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.