Monday, November 26, 2012

We could have had it all, Rylan in the deep

Top 5 Results: 25th November 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Moves like Abba

Abba & Motown week: 24th November 2012

Last week: blah blah Ella's best performance to date blah blah Union J next big thing blah blah Gary wants James to win blah blah Rylan called Gary fat blah blah OH MY GOD SHOCKING BOTTOM TWO. It came down to James vs Ella, and Ella died. Or went home, or something. Given the ridiculous amount of hyperbole that followed, I'm leaning towards the former. In the wake of Ella's tragic death, we see black and white footage of the judges having a totally spontaneous crisis meeting, as Borelow complains that Rylan's taking up a space in the competition while the talented acts are going home (as always, blustering away on his high horse despite the fact that the only act remaining in his own category is so middle of the road he might as well be a cat's eye) and Louis wonders what on earth they can do after this. Meanwhile backstage, Christopher comforts Jaymi from Union J and Rylan sobs and sobs and sobs some more.

So, tonight then? Everyone does two songs to battle it out for a place in the semi-final, and vows not to let themselves get cut down in their prime like Ella (RIP). [You're not kidding.  Being from Grimsby I've had to wear the ceremonial black (and white striped - for the Mariners) armband all week - Rad]

Titles! They really ought to have prepared a more respectful version of this, with slower theme music just like when someone really important dies on EastEnders and they play 'Julia's Theme' at the end in tribute. Sadly, no one appears to have anticipated this turn of events, so it's still Giant X hurtling heedless and jauntily towards Earth. Have you no respect for the dead, Giant X? FOR SHAME.

We're live (except for the Late Lamented Ella, of course) from London, and Dermot enters to the strains of 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)'. His suit is ill-fitting as usual, but at least it's a suitably sombre hue as a mark of respect for Ella. Just to really ram home the point that we're all awful people for not voting for REAL TALENT, the production team have prepared a special America's Next Top Model-style photo montage of the Top 13, with the eliminated acts being blacked-out one by one - Ella, of course, is the biggest in this picture, and positioned directly behind Dermot, just to make sure we all get the message. I'm surprised there aren't a series of floral tributes on the stage marking the exact place where she died, but I guess that would be a health and safety hazard when the other acts have to perform. Incidentally, the acts were all positioned in order from left to right, so if we can take the order that the remaining acts have been placed in to mean anything at all, Rylan's going home next, followed by James, putting Union J in third and Christoper in second with Jahmene winning. Of course, that assumes the producers have control over how the public votes, and considering that the shameless EllaJamesJahmene pandering this year wasn't nearly as successful as MattRebeccaOneDirection a few years ago, this could all, essentially, be meaningless. Though I'm sure the show would like us to believe that all life is essentially meaningless now that Ella's gone (RIP).

So each act tonight must perform an Abba song and a Motown classic, Dermot informs us, and then it's time to introduce the judges: Gary's the only one who's even close to being appropriately dressed for a funeral, with Louis in second place (the velvet blazer's a little too snazzy). Tulisa's silver dress might just pass if it weren't quite so short in the front and if it didn't leave her baps quite so on display, and Nicole's pink wraparound number with the sort of tail thing at the back is just flat-out inappropriate. Oh, Nicole: first you allow Rylan into the competition as part of your nefarious plan to destroy REAL TALENT, and then you turn up dressed like that. It's tantamount to dancing on Ella's grave, you fiend!

Dermot asks Gary what happened last week, and Gary says that he's still in shock. He then recounts a story of all the people he's met this week who complained about Ella going home, only to admit when questioned that they hadn't voted. I think Gary's been learning a few tips from his friend David Cameron on exactly how to bump into people who happen to reinforce the exact narrative that you want to present. It's quite the talent. Tulisa has no acts left in the competition, but don't worry everyone: this means she can be properly honest now! I love how the show subtextually acknowledges that having the judges also serving as mentors essentially obliges them to be full of shit every week. Besides, Tulisa barely cared about this show when she actually had a chance of winning it; I can't imagine she's feeling all that inspired now. Louis and Nicole are not invited to contribute at this moment in time.

We begin, of course, by opening the vote lines, and then Dermot announces that it's time for the Abba part of tonight's proceedings. He pays tribute to Nicole for making X Factor history by being the first mentor ever to make it this far in the competition without losing an act. I still can't get over that - considering how much people grumbled about Nicole's choices at Judges' Houses at the time, I think it's fairly safe to say she's vindicated herself. Nicole's opening tonight with Rylan, who can't quite believe he's still here and credits Nicole for the fact that he's still here. Since Nicole can't be in America this week, Rylan announces that he and the boys are going to throw her a Thanksgiving dinner - the only problem is he's cooking. There follows a comedy VT worthly of Strictly in which Rylan and James (where's Jahmene, eh?) attempt to figure out how to cook a turkey, and after that there's a montage of hands which clearly do not belong to either Rylan or James preparing the potatoes, the stuffing, and so on. Eventually, Nicole arrives at which point Jahmene is already there (ah, so he's the guy who does none of the work preparing the party but expects to take all the credit) and they sit down to a delicious Thanksgiving meal. I'm assuming that Rylan and James had a little bit of help in the end, since I've not seen any "X Factor stars in projectile vomiting incident" headlines over the last few days. [I love any and all Nicole Scherzinger comedy VTs.  They've made all three of her contestants look good too.  I've never seen any other judge or contestant come out of such things so well before.  Nicole really looks like she enjoys hanging out with her acts, and they also seem to genuinely get on OK together as well.  I think that may be partly why they all stayed so long - Rad]

Rylan's singing 'Mamma Mia' in a poppers-o'clock remix, with a stage set made out to look like a chess board with all the dancers dressed like chess pieces. Is this a nod to the musical of Chess, also written by Benny and Björn from Abba? Either that, or it's some sort of demonic Alice In Wonderland fantasy on the part of the creative team. Vocally it's decent if unspectacular, though I admire Nicole and Rylan's restraint in actually doing one song all the way through from start to finish instead of yet another medley.

"Mamma mia, what a production!" declares Louis. He thinks it's like a Top Of The Pops Christmas Day special, and states that Rylan is not a joke act, because he could have massive hits in IBEEFA and in the dance charts. He also indulges in a bit of Barlow-baiting by calling Rylan "the people's champion". Tulisa, who's quite close to slipping a nip already, says that this is clearly the right week for Rylan to have fun, and then channels Louis by informing Rylan that it's week eight and he's still here. I think Rylan's already aware of that, Tulisa, but thanks all the same. She admits that it's a bit cheesy, but it's "my kind of cheese". Wasn't that a Michael Barrymore show back in the day? Gary says that "we need to officially declare checkmate right now", and while Rylan may not be his kind of thing, he has to respect him for sticking around this long, and the public at home for voting in a way that's allowed him to stick around. So since Gary called it "checkmate" rather than "stalemate", does that mean Rylan wins? I hope so. Nicole excitedly declares that this is the way you open a show, and wishes that she was the gel in Rylan's hair right now. She tells him she's very proud of him.

Dermot arrives and asks how it was to get (admittedly grudging) respect from Gary. Rylan says it's been a great week, as he got to go and see Mamma Mia! with his mum, and he loves being on the show even though he misses Ella (RIP). Dermot asks him if he's surprised to still be here, and Rylan says that he expected to be gone in week one, so everything beyond that is a bonus. He then congratulates Gary on his OBE (for services to boredom, no doubt) and Gary accepts the compliment surprisingly graciously.

Ad break. I don't care how much Chanel are paying him, Brad Pitt's looking a bit rough these days, isn't he?

Dermot welcomes us back and shills the app before informing us that it's time for Union J to perform. They reflect on last week, with Jaymi admitting that they went from being "the happiest people on the planet" when they got through, to being devastated when Ella (RIP) went home. There's a slightly glib reference to how they "know how it feels to be in that position" (except you're still here, so you probably don't). With the mourning period for Ella officially over, we then segue into Jaymi discussing how he came out in the papers last week, and how he didn't mention it before because he wanted to be judged as a singer, and because he doesn't think his sexuality defines him as a person. Well, good luck trying to convince the tabloids of that, gay Union J singer Jaymi Hensley. (Also, let's be honest, when you spell your name "Jaymi", I doubt many people are particularly expecting you to be heterosexual.) Josh talks about how they've been totally supportive of him throughout all of this, and JJ adds that he shouldn't have to hide who he is, and they're proud of him. George says nothing throughout this, and now I'm thinking it would be quite amusing if he's secretly BURNING with homophobic rage but just not telling anyone about it. But as soon as they finish filming this VT, he's off to sign the Coalition For Marriage, you just see if he doesn't!

They're singing 'The Winner Takes It All', and...well, it would be remiss of me not to link to Rosie Ribbons at this point, wouldn't it? Such a glorious mess, bless her. Vocally, Union J's version is a lot more on-key, with some nice harmonies, but the whole thing just feels so embarrassingly boyband by numbers, right down to the absurb amount of time they spend grabbing the hands of the girls on the front row. Also, I'm not sure they've quite grasped what the song is actually about: they're singing it so cheerfully, as if the song is written from the perspective of the winner who has just taken it all, which: no. Try again.

Tulisa tells them that the vocals were on point tonight, and the staging was simple, which is exactly what it should be. Gary says that the group just feels right, and that they sounded and looked great tonight - particularly Josh. Nicole loves the way they addressed the girls this week, and thinks they should get used to it, because that's their future. I'm assuming they'll make special arrangements to bus some twinks in for Jaymi. She congratulates Jaymi for being "courageous and strong", and applauds Josh for having a great voice. Louis says that sure, Josh and Jaymi took the lead on the vocal front, but everyone sings in this band and they work really hard, and he thinks they're following in the footsteps of JLS and One Direction. Speaking of which, I reiterate my request that since Jaymi's coming out was accompanied by the statement "every boyband needs a gay one", I think JLS and One Direction ought to have some news for us. Dermot arrives and takes Louis to task for having the boys on "boxettes" this week, but it appears that Nicole has no problem with boxettes, only boxes. Maybe I should write that down in case I forget later. Dermot goes to Creepy George to ask how they feel about the feedback, and Creepy George just laughs like a cartoon villain. So very very creepy. [You can just tell Triple J are terrified of him too.  Puppets.  Always sinister - Rad]

Next up is Jahmene, whose VT this week is all about how much he loves his mum and wants her to see what he sees in her and not feel tired and weak like she does. I'm wonder if this means we're due him dedicating an awkward and entirely inappropriate cover of 'What Makes You Beautiful' to her before the competition's over. Anyway, Jahmene's mum came down to London for a makeover, because he wanted her to have a taste of the world that he's in, in the hope that after the show he'll be able to continue to do that. Then, in the evening they went to the Empowering Women Awards, where I'm assuming BixMix won everything, because of their tireless work in Representing Wimminz Everywhere. Jahmene says that singing in front of millions of people makes his mum proud, and that's all he wants.

I'd love it if he followed all that up with something hilariously unsuitable like 'Does Your Mother Know' or 'Voulez Vous', but of course this is Jahmene we're talking about, so instead it's a typically plodding, thoroughly competent but utterly lifeless cover of 'I Have A Dream'. The final notes are a little bit out of his range and get a bit squeaky, and he's up on the Rebecca Ferguson Memorial Perspex Box the whole time, so there's not a lot of joy to be had from this performance. [Although it was dullzorz, I kind of liked that some of the notes were sung as one note rather than a thousand.  His voice can be quite nice when he doesn't overdo it - Rad]

Louis says that he doesn't think Abba is Jahmene's thing, but he sang his heart out and he's an incredible role model. He then turns to Nicole and asks why she's always putting him on the podium, "like he's Lewis Hamilton". Nicole gives that comment the response it deserves: dismissive laughter. Tulisa says it was a beautiful performance and that he has the strongest voice in the competition. Presumably the subtext of that is "NOW THAT ELLA'S GONE, ANYWAY (RIP)." Incidentally, there's a really weird shadow on Jahmene's head the whole time he's getting his feedback - I assume it's the microphone on the perspex box, but it does just look like the picture's corrupted every time they cut to him. Gary says that the video with Jahmene's mum was lovely, and the first thing he did when he became successful was make sure his mum and dad had a nice house and were well looked-after, which he's sure Jahmene is going to do as well. He thought the ad libs weren't as on point as normal, but he's looking forward to Jahmene's next performance. Nicole says it wasn't another great performance, for her it was THE performance, and she thought it was like he was saying a prayer and including all of them.

Dermot arrives and earns his wages by shifting Jahmene subtly away from THE SHADOW, and asks Jahmene how that was for him. Jahmene admits that he was nervous tonight, but beams that his mum was in the audience, and tells her that he loves her "unconditionally". He says he's going to hopefully step it up every week. My god, it's like interviewing one of those internet chat bots, isn't it? Everything he says just about makes sense syntax-wise, but it's all just so stilted and unlike how actual people talk.

Ads. I see they've shifted over to pimping One Direction in the bumpers now.

When we return, it's time for James Arthur. In his VT, Nicole breathily tells him that she's so glad he's still here. James admits he thought he was going when it went to deadlock last week, and while he's happy to still be here, he didn't want Ella to have to die for that to happen. He informs Nicole that he wants it more than ever now, and he wants to be in the final and win it for Ella. Maybe after he wins they can duet from beyond the grave? I mean, it works for Tupac. He talks about how he never expected to be a part of The X Factor, but he feels a huge achievement for just having made it this far.

He's singing 'S.O.S.', which is an interesting choice - I guess because despite James's unique way of singing, there's no way he can sound as uncomfortable with this song as Pierce Brosnan did. I'm not mad about the staging - there's a video of him singing playing on the big screen behind him, but it doesn't appear to sync up with what's actually happening on the stage. Vocally it's decent enough though.

Louis opens by saying that it would've been a real tragedy if James had gone out of the competition last week (even though Louis voted to send him home), and says that he loves what he did with the song because "I never thought that angst and Abba would work so well." Jesus, Louis, where have you been? Have you never heard 'The Winner Takes It All'? 'One Of Us'? 'Super Trouper'? 'Knowing Me, Knowing You'? Practically half of Abba's oeuvre is bitter break-up songs or songs about how miserable touring is. Tulisa tells James that his talent lies in being able to take a classic and Completely Make It His Own to the point where she barely recognised it. Steady on, Tulisa, it still had the same tune and all of the same words. If all it takes for you to not recognise a song is for it to be grunted and accompanied by an acoustic guitar, your position on this show might be untenable. She says that she wants either him or Jahmene to win, but she thinks that even if James doesn't win, he'll sell more records than any of the others. Gary says it must have been tempted to come back this week and be safe and conform, and yet by doing exactly what he does every week, James didn't do any of that. Yeah, sure, that makes sense. Nicole tells James that he's ridiculous because he takes everyone else's songs and makes them better, so he's the gamechanger, so she hopes she won't see him in the bottom two again.

Dermot arrives and asks James how important it was for him to come out and "do his own thing" tonight, and James says it was, and he's just happy to be able to come back and do it his way. I wonder how the judges (and indeed Dermot) would cope if they had to go an entire week without discussing James using the words "making it your own", "doing your own thing" or "doing it your way". I think they'd be lost. They'd probably just sit there waving giddily. [Or offering him the Samaritans' phone number - Rad]

Our final act for the Abba part of the proceedings is Christopher Maloney, who says that last week was amazing because he loved his song and he even got quite good comments from the judges - though of course, being Christopher, he phrases it as "it's about time they gave me some good comments!" Oh, Christopher. Obviously he was upset last week when Ella died, but he feels like people are overlooking the real tragedy: HE'S GETTING ALL THE BACKLASH. Even though the public are keeping him in, and he works harder than everybody else! Honestly, we should all be ashamed of ourselves. In fact, we should all go and vote for Christopher five times each as penance. This week he's singing 'Fernando', and Gary tells him that they need to do it properly, because he "saw Agnetha, who's the blonde girl, six weeks ago". Okay: first of all, Agnetha Fältskog is 62, so I think we should be past calling her a "girl" by this point. Second of all: unless Agnetha has been following you around ever since, I should imagine you're safe because I doubt she gives a rat's ass. Gary advises him to work on his timing and not to rush the song. I dunno, I think there are quite a few viewers who would be happy if Christopher got through his performances as quickly as possible.

So Christopher is singing while surrounded by a load of waxy contemporary dancers in bathing costumes because reasons, and basically just bellowing the song as loudly as possible, because loud is better than good. I mean, vocally there was nothing particularly wrong with it, and if it's the sort of thing you enjoy listening to then more power to you, but personally I feel like I gained absolutely nothing from that.

Nicole tells Christopher that it was a lovely theatrical piece with very good vocals, but it was "a little bit of a snoozer for me". She does concede, however, that he works hard. Louis says it was like something from Abba: The Musical. So...Mamma Mia!, then? He blathers on, "poor Fernando! There was something definitely in the air that night." He wonders what the point was of all the topless men, and says he's glad Christopher kept his top on. "Anything about the vocals?" asks Gary acidly, and Louis says that he's a good vocalist. "Try including that in your critique, that's what we're here for," Gary snits. Louis goes on about poor Fernando a bit more, and Tulisa needs a minute to compose herself after all this lunacy. When she's got it together, she tells Christopher that the staging was creepy, and that was her big problem with it - she thought he sounded very good focally, but the staging kept making her laugh. Gary says it's another great performance, and passive-aggressively apologises for all the other judges' comments.

Dermot arrives and asks Christopher if he would've considered going topless. Thankfully, Christopher says no. Dermot asks if the staging was in fact not Christopher's fault, and Louis chimes in that it's Gary's, leading Gary to crack a joke that Christopher wore the wrong costume because he had "a swimwear" put by for him. Yeah, Dermot's just done that joke, Gary. Christopher says he enjoyed the performance and he just tried to do the best he could for Abba week.

After a recap of the first batch of performances and an ad break (which promises the terrifying prospect of Steppin' Out With Katherine Jenkins), it's time for the Motown part of the proceedings, which means Dermot doing some embarrassing dad-dancing to 'Let's Get It On'. Yowzer.

Union J are on first this time around, and it's time for the Product Placement Tablet to come out as they reflect on their performances across the competition as a whole. Josh talks about how they've been in the bottom two twice, but they've always come back fighting, and it's taken them all this time to find out who they were as performers. They're doing 'I'll Be There' by the Jackson 5, who Jaymi admits are "the biggest boyband ever", so there's quite a lot of pressure on that front. Because obviously, singing songs by Abba was a piece of piss, I mean what did Abba ever achieve in their lives, eh? Eh?

They do with the song exactly what you're expect a boyband to do: they stand behind microphones and bop around a bit feebly, while occasionally pointing into the audience. Jaymi and Josh take lead vocals again, and despite the best efforts of the fireworks in the background, the performance never really lights the place up. It's competent enough, but it's nothing we haven't all seen many, many times before.

Tulisa says it's been a "killer night" for them, and this is their best night in the competition. Gary liked it, but he thinks they had a massive opportunity with Motown because that's where the very idea of boybands were born - but they didn't really take that opportunity. I'm not entirely sure what he's claiming that they did wrong or didn't do enough of, to be honest. Nicole thinks "all the little girls will beg to differ right now", and all of the grown women in the audience scream right on cue. Nicole loves that song, and she thinks the boys did a beautiful job with it - she likes that they don't try to be anything that they're not. Louis tells them it was their best vocal performance, and asks Gary if he's deaf. He says they're a vocal harmony band and they didn't want to play it safe tonight. Quite what he thinks is so daring about a fairly drippy by-numbers cover of 'I'll Be There' is a question for the ages.

Dermot goes back to Gary to asks him to expand on his criticism, but Gary just says he was looking for something more creative. Thanks for the constructive feedback, Gary! Jaymi responds on behalf of the band and says that they've really found how they are as a band, and presumably they've found that they are fairly unexciting, so they did a fairly unexciting cover. So there!

From there, we go to a classic "ahh, live TV" moment as Nicole goes to introduce her next act, but doesn't know which camera she's meant to be looking into. Dermot doesn't know either, so Nicole just picks a camera at random - the wrong camera, as it happens - and introduces James Arthur. Which would be fine, except the VT that cues up next is Rylan's. B'oh!

Again, they're reviewing on his performances on the Product Placement Tablet, and Rylan admits that he didn't know what he was doing on the first week - and while he probably doesn't know much more now, at least he's having fun. Rylan's done so many songs that he's basically forgotten half of them, but all the same it's been a very enjoyable process. Sadly, he's going back to the well of medleys for Motown, although at least he's doing The Supremes. Nicole encourages him to embrace his inner rainbow and not be dull and grey like everyone else.

Rylan takes this to heart, of course, and turns up in a yellow and pink suit singing 'Baby Love' followed by a gaggle of neon-clad dancers. They walk through the audience and when they get to the stage, the song turns into 'Stop! In The Name Of Love'. There's a strange, animated Rylan face dancing on the screen behind them - it's not quite as terrifying as Christopher Maloney's laser eyes from last week, but it's still fairly unnerving. The next song to get Rylanised is 'You Keep Me Hanging On', which could be interpreted as a bid to get sent home, but who knows?

Louis tells Rylan that he likes him, but he's not sure that "Motown, Rylan style" worked and he didn't enjoy it as much as he normally does. Tulisa thinks it's good to hear some more of his vocals tonight, but it wasn't his most exciting performance - though she still liked to see a different side of him, and he deserves to be here because people are voting for him. Gary giggles that he can't quite cope with Rylan twice in one night, and calls the performance "Eurovision-y". Of course Gary hates Eurovision. Of course he does. He does give credit for the inventive visuals, but it was too Eurovision for him. "You look a little bit different tonight, James Arthur!" says Nicole brightly (a nice save), and then apologises that "the sheet was messed up and so was my mind." She tells Rylan that he's a breath of fresh air and brings the stage to life whenever he performs, and she says that everyone who doesn't love him is "well jel". She thanks all the "humans" who vote for him.

Dermot arrives and makes sure to clarify that Rylan is not James Arthur. "Well, I thought I was," quips Rylan. Dermot shows off Rylan's multi-coloured shoes covered in bright bobbles, and almost pulls Rylan right off his feet in the process. Dermot's surprisingly strong for such a wee man.

After the break: James Arthur. For real this time, honest.

When we return, Dermot's in the audience with the families. He chats briefly to Jahmene's mum, who is clearly not confident with public speaking, before moving on to Rylan's best friend (who looks alarmingly like Rylan) and Christopher's nan, who is still nowhere near Alesha's nans in the all-time ranking of reality TV contestant nans, so let's just keep moving.

Then it's time for the real James Arthur, who looks back over his performances on the Product Placement Tablet much as everyone else has done. They both agree that his Kelly Clarkson effort in week one wasn't a good idea, but things got back on track with Mary J Blige in week two. They both agree as they rewatch his cover of 'Sexy And I Know It' that no one can say they've played it safe in the competition. James thought his performance last week was his best one yet, but says that the public obviously didn't agree, and Nicole trots out the obligatory "they just thought you and Ella (RIP) were safe!" James is glad that he's got a chance to do two songs this week, and for Motown he's doing 'Let's Get It On' to showcase his falsetto, which he hopes will impress people.

Indeed, his falsetto is pretty decent. This song as a whole is, I think, probably the most comfortable he's ever sounded, vocally-speaking. He's not doing anything particularly elaborate with it arrangement-wise, but it works. There's one extended high note that gets more strangulated the longer it lasts, but that's the only real misstep here.

Louis tells him that was the vocal performance of the night, and he's a real world-class talent. Tulisa says that only he could get away with singing that song. Yes, Marvin Gaye's entire career has truly been hamstrung by reviews that went along the lines of "hmm, it's all right, but we really need James Arthur to sing it in 2012 before we can take that seriously." She tells him it was sexy and cheeky and she's sure the ladies loved it. Gary says it was another great vocal, and that while it's easy to compare him to Ed Sheeran and Plan B (Plan B? Really?), the only real similiarity is that fans of those artists will be buying his records soon. Nicole thinks it's safe to say that a lot of babies will be conceived tonight in James's name. Well, that's better than any being conceived because of Fifty Shades Of Grey, I suppose.

Dermot asks if that's the song James plays when he woos the ladies, and a visibly uncomfortable James says that yes, it is indeed.

Ad break. There's a new Motown compilation album out! Fancy that...

When we return, it's time for the final performance from the boys' category for tonight, so it's Jahmene. Jahmene says that he's been a big fan of Motown ever since he was born, because that's what his mother used to play, and he's glad to be able to sing that this week. Nicole thinks Jahmene shines when he sings songs that he loves, like when he sang Etta James in his audition. Hey, let's review that on the Product Placement Tablet! (Except Jahmene has his thumb over the brand name logo, so let me sort that out: SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SAMSUNG. Now I just have to sit back and wait for the cheque to arrive.)

Jahmene's singing 'Tracks Of My Tears', while standing on another box - except this time he has giant Broadway-style lit-up letters in front of him spelling out his name. It looks at first as though he's actually standing in the brow of the M, which would've been amazing (if probably rather uncomfortable), but sadly, it's just a trick of perspective. This style of music arguably suits Jahmene's voice very well, but it's still not that exciting to actually listen to. The thing with Jahmene is that he does perfectly adequate covers, but I don't understand why you wouldn't just go and listen to the original rather than listen to any of his versions a second time.

Louis tells Jahmene he's getting better week by week, and says that if Berry Gordy were still signing artists today, he'd be signing Jahmene. He gets the now-requisite "brilliant recording voice", and Louis guarantees that he'll be in the final. Tulisa tells him that it wasn't her favourite performance, but it was still at such a high standard, and that the fact that she can't fault it even though it wasn't her favourite speaks volumes. Gary tells Jahmene that he can imagine his records sounding like this, on an "Amy Winehouse tip, totally your area". Something tells me Gary's never listened to an Amy Winehouse song particularly closely. Nicole tells Jahmene that he's a little prince of Motown, and it was a beautiful performance - what people don't see is where he starts on a Monday and how far he comes before the performance on a Saturday.

Dermot asks Jahmene if he's happy with that, and Jahmene says he's planning to bring Motown back. Dermot turns to Nicole and seeks clarification: boxes are bad, but giant Ms are good? Apparently they are. See, I said it was a good idea to write that down.

And for our final performance of the night: "get out of your seats, it's Christopher Maloney!" That's the most sensible advice I've ever heard, although "leave the room entirely" would've been a lot less ambiguous. Like everyone else, Christopher reviews his own performances on the Product Placement Tablet, and decides, naturally, that he's brilliant and getting better and better. Gary warns him that they're at the sharp end of the chorus, and one badly-sung verse could see him going home.

Christopher's chosen to sing 'Dancing On The Ceiling', and I don't understand why anyone would ever choose that when they have the whole of Motown at their disposal, but then there's a lot about Christopher Maloney that I do not and probably never will understand. Gary declares it "the ultimate party song". I'm assuming that most of Borelow's parties only last for the duration of one song because he can't really cope with any more fun than that. As for the performance itself, Christopher's dressed like a bouncer and bellowing again, while surrounded by dancers in glittery silver outfits. He attempts a bit of crowd-rousing in the final few choruses, but the response seems fairly muted.

Nicole compliments his energy on the performance, but then goes into possibly the most bizarre simile ever used on this show (no mean feat in itself): "I'm more of a Coco Pops girl that is drowning in fat-full milk, and you are giving me vanilla skimmed milk on top of a cornflake, like a single cornflake." Apparently that means she's looking for soul and not seeing any. Sure, why not? Louis tells him that he's singing well, and that he's the people's champion. Didn't he say that to Rylan at the start of the evening? At least Louis and I are on the same page - we're both so exhausted by this series at this point that we're running out of anything at all to say that hasn't already been said a million times. Tulisa agrees that Christopher sang well, but she doesn't always believe what he's singing - it's too much like someone putting on a show, and she felt like that performance was more dated than the song itself. Gary says that he's feeling uncomfortable with the criticism that Christopher's getting "both during the week and on the show", and says that he's developed so much - he's moved from ballids to uptempo songs and everything!

Dermot asks Christopher what he makes of Nicole's cereal-based critique, and Christopher says that he didn't really understand, at which point Nicole cackles and says that "no one ever does, honey, it's all right". Well, at least one judge on the panel this year has some self-awareness. Dermot asks him about the lack of connection that Tulisa mentioned, and Christopher says that he's staying true to himself and to the people that are voting him in. I love how he just always mentions the people voting him in so defensively every time he gets criticised. Dermot piles on, pointing out that he says that every week and asking exactly what he means, and Christopher says that he really feels he's come a long way from his first audition with Gary's help. Dermot's like "yeah, sure, whatever, I've got to read out the numbers now."

That's it, then. Tomorrow night, one more act will be going home/dying forever. I'd say that Rylan's time is finally up, but I've been saying that for weeks. Really, at this point the only person he stands any chance whatsoever of beating in the sing-off is Christopher, so he'd better hope the public are backing him because any other outcome will see him going straight home. I think the odds are very much in favour of Nicole having at least one act in the bottom two tomorrow - though Jahmene's probably safe and James should have a bottom two bounce. Either way, join me back here soon for the results in all their (somewhat muted) glory.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Big Boot and the Henderson

Top 6 Results Show: 18 November 2012

Last night!  Ella turned yet another pop song (‘You’re the One That I Want’) into a funereal dirge, everyone else did the same thing as they usually do, except James Arthur who was almost a tiny bit happy rather than utterly miserable.  But I do only mean a tiny bit.  Rylan burned Funsponge something good and probably earned himself a lot of votes in the process and CHRISTOPHER’S GIANT MOSAIC HEAD WITH LASER BEAM EYES happened.

Tonight!  Six become five!  Hooray!  But it means that next week they’ll be on two songs apiece!  Boo!
Incidentally, my parents were over for the Strictly and X Factor results shows and told me they don’t really watch The X Factor, just stick it on fast forward and listen to bits of the songs.  They kind of hate everyone but vaguely support Ella because she’s local.

We open with Dermot stood in the middle of a circle of all the contestants who have their backs to him.  So it’s not just us who’ve gone right off him.  It also serves to highlight just what a sausage-fest this series has been.  Still, I suppose once BixMix had done the job of REPRESENTING WIMMINZ EVERYWHERE there was not much else left for female contestants to do.  After a recap, we’re told that TONIGHT THE FUN ENDS HERE.  I’d say the fun ended when Borelow was appointed as a judge, personally.  Interestingly, all the acts seem to have lost surnames tonight.  Did that happen yesterday without me noticing?  (Not going back to check, sorry).  Tonight!  Alicia Keys, purveyor or turgid ballids, and tedious hat-twat Olly MURS.  Why, show, you are spoiling me.  (If this had been at WEMBLEY as well I would simply have refused to recap it).
Cue titles!  Oh, Giant X, as you shimmy through the sky, are you dreaming of turgid ballids, or do you long for better things?

The judges enter, with Nicole wearing a bondage style outfit and blowing us a huge kiss because we’re all just her bitches now, let’s face it.
The group song took me forever to recognise, it’s Tulisa’s ‘Young’ and she smugfaces throughout although I don’t know why because it’s even more insipid than that awful Owl City.Carly Rae Jepsen thing they did the other week (Call Me Maybe is a great single, sure, but Owl City… notsomuch).  Union J are very out of tune.  Surprise.  That said, no-one sings this very well.  They really need to get back to miming these things.

Another recap of last night because we didn’t just have one of those before the credits.  Gary is shown loving pretty much everyone (except Rylan) which suggests they’re all doing something wrong.  Christopher snarks that he won’t buy Tulisa’s album.  The contestants seem to have got surnames again.  Dermot asks if Gary/Rylan is the new Gary/Robbie.  Gary says he was wearing a nice suit last night.  Well, nice in the sense that it was less godawful than usual, perhaps.  Dermot tells Nicole that if she gets all her acts through tonight she’ll be the first judge ever to do that.  TEAM NICOLE FOREVER.  If it happens, she will thank ‘all of the lovely humans of the UK’ – true proof that she is a god and not a mere mortal like us?
First guest… Olly FUCKING MURS.  Somehow he’s sold over 5 million records and had two double platinum albums and three number ones.  I will concede that Heart Skips a Beat and Dance With Me are infuriatingly catchy.  Everything else was abysmal.  He has his name in the background.  His new single sounds like a rip-off of this mixed with something I can’t quite place but will no doubt wake me up at four this morning and result in me frantically editing this blog.  He’s still as annoying as ever – I absolutely cannot watch The Xtra Factor because of him, by the way.  I heard some amazing things happened on it but I can’t comment on them. Steve was watching it, though, so maybe he’ll oblige. [It was mainly Tulisa being a mardy cow. I think you had to be there really. - Steve] Olly shills his new single, but unlike the other special guests, doesn’t endores James Arthur.  That’s how you know Olly is only a pretend pop star.

Ads.  You can win a competition to go to the Maldives and see JLS.  I miss JLS.  I’d take Yellow over Other J any day of the week.  HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY.
Dermot closes the phone lines nd goes to talk to the contestants.  Rylan is wearing a gold lame jacket pulled down to his navel.  Dermot reminds us he talked back to Gary and asks how it felt.  Rylan said ‘the Barlow felt firm and tight’.  We all know he’s a Tightpants, Rylan, otherwise he’d actually pay some tax.  Dermot says Rylan’s mentor has clearly rubbed off on him.  PERV.  Union J are told they can’t have any more pledges.  Scott-Lee J says ‘scout’s honour’ and Other J attempts to become the new Resentful J by snarking ‘whatever that is’.  James looks miserable that Gary has endorsed him, as well he might, whereas Christopher seems avidly pleased by it.  Dermot reminds Jahmene and Ella they haven’t been in the bottom two.  CUE SHOCK BOOT AMIRITE?

Our second guest next: Alicia Keys.  She’s sold 30 million albums… and ITVPlayer went all pixelated so I can’t tell you much else other than baliid ballid ballid.  Her new song appears to be a tribute to Katniss’s fire outfit in the Hunger Games and is devoid of anything approaching a tune – and even what there is appears to be beyond her. [It's odd - I did wonder if it had perhaps been composed for The Hunger Games movie and ultimately rejected. - Steve] Therefore, I presume she feels right at home on this show.  Honestly, I think I’d rather hear Jahmene again than hear this a third time.  I’d even rather have Olly again.  Dermot asks her when she’s touring – May, apparently.  She also doesn’t get to express her love for James Arthur.  What could possibly have gone wrong?
Ads.  Download the performances because HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Results time!  The first act safe is Union J (Louis looks completely shocked) – and the four who’ve always been safe suddenly look really nervous - and the second safe is Rylan (who goes mental).  So this is an interesting turn of events – both bottom two places being taken by someone who hadn’t been there before, and at least one of them will come from the three most favoured.  I am assuming Ella, but I thought Rylan would have been down there too, so I’m really unsure who will join her.  Safe…. Jahmene… and, after an eternity, Christopher (to a chorus of boos) – meaning James and Ella are in the sing-off and the final just got potentially more interesting.
Essentially this is going to be a foregone conclusion, as Gary will save James and Louis Ella, taking it to his favourite place of all, FUCKING DEADLOCK, and the voting leaks throughout the series have suggested Ella isn’t doing that well.  Still, we must go through the formalities… Nicole gives James a huge hug then Tulisa sees this and launches herself on Ella who doesn’t reciprocate.

Ads.  I adore Christmas more than anything else in the world pretty much (even Kylie) but it still feels far too far away to think about, even though I know it isn’t.
Sing-off time!  Ella is up first, and in the stroppiest voice you have heard this side of your nearest toddler, Tulisa moans ‘here’s a girl who does not deserve to be in the bottom two tonight, it’s my little star Ella Henderson’.  She’s singing Daniel Bedingfield’s ‘If You’re Not The One’ which is a hard song for Daniel Bedingfield himself to sing, and one that rarely comes out well in a cover because it’s got such a huge range.  Ella tries valiantly to do the same performance she does every week, but the low notes are out of tune and the high notes are pretty squeaky and the lyrics speak of imminent doom. 

James is next, and Nicole introduces him as one of the greatest talents on the X Factor, ‘James effin’ Arthur’.  I heard she had to do a full on Dannii Minogue mea culpa for saying ‘effing’, after the watershed, when it isn’t even an effing swearword.  Stupid ITV. [On the bright side, she phrased it as "I'm sorry for my effing", which was amazing. - Steve] He's doing ‘Falling’, presumably because someone had to in honour of our very special guest Alicia Keys.  It’s not amazing – the song really doesn’t work for him even though it is a girls’ song as that’s all he has in his repertoire.  Get some yellow trousers on James!  It worked for Matt Cardle!  It’s a bit screechy in places and goes a bit mental with him just screaming ‘I love you’ over and over, which isn’t even how the song goes.  I love how favoured artists always lose it in the sing-off whilst underrated artists and/or the doomed tend to pull something out of the bag.
Dermot goes over to Tulisa who says people are voting for the wrong people and people aren’t voting for the people they want to save.  Yes they are, Tulisa.  The people they want to save are Jahmene and Christopher and sometimes Union J and Rylan.  Nicole says it’ll be a tragedy as James and Ella are two of the most talented people.  She tells Ella she’s meant for the stars – both Tulisa and Nicole save their own, of course.  Louis says he hates seeing Tulisa and Nicole brokenhearted. ALL ABOUT THE ACTS.  After a typical Walsh fluster, he sends home James.  Borelow whines that ‘it’s serious’ and repeats the nonsense that this is a ‘singing competition’ and that the staging doesn’t matter.  He obviously sends home Ella and takes it to deadlock, and to no-one’s real surprise, despite the hyoerbolic headlines directly afterwards, Ella is the one on her way.

She smiles and gives James a big hug and he cries.  Tulisa has a strop on and launches herself at Ella.  Way to make it all about you, Tulisa.  Ella says everyone deserves to be in the family and thanks the audience and it’s all very calm and measured and much more mature than her SIXTEEN years – and her mentor who just keeps snapping that its ridiculous, whilst Ella rolls her eyes in a ‘you’re so embarassing’ kind of way.  She says she’s grown a lot as a person and a performer and will take that with her.  She won’t take any best bits though – were they running over time?  So farewell then, Ella – you were boring as hell, but you could mostly sing and you were local so I have a grudging loyalty to you, plus, like so many other acts this year, you took your exit an awful lot better than your mentor did.  (So, seeing as Christopher is the PEOPLE'S CHOICE and not a 'proper' member of Borelow's Credible Overs, that means neither Gary or Tulisa have any acts left.  And Nicole has ALL THREE - more than everyone else put together.  HAHAHAHAHA.*)
Next week!  TOTAL SAUSAGEFEST!  And everyone gets to sing two songs!  Poor old Steve will have to suffer that, so join him then.

*I know Lucy didn't get booted out but sshhhh.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sixcrime (2012)

Top 6 perform: 'Guilty Pleasures' week 

17 November 2012 

Last week!  We learned that the ‘best’ of British music is a load of turgid old ballids!  The bus they’d been trying so hard to shove at District 3 since week one finally reached its destination!  And Helen recapped it all for your pleasure!

This week!  It’s that most offensive of all themes, Guilty Pleasures – but I’ve made my opinions on such matters clear before so moving on… every judge has one act left, except Queen of All Things Nicole who has ALL THREE – that’s as many as the other three put together.  Amazing.  (Even if one is Jahmene)  Also amazing?  That this is the shortest show ever – only six performances!  Hooray!

Cue Giant X!

Dermot enters to ‘Holding Out for a Hero’.  Suitwatch: purply – although that may just be the lights.  Ugly, obviously.  He has on Hammer pants and a group of dancers rip them off him as 'U Can’t Touch This' plays. [Even the Hammer pants looked boxy. - Steve] The judges enter to ‘The One and Only’.  Nicole has an origami tribute to Giant X emblazoned across her boobs.  Otherwise their costuming is somewhat unremarkable.  Dermot reminds us that Nicole is the best mentor ever and opens the phone lines.

Up first it’s “Josh, JJ, Jorge and Jaymi”.  For no reason other than product placement, I presume, they’re off to Disneyland Paris.  The boys are in awe about being in a FORRIN COUNTRY as if EuroDisney isn’t entirely full of Brits.  They perform on some fugly fake ice stage with a big ‘20’in the background.  As twentieth anniversary celebrations go, it’s all a bit… cheap.

Bless them, they’ve all come dressed as Dermot in an array of ugly suits as they do ‘Call Me Maybe’.  The One Direction memorial autotune backing vocals are present and correct; Scott-Lee J is still getting the bulk of the vocal; I would still struggle to pick Other J out of a line-up; George’s creepy puppet smile is still present and correct; there is a plinth. Essentially, it’s Union J by numbers.

Tulisa whines that she hates the song – surely doing songs some people might hate is the point of the theme week?  Anyway, she whines about it some more.  And then again. Borelow likes their ugly suits.  He would.  Nicole is sick of seeing them on plinths - although she calls them boxes.  Poor the plinths!  After all their hard work over these past few years.  And to be compared to a lowly box?  Surely the biggest insult of all?  Then everyone mentions them ‘winning’ the ‘battle of the boybands’ like that was ever even a proper thing.

Ads!  Aled Jones is on Daybreak?  So their entire cast is looking like a Strictly reunion these days? [Lorraine Kelly for Strictly 2013! Hey, a boy can dream. - Steve]

Ella is next. She loved performing in Paris but was worried that ‘people in France’ might not know who they were. [Given the results of this week's phone vote, she should probably be more worried about the people in the UK not knowing or caring. - Steve] See above for the comments on Brits at EuroDusney.  She also went to the Twilight premiere.  Because she is SIXTEEN and a GIRL, Ella is a big Twilight fan.  None of the men went, apparently (whoops, spoiler).

As for her performance, she’s doing the same ballid dirge she always does, except this time it has the lyrics of ‘You’re the One That I Want’ (which is a duet missing a duetting partner, not for the last time tonight).  It’s like Ella is chronically afraid of anything with a vague tempo, isn’t it? 

Unsurprisingly, Funsponge loves it.  Nicole said her favourite Ella performance was ‘Believe’ because that song touched her, as a big o’ fag hag, but this one was a shit choice.  Still, Ella has a nice voice and is SIXTEEN.  Fun facts: If Grease were made today, it would be set in the 1990s.  THINK ON THAT.

Louis then calls Tulisa a WAG because of that footballer she’s meant to be seeing and Tulisa snarks back that she’s a WAF: ‘Was Always Famous’.  That's not a thing.  What does that EVEN MEAN?  I don’t even…  I mean WAG is not a term I like and I find it generally offensive, but it was even used for Victoria Beckham and HRH Cheryl, so if the tabloids are going to use it for them, Tulisa, then... I’m also a bit disappointed there was no lame ‘wag-ash-breath’ type comment. [Also, the general idea that most of the public could've picked Tulisa out of a line-up 18 months ago...yeah. - Steve]

James is next, and he mumblevoices about really wanting it, in that same voice he’d use to say he really wants to go to the dentist.  His VT is about him having a ‘bromance’ (*insert a few seconds’ gap for everyone to do an ‘I hate that word’ rant*) with Rylan, who is helping him see the lighter  side of life, all in monotone – although not so light that he can speak with any expression.

James is worried he won’t get a recording contract if he doesn’t win.  Oh James.  I’d be more worried about the record contract you’d end up with if you DO.

He’s doing ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’.  The internet tells me this is the Lauryn Hill version, so his Cardle trajectory of singing women’s songs continues apace.  The arrangement is vaguely reggaeish with a second guitarist and a djembe player and James himself on the Journey South memorial guitar of irrelevance.  It’s – by his standards – somewhat upbeat and almost happy.  Staging-wise, he’s surrounded by projections of TV monitors featuring himself which is somewhat unnerving… or at least I thought at the time, before I saw THE THING THAT IS COMING IN A COUPLE OF SONGS’ TIME.  I quite liked this performance though – primarily because it wasn’t that ballidy and was a little bit less miserable than usual, making him the only act of this lot to have vaguely changed from his usual schtick.  Hey, it’s slim pickings this year, alright?

Louis says he’s a ready made artist and will definitely get a record deal. Tulisa says he is credible and cool, like an unsigned act in Camden.  So a total try-hard hipster who can’t get a record deal then?  Harsh words, Tulisa.  Gary  says he loves him, and leaving aside his own act (as he would dearly love to), he wants James to win and he loves everything about him.  Nicole says ‘we can’t take our eyes off you’ (to groans) and that he stripped everything back for his performance.

Dermot says ‘Barlow, you’ve opened yourself up to a world of pain’ – Maloney shaped pain?  Dermot mentions acoustic thing, James wonders if it’s ever been done before – a totally live acoustic performance – what, in the history of forever, James?  Yes, I’d think so.  MTV used to run a whole series of them, back in the days when the M stood for music. [Also, didn't Dermot himself used to host a whole series of them in the early days of BBC3, or am I misremembering that? - Steve] Assuming he means this show, I’m not sure if that’s a subtle burn on Union J or on Journey South and their memorial guitar of irrelevance and all those who’ve used it since (rest in peace Matt Cardle and a legion of other brunette anoniwhiteblokes).

Dermot reads out a tweet from Ed Balls telling Tulisa off as Carly Rae Jepsen is the hit of 2012.  This is the cue for Nicole to runs with this – screaming VOTE FOR BALLS as loud as she can.  You asked for that one, Dermot.  (Ed Balls then tweeted Nicole in a slightly creepy way asking her to ‘call me maybe’, so he’s probably been blocked by now.  Was he playing the drinking game tonight, do we think?) 

Dermot asks the judges their guilty pleasures?  Nicole says 'Push It', and sings it and dances about.  Not in the least bit guilty as a pleasure, but then we’ve had this argument before.  Funsponge says ‘Rick Astley’, although he doesn’t name the song.  I bet it’s ‘Hold Me in Your Arms’.  That seems like the kind of fun level he could cope with.  Tulisa votes for the Backstreet Boys.  Tulisa suggests Louis’ might be N-Dubz.  Louis says he’s never heard of them as he doesn’t have urban roots.  Heh.  But also, poor Mark One.   He says he has two guilty pleasures: Englebert Humperdink and Take That.  Funsponge tries to take umbrage but fails because he has no legs to stand on.

Rylan is up next.  He reminds us that last week he basically achieved all his life ambitions: he skydived, met Geri Halliwell and did the Spice Girls on the show and it was the best week of his life.  They mention some holiday park or other he’s going to this week and he and Nicole try to speak ‘French’.  Nicole’s contribution: ‘bonjour; japelle’.  Bless. 

At EuroDisney, Rylan says ‘literally’ thousands of people came up to him and people gave him their babies to hold, ‘like I was a childminder’ and he hopes the children vote as he didn’t drop any of them and he deserves votes just for that.  Love him.  He then, seemingly apropos of nothing, says he was in boyband in Ibeefa called 4bidden ‘cos we were well cool’.  He says that this week Paris had Rylan style, so ‘watch out he’s gone international’.  He’s a bit worried about working with props this week. Nicole says she doesn’t care if things go wrong and he’s bleeding, the show must go on and then she tells him to drop and give her ten.  Love these two.

We open with some Zovirax people (or Slabs for Doctor Who fans) dancing about before he comes on in a white PVC jumpsuit with lights up the legs and arms.  He’s performing a somewhat uncomfortable medley of Girls on Film and When Will I Be Famous?  There is a bevy of male and female backing dancers in lycra with him and then there are some treadmills, which the dancers drape themselves all over as well as doing a few half arsed moves that aren’t exactly OK Go.  They’re not even that Berocca ad.  Or that time they did the OK Go video as a task on Big Brother.  NotLouis would have made them work a LOT harder, is what I’m saying.  Speaking of NotLouis, I heard Demi Lovato was slagging him off to the press.  Bad Demi.  (OK, I know we didn’t exactly get his genius at first, but we’ve long since seen the error of our ways).  Back to Rylan, and he’s lifted aloft at the end and does the Brucie thinker pose, with 'Rylan Style' projected on the back screen – guess they’re allowed to use it now after they cut that bit out of his YouTube 'Gangnam Style' performance.

Louis loved it, and gives the time-honoured ‘you haven’t got a great voice but you’re a great performer’ routine.  Tulisa said wasn’t one of her favourite performances of his as this should have been his week and it was a bit of a comedown from last week.  What she really means is she loved the Spice Girls but is too young for Duran Duran/Bros. Rylan just thanks her anyway, bless him.  Borelow says the good news is he is famous, the bad news is ‘give it a couple of months’ – sure, but the same is true of all the contestants.  Rylan’s comeback? ‘A couple of weeks’.  Love him. 

Nicole asks which other contestant can sing and do a full body workout at the same time and says he takes a risk every week unlike some of the other contestants.  She wants everyone at home and even their babies to vote for him as he is shamazeballs.  Rylan says to Borelow that other people who do what he does but mime and he’s doing it live.  Borelow says in future, he should mime.  Rylan: ‘I’d love to mime’.  Then, Louis, out of nowhere - presumably after a sharp word in the ear from the producers, says ‘a psychic said you were going this week, she might be right’  Dermot reminds us of  Rylan’s boy band, and says they were a Take That tribute band.  We see video footage of them doing 'Could It Be Magic'.  Gary asks which one he was.  Rylan’s response? ‘I definitely weren’t you, I’m too skinny for that, G’.  Funsponge then gets up and threatens to ‘have’ Rylan.  Rylan jumps on the treadmill and starts running then does a little twirl and gives Dermot a big hug.  Whether scripted or spontaneous, that was entirely epic.

Ads!  Who is being paid more sackloads of cash?  Kevin Bacon for EE or Gary Oldman for O2?  Place your bets now!

Dermot says next up: ‘The two most feared words in this building, Christopher Maloney’.  I think he’s awful and even I’m becoming Team Chris after all the mudslinging this show is partaking in where he’s concerned.  In the VT, Gary says the key is for the judges to say bad things about him and for him to be the villain.  Gary then says Take That opened Eurodisney.  Or played at the opening.  Or went there when it opened.  Something like that.  There’s an incredibly awful staged bit where Gary pretends it was ‘ten’ years ago and Chris reminds him it was twenty – like Gary isn’t well aware of this fact.  Anyway, unlike the other performers who just repeat songs from previous weeks, Christopher ends the Disney show with a version of A Whole New World in his standard club singer style that makes it even more mawkish than it already was – which was pretty damn mawkish.  He thought the performance was amazing and he can’t wait to text Gary.  Ha!  Like he has Gary’s number, and even if he did, as if Gary wouldn’t have blocked him.

He’s doing Total Eclipse of the Heart, and I feel it’s always worth remembering this exists.  Clearly the producers are aware of it as the staging is a huge creepy incomplete mosaic of Christopher’s face and then lights start beaming from his eyes and get more and more powerful as the song goes on.  It makes last year’s burning Janet Devlin’s face behind her and the other week’s shipwreck video seem like the subtlest things ever.  This is seriously the most hilarious thing I have ever seen on this show.  And it’ll be even more hilarious if he doesn’t end up in the bottom two, much as I’d like Gary to be the first mentor out.  (Although I count him as first mentor out anyway seeing as he didn’t choose Christopher and clearly hates him)

Nicole says it was a lot to take in as it was hard to get through the face and laser eyes – he was creepy but he sounded nice.  I bet that’s what they said about Dav [Joke redacted – Bitch Factor laywers].  Louis-by-numbers says he hit all the notes, he does power ballads well, and people are voting for him, so he must be doing something right.  Tulisa snits that ‘We’ve all established that I won’t be buying the album’ like whether Tulisa would buy someone’s album should make any difference to anything.  She says he is consistent, and she’s going to admit defeat and lie that he sounded good.  Gary snipes that the staging ‘Wasn’t your fault, certainly wasn’t mine’ and through gritted teeth, says Christopher is a ‘fantastic guy, always a pleasure’.  Dermot asks about the staging.  Chrtistopher hysteriterviews that ‘Everyone says I have nice eyes but they were like two big torches’.  Dermot says he does kind of thing this every week, shouldn’t he have done some Radiohead in guilty pleasures week instead.  That was actually quite funny, well done Dermot.

Ads.  'Swagger Jagger' is way more guilty than anything else on this show.  Although not so much a pleasure.

Next up, it’s Nicole’s ‘Fighting little lamb chop Jahmene’.  Poor Nicole doesn’t get to do much in the VTs this week.  I miss all the ‘Nicole does normal’ stuff we had, much more fun than this Disney bollocks.  Anyway, Jahmene is surprised people like him and humblebrags that he hopes he can believe in himself  He says the other contestants are his close friends now.  The thing with Jahmene is that I assumed all this faux naïf stuff was a total act but the longer it goes on, the more I wonder whether I’ve been too mean and it is, in fact, genuine.  I still can’t stand the way he sings though, so at least something’s right with the world.

He wants to do his song justice, and he’d better – it’s 'Don’t Leave Me This Way'.  Unfortunately, it's mostly been ballided to Ella standards – although to be fair, it does ramp up to mid-tempo from a starting position of dirge.  But this should be a Hi-NRG falsetto and/or disco classic (I know the Harold Melvin version is a bit slower but sssh) and, if he’s doing the Communards version, then, like Ella’s song, it’s supposed to be a duet.  Although I'll let him off as maybe he's Thelma Houston.  He’s standing on a glowy plinth with backing graphics of syscrapers behind him, as if the show wasn’t trying to pimp him as hard as it could already.  As for the vocal – same as always, some OK moments here and there but drowning in a sea of melisma and screwed up eyes.  Better than that dirge Ella did though.

Automatic Louis recycles the things he’s already said tonight by telling him he’s a born recording artist.  Tulisa says she’s running out of ways to kiss his butt, much like [joke redacted – TBF lawyers]; She says he’s not the person from auditions, but has found himself as a human being.  WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?  Gary says his talent is ridiculous.  Well, that’s one word for it.  *Rimshot* He says he has too many ad libs at times but he’s great.  Nicole says she likes to call the ad libs ja-jazzles.  Fnar.  She then drops on the ‘he was sick this week’ story.  Tut tut, Nicole, you don’t need those gimmicks.  Louis snips about the plinth/box.  Nicole’s response? ‘Union J’s been on the box forty thousand times, this was his first time’.  Dermot says he looks unhappy.  Jahmene says he messed up a bit.  Nicole says he kept going and that was the most important thing.  And let’s face it, it was no Victoria Pendleton style meltdown, or even himself at Boot Camp.

Dermot implores us to vote.  I throw my unused police commissioner polling card at the screen and LAUGH IN HIS FACE.

Tomorrow: fucking Olly Murs.  For fuck’s sake.  Fuck off.  FUCK.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Three is a massive bum note

Top Seven results – 11th November 2012

Hello! I can tell that you were all worried that recapping this week’s X Factor had tipped me over the edge so I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that it didn’t. I’m still here and I didn’t even turn to alcohol.  Those of you wondering how I can put myself through things like Turgid Poop Week without the aid of alcohol or illegal substances will have to continue to wonder because I couldn’t even tell you myself.

We begin with the acts standing in a semicircle and Durrbot insisting that it was called Best Of British week. His suit is grey and his tie is blue. It’s standardly ill fitting. The recap of last week handily tells us that Jahmene, District Three, Ella and Union J and James were good and Christopher and Rylan weren’t. Thanks for that, but I’ll decide for myself thank you very much.  

Tonight we’re promised Bixmix and Ed Sheerhan! [Considering Ed Sheeran wrote that shitty dirge that Wand Erection performed last night, there has been far too much Ed Sheeran this week. Of course, any Ed Sheeran at all is too much Ed Sheeran, so... - Steve] I’m feeling very precarious on my wagon here. Nicole is taking nothing for granted, Tulisa has high hopes, Funsponge and Louis are happy. IT’S TIME TO FACE THE MUSIC!

Durrbot is a humongous prick and welcomes us all back. He tells us that Bixmix have been on the X Factor before and Ed Sheerhan hasn’t.  Wow.

The judges are introduced as the Four Musketeers but they’re all for one and none for all. I see what you did there Durrbot. Please don’t. What are they wearing, you may ask. Well, I was just getting to that. Funsponge is in a jacket that appears to be black satin. It’s tight even by his standards. Louis is in a reddish spotty jacket. Tulisa is wearing a dress without sides and Nicole is rocking a sleeveless grey snakeskin number. All are poppied up, naturally.  Numbers!

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse this weekend, the group song is a U2 song.  It starts with James, then Rylan, then Christopher. Everyone comes in on the chorus. The next verse is shared by Ella and District Three. Union J get the middle eight. It’s so dull that I’m breaking it down for you. Jahmene gets a high bit at the end. THIS IS SUCH A SNOOZEFEST.

I find myself waiting impatiently for the big recap with the extra talky bits. Christopher is only doing his best and apparently all the hatin’ is making his NAN ILL. Jahmene feels like he’s growing and that’s what’s good about the competition. District Three are unbeatable at harmonies according to Nicole and Borelow would do well to remember that. Tulisa bangs on about her URBAN ROOTZ re. Ella again [Pffft.  Ella is practically from a TINY VILLAGE like Lucy whatsit, except actually a village this time rather than a bit of Cardiff.  She's not even properly from Grimsby.  I am though.  FEEL MY URBAN ROOTS.  I even went to the middle school on the roughest estate in town.  GHETTO - Rad]. Rylan is happy just to have been allowed to do the Spice Girls.  Union J have a hug and finally Louis hopes the public get James.

But never mind all that, it’s BIXMIX! Bixmix are FOUR GIRLS who are SUPERSTARS and have had TWO NUMBER ONE SINGLES and are X FACTOR WINNERS. Their VT is basically their X Factor journey with a couple of bits from their videos added on. Zool Bixmix begins, as is normal. St Jesy has lost a heck of a lot of weight. Amelle Bixmix is a bit wobbly as usual. It takes ages for Other Bixmix to even get a shot. I like their new song. It’s a good song. It’s a lot better than you’d expect from an X Factor winner. [I quite like both of their songs.  I feel soiled - Rad] [I liked it better when it was an ad bumper. As a full-length song it's kind of boring. - Steve] It’s a good performance too, and I really feel like they represent me. They also definitely wouldn’t try to steal my boyfriend. When they finish, Tulisa seems genuinely proud and it’s very sweet. Durrbot congratulates them on their number ones and wants to know about their year. They’re loving it and they’re thanking the public. They make Amelle Bixmix do the talking as usual. Durrbot wonders if Tulisa is proud. She’s proud of her muffins. She’s happy they’re all grown up and it’s clear that they were meant to win. Aww. [Is a grown up muffin a loaf? - Rad]

Five minute warning! That’s for voting, sadly, not the end of the show. Adverts!

Durrbot welcomes us back and tells us that the lines are closed. What are the judges thinking? I was just wondering that. Durrbot makes a crack at Funsponge about him biting his head off if he goes to him first that doesn’t seem entirely like a joke. Durrbot wonders if the Queen would be proud of Rylan’s performance, as they’re close personal friends. Funsponge thinks she would. Durrbot tells the crowd to stop chanting Funsponge’s name. Funsponge thinks Jahmene stole the show. Nicole next, Durrbot draws attention to her table dancing and wonders if she’s proud of her boys. Of course she is. Tulisa thinks Ella did ‘Amazing’ and nobody should assume she’s safe. Louis can’t call who’s safe but he doesn’t want any of his bands in the bottom two. (SPOILER – AHAHA!)

The next guest is a BRITISH singer songwriter who’s finally getting the recognition he deserves. It’s ED SHEERAN! He’s sold EIGHT MILLION RECORDS and has 2 BRIT AWARDS. He also looks an awful lot like an Avenue Q puppet and annoys the shit out of me. [And me.  KINDLY FUCK OFF ED SHEERAN! - Rad]

Do me a favour would you? Indulge me for a bit. I am a music fan, I’m actually a bit of a music bore and will bang on about indie bands for as long as you’ll let me.  This may be surprising to you to hear that someone that writes about the X Factor to be a music fan but that’s me. I’m a curious creature.  My problem with Ed Sheeran is that he’s a bit shit but he’s lauded as excellent because he has a guitar and writes his own songs. This brings me to my favour. Go to your local music pub or any venue near you that does acoustic nights. Go and see some of your local people play their songs. I personally guarantee you that they will be better than Ed Sheeran.  Rant over.

When he’s finished, Ed and Durrbot pretend they’re friends but what follows is a thinly veiled passive aggression fest:

Durrbot- thanks for coming on the X Factor, I appreciate it.
Ed – Thanks
Durrbot – 6 singles off one album? That’s a bit greedy
Ed – I’ve always wanted to release that one, actually.
Durrbot – Congrats on your success, MATE. Are you on tour?
Ed – yeah, until September next year
Durrbot – ... Who is your favourite?
Ed – James Arthur
Durrbot – Thanks for coming on, I appreciate it.
Ed - *cringe*

If anyone knows WT actual F that was all about please let me know.


When we return, it’s time to find out what is happening. The acts return to the stage with their judges. I love how Nicole has all three of her acts left.  First act returning next week is James Arthur. Next through is Rylan, who just about flaps off of the stage, love him. Third act safe is Jahmene and Nicole still has a full sweep. [Nicole Schwotzerchops - best mentor ever. This is actually the furthest any mentor has got with all of their original artists intact in all nine series. Brava, Nicole. - Steve] Tulisa looks ready to kill. Funsponge congratulates Jahmene then says something to Nicole I can’t make out. Ella is next through and the final act will be announced after the break.


When we return, we’re left with the groups and Christopher. Christopher is the last act through. He and Funsponge play who can be the most ungracious as the crowd boo.

So it’s the battle of the boybands. A phrase that was used a few times over the last couple of days. Poor Louis looks devastated as District Three sing first. They’re doing Bruno Mars’ 'Just The Way You Are'. They look like they want to cry. I’m enjoying this a bit. Does this mean I’m a sadist? It’s a bit like kicking a puppy, this one. [Yes! Meanie!  Poor iddle District 3 - Rad] The performance, as always is dull.

Louis’ voice breaks as he introduces Union J. They’re singing an Adele song, the one about touching faces. As soon as the first one sings I know it’s them that are going through.

They go to Louis first, which seems a bit cruel but there we go. He apologises at least. Louis refuses to make a choice and Durrbot asks him again. Durrbot says this is FINE and he’s going to take it to the other three. It’s happened before so it’s TOTALLY ALLOWED NO TAKE BACKS. Funsponge says he thought the decision would have been easy for him as District Three have always been better vocally, which totally contradicts what he said last night. He thought the sing off was District Three’s worst vocal though. He’s disappointed, but he thinks that Union J wanted it more [/the producers wanted Union J more - Rad].  Durrbot goes to Nicole next, who thinks that District Three’s worst harmonies are better than most people’s good harmonies but Union J are more ready so she’s sending District Three home. This means that District Three are going home. Tulisa says she would have saved them but she would say that because it’s irrelevant.

Durrbot says that nobody can deny that District Three have good voices. ERRRRRRR, TRY ME. He wants to know how they’re feeling. They’re gutted, but they want to thank everyone for the opportunity. We see their time on the competition and it’s all incredibly dull. Louis is asked what went wrong. He says nothing went wrong, they just didn’t get enough votes and he hopes they get a record deal because they’re great to work with and a ready made pop band. Durrbot presses him and wonders why they didn’t get enough votes. The answer given is about too many boy bands.

So goodbye District Three. I was so moved by your treatment this weekend that I made a diagram of it.

Enjoy, everyone and join Rad next week for what is rumoured to be a guilty pleasures week. OH DEAR LORD. [*Sobs* - Rad]