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!


Patrick said...

This episode was amazing, I was laughing throughout thanks to my twitter timeline.

Rad said...

I wish I'd been on Twitter to see it live, it's much more fun that way. On the other hand, you can't fastforward the ads, so swings and roundabouts really.

Katherine, Katie, Farmee etc. said...

That is the best Simpson's reference I have come across in a while. This is the top notch journalism I expect from this blog (that I am shamelessly addicted to) x