Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The King James Version

Last night!  After seven weeks of storming the votes and two more bonus weeks, Christopher Maloney was finally slain, leaving Jahmene and James and proving once and for all that it’s a Sherzinger world, we’re just allowed to live in it.

My PVR doesn’t even permit me to see Giant X one last time.  Goodbye Giant X!  It was good while it lasted!

Tonight!  We will spend a pointless two hours acting as if it matters in the slightest who wins!  And we’ll see some very ‘special’ guests, all of whom we’ve become heartily sick of in 2012 and all of whom have already been on The X Factor this series!  I can’t wait!

Fashion update: Dermot/Louis/Gary – boring black tuxes although Louis’ is a but velour and Funsponge’s looks like the kind of fabric Christopher Maloney would wear.  Nicole – some metallic mermaid thing I don’t know.  Tulisa: silvery, glittery, nondescript but non-offensive.  Dermot reminds us to vote although seeing as Nicole has already won, who cares?

Dermot welcomes back ‘the X Factor finalists’ miming to what is, essentially, their version of Jive Bunny’s  Let's Party, except one of those revisionist versions that pretend Gary Glitter never made a Christmas song and replace it with ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ instead.  (It’s a very Jive Bunny year on the reality shows, isn’t it?  Most unlikely revival of 2012, anyone?).  MK1 are still conspicuous by their absence, as is Christopher Maloney for “reasons”, the nature of which vary according to whether you are Christopher Maloney or the tabloids.  His nemesis Carolynne (so much for overs solidarity) is paired with Melanie, Jade with ZombiElla, and Kye with two women in sweet wrappers.  The boy bands get separated for a bit.  Lucy is also missing – on the Twitters she said she and James were meant to be duetting to ‘Fairytale of New York’ but it got pulled at the last minute.  I would speculate over it being a permissions issue, but then The Pogues apparently let this happen, so who knows?  Rylan then appears, all by himself on a sleigh, pulled by bare-chested men, to do a tribute to the best X Factor Christmas performance of all time.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!  (Also: Look!  They had a tree and everything that year!  Such halcyon days!).  Everyone is dressed in greys and silvers, by the way – mostly they look very nice, except poor Jade who’s come as a 1960s sci-fi futureminx as usual.  James and Jahmene then enter, James in a big grey coat and Jahmene in a bacofoil suit, but it’s clearly only Jahmene’s vocal for the aforementioned reasons.  Neither get to do much.

Recap of last night.  I lived through two hours of that shit, not to mention revisiting this when I watched the Sunday show first time around, so nope.  FAST FORWARD (Futurama.  RIP Jo Dunne).

The acts then have to do their best song of the series.  Or the song that will hobble them the most, if they’re the Marcus Collins of this year.  Via the HANDY AND FUNCTIONAL means of a SAMSUNG TABLET, Jahmene decides ‘the audience’ loved his performance of ‘Angels’ best.

His staging is interesting – a huge plinth (naturally), a gospel choir (of course) and some giant angel wings made out of nails, which is an interesting way to mix your religious metaphors.  Is Jahmene an angel, or about to get crucified?  For a Jahmene performance, it’s almost understated vocally, apart from the screechy last note.  Or maybe I’ve just become accustomed to him these days.

Louis reminds us that he was stacking shelves at ASDA and he MADE THE SONG HIS OWN.  He says he wants Jahmene to win.  Tulisa phones in a monotone happy that he did that song, it sounded amazing, yada yada, is this shit over yet?  Funsponge says the competition has been quite tough for Jahmene and milks the poor boy’s difficult past some more.  Nicole wipes away a tear (after a swift check that the camera’s on.  Hee) and does her Nicolebabble about him being an angel and her role model.  Dermot says it’s the first time Louis has endorsed someone who wasn’t in his category.  I presume he means this series.  So Funsponge endorses James, Louis Jahmene, Nicole both and Tulisa an early night with a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 and a packet of Rothman’s.

Ads!  I’m so glad Gossip are still getting royalties from adverts seeing as I was probably the only person on earth who bought Music For Men.

We return to Nicole imploring us to get it on as it’s James.  So basically, this will go on for ages so you have plenty of time to get a quick shag in in the meantime.  Via the STYLISH BUT USEFUL medium of a Samsung tablet, they decide James’ ‘Let’s Get it On’ may as well be his repeat performance because it doesn’t matter what they choose, he’s storming the vote anyway.

He sits atop the judges’ table and sings the song right to Nicole, then gives Tulisa a token kiss on the head as well as chucking a sly wink to Louis.  The vocal on this feels stronger than the first time he did it, with a strong Shayne Ward/Matt Cardle style falsetto, although the Robert Palmer-esque backing band/dancers aren’t exactly necessary. 

Louis calls him Jah-mazing.  Oh, Louis.  He then declares Nicole the best mentor this show has ever had.  WORD, Louis.  OK, stats-wise it might be Dannii.  Can you imagine if all four mentors were as invested as Dannii and Nicole have been in their acts?  This show might actually be good.  Sadly, a Nicole/Dannii pairing, as epic as it should be, would just get drowned out by pointless tabloid bitchwarz.  See people, this is why we can't have nice things.  Tulisa's face at Louis' comment is priceless - but not as priceless as I imagine Sharon Osbourne (AKA second-worst-mentor ever after Gary)'s to be.

Tulisa says he deserves to win and he’s an artist.  Funsponge says he’s going to have his own label and is ready to download his album right away.  So James already has both his own label and album?  Remind me why he needs this show then?  Nicole says she’s humbled and blessed to work with him.  Dermot reminds us of his HUMBLE ROOTS.

Dermot then reminds us about the series we’ve had and shows us a recap of the whole series.  Funsponge being boring!  Leona Lewis turning up!  Mel being Mardy!  Tulisa phoning it in!  Geri and Gary WARZ!  Nicole owning this place!  (Rita Ora and Anastasia are but footnotes)  Robbie lap-dancing Louis!  Funsponge losing boring Carolynne to Rylan!  Nicole owning him!  SIXTEEN!  SHAMAZING!  JAH-JAZZLES!  WELL-JELL!  Rylan owning Gary!  Nicole domination! 

Dermot asks them their highlights of the series: Nicole sharing the stage with James and Jahmene on Saturdays; Gary: Rylan (in the most condescending voice ever); Tulisa: Lucy’s ‘Tea and Toast’; Louis: working with Union J and wearing a onesie. Oh, Louis, stop trying to make Union J happen.

Dermot lies that the show started nine years ago.  (No, Dermot, it’s its ninth year. Not the same thing) and lies that the odd contestant from this show has proper worldwide success – trying to do a ‘we’re ever so ‘umble us’ bit with a ‘fair dos, it doesn’t happen to everyone’ qualifier.  However, which acts from this show are genuinely worldwide successes?  One Direction, maybe.  Leona was for a bit but less so recently, and every single one of them – except Olly, sadly – is doing less well in the UK than they once were.  (And Matt Cardle and Joe McElderry are actually doing better since leaving Syco than the show would ever admit.  Rum old world, this one).  We see clips of Leona, Olly, Alexandra, JLS (and oh, how beautiful those old auditions in the hotels were without the stupid crowds), Wand Erection, BixMix, Cher Lloyd all lying about how exciting the X Factor is.  Cher Lloyd looks like she wants to die when she says it’s been the best thing ever, and the boy bands call their dolls ‘action figures’.  Olly says it was PUKKA and reminds me in one single word how much I hate him.  The overall message of it is PLEASE AUDITION PLEASE PLEASE DON’T LET US HAVE ANOTHER SHIT YEAR LIKE THIS ONE WE BEG OF YOU.  LOOK, THE ONLY SUCCESSFUL SOLO MALE WE’VE EVER HAD IS OLLY MURS. HE SAYS PUKKA.  PLEASE, SOLO GIRLS AND FRANKENBANDS, SAVE US.

Wand Erection are back for a third time this series, and they’re performing their very weird new single.  Resentful has a very ugly chevron tattoo on his arm, but looks as grumpy as ever, the Zaynwreck seems to have been given Nicole’s broken microphone from last night, Niall is continuing his transformation from the most anonymous one to the best-looking one, and they get to skip around in front of the best plinth of the series: a red travelator.  They have a video game backdrop which bears no resemblance to their rubbish new single.  Mercifully, it’s a short song.  Dermot is WELL JELL of their travelator.  He reminds them that they were the Maloneys of their series and asks them how they feel.  Resentful monotones that they’re pleased for them.  Like all the pop stars this series, they like James the best.  Although they add the ‘we like Jahmene as well’ caveat.  Then Dermot slips down the travelator plinth, which is hilarious.

In case you hadn’t got the message from that whole segment, they’d really like you to audition for the 2013 series.  Please?  No-one will be watching anyway so it won’t matter if you make a fool of yourself.
Ads!  Why are ITV1 using clockwork, THE MOST SINISTER OF ALL THINGS, as their Christmas idents?  And TalkTalk sarcastically congratulating us for watching this pile of shite.

There’s a plug for the charity, but that smug fuckface David Cameron turns up and ruins it all so I have to fastforward that bit.  The charity is here if you want to donate.  Having had friends lose a child to a terminal illness, any charity helping families in that situation is worthwhile.  But not worth buying an X Factor single for.

Next up!  The joint most ubiquitous celebrity of 2012, Emily Sunday, singing another tedious piano ballid.  I quite liked Emily Sunday at the start of 2012.  My, how things change.  She doesn’t even say that she likes James Arthur the best.  What kind of special guest is that?

Ads!  That Morrisons advert of bleak misogynist despair!

Jahmene is up next and reminds us of his journey: being annoying, being less annoying, caterwauling, having a really sweet relationship with Nicole, Rylan, James and the other contestants, taking his mum to the BixMix awards or whatever they were.  Incidentally, the weirdest thing about this series for me is that, for the first time, I’ve felt like there was a camaraderie between many of the contestants.  I don’t know if it’s a kind of strength during adversity thing that’s brought them together, or what, but even though I’ve liked very few of the performances, I’ve liked many more of the personalities than usual.

Jahmene’s single?  ‘Let it Be’ – surely designed as an act of Maloney-baiting?  It’s a standard Jahmene performance, replete with Stacy Solomon memorial fireworks displays, multiple key changes, a gospel choir, and a nice big plinth.  It’s in no way my kind of thing but I’m sure it will keep some folk happy and I feel mean criticising Jahmene these days.

Louis wants to change Jahmene’s life.  Tulisa says she’s ‘so happy’ he’s in the final in the least happy voice imaginable and says he and James both deserve it.  Funsponge says he has an unbelievable talent and all he has to do is sing a song and make people feel something.  Nicole thanks him and says he seems relaxed and calls it a Jahmazing Shamoment and makes him laugh.  Nicole and Jahmene are so cute – I never, ever would have thought that she’d bring out such a likeable side to him – as she’s done to all of her category for that matter.

Caroline, who is totally what would happen if Cat Deeley was spliced with Denise Van Outen, is with some bloke from ASDA with a giant cheque like it’s ITV Telethon 1990 or something.  Jahmene’s mum and siblings then send him video messages telling him how much they love him.  D’aww.  Even I found that kind of sweet.

James next and we’re reminded of his journey: being miserable, singing miserable songs, being supported by all the pop stars (including Emily Sunday despite her lack of endorsement earlier), living in a SMALL FLAT, singing the John Lewis advert which probably should have been Ella’s destiny were she not tragically ripped from us at a young age, RIP.

His single is an odd choice, a version of Shontelle’s ‘Impossible’ – although, perhaps no less odd than ‘Many of Horror’ in 2010.  (Does anyone know why some years they make them all do the same song and other years they get to do different ones, by the way?  It’s one of the very odd things about this show.)  It’s a bit overwrought, but then it’s a James Arthur song.  It’s got more to it than ‘Let it Be’, but then that was ‘Let it Be’ so, obviously it does.  He has a plinth, by the way, but no gospel singers or fireworks.  I guess he’s too edgy for that.  Nicole dances a lot as is her wont.

Louis calls it a powerful performance and thanks him for bringing something new every week.  He says he’ll get a big record deal and be a great artist.  Tulisa says she gets him because they’re the same.  Someone check one of James’ tattoos and see if it says ‘the male boss’ please.  Tulisa implores us to vote for him.  Funsponge says he’s a true artist and was worried he’d lose his dignity on this show.  I think that’s just for the judges.  He tells him to never let anyone tell him what to do.  Because that attitude worked so well for Steve Brookstein and Matt Cardle.  Nicole tells him his life will never be the same.  Dermot calls him ‘Jimmy’ and asks him how he feels.  He mutters something that sounds like tremendous.

Caroline is with James’ mum who says she’s his star and says she always did believe he could get this far.  His mates are all dressed as him.  James looks like he might be on the lookout for some new mates soon.  His little sisters, mum and friends send him a VT saying how proud they are of him. James is so pleased he can inspire his sisters and thanks everyone.

Dermot implores us to vote.  I would LOVE to know how many people voted each week this series.
Ads!  Downton Abbey is the only thing on ITV1 this Christmas yet again.

Dermot tells us we’re going to get a recap of ‘all this weekend’s performances’ but sadly for Maloney fans it’s just the ones from James and Jahmene.

Next up!  It’s the other joint most-ubiquitous celebrity of 2012, Rihanna!  She was only on this show five minutes ago.  She stares death glares at us and performs a megamix of her greatest hits to keep in with the general Jive Bunny revival theme.  Her vocal is better than it usually is when she’s on this show.  But like everyone else, I’m so bored of Rihanna now.

Ads!  This year’s M&S ad is most disappointing.  Oh for the halcyon harpy days of yore.

Time to welcome back the finalists and Queen Nicole.  The winner is [insert epic pause] James.  Bland-anoni-white-brunette-bloke victory 6/9!  I called that one way back in the audition stages.

He and Jahmene have a big hug, then Nicole hugs him and takes care of Jahmene.  Dermot implores him not to swear, although James hasn’t been particularly unprofessional this series.  James thanks us.  Jahmene smiles and says it was a blessing to share the stage with James because he’s a huge talent.  A runner comes on to mic James up or something.  Dermot gives James his CD.  Are CD singles still a thing if Andi Peters is no longer there to see them made?  James says he’s grateful the proceeds are going to a good cause.

He performs again and gets mobbed by the others as is standard.  Creepy Puppet George doesn’t seem to mime about him getting a cat though, which is a bit disappointing.  The camera focuses on Nicole and Rylan for much of it.  Poor James.

So that’s it for another year!  I don’t know about you, but I need a good lie down after all of that!  This show will be back next year (perhaps for the last time??) and so, no doubt, will we.  Join us then!  (And don’t forget we’re still blogging Strictly in the meantime)  MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Loud was the voice of Maloney goatherd

Final - Part 1: 8th December 2012

We open on the train to Manchester, of all places, as Jahmene, Christopher and James all enjoy a first-class ticket on Virgin Trains up to the final. First-class seems curiously empty: either Syco bought all the seats for the purposes of filming, or Virgin Trains need to sort their seating allocations out. Jahmene talks about wanting to win this to prove to people that you can overcome any struggle, while Christopher thinks it's incredible that he's in the final having started out as the wildcard (it is, in a very literal way, not credible), and James opines that he was nothing before this show, and if he wins, he'll finally be someone. I'm not sure there's much you can do to help someone whose entire sense of self-worth is wrapped up in The X Factor - I think they might be too far gone.

Before we can get on with the important business of this year's final, the show invites us to have a look back at how we got here, other than "unburdened by several million of the viewers we had two years ago". There were some great auditions, and some less-great ones, and ultimately we ended up with a Top 13. Hey, remember when everyone thought that Rylan making the live shows was the biggest crock of shit in the world? They can apologise whenever they like. I'll wait. In the meantime, we get the obligatory parade of those that have fallen on the way here: Carolynne, Melanie, MK1, Jade, Kye and District 3. Then of course everything comes to a temporary halt so the show can flagellate us all some more about not voting properly and causing Ella (RIP) to go out in sixth place. Then we speed up again for those unimportant losers Rylan and Union J, whose eliminations were fated in the stars or whatever, and that brings us up to the present day. Then we see our top three getting off the train in Manchester and clips of what is yet to come tonight as they visit their hometowns and the arena team get Manchester Central ready for an audience of 10,000. I think that's the number of people in the auditorium rather than the number of people watching at home, but I'll make sure I check that later. Anyway, one of these three polite young men is going to win - which one will it be?

Titles. Giant X hurts through space on a Saturday for the last time this year. We'll miss you, Giant X. You've been a delightful constant in unpredictable times. [Except it seems to have landed in London and not Manchester.  Poor Giant X, did no-one invite it? - Rad]

We begin with a musical montage of Dermot, in dinner suit and dicky-bow, making his way to the venue - a journey that takes him down Coronation Street (flanked by models wearing Manchester City and Manchester United kits), into the Rovers Return (where Nicole is tending bar and no doubt hoovering up pork scratchings), outside the arena where Gary and Tulisa are deep in conversation (bet that was thrilling for both parties), into another backstage area where he's flanked by sequin-covered sexy dancers, into Louis's dressing room where he's apparently mid-way through getting a lapdance from Lorna Bliss (REALLY, X Factor? REALLY?), through a clothing rail which outfits him in a sparkly onesie (still a better fit than most of the suits he's worn this year), and finally onto the stage where he busts out a few moves for us with the aforementioned sequinny dancers. Once he's finished, he dismisses them with "begone, you harlots!" Well, that's a lovely way to present women on a primetime family entertainment show, isn't it?

Dermot declares that "2012 has been a year of great finals" (still not finished trying to clamber on the back of the Olympic goodwill, then?) but this is the big one for Jahmene, Christopher and James, who will have to "pull out the performances of their lives to win" - or at least just make sure they're a little bit less shit than the other two. The judges are welcomed onto the stage: Louis is all in black, Tulisa is wearing a knee-length black leather dress with a sheer covering over her cleavage and her arms, Nicole is in a clinging high-necked floor-length red number, and Gary's in a black dinner suit with a white shirt and a black tie. Dermot tells us that we have Kylie, One Direction, Rihanna, Rita Ora, Kelly Clarkson and Emeli Sandé to look forward to tonight, and hopefully they're going to distract us from the general will-this-do? nature of this year's finalists.

First of all, though, let's revisit those who didn't quite make it this far via the medium of a big group number: starting with 'Gangnam Style' performed by (who else?) Rylan. How amazing would an all-Scherzinger final have been? Very, I'm telling you. [I hear you - Rad] We then switch into 'Payphone', which is being performed by Union J, Kye and District 3, who are all arriving on scooters. Not motorised scooters either - old-school scooters. Let's take a momentary break from recapping to laugh heartily at Kye essentially being reduced to a grafted-on Frankenband member for the purposes of tonight's event. Then we get the return of Lucy (I'm quite surprised she came back, to be honest, but good on her for doing so, I guess) singing 'Titanium' with Carolynne, Melanie and Jade as her back-up singers. Not to get too "that's showbiz" about this, but I genuinely didn't recognise Carolynne at all when I first saw her. For a minute I thought she was Mitzeeee from Hollyoaks. Then the song changes to 'Spectrum (Say My Name)' by Florence + The Machine, led by Union J and an increasingly shamefaced-looking Kye, before they hand it over to The Reanimated Corpse Of Ella Henderson. You know who's conspicuous by their absence? MK1. [It took me ages to figure out who was missing.  Jade was still there despite snarking to DS the other day that she wasn' going to turn up - Rad] Then finally James, Jahmene and Chris enter singing 'Read All About It', with Jahmene giving James a friendly little fist-bump on the arm as they finish.

Dermot asks James how he's feeling, and he's honoured to be here. Jahmene is just really excited to perform. And Christopher is just humbled and grateful to be here. What a thrilling top three, eh readers? Dermot declares the voting lines officially open, but warns us that they will be frozen later in the evening in order to kick off whoever's in third place.

Time for an ad break! Asda want you to remember that women do everything at Christmas while men are entirely useless. [Morrisons likewise but with the mum from This is England because THA NORF/MIDLANDS - Rad]

When we return, Dermot shills the app before informing us that Jahmene will be performing first, and handing over to Nicole. Nicole declares that Jahmene has graduated from her little lamb chop to "a whole lamb shank". Nicole's mind is a terrifying and amazing place. Jahmene's VT begins with him and Nicole arriving in Swindon in a helicopter. Now there's a sentence I never imagined I'd write. First stop, naturally, is Asda, where masses of people have gathered to welcome him home. Lots of his former colleagues are all appropriately weepy and pleased to see him. Jahmene introduces Nicole to Carmel who works on the meat counter, and Nicole is very interested in Asda's butcher counter, ordering herself some meatballs. We really do owe Nicole a hell of a debt for single-handedly making this series entertaining - can you imagine Cheryl Cole pretending to be this excited about Asda? Because I can, and it's a horrifying thought. Nicole and Jahmene do the usual "look how far you've come!" chat to remind us that Jahmene is a real live boy now, and then they get back in the car to head to church.

The choir is there singing 'O Happy Day' as they arrive, and they great Jahmene enthusiastically. Jahmene explains that church completes him, and he gets Nicole into some purple robes, and "forces" her to sing with the choir. Yeah, I bet she took loads of coaxing. Jahmene expresses his gratitude to the congregation for keeping him going through the dark times, and Nicole points out that he's a completely different person in church - he's happier and more comfortable. This is sweet, actually: I'm not religious personally, but this little segment demonstrates exactly what religion should be like: a community being there to support each other through thick and thin without judgement. Jahmene explains that church is his "favourite day of the week" (he must have a very odd-looking calendar) and although he's had lots of counselling and therapy, church has been more help to him than any of those. I think it's a shame that counselling and therapy didn't help him, but I'm glad he at least had something to fall back on. [I can't believe he didn't say it was The X Factor that saved him.  Way to go off-message, Jahmene! - Rad] Following that, Jahmene performs to a crowd of over 28,000 in the middle of Swindon, with his mum and Nicole looking on adoringly. Jahmene hopes he wins the competition so he can have this sort of experience all the time. Oh Jahmene. I don't think you need to win this competition to get yourself a regular gig in Swindon.

So Jahmene's opening the show (if you can call a performance that begins 20 minutes in "starting the show") with 'Move On Up' by Curtis Mayfield. It's an unusually uptempo choice from Jahmene, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but he gets awfully screechy on the high notes. The picture cuts out several times during the performance, though I can't tell you for definite whether that's a problem with Manchester's feed or a localised issue in my flat. Jahmene does his usual vocal jahmnastics in the second half of the song, and at this point you either have a tolerance for that or you don't. Personally I can stand it, but I don't like it.

Louis tells Jahmene he's in the final because he's talented, and he's an amazing role model, and he reminds him of a little Luther Vandross. Blimey, you know it's going to be a long night when even Louis is phoning it in for the final, don't you? Tulisa remembers how shy he was at his audition as well as how awful he was at Boot Camp, before telling him that he's on stage in Manchester, in case he hadn't realised. She thinks he deserves to be here, and she wishes him the best of luck. Any chance of some actual feedback, anyone? Gary makes a stab at "I didn't like the song choice" but focuses mostly on how Jahmene's really grown in confidence as a performer. Nicole says it was great to see him loosen up, and she thinks he was "blazing" as he opened up the final. Dermot arrives and says that we shouldn't focus on what the judges are saying "because the feedback's all going to be so good at this stage in the competition". Yeah, I'm sure they're going to be falling over themselves in a minute to praise Christopher Maloney's subtle vocal techniques and his extreme relevance to the music industry in 2012. Jahmene was pleased to do an uptempo track and let loose for once, and Dermot says it was great to see him move around and interact with the dancers a bit. Jahmene jokes that he might attempt the splits next week before realising that there isn't a next week as far as the show's concerned, and Dermot moves him along by assuring that whatever he does in the privacy of his own home is up to him. Heh.

Nicole begs to have the floor to beg for votes for Jahmene, and then Dermot throws to Caroline Flack, somewhere near the back of the room, who's with Pastor Tim from Jahmene's church. Pastor Tim says that the church is very proud of Jahmene and totally knew he'd make it this far. Then we go to Carmel from the butcher's counter, and the poor woman has been forced to wear her work uniform tonight. She says that Jahmene's got a lot of confidence, and he should be on the stage. She doesn't clarify whether this is because she's got a friend who has an eye on his old job in the freezer section, but frankly I wouldn't rule it out in this economic climate.

Next up is Christopher, introduced by Gary who tries to make "The Maloney" catch on. Good luck with that. Christopher gets on another Virgin Train to Liverpool and heads straight to the call centre where he used to work from eight till six (what a way to make a livin'). Christopher talks about how he used to work here "every day", though I'm not quite sure where his other employment history as a cruise singer fits into all this. His workmates lay on a spread for Christopher including some cakes and lollies with his face on them. People seem to avoid eating the image of his face, presumably because they fear the wrath of The Vengeful Maloney. Then we go to Christopher's nan's house, where the neighbours talk about how brilliant he is (I do quite like the sign someone's waving that says "it's going to be Maloney this Christmas" - that's quite a good pun), and shortly after Christopher arrives, Gary turns up to express his appreciation for Nan's Proper Food (sausage rolls, sandwiches, chocolate eclairs). Christopher's nan is very excited about having Gary Barlow in her house, and thinks she'll be the talk of the neighbourhood tomorrow. Christopher goes off to perform in Liverpool where one very enthusiastic woman says that we don't ALL want to listen to hip-hop and bang our heads, we want to be able to SING ALONG, dammit! [I love the insinuation that James and/or Jahmene are hip-hop.  And ponder some more about the whereabouts of MK1 - Rad] (I also like the woman who says that she supports Christopher because she knows his mum and his nan and all of his friends and goes to bingo with all of them. You can't really argue with that.) Gary invites everyone to "turn around, it's Christopher Maloney!" I thought perhaps he was suggesting they avert their eyes from the horror, but no, it's just Christopher entering from the back of the room. Although frankly they missed a trick by having him sing 'The Rose' instead of 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' at that moment.

Christopher's singing 'Flashdance... What A Feeling', approaching it with all the nuance and subtlety of a tabloid newspaper responding to Kate Middleton's successful conception. The show does its standard gentle sandbagging of Christopher by having him perform in front of a giant 1980s stereo, highlighting the cassette player (I can only imagine terrified children screaming "WHAT'S THAT?" as they encounter a "rewind" button for the first time in their lives), though most of the hard work in ruining Christopher's chances of surviving to tomorrow is done by Christopher himself with his atonal hooting.

Nicole tells Christopher that doing what he just did is not easy, and he should enjoy the moment, BECAUSE IT'S HIS LAST. Except she didn't say that last bit. Louis calls him "the people's champion", even though the people's champion will be the winner, surely? Louis applauds him for always coming out fighting and of course for doing it for his nan. Tulisa respects him for being a fighter and "always doing you". Gary says that he got it wrong by not having him in his final three, and he's had masses of criticism to overcome every week. Gary does not mention that he probably made this situation worse by being such a pompous arse about Credibility and Integrity for the first few weeks of the competition and inviting such criticisms of his own acts.

Dermot arrives and does some damage limitation by scolding Louis for mentioning that Christopher would be able to "escape from Liverpool" after tonight [Because that makes it so much better, Dermot - Rad]. Louis clarifies that he meant it was going to be life-changing and Christopher would make a record and go on tour. "Then that's what you should have said", admonishes Dermot. He then asks Christopher how it felt to get positive comments (I think that's going a bit far - they weren't openly negative, but they were still a long way from positive) and Christopher is, as ever, humbled. They talk a bit more about how Christopher loves the 80s, and then we go to "Caroline Caroline" again, as she has the misfortune to be in the audience with Christopher's fans. She is, of course, with The Nan (or "Pat", to use her real name) and Caroline Caroline asks if Christopher can win, and The Nan replies "well, what will be will be." Poor Christopher - even his own nan knows he's boned. Christopher's neighbour Valerie declares him "another Tom Jones" and says how proud everyone in Liverpool is of him. Dermot invites Val to audition next year based on how much she enjoyed having the microphone (although looking at what happens to Jahmene later, she might not want to bother) and then encourages us to vote for Christopher. Yeah, no thanks,

Adverts. Tom Lenk's still selling Pepsi Max. That must be a nice little earner for him.

When we return, it's time for James's first performance. He and Nicole head back to "the north-east", which Nicole later clarifies is Middlesbrough, and their first stop is the pub where he used to do acoustic gigs. The pub's rammed with people and Nicole's in there drinking a pint again. James then unveils a nan of his very own (take THAT, Maloney!) and his very proud parents before he and Nicole head off on the back of some bikes to his old bedsit, which he says was "an eye-opener for Nicole". You can pretty much see the look of "...where's the rest of it?" on her face as she goes through the door. Nicole asks James if he's had some tough times there and he replies "well yeah, but now I've brought a Pussycat Doll back here, so it's all good". Okay, maybe not. He cries a bit and says that life was like hell for him back then, and now he finally feels like he's achieving something. Nicole reminds him that he never gave up, and James says that he's finally got his life back. They head out to the adoring crowd waiting for him in the cold and the rain, and then James performs 'Hometown Glory' to his hometown crowd, because apparently he's That Guy. Oh, James Arthur. I had kind of hoped you were better than that. [James had grown on me, but the I live in a bedsit sob-story is so shit it makes me rage - Rad]

James's entire walk through the backstage area of Manchester Central is all part of his performance as he does Muse's version of 'Feeling Good' while reminding us all that he is totally an authentic person who exists offstage as well as onstage. The performance is exactly what you might expect "James Arthur sings 'Feeling Good'" to look and sound like - it's overwrought, angst-ridden and marinaded overnight in misery, but it's the sort of thing you can probably imagine quite a lot of people enjoying nonetheless.

Louis declares him a "unique talent" and somebody who deserves a break, and says that the public have to vote to change his life and keep him here tomorrow night. Tulisa says that James is "everything this competition should represent in 2012" and that she wants James to take his music worldwide, which she then illustrates with a toe-curlingly bad American accent. She thinks Britain should be proud of him and voting for him, so we should pick up the phone AND VOTE FOR LITTLE MI---sorry, James Arthur. She got a bit carried away there. Gary Barlow trots out the "it's just like being at a James Arthur concert!" line for the ninetieth time, and congratulates him on his best performance so far. Nicole finishes by calling him a "ma-HOO-sive superstar" and saying that she hopes he is feeling good. Dermot arrives and asks what the biggest crowd James played to before the competition was - a couple of hundred? "Nah - 50, 60," James answers with possibly overstated modesty. Anyway, now he's here performing to 10,000 people, and you'd better believe he feels blessed. He mumbles his thanks to the judges for their encouragement each week and helping him to improve.

We then go to the very busy Caroline Flack (why isn't Olly Murs doing any of this? Hell, was Jeff Brazier busy?) who's with James's fans, including his little sister, who's very proud of him. We then go to the obligatory X Factor Finalist Pizza, just to show how far this show has fallen from the heady days when Stacey Solomon couldn't wait to get the Matt Cardle meat feast into her mouth: a raw-looking bit of dough with some peppers and olives around the outside with "Vote James" written on it in what I hope is Primula squeezable cheese and not in fact Play-Doh. Dermot teases the upcoming mentor duets, and while everyone wonders what would've happened if Union J made the final, we go to an ad break.

After ITV1 tries to persuade us to watch its other shows once this one has finished, we're back in Manchester with Dermot, who reminds us of the numbers if we want to vote for any of these contestants. To provide a bit of a break before the next performance, here's an actual talented and charismatic singer: Kelly Clarkson singing 'Breakaway' to promote her current Greatest Hits collection, in front of a video featuring memorable moments from the series so far. It's mostly the finalists' auditions, with a bit of Dermot being cute with the kids waiting in line outside the various arenas. I feel a bit bad for Kelly who was invited onto the show and doesn't even get to be the star of her own song, but then I don't think Kelly needs this stupid show for validation these days. She doesn't seem particularly bothered, anyway. Thanks for coming and brightening up the show, Kelly! Now: when are you going to do that country album you keep teasing us about? Because I for one think it would be amazing.

Dermot's standing by the judges' desk, and Nicole's seat is empty, so we know what's coming next: it's Jahmene and Nicole! We get another VT to lead into this, where Jahmene talks about how amazing Nicole is a mentor, for treating him as a friend first and then a singer, sending him random encouraging texts when he least expects it. Aw. Part of me wants to enter the competition next year just in the off-chance I might end up with Nicole as my mentor/best pal as well. Jahmene thanks Nicole for getting him this far, and Nicole says she can't wait to sing with him.

They're singing 'The Greatest Love Of All' together - Jahmene really does love a bit of Whitney, doesn't he? Nicole arrives in a silver dress to do her verse, and it all seems to be going well, until she starts making gestures that imply her microphone isn't working and, well, this happens:

YOINK! So much for Best Friends Forever.

(Apparently although we could all hear the sound fine at home, they couldn't hear it in the arena, and Nicole and Jahmene had nothing in their earpieces either. With suitably huge thanks to Born This Gay on the Popjustice forums for making possibly the best gif of 2012.)

She does give him the mic back in the end, and then he holds it and they both sort of lean in awkwardly to share it until Nicole snatches it back to bring it on back for the chorus and throws her supposedly-defunct one on the floor angrily. I love that Nicole spent the best part of four months endearing herself to the British public only to remind people why they hated her to begin with. Still: best part of the final by a country mile, for all the wrong reasons. When it ends, Dermot apologises profusely for the mic problems and Nicole is FEWMIN and somehow Jahmene still thinks that Nicole is "a blessing as a human being", so...no harm done, I guess?

With the unenviable job of having to top that epic diva showdown are Gary and Christopher. Christopher tells Gary he's the best mentor anyone could ever hope for, and Gary says he's so grateful he picked Christopher as his wildcard. We have a right old folie à deux going on here, don't we? Christopher attempts a gracious thank you by buying Gary a present, but it looks like a particularly egregious bit of brown-nosing when the present turns out to be "a frame for your OBE". Still, it inspired this tweet, so it wasn't a complete waste of time. [Does Gary have an OBE?  WHY HAS NOBODY EVER MENTIONED THIS BEFORE? - Rad]

Gary and Christopher are singing 'Rule The World' together. You can pretty much grasp Gary's thought process here: "I'm going to lose all of my self-respect, but I might as well get some royalties out of it." And hey, at least it wasn't 'The Flood', eh folks? Also, this whole thing is giving me fond memories of when Take That performed with Leona on the series three finale and Gary warned Simon not to fuck her career up in front of 10 million viewers. A warning that Simon appears to have ignored given how things are going for Leona these days, but then Gary doesn't appear to have done that well on the artist-management front himself. Is this performance over yet? Oh it is, jolly good.

Dermot asks Christopher how that was for him, and Christopher says that Gary's been his idol forever. Dermot expresses his own jealousy that he's never had a chance to sing 'Rule The World' with Gary, and Gary tells him "any time". I think I'd probably have preferred to watch that duet than the one with Christopher, to be honest. Still, there's always next year. (Assuming Gary's still here next year, which seems...doubtful.)

Time for another ad break, in which we are reminded that expensive things are nice at Christmas. I'm glad about that, I'd almost forgotten.

When we return, Dermot learns the dangers of interacting with the public by saying that the only way we can ensure our favourite act wins is "if they're voted for by..." and he hands his mic to a random woman in the audience who was clearly expecting an entirely different question and says "beautiful!" Hee. Poor woman. Still, it could've been worse - if she'd made that mistake two years ago, people would actually have seen it.

Time now for our final mentor duet with James and Nicole. James tells us about going to the video shoot for Nicole's new single, which appears to be called 'Boomerang', and how cool it was to see her putting all of her own advice into practice. Nicole actually appears to be having fun on set, unlike when Tulisa took Ella, Jade and Lucy to hers and acted like making videos was the worst thing in the world. Of course, this was the end result of that, so you can sort of see her point. THE END! Anyway, James talks extensively about how Nicole spend a lot of time working out what sort of person he was and what sort of music he wanted to do and how best to move forward from there, and Nicole says he's been the easiest person to work with and the hardest worker, and admires his balls in a slightly figurative sense.

Oh cripes, they're singing 'Make You Feel My Love'. I know this song had an existence pre-Adele, but anything that's even associated with her just brings me out in hives. I can't help it: it's Pavlovian at this point. This time the stage crew have very sensibly given Nicole a microphone that definitely works, lest she go full Katie Ka-Boom on them. Also, Nicole is dressed entirely in leather, which I'm sure appeals to a certain section of the viewing audience. Assuming straight men watch The X Factor. They do, right? After the middle eight it starts raining fireworks, lending the whole thing a pleasingly post-apocalyptic atmosphere, helped in no small part by the way Nicole is dressed. Afterwards, Dermot asks Nicole how far James has come, and Nicole says she's very proud of him. Dermot asks James how the experience was for him, and James thanks Nicole for bringing his confidence back and being the best mentor he could've asked for. D'aww.

So that's it in terms of competition performances for tonight, however there is still half an hour's worth of airtime left. Hoo boy. We get a quick recap of tonight's six performances (not including Kelly Clarkson, regrettably) and then it's time for our second special guest of the night: former guest judge Rita Ora. She gets one of those fancy intros: NUMBER 1 DEBUT ALBUM! BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST OF 2012! 4 CONSECUTIVE NUMBER 1S! I notice Kelly Clarkson wasn't afforded one of those. How very rude. She sings a medley of 'RIP' (which is obviously a tribute to Ella Henderson) and 'How We Do (Party)'. [I choose to take the medley as a tribute to Rylan.  Or possibly Jive Bunny - Rad] After a bit of banter about the car wreck she bought with her, which is in no way a metaphor for this show, Rita says that she's been following the show and thinks Tulisa and Nicole are doing a great job on the panel. Dermot asks if she has any advice for the finalists, and Rita says they should just have fun. She plugs her tour for February 2013, for which tickets are on sale now, and then Rita Ora departs and Dermot turns to the very short satellite link to chat to the finalists backstage. James says that they've done all they can do, but he'd be lying if he said he didn't want to still be here tomorrow night. Jahmene says he feels blessed to be here. Christopher hopes he's done enough to stay, and hopes people will keep supporting him. Edifying.

Dermot warns us that we have five minutes left to vote before the vote lines freeze, then we get an invite to audition for next year's series which takes us straight into an ad break. Apparently the hosts of Loose Women will be auditioning for The X Factor as part of Text Santa. They can't be much worse than several of this year's live show finalists, can they?

When we return, Dermot thanks us for voting and announces that the voting is temporarily suspended, and while those votes are being counted, here's Kylie. 25 YEARS IN MUSIC! 70 MILLION WORLDWIDE RECORD SALES! 17 UK TOP TEN SINGLES! (I find your maths questionable, X Factor. I make it at least 27) 13 UK TOP TEN ALBUMS! She's here peddling that wretched new album of hers where she tries to somehow make her music more valid by making it less poppy, and speaking as someone who has been a Kylie fan ever since I was a tiny proto-gay, I view that as the biggest betrayal imaginable. Still, on the bright side, at least this orchestral version of 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' is one of the more palatable abominations. Anyway, I shall just do what I always do when Kylie's career takes a turn that I disapprove of: I blame William Baker. I don't know if it's actually his fault, but neither do I particularly care. [I love Kylie more than most things but... she needs to have a good rest in 2013.  I think this year has driven her a little bonkers.  Although Abbey Road is worth it for 'Flower'  and 'Where the Wild Roses Grow' alone.  Also: I liked the lights her string players had - Rad]

Kylie invites Dermot to lean on her handsome male dancers, and Dermot asks her why she wanted to do this to all of her brilliant pop songs, and then appears to be not terribly interested in her answer. Right on, Dermot. There can be NO explanation for this.

After a plug for the Amazing X Factor Questionless Competition, it's time for a final ad break, which puts Ikea and Littlewoods right up alongside Valentino. I guess this show attracts a pretty diverse audience.

We rejoin Dermot as he invites the top three finalists to return to the stage along with their mentors. The first act through to the Final Final is...Jahmene. And the second and final act through is...James. Tulisa leaps to her feet, Nicole starts screaming uncontrollably, and Dermot points out that we are now guaranteed a SCHERZWINNER whatever happens. That's the right outcome, I think - I don't particularly care for James or Jahmene, but I think Nicole's been the best and most dedicated mentor this series, and it's only right for one of her acts to take the overall prize. Meanwhile, we look at Christopher's best bits: ME NEEEEHVES, ME NAN, AMNORRADIVA etc. Dermot says that Christopher has had "to put up with so much" (almost entirely orchestrated by the show itself, but we'll gloss over that) and tells us to "give it up for Christopher Maloney!" - at which point the X Factor sting starts playing before Christopher's even had a chance to speak. It's hastily faded out, and Christopher tells Dermot that despite "the negative press and the lies", he feels like he's already won. Gary congratulates Christopher for getting this far, and then disappears in a cloud of smoke as we hear hasty footsteps in the distance, a door slamming and tyres screeching.

So that's it: tomorrow night it's Jahmene vs James to decide which of them is the people's SCHERZWINNER, and Dermot invites them both back on stage. To complete the general air of professionalism that's surrounded tonight's broadcast, the cameraperson responsible for getting the shot of them walking back on falls over on his/her way to the stage so instead we get a nice shot of the floor suddenly hurtling into view before the screen goes black. We hastily cut to a working camera, and Dermot asks James what it means to be through, and James is literally speechless. Jahmene just whoops and giggles and hugs James, while Dermot wonders how the hell he's going to get through two hours trying to interview these guys tomorrow. He then gets as far as "Nicole Scherzinger is guarantee--" before Nicole runs on stage and appropriates his microphone for herself to scream for Manchester to give it up for James and Jahmene. Next year there will be pictures of Nicole up everywhere backstage saying "do not give this woman your microphone", I guarantee it.

The lines are opened again, and Dermot encourages us to vote once more before promising us that tomorrow's show will not only feature the reveal of the winner, but also appearances from One Direction, Rihanna and the notoriously camera-shy Emeli Sandé. Rad has got the highly rewarding job of recapping that, which means this is it for me this year, so thanks for reading and I hope we'll see you back here for what will almost certainly be more of the same in 2013, only with hopefully extra added Scherzinger.

Monday, December 03, 2012


Top Four Results – 2nd December 2012

Another window is opened in my reality advent calendar as we reach my last results recap of the series. Behind it is Steve Brookstein’s dignity. Only joking! He never had any.  So last night Jahmene’s deepest darkest personal despair was sacrificed at the altar of reality, being forced to say he sang a song at his brother’s funeral which seems to be factually inaccurate anyway. More than one person has pointed out that his brother died before the song was released but I’m not accusing anyone of anything, there’s been large gaps between someone dying and the funeral before, so let’s just leave it there.

We begin with Durrbot stood in the middle of the most testosterone heavy semi final line up in the history of ever. Suitwatch – Exactly the same as yesterday but black. Yay consistency! We’re told that last night the four finalists sang for a place in the LIVE! FINAL! The pressure was on and the stakes are high. Tonight, we’re told that it’s all in the hands of the Great British Public. So who do we have? Well, we have the freakishly broad shouldered James, who, like the cockroach that he is has survived thus far and want so, so badly to get into the final. Jahmene, the male Leona Lewis who has put more notes in stuff than Dr Nick Riviera has left things in people who thinks it would be madness to go home now.  Strangles Moroney, the dubious orange who seems to be still there in what can only be an internet campaign as hilarious as that time when Olly Murs got voted The Guardian album of the year who is told by Funsponge that it is all in the hands of the public. Finally it’s Union J, or Four Direction who are just so COOT you could eat them up.  Do you want to kill their dream? Do you? Could you do that to them and their lovely hair? Well that’s what they’re asking you.

PLUS! Tonight we’re having performances from Tulisa from off of this! Grammy award winning international superstar Pink! I know which one we should be more excited about. [Can we have Pink circa 2002 please? - Rad] So how are the judges feeling? Funsponge knows it’s all coming down to tonight, Louis says there are four acts and three spaces. Thanks Louis! It’s IT for Nicole. It’s time to face the music!

So we’re live from London and it’s time for Durrbot. He welcomes us to the semi final results and tells us that it’s exciting. I wouldn’t have realised if he didn’t tell us. He also warns us that Tulisa is going to sing and Pink is incredible. There’s also going to be an appearance from a rock legend.  I genuinely don’t know who this is going to be but they must really need some cash. But first, for no reason whatsoever are the judges! Funsponge and Louis’ suits match the ones that everyone else is wearing. Nicole is wearing something purple and off the shoulder which is nice. Tulisa is wearing Nicole’s dress from last night only it’s a much more unflattering length. Why is she still even here? She can peddle her own song without us being made to think that her opinion holds any weight whatsoever. She’s no vested interest in this anymore. Let her watch this in a hoodie whilst picking her toenails, eh? It’s what we all want. I can’t stand watching her pretend to care for another second. [Did this show destroy Tulisa faster than Cheryl?  I'm thinking so - Rad]

Apparently, the finalists are all here because they love to sing. No, if you love to sing, then you sing. You don’t have to be famous. So they’re doing “Merry Christmas Baby” as the group song. I think it’s called that. They just say “Merry Christmas Baby” a lot. Pinocchio then invites Rod Stewart on to the stage with the amount of enthusiasm that his mum must have told him was appropriate. Seriously, who’s even heard of Rod Stewart these days? Is this current like BOOBLAY FOR THE MAMS? Rod doesn’t even have the decency to look embarrassed. At least Durrbot does a bit as he thanks him for singing with the contestants who Rod is pleasantly surprised to find are so good.  Durrbot tries to make them excited about this but they’re all just wondering who the old man is. Durrbot informs James that the old man has had more girlfriends than him. Everyone looks doubtful. This is because James Arthur is the only man on stage that’s ever had a girlfriend A STUD OK. Durrbot explains to the old man why he’s there – it’s because he’s doing a show after them on ITV1. Durrbot reminds him of this because he’s a bellend. Rod’s touring in June, mams!

Never mind all that, it’s the backstage reactions and the numbers, if we’ve all recovered from the Walsh onesie. The Walshsie, if you will. Louis thinks Christopher’s cheese has matured. Jahmene doesn’t have a backstage comment. Union J are nothing to do with Louis, according to Funsponge and Union J are happy with their comments and will use them in their next performance. (SPOILER, THEY WON’T) and James is basically the best at everything ever because he FEELS STUFF, YEAH? The competition means more to him than life and death. OK THEN. Round two, does Jahmene have an opinion yet? He does. He thinks he’s come so far since the audition and it’s been a long time. It actually has.  Moroney’s second performance is no better the second time around and he thinks the final is in touching distance. Funsponge thinks doing BOOBLAY is hard (TWSS) but Moroney did a marvellous job. Nicole thinks it wasn’t a semi final performance. Union J are still dull and Louis basically calls Funsponge boring. He says “he sits at a piano doing plinky plonky ballads. That’s safe”. I LOVE YOU LOUIS. Union J remind us that they’re dreams are in our hands. James Arthur then walks on water, cures a leper and turns water into wine. He urges us to remember the true spirit of Jamesmas whilst Nicole tells us that he owned, slayed and James Arthured it. Good. Is it adverts time yet? It is! Tulisa’s on after though, so enjoy them, yeah?

But before that we’re doing the world’s shortest satellite link! OH, THAT’S BACK, IS IT? FFS. James first. Durrbot informs him that Holly Johnson approves of his version of his song. James looks at Moroney who is old and would no doubt have heard of Holly Johnson. Moroney gives him a nod to indicate that this is a Good Thing and James does his flabbergasted face whilst Moroney pisses himself until he’s told that Holly likes him too. Next up, Durrbot asks Jahmene how he’s feeling. He feels like he’s let go and this is a good thing. He asks Moroney how he feels about the criticism of his new school vibe and will this make him go back to old stuff. Moroney says all the songs he sings are timeless and he is literally the least self aware man in the universe. Finally, do Union J think they’ve done enough? They hope people believe in them because they don’t want to go home yet.

Next up, Tulisa sings a song. Apparently she’s a judge by day and a popstar by night. The joke here is even too lazy for me. Apparently she’s had 3 PLATINUM ALBUMS WITH N DUBZ and her DEBUT SINGLE was NUMBER ONE and she’s sold THREE MILLION RECORDS WORLDWIDE. She’s still shit though! It’s Tulisa!  She’s wearing a hood because, yannow, BROKEN BRITAIN. She’s singing the song through her nose tonight, because this one is a ballid. She’s standing on a box and everything. I actually can’t listen to this. I’m sorry. I’m fastforwarding.  It’s my Christmas gift to myself.  [I watched it live and it made Cheryl's live vocal sound like Maria Callas - Rad] [Seriously. I think it might be the worst song I've ever endured on a results show, and I sat through Duffy singing WEH WEH WEH on Strictly. - Steve] When she’s finished she’s interviewed by Durrbot who points out the box and wonders what it’s like to be a singer instead of a judge. She says she found the whole experience terrifying.  As did I. Durrbot wants to know if she would like to be judged. She says go on then and she’s not joking. She really wants Daddy Funsponge’s approval. Instead, Durrbot asks Louis if she could be the next big boyband. Louis says she was very good. Anyway. Vote and come on the show next year, yeah?

After the adverts, in “let’s see how it’s really done” news, is Pink. Tulisa’s album gets a little plug.

After the adverts, we have a segment about the charity that the single is going to be for. START YOUR INTERNET CAMPAIGN NOW, YOU HEARTLESS BASTARDS. It’s about a family and their disabled daughter. I’m not going to recap this bit, because it’s unfair to be bitchy about it, but the charity that the X Factor is working with provides support and nurses for children with short lives. They seem like they do good work.  The family are in the studio tonight. On with the show.

Next up is worldwide star Pink on her X Factor debut. She’s sold 50 MILLION SINGLES WORLDWIDE and 40 MILLION ALBUMS. She’s won 3 GRAMMY AWARDS and for some reason she’s on tonight. Man, she must be worried about selling that new album. Because it’s the X Factor, she’s singing a ballid.  There’s a mini orchestra and everything. I was looking forward to seeing this because I thought it would be an interesting break in an hour of dull. How wrong I was. Let’s see if Durrbot makes a sufficient arse of himself when he’s interviewing her to make up for it.  He asks her why it’s taken so long for her to come on the show. She doesn’t answer. He wonders if she’s touring soon. She says April. That’s some good interviewing.

HOWEVER. Lines are now closed. Who is going home?! I know who I want.  Adverts!

One final VT before the results though, what will it mean to everyone to get through? Union J have done what bands do over years in the space of ten weeks [get a transplanted member who they hate, come out of the closet, imitate One Direction... get drug addictions, go through rehab, release a horrible swing album, have Puppet George kicked out after he goes mad at Glastonbury?  Wow, some ten weeks, right there - Rad]. Moroney is doing it for the public too. Jahmene would be gutted to have it snatched away from him. James would like to look in the mirror and stop feeling like dirt on the floor.  Jahmene thinks it’s crazy that he’s come from Asda to the semi final. He can’t believe people think he’s good enough. Union J are going to do everything in their power to get to the final. Jahmene wants to see pride in his mum’s face.  Union J want to do the next step. Moroney wants to sing in the live final, James wants his DNA to stop telling him that he’s failed [BixMix product placement there? - Rad]. Oh ffs. GET ON WITH IT.

There have apparently been a million votes and they are in. The judges and the acts return to the stage. We’re reminded that there’s no sing off tonight. The first act through is... JAMES who is so excited he almost pops Nicole’s boob out as he hugs her. Next is... MORONEY in the biggest WTF I’ve ever seen. Final act through is... JAHMENE, of course it is. There’s much hugging and Union J are so happy with how well they’ve done, even though Durrbot tells everyone that they thought they were going anyway. Durrbot is sure that the show is going to be a springboard. Louis is still sure they’re the next big boyband. Their highlight was meeting everyone.  We see Union J’s best bits before they sing. They really, really are Bixmix with Willies.  They sing a farewell song and they seem to be genuinely fond of each other. It’s quite sweet. The song is that Taylor Swift one [which they don't gender-change, so hurrah for that, the little princesses - Rad]. They seem sweet. With some decent songs they could probably do well.

But never mind that, it’s the finalists! Jahmene can’t make human noises. James thought he wasn’t going through so he’s over the moon. It sounds like Durrbot then calls Moroney “Baloney” and asks him how he’s going to feel singing in front of ten thousand people. Popular backstage, are we? He wants to thank everyone that’s voted for him. He wants to know how the other two are feeling. Jahmene gives it the most unconvincing “Bring it on” ever.

So next week is the final live in Manchester! We’re promised Kylie, Rhianna and Sandy Emily plus duets and the crowning of the winner. Join Steve on Saturday and Rad on Sunday to see what happens there. Y’all have good festivities, yeah? 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Good Morning Viet-Nan

Emotional Blackmail and Desperation Week – 1st December 2012 

Hello! And welcome to what is blessedly my last live show recap of this series. I’m ticking them off like the nonexistent chocolates in my nonexistent advent calendar. How did this travesty occur? I have no idea. Anyway, we begin with a recap of last week where THE FINAL FIVE SANG TWICE and Louis Walsh called Moroney a karaoke singer. Rylan left and managed to be more of a gentleman than all of the other contestants ever put together.

TONIGHT, however, is the semi final and I can’t let the occasion pass without saying HURRRRRR SEMI and now that piece of business is over we can perhaps all get on with the show. [That's why we hired you, for your class and maturity :) - Steve] Apparently, tonight the judges lose their power which is nice because they’ve taken it to ruddy deadlock pretty much every week bar the first week Union J were there and the week they chucked the bus at District Three, so it’s never really been in their hands, has it? The responsibility of who is in the final is in the hands of the Great British Public and judging on their decision to keep (allegedly) Strangles Moroney in until this week I don’t really think we should be allowed. Funsponge hopes the public make the right decision. Louis tells Union J that this is the MOST IMPORTANT PERFOMANCE OF THEIR LIVES and they’re not going down without a fight. That’s not what I’ve heard, boys. Strangles Moroney says it’s his dream to be in the final and Funsponge urges him to be cool. Jahmene would not like the final to be snatched from him at this late stage and Nicole wants the public to believe in her boys. James’ DNA is telling him that if he doesn’t make the final he’s failed at life. Is it the Bixmix song talking to you James? Is it making you do bad things?


We’re live from London and Durrbot walks in to “Walk this Way” and does his supremely irritating kick. Suitwatch – he’s wearing that scooped waistcoat thing that he seems to have decided is his thing. It’s three different shades of blue and as always it is way, way to tight on the thighs.  He welcomes us all to the Semi finals and our Saturday night. He tells us that there are four acts in the final who will sing twice and they’d better be good because it’s all in the hands of the public. He does a speech about stripping the judges of their power that’s too boring and contrived to note here. The judges, even though they’re surplus to requirements, are still in the studio. They come out to the WAR! UH! WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? Song. Funsponge is in blue velvet trying to goad the crowd. Nicole is wearing some kind of white studded Cleopatra looking thing. Tulisa is in a 50s prom dress looking like her boobs are about to fall out and Louis is looking every inch the gent in a smoking jacket and turtleneck. Tulisa is the only one not wearing a World AIDS Day Ribbon. I JUDGE YOU, TULISA.

Even though they’re completely superfluous, they’re still going to give their opinion OH JOY. Durrbot reminds us that we can give ours on the social networks. By jingo! I did not know this! [Let's hope he hasn't cottoned on to this newfangled blogging business any time soon - Rad] We are also urged to vote because CLEARLY Ella being voted off was not because of her tremendous dullness and ballidry week after week, it’s because the RIGHT people didn’t vote enough. Do you see? That’s both the correct people and the people who are right.  They couldn’t make it clearer they don’t want Strangles Moroney in the final.

Someone cheers over Durrbot and he calls them out on it. STAY CLASSY. Durrbot informs us that the first round of songs will be songs dedicated to someone special, and first we are going to the last Over 28 and his mentor, Funsponge who apparently said goodbye to his Arch Nemesis last week. What’s that then? Fun? Robbie? Carbs? Oh no, we’re talking about the real princess of our hearts, Rylan.  Funsponge introduces Christopher as the name that sends shockwaves of fear around the world, which is a bit tasteless given his ALLEGED habit of strangling people on Round the World cruises.

Moroney’s VT begins in the ROOM OF BRITAIN where neither he nor Funsponge can believe he’s in the final. They’re discussing what song means something to him and presumably his Nan. Christopher would like to sing “You Raise Me Up” and Funsponge replies “Josh Groban” which is odd because Westlife also did a version and they are much less fun than The Groban who has proven himself to be BEYOND AWESOME on several occasions. [He was amazing on Never Mind The Buzzcocks - although to be fair, so was Tulisa back in the day so it's not really conclusive proof of anything in particular. - Steve] Funsponge thinks this is a perfect choice. Moroney then shouts out, without a sense of parody, “its FOR ME NAN” because they’ve been there for each other. The poor Nan is then wheeled out and Moroney tells her that he’s singing the song for her because she believes in him. Moroney can’t thank her enough. She says that she’s proud of him and her head can’t get any higher.  Funsponge then asks Moroney if his Nan is the boss which makes me very uncomfortable and gives me a mental image I really, really don’t want [I just assumed it meant she had an ugly tattoo on her forearm - Rad]. Funsponge reckons if Louis gives them any stick on the live shows then they should bring out the Nan and put her in his dressing room. He then goes on to say that they should give them ten minutes of the door rattling and then let her out after she’s done her business. Can I remind everyone that this is a FAMILY SHOW please and I really, really don’t want to have to think about pensioner sex. ITHANGEW. Cut back to the NanCam and its all Moroney doing soppy sideheads at his Nan as she says she’s going to get Louis.

Moroney singing You Raise Me Up is just as bad as you would want it to be. It’s all bad suits, Jesus lights and sub-Groban faux vibrato. It couldn’t be any more musical theatre if it was Greased Lightning full of Cats Whistling Down The Wind on a Yellow Brick Road toward Jesus Christ Superstar. HOLY FUCK THERE’S EVEN A CHOIR.  He even remembers to shake a bit at the end, cos he’s nervous, like.

Nicole’s feedback is that it a hard song to sing. Snerk. He’s earned his place though and he’s sounded better than he’s ever sounded but she’d like to feel it more. He’s done a good job though, with the song and everything. Subtle, I like it. Louis next. I don’t know why they don’t let Louis go first as he gives us all a handy summary of what’s just happened. Louis tells Christopher that he’s in the semi final, it was a good song choice, Westlife sang the song too and he’s come far enough now to make an impact. This is masterful. Louis would like to see him in the West End. I’d like to see him in the West End of some country far, far away. Louis thinks he could make an album and change his Nan's life and his life. Tulisa seems to be on some serious tranquilisers tonight and I realise that I’ve judged too harshly as her World Aids Day ribbon is under her hair. She pulls a face and says she enjoyed his performance in that she could hear his vocals to the max. Then comes the good bit. The performance was very him and he’s done all he possibly can to get into the final. It’s all subtle, but it’s there. Funsponge would like to remind us that it’s all about progression – his voice is sounding better than ever and he’s in the same league as Josh Groban. Louis reminds him that he’s actually in the same league as Westlife which is either a masterstroke or an incidence of the biggest lack of self awareness ever. Who cares, it’s brilliant. Funsponge thinks he could be a million seller like Josh Groban. Durrbot wants to know how it feels to have the judges actually like him and he talks about himself again. Durrbot then reminds Moroney that it’s not about him, it’s about the judges and he replies that the good comments were better than the bad comments. Durrbot then chides Louis for mentioning Westlife four times and Louis replies that they were the ones that had the number one with the song. Fair point. Durrbot reminds Louis that the Nan is after him. Scary.


Durrbot welcomes us back with the numbers and introduces Nicole as the only judge with a guaranteed place in the final and who makes up (awesome) words. She introduces Jahmene and urges us to send him some love as he will need a lot of courage to sing what he is going to sing tonight. Nicole explains the theme to him and he says that he’s going to sing “I Look to You” in memory of his brother Daniel who died. I immediately gain some respect for Jahmene who is only just mentioning this. If any of those other contestants had a dead brother we wouldn’t be able to go a minute without hearing about it, let alone until the semi finals. You may not have a personality, Jahmene, but you have a soul and you haven’t sold it yet.  His brother died in 2008 and Jahmene really looked up to him and his imagination and ability to escape the situation they were in. He misses looking up to him and having him there for him. In the ROOM OF BRITAIN, Jahmene tells Nicole that he tried to sing this song at his brother’s funeral but he only managed a verse and a chorus before he broke down. He’s going to sing the whole song in memory of him. Nicole thinks he’s brave to sing it and she’s proud of him. Jahmene wants to show his family that he’s strong enough to take on his brother’s role. I’m genuinely moved for the first time this series. Fire me all you like, Steve.  [I like Jahmene in his VTs more and more, even though I hated him in auditions and Boot Camp.  I still can't stand his performances though, and I still hate the way this show milks his sob stories for all they're worth.  Wasn't this the second time they wheeled out the dead brother?  It's not really fair on Jahmene to keep doing this - Rad] Nicole cries in rehearsals and says that only he knows his struggles and he should use this song to release some stuff. Jahmene seems genuinely uncomfortable to see her upset and gives her a big hug. I AM A WOMAN WITH HORMONES YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME.  Jahmene knows the song will be a huge challenge, but he’s doing it for his brother.

Jahmene sings the song simply on some stairs. He gets a Jesus light too but he doesn’t need it. He does his usual thing of putting in so many extra notes that it’s almost like he’s playing musical note bingo. Nicole is crying by the first chorus. I’M NOT CRYING, THERE’S THINGS IN BOTH OF MY EYES.
Louis is a bit teary and says he’s in the semi finals and he’s never going back to Asda. He’s grown lots and he’s gained confidence. He thinks he’s incredible. Tulisa thinks he always sings beautiful and like he means it but that performance took it to the next level as she could feel his emotions and she knows his brother is watching over him and is proud. Funsponge doesn’t know how much courage it would have taken him to do it as it was so personal and congratulates him on it. Nicole urges herself to keep it together then fails. Nicole says that it wasn’t about singing technicalities, it was about his soul and the BABY JESUS HIMSELF came down in jubilation at him singing that song. It was at this point my mother texted me to ask me what Nicole was on. I couldn’t give her an answer. Durrbot congratulates him on taking on such a big song to him and wonders how he feels. Jahmene says he feels like he’s let go of something. Bless his little cottons! Right, normal service resumes.

Next up is the groups and their mentor is special. Nice, Durrbot. One of them, I don’t know or care which one, says that they had a backstage pep talk where they said that they felt that they had done enough to stay out of the bottom two.  They are gutted to have been in the bottom two three times. Only three bottoms for the group? OH COME ON, YOU WOULD DO THAT ONE TOO. They don’t know why the public aren’t voting for them but they’re not getting downhearted. They go to the ROOM OF BRITAIN and speak to Louis about the song that they want to do. They want to do a Sandy Emily song. Can I ask a question dear reader? Who is this woman shagging? Answers in the comments. They all sit on a bed together and have a look at their twitter feed on their SAMSUNG TABLET. They’re dedicating a song about being beautiful to their fans so that they can imagine that they’re singing the song for them.  The power of the mind of a teenage girl is strong. I was one. The freaky doll faced one says that fans get in touch with their sob stories. They’ve all been bullied and they hope that people like the song because it’s about being beautiful. [Your prediction from several weeks ago that the show would turn them into BixMix with willies was eerily accurate, wasn't it? - Steve] They admit to being frankly terrified by the prospect that the judges can’t save them this week.  As you should be, lads.

The song is a dirge. I haven’t heard the original but I’m sure it’s a dirge too. They all have their own Jesus lights and Pinocchio is pretending to play his guitar again. OH GOD I’M BORED.

Tulisa really liked the performance and it felt different. She thinks that they’ve grown and the performance showed maturity. Funsponge thinks it was a great performance and they’re not four solo singers any more, they’re a band. There was apparently a calm on stage tonight because they know they’re good. Nicole thinks they’re cool, individual and cheese free and Josh started them off well. Louis thinks they did well because everywhere they go there’s hysteria on par with Beatlemania and they’re the next JLS. Durrbot asks George how he’s doing and he can’t form human words. One of the other ones says that they respect all the judge’s comments then urges everyone to vote. Durrbot asks them about the blend and he says they’ve been working on it. Pinocchio still can’t form actual words. That’s going to be good for interviews.

More adverts! I would also like to know who Katherine Jenkins is sleeping with bar Dav (REDACTED)
We’re back! We’re reminded that it’s all DOWN TO US. Back to Nicole, it’s England’s Northern Star [As opposed to Christopher who is the Northern Abomination, presumably - Rad], James Arthur! James is dedicating One by U2 to his siblings as they’ve all achieved stuff and he wasn’t sure if he ever would. In the ROOM OF BRITAIN James discusses that he didn’t have the easiest of lives, but he wants to sing this song so they know he’s there for them. He talks to his family on his SAMSUNG TABLET and they talk about how they’re getting mobbed at school. He says that it’s nice that they’re proud of him and hopes he can be in the final so they can come and see him. They’re proud of him and he loves it. BOKE.

James hasn’t got a Jesus light, just his tiny, tiny head on his gigantic shoulders, like a marble on a mantelpiece. It starts out a bit slow then gets the guitars and the blinky bits like all of his other songs. It may also be worth noting that he’s singing the Mary J Blige version, much like when Matt Curdle sang the Travis version of ... Baby one more time and tried to palm it off as his own.

Louis thinks he brings something different every week and he’s what the show is about. He’s an honest performance and he will have recorded three or four albums in the next year. He congratulates Nicole on a good job. Tulisa has not gained any enthusiasm over the adverts and just says it was a performance worthy of the final. She’s also sick of hearing that James will be ok without the show because why shouldn’t he win, which is a bit off message from the week that he was in the bottom two. Funsponge calls him a musical boxer and hopes he will be in the final.  Nicole can tell how much he wants it and how much winning means to him. He’s not the only northerner left so everyone should vote for him too. Dermot says he understands that it’s hard for James to show emotion. James says that his siblings mean the world to him and he likes singing for them because he doesn’t get to talk to them. Or something.

MOAR ADVERTS. We have the same number of performances again, everyone. There’s a pre advert recap. You know, because we’re stupid.

When we return, Durrbot welcomes us back to round two. It’s the song that will get them into the final this time, and he asks Nicole to Jamaze us. She’s gonna! In the ROOM OF BRITAIN, Nicole and Jahmene discuss that they’re going to sing the song he did on his first audition, At Last. The song means a lot to Jahmene because it’s about going for your dream. Nicole says she’s going to make Jahmene smile by showing him on her GALAXY TABLET the time when she auditioned for American Popstars, with stripy hair, beige lipliner and a cowboy hat. It certainly cheered me up.  Jahmene points out all these things to Nicole and she takes it in good humour because, you know, she’s famous and shit now. Jahmene says it was funny to see Nicole in the situation he’s in now and he’s inspired by her career. He’s going to get to the final.

His performance is ok, but without the emotion of the previous performance giving all that emoting a focus point it becomes a tad irritating. I know that this is supposed to show us how far along he’s come but all I’m thinking is that he was irritating in his audition and he’s irritating now. They should have left it at the first song. He would have been a cert. My fragile good will has left me.

Louis knew when he auditioned that he was special but now he thinks he’s world class and he’s sailing straight to the final. He even says Jahmazing. Tulisa thinks he’s been consistent but at times he’s held back but he didn’t hold back on the big notes tonight. He brought the fight. Funsponge then calls Louis out on saying Jahmazing, because that’s way too much fun. Nicole wants to hear Funsponge say it, so he does in a comedy camp voice to the amusement of precisely nobody. That’s his fun quota for the year, everyone. He’s reminded of how special his audition was and the semi final is the time to remind everyone else. Nicole just says “I mean dot dot dot, that note, dot dot dot, getouttahere”.  I don’t know either. She says Jahmazing again.

Durrbot calls her certifiable then goads Jahmene about how busy the final will be and how he won’t have time to think. That’s nice, when he’s clearly anxious. Jahmene says the show is a massive platform and how he’s showing people you can get through anything. PLEASE VOTE. Jahmene hugs Durrbot who then shudders. I can’t even.

It’s Funsponge next, and he announces Moroney as “Singing for Liverpool”. The “but not for you” is left silent.  It’s Moroney! He’s doing Just Haven’t Met You Yet by BOOBLAY FOR THE MAMS because he’s sick of the judges saying he’s old fashioned and dated because he sings old fashioned songs in a dated way. He’s singing BOOBLAY because it’s current. BOOBLAY. CURRENT. BOOBLAY who is FOR THE MAMS because he has an old fashioned twinkle in his eye is the most current thing Moroney could think of. I can’t even... Funsponge seems to think the only danger will be potentially getting good feedback from the other judges. YEAH, THAT’S THE WORRY. He’s not going to say it in case he jinxes it. Moroney says that it’s the most important performance of the competition and he’s going to go out there and sing his head off. I hope it’s literally.

The song choice is ingenious in that Moroney is completely out of his depth. Seriously, he’s like a flea in an Olympic pool trying to out-dive Tom Daley. His performance actually gives me respect for BOOBLAY because he makes this song look easy. I actually feel like applauding the producers because it’s so bad that it’s managed to undo all of the previously borderline mediocre performances. It’s so bad that he would be booed off of the stage at Yates’ karaoke night for being shitter than the man that sings Mustang Sally every week.

Nicole doesn’t think it was his strongest performance, but he doesn’t blame him as it’s clearly down to the rubbish song choice. Funsponge claims that Moroney is in the same lane as BOOBLAY and Josh Groban. PUHLEEZE. He’s a downgraded Barrowman if anything. Funsponge says that the audience enjoyed it as he’s grasping at straws. Nicole agrees on the Groban and says that his first performance would sell albums, but not his second. Moroney looks like he’s going to cry. Louis agrees with Nicole and he’s good at the key change but not at that one. He’s no BOOBLAY but he’s good at what he does. Tulisa barely cares any more as she tells Moroney that it wasn’t as good as his first performance but he’s showed a different side and she hopes his “fanbase” votes for him based on his first performance.  Funsponge says it’s all about showing his versatility and he will take the blame for the song, but the people need to vote. Durrbot asks Moroney if he thought it was the wrong song. He says that in a night of ballids he just wanted to get people clapping then claps to demonstrate this. It’s a clap of desperation. Durrbot asks if he will be singing Nicky Minaj if he gets to the final. Chris says he would, because that went so well for Carolynne. Durrbot calls Moroney a nervous wreck. Let’s hope that tomorrow he’s just a wreck, eh?

ADVERTS! I like how the competition doesn’t even have a question any more.

When we return, Durrbot is in the audience with the irrational fans. Louis introduces Union J. They begin the VT in the ROOM OF BRITAIN where they discuss singing “Already There” as their song to get them into the final.  Louis’ ears prick up at this because he’s heard of it. He’s heard of it because Westlife did it.  They then do a bit about Louis being the fifth member of Union J in all ways but fashion. There’s another bit where they’re all in Onesies and Louis says that he will wear one if they get to the semi final. It all feels a bit contrived. They make him wear it and say he looks like a giant baby. He asks if it’s like something Tulisa would wear, because that’s his reference point for current. They just laugh at him. He wants them to go out and show everyone how special they are because they deserve to be in the final. [That was, almost word for word, the exact same VT MK1 did when they made Louis wear the baseball cap.  Lazy VTs are lazy - Rad]

Do they? NAH, of course they don’t. They go out and do boyband by numbers, except that it’s missing the numbers that correlate with fun and interesting. No amount of key changes, directional hair and interesting lighting can save this one. It’s dull, dull, dull.

I thought we’d reached the bottom of Tulisa’s not giving a shitness, but she gives less of a shit here. She says they’re sounding good vocally but they’ve played it a bit safe. She wants to tell them that it’s about their hard work over the last few weeks and she’s glad they’re still standing. Funsponge says that it was “nice” but safe and he made a point last week about how they should have walked Motown week but they didn’t and he’s worried because he can’t save them again.  Nicole loved it and she’s taking her lashes off to Louis for 1. Looking shamazing in a onesie and 2. Being a bom diggidy mentor. They’re already there.  Louis calls Tulisa out on the safe comment and basically says he’s not taking advice from anyone with no acts. LOL. Tulisa hits back that they’re both chavs in tracksuits these days. It seems like genuine banter though. Louis doesn’t want them to get voted off. He’ll do anything, even wear a onesie.

One of them says that the song meant a lot to them because they miss their families.  Durrbot then asks Louis about the onesie and he says it’s his URBAN ROOTS. Oh Louis, you’re the only thing making this shitstorm bearable.


When we return, Nicole introduces James Arthur, who is thinking in his bedsit about how the X Factor has SAVED HIS LIFE and he thought he’d always be playing gigs to one man and his dog and making albums nobody would hear. Now he only has to wait a few months for that to happen again! Just ask Matt Curdle!  He feels like he’s on the brink of an amazing opportunity. He went to watch Nicole do a video shoot this week and it reminded him of what he could be doing if he won the competition. He doesn’t want to fall at the last hurdle. He’s chosen his song and he thinks it might be a big risk. Nicole reminds him he’s never done a big ballid before and he thinks it’s the perfect time to do it. He’s going to do it differently and make people say “really?”  I say that every time you sing love. He thanks everyone that’s voted for him.

He’s singing The Power of Love, the Frankie Goes to Hollywood version, otherwise known as the song from off of the John Lewis advert. I love the song, but he puts plinky bits in it and over emotes. Meh.

Louis gives us a handy summary.  James is in the semi final and he used to sing to nobody and now he’s singing to the nation. He’s original, credible and has the X Factor. I think the latter part of your critique is speculation there, Walsh. Tulisa is proud to be part of a competition with James on it. He’s everything that she wanted to see on the show and he would love to see him crowned the winner. Funsponge thinks it was the performance of the series. Watch out for your neck, Tightpants! (allegedly). Not only is James a great singer, he makes people emo and they stop to watch him. Nicole says James, not her millionaire partner, is the reason she came to the UK and everyone should vote for him. His performance was genius, belissimo and epic.

Durrbot asks James how important it is for him to get through. He says he’s never won anything and the judges have hit him in the heart.

So that’s it! It’s all down to us! Do the right thing Britain! I’ll see you tomorrow for the results. I don’t know who to vote for. A friend of mine text me yesterday and asked me who my favourite was. I couldn’t tell her. She then asked why I was still watching. I couldn’t answer that either. Oh well! At least I won’t be too disappointed.

Monday, November 26, 2012

We could have had it all, Rylan in the deep

Top 5 Results: 25th November 2012

As always, we begin in a quiet studio as Dermot walks out from backstage to join the remaining acts. It's never occurred to me before, but I think this is literally the only time the wretched audience is ever quiet. He tells us what we already know, in other words that we've been voting and two of these acts are about to be in the sing-off. Nobody mentions the Late Lamented Ella, which surprises me slightly. I'd say they're forgetting her with indecent haste but hey, that's showbiz.

So, last night: it was Abba vs Motown, though we never actually established who won. Jahmene had possibly the easiest sell of his life with his Motown song, while Rylan made Gary admit that he just can't manage it twice in one night. Louis kept asking Christopher where Fernando was, Gary gave Union J some very vague, ANTM-esque advice about just needing to do "more", and Nicole predicted that there would be a lot of babies born in around nine months time named either James Arthur or Jaime Arthuretta. The show reminds us that five acts remain, even though it has literally just done that 30 seconds ago, and promises us that two of the biggest pop sensations will be on the show later: Bruno Mars and Rihanna. A year ago I'd only have been excited about one of them; at this point in my life, I can't muster much enthusiasm for either.

Titles! Giant X used to like Rihanna too, but he kind of got tired of her bullshit as well.

Dermot arrives, and reminds us that we need to VOTE VOTE VOTE to make sure that we avoid another travesty of justice like last week. He also plugs Bruno Mars ("love the Mars!" he says, sounding like that douche on the Hobnob advert), and talks about how many YouTube hits Rihanna's had. It's so bizarre that this is how we measure a pop star's worth these days.

The judges enter, and this time they're all in black - possibly because it's the one-week-versary of St Ella being tragically taken from us. All except for Nicole that is, who's wearing cream-coloured silk because she has all of her acts left at top five and can therefore afford to give no fucks whatsoever. Dermot applauds their sartorial decisions before reminding us that the lines are indeed still open, so VOTE VOTE VOTE, but only of course if you're voting for Real Talent. If you plan on voting for any other reason whatsoever, remain in your seat and do not touch that phone.

This week's group sing is 'Viva La Vida', and I can't imagine there's an X Factor viewer left who doesn't, consciously or otherwise, sing "Jerusalem bells a-ring-a-dinging" thanks to Cher Lloyd. It does sound a bit weird at this point having a group sing with absolutely no female voices in it - it's a strangely layerless sound. Jeorge from Union J gets a solo, and is absolutely dreadful, leaving me to wonder what the point of even adding him to the group was in the first place. Anyway, I wouldn't quite go so far as to say I miss Ella, but a female voice would be nice just to break this up and stop it from sounding like the boyband equivalent of the Polyphonic Spree. (That's totally a thing that should exist, incidentally. We could call them the Polyphonic Squee.)

It's time for some performance recaps with a sprinkling of backstage footage: Louis thinks Rylan's energy was great, and Rylan's happy that he's still the same person he was when he started, because that's what he wanted. Yes, but what about your JOURNEY, Rylan? Where is that, eh? Jaymi J thinks that Union J have finally arrived, which is all well and good, but I would imagine that the public vote will be putting them perilously close to departing. Gary thinks Jahmene was a bit rushed, but it's hard to fault him, while Nicole declares that he TOOK ABBA TO CHURCH, honey. Nicole is such a drag queen trapped in a cis female's body. James thinks he came out and delivered, and Nicole thinks he doesn't deserve to be in the bottom two ever again. Louis questions Gary as to what all that shit was about that happened during Christopher's performance, and Gary blusters that it was "theatrical" - having, of course, declared himself entirely opposed to such obvious obfuscation tactics earlier in the series. Meanwhile, Louis is still worried about "poor Fernando". I wasn't on Twitter much this weekend, but I do hope #poorfernando was trending.

In the second half of the show, Union J bored us all with a rote rendition of 'I'll Be There', and then had a big group hug backstage. Rylan says that "hopefully if I get through to the semis, I would literally die." Be careful what you wish for, dude. Nicole calls Gary "Borelow" again, this time in an Essex accent. James hopes he did both of his songs justice, while Tulisa claims that he's sexy and he knows it. Jahmene hopes he's done enough to make the semi-final. Christopher wants to stay in the competition, because he's having the time of his life.

With that taken care of, it's time for Bruno Mars. Shall we have some random stats? Here goes: 53 MILLION RECORDS SOLD! 40 TIMES PLATINUM WORLDWIDE! LAST YEAR'S BIGGEST SELLING MALE ARTIST! And he achieved all that with only one song that's even halfway decent. ('Grenade', in case anyone's wondering - and even that I only really like because Pia Toscano knocked it out of the park on American Idol in the Hollywood round.) Anyway, Bruno's here with his new single 'Locked Out Of Heaven', which sounds like the love child of 'Message In A Bottle' and 'Crying At The Discoteque', except not as good as either of those songs. After he's done, Dermot invites us to give it up for Bruno's band (nah, I'm good thanks) before asking that ever-pressing question: is the single out now? Yes it is, Bruno replies, and the album's out December 10th. Great, says Dermot, and when's the album out? Oh, Dermot. Even Tess Daly pays more attention than that to the people she's interviewing, and I use "interviewing" in its loosest possible sense there.

Ad break. Colin Baker being attacked by crabs on I'm A Celebrity. That'll be in my nightmares tonight. [I love Colin Baker so much - Rad]

When we return, Dermot thanks us but informs us that the lines are now closed, "shuh-tum". Seriously, that's what he says. He's not got much time to talk to the judges, because heaven forfend we actually discuss the meat of this show when we could be shoehorning another special guest in. He asks who nailed it and who blew it this week, and Louis names Union J as most improved, while continuing to worry about Fernando. He also wants to say hello to "Mrs O", who's watching. Tulisa, as the "only impartial judge", loved James and hated Fernando. Gary thinks Rylan's going, while Nicole thinks James was "buttah". Dermot doesn't know what that means. He gets squarer every week, doesn't he? And for once I'm not talking about his suits.

After that, it's time for Rihanna. 69 NUMBER 1 SINGLES WORLDWIDE! OVER 180 MILLION RECORDS SOLD! 6 GRAMMY AWARDS! 3 BILLION YOUTUBE HITS! And even in the middle of all that, she was still able to find love in a hopeless place, so what's your excuse, eh? She's performing her new single 'Diamonds', which is passable but not exactly up there with her finest work, and at this point I just feel like Rihanna's been trying to hold my attention continuously (not specifically my attention, obviously, but our attention in general) for about three years, and I'm just a little bit exhausted by her. I mean, it's lovely that she's got a rain curtain around her for this (although no umbarella-ella-ella-eh-eh-eh), but I still can't help feeling that Rihanna and I need some time apart. Although 'Man Down' is still my jam, so we'll always have that.

Rihanna is not free to talk - not even to tell us when her album's out, so you know things must be tight tonight - so we head straight into the ad break. Where there is an advert for Rihanna's tour. Synergy!

When we return, even though the whole show has felt indecently rushed tonight, there's still apparently time for a montage VT where everyone talks about How Much It Means To Me. It's mostly only of use for Christopher discussing "ME NEHHHVES", at which point my entire Twitter timeline was just "ME NEHHHVES" being posted over and over again. He's a living meme, that man. Hey, remember when Jahmene was really nervous too? Ah, simpler times.

Right, let's welcome back the judges and their acts. Heh, look at Tulisa sat behind the desk all by herself. Hehehehehe. Meanwhile, Gary and Louis return with their one act apiece, and Nicole strides in with all three of hers, big pimpin'. I mean, she's clearly losing one of them tonight, but this whole scenario is still so, so delicious.

So, three acts are definitely safe and through to next week, and in no particular order, they are James, Christopher and Jahmene. Which leaves us with Rylan vs Union J in the sing-off, which I imagine is what pretty much everyone watching expected, apart from those lone souls still hoping we might be rid of Christopher this week.

After another ad break in which we learn all about the Nintendo WiiU, as well as the existence of a Cathedral City variety selection pack (!!!!), we welcome Rylan and Union J back to the stage. Rylan knows he's going, but he's wearing shiny silver trousers and is totally fine with all of this. Jaymi gets up on his tiptoes to give Rylan a kiss on the cheek before heading to the side of the stage, which struck me as really sweet. What? Shut up, I'm not completely heartless.

Nicole introduces Rylan by saying he's come so far and she's so proud of him (lol at not even Nicole bothering to pretend he's surviving this), and Rylan sings 'Wires' by Athlete. He does a pretty competent job of it, and I like that he uses the sing-offs to remind us that he can actually sing, but I kind of wish he'd taken this final chance to do something completely shamazing. Still, you can't miss what you never had, I suppose.

Louis introduces "the fab four" (I think that nickname's already taken, Lou-Lou) - Union J. They're singing 'Run'. Hey, I don't know if you guys knew this, but that song wasn't actually originally sung by Leona Lewis! Just a little bit of music insider wisdom for you there, courtesy of Cheryl Cole. Anyway, Union J ramp up the earnestness to 11, and Jaymi brings it on home, and short of some sort of deadlock shenanigans, they're not going home this week.

Time for the judges to vote: Nicole tells Union J they were very moving, but she has to stick with her boy, so she's voting to send them home. Louis tells Rylan he's a great guy and a team player, but while he's enjoyed having him on the show and thinks he'll have a great career "in television and everything", the boys nailed it, so he's voting to send Rylan home. Gary tells Union J they had a great sing-off and he thinks the labels will be fighting over them. Surprisingly, he's not douchey about Rylan for once and tells him that that was his best vocal performance, and also one of his favourite songs (WHAT A SURPRISE). He says that there's been nothing personal in their squabbles this year (whatever, Borelow, you spent several weeks singling him out as emblematic of everything that was wrong with the competition, I'd say that was fairly personal), but he's voting to send Rylan home. Impartial Tulisa has the casting vote, and she thinks Union J are amazing lads onstage and offstage, while she admires "Ryland" for everything he's had to put up with. Ultimately, she thinks the act with the most potential to sell records is Union J, so she's sending Rylan home.

We see Rylan's highlights, and they are brilliant: he impales Dermot on his spikes, he cries all over Nicole, he sasses Gary repeatedly, he meets Geri Halliwell (and crosses himself in the little in-vision monitor corner as he watches this), he gets endorsed by Robbie Williams, he sasses Gary some more. I could've watched Rylan's highlights all night, to be honest. [Yeah, me too.  What a great contestant he turned out to be - Rad]

Rylan says that his elimination feels "so right", because he's had "seven bonus weeks" in the competition. He thanks everyone backstage as well as Nicole, and everyone who let him be a part of it. In future, they will teach show this clip in schools to teach children how to leave a reality show graciously. (Let's be honest, it's a more useful life skill than algebra.) Rylan and Nicole exit, and we are done for tonight. Next week: Pink will be performing on stage, and Tulisa will be singing her hilariously awful new song. There's some shilling for the tour, but no one cares about that. Helen will be your guide for next week's show, which promises to be pretty much no fun whatsoever. She has my unreserved sympathy.