Sunday, October 07, 2012

May the odds be never in your favour

Live Shows: Week 1 

Errm, Lympics or Something like that Week?

6 October 2012

136 days ago… we were all living in a state of comparative bliss and ignorance, but elsewhere in the country, auditions for this sorry mess were being conducted, Mel B was mardy, Geri was a total troll, then there was a bootcamp and “6 days ago” (so not six days ago) judges’ houses happened and left us with this sorry shower (none of whom have been given super-amazing makeovers, and really, show, what is the point of you if you’re not even going to give us the annual contestant makeover?): Jahmene, Rylan, James, MK1, the newly-renamed District 3, Union J, Ella, Jade, Lucy, Kye, Carolynne, and Melanie. There’s also going to be a wildcard entry, which no-one really wants or needs, so thanks, show.

Cue giant X!

Dermot enters in a very dull suit, the most exciting bit of which is trying to discern whether it’s black, dark purple or navy. It’s dark, anyway. He does a little dance with some dancers in white leotards and Gaga-esque hats. Good to see wardrobe kept Kitty’s outfits. Maybe she’ll be back? Heaven knows she was infinitely more exciting than this shower. The judges enter and their outfits have the same colour issue so it’s probably due to the indigo lighting in the studio. Louis is wearing a velvet suit and open white shirt, though thankfully he isn’t revealing a Cowell-esque amount of chest wig, because that really would be it for me and this show, dear readers. Tulisa has a nice enough prom-style dress, Nicole is wearing one of those asymmetrical things with a sleeve on one arm/shoulder and the other bare which just can’t be comfy and ol’ Funsponge is in a black suit with a thin black tie. For him, that’s positively edgy. Dermot tells us that Gary has has a seat change (inbetween Tulisa and Nicole): cue fake tabloid female judges bitch fight stories for the ninth year running. Yawn. [I choose to take this to mean that Gary has been demoted and Nicole Scherzinger is now head judge. Hooray! - Steve][Best. Decision. Ever - Helen]

To the sound of O Fortuna, our wild cards return: anonymous third boyband Times Red, nervous Chris, Essex Amy and Brunette WGWG Adam. The one that we’ll have to put up with for a couple of weeks is, as everyone predicted, nervous Chris (or Shakey Maloney as they’ve christened him over at Sofabet). He drops to his knees. Dermot reminds us that he shakes a lot. Shakey cries. He’s very tall – although that’s also because he’s standing next to renowned midget Dermot. The finalists then take to the stage. Jade’s wearing a stripy yellow and black dress. One of the boy bands is in the middle – I’m not sure which. Those are the notable things I remember when I look away, in a tea-tray memory game style.

Dermot announces the voting numbers are open from the start. More things of note: District 3 (who, I’m informed, are one of the shit districts in the Hunger Games – I’ve read all the books and seen the film and I have no memory for these things so I’ll have to take others’ word for it) [that district is summat to do with electronics, I think. Should've been District 9, then we could've all learned a valuable lesson about racism - Steve]are in the slot of doom, Resentful J has been given terrible denim to wear and an Aiden Grimshaw-style quiff, all contestants get to have a surname this year, unlike poor old Wagner and Tulisa with their dirty forrin surnames.

Dermot tells us the theme will be musical heroes but then babbles on about it being inspired by the lympic summer and it all being songs inspired by the Olympics and Paralympics. Surely, if the songs are inspired by those events, they all have to come from 2012 and have either been written for the events or since them? Anyway, it’s a shameless ITV attempt to jump on the lympic bandwagon a bit late, but showing me pictures of Laura Trott, Nicola Adams, Brad Wiggins and Jess Ennis (no paralympians apparently. Probably not ITV-friendly enough) is only going to make me miss them even more and serve to emphasise how little I care about James and New Look in comparison to Mo and Ellie Simmonds and the Weirwolf and Sarah Storey and the rest. Anyway, some of them and the gamesmakers have been forced to be in the audience tonight, although on a quick camera shot, the only person I recognise is Jo Rowsell so I’m assuming most of them told this show where to shove it. Or were in the Strictly audience instead. [Seriously. This was always going to be a terrible idea, but with a bit of thought they might've made something out of it. But they just did it in such a half-arsed way that it looked completely contrived and desperate. - Steve]

Dermot snarks that the show wouldn’t be the same if Louis wasn’t here, but it would be more harmonious, which seems to be a dig at the vocals of Westlife, Boyzone, JLS…

First up, in ye olde spot o’doom, it’s GHB3. Their whole story is that they had to change their name. We see them scrolling through emails and treating the idea ‘Boys 3 Men’ with the contempt it deserves, bless em. They also reject ‘3 Shades of Grey’ which would have been fitting pre-Fifty Shades changing all meaning of that term, as they’re kind of bland and similar looking. We then see them on whatever thing it is that Eamonn Holmes does these days soliciting viewer calls, and user names suggested are ‘Another Direction’ and ‘Which Direction’. Poor WD40, you’re not long for this world are you? And you do seem a bit more likeable than the tryhard bots over in JJJG, who are, to be fair, more One Direction clones than you are. On the other hand, despite looking bland, you’ve shown signs of personalities and that’s not the way this show likes its boy bands, so… buh-bye. Their shortlist of names: Project (???), Power of 3 (the name of a ruddy good Doctor Who episode so I’m glad that’s having no association with this show), 3AM, District 3. [I love that one of Sharon's main criticisms was that GMB3 didn't tell her anything about the band, so the show solves that by...having some random person taking part in a phone in force a name upon the band that tells us nothing about them. - Steve]

They’re doing… gulp… ‘The Best’. In a slowed-down-stylee. As it came out in 1989 I suppose it could have been inspired by the 1988 Seoul lympics. *Shifty eyes*.

Styling-wise, one of them is in a preppy blazer and the worst baseball cap in history, another in a leather jacket over a hoody (he must be boiling up there) and the third one has been groomed to look a lot like male Same Difference. Their staging is rather unimpressive given NotLouis was supposed to be back on this show (I so hope those rumours are true) – just a plinth and some green lights. Vocally, it’s standard boy-band, there are some screeched bits but also some nice harmonies in places. The arrangement of the song sucks though, leeching all life and power out of it. Anyway, I’m feeling kind of sorry for them so I’m declaring myself to be team WMD over the tryhard bots in J-Cloth.

Tulisa really liked their harmonies. Gary provides my first audible laugh of the night when he says they’ve been given ‘the honour’ of being first on the first live shows. Such an honour Gary – I’m sure Voices With Soul (bottom two), Addictiv Ladies (first out), Girlband (bottom two), Komedy Kimberley (first out), Rachel ADEDEJI (bottom two), FYD (first out), Amelia Lily (first out but the judges were voting that week) and Nu BILE (first out when the public voted). The only act who escaped the curse of first place was Robert from series 3. You remember him! The one who… er, you know. ROBERT.

Funsponge says they’re going to be ‘about middle’ tonight, which is as damning with faint praise as you can get (and almost certainly a lie) and lies that they’ll be back next week. Nicole thought their harmonies were great, Louis loved them and says they’re ‘like a young Boys II Men’ because he clearly just saw them rejecting that name in the VT and picked up on it. But Louis, they’re not even black, and we all know your comparisons should have an ethnicity base to them. Dermot asks them why they changed their name. Blonde one says they kept getting mixed up with GMTV and ‘hair straighteners’, plus it’s a plumbing company in America so the show was probably being threatened with a lawsuit and they had enough shit with that last year.

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Randomly, we’re not back with the next act, but with a guest appearance from Wand Erection (poor doomed G-Funk). This better not be a new thing you’re innovating, show. The performances shows are long enough without having guests on them as well. The hyperbolic text accompanying them reminds us that they are ‘X Factor sensations’. They’ve had 620 million hits on YouTube, like that’s an indication of anything. More impressive, they’ve sold 12 million singles and albums, even though the only song of theirs anyone knows is ‘What Makes You Beautiful’. The show is playing another of their songs under all of this but it’s not something I’ll remember in ten minutes’ time.

Tiny Nicholas Hoult says their favourite is James, who’s on next. The Zaynwreck has an enormous quiff, Resentful Direction has had his hair shorn and tells the contestants they have to enjoy themselves in his usual surely monotone with a glum face on. And then they don’t even do a song. That was… odd.

James next and we see him in the contestants' hotel, which is better than his BEDSIT/FLAT/ABUSIVE PARENTS’ HOME or whatever his story was. Rylan tells him there’s a phone in the toilet. Love Rylan. Nicole shows him that he’s been in the papers. He monotones that he’s getting happier by the day. Heh.

His makeover consists of a mild quiff and loss of glasses. He’s singing ‘Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)’ and it’s a bit slowed down, with a bad rap in it. His vocal is quite weak (although mostly in tune) and he’s struggling to make himself heard over the excessive backing music. His staging is lights, dry ice and videos of ‘splosions, which is better than the boys had.

Louis says he’s original and a ‘brand new recording star’ and then, weirdly, says ‘Well done everybody in Middlesborough’. For what exactly? They haven’t even voted yet, Louis. Did you get your script for this week (‘I hope everybody in Middlesborough votes for you’) mixed up with one from about three weeks’ time? Tulisa says he’s a performer and if she had ‘space for a bloke in her category’ he’d be it. Er, Tulisa, not how it works, love. Funsponge says he came with an edge and he needs to retain it as ‘already some of the edges are being rounded off’. Were it you or I saying this, we’d mean that the show was making someone a bit bland and soulless. Because it’s Funsponge, I assume it translates as ‘you were a white brunette guy with a guitar doing acoustic dreary stuff and now you can see dirty tattoos on your arms and you’ve got a horrible blonde quiff and you just sang Kelly Clarkson and all of that is erring a bit on the ‘fun’ side for me so let’s knock that on the head right now’. Louis asks Funsponge to clarify. Funsponge said it could have been ‘harder’ and he said when he auditioned, he did Tulisa’s ‘Young’ which he wouldn’t have expected then ‘A Million Love Songs’ which he wouldn’t have, and he would have expected him to do Kelly Clarkson so it’s no surprise. This makes no sense. I’m assuming Funsponge means he looked a bit Ed-Sheeran-y (and he is) so he wouldn’t have expected him to do pop – in which case, Kelly Clarkson would surely also count as pop? I don’t even know.

This is only the second act. Kill me please. Also – half an hour in and only two acts down out of THIRTEEN? Oh God… Nicole clicheviews that ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ (Oh, Nicole). Dermot tells Gary that James was good. Gary says to take his comment and stay strong. Er, like the lyrics? James then says, cryptically, ‘you know what goes on behind the scenes… anyway, I feel I made that song my own’. Dermot then bitches that James left the stage the wrong way. He then bigs up Lord Gary for doing that thing what he did for the Queen. You mean that terrible song and rubbish (Grace Jones and Kylie excepted) concert? I’m sure she was eternally grateful.

It’s Melanie next, and we’re reminded of her children, one of whom looks exactly like the girl from Brave, which I probably pointed out before, because I'm original like that. Gary reminds her he has children too. Melanie is missing her children because she is a MUM. She’s standing atop a huge Perspex plinth with a backing band and wearing Jimi Hendrix’s old cast-offs. Can we team up Melanie with Brendan from Bake-Off for a 70s-throwback super-villain reality show tag-team? It would be so epic. She’s doing ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’, which seems to be the Joe Cocker version, rather than The Beatles or Wet Wet Wet (Joe Cocker’s being, of course, the best of all the versions, Sheffield represent etc). She’s the first contestant with an army of backing vocalists, dressed in what this show imagines people who went to Woodstock would have worn. She’s pretty good although also suffering from overly loud backing music. Someone sack the sound people on this show. Unlike James, her voice is loud enough to just about compensate but it feels like she’s still reaching for it. I like her voice but I just can’t see her personality or this hippy/rock image they’re pushing working too well or lasting more than four or five weeks.

Nicole likes her and calls her a ‘soul-child’ and says she ‘took us to the stratosphere’ as if to re-cement the hippy image. She then snips that the song choice was predictable and Funsponge whines ‘don’t go there’. Fuck off Funsponge. Louis says it reminds him of Woodstock, and he remembers Woodstock. The idea of Louis being at Woodstock tickles me no end. He then says she’s like Robert Plant (the hair, presumably) and Janis Joplin. Tulisa says she’s great at taking people back and has a strong vocal. Funsponge says she’s given the overs category its dignity back at last. Fuck off, Funsponge, they’ve not had that many comedy contestants. [If anyone robbed the overs of their dignity, it was Meaty Minge, and she strikes me as the sort of contestant Gary would've LOVED. - Steve]

Dermot expresses surprise that Louis was at Woodstock. Louis clarifies that he ‘saw the movie’. I love how seeing a film now means you were there. This must mean I’ve been to a CGI land of tediously worthy blue people, visited a dinosaur theme park and, like all women my age, have danced with Patrick Swayze in a 1950s holiday camp talent contest. [It also means that one time Regina George punched me in the face. It was AWESOME. - Steve] It at least makes me feel better about my life to think I’ve done all that than to face the reality that I’ve sat through nine series of this… I see why Louis would need to create that fantasy now.

Dermot waves at Melanie’s kids (and husband/partner, but we don’t care about him apparently) Anyway, team 1970s throwback villains* for the win in all reality shows please (not sure who Brendan and Melanie’s Strictly equivalent is yet. I’d say Jerry Hall but that would mean supporting bloody Anton, which is never happening). *Melanie seems rather sweet right now, but give the editors time…

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Next up it’s Lucy. NotLouis (hooray!) wants her to lose the guitar. No, NotLouis, make the guitar big and sparkly with fireworks coming out of it or something. Come on man, what happened to your crack-addled lunacy? Lucy isn’t keen as we all know that the guitar contains her magic powers. Tulisa wears a terrible hat and tells her to just be who she is. Helpful.

She seems to be singing an original song – very unusual for this show to allow that, that's a bit too BBC for them, isn't it? It doesn’t sound that Olympian but let’s face it, that theme wandered away sometime ago. It’s a nice enough track but too Coldplay for my liking. Funsponge says she’s unique and a great singer, songwriter and musician and she shouldn’t ever leave ‘a third of your strength in the dressing-room’ – so does that mean she gets to sing her own songs each week? Can the others do theirs too? It’ll at least make Carolynne feel at home like when she was on Fame Academy (sidebar: I miss Alex Parks).

Nicole calls it Spunky and Funsponge says ‘what was that?’ and she snaps back ‘Spunky. Do you want some more?’ Funsponge acts like he’s made an epic burn. Notsomuch. Louis brings out the comparisons everyone else has made: Kate Nash and Victoria Wood. Tulisa says she stands up against all the covers (yes, because covers are always compared against the far superior originals anyway). Lucy has no problems being compared to Victoria Wood because she’s amazing. Louis: ‘And Kate Nash’. No-one thinks Kate Nash is amazing, obviously.

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Nervous Christopher is in there early with nan wars – his nan hugs Dermot for no reason, other than because well, Dermots are for hugging, I guess. He’s not up next anyway, it’s Primark. Their VT is all about them being mates although conveniently sidesteps their creepy accountant third non-member. They’re seen struggling with the dancing and lie that they’re happy to be working with Louis. They’re doing ‘Champion’ and Charley’s vocals struggle a bit at first but they get into it more after the first rap break and they’re the first act with a bunch of dancers – and some oil cans on fire. Urban! I would love a boy/girl duo to win, if only to vindicate Spirit and Destiny. The tune mixes into ‘Everyone’s a Winner’, which actually works. The vocals aren’t great although serviceable, and the energy is pretty good. Funsponge asks Louis which part of the staging he was responsible for – er, clearly none because that’s NotLouis’ job. Shut up you odious little man. Louis says he chose the song with them. Funsponge says Louis may not their best ‘musical partner’ but knows the most about this competition. Is that a burn?  I don't even know. Nicole says they’re the most relevant act in the show [which is, as compliments go, right up there with "the most lovable member of David Cameron's cabinet" - Steve], Louis says they’re the only act who looked like they were enjoying themselves. He says they could be the new N-Dubz. Tulisa says they can’t because N-Dubz are getting back together. Louis says there’s room for two bands. Tulisa: ‘No there isn’t’. Well that’s nice, isn’t it? I hate Gary and Tulisa so much. [Tulisa's been Cheryled - this show sucked all the fun and joy out of her and turned her into a tedious egomaniac. So sad. - Steve]

Dermot asks if Louis just chucked in the Hot Chocolate idea. Sim refuses to get into the ‘act hates mentor’ storyline this early in the contest (give it time…) and says the collaboration was 50/50.

Dermot reminds us that Christopher is nervous and the wildcard, and Gary reminds us he is nervous again. Then we have a VT reminding us that he is nervous. Again. Some more. And a bit more. Like that’s going to help the man’s confidence. He’s doing ‘Hero’ (Mariah Carey’s one) and has invisible backing vocals. It’s functional and tuneful and he doesn’t appear as nervous as usual. It’s also the most boring thing so far.

Nicole says he’s lost his nerves and has an amazing voice, but it was a bit too cheesy. Funsponge snarks that ‘we didn’t get to choose the songs for them’ which I am assuming means the wildcards. Louis says he’s a bit orange and brings out the cruiseship bomb early. Tulisa says the song choice was dated but he has a good voice. Funsponge says he and Christopher couldn’t choose the songs and he needs to stop with the sunbeds. Dermot then says ‘firstly Louis, pot and kettle’ and here’s where you’d expect a burn about Sammi Cruiseship last year or Westlife or something, but no, the end of that statement is ‘with that hair’. Louis, like all of us, is genuinely befuddled by that burn attempt: ‘What??’ Oh Dermot. Christopher babbles about doing it for people at home. Dermot reminds us he is a ‘balladeer’ and that he has a nan. His nan and another woman (his mum?) wave sinister Christopher masks about. Nice.

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Dermot reminds us that, depressingly, ‘this year’s winner is in the building’.

Final group already, even though we’ve only had one boy and one girl. Clearly groups are not the anointed category this year – which was, perhaps, obvious from foisting them off on Louis. Unlike G3, JJGJ get name captions: Jaymi (Scott-Lee), Josh (Resentful), George (Curly) and JJ (Other). The week Bix MIX got names was basically the week the show decided to put its weight behind them, so J-walkers are presumably going to be here until the final. They lie that they don’t remember a time before George joined them and they were called Triple J rather than Union-J-and-also-a-G (I just can’t get over how shit their name is). They then decide Laura Trott is hot, being the only act so far to invoke Olympians in a bid for support. Poor Laura Trott.

They’re doing ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ atop a plinth with their name on as if there was any doubt that the show wants to bus G-Mex. It’s a shame because The Gee-Bees were actually in tune for the most part and this lot can’t sing for toffee – the vocals are so bad it’s like having four Zaynwrecks up there. Still, they’ve got dancers and One Direction memorial backing vocals to support them. Nicole is shown looking all ‘WTF is this that we’re supposed to be supporting?’ They hugely biff the last note and then it’s mercifully over.

Tulisa says they’re not at their full potential and it was the wrong song choice, the vocals were missing and they were made to feel dated. Louis says they’re fun. Tulisa says the faults were all Louis’ fault – yes, because it was Louis who fucked all those notes up. (I agree that it was a bad song choice but the singing was nobody’s fault but theirs and maybe the vocal coaches’). [I'm really getting sick of "...but that's not your fault" as a criticism. If it isn't the act's fault, save it for the next production meeting. - Steve] Funsponge blames Louis and snarks ‘since you worked in the business, boy bands have changed’. Does Louis not still work in the business then? I'm confused. Louis admits that the song is too big. Tulisa asks why. He says he wanted to test them. Tulisa ‘it’s too early in week one, don’t test them yet’ – tell that to poor old G-Star Jeans or whoever gets sent home this week, Tulisa.

Nicole gives them credit for performing as a group for the first time and says neither the audience or the band were having a great time. Louis says he wasn’t playing it safe like Tulisa. Tulisa whines that she never plays it safe and she had someone singing their own song, although for Lucy that is kind of safe. Dermot asks the boys what they think and they mutter inaudibly into the microphone although fools in the audience scream anyway.

Next up, ‘singing Enrikay In-glay-zee-ass’ is Jade. Jade’s VT is that she’s a mum and missing her kid. God, show, will you stop doing this edit on women who have children? For fuck’s sake. Jade says she’s doing this to ensure they have a different life after this. Bless you Jade, but I don’t think many people make significant money off this show, especially not those who get booted out in ninth place.

She’s in a leather dress with Beyonce hair and is doing the other ‘Hero’. Like so many others tonight, is lumbered with a ridiculously loud backing track. Her voice is quite nice but she struggles at first with the notes, probably because she can’t hear herself over the backing. The sound mix on this show is truly appalling tonight. She pulls a face at the end suspecting she’s probably doomed – which is a shame, as she generally did quite well other than the start. Funsponge says she’s been forgotten in her category until tonight. Nicole says she’s ‘one hot mom’ and has a nice tone but the song was in the wrong key for her and could do with being a bit higher. Louis says she looks like an international pop star (aka Beyonce). Tulisa says she looks like a pop star and performs like a pop star.

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Dermot welcomes back and is with Nicola Adams and Laura Trott in the audience, both of whom look faintly apologetic for tainting their golden glory with the dirt of this show. Dermot reminds Laura that J-L-Birds fancy her. She says, very uncomfortably, that James is still her favourite but she can’t miss them. When she mows them down with her bike. Nicola likes Lucy and H&M. Neither of them get out their FACKIN MEDALS so they're not in Victoria Pendleton's league.

Nicole says it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: ‘the fierce and fabulous Rylan Clark’.  Hooray!  He is long overdue. We see NotLouis grinning like a loon in rehearsals with him. This better be good. Nicole says not everyone loves him and then we see a tweet saying ‘You’re an embarrassment to you’re country’ – oh, illiterate tweeter, the irony (although I am a bit suspicious of this as there doesn’t appear to be an @rylanclark at the start of the tweet and there’s no profile picture. Maybe the show just mocked it up to preserve the poster’s anonymity rather than just faking it for DRAMAZ but I wouldn’t put it past them). Also of note: Rylan loves Kylie, as if that needed spelling out. Someone else (in another suspiciously fake looking tweet) says he’s the reason they don’t watch X Factor, although, how on earth they’d know about him if they didn’t…? We see lots of press coverage claiming both he and Nicole got death threats… I’m sure all this is manufactured or at least blown up out of all proportion, given that this show has long needed the Komedy Kontestants for publicity, but if not, then there really are some deluded idiots watching this thing. 

Anyway, performance time.  Oh NotLouis/Rylan/Nicole, how I love thee and thy gaymazing ways. The stage has Rylan sitting on a golden throne like a Pharaoh, wearing a golden vest and made-up with funky eyeliner. He’s surrounded by topless male dancers in Egyptian headdresses and loincloths, and a bunch of dead female dancers at his feet. There are pyramids projected onto the back screen and flaming torches. Performance of the night and this is before the song even begins. It’s Spandau Ballet's ‘Gold’ and… the vocal is shaky at best to start with, and out of time, but it’s still better than Union-J managed. The dancers spin him round on a throne which gives him the power of being able to sing at last – although the chorus is a lot better than the verses. It’s still an actual performance, though, unlike anyone else’s. I bet NotLouis loved that.

Louis says it was amazing and ‘you’re not a great singer, you’re a good singer, rather’ – Er? Louis adds that he’s a great performer and praises NotLouis' fine work. Tulisa says it was cheesy and cabaret but it was entertaining and the competition needs him. Funsponge looks constipated. Rylan: ‘Let go, Gary’. HA! Funsponge declares the one thing he wanted to change from last year was to ‘have fun’. But appropriate fun, like tapping his foot to the new Ed Sheeran single, not silly campmazing fun. He says he’s embarrassed to be sat there and says all the other judges should be ashamed of themselves for putting Rylan through. NotLouis is shown giving Funsponge a bitchface in the audience. They’re like the polar opposite of each other, aren’t they? Nicole tells Gary he’s a boring old fart and reminds him of the ‘Do What U Like’ video. Funsponge says ‘and twenty-two years later I’m still here’. Nicole: ‘Exactly’. Oh, Rylan, if you turn out like Funsponge in twenty-two years’ time, I will personally come round to sort you out. He says he knows he isn’t the best vocalist but this show isn’t all about the voice (subtle burn on The Voice there or not? Hard to tell) and he’ll improve week on week. Plus he’s the only one really giving NotLouis anything to do. He then thanks the other judges. Dermot reminds him of his meltdown at judges’ houses and shows it to us again. I love Rylan.

Oh God, I’ve just realised that I’ve seen all the people I vaguely like and everyone coming up is utterly boring. Yay.

First off, it’s Kye. He bemoans the lack of content in the hotel minibar. Why ARE they in a hotel this year instead of a house? Is it a product placement thing?  He goes to Mark Owen’s album recording, because apparently Mark Owen trying to have a solo career is a thing again? Er, OK. The overs all have to have enforced fun being his backing vocalists because Gary said so. And I bet they didn’t pay them, workfare exploiting tax-dodging bastards.

He’s doing ‘Man in the Mirror’. Feel the Olympic inspiration! I feel I want to be Team Kye because he’s the best chance of being the new Brookstein/Cardle and it would make me so very happy if this show got another winner like that. It’s rather boring and cheesy but as the missing link between Shayne Ward and Steve Brookstein, it’s perfect, so GO TEAM KYE!

Funsponge whines that the production team spent all the money on Rylan and Kye got nothing and next week he’ll make sure Kye gets double what he had this week. Double nothing is still nothing, Funsponge. [Also, given Kye's two previous major label deals that went nowhere, I think quite enough money's been sunk into that particular lost cause already. - Steve] Kye feels like he’s waited his whole life for that one song. Oh Kye. I do feel you could aim at least a fraction higher with your life ambitions.

Damn.  Did Dermot just say Ella was a Grimsby girl? Oh God, I hope not. *Frantic Google* Oh fuck. Well, technically she’s from Tetney and went to the one posh school in the vicinity so she doesn’t count as proper Grimsby (Verity and G4 from series one REPRESENT. Especially as I was at college with one of G4 /obligatory annual mention) but if I’m claiming Lucy as Sheffield when she’s technically from Buxton then I can’t not claim Ella as Tetney is closer to Grimsby than Buxton is to Sheffield. Oh bugger. So I’m now Teams Ella and Lucy for local pride, Team Kye for sticking it to the show when he wins and becomes embittered six months later and carps about them to Digital Spy, Team MK1 for boy/girl duo vindication, team Melanie for 70s domination and team Rylan for gaymazingness. That’s far too many acts to be supporting for my liking. I won't actually vote for any of them though, which makes me feel marginally less soiled.

Ella’s VT is interspersed with footage of Tulisa when she was younger, because Ella is young. And because it’s all about the judges. Her hair still has that awful quaffed fringe thing they did to her last week. And she’s doing ‘Rule the World’. For FUCK’S SAKE. I presume they’re saving ‘The Flood’ for one of Steve’s recap weeks. [STOP GIVING THEM IDEAS. - Steve] They gender-change the lyrics because there’ll be no lesbianity on this show (apologies Jade Ellis, but your female partner will be entirely airbrushed out of existence).

The camera angle hits her in an unfortunate place when pink light covers her face. She has the traditional ballid starry backdrop – the tune has been slowed down, and it was hardly barnstorming to begin with. There are some good notes but also quite a few duff ones, and it’s all hella boring. Still, props to her for presumably giving the Grimsby Evening Telegraph something other to write about than pretending there’s a new scheme to modernise Freeman Street.

Gary is impressed that someone made his song even more boring than he did so naturally he loved it. Nicole gives her a standing ovation. Sit the fuck down, Sherzinger, it's week one.  Don’t make me hate you. Louis thinks she’s the best female singer on the show since Leona Lewis. Somewhere, Alexandra Burke is about to cut him. Also: that implies there has been a good male singer since [/ever - Steve], which… Tulisa says she always looks confident but is nervous inside lest we think her a CONFIDENT MONSTER. We’re reminded that she is sixteen. Next up, Gary reminds us they’re forcing Carolynne down a road marked country. Her VT reminds us that she was rejected last year but conveniently sidesteps the whole Fame Academy thing, even though we see her with the long, straight hair she had back then. She says she’s 32 (i.e. a HAS-BEEN) and not SIXTEEN – but neither of them are twenty-four, so who cares, really?

She’s doing ‘Starships’. Olympian! It’s also a very odd choice for her. They slow it down to mid-tempo and couple it with a country-lite backing because all fun songs must be made boring, such is the law of Funsponge.  Her styling is very Shania. Her vocal is fine as always but I’m not sure what the point is really.

Nicole says it’s an odd song choice, although she’s a sucker for country (she looks a bit ‘ick’ as she says it though). Louis says we need a country singer on this show, because yeah, that’s a genre that goes down so well in this country, and that she’s the new Shania Twain. [Ugh. As Monkseal put it so well, trying to realign yourself as a country artist in the UK is such a baffling concept. It's such a niche genre over here, and it's a genre specifically tied to another nation and its history, so it just made Carolynne look completely desperate for a hook. I don't know what she or Funsponge were thinking, but this was a terrible idea, and that abomination of a Nicki Minaj cover was the icing on a particularly turd-like cake. - Steve] Where is Shania Twain these days anyway? Not that I’m too bothered about her being found again. Tulisa says the song choice doesn’t fit the theme. Gary says it was a better choice than a ballad – the fun in all previously fun songs must be destroyed and most ballads haven’t encountered fun in the first place. Dermot sends her off and then reminds us to vote for Ella instead. (I think this must be because the voting number earlier was wrong, but still).

Ads. Why is this thing still on?

Finally – thank fuck! It’s Jahmene. Oh bugger. Although I’m not reading too much into his pimp slot as I suspect the producers know just how creepy he is and will be happy to jettison him as an eighth place ‘shock’ boot. Unlike Rylan and James, Nicole doesn’t speak to him face to face – too scared to, I suspect – and phones in her mentoring. We’re reminded that he is nervous. He wears the worst jacket I have ever seen in my life. He confidenterviews that he wants to prove he’s not nervous.

He’s doing ‘Imagine'. It’s like my worst nightmares became flesh. Quick ranking – worst Beatles-related tracks, anyone? Mine: 1) Mull of Kintyre, 2) Imagine, 3) Hey Jude, 4) Real Love, 5) Free as a Bird (those songs they found in a drawer could have stayed hidden). [The Long And Winding Road. God, I fucking hate that song. - Steve] I also hate Jahmene but I’m too consumed by Lennon/McCartney induced rage to notice him that much, other than that he's still doing that annoying thing of screeching a million high notes in place of one actual note from the tune.

Louis says he isn’t a CONFIDENT MONSTER but has talent. Tulisa says he has the strongest male vocal this show has ever seen (probably not, but also… not much competition). Gary tells him not to over-sing. Nicole says it’s great that he doesn’t sing the way he rehearses. No, Nicole, that’s not great, that's a liability - although I guess that may be his kicking-out arc. She says he’s found his balls. He humblethanks everyone.

Dermot reminds us to vote and we have a recap: G-pers, Creepers, What’s Inside Those Keepers being bussed, James being Wand Erection’s favourite, Melanie bringing back the 70s, Lucy invoking the spirit of Fame Academy, Matalan pushing themselves to the limits of their vocals, Nervous Christopher being dull, JJ Abrams fucking up their vocals but getting the most pimped plinth of the night, Jade drowning against the backing track, NotLouis and Rylan working their magic, Kye showing a distinct lack of ambition, Ella getting the regional vote in early, Jahmene doing a hateful cover of a hateful song.

Tomorrow! Neil is back for the results show! Join me then!


Mai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mai said...

Did I mishear it (English is not my first language) or did Dermot say to Funsponge "Gary, I won't let you suck the fun from this competition?" after he criticised Rylan? If he did, he is my new favorite person on this show. Apart from Rylan himself of course. And NotLouis. And Nicole (Who I grow to love). Thank goodness she's mentoring Rylan and not Tulisa or - oh horror - Borelow himself.
But I must admit I actually quite liked Ella apart from one very bum note and Jade, too, for that matter. But since they are mentored by Tulisa, I really really don't want to like them. Can't we just have Louis and Nicole team up and mentor them all?

Rad said...

I echo that call on Louis/Nicole. Did Dermot really say that? (I'm not rewatching to check) If so, kudos to him. For a change.

Lia said...

Thank you , thank you, thank you Rad! Brilliant recap!
BTW, why the hell is Funsponge back??? Did iTV just want to annoy Simon while they were feuding?
His constant put downs and moans about Rylan during the show were verging on bullying.
He is boring and his comments make no sense. He is a self-centered hypocritical bastard. I'm not even a Rylan fan (OK, guilty pleasure and my 6-year-old loves him) but Borelow was just awful.
Sorry, just had to let it out...

StuckInABook said...

Did you ask whether or not Louis still works in the industry?! The last time he managed a group that had any chart success was in the early days of Westlife, surely?! And everyone he's ever managed hates him!

I love the idea of picking a song McFly covered for Comic Relief as a 'risky' move. Oh, Louis, how I hate and despise you...

Rad said...

I assumed he was at least still managing Jedward, but I don't know.

You have to go through the hating Louis barrier and come out on the other side like we did. Borelow and Tulisa are far more worthy targets of ire. And the producers and Simon, obviously.

seminaranalyse said...

[Tulisa's been Cheryled - this show sucked all the fun and joy out of her and turned her into a tedious egomaniac. So sad. - Steve]
I so agree with this. There are sometimes outbursts on twitter when she swears where she could be the chavy amazing judge that tells Borelow to "Fucking Shut Up" or to stop playing tactical games with her categorie or she cut him. The chavi side of her would be much more interesting then that bored robot that is mostly useless. Tulisa annoys me so much.

StuckInABook said...

I know you're right, Rad... but I don't think I'm going to get through the barrier, because I think I'm going to stop watching... maybe.

I loved The Voice's contestants, so I think I have a Borelow streak in me. Sorry!