of his comments from earlier and throws a "girl power" in for good measure. Kelly congratulates them and says how dynamic they are together. Gary says that they twisted the song and made it into a BixMix song. He also liked how St. Jesy looked to the others for support, grabbing their hands etc, just in case we haven't quite yet worked out that BIXMIX LOVE EACH OTHER. Give me strength. Tulisa tells Niall that she's adorable, St. Jesy that she's inspiring (VOMIT), Other Niall that she reminds Tulisa of herself, and Perrie that she was born a star. Tulisa hopes that the BASTARD INGRATE PUBLIC have voted. North East Niall is very grateful to be here, and tells Derwood as much. Then of course we must go to their supporters backstage, and Perrie's nan is PROUD. I'd suggest we institute a drinking game for every mention of pride in next year's final, but I'm genuinely worried that everyone reading this would die of alcohol poisoning.
They too get their VT from Loved Ones And Other Randoms: Holly Willowboobies loves them, as does J-J-J-Jessie J, and the extended BixMix family. Everyone is very PROUD. Back in the studio, St. Jesy tells Derwood that they all love their mums and in fact are doing this for their mums, because they are WIMMINZ EVERYWHERE and thus are represented by BixMix, of course.
At this point there is supposed to be a link up to Phil Schofield and Christine Blankley for the upcoming Text Santa, but the video link up doesn't work and all we get is Phil and Christine's disembodied voices. We remain on Derwood throughout, visibly panicking and trying to communicate with the gallery. Hee. Time for yet another (beautiful, merciful) ad break.
We're back, and we're on the home straight. Derwood "treats" us to a review of all the performances from across the weekend (except those involving Amelia Lily of course, because she is now dead to us) and once we return, Derwood warns us that the lines will be closing after the next guest performance. Which is, of course, from Coldplay, and Derwood is very happy to have some Real Music on the show, you can just tell. 55 MILLION RECORDS SOLD! 6 BRIT AWARDS! 7 GRAMMY AWARDS! OVER 6 MILLION CONCERT TICKETS SOLD! SOUNDTRACK TO EVERY MAUDLIN MOMENT ON A TV DRAMA UNTIL ADELE CAME ALONG! COLDPLAY! Coldplay begin playing, coldly, and the arena goes dark, and everyone's wristbands light up in the audience. I think it speaks volumes for the quality of this evening's entertainment that this is the most exciting thing that's happened by a very long way [truly. It was the only good bit. That and Marcus made out of toast - Rad]. They open with 'Charlie Brown' and in many parts of this performance, Chris Martin's voice sounds every bit as shot to pieces as Marcus's has all weekend. Must be something in the air in the men's dressing rooms. *looks accusingly at Tulisa* Once the first song finishes, they move on to 'Paradise' to do the job of being that song that everyone knows and mashes along to [or the song that sounds like a rip-off of Roxette's 'Wish I Could Fly' - Rad]. I am largely enjoying Coldplay's appearance because it makes for very easy recapping. Then it ends, the lights come back on and we all see that Chris is very sweaty. I very much look forward to Gwyneth's anti-perspirant tips in the next Goop newsletter. Derwood is so very excited, he doesn't know which member of the band to brownnose first. "Thank you for these!" he squeals, showing his wristband. Sadly Derwood doesn't realise yet that his wristband is not the right combination of colours to allow him into the afterparty. That's showbiz, I'm afraid. Derwood touches Chris Martin a lot like the fanboy that he is, and asks what advice they have. "Don't get so sweaty," Chris advises. Sound indeed. "Ladies, one more time, Coldplay!" Derwood finishes. I guess the gentlemen weren't supposed to enjoy that performance. The lines are now closed, and the winner has been chosen. Time to head into the final ad break. Woo! Sorry, I turned into Marcus for a second there.
Derwood welcomes us back, and for one last time (hooray!) we go to Olly and Caroline backstage with the dafties. Caroline's with the Marcus fans who are chanting "we love you Marcus, we do!" The BixMix camp over by Olly are less organised, just cheering while he stands in the middle of them, shouting. Louis and Kelly are sat behind him at the desk by themselves, so we know what that means: time to welcome back the finalists. Gary with Marcus, and Tulisa with BixMix. BixMix are struggling to walk because Tulisa's idiotic dress keeps threatening to devour them whole. "From the thousands that applied, it's all come down to this," says Derwood. Most of us would not view that as a good thing. The winner of The X Factor 2011 is...
...BixMix, of course. They go mad, and the smug look will now be etched on Tulisa's face forever. That's the price we pay for Empowering Young Wimminz, I suppose. (The right sort of young wimminz, obviously, the ones who are meek and polite and a bit insecure and therefore represent wimminz everywhere, not the ones who "might be too confident" and...oh, fuck it, I've had this rant enough times. Let's just call Tulisa a fucking hypocrite one last time and have done with it.) Marcus hugs the girls, Gary hugs Tulisa, and neither of the runners-up looks especially surprised. Non North-East Niall is speechless, which is fine, because no one is interested in her anyway. "The first group to win The X Factor! The first girl group to win The X Factor!" Derwood exclaims. Well, yes. One of those kind of follows on from the other, doesn't it? North-East Niall is grateful to everyone who voted, even the SCUM who cast USELESS votes in weeks that weren't the final. Derwood remembers that Marcus exists, and asks him how he feels. Marcus thinks his performances went well, and thanks everyone who voted for him. Borelow enjoyed every minute he spent with Marcus, and is - you guessed it - PROUD of him.
Derwood shows BixMix their CD. They scream - presumably in terror, because people their age have never seen a CD before, and probably think it's about to attack them. Tulisa snatches it out of his hands and bears it aloft, definitely not taking any of the glory for herself or anything, and St. Jesy says that they can't thank the public enough for picking up the phone and vo--- and then Derwood cuts her off with a bored "we're so thrilled for you, all right." I guess St. Jesy's emotions are less interesting now she's a winner rather than an underdog.
While, behind him, Tulisa struggles to get back behind the dress in her entirely impractical dress, Derwood introduces BixMix in their new capacity as X Factor winners. They're a bit too choked up to sing properly, but they bear up reasonably well. There are a few iffy harmonies, but I can overlook those given the circumstances. At the key change, the glitter cannons go off and the rest of the contestants swarm the stage to congratulate the victors. BixMix are swept up by various people and start screaming, though the vast majority of the singing continues without them. Good ol' backing track - there to the end.
Derwood reappears one last time to thank everyone involved, and to promise that the show will be back next year, inviting us all to go to the website and apply if we too would like the opportunity to represent wimminz everywhere. There's a plug for the tour, and we're outta there!
To avoid any commenters accusing us of being jelus hatterz like they did to Helen in Saturday's recap, I would just like to clarify that we have little against BixMix themselves - they seem like nice enough girls, and Perrie's got a good voice [albeit one that doesn't blend with the other three's. Oh well, at least they're all the same height - Rad]. Our problem has always been the way they were promoted to us: the whole "representing women everywhere" bollocks and the sheer pandering that it involved, the constant implication that it's utterly impossible for women to work together in all other contexts because they're always so violently unprofessional, the invitations to wash our sins away as we bathe in the blessèd tears of St. Jesy, Patron Saint Of People Who Discovered It Was Unwise To Google Themselves, and so on. I was never a fan, because I honestly didn't see anything in this lot that any number of failed X Factor girl groups in years gone by didn't also have, beyond the compelling backstory, but I certainly wish them nothing but the best for the future.
Tulisa, on the other hand, can fuck right off, now and forever.
And that's it! I'd like to run through a few thank yous before signing off for another year. First of all, thank you to Rad and Helen for splitting the workload with me and helping me not to go completely mad. Thank you to all of you for reading: I love you all, even the BixMix fans and the troll who called us uneducated. Finally, thank you to everyone involved in making series eight so crap that we were seldom short of material. You've all been wonderful. See you next year!