Top 8 Results: 4 November 2012
We open on an aerial shot of the studio, with everyone appropriately hushed - this is serious business, let's not forget. Dermot reminds us that last night, eight acts performed number one hits for our votes (or rather, seven acts performed number one hits, and Jahmene just sang 'Listen' because the show just assumed no one would examine the song choices too closely), but tonight one of those acts will be heading home.
With that out of the way, we make the usual jarring transition from "sombre" to "blasting 'O Fortuna' at full volume, having Peter Dickson squeeze every last bit of juice out of every syllable of his script, and generally operating at a level of arch-campery that would even stop Baz Luhrmann in his tracks", as the recap of last night's performance reveals that some "soared to the top" (Kye, James, Ella, Jahmene, Union J apparently) while others hit rock bottom (District Cubed and Rylan - so apparently even the show itself is unwilling to commit to whether we're supposed to think Christopher is any good or not). Incidentally, this is all scored to 'Number One' by Tinchy Stryder ft. N-Dubz, which was where I stole the title of last night's recap from, and which also means Tulisa's probably got a nice little payday from this show already without even having to do anything. Not that she ever does much anyway, but even so. We run through the remaining acts in the competition once more: Jahmene, Rylan and James for Nicole, Union J and District Cubed for Louis, Ella for Tulisa, and Christopher and Kye for Gary. Also coming up tonight? "X Factor guest judge new pop sensation Rita Ora" (that really needed at least one comma in it, but Peter Dickson didn't bother, so why should I?) and a UK exclusive performance of No Doubt's first new single in 10 years. It's time! To face! The Scherzinger!
Titles. Giant X shoots through space, wiping away a solitary tear as it wonders why Felix Baumgartner gets all the attention when Giant X has been doing this twice a week, four months a year, for ages now. Poor Giant X: a trailblazer destined to remain unappreciated in its own time. The history books will be kinder to you, Giant X. I promise.
Dermot's here in more of a chocolate-coloured number this time, once again constructed to make his shoulders look broad at the expense of every single other part of his body. The monotony of Suitwatch is starting to distress me; at least Tess Daly finds new ways to be poorly-dressed every week. That's the trouble with Dermot - no imagination. Anyway, Dermot reminds us that we're five weeks away from crowning this year's winner, and just under an hour away from booting someone out. He reminds us what we heard in the intro VT mere seconds ago, and then introduces the judges. Louis looks to be rocking the velvet blazer again tonight, Tulisa's got a white lacy dress with sleeves and a metallic pattern acros her torso that looks like something I'd expect to see someone wearing on Game Of Thrones, Nicole is also in a lacy outfit, but hers is sleeveless, grey/brown and with ample cleavage on display, and Gary's in another of his vast array of subtly-checked suits. No arm-salute from Tulisa this week, but Nicole blows kisses to the crowd, and Gary wags his finger at us for some reason. I assume it's because he's constantly deliberating in his head as to whether the public vote is always wrong (for keeping Rylan around) or always right (for keeping Christopher around), and he's currently thinking about Rylan. As indeed most of us are, constantly. Day and night.
We're reminded that the phone lines are still open if anyone's feeling particularly inclined to vote (unless we're watching on ITV1+1 or, as I am, on a recording or an on-demand service). This week's group sing is 'Good Time' by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen. I can't believe that we skipped right over 'Call Me Maybe' in the Carly Rae Jepsen catalogue and went straight to this instead - especially since it's one of the most joyless party songs I've heard in ages. I've learnt from real life that anyone who claims they always have a good time is the sort of person that usually ends up phoning you at 3am in tears and asking if you can come and pick them up from a field in Northampton. Lessons to be taken from this song include: Rylan and Jahmene's voices do not blend at all, Union J's voices don't blend with each other that well either, Ella can't pretend to be pleased about standing next to Christopher, and Kye is about as convincing singing about having a good time as he is about kicking someone's ass in. And frankly, if this lot can create a good time without even trying, I'd like to know what their excuse for last night is. As always, James's lumbering discomfort at being forced to partake in this garish spectacle is highly enjoyable.
Time for a recap of last night, complete with Extra! Backstage! Reactions! Rylan got some backhanded positive feedback from Gary, and Louis likes that he always puts a smile on everyone's face. Backstage, Tulisa and Nicole high-five over this to prove that they can work together harmoniously despite what the tabloids might be saying. Tulisa essentially told Union J that teenage girls just want them to be to be the budget One Direction they were always destined to be, and backstage the boys celebrate being back on form, as it were. Gary thought Kye showed everyone what a versatile entertainer he is (by which he means Kye can be boring and irrelevant in a wide variety of genres) and Tulisa thinks he made the song his own, while backstage Kye is happy to get good feedback from Louis for once, and Gary does a hilariously pathetic attempt at rocking out all by himself. Nicole was in awe of James and his authenticity, and Gary thinks he pulls it out of the bag every week, so backstage Tulisa and Louis talk excitedly about his authentic artistry of authenticity. Nicole drank the water at Duff Gardens shortly before Ella's performance and was therefore able to SEEEEEEE THE MUUUUSSIIIIIIIICCCC, and Tulisa thinks everyone in the room connected with her. No backstage footage for Ella though, strangely. District Cubed had a tough night and got reamed by the judges, so they admit to being "slightly deflated" backstage. Jahmene was entirely off-key during 'Listen', though you'd never know it by listening to the judges, and finally Christopher was a four cheese pizza with extra cheese on top. Interestingly, the show decides to air Tulisa's positive comments on the performance away from the context of her negative ones, and act like she was really enthusiastic about it. How peculiar. Nicole has decided that she loves Christopher so much that she's "all about the Cheese and Maloney".
From there, there's no messing about as we go straight into a performance from former guest judge Rita Ora (3 NUMBER ONES! NUMBER ONE DEBUT ALBUM! 2.5 MILLION RECORDS SOLD THIS YEAR!) with her new single 'Shine Ya Light'. I've quite liked several of her other singles, but this one's working a bit too hard to be uplifting and inspirational for my liking. Also, it sounds a lot like she's singing "Cineworld's on fire", which is just needless scaremongering. Afterwards, Dermot arrives and gets straight down to the important questions: "'Shine Ya Light', that's out right now, right?" Of course it is, Dermot. You know she's only on this 'cos that's out right now, out right now, turn it up right now, put your hands in the air if you want it right now, eh-oh eh-oh out right now. Rita thanks the viewers for all their support so far. Dermot reminds Rita of her stint as a guest judge where she "found" Union J, Kye and Rylan. He asks if she has any favourites, and Rita says she loves all three of those, but her real favourite is James Arthur. Wow, all the guest stars really love him, don't they? She burbles about everyone having their own "shine", and then senses an opportunity for a plug ("Shine ya light, ladies and gentlemen!") and bursts into giggles. Aw, I like Rita Ora. She seems like an actual normal person.
Adverts. Kingsmill are putting fruit in their bread now. WILL THE MADNESS NEVER END?
When we return, Dermot declares the lines officially closed and settles down for a chat with the judges. We get a terrifying crash-zoom on Gary as Dermot reminds him that he said Rylan's vocals at the top "weren't too bad" last night. Gary's all "yeah, emphasis on the word bad" and Dermot cackles obsequiously like he's hanging out with Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker. Anyway, Gary appreciates Rylan making a bit of an effort for him. Dermot wants all the judges to say who's improved the most over the course of the competition: the ever on-message Nicole thinks it's Rylan, while Gary thinks it's James, Tulisa thinks Union J and Louis thinks Union J and Jahmene.
Time for our second guest of the night and this week's guest mentors (for some of the acts, at least): No Doubt. 22 MILLION ALBUM SALES WORLDWIDE! 2 GRAMMY AWARDS! (Seriously, only two? Don't they hand out Grammy awards like sweets on Halloween?) 4 PLATINUM ALBUMS! They're performing their new single 'Looking Hot', in which Gwen Stefani asks if she's looking hot, and pretty much everyone in the country replies in the affirmative, irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation. I'm not entirely bowled over with it as a comeback single, but it has pleasing moments of the Tragic Kingdom era sewn into it, so I could still be convinced yet. Dermot fawns over them as he does with almost everyone, and asks where they've been: "making babies" is Adrian's answer (I'm assuming not with each other), and Dermot says "you look great!" about eighty times and makes a complete tit of himself. They get asked who they enjoyed the most, and Tony says James, and not just because he sang their song, but definitely a little bit because he sang their song.
Adverts. Switch still looks disappointingly rubbish. Also, BixMix still have a single out, and I hate to admit this, but it's growing on me.
Back with the show, Dermot welcomes back "the judges and the rats!" I'm sure he meant "their acts", but he needs to speak more clearly. So the following acts are safe, in no particular order: Union J, Jahmene, Christopher (a chorus of boos here, interestingly), James, Ella and District-Cubed. That leaves Rylan and Kye in the final showdown - a reprise of the Nicole vs Barlow battle from the very first live show weekend.
After another ad break, in which ITV remind us for the ninetieth time that it's the last in the current series of Downton Abbey tonight and that there's cricket involved (must-see TV!), we're back with Dermot, who apologises to any viewers who may have heard some "coarse language" earlier. Gasp! Did someone say "milf" again? Rylan and Kye return to the stage, and it falls to Nicole to introduce Rylan, which she does by squealing and crossing herself. Hee. Rylan is singing 'Kissing You' by Des'ree, in a completely low-key fashion, and...it's actually not that bad. I mean, it's not the strongest vocal I've ever heard, but he proves that he can definitely sing well and with feeling when he chooses to. I feel like we've all been trolled a little bit by Rylan with this performance, because I doubt it's what any of us were expecting - obviously he wouldn't have access to quite the same amount of props for a showdown performance, but going out like this is going to be either the canniest decision he's made in the whole competition, or the worst - and I think it might just be the former. Anyway, what the performance lacks in stagecraft, it makes up in cutaway shots of Nicole going absolutely wild with pride, bless her.
Once that's over, we hand over to Gary for an introduction to Kye, who's singing 'I Won't Give Up' by Jason Mraz. It's a pretty decent vocal, but it's all a bit forced and loud and desperate. There's a great shot of Giant Rylan in the corner with his arm around Tiny Dermot, tapping away melodically on Dermot's shoulder. Kye's vocals get a bit scratchy towards the end as he heads behind the judges table and plays to the crowd, and then all the singing is done and we just have to wait for the result. I can't quite believe I'm saying this, but I actually thought Rylan gave the better vocal of the two in the sing-off.
I always thought this would be an interesting vote, were it ever to come about: obviously Gary and Nicole's votes are a given, but Louis and Tulisa are very much the swing states here, if you want to get political about it. You can never predict when Louis will be unexpectedly moved by a duff performance (remember when he was brought to tears by Deadwife Daniel?) and Tulisa's vote seems to be led entirely by her Urban Rootz these days, so it's hard to know where that will take her. Anyway, let's find out.
Nicole thinks Kye sang beautifully, but she has to stick with her baby, who just proved himself with that performance, so she votes to send home Kye. Gary, having learnt absolutely nothing from week one, crows that this is a very simple decision, he's sure everyone at home agrees, the sing-off was completely won by Kye, so he's voting to send Rylan home. Yeah, I'm sure that little display of smuggery won't come back to bite him in the arse at all. Louis thinks it was an amazing sing-off, and Rylan proved that he really can sing, while Kye's performance was great. Louis feels he has to do "the right thing", so he votes to send Rylan home. Tulisa thinks both Kye and Rylan gave one of their best vocals tonight, but ultimately it comes down to which act she most looks forward to seeing every week, because it's not just a singing competition, it's The X Factor, so she votes to send Kye home.
DEADLOCK! So the public vote decides who's going home. The crowd are chanting for Rylan, Wilson the butler hands Dermot an envelope, and the act who's going home is...Kye. Just as a matter of interest, here's what I tweeted as soon as the bottom two was first announced this week. I'm not saying I'm psychic, but I totally am.
Rylan scarpers, and we see Kye's best bits, most of which involve making Gary unspeakably moist with the power of his raw untapped authenticity while boring the shit out of the rest of us. Dermot asks Kye what the highlight's been for him, and he says performing every week has been pretty cool. Gary's opinion is sought, and he grouses that when you have an act like Rylan in the competition, "good singers go home every week".
Dear Gary Barlow,
Make up your damn mind already. Either the public are seasoned music connoisseurs who know exactly what they're doing and are keeping Christopher in the competition because he's brilliant, or they're idiots who get easily distracted by shiny things and that makes them vote for Rylan. It's got to be one or the other; it cannot be both.
All of us.
Dermot asks Kye what's next, and Kye promises to release an album, because this show has given him a platform! And when the singing career fails for a third time, I'm sure that platform will be very useful for getting up on roofs to clean out those chimneys. Kye attempts to get his full 15 minutes of fame by literally thanking everyone involved in working on the show, but the producers are yelling in Dermot's ear so he's having none of it, and sends Kye on his way.
Next week: it's Best Of British week, and to celebrate that, we've got Ed Sheeran, BixMix and Wand Erection. The jokes just write themselves, don't they? Thankfully, I don't have to deal with that, but poor Helen does, so please treat her with the appropriate amounts of sympathy next week.