Top 8 Results - 10 November 2013
Subdued studio. The top 8 flank Dermot as he reminds us that we've been voting for our favourites for 24 hours, but two of them will be going home tonight. We then head straight into the recap of last night, which informs us that some acts "came out swinging", while others "fell flat". Interestingly, The Other Sam has been placed in the former category despite getting almost no legitimate praise from the judges, and only Abi and Luke are placed in the latter. It's frequently telling how they choose to frame the performance show in their recap, but I genuinely have no idea what they're trying to do with Sam at this point - are they trying to present him as a contender, or hide all the criticism to avoid him getting a sympathy vote? Mind you, if they were trying to get rid of him, would they really have put him in the pimp slot? I really should stop trying to second-guess this show.
Tonight! Results, plus Fat Bob and Céline Dion. (Yes, I put the acute accent on her name, and yes, I am unspeakably pretentious. Thank you for noticing.) Not duetting, thankfully. I don't think I could handle that. Hail Giant X!
Dermot arrives sans dancers, sans hat, sans cane, sans everything. [Heck, he has to compete with Ben Cohen somehow - Rad] He reminds us of everything we've already been told about in the last three minutes, and points out that we are now halfway through the competition. The end is in sight, everybody! Hooray! The judges arrive: Gary is in a black double-breasted suit with a black tie this time, Nicole is wearing what I am going to call "owlprint" which barely covers her breasts or her foof and looks a bit like something Katy Perry might wear, Sharon is in a flesh-coloured gown covered with silver and black sequins, and Louis is wearing what appears to be a velvet jacket, and a black bow tie that isn't quite on straight. (Oh, and a shirt and trousers, obviously. I don't want to give you nightmares.) Dermot reminds us that there is still time to save our favourites, should we choose to do so, and reminds us of the numbers. I'm disappointed that there isn't more chastising of us vis-a-vis voting for the people we like, not assuming they're safe, etc etc, considering hot-favourite Tamera was in the bottom two last week. It feels like even the show doesn't care that much any more.
This week's group sing is 'Love Me Again' and everybody, without exception, sounds like absolute ass. If Satan's hotline had hold music, it would sound like this. Also, Rough Copy look like they've raided the remains of Dalston Kingsland's wardrobe for this performance. It ends, THANK GOD, and Dermot makes them hold the end pose for longer than strictly necessary just because he likes shitting them around.
Time to revisit last night's performances, now with additional backstage footage: Abi got broadly good reviews for her rendition of 'That's Life', and thinks she did her best out there. Sam got raves for 'New York, New York', and Sharon frets about whether she'll have the votes to back up that performance. Wee Nick was competent but dull with his 'Dream A Little Dream Of Me', and weirdly animated backstage. Why is he not more like that while he's actually performing? Luke's 'Moondance' was a cacophonous mess and Gary called him on it, and even Luke admits backstage that this wasn't his best. Hannah grunted and screamed her way through 'It's A Man's Man's Man's World', got great feedback, and Louis thinks she's "got real soul". Rough Copy's 'Hit The Road Jack' was probably the highlight of the evening, and Nicole inadvertently sacrificed one of her own acts by saying she wanted them in the final three. Gary thinks they won't be hitting the road tonight. Oh Barlow, you wit. Rough Copy insist that they don't want to let Gary down now they're the last band standing. Tamera got the firework curtain for her performance of 'Cry Me A River' and Gary half-heartedly tut-tutted at all of us for not voting for her, and Tamera squeals about how fun it is to sing with a big band. Finally, The Other Sam gave a so-so 'Ain't That A Kick In The Head', got no feedback whatsoever from Gary, but didn't notice. Oh Sam. So blandly pretty. So very dim.
Time for Star Guest Number One: 220 MILLION ALBUMS SOLD WORLDWIDE. 5 UK NUMBER ONE ALBUMS. 5 GRAMMY AWARDS. CÉLINE DION! She's on stage with a massive flaming heart behind her and showing off a very fashionable thigh gap. She's singing new single 'Loved Me Back To Life', which sounds like a number of other songs, none of which are very good. Sadface. I mean, call me a big old gay if you like (note: please don't call me a big old gay) but you can't beat a bit of Céline when she's actually got a decent song to sing, but this just doesn't do it for me at all. I'm just going to mute it and pretend she's torch-singing her way through 'Taking Chances', if it's all the same to you.
Céline greets Dermot and the audience very enthusiastically. Dermot reminds us that the album and single are out Monday, and then asks Céline if she's off back to Vegas now. Céline then word-vomits that she hasn't recorded in English for six years, she's having a great time in Vegas, she can still sing even though she's a mum now, and she's trying to visit us as much as she can. I don't think Céline was adequately briefed on the procedure here: we only expect you to plug your new release, not to justify all of your life choices since we last saw you. Ensuite, Céline quitte la scène.
Dermot reminds us of the voting numbers one last time, telling us that we have but five minutes in which to cast our votes, and reminds us that we still have Robbie Williams to endure.
Not before the ad break, though. The Great Gatsby? The Great Twatsby, more like.
When we return, Dermot informs us that the lines are kuh-losed. While the votes are being tallied, it's time for the always fresh and interesting chat with the judges. Dermot wants to know how nailed it last night: Louis thinks Sam The Screw, Rough Copy and Nicholas. Sharon thinks Sam The Screw and Rough Copy. Gary thinks Sam The Screw, Tamera and Rough Copy. Dermot still wants to know why Gary had nothing to say to The Other Sam, and Gary says that he tries to give the contestants something to learn from in his critiques, but he couldn't think of anything, because he felt like he'd said it all. Oh, knob off, Gary. I bet if they were paying you by the word you wouldn't have had that problem. Finally, Nicole - who is still drunk from last night and has forgotten the question - thinks that the show-stealers, aside from her own acts, were Sam The Screw and Rough Copy. I'm definitely sensing a message that the producers want us to take home here. [The whole [Nic/Tamera]SamRoughCopy message is becoming very MattRebeccaOneDirection isn't it? - Rad]
Time for Star Guest Number Two: 7 TIMES PLATINUM SWING ALBUM! WORLD RECORD BREAKING TOUR SALES! OVER 71 MILLION RECORD SALES WORLDWIDE! ROBBIE WILLIAMS! His set is a ruddy great ship (insert "full of seamen" joke here), staffed by a slightly-smaller-than-last-night-but-still-quite-big-by-most-people's-standards band, and Robbie at the helm, singing his new single 'Go Gentle', which is a bit rubbish and would really benefit from Olly MURS gurning his way onto the set and yelling "WAZZ THAT ROBBEH?" at the end. There's also a whistling bit in the middle eight, which I would not normally be opposed to, but Robbie cannot whistle in key if this performance is anything to go by.
Dermot obtains permission to board, and they have a bit of ship-based banter. Robbie and Dermot both bring our attention to the fact that Guy Chambers is there, but the cameras do not single him out, so that's a bit pointless. Also, Dermot refers to Robbie being at "Sharon's Judge's House", which: Sharon is the judge, and it was her actual house, so just call it "Sharon's house", you weirdo. Robbie says that he's backing Sam The Screw, because he's been watching every week and she always knocks it out of the park and whatnot. Dermot tells Robbie he doesn't want Robbie standing behind him. Well, that's ruined my slashfic, I don't mind telling you.
The chance to win Sharon's car once again, then the ads. JESUS CHRIST, KEVIN BACON'S NECK.
Then we return to the studio and it's time to get down to actual business, so here comes everyone: Nicole and the girls, Tamera, Hannah and Abi; Gary and his group, Rough Copy; Sharon and her over, Sam The Screw; and Louis and his boys, Luke, Wee Nick and The Other Sam. The following six acts are safe, in no particular order: Rough Copy, Luke, Sam The Screw, Tamera, The Other Sam and Wee Nick, leaving Hannah and Abi in the bottom two. (Also, the pauses that Dermot leaves between names are now entirely ludicrous. I no longer have any sympathy for him at the end of the show when the judges take forever to make a damn decision and he has to get off the air in time for Downton Abbey because it's a situation entirely of his own making.) Weirdly, it's Hannah who seems to take this result harder than Abi, despite Abi's general fragility the rest of the time. Abi's the one actually stroking Hannah's hair and telling her it's going to be all right.
Adverts. Dear Virgin Media, people knocking on my television and shouting "oi!" at me is not charming or polite, I don't care if they're David Tennant.
When we return, Abi and Hannah make their grim death march back onto the stage and Dermot has to pretty much forcibly separate them. Abi's singing for survival first, singing a saccharine interpretation of Ed Sheeran's 'Lego House'. It is not pleasant. Her voice is shaky, nasal and frequently flat. Then it's Hannah's turn, and she's singing Miley Cyrus's 'Wrecking Ball', which is an A+ song choice, but her breath control is non-existent, her pitching is patchy and she's not even licking a sledgehammer. (Does anyone else immediately start singing 'Battlefield' by Jordin Sparks after the "I never meant to start a war" line, or is that just me and my boyfriend?)
Over to the judges, and we're going to Nicole first. (Why do we always go to the judge with two acts in the bottom two first? It's far better/crueller to go to them at the end.) Anyway, Nicole predictably refuses to vote, and I hate how this has become standard practice. It should be grounds for an instant double elimination or something. Gary says that he's "confused", because neither of them did anything wrong last night. He tells Abi that tonight she touched him emotionally for the very first time, and he's a bit frustrated that it took her this long to do it. He doesn't know what Hannah needs to do, and advises her to change nothing. But judging on this performance, he votes to send Abi home. Sharon agrees with Gary - this was the passion she wanted to see from Abi all along, and it's a bit late for it now. She's sorry to say this, but she votes to send Abi home. That's two votes, and tonight that's enough. [/jeffprobst] Abi sobs a little bit, Hannah looks shocked and sad. I think these two were quite close. Dermot asks Louis what he would've done, and Louis says he would've kept Hannah and sent Abi home too. Hannah is dismissed and Dermot hugs a still sobbing Hannah, telling her that she's done so well and she doesn't have to go back to the supermarket. I wonder what jobs this show thinks most of its audience have? I bet they love it when The X Factor acts as though working in a supermarket is a job only suitable for brainless, talentless drones.
Nicole runs up to give Abi a hug and we watch her best bits - her nervous-but-smiley room audition, her arena breakthrough, surviving the chair challenge, making it through to live shows, doing quite a lot of crying, sitting behind a piano, dancing with umbrellas, Nicole saying "balls" several times. Dermot asks Abi where she goes from here, and she says that she never dreamed she would make it this far, and she's had the time of her life and she's met the most amazing people. (SHAmazing people, Abi. SHAmazing. Has Nicole taught you nothing?) Dermot sends Abi off, Nicole remains behind as Dermot tries to usher her off in the same direction; Nicole gradually cottons on and does an "oh, am I supposed to follow her?" gesture. Schermazing.
That's it for this week. Next week, the top seven take on "the great British songbook", whatever that is, and the special guests are Gary Barlow and Miley Cyrus. Helen will be here to guide you through it, but I can offer no guarantees as to whether she'll be twerking. Sorry about that.