Monday, October 29, 2012

Totally Jaded

Results show: 28 October 2012

Last night!  A whole host of horrors!  But chin up, everyone, another one bites the dust and we only hae to endure enforced 'fun.' and some old hasbeen pop star before that.  SO EXCITED.

The opening VT reminds us that Jade and Christopher sucked as if it wasn't already entirely clear who they want shot of.  We also get a revisit of breath wars, so that's nice.

Dermot suitwatch?  Messy and the tie's at a scruffy angle.  He's done the jacket up again so I think my theory about that being the main problem could hold some water.  He introduces the X Factor judges as 'direct from the depths of hell' and then attempts a weird burn by adding 'Louis' dressing room' but that just implies they were all in there together so, umm?  Tulisa does her stupid arm tattooo thing and shows she's put a nicorette patch on it, and pulls the sarkiest face ever.  I'm not sure that's where patches go, and I'd have had way more respect for her if she'd come out full on smoking. In Borelow's FACE, but then it is Tulisa.

Dermot reminds us that Lucy is sick and then mumbles something that I choose to hear as 'now doing an impression of singing live, it's the X Factor finalists'.  Group song time, and this week it's 'Without You'.  Puppet George J looks entirely dead behind the eyes which makes me wonder whether they already have spoilers before they come on.  I think this is live, as Jade biffs her first few notes pretty badly and half of Union J have their mics turned off.  Ella and James get a nice pimped entrance, as do, interestingly, District 3, for those who like to read things into the group song.  It's all very bland and all the finalists look a bit fed up of being on this show already.  Is breaking them all four weeks into live shows a record?

We see recaps of last night interspersed with talky bits.  Kye lies that his poor Robbie Williams impression was the best night of his life.  Nicole's hormones declared Triple J and their creepy puppet overlord perfection. Rylan doomed himself promising to sing.  Ella was pleased with  her performance despite it not going down too well.  Christopher was patronised to within an inch of his life.  District 3 were dressed as droogs and forced to dance around their own graves but Louis pityvoices that they gave it everything.  Jahmene continued to kill us with his song and says he's feeling insecure.  As usual.  Jade's VT is all about how much SHE SCREWED UP JUST SEND HER HOME ALREADY.  James angsted his way further to becoming the new Matt Cardle and Gary loves him, which is never a good sign.

Next up a band 'described as power pop and indie rock' by no-one except their press officers, I should wager, it's Fun.. That extra full stop is because they have a stupid full stop in their name.  Also, even though I liked 'We Are Young' before it became the most done to death thing this side of Paloma Faith's John Lewis advert, Fun. is the worst band name ever known to man.  If you're going to call yourself that, you should at least have the courage of your convictions and call yourselves FUN! and use a wacky colourful font or something. [Or at least make it - Steve] The lead singer looks a bit like Mark Wahlberg if her was younger, geekier and not at all toned.  He is also hideously out of tune a lot of the time.  And another thing, Fun., don't you have any more songs to shill yet?  We all heard way too much of this one several months ago.  The drummer doesn't like cymbals either, and as a sometime percussionist, I can tell you that they are the most fun part of a drum kit, so I can only assume their name is an ironic, Gary Barlow-esque usage of the word.

Dermot asks them when they're coming on tour.  The singer thinks March or April but isn't sure.  Pop stars are really bad at selling themselves, aren't they?  After the break, two words, apparently: raw bee.  I've never even had a cooked one.

I quite want a Microsoft Surface.  That's probably wrong, isn't it?

Dermot asks Nicole who sucked last night.  She says District 3 and Jade (which is true, but is also the party line).  Gary says Kye was great and agrees with Nicole's bottom two.  Tulisa lies that she's confident about the girls in the most defeated sounding voice ever.  She says Christopher would be her choice for the bottom except that he has a strong following.  I wonder if they're trying to make people not vote for him by seemingly endorsing the Star story about him topping the votes.  He sucks and I don't want Gary to have an act win, but I would actually find it hilarious if Christopher won this thing after the whole 'credible overs' thing and him being consistently trashed by the show.  Louis thinks Union J were the best and Jade's at risk.

Dermot reminds us that Robbie used to flirt with being a bisexual but then he became a proper straight with a baby and that.  His VT says he's sold 70 million records and won 17 Brits although it's not clear of those include the ones with Take That.  Either way, it's quite impressive, I guess.  He's also the UK's best selling solo artist apparently (oh, the UK...).  I wonder where on that scale Leon Jackson falls.  Robbie (who's in a chunkier phase for those who keep tabs of his fluctuating weight) is wearing a horrible purple polo neck and black waistcoat - presumably a tribute to Louis and Gary?  He implores us to vote Rylan then straddles Louis and gives him a big hug for ages.  He has a flying support band.  He then goes and sits on a woman's lap and sings to a man, so at least he hasn't entirely forgotten his old bisexually teasing ways.  The stage gets covered with the most balls, glitter and balloons it's ever had, and yet none of these myriad distractions can hide the fact that his new single, Candy, IS THE WORST ATROCITY EVER COMMITTED ON THE X FACTOR STAGE.  And I've sat through Scott Bruton doing Yeah Yeah, Meaty Minge throwing a strop and that time they gave the Zaynwreck a solo bit. [I'm sorry, I love Robbie and I'm more than willing to admit when he's wrong but I think Candy is awesome - Helen]

Dermot asks Robbie if he's fallen out with Gary over Rylan.  Robbie says Gary's too serious over Rylan and he loves Rylan.  He also likes Ella.  Informative.

Ads.  How can we still only be halfway through?

O Fortuna plays (sans Richard/Erin paso doble-ing, yet again) as the judges and acts return.  Safe are: Ella, District 3, (Jade already looks doomed at this point), Jahmene, James, Kye, Rylan (who carts Nicole off - Nicole who is now this series best mentor in terms of success as well as its best judge, even if this week she's been a bit below par) and Christopher.  Gary pretends to be excited about this but does a really bad job of it, standing far back from him when congratulating him instead of giving him a full on hug as he did Kye.  So, sadly, we don't have a Funsponge act in the bottom two this week.  But give it another week and Kye will be back.  We can but hope.

Ads.  I bloody love Kylie's Abbey Road Sessions CD.  I know, you're so surprised.

So it's a Jade vs Union J sing-off and first up are Union J, doing 'Fuckin' Perfect'.  Resentful J is first and his vocal is a bit weak, then creepy puppet George comes in, and then all four of them with poor harmonies and then the chorus is a hot fried mess - it's as bad as their week one performance and really, really out of tune.  Just shows what happens when you remove the One Direction memorial backing vocals.  It's one of the worst sing-offs in a long time, like that matters because Jade is going home whatever she does.

And what she's doing is wearing cast-off dungarees from Charlie MK1 and singing 'White Flag' which was the song that did for Diana Vickers, and also one it's really hard to sing well, so hardly a good omen.  Given the poor source material, she actually makes a decent fist of it, and it's a stronger vocal than last night.  But as we all know, the sing-off doesn't make any difference to anything whatsoever, so she's off.  Shame, as she seemed pretty sweet.

Gary and Nicole are writing things down and apparently what was being written was 'Jade', according to some corners of the internet.  Obviously Louis and Tulisa save their own acts, and then Nicole says how much she loves Jade (who already knows) and lies that she'll get a record deal anyway but Union J have 'proven themselves' to her, whatever that means, so she's sending home Jade.  Funsponge milks this as much as he can, reminding us he was in a boyband too and lying that he's excited about what they'll do next.    He then says 'I wonder whether I want this for you more than you want it', which is the judging equivalent of saying 'it's not me, it's you', which is very charming.  Jade's best bits: being a mum, crying, being smiley at judges' houses and then having that eroded out of her during the last few weeks of live shows.  I hate to think what state the remaining contestants are going to be in the final given the misery, panic, illness and angst that's beset them so far.  Tulisa says she should have given Jade more ballids because that's always fun.

Next week!  Rita Ora and Gwen Stefani have a bleach-off!  Join Steve then...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A sweet dream... or a (less than) beautiful nightmare?

Halloween Week: 27 October 2012

Last week! Some dance tunes (and others which stretched the term dance to its furthest reaches) were clubbed to death!

This week: THE HORROR!

For some reason I seem to be quite tolerant of Strictly’s Halloween theme weeks, but The X Factor ones? No ta. [I think part of the problem is that having what is essentially "novelty week" rather undermines this show's constant claims that it's looking for a credible international recording artist. - Steve][I think very few true artists can do scary one week and Club bangers the next. It does rather make a mockery - Helen] At least it’s usually marginally better than when they did Michael Jackson week. Either time. Anyway, Strictly, not only content with stealing this show’s ratings, has stolen its thunder after Erin’s mad rampage to O Fortuna, which means that when the tune cues up tonight, all I can think about is Richard from GMTV or whatever it's called these days flinging her round the floor dementedly.

We’re reminded of the ten groups that are left and told that not only were the contestants at Rylan’s party this week, they were also at a premiere. Normally I can’t be arsed with those premiere VTs but after last week’s bad week week VTs, they’ll be more than welcome. Also of note: when the judges speak about their acts, Borelow is seen saying there will be some real horrors tonight, alongside clips of Kye and Christopher, whilst the other judges get to promote their own acts again, and we see Rylan conspiring with Robbie Williams to further endorse this blog by calling Gary ‘Borelow’ once more. I’m wondering if there is truth in the rumours that Gary has fallen out with the producers of the show, because it certainly seems that way.

Cue Giant X!

We open with the music to Thriller, which, again was done on the other side just a couple of hours ago. Dermot tries to dance (can we stop making this a thing already?) and is in a slightly better-fitted suit, although this could simply be because the jacket is unbuttoned. He’s also wearing a waistcoat, which is far too Funsponge for my tastes, so no pass for you tonight, O’Leary.

The show is also trying to make the term ‘Fright Night’ happen. Surely it’s a fright night every week ho ho my sides amirite lol!11! etc.

Time for the judges! Highway to Hell plays, replete with pyrotechnics. Funsponge is in all black, kind of dull but rather daring by his standards. Louis has some random Austin Powers-esque velvet, Tulisa is wearing a black mermaid dress or something and has put comedy fangs in. And then there’s Nicole. Dressed as Cher meets Evil Lyn from the film version of Masters of the Universe, she’s got a black skull cap thing, huge crimped hair and a fishnet bodystocking. Fusponge then tries to do a ‘rawrr’ motion to camera which is so strained and unconvincing it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in years.

Dermot talks to Louis and says it’s all about the ‘battle of the boybands’ for him. Because that isn’t going to be a tedious storyline at all, is it? Dermot expresses shock that Funsponge didn’t lose an act, but let’s not forget Kye Sonezzzz was in the bottom two, shall we? Dermot gets Nicole to show her outfit off and gayvoices that ‘it’s understated honey, I love it’. I miss when Dermot used to be a bit camp, but in a fun way rather than a patronising one.

He reads out the numbers and tells us that Lucy is sick and gets a bye to the next week, which probably sent Digital Spy into a state of apoplexy about conspiracies or something.

Kye Sonezzz is up next. Last week they set him on fire again. He says he wants to have fun this week and is doing Robbie Williams. Gary says at this point in his life he was incredibly jealous of Robbie. [No words for how much I love that clip - Helen]  He says this song has hardly been covered, except this time and this time and this time and this time and this time and I swear some others I couldn’t find with a quick search on YouTube, and at every karaoke party ever. But now Kye has been entrusted with the sacred responsibility of looking after this song (/fucking it up so Borelow can get one over on Robbie). Robbie ‘mentors’ Kye and tells him the problem is not the notes, the problem is him ‘popping on TV’… er?

Kye is ‘kitchen sinking it’ as he doesn’t want to be bottom two again. Apparently this means making himself look like Nick Grimshaw and Russell Kane’s eyeliner-clad bastard offspring and slowing the song down a bit. The vocal is serviceable if a bit shaky in places, but really it’s just a dulled-down Robbie impression. He then does a little run into the audience while the backing singers take over. There are some pyrotechnics but it’s not as quite ‘set fire to the Kye’ as we’ve become accustomed to over the past couple of weeks. Nicole declares it a great way to open the show and this week he won her over. Louis isn’t sure he’s done enough to be safe, Tulisa (now sans fangs) thinks he has. Funsponge says he came back with a band, a boom and a crash. No, Gary, the phrase is Crash! Boom! Bang! (and yes, I know the title from that song is taken from a line in this one). Louis says there’s something missing: ‘I think it’s the X factor’. That and so much more, Louis.

Ads! I can’t quite believe Kate Moss is still a thing, so well done her.

Dermot welcomes us back with thanking Robbie for tweeting. Twitter is the perfect home for talking about television, but it’s so embarrassing when television talks about Twitter. How odd. Union J next. Girls fancy them, they’re learning to dance, they went to a premiere, blah blah boring boyband VT blah blah. (Although I’m thankful this lot don’t seem to have much in the way of a sob story, I guess). They’re doing ‘Beautiful nightmare’ and Resentful J has come as Aiden Grimshaw, whilst Scott-Lee J has come as James Arthur. SCARY. Other J seems to have come as a brunette Jedward and George-J hasn’t made any effort at all except for coming as Harry Styles yet again – at least the actual Triple J all came in leather jackets and quiffs. As far as embracing the theme, it’s no Little Mix as painted dolls, that’s for sure, not least because the staging is all cars and speedos BECAUSE STRAIGHT MEN LIKE CARS or something [My little brother posted on Facebook how "mint" the Sierra was - Helen]. Why oh why did NotLouis have to go before this week? The vocals are better than usual but I suspect there are secret backing vocalists at work.

Tulisa thinks the vocals were good but it was a bit safe. Funsponge also declares it safe and wants something different next week. A ballid, maybe? Nicole declares it beautiful. I think she may be a bit hormonal or something. Louis says it was great, but they can perform more. They appeal for votes, and George has the creepiest puppet face doesn’t he? He looks like this but with curly hair. (What has been seen can’t be unseen you know).

Because we’ve have a grand total of two acts so far and only one advert break to separate them, it’s about time we had another, don’t you think? Britain’s Got Talent runners-up who aren’t Susan Boyle are enough of a thing to have an ITV special about them? Ok then.

Dermot shills the stupid X Factor app some more and mentions tap dancing which invokes memories of Tom Chambers on Strictly results last week so THANKS FOR THAT DERMOT.

Next up it’s Rylan. Kylie plays on the soundtrack and Rylan says she endorsed him, which I would say is the best endorsement you could have but even though Kylie is pretty much my favourite person in the world, I don’t think she’s to be trusted where this show’s concerned. He also says Robbie tweeted he was team Rylan (but wasn’t he just team Kye? The floozy). Anyway, Rylan says have that, Barlow’. HA. He then bumps into Gary in the corridor carrying his SUPER SWISHY SAMSUNG TABLET THINGY and tells Gary Robbie tweeted him and Funsponge snits that Robbie probably doesn’t write his own tweet. Robbie VTs that he’s Rylan all the way and then they both call him Borelow in a shout out to this blog. Rylan’s birthday party VT is next – some of the contestants appeared to get dressed up more than others (all the over 28s and the boybands were hella boring) and Nicole turned up in a leotard with uber-boobs and sang Happy Birthday to him.

He starts off lying on his back, which never, ever goes well on this show, even if there is a huge Damien Hurst-style skill projected onto the backdrop. He’s doing ‘Toxic’, which morphs into ‘Horny’ and then ‘Poison’ (the Nicole version, not Bel Biv Devoe or Alice Cooper) and then back through them again. His vocal is not great and the staging lacks NotLouis’ special magic, but with his Rhydian-white hair, face mask and regency-ish clothing, he at least looks the part. Louis says he reminds him of a ‘young Jean-Paul Gaultier, which is a compliment’ (albeit a slightly odd one on a pop show, but we’ll go with it for now because he is white and gay and that’s about as close as we’re ever going to get with a Louis comparison, let’s face it). He points out that Robbie gets the whole entertainment factor (unlike a certain ex-bandmate of his) and Tulisa says he did Halloween to the fullest. Funsponge snarks that it’s hard to imagine how he ever fell out with Robbie Williams and says he’s never given Rylan an honest critique, so he’s going to ‘embrace it… without touching’ lest some of that dirty gay and/or fun rub off on him, perish the thought. He says it "wasn’t any worse" than previously, and the music was so loud he couldn’t hear him. Nicole then says Gary is a devil and really horny. I’m reading that as a Simon/Louis style gay-burn but a bit less bitter. Gary says all the other acts really like Rylan backstage and then Rylan issues the phrase that will surely seal his doom next week: ‘I’ll sing you a proper song’. Don’t do it, Rylan. It ended Johnny and I think it ended Wagner. Even Dermot isn’t keen. Rylan says hi to the Spraggan Waggon and then he’s off.

Ella is next. She reminds us that she is YOUNG and we see Funsponge telling her to stop having fun. Robbie tells her not to bother listening to Funsponge’s advice. Heh! We learn that she is SIXTEEN. Robbie reminds us that he was SIXTEEN when he joined Take That, which all worked really well for him. Ella also went to a premiere this week. We see everyone shouting her name and she even gets celebrity endorsements. Well, Kelly Brook and Sam Mendes anyway. She’s bedecked in a black dress with red cape and stars on her knees, doing ‘Bring Me To Life’, which is a brave choice for her. It’s a bit warbly to start with and a bit over-blown, as if she’s trying to channel Shirley Bassey (and let’s face it, she doesn’t have the range, darling), but I’d far rather she did this kind of thing than the inevitable Adele/Leona/Whitney. [Bring back Rock Profiles please - Helen]

Borelow says people saying she’s SIXTEEN is disrespectful as she’s an adult (except… not). He didn’t like it as it was a bit too fun. Nicole says she loves the song but it was in the wrong key and the chorus was antic-climactic and that Ella has more range and could have gone further with it. Louis loves her except for her bouffed-up hair. Tulisa says it sounded ‘very different’ from the original – well, it was a touch more cruise-ship and a touch less rock, but not that different. Ella says they did it in a different key to try and open up her ‘soulful range’.

Dermot says Christopher will be up after the break to scare us. Or words to that effect.

Ads! Why is Mickey Bubbles trying to shill things? Fuck off Mickey Bubbles.

Next up it’s ‘the big voice’ Nervous Christopher. Last week he killed one of my favourite ever songs, which wasn’t even a club song. On the SUPER SWISHY GALAXY TABLET we see footage of him being shakey and nervous again in case we’d forgotten his special schtick. He has a shipwreck as his backing staging which is the BEST BURN EVER, so well done NotNotLouis. To add to the PLEASE KILL HIM NOW vibe the show has been hawking for weeks, he’s singing ‘(I Just) Died in Your Arms’. Badly. And wearing the kind of coat a bad Captain Jack Harkness cosplayer might sport. He biffs the key change massively although recovers a bit as all around him, he gets hit by lightning on the backing screens. That was hilarious. This show couldn’t hate him more if it tried. And then, after it’s all over, there’s a huge thunder and lightning sound effect to emphasise the DOOOM.

Nicole says she thought she was watching a 1980s pop-rock opera and liked his falsetto. Louis reminds us he hasn’t been in the bottom two but uses two of the key kill words: cabaret and panto and says he reminds him of Tony Christie. Tulisa says his vocals were strong but Funsponge needs to take the blame for him destroying lots of 80s classics. Preach it, Tulisa. Those songs are sacred. She says what he’s doing is not working. And then… Funsponge: ‘Tulisa, I don’t know what’s offended me more, what you said or the fag ash breath’. Now, I’m no fan of either Tulisa or smoking but that was uncalled for, even if it was done to stir up some OMG MINOR CONTROVERSY. Funsponge receives an arsenal of boos. He says Nervous Chris sang a ‘more serious’ song this week. Really? Tulisa says Funsponge’s breath stinks of red wine.  BREATH WARS! [The whole "fagash breath" thing was out of order, but I can't believe that, given the abundance of things wrong with Barlow, Tulisa could only come up with "your breath smells too" as a retort. Poor show. - Steve]

Nervous Christopher shakes a bit and then Dermot reads out the voting number. You know what we haven’t had for a while? That’s right, some ads. FUCK’S SAKE. Also: Aren’t The Pride of Britain Awards just the absolute worst in terms of a TV event? I have no problem with people getting recognition for community work and so on, but in an ITV/red tops kind of way? With added Cheryl Cole and Carol Vorderman? It’s almost as bad as when they start wanking all over soldiers.

District 3 are next and their VT was so boring that I didn’t notice anything that occurred in it. As I’m really pressed for time I won’t be rewinding it. Sorry boys. I still like you better than Union J, if that’s any consolation. They’re dressed in Clockwork Orange outfits and singing the stalker anthem ‘Every Breath You Take’ as if it wasn’t already clear that they were boyband B. It then mashes into ‘Beautiful Monster’ for no clear reason but they have a neat army of backing dancers and some dayglo tombstones on the stage, so that’s all good - even if the RIP messages are less than subtle about their chances. The vocals are weak in places, but they don’t seem to have the same backing vocal support Union J had, and they’re doing a lot more dancing. I only kind of like them because they’re the underdogs and a bit adorkable, but I do feel sorry for them. Tulisa liked them originally but thought they lost it a bit when they sang the Neil song because of the dancing. Funsponge says it was a total mess and he’s fed up of mash-ups. Of course you are, because they hint at fun. (I’m not that keen on mash-ups either unless they're really well done, but I won’t let Funsponge know I’m on his side on this matter). Nicole doesn’t get the costume reference (nor, I bet, do District 3) and says they have a ‘five eyeball thing’ going on. Louis says they have great potential. Dermot whines that they get told off if they do a ballid and told off if they move about. Funsponge says they do too many mashups. Nicole says it was the wrong mash-up combination. The one who doesn’t look like Jonathan Ansell or Boy Same Difference says ‘it was a monster mash-up’. Notsomuch but bless your heart.


Dermot mentions the friends and families. Some of them have tinsel. TOO EARLY. Kye’s have yellow T-shirts on. None seem to have embraced the theme.

Jahmene’s VT reminds us that he has a tragic sob story and cries a lot. He then says Samuel L Jackson invited him to sing at a charity event. Oh, Samuel L Jackson. For shame. Jahmene looks very tiny stood next to SLJ. Jahmene warbles a bit down a mic. He says the song he’s doing has been done well by lots of people before. He doesn’t seem to have been to Rylan’s party or a premiere. Poor Jahmene.

Dressed in a very strange shirt with dip-dyed black sleeves, he’s doing a gender-switched ‘Killing Me Softly’. I didn’t think it was possible to slow this song down any more than it already was. Apparently I was wrong. He still warbles WAY too much although his vocal is mostly less offensive than usual, perhaps because the song is a bit more understated than other things he’s had to sing. His only staging is dry ice. NO THANKS, NotNotLouis. Then his grasp of the tune starts to falter a bit and he ends on a really bum note and it’s over.

Louis says Jahmene is only twenty and we haven’t had a UK star like him for a while. Since Leon Jackson, maybe? Tulisa calls him a ‘little muffin’. Somewhere, Saint Jessy is crying into her baseball cap. Funsponge says the singers on the American talent shows are often better than ours. Yes, because the winners of the last few American Idols have been so super-talented, haven’t they? Nicole invokes ‘jahmazing’ again and says ‘everyone’s going to be talking about you one day singing that song’. Yes, when they come across the clip on YouTube and go ‘which one was he again? No, I don't remember him at all.  But he was a bit shit, wasn’t he?’

This show still isn’t over, and I thought Jade was the final act, but then I remembered James still hasn’t been on. Arse.

Tulisa sends best wishes to Lucy before we see Jade’s VT. She went to the pictures apparently. She reminds us she has a daughter and lives in a tower block. Tulisa ‘surprises’ her with a home visit (NB not a surprise in any way as the camera crew were there and the production team asked her to do a home-based VT). Her kid ignores Tulisa and plays with Lego the whole time. Jade’s kid is awesome. [Jade's girlfriend, meanwhile, remains invisible. Oh, X Factor. I'd say "never change", but that's unnecessary since you clearly never will. - Steve] Jade’s dressed in a purple leather catsuit thing with silver bits, Frankenstein’s monster bolts in the neck and a borg-style eye-piece as well as super-pink hair. She’s doing a slowed down ‘Freak Like Me’ – a version that falls halfway between Adina Howard and the Sugababes. She gets skulls, lightning and dry ice as well as backing dancers doing strange things with pieces of string. I like Jade but bless her, her vocal is really weak.

Funsponge says she looks like a popstar but her vocals are weak. I am not happy that I agree with him. Nicole says ‘thank God it’s Halloween because that was frightening’ – she says she didn’t believe the style of performance, seeing Jade more as a Gabrielle or India Arie. Louis says it was more style than substance. Tulisa whines that there’s a theme they have to fit with. Oh Tulisa, No1Curr about the theme. Did you see Union J and Jahmene? Louis says they love her but the song was wrong.

MOAR ADS! Well, they have to pad this thing out somehow. Celebrity Juice looks like a montage of my worst nightmares, BTW. Fearne Cotton, Keith Lemon and OLLY FUCKING MURS in the one place? Kill it with fire now. Shame about Holly, but there always has to be some collateral damage.

James Arthur next. Emily Sunday and The Labyrinths loved him and The Labyrinths wanted him to come to his gig and do Earthquake with him. He’s doing ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ and it’s slower than usual – about the same speed as the Marilyn Manson cover, but without the grinding backing track that makes that version work, although a beat does kick in eventually. His backdrop is a horrifying pixelated negative of a head, which might even be his own. He also has creepy monks carrying fire. Too late, monks! Kye was nine performances ago! The performance is a bit Aiden Grimshaw on one of the weeks after he did ‘Mad World’ when he became a total parody and it’s all a bit mumbly and faux-angsty. It’s not the worst performance of the night, but it’s hardly amazing.

Louis says the record deal isn’t far off. Tulisa says he’s made an old song modern – notsomuch, Tulisa. Funsponge says it wasn’t just the performance of a great singer or a great artist but the performance of someone who wants to win. TBH, I’d take having the former two performances over that last one any day. Nicole says girls will be having sweet dreams over him. James says The Labyrinths is ‘the complete artist’, through gritted teeth. And we’re done! Dermot reminds us to vote! So to recap: Kye Sonezzz sidestepped the theme and did a boring Robbie tribute, Union J also sidestepped the theme, except for George’s creepy puppet face, Rylan was horny, Ella was a bit less boring than usual but in the wrong key, Christopher was a creepy old shipwreck, District 3 were surrounded by markers declaring their own demise, Jahmene killed us (not too) softly, Jade was the mildest freak you ever did see and James Arthur angsted some more. Again. Tomorrow night! Robbie Williams has to actually sing instead of just baiting Funsponge! Oh YAY I CAN’T WAIT. Join me then!

Monday, October 22, 2012

No MK's

Results show Week 3 – 21st October 2012

Hello, you’ll be pleased to learn that I’ve calmed down a bit since yesterday so I won’t be using ALL THE CAPS as much tonight with any luck. You never know though. We begin with  Dermot telling us that eleven acts sang last night and tonight two will have to sing again before going home. Wow. This is useful information. Dermot’s ill fitting suit tonight is grey and it makes him look like he has rickets. We were told by a commenter that Dermot buys his suits from a company called “A Suit That Fits”. I really hope that’s true. [Especially since I'm sure Dermot's huffed in the past that his suits are tailored, and A Suit That Fits is pretty much the cheapest way of getting a tailored suit there is. - Steve] Last night was an X Factor Party with Club Classics but the judges were not in a party mood because it said so in their scripts. Someone is going home tonight though? Who will it be? We name all the acts again.  This show really, really doesn’t need to be an hour long.  JLS are on tonight though, plus Emilie Sande and Labyrinth. This pleases me, as we really haven’t seen enough of Emilie this year. *Harry Hill Sideways Glance to camera*

Nicole calls Funsponge Borelow again whilst Tulisa does a terrible Irish accent. It’s time to face the music!

We’re live from London and Dermot is officially welcomed. He tells us that the acts are sweating backstage which is more than we really need to know. He brings out the judges by saying that between them they have 85 years experience in the music business, although that’s admittedly mostly Louis.  Here they are! Funsponge is in a black suit with a tartan tie. Nicole and Tulisa are co-ordinated space sluts though Tulisa’s dress is a prom dress and Nicole’s is a bit more constructed. Louis is in a black suit and shirt with a grey tie.  Do we really need to go through this bit again? Tulisa and  Funsponge have a wink off. Dermot thinks that the latter looks like he means business. He does. Boring business.

Numbers are read out before the group song, which is Ain’t Nobody. Can we have this mimed again please? It sounds awful live because you’re never going to get a song that suits everyone. Nobody sound good on this one. This is not helped by the fact that not one single one of them can sing in time with the possible exception of Lucy Spraggan. Bless Christopher, but he looks like he’s in the wrong place compared to the others.  Come on Liverpool and the Nans, please give it up.

Dermot describes last night as a fromagerie washed down with a shamazing. We now have a complete recap of last night with added backstage sections. Christopher doesn’t care if Tulisa doesn’t get it because it’s the public that matter. Not when it comes to the sing off, matey. MK1 just say Shamazing a lot. Funsponge calls Jahmene a vocal masterclass because he has a sensational voice. Jahmene says something but is so overcome I don’t understand it.  Tulisa isn’t happy with Louis for telling Jade she was boring. Funsponge wishes a sore throat on him. Jade thinks she’s done all she can. James is chuffed to get the performance of the series tag.  Union J are happy that the “King of boybands” likes them. Nicole thinks that because they juzzed the hair they can do the same to the vocals.  Louis says that Rylan is a great entertainer that puts smiles on faces and Funsponge should learn to do that. HA. Tulisa wants Lucy to translate to a contemporary audience and she is.  Kye can’t believe his feedback. Neither can anyone else.  District 3 thought their comments were wicked. Tulisa thinks that it’s the battle of the boybands. Funsponge hates Ella’s dancing. Ella doesn’t want to be a one trick pony and stand still every week. WHAT WAS THE POINT IN THAT.

Next up is Labyrinth and Emilie Sande who has been promoted by Dermot to a National Treasure. I wasn’t there when that vote took place [Also: Why wasn't she here in Kind of a bit Olympics.  Ish. Week? - Rad]. Anyway, they are TWO OF THE BIGGEST UK ARTISTS and are PERFOMING TOGETHER THE FIRST TIME. Labyrinth has sold TWO MILLION RECORDS and Emilie HAS BEEN ON EVERYTHING FOR NO EXPLICABLE REASON.  Labyrinth is sitting at a piano doing a ballid for everyone. I wonder how he would get on if he auditioned for the show with this shtick. I don’t think he would get far.  Just when it’s getting really boring, Emilie comes out and makes it SUPERBORING. It’s a dirge. [I suspect the claim that this was the first time they'd performed it together was even truer than we realised. - Steve] So much in fact I’m looking forward to seeing Dermot. Dermot calls it beautiful and asks them when it’s out. It’s out today. Dermot compliments Labyrinth on the set and his singing partner. Why can’t you compliment Emilie to her face? Oh yeah, I forgot, this show is a sexist bag of ass.  Labyrinth says she’s amazing and Emilie has to thank him. Has there really been no adverts yet? Oh, here they are.  I really want to go and see Girls Aloud.

We’re back, Dermot thanks us all for voting on behalf of the acts. He says hello to the judges and pokes Funsponge about the fact that Robbie Williams tweeted in support of Rylan. Funsponge says that it’s all over between them now, even after everything that they’ve done together. Are you going to sack him from himself? That’s going to be interesting.  Nicole says she’s team Robbie. I love you Nicole, I can’t deny it any more.  He wants the name of the person that they think is in trouble. Nicole goes for Christopher, Funsponge goes for Jade but for some reason Tulisa is perfectly accepting of this. Tulisa won’t give a name because it’s so unpredictable. Louis goes for Jade too and Tulisa because she’s a predictable bitch has a snipe at him. YAWN.

Anyway, it’s the X Factor success story. It’s JLS.  JLS have sold OVER TEN MILLION RECORDS and have had FIVE NUMBER ONE SINGLES.  They’ve also won 2 BRIT AWARDS. JLS are so subtly colour coded this time that it’s actually a bit distressing. Someone has obviously decided that it’s time to give them that American sheen thing. But there’s a talky bit! I even think that it’s Merry Christmas JLS that does it too. That’s made it worth it.

When it’s all over, Dermot says it’s good to have them back. He wants to know who the favourites are. They are James Arthur fans. Their new single is out now and Dermot compliments tiny JLS on his muscles. Creepy. More adverts!

Dermot welcomes us back. The results are in. The judges and the acts come back on stage.  We have to be introduced to them all again. Oh man. First safe are Union J. They’re suitably enthused.  They’re followed by Ella who is a lot more dignified than her mentor. James next, followed by Rylan who has the most exquisite meltdown since last week, bless him.  Christopher is next through and Funsponge congratulates him.  Jahmene is next and Tulisa gives Nicole the side eye.  The Sprag looks worried as District 3 are next through. She needn’t have worried. She’s next. The final sure fire place goes to Jade who is as shocked as the rest of us. That leaves us with a bottom two of MK1 vs Dick van Kye. I am really, really not fussed who goes out of these two, though I would like Funsponge to lose another act so that he gets so desperate he locks Christopher in the cellar next week and whips him until he’s better. More adverts! [Aww, I like MK1.  I mean they're not especially good, but they seem sweet - Rad]

When we return Dermot tells us what we’ve just seen. He welcomes MK1 and Kye back to the stage. Charley MK1’s smile has never faltered. I think I like her for this but it could be arrogance. MK1 are first. Louis promises us that they’re going sing their hearts out.  They’re singing a Script song. Don’t they know that’s for t’other side? It’s a bit of a bold choice. The camera cuts to Dermot and he’s wearing a WTF face which he quickly corrects. MK1 are trying to make their performance heartfelt but it comes across as desperate. I’m not confident for them.

Funsponge introduces Kye apologetically saying that he’s had flu all week. Should have thought of that, Louis! Kye is singing a song that I don’t know. Oh, I do. It’s I Can’t Make You Love Me, but it’s a version that’s even more of a ballid than normal. [This song really needs to be banned from being performed on reality shows. Enough, already. - Steve] I don’t know what it is about Kye but I don’t like him. There seems to be an arrogance there that makes me uncomfortable.  He’s flat several times in this performance too.  The two acts hug it out.

It’s over to the judges for decision time.  Louis is of course saving MK1 because he loves them. Funsponge is saving Kye because he did the greatest sing off he’s ever seen. He took the overs because of him and he’s sorry he’s there. Nicole loves MK1 but Kye sang better as far as she’s concerned so she’s sending them home. Dermot explains the way a majority works to Tulisa and she starts by saying that MK1 remind her of NDubz and she’s connected with them for that reason. She also liked Kye’s performance. However, NDubz do The Script song on their tour and she’s got to stand up for her Urban Roots so she’s sending home Kye because MK1 are a mini NDubz in the making. OH FFS. [Tulisa's urban rootz ♥ - Steve] She’s taking it to deadlock. I’m sensing a pattern emerging here.  The public vote is sending home MK1. Tulisa is gutted. Dermot is sorry to see them go because they’re a breath of fresh air. We look at their time in the competition, from the loss of their creepy third member to making it to the live shows. Louis is asked what went wrong. He ignores the question, says he loves them and hopes they get signed. They’ve had the best time and they’re going to keep going. They’re proud of their achievement.

So that’s it for another week. Join Steve next week for a Halloween special [unfortunately I think I'm saddled with that monster - Rad] and an always eventful appearance from Robbie Williams!  We’ll see you then. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bad Week Week

Live Shows Week 3 – 20th October 2012

Hello! Welcome to the third week of live shows. Hopefully by the next time I have to do this it won’t be so much of a marathon. I have two hours of recapping ahead of me today. Can I do this? Well, I have the memory of my Nans to help me through. I need something, for this is Club Classics week and unfortunately, neither of those things mean biscuit.

We begin with a recap of last week and the giant words say THE BATTLE CONTINUES. We see Louis and Funsponge squabble and all the emotional and screechy bits from last week. Tonight, we are promised all the acts. Do we really need to see who we are going to see? If we don’t know by now... It’s made better by Gary telling Dick Van Kye he’s awful though. James has a bad week! Lucy and Rylan get chucked out of their hotel! GIANT X.

We come back to the theme from S-Express and Dermot doing some TERRIBLE dancing in an ill fitting suit. Talk about Déjà Vu. He’s surrounded by dancing girls. The shot then goes long and it’s painfully obvious he’s been replaced by a proper dancer with a sense of shame that’s been pre-recorded. When we come back he pretends to be out of breath. His suit seems to be blue and he’s wearing it with a brown tie. I've already mentioned it's ill-fitting, but it bears repeating. He reminds us that we’re live and we’re seeing eleven people sing tonight. He also tries to tell us that Club Classics night is always fun. I’ll be the judge of that, thank you. Speaking of judging, it’s the judges! Dermot says they've spent the afternoon getting ready to club each other. You do a bad link Dermot, I do a bad one. That’s how it works.

The judges are introduced and come out to Dead or Alive.  Our Louis is resplendent in a smoking jacket and a maroon polo neck. The jacket is cut in such a way he looks like one of Mulligan and O’Hare but we’ll gloss over that. Tulisa has come as a sexy mermaid in a green stripper costume. She doesn’t do her signal. You can tell it hurts her. The twitters were alight with what Nicole Shergar had come as, in her pink lampshade dress, horsetail hairdo and springy gold jewellery. I went with the Diva from The Fifth Element. Finally, Funsponge, in a bid to make himself interesting, has worn a suit of two different types of tartan. NO.

Dermot tells us that the judges are walking. No, he really does. Dermot also tells us that their faces are set in grim determination and reminds us that it’s a big night for them and the acts. He wants to know how they’re feeling.  He starts with Funsponge and asks him what he thinks has happened to his Midas touch after losing two acts in two weeks. (HA!) He says it’s a shame for him and a shame for the competition as the competition has lost two good singers. I bet he’s more worried about the former though. Dermot wonders why this is.  Funsponge doesn’t know as both of his acts were better in the sing offs and even though Carolynne sang against Rylan the judges still couldn’t make their minds up who was better and that doesn’t say much for the judging panel. LEAVE LOUIS ALONE. Dermot doesn’t acknowledge this and moves on to Nicole, stating that maybe the theme will favour some of her acts more than others. She pretends not to understand, actually says “Exsqueeze me” and forces Dermot to explain that it might possibly be Rylan’s week. She agrees with this and he moves on to Tulisa, who apparently “lives in clubs” so this week must be the easiest week for her and her girls. She says she’s excited. I don’t know how Tulisa being good at something makes her acts good at it, but saying that, at least two of her girls will also be terrible at blow jo..[REDACTED]. Finally, Our Louis who gets by far the biggest cheer of all the judges. Louis loves Dermot’s dancing. Dermot asks Louis if now that he’s urban he is excited for the theme this week. Our Louis rightly reminds Dermot that Dance Music has been around far longer than him and it’s all much of a muchness so he should just shut his big stupid face. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist.  Louis makes a dig about Tulisa and the acts falling out of clubs.  Tulisa reminds Louis that she “Struts” out. Louis laughs at her. Why can’t the two good judges sit together please?

Dermot urges us to vote and gives us the numbers. I notice on the repeat viewing that the numbers give us the running order.  Hmm. [I rather like that. Makes it much easier to plan one's loo breaks. - Steve]

First up is Funsponge, who having lost two acts in two weeks is tense and worried. OH GOOD.  If that wasn’t bad enough, he’s off out with Rylan tonight. OH LOL CASUAL HOMOPHOBIA. It’s Christopher Maloney! What strikes me the most about his VT is not how orange he is, but how disingenuous his smile is.  Christopher thinks that the song he’s been given will give him a chance to strut his stuff.  Funsponge wonders if he has a plan. Christopher’s plan is to dance but he’s got two left feet. Funsponge can sympathise. To illustrate this, we see NotLouis and a dancer who deserves his own show try not to kill him as they try to teach him some moves.  Christopher confesses to not being a trained dancer. WELL BLOW ME OVER.  NotLouis has to resort to physically moving him into the right position. Christopher is THIRTY FOUR and he dances like his dad down the pub. Oh god, U SO OLD. Gary then claims to have taught Usain Bolt his moves and the entire nation shouts BOKAY THEN. Christopher pretends to laugh. Christopher is nervous because there’s lots to think about when he’s dancing and singing. He’s never been called upon to do more than sway a bit and this seems a bit more full on. Funsponge tells him that he thought he would have to cut the dancing, but he’s not. [If he's thirty four I'm sixteen - Rad]

Christopher is singing Waiting for a Star to Fall. He’s standing on a Perspex box, but this one is ROUND. He’s wearing a Johnny Robinson cast off suit. I don’t need to tell you it’s awful. It is a cruiseship made of CHEESE and the tears of Sami Brookes. The only good part of the whole thing is Louis’ little smile as he makes the notes he’s going to use to pwn everyone else on the panel. [I am so ENRAGED.  I bloody love this song so so much and he massacred it.  Also: not a club classic.  There were those two dance mixes of it the other year but neither used the full song.  Stupid X Factor - Rad]

Nicole goes in for the kill first. She calls Christopher her love and ponders aloud who doesn’t love a warm cheese toastie. STOP MAKING ME LIKE YOU NICOLE, I NEVER WANTED TO AND NOW I DO.  She’s finding it hard to criticise him because he works hard and he’s loveable, and she’ll get used to the sparkle.  OH YOU QUEEN OF THE BACKHANDED COMPLIMENT. She’s basically just called him Special.  She’s going to embrace his sparkle, like the very special unicorn that he is. YAWN. Here comes Louis. He knew Christopher would struggle this week (BURN!) but he likes the song Gary has picked for him.  Louis remembers buying that record in 1988 before Tulisa was born (SCORCH!). It’s cheesy and fun (OOH) and it reminds him of school discos (THIRD DEGREE BURNS) and a TV Programme called ‘Seaside Special’ (CREMATED).

Let’s just take a moment to absorb the beauty of that segment, shall we?

Tulisa is going to be 100% honest now even though he won’t like it.  She’s given him a couple of weeks to bed in and she ‘officially’ doesn’t get it.  That’s it Christopher, go home immediately! It’s too cheesy for her. She doesn’t understand how Funsponge can call Rylan cheesy when Rylan is a mere Babybel and Christopher is full stilton. Funsponge hits back that Christopher can sing.  Tulisa retaliates by saying that Rylan is fun and she doesn’t have fun when Christopher sings.  Funsponge then reminds everyone that Christopher is the public vote and he hasn’t let his public or Liverpool down yet. Oh, now we know you’re scrabbling, Funsponge. He got in because he was shakey and he has a Nan. That’s it.

Dermot asks Christopher if he thinks he’s cheesy. Christopher says that he enjoys his performances and he takes on board the comments but he’s going to ignore them because he’s working his socks off to make himself better. Dermot urges us to vote for him.  Coming up after the break, MK1 and Jahmene doing gospel. Dermot then says “testify”. OH DEAR LORD.  Adverts!

We return and Dermot is in the audience trying to tell us that the audience in the studio is Hardcore, whilst hugging an old lady with Jahmene’s face on her t-shirt.  It’s over to ‘Uncle’ Louis for the groups. He introduces Charley and Sim from MK1. Charley says that they felt love and heartbreak last week because they loved the song but they were heartbroken because they’re not a pop act. This was illustrated by the judges saying they were clearly out of their comfort zone. We pretend that they were in danger last week even though the names are called in no particular order. Sim says that it was really hard to see their friends in the bottom two. Charley says that people don’t realise how close the acts become backstage and they’re like a little family.  Last week proved to them that nobody is safe. Sim repeats this almost word for word. They have a chat with Louis and explain their dilemma. Do something underground and alienate the X Factor Audience. Do something overground (that’s the term they used) and they’re not urban any more. Louis interviews that there’s never been an act like them on the show and they need to stick to what makes them different.  Their compromise is to mash up an old song and a new song like they did in the first week because that worked for them. Louis agrees and says that he doesn’t want them to compromise. Even NotLouis likes them in rehearsals because it’s gritty. Sim thinks that Club Classics should be about having fun and he can’t wait to do this one.

They begin with Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee) and it’s really, really good. I’m sorry, that may get me fired again, but I don’t care. It’s got a rap in it. It doesn’t even annoy me that much that Charley is wearing a bobble hat. What does annoy me is that it turns into Pass Out by Tiny Tempers and it’s completely unnecessary. I would have much rather have heard more of Gypsy Woman if I’m honest. The crowd love it.

Tulisa seems to agree with me in that she loved the first half of that performance because it was a good song choice and the vocals were on point but the whole thing should’ve been Gypsy Woman. She goes on to say that rappers doing other people’s raps is a pet hate of hers and Sim should’ve just done his own rap instead of copying the Tiny Tempers.  It comes from a place of love though, apparently. Funsponge agrees, the first half was exceptional and the second half was just an impersonation. They should believe more in their song choices and see it through to the end and that there’s no need for a mashup. Nicole doesn’t understand what all the smack talk is about because she thought it was “Shamazing”. I don’t know what that is but I love it. It’s club classics week and that song made her want to dance. She loved the vocals and the mix of old and new and the fact that they are Musketeers and she wants to buy their album now finally because they are true to themselves. They brought the energy and the fun. I LOVE THIS WOMAN. Finally, Uncle Louis tells us that this week he allowed MK1 to pick their own songs after a midweek change and it was a good idea because it was their best performance yet and he would quite like his hat back. OH LOUIS.

Dermot asks Nicole what Shamazing means. She says it means shamazing and its two words. Lovely. Secondly he points out that the judges loved the first half of the performance and the second half not so much.  Sim responds that this week was all about getting their edge back and Pass Out is such a classic tune they thought that it would do that. It didn’t.

Boys turn now, and Dermot hands us over to someone who looks good on the dancefloor, it’s our lovely Nicole with Jahmene Douglas and his emotional week.  Jahmene interviews that before he was on the show he didn’t know that the newspapers could write anything about you and that last weekend there was lots about him and his family in them. Apparently his father isn’t a very nice man and he thought that he just wouldn’t tell anyone. I feel a bit sorry for him at this point as he is clearly a bit too naive for all of this.  He’s glad the story has come out because he hopes that this will make people realise why he is how he is and why he does that annoying little laugh all the time. It’s because the only way he can cope is to keep smiling because it stops him crying. He wants to be a musician because music helps him through his struggles. He remembers listening to Whitney Houston and that being his sanctuary. He’s also doing it for his Mam because he wants to make her proud because of all she’s been though and he wants to put a smile on her face. His mum is wheeled out to tell him that she’s proud.  Nicole helps him through all this by doing her feeling things face whilst wearing a floppy hat and asking him if he’s had a tough week. Jahmene is just glad that he’s not carrying the burden by himself any more.  She thinks his song is an excellent message to come out with this week as it’s got such an empowering message and she hopes his dark past will help others come to terms with theirs and she’s genuinely there for him. I feel a bit sad that he clearly doesn’t want to talk about it and he’s being forced to but there you go, that’s this show. They hug it out.  He hopes that people take strength from his performance in that you can still do well no matter what you’ve been through, you can still find happiness and nobody can take that away.

He’s doing “Say A Little Prayer” dressed as Marcus Collins. In true NotLouis style he’s on some random stairs that are just in the middle of the stage for no reason. He’s singing in his usual fashion, which is adding in lots of extra notes which I’m not sure are all audible to the human ear whilst pulling some of the most ungodly faces that ever existed and which leave me in no doubt as to what his special grown up time faces look like.  He is surrounded by dancing girls and is the world’s most uncomfortable man.

Our Louis begins by telling us what we’ve just seen, which is the little man with the big soul voice. He’s amazed by his soul and potential every week. He reminds him of a little Ray Charles and even though it’s hard to sing Aretha he was amazing. Tulisa can only ever say how amazing it is and because she’s a manipulative, soulless beast she pokes him until he cries by spouting some utter shit about how she feels that his whole life has been building up to this moment and he’s supposed to be on that stage. It works and his bottom lip goes. Funsponge congratulates him on a stunning performance but even though he’s had his life dragged through the papers this week he’s going to slag him off a bit by telling him he shouldn’t move onstage. Which is more than a bit rich.  Louis calls him out on this by saying that Jahmene is world class and Tulisa just gets enraged. Nicole doesn’t get involved and tells him that the only thing that’s real is real talent. In your FACE, SINGLE MOTHER GOOSE. HE’s only 22 and has been through so much and has courage and massive balls. She loves him and he’s there for a great purpose.

Dermot acknowledges that Jahmene is a private guy but decides to poke him a bit anyway about the stories in the papers and asks him if he would like to say anything. He physically can’t get out any more than a thank you and stands there crying as Dermot reads out his number. STAY CLASSY, X FACTOR. He runs off stage at the first opportunity and it is the adverts again.

When we return, Dermot is at the judge’s desk and introduces Tulisa and the girls by saying that Tulisa must be happy not to have to wait to go clubbing. When was the last time you were in a club, Dermot? Anyway, it’s Jade who has apparently had a nightmare week. What’s happened? Family secrets torn apart? The whole world now know that your father abused you and your mother?

No. Jade has a sore throat.  Tulisa announces this as the Worst Week Ever.  We see Jade in Vocal Training and the vocal coach is sending her off to a doctor. This makes Jade cry until the vocal coach gives her a hug. Jade interviews that she hopes it’s not too serious and not irreversible. If it is irreversible it will mean the end of the competition for her.  A doctor shoves a camera down her nose and tells her that her vocal chords have taken quite a battering. She should deffo ask Tulisa about that. The doctor tells her to rest her voice. NotLouis has just heard that she’s on 48 hours vocal rest and he’s frightened and everyone is worried about whether she can sing or not. Jade has an iPad to write on though, and puts across the message that she can do it. [Would've been much funnier with a Speak and Spell. - Steve] Tulisa is seriously worried that she can’t practice her song but she’s a fighter. Oh I can’t take the tension.

She’s pretending to be a model and is singing a bit of a dubsteppy version of “Free”, wearing a pink jumpsuit that’s got one of those crotches that fall at the knees. She isn’t very good. Not in a sore throat way, just completely out of time and a lot boring. Even when the dancers get the glitter out it still isn’t interesting.

Funsponge didn’t know that she had had all the trouble and wants to know where in the healing process her voice is. Jade confesses that it hasn’t healed at all.  He thinks the performance was safe and she covered her bad voice quite well. Nicole begins then asks if it’s her. She continues as it is and says that she looks like a million bucks and the set design is good but she didn’t really own it and didn’t believe in the lyrics and didn’t work work work the stage. She’s exactly right. NotLouis set it all up for her and she didn’t take it. She also needs to lift her vocals and Funsponge has a pop at her for saying that. Louis thinks she looks every inch the popstar but she didn’t sing like one. He knows she’s had a bad week but there was no energy or passion, which is exactly what was missing. He’s worried about her and thinks she needs to give more. Tulisa thinks that she did the best she could with the voice that she had, completely missing the point. Tulisa understands that Jade’s confidence is knocked and it took a lot for her to get on stage. If this is the line that they were going to take they should not have put her on straight after Jahmene.

Dermot also misses the point and tries to go all knight in shining armour on Jade’s behalf asking Louis what part of the medical diagnosis he doesn’t understand. I’m so bored of this now. Louis rightly says she could have given more energy. She’s not allowed to talk, sadly.


I don’t want the X Factor App, please. I’d much rather go back to Nicole, and seeing as this is Bad Week Week, James has also had a Bad Week. James had a panic attack last Saturday night which someone helpfully filmed. He says he felt funny building up to the performance and after the show he was dazed and confused and couldn’t feel his arms. They called an ambulance for him and the ambulance man calmed him down and brought him back to the room. Nicole puts her feeling things face on again and wants to know what happened. James said he went green after his performance and someone noticed he wasn’t right and he describes a full blown panic attack. Nicole’s advice is that he doesn’t have to go deeper in his performances anymore and now he needs to look after himself. What a better week to do that in than club classics week! Everyone is behind him. James tells us that he’s picked a fun song and it’s a rare bit of light heartedness from him. He’s going to focus on the sexy dancers.  Nicole then tells him that she’s covered in baby oil and he tells her to stop because of his heart problems. Way to go, X Factor! Tell people suffering from Anxiety that they have heart problems! That’s going to help! This show is the actual worst this week. The depths they are plumbing to try and make the headlines is disgusting me. [This show can fuck the fuck off.  I'm feeling actively sorry for the contestants this year.  Just send them to a boring premiere already - Rad]

James is shaking it up by standing still and hammering at an acoustic guitar whilst being surrounded by dancing girls.  It takes me a while to identify the song. It’s LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know It. This is James’ light-hearted side everyone! Singing a shit song in his usual style. GAAAAAAAAAH. [I actually quite liked this. I thought it was quite a good way of embracing the ridiculousness of the theme week by just picking the most unsuitable song imaginable and Live Lounging it. Don't worry, I'll see myself out. - Steve]

The judges lap it up though. Nicole and Funsponge are on their feet. Our Louis congratulates him on his interpretation of an LMFO song. Bless. He says the song shouldn’t have suited him, but it did. That’s why it’s funny! Do you see?! This is just like having a joke explained to you again and again and again until you want to hit stuff! Someone help me! Louis reiterates that he’s had a bad week but he still got up and sang. He’s what the show is all about. Someone with talent who’s going to get a recording deal and he deserves it. Tulisa thought it was an amazing rendition and was glad he replaced his usual tortured soul voice with a fun one. He didn’t, Tulisa. He used his tortured voice on a fun song. IT’S A TOTALLY DIFFERENT THING. Funsponge says amazing three times because he took a fun song and made it dull. That’s not me being facetious, that’s actually what he said in not so many words.  He declares it the performance of the series.  This pleases Nicole who declares that James has passion in his pants. He’s a revelation with swag and he took a song and made it bluesy.

Dermot puts in his tuppence, saying that James has smiled for the first time. James wonders how he couldn’t smile with that feedback. I dunno, perhaps it’s the terrible teeth? He then tells Nicole off for putting the sexy girls around him when he has high blood pressure. Since when? Is this another medical fact that this show has made up? Like how having a sore throat can make you so dull that Funsponge thinks you’re interesting? I GIVE UP. Nicole says that he told her to focus on them. Dermot wants to know what James thinks of the performance of the series tag. He thanks Funsponge for it. Number and gone.

Sixth act of the night, and we’re on to Union J. HALFWAY BITCHES. Union J interview that last Saturday was amazing and they enjoyed hearing the screaming of the crowd. They haven’t had a bad week so we see lots of their performance from the previous episode. Their filler is Louis asking them which one gets the most girls. It’s Josh or George apparently. George knows this. They’re so happy with the support they’re getting that they take a trip to Top Shop with a view to getting mauled by loads of girls. They get lots of notes saying that girls love them and everything. Louis thinks that they have a lot of potential but they’re not there yet and he doesn’t want the female attention taking their focus away. *Snigger* I don’t think that’s going to be an issue to be honest. Louis sits them all down and tells them not to let the girls distract them, which is more than a little sinister if I’m honest. One of them says that  they can’t let their guard down as they don’t want to slip then go home. They don’t want to let anyone down. Bless.

Union J are singing When Love Takes Over. They all have directional hair now. They are pretending some boxes on the stage are stools and you just know that they’re going to stand up when the beat kicks in. Oh! There it is! It’s typical boy band fodder. Easy harmonies and a key change that’s accompanied by fireworks. Nothing original but nothing amazing either.

Tulisa is so happy that she saw their potential as they are improving each week. She mentions the female fans again. This is starting to feel a bit propaganda-y. Funsponge can feel the birth of a boy band in the room and wants more harmonies. Nicole would like some more energy and agrees with Funsponge that the harmonies could be more impressive. Louis thinks their hard work is paying off and everything is coming together and the other judges should just lay off, ok?

Dermot does his voice of the people shtick again and he really should just give it up. He asks Funsponge and Nicole whether it’s fair to ask them to do more harmonies after only three weeks. Can someone please point out that three of them have been in a band together for significantly longer now please? No? Ok. Funsponge says that they just need to sing together. Dermot wants to know what they make of the comments. They know they’ve got a lot to work on. Dermot tells them their hair is nice. VOTE FOR HETROSEXUAL UNION J! THEY LOVE LADIES!

The sweet, sweet relief of the advertising break...

Dermot reminds us all that it’s Club Classics night and there are FIVE MORE ACTS before they’re all going round to Louis’. It’s the boys again, and Dermot makes a dig about Nicole eating a Pork Scratching the other week and she just sweeps it off by asking who doesn’t like a pork scratching? It’s her own club classic, it’s Rylan!  We’re reminded of Rylan’s superawesome performance last week. He says it was unreal and he couldn’t believe it when Dermot called his name. He says it was overwhelming that he got through and is pleased that people voted for him and he knows he’s not everyone’s cup of tea but being voted for makes him feel accepted as he wasn’t the best looking kid growing up. It’s at this point Rylan comes out as a ginger. He says he was bullied and didn’t fit in and I genuinely warm to him. I also admire that he  hasn’t felt the need to milk this too much.  He likes to look as good as he can because of the insecurity that the bullying has left him with. I can’t believe this is the same show that made Jahmene cry on live television. We’re getting a bit of back-story on Rylan that’s not just there for the sake of it, it actually explains him a bit and makes us care. We see him getting his beard shaved off. The hairdresser does it gradually for him and Lucy is there holding his hand. It’s a very sweet segment. He does it in the end though and Rylan announces the birth of the new him.

Rylan is singing ALL THE SONGS again. He begins with that Jennifer Lopez Lambada one. He’s wearing a wonderful outfit that’s a bit like a white tuxedo with bits cut out of it. The song runs into Please Don’t Stop The Music. It’s good fun, and just when it starts to get boring he apologises for his behaviour and goes into the ass shaking song [I See You Baby, I think?  Groove Armada anyway - Rad]. He gets the crowd involved at least. He isn’t the best singer, but it’s not a beige performance by any means.

Louis calls the performance ‘A great Brian Friedman performance featuring you’ which makes me laugh until I fall off my chair. The  camera cuts to the man himself wearing A CLOAK. [NotLouis I love you more than words can say - Rad] Louis thinks that he’s not the best singer but he’s definitely the best entertainer and unlike some of the others he came out and was entertaining.  Louis doesn’t want to lose him in the competition. Tulisa then asks Funsponge if he wouldn’t like a little bite of the Babybel. He doesn’t. Even though his vocals weren’t all that she was still entertained and she would like to see it again. Funsponge’s problem with Rylan is that for every week he is there a talented singer isn’t and this should have been his week but it wasn’t.  He was the worst. Nicole interrupts and tells the bore that it is his week because he was the only one that has danced so far on Club Classics week. Nicole loves the new look and gives him two words – Bourgeois [I thought it was Gor-geois? - Rad] [It was - that was the phrase NotLouis coined for him the other week. - Steve]. She turns to Funsponge and says that she knows he doesn’t have the X Factor, he has the X, Y and Z factor whilst clicking in his face.

Dermot hops in, and suggests to Funsponge that  Club Classics week might actually be about dancing. He replies with “Two words – O-ver” and smugs so much that it steams up the inside of my television. Nicole then shouts two sets of two words at Funsponge which are “bo-ring” and “Old Fart”. Heh. They shout over Rylan’s right to reply which is basically that he knows he’s not the best singer but he doesn’t really care and gives NotLouis a shout out and a thank you. NotLouis makes heart hands whilst wearing his cape.  Rylan looks a bit defeated as he walks off. [But but but then they said he was going?  Presumably to the stinky Merkan X Factor that no-one cares about.  I feel like clinging to the trail of his cape and begging him to stay.  We NEEEEEEEED you NotLouis! - Rad]

We’re back with the girls and it’s the turn of Lucy Spraggan. She had her Bad Week last week after losing her grandmother and had to spend the week putting an effort into keeping a smile on her face. When she heard she got through she was so relieved that she went on a night out with Rylan that looks like it was probably the funnest night that ever existed in the history of nights out.  Lucy says that she sang a song about being drunk so they should’ve been expecting it. They had so much fun that she and Rylan got thrown out of the hotel. She’s sorry if she’s upset everyone. She’s not let getting drunk affect her work though and she’s even written some parts of this song. We see NotLouis telling her off for being naughty. We see Tulisa. TULISA of all people attempting to give her a lecture.  All she can manage without dying of shame is something about her being able to get up and come to work the next day. Lucy says that if she gets through this week she’s going to be good. OH WHATEVER.

Lucy s dressed as a WW2 Wren. She’s singing Titanium with her own sappy verses. She’s pulling some very interesting faces. She hits a few bum notes but on the whole it’s tolerable. Is this nearly over now?

Funsponge calls her performance innovative, and says that the big question was what she was going to do on theme weeks and what she’s done is surprise everyone. No, you berk. What she’s done is sing each of the themes in her own style which isn’t innovative, it’s basically James Arthur with tits. She made it her own though. YEAH SHE DID. Nicole agrees with Funsponge and says she loves her lyrics. She is tea, toast and Titanium. Louis loves her hair and thinks she has more fun off stage than on it. Tulisa thinks that she has a lot of fun on stage and that Lucy is allowed to mix fun and professionalism. Louis points out that Lucy is becoming Tulisa. Heaven forbid.  As a side note, it’s funny how Rylan wasn’t called out on the getting drunk, isn’t it? Was it because he was too busy being a ginger kid? Or is it because this show is a disgustingly sexist mess? I dunno. Tulisa tells her to go out and have a good time as long as she’s at work on time. She’s a storyteller and people connect with her.

Dermot asks her if her NIGHT OF SHAME was all that bad. She says it wasn’t, she’s 21 and she has a song called Beer Fear. She doesn’t sound all that convinced. She thanks everyone for their support.

Adverts!  I love how they’ve completely done away with the question for the competition. Dermot is still presenting when we return. He introduces us to everyone’s family in the audience. He asks Rylan’s cousin what she thinks. She thinks Gary should get over it.  But who cares about that! It’s Kye! Kye is also having a Bad Week but he’s still going to give it a measly 150%. Gary shows him back his performance and Kye realises that he was only singing to 50% of his potential and tells us with the cold eyes of a hostage that he appreciates Funsponge telling him straight. Funsponge telling him straight involves him showing him his performance and telling him every time he’s flat. He’s counted 32 flat notes in the performance. He explains that the competition can either make people ascend or descend and Kye is descending. He knows he wasn’t good enough so he wants to go out and make Funsponge proud of him.  Funsponge tells him backstage that he looks like a different guy and he says he’s going to go out and sing for his life.

Singing for his life involves sitting on a pile of twisted metal pretending to play the piano whilst giving it blue steel through too much eyeliner. He looks like he’s being offered for kindling and going by this performance that would be no bad thing. I don’t know the song, but it makes Tulisa do her feeling things face. I can’t help but feel that the performance would be made better by Funsponge standing beside him shouting out “FLAT” every time he is but like me stalling on my first driving test, he’d probably lose count at 30.

Kye scrambles down from his pyre and Nicole tells him she wanted the performance to be epic... and it was. She liked it because she felt it and she wants to know how it made Kye feel because he was like Chris Martin up there. He was indeed. He was boring. Louis is reminded of his first audition and feels he’s got his Mojo back. Tulisa agrees with Nicole on the Chris Martin comment and whatever was missing last week is back. The only way is up now. Funsponge welcomes him back to the competition and he was glad he was hard on it because he clearly needed it.

Dermot calls Nicole out on the switcheroo, then says he’s never seen a mentor be so hard on their act as Funsponge was on Kye. Kye says “he’s Gary Barlow” like that explains everything.  Gary smugs again. Funsponge said he knew he would take the criticism on board. If you didn’t have enough reason to dislike Dick Van Kye, he declares Chris Martin his hero. Oh dear lord.

Last of the groups now. It’s District Three! Their manufactured drama is being in the bottom two. Louis wonders if it was the song. They thought it was but they were also missing the energy. They get this energy back by having girls screaming at them. Louis has learned their names this week so keeps referring to them as GregMickeyandDan which is confusing to say the least. He says he needs them to find their personalities. Apparently, to find your personality, you need to wear a onesie. Apparently, this week, NotLouis is giving them a personality by way of a dance routine. They try to bring their own moves but are shot down. Louis is pleased with them and says energy a lot. We’ll see.

They’re singing Begging, by the cast of Jersey Boys. Having a personality apparently also means braces and lots of eyebrow work. It also means a backflip and a mashup. I don’t know the second song. Nicole does some epic chair dancing.  One of them shows off his abs.  He’s ripped.  IT’S PERSONALITY AHOY!

Tulisa is happy they were kicked up the bum by being in the bottom two and they’ve brought the required energy to their previously sweet performances. Tulisa tells them that girls are attracted to confidence and they are bringing it. Funsponge quietens down the crowd to say that District 3 are the revelation of the night and they’ve been playing at being a boy band so far but now they’re actually a boy band. Nicole says that it is about the confidence and that was basically all down to the baby oil comment because she saw the abs.  They’re giving the other groups a run for their money. She loved the performance and the harmonies. Louis says that GregMickeyandDan sung their hearts out because they knew they had to after the previous week’s performance and there are now two great boybands in the competion.

Dermot wants to know what they think. They say something dull. Show me the abs again. Oh, you did, Dermot. Thanks. The fact that he was so uncomfortable with it made it uncomfortable for me. They thank NotLouis. Dermot says it’s all about him. How right he is.

Finally, it’s time for the last performance. After the break? OH MAAAAAAAAAN.

Now, it seems that I’ve managed to get through Club Classics week without having to hear I Will Survive or You Got The Love. Will we be allowed to do without them? Who knows. It’s Ella  Henderson! Ella is happy because Adele tweeted her. She didn’t. She just talked about her. She’s happy Adele noticed her though. NotLouis is happy that she’s finally getting to move around, as is Ella. She’s excited because it’s a chance to up her game. He wants her to learn the dance so she can put all her emotion into singing. We are treated to a montage of her practicing in whacky places. NotLouis doesn’t want her voice compromised. She thinks she’ll be alright. OH THE NON TENSION IS NOT AFFECTING ME IN THE SLIGHTEST.

She’s doing You’ve Got The Love. So close, everyone. She’s doing some simple, very literal choreography. She is throwing her hands up in the air, people. It’s typical Ella. Technically proficient but lacking a spark. I find myself singing “you’ve got the gob” along to it. It’s dull. It’s mini Adele in slightly shorter skirts and sparkly tights. Even Ella seems unconvinced.

Funsponge thought it was a great performance and confesses to being a bit worried about her having to dance, although she should have said no to the Nineties Steps dance moves. AHAHAHA! Tulisa shouts that she’s sixteen and wants to have fun. Funsponge then calls her the Adele of the competition and assures her that it’s a compliment. No, Barlow. *you’re* the Adele of this competition because everything that comes out of your mouth is beige.  Adele wouldn’t do anything like that.  Nicole suggests that some people  might be upset because they can’t dance.  Funsponge says that he did those moves in the 90’s. Nicole says that she’s a class act and she’s made the moves current. Nicole thinks that she killed the dance moves and she’s beyond her years. Louis thinks she’s got the love and the voice and she never lets them down. He tells Funsponge that she’s definitely got the X Factor. He thinks she’s going to be an international superstar. Tulisa didn’t know she could do uptempo. She busted a move and showed them how it was done and let’s not forget she’s SIXTEEN. Sixteen. Tulisa and Louis say sixteen to each other.

Come on Dermot, defend her honour. Dermot says that at only SIXTEEN she doesn’t even know who Steps are. Funsponge says she will now because she’s got their moves. STOP BEING AWFUL.  Funsponge says that all she needs to do is sing because that’s magic. Ella replies that she just wanted to feel SIXTEEN and have some fun.

Did anyone catch Ella’s age?

That’s it! It’s finally over! Someone will be going home tomorrow. Join me for the results recap! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Masson Attack

Top 12 Results: 14th October 2012

Last night! All of this. Tonight! Someone's leaving the competition, but not before a full hour of padding featuring Rebecca Jazznoodle (BOO!) and Taylor Swift (yay!). Also, it occurs to me during the opening VT that all of the Overs have adopted the "mouth wide open, eyes closed, microphone cradled in both hands" stance that makes me want to photoshop a cock in over the mic, but perhaps I'm just juvenile in that way. It's time! To face! Authenticity!

Once we're done with the credits, Dermot arrives in his latest poorly-tailored suit, and reminds us that tonight our votes will save ten acts, and send two plummeting into the sing-off, at which point Louis may well get an attack of the indecisives once more and end up voting off Ella or something. So vote vote vote, is the underlying message here. Dermot reminds us that HONK HONK HONK will be on later, as well as Taylor Swift, saying "country music stars don't get any bigger". That's very true; in fact Dolly Parton seems to be shrinking by the day.

The judges make their entrance, with Nicole doing a bit of skirtography in honour of Fern and Artem, while Tulisa is wearing a dress with a dizzying print that doesn't really do her any favours. After a brief recap of all of the voting numbers, it's time for the group sing, and this week the producers have selected a Hi-NRG version of 'Somebody That I Used To Know'. It's a nice idea, but I feel we've already achieved maximum car-crash as far as group performances of this song go, so the stakes feel fairly low here. You can only hear about three of them during the chorus, anyway. Also, I feel it would've been improved immensely by Rylan yelling "IBEEFA! AWRIGHT XFACTOR LESS 'AVE SOME FUN!" - but then, that's true of pretty much all things. [I can't believe I ever doubted Rylan - Helen]

From there, we head to the backstage reactions to last night's performances. Louis thinks that Jahmene has "this thing called potential"; Gary snits that it's wrong for "these judges" to criticise Christopher because he's "the people's vote", having apparently forgotten that Carolynne was the people's not-vote (or whatever) last week and he still got immensely snotty about that at the time; Union J's comments were "amazing"; Ella was "effortless" and "world-class" according to Louis; James was "really buzzing" with his comments while Gary thinks that he "exorcises demons every time he performs" (funny, that was previously my explanation for that noise Rebecca Ferguson always made); Tulisa thinks Lucy did her proud; Union J hope they get the chance next week to rub baby oil all over their bodies or whatever it was Nicole wanted from them (Nicole herself reiterates this request with a wink to the camera. LOVE. HER); Tulisa thinks Jade is a "dark horse and a real contender"; MK1 are trying to reach out to all the public and "not just the MK1 fans; Louis asks Gary what'll happen if Kye's in the bottom two, and Captain Maturity replies "YOU'LL be in the bottom two" (ahh, banter); Rylan thinks Gary cracks him up because he can dish it out and Rylan will give it right back; finally, Melanie just wants to come back next week, and also she has lipstick on her teeth. Is it just me, or was most of that spectacularly unenlightening?

Time now for our first special guest of the evening, the Dread Jazznoodle. She gets the standard bombastic intro announcing that she's sold a million records worldwide (though it's not made clear whether half of those were Neil McCormick buying them for everyone he knows just to prove that she's the Greatest Artist Of Our Times or whatever wank he was peddling), had a platinum debut album and sold out her first tour. Anyway, authentic artist with integrity Rebecca Ferguson has...completely changed her image in order to sell more records, turning up in a lamé catsuit with a giant weave and desperately trying to be Beyoncé, essentially. Lovely. [She must have looked at herself in that catsuit. It did her no favours - Helen] Even more surprisingly, she's changed her musical direction as new single 'Backtrack' is not about how material things are bad and Rebecca Ferguson is real and humble and authentic. It's still all tuneless, poorly enunciated goose noises as far as I can tell, though at least she's learned to walk a few steps during her performances. She's getting there gradually - at this rate she might actually be a charismatic and interesting pop star by 2050. Dermot arrives to shill her "deluxe album" (good grief) that's out tomorrow and Rebecca manages to say absolutely nothing of substance, but will concede that she loves Ella and Chris.

Adverts! I hear that Lacey Turner is a right witch in her new series.

When we return, the lines are closed and Dermot's poised for the always-enjoyable chat with the judges. First of all, Dermot asks Nicole what the fuck she's on, with her going to the pub and eating pork scratchings and generally babbling like a madwoman. Nicole replies: "Oh honey, that ain't nothin' but a chicken wing, sounds like a good time to me. Who doesn't love nuts, right?" She's got me there. Dermot says that Gary and Rylan are becoming a proper double act, and Gary snarks that he's booked himself a spa day on Monday. Which is brave of him, because he usually finds his Spar day a bit overstimulating. All those groceries! Louis is asked about getting urbaned up as "Uncle Louis" by MK1 [I'm uncomfortable with this uncle transference, given MK1's dubious history - Helen], and Dermot asks him to show us his swag. "How do I do that? How do I do it? Is that swag?" asks Louis, wobbling his shoulders up and down. Tulisa scores him minus-one out of ten. Your judges, everybody! Even they'd rather talk about anything else than this year's contestants.

Time for our second and only good guest of the night, the excellent Taylor Swift. Dermot displays his knowledge of foreign politics to be wanting when he claims that she's likely to be president by the time she's 30. That's not actually possible, Dermot. There go your chances of being Newsnight anchor one day. She's here to sing the amazing 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together', which features the greatest talky bit in a pop song. Like, EVER. It's a shame the live shows came a bit too late for this to make the song the number one hit it deserves to be, but never mind. It's also worth mentioning that she has a very nice red microphone. Did Rebecca Ferguson get one of those? No, she did not. Afterwards, she chats politely with Dermot, who asks her if she still gets nervous, and Taylor replies that yes she does, about everything. "About that?" asks an incredulous Dermot. "Seriously?" I love that Dermot's estimation of this show's standards has plummeted so low of late. Then Taylor tells us she loves us, and she is gone.

After another ad break, it's time to reveal the results of this week's public vote. Everyone assembles on stage, and the following acts are safe, in no particular order as ever: James, Lucy, Union J, Ella, Jahmene, Christopher (who hilariously goes racing over to the other saved contestants looking for a hug only to be met with what appears to be widespread indifference), MK1, Jade, Rylan (who promptly freaks out, as does Nicole, as do Lucy and quite a lot of people on the sidelines - Rylan's clearly quite popular - then Rylan sweeps Nicole into his arms and carries her off while she cackles delightedly - the whole thing is brilliant) and Kye. So it's District3 versus Melanie in the sing-off, and another bad week for Gary. Clearly that idea of opening the phone lines at the start of the show has drastically reduced the impact of the pimp slot.

Once we've made our way through another ad break, District3 and Melanie return to the stage, having got changed since we last saw them. District 3 are set to go first, and they're singing '(Everything I Do) I Do It In Parentheses'. For a group who sell themselves on their skill with harmonies, it's not a particularly good show from them, and I think even they realise that - they're wincing at the often discordant harmonies and smiling at each other in a "this is our last performance on the show, isn't it?" sort of way. The "I'd fight for you, I'd lie for you" bit is particularly painful, though I can't tell if that's the arrangement or the actual singing. It might be both. [I didn't get this as a sing off choice. It ceased being current while it was still number one - Helen]

When they're finished, Gary introduces Melanie with a "good luck", though whether that's directed at her or us I don't know. She's singing 'Stay With Me' (as in "staaaaaaaaaaaay with me baaaaybeeeeeeeh") and is quite shaky, getting into that unfortunate X Factor place where "loud" is substituted for "good". Still, the first time watching this I thought it was an absolute foregone conclusion - that the only person voting to send Melanie home would be Louis, and even he'd only be doing it because the limitations of the format didn't leave him any choice.

Dermot arrives with District3 in tow, and it's time for the judges to make their choices. Louis is up first this week, and Dermot enunciates very clearly that he wants to hear the act that Louis is sending "home" - the best bit is that Louis even mouths the last word along with him. They've been rehearsing, clearly. Louis thinks Melanie is amazing and he loves her, but he has to save his own act, so he's voting to send Melanie home. Tulisa thinks Melanie has one of the most amazing voices in the competition, while the boys have some of the best harmonies she's heard in the competition. They're completely different acts, so she's going to go with her heart...and votes to send Melanie home, keeping District3.

Wow. I wasn't expecting that. I figured that if anyone was going to be the loose cannon in this vote, it would be Nicole. That was a great little twist, though - it made me sit up and pay attention far more than any of last week's pointlessly contrived drama.

Over to Gary next, who thinks it was a great sing-off and both acts did well, but he's saving Melanie and voting to send District3 home. Nicole thinks the boys did an amazing job, and while she gave them a hard time yesterday, they killed it tonight. Dermot tries to hurry her, but Nicole is having none of it: SHE WILL BE HEARD. She says that she has to go with the sing-off that she just heard, and she really felt in Melanie's performance that she had been waiting for this her whole life, so Nicole votes to send home District3. [Funny how nobody is giving Nicole a hard time for taking it to deadlock, eh? - Helen]

So once again, we're in Deadlock. An envelope is handed to Dermot, and the name of the act who received the fewest votes and is going home tonight is...Melanie. Melanie doesn't register any shock at this, just smiles politely and hugs the District3 boys. We look over Melanie's best bits, which mostly consist of being loud and Janis Joplin-y in her audition, then crying a lot. Afterwards, Dermot asks how she feels, and Melanie says she's enjoyed every second of the competition and all the opportunities it's given her. Gary is gutted, because he thought Melanie was one of the best singers in the competition, and he's really disappointed for her. So much for Gary "restoring dignity to the overs", eh? If anything, they've now replaced the groups as the most pitiful category, taking the first two eliminations single-handedly, and both on the public vote. Now all he's left with is a cruise ship singer and the most boring act left in the competition. Although to be fair, Kye is the exact sort of boring that might actually win this, so best not to rule Gary out just yet.

That's it - Helen will be here next week for Club Classics week, which should mean plenty of IBEEFA. I can't wait to see what Rylan, Nicole and NotLouis come up with for that. [I'm actually excited for an episode of the X Factor with that trinity on board - Helen]