Judges' Houses: Part 1 - 5 October 2013
Y'all ready for this? It's time for the part of the competition where arguably the least content is stretched over the maximum possible airtime, as everyone goes to a glamorous location, does a load of unpleasant bleating and then waits for some rich people to decide if they've got a future in this business. It's a bit like party conference season, except with fractionally less jingoism.
It's all happening a little differently this year: rather than having all the performances on Saturday and all the snotty tears on Sunday, this time we're having performances AND decisions for two categories on each night - the Boys and the Over-25s first, then the Girls and the Groups in the next show. Unfortunately, I'm stuck recapping both of them since I had to swap out of my duties last weekend (huge thanks for Helen for stepping in for me at short notice, I owe her about a thousand favours by this point), so it doesn't really make much difference to me what order it happens in, I'm still here for the whole thing. [Except... SPOILERS... we all got so messed up about who was on duty when that I spared Steve that fate unwittingly - Rad] And I've already contributed more words to this blog than Shane Filan will utter in this entire episode and nothing's even happened yet, so let's move swiftly along.
We begin with some previews, which are mostly of people crying, as is to be expected. Points of interest from tonight's show are Louis expressing his concern that he's in love with four people (oh my god, the Coalition for Marriage was right - legalising same-sex marriage really does lead to an increased level of acceptance for polyamory!) and Sharon telling a contestant (ostensibly Sam, but you know how tricksy they can be with these edits) that "I want to win, and I don't know whether you can do that for me." Girl, look back at your previous form on this show. I don't know whether you can do this for you.
Giant X plummets earthward, wondering why nobody thinks to intervene. GIANT X WAS ONLY EVER SUPPOSED TO BE ORBITING JUPITER! Poor Giant X.
Dermot's in a crisp white shirt in front of the Hollywood sign, reminding us that there are 24 acts left in the competition, and that they'll have been whittled down to 12 by the end of the weekend. First up, it's the boys - that's Luke, Sam, Paul, Giles, Ryan and Nicholas. This is possibly the only category in which I feel absolutely confident that I know who everyone is, although I admit I did have to do a bit of research before I remembered that Ryan is the bin juice guy. As is customary, they all meet at Heathrow to rip open an envelope and learn where they're off to - it's a bit like The Amazing Race, except they're probably not going to be told to fly to Shanghai, where they'll have to score one point against a 10-year-old junior champion in a game of table tennis to receive their next clue. More's the pity. The honour of opening the envelope falls to Sam, and it turns out that they're all off to St. Tropez. I do kind of miss the days when Louis's category was inevitably told they were going to Dublin, with the accompanying "womp womp" on the soundtrack. Not that I'm saying Dublin's not a lovely place, because it is. I'm going there for a minibreak next year and everything. Giles and Nicholas do a little celebratory dance (after Giles has finished leaping onto Sam's back and riding him around the departure lounge like a Segway) and Ryan tells us that he speaks a little French, like "non non non, mon petit cher". He does know that "mon petit cher" is a term of endearment for a man, right?
Next, the Over-25s arrive - Sam, Andrea, Joseph, Zoe (no evidence of her room audition on YouTube, interestingly), Shelley and Lorna. I have no recollection of Lorna existing prior to this moment, even though I recapped the episode she first appeared in. So that bodes well for the rest of the evening. Joe opens their envelope (presumably envelope-opening duties are reserved for those most likely to get the viewers' ovaries twitching) and reveals that they're off to Los Angeles. Everyone's very excited, although Joe makes sure to boreterview that it's NOT A HOLIDAY, IT'S A COMPETITION. Whatever, Joe. You've not got your child with you any more, so nobody cares what you think.
We get some shots of the contestants enjoying their first-class treatment. I wonder if this is like that previous year where they were all actually booked into in economy and then just bussed up to the sweet seats long enough to film these segments.
Dermot tells us that "the first to arrive are the over-25s". Really? So it's quicker to fly to Los Angeles than it is to fly to St Tropez? Already I find this show's timeline deeply suspicious. They have time for some quick sightseeing footage before being shunted off to Sharon's Beverly Hills mansion. Sharon brags that she's the only judge using her actual house for Judges' Houses. Meanwhile, Nicole is using Judge Judy's house, Louis is using Judge Reinhold's, and Gary is using Judge John Deed's. There's a shot of a "caution: dog running free" sign outside Sharon's house, and I'm not even going to make that joke because it's beneath us all. Sharon says that her category feels really strong, and she needs to win because "it's my time". You've not been on the show for the last five years, pet, I think you might be at the back of the queue. The first item on the agenda at Casa Osbourne is afternoon tea, which is at least one decision Sharon's made this year that I can unreservedly support. She tells her top six that this is do-or-die, and then it's time to reveal her guest judge. Ozzy? Kelly? Jack? Aimee? Nope, it's Robbie Williams, who's looking more and more like a Mark Lamarr tribute act with each passing year. Sam says that she has a huge crush on Robbie Williams, which is absolutely zero surprise.
Sharon and Robbie retire to their poolside loungers and discuss how Gary cannot be allowed to win under any circumstances (again, we are simpatico on this), and our first candidate of the night is Sam. She talks about how family-oriented she is, and how her husband and kids mean everything to her. I will probably be banging on this particular drum a lot over the next two days, but it seems odd to sell yourself on how family-oriented you are when your ultimate goal is to become a megafamous singer, which will more than likely require you to spend a shitload of your life on tour. Sam talks about how the arena auditions showed her how much her husband Craig believes in her, and so she wants to DO IT FOR HIM. She tells Dermot that she's got some powerful notes that she needs to hit. Dermot doesn't particularly look like he cares.
As Sam approaches, Sharon hisses to Robbie that she's a "prison officer" and a "lovely, lovely woman". She doesn't mention anything about singing, funnily enough. Sam is going to sing 'I Have Nothing' by Whitney Houston. She's comparatively restrained for the first half of the song, although she has got a really nasty habit of singing out of the side of her mouth and the accompanying sibilance gets annoying quite quickly, and then of course when she gets to the key change she bellows like she's trying to send a distress signal to passing ships. Robbie asks her if she was "in the moment", and Sam replies that she was thinking about her husband. Say whatever you like about Sam, but whether consciously or subconsciously, she knows how this show works. She runs off to get her hug from Dermot, but she's not sure how well it went. Robbie tells Sharon that he doesn't know where she fits, who her audience is. Sharon says that Sam is "very low-key", which is pretty much the exact opposite of how I would describe Sam, but okay. Robbie thinks that Sam's voice shone, but Sam herself did not.
Lorna is next, and she interviews that she keeps needing to remind herself where she is right now. A bit like Bruce on Strictly Come Dancing. She talks about how she's always loved singing, but never had the confidence to pursue it until a neighbour heard her singing through the wall and came round with an application form for this show. Lorna's neighbour: most charitable person ever? The only paperwork my neighbours will receive if I hear them singing through the wall will come from my local council's noise pollution unit. Lorna says she's very grateful, anyway. Dermot says that everyone in the room was incredibly moved by Lorna's boot camp performance. I still have no memory of it. Lorna vows to give this performance everything she's got.
She sings 'If I Were A Boy' for Robbie and Sharon. I like her tone, and she manages to handle the switch from the husky low notes of the song to the upper register pretty well. After she leaves, Robbie declares that she's "good at that", and that it was "a lovely version of a great song". Sharon still has concerns about Lorna's stage presence, because even when Sharon's seen her performing for a live audience, she still wasn't as good as Sharon would've liked. I guess Sharon and Dermot read the room at boot camp pretty differently, then. Lorna has a little cry on Dermot, as everyone must. Robbie asks Sharon if everyone is going to be as good as Lorna just was. Sharon replies "I hope so", which is Osbourne for "LOL NO."
Comeptition, presented by Marvin and Merry Christmas from JLS. They're clearly hoping for a regular gig on This Morning, aren't they? Then adverts, and the revelation that this weekend's Mail on Sunday comes with a free glossy poster of One Direction. Well, at least it'll be easy to wipe down afterwards, I guess.
We return to Los Angeles, and now it's Shelley's turn. She tells us that LA life is somewhat different from Devon, and she believes she was born to sing. She's nervous, but she's trying to turn her nerves into positive energy. She says that she's going to be on fire today, which is handy, because she's singing 'Girl On Fire' by Alicia Keys. Shelley pulls a lot of faces and sings it in the club style, and I realise how impossible it is not to sing 'Boy Is A Bottom' over it - although it doesn't help that the lyrics to 'Girl On Fire' are so intolerably vapid in the first place, obviously. It does feel as though, demographic-wise, Shelley's in direct competition with Sam. [I've thought that all along - I think they can both get votes for a couple of weeks but then the show will need to Alpha Over one of them - Rad] I like Shelley more as a person, but Sam's performance was probably the better of the two. She ends with a run that doesn't appear to be heading in any particular direction, and Robbie chuckles that she's just singing "all of the notes. All of them." Shelley blows them a kiss and legs it, cackling. Sharon likes Shelley's lack of inhibition, but is worried about all the bad, clichéd habits she's picked up. And Sharon Osbourne knows from cliché, believe you me. Shelley does not cry on Dermot, but does talk about herself in the third person. Sharon mentions that Shelley likes to be the centre of attention, and Robbie's all "yeah, thank goodness we don't have that problem." Snerk.
Zoe and Andrea are featured together, because let's face it, they're both pretty fodder-y. Zoe does the standard "I just feel like this is my last chance" schtick (tell that to Melanie McCabe) and also has a child. Zoe's child's name is Dusty, and Zoe has "Mummy loves Dusty" in Malay tattooed on her arm, but Shelley and Joe have officially reserved all of the "adorable moppet" screentime for this year so Zoe can't hope for that to save her. Sorry Zoe. She sings 'Fix You' in a Shirley Henderson sort of voice, and most of her performance is drowned out by interviews of her talking about her kid, so the future does not look bright for Zoe. She says that she can't go home and tell a three-and-a-half-year-old that "Mummy didn't get through". Well, perhaps you should've considered that sooner. Anyway, kids need to learn it's a cruel world sooner or later. Sure, she'll grown up to be cold, heartless and emotionally impotent, but she'll thank you when she's Secretary of State for Education. Zoe doesn't cry on Dermot either, but does admit to being "shaken and overwhelmed". Sharon likes Zoe's quirky voice and image, but she doesn't know if she can deliver the big songs on Saturday night that people want to hear. You can tell Sharon was absent for the Vickers/Ferguson/Devlin/Henderson years, can't you? Robbie thinks Zoe is the sort of person he would've had a crush on at school.
Then we have Andrea, who has brought her flute along, and I think that tells you everything you need to know about Andrea's chances. She plays the flute for a bit before singing 'High And Dry' by Radiohead in an emotionally overwrought manner and ending on a whistle note that she's not even close to hitting cleanly, so much so that Sharon has to ask her if it was meant to sound like that. Andrea giggles that it "felt like the last note was horrendous" and that she's done it a lot better in rehearsals. After Andrea leaves, Robbie jokes that two of Sharon's dogs passed out during the last note. Andrea does cry for Dermot, and Dermot's all "eh, it happens all the time. I mean did you not see that YouTube clip of Mahogany on the Australian version? And you know about Sarah Harding, right?" Sharon thinks that Andrea is "very creative", but worries about what might happen if Andrea decides to get creative with her end notes on the live shows. Andrea continues to sob in the holding area.
Finally, there's Joe. He talks about how emotional boot camp was, and we flash back to him having a massive strop at the idea of even theoretically being eliminated. Also, it suddenly occurs to me that he sounds like Darrell from The Archers, which is another good reason not to like Joseph Whelan. Dermot talks to Joe about his previous stint on the show, and Joe admits that after last year, he quit his job and tried to make a living out of music, not terribly successfully. Rather than taking the hint, however, Joe came back, because HE WANTS TO GIVE HIS SON WHAT HE DESERVES IN LIFE. And, well, see above. I realise there's no such thing as a stable job in this economy, but in terms of sustainable career plans, "X Factor also-ran" is just about up there with "headteacher of Waterloo Road" in terms of job security: you'll be hounded by the press, inevitably sleep with someone you shouldn't, and eventually an outraged parent will try to knock down your place of work with a JCB before you disappear into the night and no one ever mentions you again.
Joe sings 'I'll Stand By You', and it's all over the place. He doesn't seem to have picked a tempo, for starters, the higher notes are actively unpleasant, and he's just a big ball of nervous energy. Robbie says that he loves Joe and he wants things to go well for him, but he doesn't know where he's going to go. Home, hopefully. Joe tells Dermot that he gave it his all. Robbie tells Sharon that he feels invested in Joe's future because they're both from the Midlands and both have the same aspirations. Also, they both have some really awful tattoos. Sharon doesn't know if Joe can win the competition, and neither does Robbie.
It's night time, because that's better for atmosphere (even though the sun was still very much out for Joe's performance), and now Robbie and Sharon must deliberate. Robbie says she can choose to cut it with her management head on, or she can cut it with her heart. Sharon says that she's done four years and never won, so that's what she needs to do. Opinions include "I don't know if she's spectacular", "she's a diamond in the rough", "without likeability, you're stuck" and "I don't know whether she's the next big pop star". Robbie tells Sharon he doesn't envy her. Understandably.
After the ads, it's time to switch locations to St. Tropez. The boys are frolicking on the beach, and Sam's the only one sunbathing shirtless, so I think we can all feel fairly confident that he's making the live shows. He asks the others if they've ever been anywhere like this before, since he hasn't. Ryan says that it's a film star lifestyle, the sort of thing that you see in the movies but you never expect to happen to you. Determined to upstage Sharon and her Beverly Hills mansion, Louis has arranged to meet his contestants on a yacht. He congratulates them all on getting this far, but tells them they've got work to do. However, he's also sure he's got the winner in his category. Luke interviews that he can't believe he's on a "multi-million boat". Similarly, I can't believe that this piece of is going to on for another hours.
Once everyone's finished enjoying the boat life, it's time to head over to the villa Louis has rented to meet the guest judges: Shane from Westlife, who will be contributing absolutely fuck-all to the entire process, Nicole Appleton, who's just happy anyone remembers her, and (this is where Louis's accent becomes a little unfortunate) "I've got a turd person to help me" - Sinitta. Sinitta is wearing a white bikini and carrying a fan, which is disappointingly understated considering some of her previous outfits. The boys are all very excited to have so many guest judges. [I would say that each judge got the same budget for their guest judges and one Robbie equalled these three, but in no way does one Mary J Blige equal one Olly MURS, so perhaps not - Rad] I feel like in some strange parallel universe, Louis, Shane, Nicole and Sinitta actually is this show's judging panel. Eh, it couldn't be any worse than the panel we had for series eight. They settle down next to the pool. Why does there always have to be a pool in the background? Haven't we officially done all of the waterside tropes now after Kitty Brucknell?
Luke's up first, and he's worried that if he doesn't get through, he'll be going back to college. Ugh! Education! He sings 'Cannonball' like he's passing a kidney stone, and tells Louis that this is what he wants to do for a living. Shane, who looks unsettlingly like Ricky Gervais tonight, says you can tell this means a lot to Luke because he's crying. Well, I can't imagine he's going to be giving Dr Pamela Stephenson any sleepless nights. Nicole thinks he's talented, but she thinks his nerves got the better of him during the performances. Luke has a little Dermot-less weep. Was Dermot in the loo while this was happening? HE IS CRYING, DERMOT, THAT IS YOUR CUE.
Sam's next, and talks about how this show has already let him play for a crowd of 5000 people at Wembley Arena, and he can't go back to pulling pints after that sort of experience. He sings 'We Are Young' by The Fundots, in that same leaden, joyless way that Karen Harding sang it last week at boot camp. Nicole loves him, and Dermot emerges from the khazi in time to enquire how it went. Sam thinks he's done himself justice. Sinitta thinks that Sam is cute, but she thinks he's more of a boyband member than a solo artist. There's no room for Frankenbanding at this stage in the competition, though.
Ads. Gosh, that Joanna Lumley watches a lot of telly.
When we return, it's Paul's turn. He talks to Dermot about how he didn't think he'd get here, because sometimes just having a voice is not enough. Hmmm, if only there were another show he could've auditioned for, where the voice is supposed to be everything. I wish someone would hurry up and invent such a show, given the clear vacuum that exists right now. Paul's worried that he's too fat for this show, basically, even though he's clearly slimmer than Craig Colton, just to pick an example out of thin air. (Okay, poor choice of words, but you know what I mean.)
Having run out of songs about the struggle of being a black man in racially-segregated America, Paul opts for Paolo Nutini's 'Last Request' instead. He's got quite a nice tone, but there's nothing particularly new or exciting going on in this performance. Shane loved the vocal and the song choice, and thinks that Louis has a tough decision ahead. THANKS SHANE. Nicole thinks he has more to give, and there's something missing there that's giving her a brain-block. Yeah, that'll be it. Paul tells Dermot he gave it his all, so he's happy with the performance. Paul retreats to go off and hug Ryan in a "we're the same archetype so we're in direct competition but we're pals all the same" sort of way.
Up next is Giles with his short shorts and skinny little legs. He sings 'You're Beautiful' in a clean but feeble way, and his performance is intercut with interview segments in which he talks about having waited his entire life to audition for this show. YOU'RE SIXTEEN. Good grief. His delivery is a little weird too, there's something Groucho Marx-ish about the way he rushes through some of the lines. Afterwards, he tells Dermot that he thinks some of the notes may have been a bit off. The Bizarro X Factor panel confers, and Sinitta says that her little girl would have Giles's poster up on her wall. Louis thinks he's likeable and fun, but the vocal worries him.
Bin Juice Ryan is up next, telling us that he's quit his job to come to Judges' Houses, so if it all goes wrong, he's got nothing to fall back on, and you'd better believe Iain Duncan Smith will not be allowing him to claim any benefits. He sings Pink's 'Just Give Me A Reason', looking kind of angry throughout, and it's not really a great vocal. I mean, it's better than Giles's, but Sinitta's fan is currently giving us a better vocal than Giles did. Bizarro Panel is unanimous on the matter of Ryan looking unnecessarily angry, and Ryan has a little cry on Dermot, and is too verklempt to say much of anything.
Last up it's Nicholas, who sings 'If You're Not The One', which is a song I loathe so I'm not really sure I can judge this performance objectively. I guess he sings the awful, passive aggressive piece of shit song decently - will that do? His voice cracks a bit on some of the higher notes, possibly because he's just realising what a terrible song it is. At the end, Louis asks why he should pick Nicholas to go through, and Nicholas boohoos that he's just worked so hard. Nicole gets up to give him a hug, and says that this clearly means a lot to him. Louis sends Nicholas on his way. Shane says that he knows exactly how he feels, possibly because Shane is thinking about how he doesn't have any money any more, which would indeed be quite upsetting. A swollen-eyed Nicholas manages to keep it together for Dermot, and says he gave it his best shot. Nicole likes the power of his voice, but wants more performance. Louis wonders if Nicholas might just be too young to do that properly. He thinks Nicholas is potentially a worry for the live shows.
Louis, Shane, Nicole and Sinitta talk through the relative merits of everybody. Louis says that he really likes four of them, but only has space for three. Sinitta and Nicole both like the same three boys. I think that might have been the plot of an episode of Saved By The Bell once. There's one boy that Shane really likes, but Louis thinks he isn't a star and that nobody will vote for him. Louis picks up the Product Placement Tablet to show the others the early auditions, which apparently just confuses everyone even further. See, no good comes of product placement.
Adverts. God, The Wind Waker HD looks SO BEAUTIFUL, but I've already completed the non-HD version of it and I just don't know if I can justify paying for it all over again just to have fancier graphics. My life is so hard.
The next day in LA, it's time for Sharon to tell everyone her decision. Assuming she'd actually made any, since she doesn't exactly have great form on making her damn mind up about anything. The first person to hear the news is Sam, blahblahblah everywoman doing it for my family. Sam's already crying before she even sits down. Sharon asks her how she thinks she did, and Sam thinks she could've done better. Sharon says that Sam's been spoilt so far because every single performance has been followed by people going "oh my god, I can't believe how good you are", but yesterday's performance was a step backwards, not forwards, forwards, not upwards, and never once twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom. Sam sobs that she wants it so much, much like I did at Christmas 1986 when I didn't get a Mr Frosty for the third consecutive year. [I had one. You didn't miss anything. Two mouthfuls of syrup, a million of tasteless crushed ice. And the penguin thing got all sticky then the thing lived in a cupboard until my mum quietly disposed of it - Rad] Anyway, Sam's through, with an "if you don't win this for me I'll kick your arse" from Sharon. Duh. Sam rushes off wailing that she needs a cup of tea, and gets a hug from Dermot, saying that she feels sorry for everyone who's still got to hear the news.
Lorna, Zoe and Andrea are all lumped in together. We all know how this show works by now - only one of them is going through, in order to leave one place for Joe and Shelley to fight over at the end. Andrea's disappointed with that hellish note from yesterday, and thinks it was all due to her honest emotions coming out. She hopes Sharon will see past it, though. Zoe says she gave everything in her performance, but she doesn't know if she's what they're looking for. She doesn't want to go back to working in her mum's restaurant, and she doesn't want to disappoint her daughter, WHO IS THREE-AND-A-HALF. God, the sheer number of grown adults using their children for emotional blackmail purposes this year is truly off the charts. Lorna says that she never dreamed she would make it this far in the competition. She too gave her all to her performance, and gets a bit teary thinking about how this is her last shot.
Zoe sits next to Sharon, and tries to do some last minute brown-nosing by telling Sharon how good she looks. Sharon says she's been thinking all night about what to do, and that Zoe doesn't have the strongest voice in the contest, "but what you do have is you're special. You're unique." Yes, if only there were some sort of snappy phrase that really summed up that quality. Zoe cries a bit. Sharon cries a bit. Sharon tells Andrea she's very creative and beautiful, but she's a niche artist. Sharon tells Lorna that she nailed her performance vocally, but Robbie thought she lacked charisma and performance presence. Sharon has MADE HER DECISION. Andrea's going home. So is Zoe, who wails "oh, Sharon!" Dermot asks her if she's all right. Zoe is not all right. Of course, this means that Lorna is through. Whitney Houston's 'I Didn't Know My Own Strength' plays, and we all remember that time she smacked down Danyl Johnson, while simultaneously wondering if a song about working your way through drug addiction is entirely appropriate for this particular situation. Lorna cries to Dermot that this feels like the best day of her life.
So as we all knew, it's between Shelley and Joe for the final spot. Joe says that if Sharon takes him through to the finals, it'll convince him that he did the right thing by coming back. Of course, I'd imagine that if she doesn't take him through, he'd take that as a sign that the right thing to do is to come back AGAIN next year. He talks about how he's 6000 miles away from his son, and about to receive news that is either going to make or break their lives. Except apparently in this situation the good news is the one where he won't actually have time to be around his son, because he'll be busy doing The X Factor every weekend and touring local radio stations trying to convince people to buy his records. Joe doesn't want to have to go home and tell his son that he's failed again. SO STOP AUDITIONING FOR THESE SHOWS, THEN. Shelley says that she's always smiling, but don't take that to mean that she doesn't care. She doesn't want to go back to being a van driver, because she wants to be able to give her daughter an amazing futurzzzzzzzz.
Sharon greets Shelley as her "Devonshire diva" and Joe as her "darling boy". She thinks Joe has a very distinctive sound, but his vocal range is limited. Shelley, meanwhile, has an electric personality and a powerful voice, but she doesn't always know when to dial it back, and Sharon's worried that she hasn't got enough time with Shelley to help her un-learn all those bad habits. Sharon has MADE HER DECISION. Joe is going home. Hooray! He had that coming after his tantrum at boot camp. Joe sniffs that it's worse than last year, because he got SO CLOSE. This of course means Shelley is through. This feels like a baffling decision on Sharon's part, because Sam and Shelley are essentially the same woman in two different wigs and are going to completely cannibalise each other's vote until one of them goes home, so it's a waste of a spot, really. Not that I'm suggesting it should've gone to Joe. God, no. Although I am quite surprised that he didn't make the live shows purely by virtue of having a penis. Shelley is excited to be through, and even more excited that she gets a hug off Dermot. And she sounds more like the lovechild of Stacey Solomon and Komedy Kimberley than ever before.
Adverts. James Corden starring in The Paul Potts Story is a concept so horrific that I don't even want to contemplate it for a single second longer.
We return to St. Tropez, where Louis is waiting to break the news. There's obviously some law that says people named Sam have to go first, since Sam Callahan is at the head of the queue in this group. Sam interviews that he's not sure if he could recover from getting knocked back at this stage, because he'd have to go back to working in a bar and busking during the day. Oh noes! How horrible to go back to a life of being 19 and boyband-pretty! Sam goes off to meet Louis, and admits to being terrified. Sam says that he's worked so hard, and he's praying that he's done enough. Louis tells Sam that he stood out ever since his first audition, but his vocals aren't amazing. Louis reminds Sam that there's a different theme every week, and he doesn't know if Sam is versatile enough. God, I'm trying really hard to be professional and not make "Louis has got the young boys, GAYLOLZ" jokes, but turns of phrase like that really make it very difficult. Anyway, it's not good news for Sam...it's GREAT NEWS! He's through to the live shows, and Sam bursts into tears. Sobbing Sam heads off to hug Dermot repeatedly.
Giles, Luke and Ryan get grouped into the odds-are-not-in-your-favour middle pack. Ryan reminds us that he is unemployed now. Luke says that he keeps going over his audition in his head and worrying about whether he needed to improve on it. Giles says that getting a no would be really hard, because they'd be taking away everything he's ever dreamed of. In his very short life.
Louis tells Giles that they loved his first audition and they saw sparkle in it, but he let himself down yesterday. Louis tells Luke that they loved his first audition and he stood out from the crowd (I'm sensing a theme here), but now he has doubts about Luke's consistency. Ryan is told that he has a strong voice and works very hard, but Louis wonders if he's hiding behind a guitar, and he isn't sure if Ryan has star quality. It's a no for Ryan, and the job centre beckons. Giles chews on his nails. Louis tells Luke he needs someone who will go out there and fight for survival in the live shows. Giles is going home too. That means Luke's through, and Louis tells him that he believes he can sell records anywhere. Louis wonders if he can get Luke to wash his hair.
So it's between Nicholas and Paul for the final spot. Paul reminds us that he is shy, and says that he thinks getting through to the live shows would boost his confidence and make him a better person. I question the reasoning of going on The X Factor to improve your sense of self-worth, all things considered. Paul cries about how he feels worthless. Nicholas interviews that he's realised how much he wants this, and that's why he got so upset yesterday. On the sofa, Nicholas cries to Louis that he wants to pay his family back for all the time and money they've spent on supporting him. Louis tells him that he loved his first audition (drink!) and he was great at boot camp, and yesterday he saw how much it meant to him, but he needs people with great personalities and showmanship. Louis tells Paul that he's worried about his confidence, because "it's not just about the voice, it's everything". He asks Paul if he'd be able to go out and perform, because Louis isn't sure that he can. So who's through? Not Paul, who must go home and continue to hate himself forever, or at least until the next series. Nicholas, therefore, is through and boo hoo hoo, etc. Louis makes Nicholas promise not to let himself down, because this is his big chance.
Ad...break? Wait, what? Haven't we covered everything?
Apparently not, because we now need to follow everyone home for those familial reactions. Seriously, we're actually going to have to watch Zoe Devlin tell her THREE-AND-A-HALF-YEAR-OLD CHILD that Mummy didn't get through. Ugh, I really should've seen this coming, considering how much everyone was going on about not wanting to have to do that. I guess I just didn't realise they meant "...in front of the camera crew that will be trying to capture my child's every tear in glorious high definition".
Nicholas's parents are waiting for him at the airport, and he does the obligatory fake-out before breaking the good news. God, they start young these days, don't they? His parents weep with pride about how he is SIXTEEN and going to be a popstar. Luke has masses of family waiting at home, including his brilliant embarrassing mum who says "he's a cool kid!" They're all thrilled, obviously. Sam Callahan's mum says she's having palpitations with anxiety, so she just wants him to come home. Sam really goes for the full fake-out, possibly because he's still weepy enough to be able to pull it off. Of course, he gets mobbed when he says that he's through. Sam's mum says that he will work so hard, adding "won't you?" in that semi-threatening way that mums do.
Next we must go to the Bad News Brigade: Giles arrives in his family's mint-green living room and tells them that he did not get through. His family are very sweet about it, and tell him he did well to get that far. Zoe's family are waiting for her at the airport, and her mum says "she's not young, she's 28". Thanks, Zoe's mum! Now I feel ancient. Zoe breaks the news to her daughter, who doesn't seem particularly bothered, to be honest. Zoe's mum says that her daughter will succeed one way or another. Joe breaks the news to his excitable family (making sure to tell them first that Sharon thought he was a really nice guy, lol whatever Joe Whelan), and his mum genuinely can't believe it. HE DEPLOYED THE CHILD AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY, HOW COULD HE HAVE POSSIBLY FAILED? Joe's son just seems quite pleased to have his dad home. (Poor Ryan/Andrea/Paul. Apparently they were all such afterthoughts that we don't even get to witness their homecoming despair.)
Sam Bailey returns home and has too big a grin on her face to convincingly do the fake-out. Her son tells her that she's "got a X Factor". Bless. Lorna breaks the news to her extended family, and almost gets squashed in the ensuing celebrations. They make her glug champagne straight from the bottle. I like Lorna's family. Shelley's daughter runs up to her as soon as she gets through the door, and Shelley screams that she's through, and everyone is very excited.
Tomorrow: The Groups! The Girls! The Barlow! The Murs! The Scherzinger! The Blige! I can barely contain myself.