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.