Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Miss-ed opportunities

Movie Week Results – 27th October 2013

Hello and welcome back to my first results show recap of the series. LAST NIGHT the bus was driven very firmly in the direction of Missed Dynamics and it hit them with frightening accuracy as they lost the flash vote and have a very definite place in the bottom two. We’re also promised some GAGA. Exciting!

Dermot reminds us of this as everyone stands behind him wearing red. We’re treated to a brief recap of last night, alongside fake movie poster reviews.  We’re reminded that Abi, Sam Callaghan and Missed Dynamics were all kinds of awful, which let’s face it, they were. Before we find out who’s for the off, we’ve got to endure the wanted and celebrate the majesty that is Gaga. Louis knows someone has to go home, Sharon refuses to lose SamBailey because she’s too good and Nicole can’t do a lunge because she’s not a Pussycat Doll anymore.  THEIR LOSS IS OUR GAIN.

But what’s this? Oh shit, it’s Dermot. Remember when you used to like seeing Dermot? ‘Member that? Remember when he wore nice outfits including lycra and didn’t take himself too seriously on BBLB? Remember when he used to do T4 and you thought “Ooh, I liked him, but how old is Margherita Taylor exactly?”. I remember. It’s what this show does to people. Kate Thornton doesn’t even know who Kate Thornton is any more.  Suitwatch – Same as yesterdays only grey. He tries to convince us that The Wanted are an exciting thing and gets us ready for GAGA. He introduces the judges. Louis is going blue velvet jacket and skinny tie and very nice it is too. Sharon is going for full length black brocade, Nicole for the Angelina one leg look and Funsponge in plain black. Oh he’s such a rebel.  Dermot reminds us that they are two singers and two managers but all four are fruitcakes. Don’t let Funsponge hear you call him that. He hates cake. He still remembers the fat years.  Can we get on with this please? Oh yeah, it’s a voting thing so here are the numbers.

Ten will become nine tonight but there’s a song first. Oh good. It’s Bruno Mars without the fun distraction of looking at how ridiculous Bruno Mars is as a human. Rough Copy do the Murs legs for the mams as they sing about sex taking them to paradise in the manner of three virgins taking about how they’ve totally done it so shut up. Dalston Junction make me want to punch them even more than usual and Missed Dynamics look shit scared. As would anyone else when faced with a double decker bus. Sambailey comes out in the end and does the big note because she’s the only one that can. Remember when they mimed this? Good times.

BUY THE APP, but before that, the backstage reaction and more of revisiting last night.  They love putting Rough Copy in Skorts. They’re totally trying to bring back to the 90s. Rough Copy bring it apparently. Sam Callahan is very pretty but negative comments don’t get him down. Nicole loves his attitude though. Hannah did Adull and loved Funsponge’s feedback. Nicholas was good yet dull and really should act younger. Backstage he thinks the performance was amazing. Abi next. Oh Abi, so very, very bad. Nicole felt the judges were too harsh and she feels she’s been working hard. SamBailey was MACHESTICAL indeed Steven, you were right. She thinks it was amazing.  Stoke Newington enjoyed performing to a screaming audience. Louis thought it was Karaoke West End. Luke of the Dump has stronger and more consistent vocals according to Nicole and he’s going to keep the standard up. Tamera was, well, in  another league.  Just give it to her already.  Save us all this pain. She’s happy and proud to get the song right. Funsponge’s Stars in their Eyes comment is erased.

So! You thought they were safely in America touring their 9 MILLION SINGLES SOLD WORLDWIDE and their TWO PLATINUM ALBUMS. They have been NUMBER ONE IN 13 COUNTRIES but sadly they are here tonight. It’s the other direction, THE WANTED. The one that looks five with the freakishly deep voice and the monobrow starts off pretending to play the piano. The rest tip up. One looks like he could cut a bitch with his cheekbones and the rest look precisely like Crimewatch photofits. I feel like I should just hand over my handbag to save them the trouble of mugging me. It’s boring. They don’t make boybands like they used to.

When the ordeal is over Durrbot attempts to interview them and the summation of his in depth questioning allows us to learn that The Wanted have been on an aeroplane, they wrote a song and they are going to be going on another aeroplane. THIS IS FROST NIXON LEVEL STUFF HERE.

Five minute warning for the vote! After the break it’s GAGA. BUY THE DOWNLOADS.

When we get back the lines are closed but while they count them, it’s GAGA TIME.  Now, Gaga’s history on this show has been Epic. Remember the headless stuff last year? CLASSIC. This time she’s sold 24 MILLION ALBUMS and 90 MILLION SINGLES and won 5X GRAMMY AWARDS. She’s LADY FUPPING GAGA and she’s about to school us all.

Lady Gaga is playing an acoustic guitar wearing a wig that looks like it’s been procured from a particularly cheap hooker. At first glance she is nude but it becomes clear she’s wearing nude underwear and some sea shells like the women around her. Now, this show has conditioned me to shout obscenities at the screen whenever an acoustic guitar appears but I hold out a bit because it’s Gaga. The dancers disperse and she shouts VENUS and HELLO LONDON and we’re in to the performance proper. She does an insane dance in front of Botticelli’s Venus painting. Well, an approximation of it.  She dances awkwardly and manages to lose both of her seashell boobs so she’s just dancing in her bra and pants, like she’s someone’s actual nightmare.  But hold up! There’s a piano! She pulls off her wig and she’s got a black bob underneath. She does some more interpretive dancing but this causes her pants to become so wedged in her, ahem, that there’s going to be no more penis rumours ever ever. She urges us to do whatever we want with her body. She seems to be miming at this point, some of it at least. I’m utterly transfixed as she jumps on top of the piano and starts humping it. BRAVO LADY GAGA. BRAVO.  She then pretends to like Dermot and even asks if she can stay. HECK YEAH YOU CAN. [I will always enjoy Gaga turning up, but her new material's a bit bobbins, isn't it? - Steve] Dermot reminds us that she sang two songs. Cutting edge as ever. She says that she’s been working on the album for two years and she wanted to show the breadth of the songs. She produced the songs by herself and it’s coming out tonight. She hopes that we like it and we understand the statement about fame. She only wants to make us smile. She’s rambling. She’s insane. I love her. Durrbot asks if she’s cured her beef with Sharon and apparently they made it up at G.A.Y. I hope it was in the bogs. She runs off to hug her. She’s INSANE AND I LOVE IT.

Marvin from JLS wants us to ring up and win a holiday. LISTEN TO MARVIN.

When we return from the advertising break, we are told that it’s time to find out who’s in the bottom two with Missed Dynamics.  Here’s everyone back on stage.  Through tomorrow are, in no particular order, Rough Copy, Abi THEFUCK?! Alton, Luke of the Dump, (after which Louis says to someone “we know where this is going, don’t we?” and Nicholas angrily replies that he should stop saying that. Ooops, someone’s mic was on when it wasn’t supposed to be) Tamera, Nicholas, (who says to Sam Callaghan something which sounds like ‘stay positive’ and Louis gives a sarcastic OOOOOOOOOOOOK. I think the plan for tonight is to have Sam in the bottom two with Missed Dynamics so they can go. I think Louis is wise to this but why nobody has turned his mic off yet I will never ever know. Heads are gonna roll) [I was cooking throughout this whole bit and ITV's webstreaming was playing up so I missed all of that drama and had no idea. Thanks for filling me in! - Steve] Sambailey, Brick Lane and finally Sam Callahan. The actual? Oh this wasn’t the plan at all. Sam screams in Louis’ face that he doesn’t believe it. Hannah is in the sing off. Oh Hannah. Hold it together. That segment was nearly six minutes long so it’s time for another ad break.

When we return, Dermot introduces the acts fighting to stay. Hannah is going first. Durrbot feels that he has to explain that Missed Dynamics are going second.  Nicole introduces Hannah by saying she was shocked that she’s in the bottom two when they threw the bus at Abi and Sam Callaghan but there it is and hopefully Hannah will show everyone why she’s meant to be there. As always I’ll be the judge of that. To show us she’s not dull she’s doing a Sandy Emily number. She’s wobbling before she’s even finished the first chorus.  All this performance does is show us she’s not much of a performer. She’s technically proficient but she’s not interesting to watch.  Until she starts crying then it becomes just painful. The only people around to comfort her are her competition, who refuse to take their places because they want to hug her.  Someone in the audience starts shouting and doesn’t stop all the way through Funsponge’s introduction. I can’t make it out but I think it’s something about giving  Hannah a hug.

So Miss Dynamix sing like they know they’re for it. They give the Swedish House Mafia track all they’ve got but as my friend Robert says, they should worry, child. Over to the judges.
Dermot reminds us that in the event of a deadlock, Missed Dynamix will go. Nicole thinks they gave it their all and it was their best performance but she’s saving her act. Funsponge thinks his group did themselves proud. He’s shocked at Hannah being in the bottom because he loved her performance and urges everyone to remember to vote for her but he’s sending her home. Sharon wants to tell everyone that the sing off was awesome but reminds everyone that everyone should sing like that all the time, not only when they’re on. Someone in the audience interrupts but before Sharon has the chance to cuss them out properly. She’s sending Missed Dynamics home which renders Louis’ voice useless. They’re going. It’s ok though, because he would’ve voted for them anyway.

So that’s it. Remember ladies, your womb is fine until it functions. When it does and you feel a bit poorly you will have the bus thrown at you, just like in the real world! Durrbot spouts some shit about the pressure on Frankenbands but we all know what’s going on here. SHAME ON YOU ALL. The band feel that tonight has been their highlight and they’ve shown they can sing. Funsponge urges them to stick together because they have something special. Great.

So that’s it. Join Steve next week to see how not so secret Club Classics Week pans out.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

(Not so) Abi Talk

Movie Week, Live Shows week 3 – 26th October 2013

Hello! And welcome to the third week of live shows, also known as Helen thought she’d got away with not having to recap any of the behemoth live shows but not quite.  Last Week Steve talked you through Kingsmill Road’s near death and Shelley’s ultimate exit. Never fear though, there’s going to be plenty more drama this week I’m sure. For starters, the X begins in black and white because it’s movie week. Nicole is even roaring! It’s also exciting because we’re getting the movie premiere outing out of the way early.

Tonight! We’re starring Funsponge and the groups. They have to bring it big time. Nicole wants her three little girls to shine! Louis wants the judges to be terrified of rhea boys and Sharon and Sam are going to shine and aren’t going down without a fight. It’s time to face the music! GIANT X.

Our leading man Durrbot arrives on stage pretending to be James bond. His suit is so ill fitting that I actually think I see a bit of tummy as he does his arm roll thing. It’s blue. [Wow, he should probably see a doctor about that. - Steve] He comes on and makes some protracted movie puns but eventually gets down to casting the judges. He wanted people who were ruthless, loud, stubborn and opinionated and he’s pretty pleased with the choice. It’s the judges! Oh dear LORD Funsponge has got a light sabre. (“Hold this Gaz, the kids’ll love it” “eee, I’m not sure, looks like a weapon” “nah, it’s just a toy” “oh ok, if you’re sure.” “JUST FUCKING TAKE IT”). Louis Walsh is resplendent in black, Sharon has come as C3P0 and/or an Oscar. Nicole is missing the front of her dress and Funsponge is in a tux with a skinny tie. They move over to Durrbot and strike movie poses while they announce the flash vote. Durrbot’s chunky rugby thighs nearly pop his suit and Nicole’s left boob almost pops out. LIVE TV EVERYONE. The flash vote is explained, but not the point of it.

But to the actual performances. First up its leading man Funsponge with Rough Copy! As the VT begins, Funsponge is having a conversation with the group about how proud their mams must be of them. One of them (Sterling) suggests that Funsponge might like to meet his mum. OF COURSE HE WOULD LIKE THAT, IT SAYS SO IN THE SCRIPT. We’re shown his mum. She was the mad one what kissed Dermot on the face when they got through at auditions. Funsponge wants her sent to his dressing room. He’s going to let security know she’s coming.  When she gets to his dressing room she’s all hugs and chat up lines, including  giving out her number.  Kazeem then says that she might be Sterling’s mum but she’s like a mum to all of them. Sterling is offended by the suggestion that she only might be his mum. OH THE HILARITY. They go on to talk about the film premiere which was THOR TWO and Sterling’s mum came with them. She loves the lights and is so excited that she slaps herself. They’re all quite sweetly excited actually, especially that they’re sharing the red carpet with A listers like Idris Elba.  This week they’re singing a song from Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves. OH I WONDER WHAT THAT COULD BE? They think that nobody will be expecting it. Funsponge thinks that it needs good vocals but if anyone can pull it off its them. LET ME BE THE JUDGE OF THAT, TIGHTPANTS.

Of course it’s Everything I Do. Even though it’s cut very short, it still feels like it goes on for longer than the original was at number one. It’s been ballided for one, it’s got that ridiculous sub-dubstep (substep?) backing track and it has not one, but two key changes and a couple of random choirs. It’s fawful.

Nicole wants to give them all a squeeze because that’s how you kick off a show. They don’t disappoint, she likes how they all have their individual moments to shine but it can be a bit pitchy when they’re all together. Other than that they are a vision and she wants to come to their concert. Louis thinks they’re a little Boyz II Men. He loves there’s three strong singers and he likes their style and vocals and thinks there has to be a gap in the market for them. Sharon thinks they’re beyond week three standard. She loves the outfits and seeing them sing something in a different tempo. She loves the song choice and Funsponge says it was their choice. He’s only got one thing to say -  he sings OH YEAH and I want to punch him more than usual. They’re known for the fun but he’s happy they’ve ditched that this week and just sung.

Durrbot then asks them if they enjoyed getting rid of the usual boyband fayre and just singing. They agree. The end. How pointless was this segment. BUY THE APP.  Apparently, though, in an unprecedented move, there’s going to be two acts before the first adverts. I am unused to this kind of luxury. Durrbot announces that when you think of action heroes, you often think of Louis Walsh. He’s half right, he’s still the only voice of sense on this show. We’re kicking off with Sam Callahan.

Sam was pleased with his performance from last week. OF COURSE HE WAS. He says that it was nice to get complimented on his singing voice rather than his looks. To illustrate this, we see him talking about doing a photoshoot illustrated by him in a wet tshirt. No show knows it’s audience like this one.  He finds his abs embarrassing to talk about. He points out that he is Torso of the Week in Heat Magazine and OMG THAT’S SO EMBARRASING. We haven’t mentioned the Premiere yet so we have a shot set up of Louis telling him that he’s going. He tells us how excited he was and how he’d always wanted to go to a premiere. That’s about all he can string together. He says it was amazing but he’s here to give the performance of a lifetime.

Because it’s all about the singing, Sam is wearing ridiculously tight trousers and a ridiculously tight shirt that show off his singing voice perfectly. He’s singing “All I Want Is You “ by U2 which he manages fairly inoffensively until he tries to do a key change.

Sharon likes the song and the drummer. Snerk. She wants to know where in the name of Gummo that song came from. Sam has his answer practiced, Reality Bites. He delivers this answer in the manner I did when my grandma made me phone up BBC radio Cumbria with an answer to a quiz in that he knows what he’s supposed to say but when pressed he can say no more. Sharon asks him about Reality Bites and he can only reply that it’s a film.  Louis tries to save it by saying it’s from Rattle and Hum and Sharon is the one that rattles. She agrees but thinks that the song choice is weird. It’s supposed to be movie week not Irish week. She thinks he sung it well though. Funsponge thinks the song choice exposed his weak vocals and he will live and die by song choice. [I think he'll live and die by wardrobe choices - the minute he wears a loose-fitting long-sleeved shirt, he's outta here. - Steve] Nicole agrees and says that his vocals are getting stronger every week but he’s not strong enough for Bono yet. She’d like to see him with more edge.  Louis couldn’t give two fucks what anyone else thinks because the audience love him and they’ll work harder next week.

Durrbot presses Sam on what he thinks about the song. He says that it was a group decision but mentions that the song choice changed midweek. Dermot then goes on to ask Sam if he’s even got the edge that Nicole wants to see. Sam replies that there’s more to see from him that’s why he’s enjoying the theme weeks. Oh just end this painful charade and have him sing topless damn it. We all know that’s where this is headed. He milks it as he leaves.

After the break – Hannah and Nicholas. Oh the sweet release of the ad break.

When we return it’s Nicole and the girls. We’re starting with Hannah. Nicole points out that her life has changed loads since the show began because she used to be a baker. Nicole wants to go to Greggs to see what her life used to be like. I love Nicole because she manages the kind of enthusiasm for Greggs that nobody has ever had ever. Nicole even eats a sausage roll and manages to pretend she likes it. She even manages to put on a hairnet and Greggs uniform and work behind the counter. This woman is a goddess. As much as Hannah loves working in the generic High St bakery, she loves singing more. So much that she’s ruining music for all of us by singing Skyfall by Adele. We see her rehearsing the big notes. She interviews that she’s struggling with the end note in rehearsals. OOH DANGER VOCALS. She’s proud to have Nicole as a mentor and she hopes to do her proud.

She does a Hannah job of it, which means she sings it serviceably enough but makes it sad. She’s dressed nicely though. She’s wearing a figure hugging dress which is unusual for this show and chubbers. OF COURSE she makes the big note at the end. Was there ever really any doubt?

Louis kicks off the feedback by saying that she was only born to sing, she looks great and it was emotional and soulful. Ten out of ten. Sharon thinks she’s unstoppable, she’s found her comfort zone and she’s unstoppable. She’s “like a real contender” and she’s 30 out of ten. Funsponge thinks she’s unbeatable, he likes her growth and that she took on an Adele song and won. She makes Nicole want to get up and act like an idiot, which is HIGHLY UNUSUAL. She thinks she added soul to an Adele song. She’s beautiful, worked hard and she’s proud of her.

Durrbot  comments on the electric atmosphere and wonders how she’s feeling. She feels good and she tried hard because she picked the song. She’s happy. Durrbot remarks that this is a change from the usual. Bitch.

Next up is Nicholas. He’s excited for movie week. Louis wants him to sing Angel by Sarah McLaughlin from the movie City Of Angels. Nicholas pulls a “WTF granddad” face at this but says that he really likes it. Louis wonders where he heard it as HE IS SO YOUNG. He doesn’t reply. Louis then remarks that he’s the baby of the house. That’s ok though, because he’s been LEARNING STUFF. Sam Bailey has taught him how to use a washing machine and he’s taught himself how to iron. He Skypes his mum to tell her this. She’s proud. Into rehearsals, we’re reminded that HE’S ONLY 16. Louis also reminds him that he needs to put lots of emotion in it. He knows his place depends on it. He can’t wait to go out and sing it. Let’s have a look then.

Well, despite all the ONLY SIXTEEN nonsense, they’ve dressed him up like an old man but he’s singing the song on a stage with some dancers who  are sitting down so it’s all modern, like. He McElderrys the SHIT out of the song. This means he sings it perfectly but doesn’t inject any personality in it. He makes it so generic it could be a karaoke backing track. Oh well.

Sharon wants to know how old he is. Of course she does. Does anyone know? She loves the song, loves the emotion in the song and he looks all grown up like a big boy. Funsponge loved it because it was dull. He would like him to be less serious next week and sing a song for a SIXTEEN year old. Nicole thinks that he’s singing fine songs. He looks like a baby Buble and he’s so calming she wants to go sailing with him. The fuck? Has she been drinking? [If not, I think Luke's got a boat they can borrow. Not a SAILING boat, though. - Steve] Louis thinks he has a natural recording voice and hopes ALL OF SCOTLAND vote for him.

Durrbot has a rare moment of self awareness and asks if anyone else wants to mention Nicholas’ age. Sharon interrupts and says he’s SEXTEEN but then realises that could possibly be misconstrued into something with a whiff of Yewtree so she pretends that she was doing a Scottish accent. Durrbot wonders if Nicolas would like to sing songs that were a bit more upbeat. He tells everyone that next week is Disco week so if he’s around then he will be doing something more exciting. Dermot then points to a Scottish stereotype in the audience who is Nicholas’ Godfather. Nicolas’ godfather is wearing a kilt, a See You Jimmy at and Nicholas’ face on a stick. Excellent.

AFTER THE BREAK – Abi and Miss Dynamix. I CAN’T WAIT (for this to be over).

When we return from the break we’re back with Nicolas’ godfather who is enjoying his five minutes, but that’s enough of that, it’s Abi’s turn. Abi interviews that last week wasn’t her best. She got a lot of criticism for her rubbish performance.  This week she’s bringing it back to her and singing Moon River by Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She’s never seen it so she and Nicole pretend to have a girl’s night in and watch it wearing onesies. Abi loves Nicole because she just wants to win help her to do well . The song is more emotional and stripped back than last weeks, so Abi feels she’s back in her comfort zone.  Abi is excited to perform the show. Not only did she pretend to watch a film with Nicole, Abi also got to go to a movie premiere and pretend to be kooky around Chris Hemsworth. She remarks that the red carpet is a long way from tea on her sofa back home. She’s coming back fighting this week. I hope she means literally.

She does come back fighting. She’s fighting the tune with all of her might because she really doesn’t want to be in it. The only way it could be  improved is if it was sung like Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. By someone else. It’s so terrible it’s almost as if she’s going to start crying at several points during the performance because she knows how terrible it is. See the issue here is that this song is already ballided to shit and doesn’t need to be ballided further, but they’ve tried, bless ‘em.

Louis wasn’t a fan last week but she’s dusted herself off and this performance has put her back in the race.  Sharon thinks she was brave to sing only with an acoustic guitar but there was no emotion or charisma in the performance and all she inspires is people to put the kettle on. Thank goodness for the sense. Mrs O. Funsponge thought it was brave and beautiful but it was too overthought and the artist has been lost. For once we agree. He liked the way she ballided normal songs instead of just singing ballids.  Nicole’s defence is that Abi grew up with the song on her piano. She doesn’t make it clear if we’re taking a physical copy or it was written on there. Nicole says that if we keep her in she’ll  come out with her daffodils swinging.

Durrbot wonders wtf they want from Abi because she’s been boring from the start and they shouldn’t really expect anything else. Sharon wants the X Factor. I’m glad we remember that’s what we’re looking for. Nicole defends Sharon by saying it was good advice as Sharon only wants to help. Abi starts crying and Nicole spins this by saying that the public like her vulnerability. She says she’s upset because she’s trying so hard.

Just when we think it couldn’t get worse, we’re going backstage to Caroline Flack. She’s interviewing Sam Callaghan. OF COURSE SHE IS. She asks him a question about his rubbish performance that is so loaded it’s Frankie and Bennies potato skins about his rubbish performance. He agrees he was rubbish but he’s taking risks because it’s NOT THE VOICE. Ooh. Caroline then wonders what sets him apart. He says he’s got stuff other than his voice going on . LIKE HIS ABS. His parents have been reading twitter and have read some tweets that aren’t about his abs or him being shit that have questioned what the judges were listening to. They think he was brilliant.

Back to Durrbot and it’s the turn of Miss Dynamix. SeSe is suddenly more pregnant than she’s ever been. The baby is fine and they’re back. They’re gutted because they wanted to earn their place rather than being given a free pass. Apparently there’s been some negative comments online about how they don’t deserve to be there. SeSe is fine and Funsponge is happy to have her back. SeSe is crying because she’s being judged for being selfish. She’s JUST TRYING TO MAKE A BETTER LIFE FOR HER CHILDREN. Funsponge tells her to stop going on twitter and I scream at the telly that WE ALEADY HAVE ONE ST JESY THE PATRON SAINT OF NOT GOOGLING YOURSELF WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER.  Funsponge urges the other girls to look after SeSe and to not let her near any of the Samsung branded internet products. Enough of that though, SeSe feeling a bit unwell has brought them together as a group. Tonight they’re going to prove that they deserve to be in the competition.

They’re doing Dreams by Gabrielle. Was this in a film? [Apparently it's in Magnolia. It's also the same song they were doing for Love & Heartbreak week before SeSe collapsed, so...make of that what you will. - Steve] They’re wearing neon and they’ve gone all substep for this one. They’re also singing a bit out of time but I think that might be supposed to be part of the substep theme. The whole thing is like someone took the Bixmix script but crossed out ‘feminist’ and stuck ‘urban’ in its place. Despite the urban theme, there’s still a key change. Of course there is.

Nicole kicks off the feedback. She knows they’ve been through a lot together. She likes the song choice and the girl power but the vocals and the energy didn’t cut it. Nicole thinks that it shows that they’ve only just come together. Louis agrees but thinks that they shouldn’t have spent so much time on twitter looking for people talking about them and more time rehearsing and perhaps they’re missing something. Sharon also thinks they’re missing something and Sharon makes the South African one click because looking at forrins being funny is a perfectly reasonable way to spend Saturday night. [That was VERY uncomfortable. Oh Sharon. - Steve] Funsponge thinks that perhaps the criticism is a bit unfair and he for one is glad that SeSe is well. Oh what a surprise. They’re throwing the bus at the girl group with the audacity to have a womb. Stay classy, X Factor.

Durrbot asks if they felt like they’ve proved themselves. They think they have. SeSe doesn’t want to use her illness as an excuse cos everyone gets ill but the public literally don’t have the capacity to understand how much they want it. Way to self sabotage.  SeSe begs for another chance and if they do come back they will come back and make everyone proud. Hmm.

Enough of that now, it’s time for the adverts.

When we return it’s time for Sharon’s final act. She can’t believe she’s the only over left. It was hard to see Shelley go but she’s going to keep going for Sharon. She can’t believe that she’s been at a premiere this week signing autographs. Neither can we. She confesses that before she was a prison officer she did a few small gigs in social clubs and it was very unglamorous. She’s also done a cruise ship which was like Butlins on Water. Sharon has given her  My Heart Will Go On. OF COURSE SHE HAS. Sam then tells a hilarious story about how she nearly died on a boat but still had to sing it. LOL. She had vowed never to sing it again but they’re making her whether she likes it or not.

They’ve dressed her as a boat and got her substantial chebs out for her performance. She does the performance that she always does. She bellows it in everyone’s faces with lots of echo and pulls angry faces. She then looks relieved when it’s over. It was ever thus.

Funsponge remarks on the crowd reaction. Apparently the audience are representative of the people. Funsponge says he saw Celine in Vegas and she was better. Nicole thought it was MAJESTICAL [I think she may even have said "machesticles". I really hope she did. - Steve] and Sambailey is Britain’s Celine.  Louis thinks she was magical and she looks like a little Disney princess. Sharon says that she will give Sambailey everything. Sharon hopes Simon is watching and signs her. Sam is interviewed by Dermot about her near death experience and still manages to be boring.  Excellent work.

Competition, adverts, help me.

When we return, Durrbot is in the audience with Bixmix who are taking a break from representing women everywhere including America. Well done! They like Kingsland Road and Sam. This is just as well as Kingsland Road are next. They’re watching back their terrible performance from last week on their YouView box in order to see where they went wrong. Can a YouView box go back to their time of conception and prevent it? I don’t think it can.  Anyway, Shoreditch High St think that their saving performance was very passionate and they’re going to try to find a way to get the passion in to every week. They rehearse at every moment, unless they’re going back to actual Kingsland Road to remember where they came from. They’re going to perform like it’s their last chance.

They’re singing Pretty Woman atop some scaffolding. I can’t hear it for my own shouts of FALL OFF YOU HIPSTER TWATS. I can’t put my finger on why they’re so awful. I think that it’s because they seem to have adopted all the tropes that have ever existed on this shithouse of a programme and adopted them in order to become potentially unstoppable but all it’s done is make them irritate me.

So what do the judges make of Old St? Nicole thinks their harmonies were good and the lead vocals were improved. She thought it was raining cheese at times but she kind of liked it. She thinks it was the best performance. Louis thought the song choice was cheesy and dated but the hair was better. Sharon thinks it was a bit Jersey Boys but they need to pull back on the cheese a touch. Funsponge was shocked by the flash vote last week and tells Louis to STFU because they needed an up-tempo number amid all the ballids.  Dermot wonders what it was like being in the bottom two. They didn’t enjoy it but they came back fighting. They’re working hard not to be in that situation again. We’ll see.

Final boy time! Xenophobically he’s doing it for Devon and cream teas, it’s Luke of the Dump! Luke of the Dump manages to mention in the first five minutes that he’s just a boy from Devon. He must be doing badly if we’re going for the regional vote.  He’s happy to be in the competition. Louis asks him what it’s like for him to go to international shopping centre Westfield. He replies that it takes him ages to get anywhere but he’s so cool with it he’s got a name for his fans – Friendees. [Wouldn't "friends" have been more straightforward? - Steve] Lots of people notice his hair first. They want to smell it. I want to burn it. He doesn’t want the support to end.  Louis thinks that Luke of the Dump has got a lot of support behind him but he will do something this week that will make a lot of people happy. Cut to the hairdresser asking if he can wash his hair. Luke seems unsure, but goes for it. It looks the same but smells better. He still looks like he’s been dragged through a hedge. Louis reminds him to keep an eye on his vocals.

He does. He makes them more affected and breathy than usual.  He’s wearing an honest to goodness cravat and singing Kiss From A Rose. He gets the words wrong and it falls into club singer territory at time, but he gets bonus points for at least pretending to play his guitar even though it not plugged in to anything. Oh Stig.

Sharon thinks he’s got a distinctive vocal that sets him aside. He has an edge and is dirty but he’s got his own thing going on. She likes the song choice and thinks his vocals have improved. Funsponge thinks it’s the surprise of the night and he’s growing into the role assigned to him by the producers. Nicole loves the song choice, he seems more comfortable with his guitar and she wants to sniff his head. Louis reveals that Luke of the dump chose the song and it was his most relaxed performance to date. Durrbot wonders how he’s feeling. He says he got to sing one of his favourite songs and he’s been learning and he wants to learn more. He also enjoys playing his guitar. Because he’s  a rocker. Do you see?

Caroline is backstage though and still not allowed near Nicholas. She tries to talk to Tamera but she’s dragged off before she can get a chance. She’s also wondering how Abi is. She said she tried her best. She then asks the Abi Parents another loaded question about how awful it must be to see their terrible daughter crying onstage. Her dad blames the tough song choices and her mum says everyone at home is supporting her.

Only one more act to go! Thank heck.

After the break Durrbot welcomes us to the live final. Is it over?! Can we go home?! Of course we can’t, Durrbot is just a terrible presenter. It’s the last of the girls though, it’s Tamera’s turn. She’s doing Listen. She wanted to be Beyonce when she was a kid (piss off) and when Dreamgirls came out she used to watch it every day after school (no seriously, PISS OFF). She’s even handily made a video of herself singing it as a kid and they watch it on the Samsung tablet. Singing it on the X Factor means lots to her. Nicole reminds her that once she’s in the lyrics  she’ll take off in a rocket ship. Oh Nicole. Tamera is also getting  a makeover this week. They’ve made her look even more like Beyonce to sing Listen.  I can only hope that at some point this happens.

So yeah, Tamera sings Listen and she makes everyone else look like amateurs. The end. Can we not just give it to her already? Seriously. This is just a charade now. It’s embarrassing for everyone.  It’s every inch a finale performance. I’m expecting Harry Styles to come and tell her how much pussy she’s going to get.

Louis thinks she stole the show with her star quality. He urges her to work hard and he loves the hair. Sharon thinks she’s the ideal little young gorgeous popstar. She has everything going for her. She would like to hear a bit more soul though and a bit more connection. She calls her Tamara. Funsponge thinks it’s an amazing vocal performance but warns her against being a Beyonce impersonator. Louis disagrees cos he knows his Beyonce. Nicole thinks that we should remember that she’s ONLY SIXTEEN and she’s got the balls to take on a song from someone twice her age. She’s pleased to be able to sing it on the X Factor stage.

That’s it! Numbers please! Don’t forget the flash vote. We have a recap of everyone to kill time before the useless flash vote. I use this opportunity to watch the ABurke/Beyonce video again because it’s awesome and so am I.  Everyone arrives back on stage. Durrbot speaks to Sam Bailey who says that the boys in the house need a mum and that’s her.  Sam Callahan says something about his abs I think. Luke of the Dump is elated to have been named the performance of the night. Nicholas has worked hard to be here and has had the time of his life. Tamera is so glad she got to sing the song. Abi has more to give. Of course you do dearie. Hannah feels blessed to be here and she’s going to keep fighting. Rough Copy are also blessed and happy to be there. London Fields want to keep entertaining us and Miss Dynamix hope that people can see their potential and that’s the end of the 10 minutes. Now to spend another 10 waiting for Durrbot JUST TO READ THE BLOODY THING OUT.

Ad break. Come on.

The judges arrive back onstage. Durrbot wants to know if Sharon is nervous. She’s both nervous and desperate. Louis is happy but nervous. Nicole is also nervous but she knows the girls have given it their all. Funsponge is... wait for it.. nervous.

First safe category is The Girls. We can’t believe it either, Abi. Next up is The Overs. Louis looks nervous. Final category safe is The Boys which means that it’s one of the groups. OH SURELY NOT THE PREGNANT GROUP THAT YOU DROVE A BUS INTO TONIGHT? I CAN SCARCELY BELIEVE IT.  Of course it is.  Damn those pesky wimmins and their functioning ladyparts.  Durrbot reminds them that’s not the end but they are taking it as an opportunity to rehearse. [Good luck with that - you had two weeks to rehearse 'Dreams' and it still sucked. - Steve]  Lets vote to see who they’re taking on.

So that’s it. Join me tomorrow for The Wanted and LADY FUPPING GAGA.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shell(ey) shocked

Top 11 Results - 20th October 2013

Heeeeeeere's Dermot, reminding us that Dalston Kingsland are in the sing-off, and that one act will be joining them shortly. But we can't just go straight to that part of the proceedings, oh no. First we must relive Love & Heartache Night, which mostly involved Sharon screaming "I AM ON TELEVISION, PAY ME ATTENTION!" and Nicole driving her catchphrase collection to the point of destruction. Also, SeSe from Missed Dynamics opted to go to hospital rather than endure the show. I don't know if you've ever spent a Saturday night in A&E, but let me tell you, I'd probably pick that over The X Factor these days as well. In addition to the results tonight, we also have performances from Robin Thicke and Katy Perry to look forward to. Well, I say "look forward to". I mean "trigger the apocalypse".

Titles. What if Giant X is stationary, and it's actually our planet that's hurtling towards it, rather than the other way round? Did nobody stop to consider this?

Out bops Dermot, imagining he's on the links once again. He's closely followed by the judges: Gary's wearing a pinstriped suit that looks like corduroy if you squint (so naturally, I'm going to squint for the next hour), Nicole's in a black shimmering leotard-type gown with a sheer skirt, Sharon's trussed up in Bacofoil like the oven-ready turkey that she is, and Louis is wearing a jacket that looks like it doesn't belong to him. He clearly shares a tailor with Dermot.

Dermot reminds us that the lines are still open for a short while, as long as we don't want to vote for Kingsland Road or Missed Dynamics, not that anyone ever would. Apparently two votes cost 69p on the app, which seems like such a rip off when the Beeb are giving us five free votes for Strictly each week on their website.

The group sing for this week is Avicii's 'Wake Me Up', with the male contestants doing most of the singing for the first half. This has been blocked appallingly, because contestants walk in front of the cameras twice before they even get to the first chorus. Also, whoever decided that Hannah should be made to wear a hideously unflattering black and candy-pink jumpsuit for this performance needs to have their licence to dress people revoked. Of note: Nicholas's adorably awkward dancing, Sam The Screw and Tamera apparently having a competition to see who can sound the most like Shelley (I think Sam wins by a nose), and Hannah being jarringly flat.

After that, it's time for us to revisit the events of last night. As far as unseen material goes, Sam The Screw was pleased to show a softer side of her voice, Sharon likes the likeableness of Nicholas's likeability, Abi learned a valuable lesson about not pretending to be versatile, Gary is disappointed by the existence of comedy in the universe, Nicole thinks Sam C made the biggest improvement of anyone this week, Nicole wants everyone to be afraid of Tamera, Luke hopes he can be in a boat again next week, Rough Copy apparently do not exist in any sort of backstage capacity, and Sharon and Nicole agreed that Hannah gave the performance of the night.

Back to tonight, and let's all sit here awkwardly and watch eight women look uncomfortable as they strut around in leotards and tights while the skeeziest man alive sings the rapiest song of the summer - it's Robin Thicke with 'Blurred Lines', everybody! Fortunately it is no longer the summer, so I suggest we skip right to the point where nobody puts up with his shit for a second longer. *Fast forwards to the end*. Dermot arrives and is all "WURRRRGH! LADIES!" He then asks Robin Thicke if he has room for two more ladies, because he can offer him Sharon and Nicole. Great move, Dermot. You've actually found a way to make Robin Thicke, this song (and yourself) sound even more misogynistic than usual. (For what it's worth, Sharon seems quite taken with the idea of joining Robin's female entourage, while the look on Nicole's face is more "the fuck am I doing that. I left the Pussycat Dolls for a reason".) Robin shills his tour that'll be over here in January, where he'll be playing one or both of the songs that everyone knows, and then goes off backstage to chat to Katy Perry about the coincidence that led to the most awful man in contemporary pop music and the most awful woman in contemporary pop music to end up booked on the same show at the same time.

Adverts. I'm sure I can't be the only person who wants to write "East" in front of all the Ender's Game posters, can I?

When we return, Dermot declares the lines officially closed, and has a little chat with the judges. He says that it was a big shock in the studio that Dalston Kingsland lost the Flash Vote, "obviously maybe not at home". Well yes, I'd imagine all the people that did not vote for them probably weren't terribly shocked. Gary says he didn't see it coming, and he would've changed nothing about their performance last night. Gary Barlow: Best Mentor Ever. He says they've been preparing for 24 hours and they're ready to sing for their lives. Dermot asks who's in trouble, based on last night's performances. Nicole thinks Shelley, because of the song choice. Gary agrees. Sharon votes for "little Abu Dhabi", and I think nearly everyone watching had to take a moment to work out if she was being "comically" racist about someone. Dermot clarifies "to the rest of the English-speaking language" (derp) that she meant Abi. Finally, Louis thinks it's between Abi and Shelley.

Time for our second guest of the evening, Katy Perry. Hey, remember this? Because I can't forget it, and BELIEVE ME, I'VE TRIED. Has Katy spent her time away from the show having singing lessons? LOL NO, she's spent it writing shitty "empowerment" songs and buying even shittier stage outfits, like tonight's tiger-striped dress and animal-ear headband. (Katy Perry is 28.) She still can't fucking sing, but at least the people who write her songs for her these days have cottoned on, and write songs like 'Roar' that don't actually require her to sustain a note for any length of time. She biffs the last note, because she can't sing, and then she squeals to Dermot "I get to dress up like a big cat, so I love this song!" (Katy Perry is 28.) Dermot points out that Katy Perry is on this show all the effing time, just like Kelly Rowland used to be when she was angling for a job, so would Katy ever consider joining the judging panel "if one of these seats ever became available". Dermot, at least two of them are available NEXT SERIES. Katy says she would "love to give constructive criticism". Yeah, I'm sure she'd be really incisive. She mentions her brief spell as a guest judge at auditions when Dannii was pregnant, and adds "I love that I let Niall through". That joke's too easy, isn't it? (SO IS HARRY STYLES, THANK YOU, I'LL BE HERE ALL WEEK!) Katy Perry fucks off, hopefully forever.

After an ad break, we're back, and Dalston Kingsland are stood in the background behind Dermot, looking terrified and miserable. So either being in the sing-off is proving hard to handle, or they got a sneak preview of Katy's new album backstage. Dermot welcomes back the judges and what's left of their artist rosters. In no particular order, the following acts are safe and definitely through to next week: Rough Copy, Hannah (with no hair incidents this time), Sam The Screw, Luke, Tamera, Nicholas, Abi and finally Sam C, who was really starting to get the vapours towards the end there. (Fun fact: this is now the furthest Louis has ever got in the competition without having an act in the bottom two.) That means Shelley's back in the sing-off, which I think she knew was coming. As did everyone else.

Ads. I have not missed the "biscwits" panda at all.

When we return, Dermot reminds us who's in the sing-off this week, and Dalston Kingsland and Shelley make their way back out, all looking thoroughly pissed off, and with Dalston all trying to walk with their arms around each other's shoulders and failing parlously (those stairs!), like they've only just realised why there isn't generally a six-legged race on school sports days.

Dalston are singing first, so Shelley goes off to the side to join Dermot. Dalston go for the Nicole vote by actually having Thompson and Matt on lead vocals this time around, even if three of them basically just stand there going "ahhhhhh" for most of it. They're singing 'Try' by Pink, by the way - it's a little breathy and scratchy, but by the standards of boyband singoffs on this show, it's decent enough. When it's over most of them start sobbing, but no one calls them fake or accuses them of trying to manipulate the judges because a) they're men and b) this isn't The Great British Bake Off. Don't ask me, I don't make the rules.

Shelley applauds them gamely and tells them all (individually) that she loves them as they cross paths on the way to the stage. Shelley's chosen is 'Stop!' by Sam Brown, and this is pretty painful for me because I love this song and she's swallowing all her consonants and doing all her terrible club singer tics, although there are moments where she sounds great and bluesy and I remember why I liked her in the first place. Brief moments, though.

Dalston come back out to join her, and now it's time to find out who the judges are keeping. Dermot reminds us that there's no deadlock (boo!), so if there's a tie, Dalston are going home. Gary's up first, and he tells both acts that they did well, but obviously he's backing his act, so he's sending Shelley home. For the same reason, Sharon is sending Dalston home. Because this procedure is needlessly complicated, Dermot chooses this point to explain that if Nicole also votes to send Dalston home, then they're going because the best they can hope for is a tie, at which point they're automatically gone for losing the Flash Vote. Sharon can be heard buzzing in the background trying to get Nicole to save Shelley, but despite Nicole telling Shelley that she finds her inspiring, she's got to support Dalston this week, so she's sending Shelley home. So it's all down to Louis, and Sharon's going "Louis! Louis! Louis! Louis! Louis! Louis!" in his ear the whole time and kissing him all over and telling him she'll do anything, and I'm fairly certain there is a fanfic somewhere on the internet that goes something like this. I mean, Rule 34, right? It's all for nowt, though, because Louis wants to save the act with the most potential, so he's sending Shelley home. Ever the classy one, Sharon stands up and insists that Gary swaps seats with her while her act is on stage by herself insisting that she's fine, and telling Dalston that she loves them. Poor Shelley. (Dalston do seem genuinely fond of her as well, which is sweet.)

We see Shelley's best bits, including lots of shots of her adorable daughter. Present-day Shelley is in the corner of the screen, enjoying watching it back. I think deep down she knew she was never going to get much further than this. After the video package, Dermot tells her that she's going to have to give up driving and become a singer, surely? Yes, because nothing says 'give up your day job' like finishing 11th on The X Factor. Shelley says thanks to everyone on the show because she's had a great time, and Sharon is amazing. Sharon says she's gutted to have lost two acts in two weeks, because it's all about Sharon. Exeunt Sharon and Shelley.

That's it! Next week it's movie week, and The Wanted arrive for that long-delayed "ugliest boyband" head-to-head with Dalston, and someone called Lady...Gaga? Whoever she is, she'll be here. You know who else will be here? Our Helen, that's who. Be sure to join her then!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

(Kingsland) Road to nowhere

Top 11: Love & Heartache Week - 19 October 2013

Last weekend: The live shows kicked off, and Gary declared that Dalston Kingsland will be the group whose performance we all look forward to each week (spoilers: LOL WHOOPS), while Sam The Screw and Tamera got the best reception of the night, Missed Dynamics performed in the exact way that you'd expect a group of people who've only known each other to perform together, and the first-ever Flash Vote saw Shelley getting the least public support on Saturday, only to miraculously survive on Sunday when Lorna's complete invisibility caught up with her (and let's be honest, the pictures of her fondling a gun probably didn't do her any favours either - although she should consider entering the US version, where that would probably help her to the top five at the very least) and she ended up biffing the sing-off. Meanwhile, Sharon managed not to storm off in a huff and threaten to quit the show because two of her acts were in the bottom two - maybe she really has grown as a person?

Tonight, it's Love (represented by Kylie & Jason, Wills & Kate and Green Boots) and Heartache (represented by Gary crying at the press conference when Take That announced their split. Okay then) Week. So, essentially it's "songs week", because I think you can count the number of hits that don't address either love or heartache in some form on the fingers of a whale. We're reminded of who's mentoring which category: Gary's got the groups (and he thinks the girls are going to LOVE Dalston this week), Nicole's got the girls (and she insists they are going to BRING IT), Louis has the boys (why does Luke look so pained in the picture? And why is he doing selfie-duckface, come to that?) and Sharon has what's left of the over-25s (and she insists they're coming out fighting). It's time! To face! Some more banter about Dermot's penis! (Probably.)

Giant X, Giant X, flying through the sky. Giant X, Giant X, never tells us why. Crashes to Earth, but what comes next? Giant X, Giant X, Giant X.

We're live from London, and 'Love Is In The Air' plays as Dermot enters. Frankly, all this does is make me think of Ashley and Ola's samba from last week on Strictly. Maybe Dermot's going to whip his shirt off and/or descend from the ceiling in a giant heart? ...no, he just walks on and does his usual mic-toss and backwards golf-swing. Come on, Dermot, we expect more from you these days. I notice that these days he's saying "your X Factor weekend starts right here!" I wonder if they added that qualification to his intro once it became abundantly clear that more people were starting their weekend 90 minutes earlier on BBC1? He announces the theme, and declares it apt (APT!) because one more act will be going home tomorrow.

The judges enter as two flamethrowers blast out a firey X in front of them, and I get all Ghostbusters, worrying whether it's really safe to be crossing the streams like that. Gary's all in black, Nicole's in devilish red, Sharon's wearing a black and white gown that's cut out around the front so you can still see her cleavage, and Louis is wearing one of his velvet jackets again. Dermot reminds us that the finalists will face the FLASH VOTE once again at the end of the show, and fewer than ten minutes of voting will potentially decide their future in the competition. Or not, if it's like what happened last week with Shelley.

Dermot opens the performances by telling us that last week saw the return of "an X Factor great". Oh my god, RUTH LORENZO WAS BACK?!?! Oh, he means Sharon. "She came, she saw, she squeezed, she hugged." She's sharp, she's cool, she rides on a mule! Sharon's category is opening the show, and Sam The Screw is up first. In reference to the theme, Sam discusses her love of football - thanks to the show, she got to go to the England game at Wembley last week. It turns out that Sam really loves football [Why do I feel I'm watching a redux of last week's Strictly with these VTs? - Rad] - she's played for Millwall, Charlton, Crystal Palace, Leicester City Ladies and the Prison Service. She says that football is a passion she shares with her husband, and obviously he's the other love of her life. Poor Sam's husband. Such an afterthought. (Actually, the 15 seconds or so of that VT given over to Sam's love of football was the most animated and likeable she's been all series. I wish they'd deployed that side of her sooner rather than focusing so heavily on the prison warder/mum/weepy aspects of her life.) Sam tells Sharon that she hasn't really experienced heartbreak because she's only ever been in love once, so this week's going to be all about Craig. I feel like someone should point out to her that Sam's probably going to experience heartbreak in the music industry before very long, but she looks so happy right now and I don't really want to be That Guy. Sharon tells Sam that her emotions will make her performance more genuine. Sam says that she and her husband got together in a nightclub in 2002, and we see their wedding pictures, which are cute. She says that Craig's looked after the kids and kept things going during the competition, and she wants him to know how much he means to her, so this song is dedicated to him.

Sam takes to the stage and sings 'Leave (Get Out)' by JoJo. No, of course not, she's singing 'Make You Feel My Love' by Bob Dylan/Adele (delete according to your preference). I'm still dumbstruck by how much her makeover has made her look like Niki "Meaty Minge" Evans. Are we absolutely sure that "Sam Bailey" isn't just a character Niki invented to get herself back on the television to raise funds for more vagina surgery? Sam's performance has a nice tone to it - it's more understated than she has been in previous weeks, which is an encouraging sign. I've always found this song deathly dull and this performance isn't doing anything to change that, but she's certainly doing a more than competent job. Maybe it's just because I've gone off Shelley since Judges' Houses, or maybe it was that football VT, but I'm starting to find Sam more appealing as a contestant, even if I can't imagine she's ever likely to release a record that I'll want to listen to voluntarily.

Gary tells Sam that they're so used to her being excellent that she's making life very difficult for herself, "but every week you take the bar up another level". He goes on to say "I like you in this space", which is an odd thing to say. This is the same space everyone performs in, Gary. Unless he just meant "I like you in the musical space of standing there doing nothing and singing a ballid", which: b'duh. Nicole elongates each syllable of Sam's full first name, which anyone who's ever been told off by their mother will instantly recognise as a bad omen, and says that it's hard for her because she's a big fan of Sam, but that performance "left me lukewarm". Sharon SCREECHES various things that don't appear to be actual words, and Nicole says that she sees Sam as a big power singer, and that song felt tonally wrong to her. Louis tells Sam that he's got a new name for her: ScrewBo. You know, like SuBo. Because of the many similarities between Sam and Susan Boyle? *crickets chirp* Anyway, Sharon screeches "WHAT DID YOU SAY?" and gets entirely caught up in the "screw" part and thinking that Louis is calling her a hooker or something, because Sharon's spent too long in Beverly Hills and forgotten all of her British slang. Anyway, Louis says it's a compliment because she's going to be here for a long time. He does know that you can't just use "because" to link two entirely unrelated thoughts, right? Sam tries to get Sharon to shut up by mumbling "Susan Boyle's amazing." Hee. Sharon tells her that it was beautifully controlled and that she had "some lovely, tender moments in there". And then she screams "AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENED WITH NICKY!" Suddenly I'm remembering why I always hated Sharon the first time around: because Live Show Sharon is just the worst. [Told you this would happen - Rad]

Dermot arrives far too late as usual, and asks Sam - following on from Nicole's comments - if it's been a deliberate move to sing different styles of songs during the competition. Derm, there's sort of an expectation of that built into the format. Sam says that she doesn't want to be a one-trick pony, she wants to show everybody that she can do everything. She then whips out some batons, sets alight to them and starts juggling with one hand, while hoovering the floor with the other, performing the tap routine from the middle of 'The Time Warp' and reciting the whole of Great Expectations. In Portugese. Sam Bailey, everybody!

After an ad break, we return and Dermot delivers a long and slightly uncomfortable intro for Gary and the groups, and since Gary's apparently not allowed to speak tonight, Dermot confirms that Dalston Kingsland are up first and we go straight into the VT. Dalston talk about how they're living every guy's dream life right now, because they were also at the England game last week (#LADZONTOUR) and now Ellie Goulding knows who they are. In a backstage shot from last week, Ellie tells them that she thinks they are exciting and different and she likes their hair. You are dead to me, Goulding. Dead. Connor declares that he thinks they're in there, because obviously any positive feedback from a woman is a clear declaration of sexual interest (#LADZ). Gary asks the boys who's in love, and who's had their heart broken. You know, aside from the girlfriends they're currently hiding in cupboards. ("Girlfriends".) Matt says there "isn't really a ladies' man in the group" and Thompson says that if you go up to a girl and tell her you're in a boyband, it just doesn't work. Yeah, that's why Harry Styles became a monk. Gary says that "twenty years ago, it used to work great for me!" (#LADZONTOURINTHEMIDNINETIES) This week, Dalston are singing 'Marry You' by Bruno Mars, and they're very excited because they get to dance with hot girls. Hot girls who seem entirely uninterested in them. What sensible hot girls. Thompson hopes they'll be more successful as performers than they were with the dancers. (Spoiler: LOL WHOOPS.)

They're attempting to sing the whole thing in harmony, with fairly questionable results. Also, Josh seems to have raided Jesy BixMix's Ugly Trousers Cupboard once again, and Thompson is dressed as the deputy head from Waterloo Road. They've even got the same hair and everything. [THAT'S who he reminds me of.  It's been bugging me for ages - Rad] They run into the audience, where The Girls all scream for them as directed, and they're joined by the aforementioned Hot Girls, who are wearing wedding dresses with baseball caps. Ugh, hipsters.

Nicole tells them that they did a good job, and she knows "the ladies were loving you so much". She thought they sounded good "as a choral group", and asks Gary why nobody was doing lead vocals. Gary snorts that there are ELEVEN lead vocals in the competition this week and the boys wanted to sing together. Gary Barlow Can't Count Alert: there are only eleven acts in total. Remove Dalston Kingsland, that makes ten. Remove Missed Dynamics, whom he must already know aren't competing this week, and I make that nine at the absolute most. Meanwhile, Drunk Granny Sharon screeches "NICKY WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH MA BABY?!" Foetal alcohol poisoning? Just a guess. Nicole says she's just being honest. Louis tells them they were good last week but great this week, and he loves the staging. He says that he and Gary know more about boybands than anyone else on the panel, and he thinks they've got something special. Drunk Granny Sharon howls "HE knows more about boybands than I do!", just in case there were a few people in a cave in Papua New Guinea who hadn't quite thought to make a LOLGAY joke yet. She says that every time she sees them perform, they make her feel happy, and it was a great song choice. Gary bores on about their work ethic. Neaux1curr.

Dermot decides he wants to pick things up with "Scherzy-Grumpypants" again, and asks her what she's hoping to see more of. Nicole says she wants Matt to realise what an amazing lead vocalist he is, and then Dalston will be "going places". Dermot reminds us that Matt didn't have much luck with the ladies (#MINTLADZBANTER) and asks if it went better in the performance, and Matt says he thinks so, because in rehearsals he elbowed one of them. Smooth. Dalston Kingsland exit, getting those hideous paisley trousers off my screen not a moment too soon. [I went to the actual Kingsland Road for the first time this week.  Their whole image now makes more sense to me - Rad]

Over to Louis and the boys next, with Nicholas going first. Somebody has dressed Nicholas up in a tie with hearts on it, because I think they are actually trying to turn him into Eoin McLove. Louis tells Nicholas that he's singing 'She's The One' by Robbie Williams this week, and Nicholas says that it's hard to sing about being in love when you've never been in love. It really isn't, though. Also, he's NEARLY SEVENTEEN. Who gets to seventeen without ever experiencing even a brief flush of love? What the hell was he doing with his teenage years? Louis tells Nicholas he needs to connect with the lyrics, and Nicholas says he'll just think about his mum and his family. Louis is all "Jesus Christ, it's not about your bloody mother you weirdo, JUST THINK OF A NICE GIRL AND SING IT TO HER." As desperation sets in, Louis decides that Nicholas has a crush on Nicole and sends Nicole in for Nicholas's rehearsals to stand there wearing a white vest and look coy. Nicole purrs that "Louis told me you were struggling a little and I wanted to help you out", and for a second there I feared they might have actually asked her to deflower him. Anyway, it seems to work: Nicholas says he's going to think about Nicole when he sings it.

Nicholas performs the song with serious echo FX on his vocals and surrounded by a group of backing dancers who just parade around at a leaden pace looking stony-faced. Maybe they were meant to be the zombies for Halloween week and they arrived a week early due to an administrative error? Anyway, Nicholas's performance is fine - he's a little sharp in places, and it's kind of dull, but I dare say it played very well in his target demographic of mums, grandmothers and the under-eights. A blonde dancer with bright red lipstick slides up to him at the end and puts her hand on his shoulder. You'll understand why I'm mentioning that in a minute.

Nicole has a "my boy's all grown up!" look on her face. Sharon says he handled that song superbly, "BUT WHO ON EARTH WAS THAT PIECE OF WHATEVER STOOD NEXT TO YOU? THAT PAEDIOPHILE!" (That's not a typo, she really did say "paediophile".) For the love of god, Sharon, he is SIXTEEN, not six. Also, nice slut-shaming there. Sharon wants to know why Louis allowed that and screeches "WHERE'S NICHOLAS'S MOTHER?" This is making me very uncomfortable. It's almost like she actually wants to stunt his development. Go and be weird with your own kids, Sharon. At least they're used to it. Gary tells Nicholas that he has a beautiful voice and it was a great song choice, but he wasn't sure about "the walking dead" because he thinks Nicholas doesn't need that - he should just stand there with one light on him and sing. Gary Barlow: making great television since two thousand and NEVER. Nicole makes the "heart" gesture over her chest and says that he's a natural, that he was understated and easy on the eyes and ears. Louis tells Nicholas has likeability and calls him "my baby Bublé". Dryheave.

Dermot asks Nicholas how he feels about all this female attention and Nicholas is all "yeah, s'fine". Dermot puts him in a headlock and sends him off without reading his voting number.

No ad break, we're straight over to Nicole and the girls, and Abi's up next. Abi recalls the terror that she felt last week and how Nicole had to give her a little pep talk to get her through it. Abi says that she wants to conquer her nerves this week, so Nicole suggests they hang out together and learn to feel comfortable around each other. So they go bowling, obviously. Abi says that it was hard to play it cool "because she's a huge massive superstar", but she hopes now she can feel at ease out there.

Abi is singing a slowed-down, acoustic, John Lewis-ified version of 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' (of course) surrounded by dancers in pink mackintoshes carrying pink umbrellas. She can't support her voice in the higher notes at all, the whole performances is overly mannered, and she looks about as comfortable moving around as Rebecca Ferguson used to. It's not a good night for Abi, let's put it that way.

Louis tells her that he liked her doing Bon Jovi last week, but not so much with this: "I think I prefer you behind the piano, doing the singer-songwriter stuff." You know, with songs she didn't actually write. He says he doesn't think she was comfortable, and it didn't really work for him. Sharon disagrees - she thinks it was a big risk for Abi because she had to move and she handled it well, but she does need more confidence. And then she starts talking about Abi's sexy feet. Oh Sharon. It was going so well. Gary says it was a bit sleep-inducing for him (he's a fine one to talk), and while he liked what the dancers were doing, he didn't feel the song was a good fit for Abi. Nicole says that she much preferred Abi's version to the original, "and Lou-Lou has gone loony". She thinks Abi showed another side of herself tonight, and that she "look[s] like a hot tamale tonight". Possibly literally, in that red outfit.

Dermot wants to know this: surely if Abi were to sit behind the piano every week, then that would be wrong as well? Abi says that she's taking the judges' comments on board but she wanted to show that she could do something different, because they've told her before that she hasn't been diverse enough. Be careful what you wish for, in other words. Dermot says "it's good to see you walking!", as though she's been in a car crash or something.

Shelley's up next, but first some ads. I am quite excited about Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 because the original was super-cute. Also, I deeply fear anyone who was involved with dancedancebaby.co.uk in any way.

When we return, Dermot's in the audience next to James Arthur, who blows kisses to the crowd like an arsehole. He says everyone's been great so far, and he's a big fan of Kingsland. Category-wise though, he favours the girls. How illuminating. Dermot informs (/warns) us that James will be performing live on the show in a few weeks.

Next up and hoping for a recovery, it's Shelley. Shelley tells us that being in the bottom last week was hideous (BUT THAT REWATCHING IT ON A PRODUCT-PLACEMENT TABLET REALLY HELPS ME TO EASE THE PAIN!) and she literally wanted to burst into tears. She's grateful to have been saved, and she wonders if people just need to get to know her better. Sharon says that Shelley's shown everyone her voice, now she needs to show off her sassy side. Yes, that's exactly what the world needed. Shelley announces that this week she's singing 'Single Ladies' by Beyoncé: "this one's perfect for me, because I am a single lady". Egad. She says that she always does stupid things around boys, like having lipstick on her teeth or falling over. Basically she's a Miranda without a Stevie or a Gary. Unless her daughter is the Stevie in her life, which is a worrying thought. [As a fellow Miranda without a Stevie or a Gary - or a joke shop, for that matter, I now realise why I like Shelley.  Although no way is she only a year older than me - Rad]

Shelley starts the performance suspended in a hoop above the stage singing a slowed-down jazzy version of the song before actually doing it properly. She does a dramatically scaled-down version of the dance routine and sings the whole thing in the club style and stomping around the stage. It's very camp and silly and sort of fun, but I almost wish she'd just commit to being a comedy act and have done with it. I think we'd all be a lot happier that way. The song finishes, and Shelley pouts and taps her ring finger pointedly.

Gary's cackling to himself, and then realises he's supposed to speak: "Oh god, am I first?" He congratulates Shelley on her "22nd birthday" and says that she proved last weekend that she's a good singer, but he's not sure he would've chosen this one for her. Nicole says that she loves Shelley's energy, but she thought it was a little "sha-weird" and she doesn't know if she "lurved" this song for Shelley and the ballad-esque intro was a "sha-no-no". I think Shanicole's shaveering into shauncontrollable shaself-parody at this point. She gives her credit for singing and dancing, though. Louis says he's glad he saved Shelley last week and he can see her having a great future on the stage in Priscilla or Hairspray. Oh, Louis. Those parts you're thinking of? They're played BY MEN. Sorry to break it to you. I'll understand if you want to go and have a little quiet think to yourself about what this means. He wants her to stay around, because she's fun. Sharon also wishes Shelley a happy birthday and says that she's been sick all week, but she still managed to perform tonight, so she hopes people will vote for Shelley.

Dermot comes out with a little cupcake with a candle in it (what, has the budget been sliced? Bloody cheapskates) and Shelley stage-winks that she knows what she's going to wish for. She says that she felt "more Shelley" this week and she was happy she got to dance with those gorgeous men.

Time for a little bit of DRAMA now: Dermot confirms what everyone on Twitter knew an hour or so ago: just before they went on air, SeSe from Missed Dynamics was taken ill and medics advised that she wasn't well enough to perform. Since SeSe was doing lead vocals and the other two "didn't have enough time to learn it", the group as a whole has been given a bye to next week. When they'll presumably be getting a "bye" of a different sort. The funniest part of all this is one solitary person in the audience giving a gut-wrenching, heartfelt "AWWWWWWWW!" at the idea of Missed Dynamics not performing, and everyone else in the room not giving one solitary shit. Anyway, let's look at what happened: around 5:32pm, SeSe collapsed and was seen to be the medical team, and wheeled into an ambulance. That's it. Gary says that everyone's devastated, but since SeSe is nearly six months pregnant, they couldn't afford to take any risks. He says that the best place she can be right now is in hospital, and they believe everything's fine, but she won't be performing this weekend.

Caroline's backstage with The Other Two, who confess to being "extremely disappointed" because they've worked so hard this week, but SeSe's health comes first, and they're glad they at least get to come back next week. Caroline asks why they couldn't just go on without her, and Jeanette says that all three of them had lead verses this week, and an hour wasn't enough time for either of them to learn SeSe's part. To be honest I'm surprised Melanie McCabe isn't lurking in the background somewhere screaming "I'LL DO IT! I CAN LEARN IT IN 20 MINUTES!" (Apparently they were supposed to be singing 'Dreams' by Gabrielle, and frankly anyone who doesn't already know that song inside out has no business being a pop star in the first place.)

After another ad break, it's time for an ab break (see what I did there?): it's Sam Callahan. He was a bit upset with some of the comments he got about his voice last week from Gary and Nicole, but Louis tells him he's got great stage presence and "something special". Sam goes for some extra vocal lessons during the week, and we get a little montage to show us how hard Sam's been working all week. Although I notice that his workload was never so intense that he didn't have time to do his hair in the morning.

Sam's on a stool, on a podium, singing 'I Won't Give Up' by Jason Mraz. It sounds like every other performance of this song that you've ever heard, except croakier, but he looks pretty doing it, and I suspect that's what matters the most.

Sharon tells him that he did really well, so he needn't look so terrified. Gary is pleased that Sam decided to take a challenge this week, although he thinks that the first half of the song was too low for him. He tells him well done for taking a risk, and declares it a massive improvement on last week. Nicole agrees, and says that the people who last in the competition are the ones who are brave and work hard. Louis says that Sam's proved why he belongs in the competition, because he's hard-working and a dream to work with, "and that's what it's all about, work ethics". Yeah, that's why it's called The Work Ethic Factor.

Dermot arrives with the swinging backhander of an announcement that he'd expected to have to come on and defend Sam from the judges' assaults. Sam says that he's really happy with that feedback.

Next, it's time for Tamera. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering she got exceptionally good responses from the judges and viewers alike, she had a great time last week. She says that dancing for the crowd has been her dream ever since she can remember. After the show, she went to hug her grandma, who's the minister for the local church, which is where she started out singing as a kid. Nicole and Tamera talk about how they're from similar backgrounds, both being born to relatively young mothers and getting a lot of help from their grandparents. Tamera goes off to the church to see her grandma again, and her gran says she always knew Tamera had something special. Tamera gives her gran a sneak preview of this week's performance, and her gran gets all misty-eyed. Fair play to Tamera, this was an exemplary deployment of The Nan Card.

Tamera sings 'Beneath Your Beautiful' by Labrinth and Emeli Sandé, which is an inherently evil song because it uses "your" instead of "you're". FUCK YOU, LABRINTH. AND YOU, SUNDAY, YOU'RE NO BETTER [OH.  I always assumed they meant it in the sense of 'Beneath Your Beautiful Brown Eyes, so it was Beneath Your Beautiful... - Rad] . If I can suppress the bile in my throat long enough to look past that, it's another impressive performance from Tamera - she gurgles a few of the notes, but she really does sound good on this one, and she's got great control of the whole thing.

Louis tells her that every time he sees her, he thinks "Whitney, Rihanna, Leona Lewis". Wow, I'm glad she's such a unique presence! He tells her to work hard and keep doing what Nicole tells her to do. Sharon agrees with that last part, "because she always gets it right". That's not what you've been saying for the rest of the evening, lady. She thinks Tamera was full of confidence and looks fantastic. Gary says that tonight the public are finally going to see what the judges have been seeing all along - that she's a superstar. He thinks that the performance reminded him of what they see on a Sunday night - i.e. the internationally-famous performers who come on to plug their new singles, not the group sings. Nicole tells Tamera the performance was "bellissimo", and she loved how controlled it all was.

Dermot tells Tamera that it must have been really nice to just stand there for the whole performance and not have to move at all. I know that these post-performance interviews have never been exactly Newsnight, but this may be a new low. Tamera's nan is in the audience (of course) and Tamera doesn't really have much to say for herself, so she's off.

After the JLSes flog the competition and the Argos aliens continue to be a thing that we all have to endure, we're back and Dermot's in the audience with the friends and family, specifically Abi Alton's dad, who enjoys not having to be a roadie for her any more. There's also Sam Bailey's football widow husband Craig, and Cat-Fancier Colin from the auditions, and I'd prefer not to relive that specific part of this series, so let's move right along...

...to the Hair Apparent, Luke Friend. The theme of Luke's VT is that this is his first time living away from home (there's one of these every year, isn't there?) and his sitcom-hilarious mum is finding it difficult to cut the apron strings, so she calls him every 30 seconds to remind him to wash behind his ears and to eat his vegetables and to breathe in and out and to stop scratching there because we've got company. She even sends him a care package of some pyjamas, so he doesn't get cold at night. And presumably so he doesn't end up with accidental noodpix on the internet.

The stage is flooded with dry ice and three boats: two containing guitarists and one containing Luke, who is singing 'Let Her Go' by Passenger. The low notes seem to be slightly out of his range and the choruses tend to sound a bit bowel-movementy as a result. Still, at least he manages to get up and out of his boat for the key change, and he doesn't even fall in the water! Now there's a multi-skilled performer.

Sharon tells him that she has "an awful soft spot for you". I always suspected that Sharon's soft spot was pretty awful, but it's nice to have confirmation. She adds that Luke is "quite fabulous", but she doesn't understand why the boats are there. "Because he's sailing through to next week!" says Louis, triumphantly. Oh, Louis. They're ROWING BOATS. Nice try, though. Gary tells Luke that he loves Luke's voice and his quirkiness, but he doesn't really understand the whole boat thing. However, he feels that Luke lacked edge tonight, and he wants him to regain that for next year. That said, he loved the song choice: "best song of this year, that song is". Christ, Gary, that wouldn't even be the best song of this year if no other songs had been released. Nicole disagreed: she felt the edge, she felt "some balls creeping up, a little bit of hair on them balls". That's FAR too much information. But she loved what he did with it, and the fact that he did it in a boat. Louis likes that Luke didn't copy the original, and the fact that he's cool.

Dermot arrives all creasefaced over the fact that "in seven years of this show, he has never been happier with himself than when he made that 'sailing through to next week' line." I like that Dermot isn't attempting to claim ownership of The Kate Thornton Years, at least. Luke says that he intends to do everything his own way and "quirk it up a bit", because there's no point in just doing a straight cover. I didn't even really notice that much difference, to be honest.

Dermot goes over to the interaction wall to find out how the audience has responded to the question of which judge has given the best critique tonight. Despite Dermot's fervent campaigning for Louis, Louis is actually last with 4%, just ahead of Sharon who has 8% (TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF SHARON OSBOURNE!), while Nicole is in second place with 38%, and Gary is in the lead with 50%, which I think tells you everything you need to know about the sort of people who participate in these polls. Then Dermot spins the "twheel" (or is it a "tuille", like those fancy chocolate things?), which seems a bit pointless since every single tweet is the same one from Tracey Thorn ("The Tracey Thorn?" wonders Dermot, who clearly doesn't spend enough time on Twitter if he doesn't know the answer to that) asking if there's any words that Nicole can't add "sha" to the front of. "Sha-no," replies Nicole. Oh, Nicole.

The last of the groups next: Rough Copy. They were very happy with how everything went last week, especially the great feedback they had from Nicole. (Sidebar: it didn't take me long at all to find articles making it clear which members of Dalston Kingsland and Missed Dynamics were which, but I've tried and failed to do the same with Rough Copy. HashtagEverydayRacism?) Kaz talks about his son, who is three, and the responsibility of having someone looking to you for guidance at all times, and how that love flows through Rough Copy. I'm not entirely sure I follow that, but sure, why not? Kaz's son comes to visit them in rehearsal and everyone goes gaga over him, and as a result feels energised for the live show. It says here.

Unfortunately, that doesn't translate to their performance of 'I Want It That Way', which is Rough Copy in every sense of the phrase. They're trying to harmonise throughout and very few of the harmonies actually land, except when the backing track kicks in to drown them out, which sort of defeats the point. Still, Sterling is wearing an awesome leather skirt over his trousers like he's Katy Hill: Warrior Princess, so I'm just going to focus on that.

Nicole is impressed that they took a Backstreet Boys song and made it into a Boyz II Men song. Again, I feel like constantly comparing the contestants to other acts is not the best way to convince us that they're unique and special. She warns them not to let the dancing detract from the singing. Louis calls it a "faultless performance", and thinks there's a place in the charts for them. Sharon calls them "very slick" and commends them on the effortlessness of their performances. Gary says that everywhere he's been this week, everyone's been asking him about Rough Copy. I imagine the upcoming week will run much the same way, although the questions will be more along the lines of "what the fuck was that mess, Barlow?" Gary also says that he'll be making a little shopping list based on their outfits from this week, including the leather skirt. Hands off, Barlow, I saw it first.

Sterling thanks the judges for the feedback, particularly Nicole, and says that they want to go away and work on their feedback. Dermot asks if their weakness is a tendency to get overexcited, and Sterling says that that's entirely possible, but they're always learning. Joey says that things don't always go to plan, but it's all about learning from those situations. Dermot asks Kaz about his son, and Kaz starts chanting his son's name, which sounds like "Ceero", but I could be wrong.

Time to waste a bit more time backstage with Caroline - this time she's with Shelley (Shelley gets a lot of backstage time, doesn't she?) wishing her a happy birthday and asking if she agrees with the judges that she chose the wrong song. Shelley doesn't think so, because she IS a single lady. Caroline Flack Doesn't Read Her Notes then oldnames Dalston Kingsland, and asks them about Nicole saying they need to loosen up a bit. Matt suggests they all take up yoga. Well, they've already got the trousers for it. Caroline does a quick "Luke, your mum's on the phone LOLZ" joke and then it's time for an ad break. Well, that was edifying.

When we return, Dermot gives us a quick SeSe update, informing us that she's doing well and resting at home. Hopefully she's catching up on Strictly on Sky+. Time for our final act: Hannah. She will be singing 'Beautiful' by Christina Aguilera, and the lyrics REALLY speak to her because she thinks she's the biggest girl in her category and doesn't like looking at herself in pictures. So Nicole takes her shopping and calls her beautiful repeatedly and HOORAY HANNAH'S SELF-ESTEEM ISSUES ARE FIXED FOREVER. Or something.

Hannah stands with her back to a mirror for duplication purposes and delivers a faintly lacklustre performance. (That said, if we had to have an EMPOWERMENT ANTHEM FOR YOUNG GIRLS, I'm glad we didn't end up with bloody 'Firework' or fucking 'Roar' or any other of Katy Perry's increasingly vapid attempts to become the champion of the disenfranchised.) As the song goes on, she gets the full (offstage) choir backing and a projection of mirror shards behind her to the point where I start to wonder if this is an unexpected Primeval crossover and she's about to get trampled by a diplodocus. She bellows a bit more, and then it's over.

Louis tells Hannah that he can't believe she's only sixteen. Someone, presumably Nicole, yells "SEVENTEEN!" Hee. Sharon tells Hannah that she is beautiful inside and out, and that she only wants to see her happy from now on: "nixay on the tears!" Remind me not to buy Sharon Osbourne's Guide To Pig Latin. Gary says that Hannah is at her best when she's singing for her life, adding that the intonation she sings with is the sort of thing that can't be taught: "when you bend both knees and go for it, I really love it." MOVING SWIFTLY ON. Nicole says "Hashtag Facegoosebumps". No, I don't even know what she's on about.

Dermot arrives and falls over his attempt to say "facegoosebumps" about three times, and Hannah has a little happy-cry to herself and cackles ferociously. She has such a dirty laugh. I LOVE IT. She says that she was singing that for everyone who feels that they're not good enough. Yeah, I think I got that. Thanks, Hannah.

The lines open for the Flash Vote (they should have a Slash Vote, where we get to pick two contestants of the same gender to make out. That would be fun), and Dermot reminds us that Missed Dynamics are not eligible for either of this weekend's votes. Dermot reads out the numbers again, and then there's the obligatory recap of the evening's performances: Sam The Screw being surprisingly understated; Dalston Kingsland still needing to sack their stylist; Nicholas finding his very own sexy zombie; Abi being completely outmatched by 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head'; Shelley needing to put a ring on it or, failing that, a lid; Sam being close enough to the tune as far as anyone cares; Tamera singing THE EVIL SONG OF TERRIBLE GRAMMAR; Luke rowing his way into the next round, apparently; a Rough Copy that needs to be replaced with a final draft as soon as possible; Hannah saving the show a fortune by reusing old ITV visual effects.

There are just under three minutes left in the Flash Vote countdown, so Dermot invites the finalists back on to the stage. Sam The Screw is "feeling all right". Thanks Sam! Shelley points out that she is a diverse artist: "I done a slow one last time, I did a fast one this time." Sam C is really pleased that he got to show another side of himself this week, "and I'm not that orange this week". Heh. Nicholas has nothing to say other than he is happy to be here. Luke was very pleased with his comments and vows to take Gary's advice on board. Dermot confuses Abi by telling her that Gary thought her performance was "brave", which makes it sound like he was a lot more complimentary than he actually was, so Abi just mumbles something about hoping the public will see that, because what else can you do in that position? Hannah feels blessed to be here, REPRESENTING, and also not crying. Tamera feels amazing. Dalston are having a lot of fun and don't want it to end. Rough Copy are feeling good, and happy to be here. It is a bad idea to have the countdown to the lines closing on a giant screen behind the acts when all this is going on, because the audience's cries of "THREE! TWO! ONE! WOOOOOO!" kind of drown out most of Rough Copy's comments. So the lines are now frozen and someone's fate is already sealed. We will find out after that all-important break.

Ads. Those harmonising TalkTalk mascots are already a more convincing group than Missed Dynamics.

It's time to announce the result, so Dermot welcomes the judges back to the room. Sharon declares that she is feeling confident tonight. Louis says that his boys did their best, but he's nervous - he doesn't want any of them in the bottom two. Nicole is very proud of all of her girls, and she hopes she won't see any of them in the sing-off. Gary says that everybody's vulnerable every week, and sometimes the best acts are vulnerable because people think they're safe and don't vote for them. I'm fairly certain that only happens to acts that people aren't really all that fussed about to begin with, but whatever it takes to get you through the night, Bazza.

So here we go with the Flash Vote result. The first category in which all the acts are safe is the Boys. The second safe category is the Girls, and their celebration leads to possibly the greatest moment in the history of television. And the final category where all the acts are safe is...the Over-25s, much to the surprise of everyone in it. Shelley looks like she's on the verge of demanding a recount. So that means one of Gary's groups got the fewest votes, and that group is...Dalston Kingsland. Hooray! Dermot asks them how they feel, and Jay says that they did their best. Thompson says that they just have to prepare for tomorrow now. Dermot asks Gary how he's feeling, and he says he's gutted for them, but says that James Arthur was in the bottom two and still managed to win. Yes, but he finished fifth out of six, not tenth out of ten. Bit of a difference there. [Also: Sharon was totally ungracious when her acts got saved, lording it all over the stage and then obscuring the camera.  I get that she's pleased Funsponge might wrestle the title of worstest mentor ever from her, but still... - Rad]

So that's it for now: the lines reopen to determine who will join Dalston in the bottom two. We'll all be back for the results show with Katy Perry and Robin Thicke, two of the greatest menaces society has ever faced. Although on the bright side, if the entire studio disappeared down a sinkhole in a tragic accident during the show, it would at least mean we got rid of both of them in one fell swoop. So fingers crossed, eh?