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So anyway,
Because what the Net really needs is another person sharing his uninformed views
The Reg Factor 
15th-Nov-2010 01:00 pm
Oh, bloody hell. I mean I know The X Factor can have its boring moments but this Saturday was one of the dullest things I've ever see on TV. And I saw The Deep. With three boybands due to perform on the Sunday show, the rumour was this week's theme would be boybands, which would have made sense as well as being nice and vague as they like their themes to be (since boybands do so many cover versions, it once again opens up the field to mean the theme is "songs.") But no, for the first time this year the week's theme is an actual theme, namely Elton John. That would be the same Sir Elton who repeatedly, most recently only a couple of weeks ago, tells anyone who'll listen how he hates The X Factor, how it's ruined music, Simon Cowell is the Antichrist etc etc. I mean all of those things are true but you don't see them doing a special tribute episode to me when I say it. Seriously, this makes no sense at all. One possible explanation will occur to me in an upcoming ad break but given the car crash that is about to happen, I wonder if the bitchy comments about the show are exactly why they're doing this, as a form of revenge. It does take an effort of will to remember that Reg has been responsible for so much amazing music over the last four decades, when you've sat through this unspeakable pile of dirge in his name. Paradoxically, I found this episode seemed to rush past but that could be due to me losing consciousness during some of the more turgid numbers.

Last week Cheryl had obviously done something to upset Simon. This week it's Dannii who's clearly done something unspeakable, as it has been determined that, come hell or high water, one of her acts will be going home this week. So all three of the boys perform in the first, "less good" half of the show, with the two most vulnerable getting slotted in right at the start. We start with LITTLE LENNY HENRY. This week's episode is sponsored by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 and all the VTs show the acts at the premiere. Before they're allowed out though, they are herded into a holding area in a hotel where they are permitted to meet Daniel Radcliffe. It turns out Paije was an extra on Order of the Phoenix and when he first appeared on X Factor Dan and Rupert were going "er... don't we know him from somewhere?" When they say this they look like they actually do remember him - see, they can act! The premiere is of course in Leicester Square, which turns out to be where Paije did his UTTERLY DEMEANING job as a cinema usher. Well done Paije, I'd forgotten how cunty you'd been about that in the past, thanks for reminding me. Anyway back to the "entertainment," Paije is doing "Crocodile Rock" and, well, it's a Paije performance. He's steadily getting better at hitting the odd correct note but those breathing issues that were mentioned a few weeks ago (when the producers thought it would be funny to show him wobbling on a treadmill) are particularly apparent here. He doesn't quite seem able to finish half the lines and the title always comes out as "...dile Rock." Still, Louis calls him a Little Luther Vandross, because the producers have given him a list of black people who are actually musicians so it's not quite as offensive to compare him to them. Nobody thinks it was a good song choice though, and Queen of Hearts Cheryl Cole WAS NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE SONG! It's "Crocodile Rock!" You're an "expert" judge on a music show, please acquire some familiarity with music! Simon says Paije definitely won't win now (as if he ever could have) because Dannii spends more time on her other acts. This is a Black Hole in space calling the kettle black. Dannii later gets her revenge on The Xtra Factor though, in spectacular fashion. Anyway a lot of people are saying this'll see Paije out on Sunday but I didn't particularly think so - people who are sort of mid-table in terms of support tend to go out due to fan apathy more than anything else, so telling him he's hopeless is just going to marshall those people who vote for him (whoever they are) to chuck an extra phone call his way. If anything, Simon's comments take the first-performer curse right off Paije and straight onto...

THE VAMPIRE GRIMSHAW, who's on next. I think I have a bad effect on people on this show, as soon as I say anything positive about them they're gone. First Nicolò, then TreyC, then I said I look forward to Aiden, albeit in a Jedward way, and off they all go. Maybe I should pretend I really like Matt next and the tedious fucker might disappear. Anyway Aiden does "Rocket Man" - sort of, anyway, since neither the music nor the lyrics are quite Reg and Bernie's versions. Simon gives him the kiss of death by saying "you'll be fine for next week." He's safe, kids, no need to vote for him eh? Oh well, at least he didn't go in a week where he actually entertained me, instead it was a week when he was just as dull as everyone else. All through his song I kept thinking his voice reminds me of someone, and then Matt Lucas helped me figure out who it was when he tweeted that he sounds like his character Bubbles (well, originally Lucas' version of Shirley Bassey, which is what I was thinking of.) Lucas also called Aiden "a nosh," which seems to have caused confusion and got him into all sorts of trouble - he eventually had to tweet that it's just a generic Jewish term of endearment and he was neither offering to fellate Aiden, nor kill and eat him.

Dannii's given a brief reprieve so it's time for Louis, whom Dermot introduces as "The cuddly Lion King." What does that even mean? MARY (SPONSORED BY TESCO)'s till back at TESCO has been turned into a shrine for her and people come to take photos of it. Wow, Ireland must be boring as fuck if that's a decent day out. She has a grown daughter who she desperately misses despite the fact that they talk on the phone Three. Times. A Day. Yeesh, give her some space woman. At the premiere Imelda Staunton is Team Mary. Oh Imelda. At least she's saying it's just because of the Irish connection, she's not claiming to actually like her. Last week Mary was shit because she missed her daughter. Her daughter's there now so we're not told why Mary's shit this time. The song she's failing to sing is "Can You Feel The Love Tonight." No Mary, I really can't.

TIN FOIL HAT TIME! An ad break, featuring a rather lengthy John Lewis Christmas ad whose sountrack is a cover of... "Your Song." A cover of a Sir Elton John song you say? How wonderfully and coincidentally on-theme, especially since this isn't one of the songs to get covered in tonight's show despite being one of the better-known ones. Nah, you're right, no money could possibly have changed hands to deliver a theme that makes no sense just so it would give a department store ad a big launch.

Last week THE REAL HATEY gave up mid-song, which apparently was "all about not giving up." She's not doing "The Bitch Is Back" as rumoured, instead, having used up every other conceivable personality she's gone back to dressing as her Lidl Madonna persona to sing "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting." Her vocals are fucking atrocious and in her interview afterwards she shamelessly tries to namecheck the brave ickle children at the Pride of Britain Awards to try and gain sympathy for herself. Even the most inept TV presenter on Prime Time wouldn't stand for that! And he doesn't, Dermot just shuts her up and moves on.

Oh Helena Bonham Carter and Jason Isaacs, you're coming out in favour of MATT, MATT, THE STAGE SCHOOL BRAT? You disappoint me. He murders "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" but what did you expect, it isn't a LADYSONG, how is he supposed to do something that isn't a LADYSONG?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Blue are responsible for any number of crimes against music (not least of all firing Alistair from their lineup yet failing to fire Anthony Costa - oh, opportunity for a plug, Al's dun got a free download!) Where was I? Oh yes, crimes committed by Blue. The most egregious of them is of course what they did to "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word." Reg himself, as well as everyone else to sing the song until Blue's effort, somehow managed to correctly pronouce the opening lines as "What have I got to do..." From Blue onwards however the approved version has become "Wadda Gadda Doo?" I don't know Simon, wadda gadda doo? Push pineapple shake the tree? Anyway, despite committing this sin in the opening line, THE CHERYL COLE VOODOO DOLL manages to pronounce all the words correctly in the second line, which is better than nothing so she gets a free pass from me this week. Dermot is pronouncing her name as "Shurr" this week, as if he's been possessed by Cilla.

WAGGONER says he really enjoyed meeting Daniel Radcliffe. Funnily enough they wouldn't let him anywhere near Emma Watson. DanRad's seen a photo of Wagner with a lion, and he'd like a pet lion. He actually says this looking into space with a misty-eyed faraway expression. I love DanRad, he's proper mental. Speaking of mental, Wagner's doing "I'm Still Standing" which then segues in no way whatsoever into "Circle of Life" and the other judges seem to have finally realised that Wagner's songs are neither medleys nor mashups but terrifying chimerae that should not be released into society, like a mad scientist stitching a monkey's head onto a fish's body and wondering why it doesn't live.

WAND ERECTION all had their first wank over Emma Watson. Seriously, this is barely even subtext, both in their chat with Dan Radcliffe and when they meet her later at the premiere and all walk a bit funny afterwards. Because they're not getting enough stick already for being toddlers, we then see them rehearse while wearing oversized babygrows. No really. Oh hey, I wonder if they change colour when Wand Erection get a bit too hot? For "Something About The Way You Look Tonight" they've reverted to their traditional arrangement of Newt Erection and Curly Erection sharing lead vocals, with Zayn Erection repeating the last couple of words of every line out of tune (after the first time the sound engineer sees sense and turns Zayn's mike off.) My third conspiracy theory about Reg Week is the most likely one, i.e. that Simon has picked this as Wand Erection's first single. It does sound so Westlifey in this arrangement. They've all got mike stands, which is one way of making sure Blond Erection doesn't go wandering off I suppose. Dannii tells Wand Erection "You're so consistent it's scary" which is the 100% honest truth, since she doesn't actually say they're consistently good or anything, just consistent. The best Wand Erection-related moment comes later though, during Xtra Factor. I mentioned Dannii getting revenge on Simon and this is how: She asked him, on live TV, to name all the members of Wand Erection. He failed, apparently Zayn is called "Olly." No Simon, that was one of last year's but I understand pawns all look the same when you're looking down at the board. At least it wasn't Louis, he'd have probably called him Mohammed. The good news is I hadn't got a proper nickname for Zayn but now I can call him Olly Erection, so thanks Simon. Remember, this is the act Simon actually does give a shit about. If only Dannii had asked him Belle Amie's names while she had the chance. "Er... Bertha, Dorothy, The one with the lazy eye, Lassie and Jim."

PROFESSIONAL SINGLE MUM REBECCA has somehow been promoted above Cher as finalist material in the last couple of weeks. I'm sure I said some nice things about her in recent recaps so she'll be kicked out soon enough. For "Candle In The Wind" she takes a big breath in through her nose, and then lets out the song from the same place. I'm kinda surprised she's not doing the Princess Diana version, doing the original almost counts as subtlety on this show.

Results! Instead of 60 minutes this week we get a 75 minute show. Well it was all wrong - a results show with 59 minutes of filler and one minute of results? That's no good, so this week it's 74 minutes of filler and one minute of results. Someone's told Cheryl that vampires are cool right now, so she's done a bit of research into how to "get the look" for Sunday's show:


The group songs are usually autotuned to buggery but this week they've gone a step further: I could swear all the boys have been blended into one generic male voice, and the girls into one generic female one. The guests are all boybands. First JLS do their boring new song while wearing colour-coded earpieces so they know which one of them is which. Then Westlife do their boring new song BUT WITHOUT SITTING ON STOOLS FIRST, scandal! And then Take That do their boring new song which is apparently not boring because Fat Bob's back and apppears to be being operated by Gerry Anderson. Have the other four got huge gambling debts we don't know about? Because given their success without him since they reformed, how much money would be worth the humiliation of all this "Fat Bob's back, oh look the others have finally got a reason to live again" gubbins? Celebrity Adulterer Mark Owen seems quite pleased to have him back anyway.

Oh yeah, results. Having galvanised Paije's fans (WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?) by saying he was a goner, Simon has successfully aimed the gun at Dannii's middle-ranking act (leaving her with the one who, depressingly, is a sure thing for the final and so not worth aiming at yet, and the complete no-hoper.) The Vampire Grimshaw is this week's fodder for the Hatey circus and of course he has to go first. He starts terribly but picks up by the end; Hatey is meh throughout. Deadlock, so it's actually the public who keep Hatey in this time, while Aiden leaves with all the grace of one of this year's Apprentice firees. It's fine though, because his "ew, don't touch me" body language to Hatey is a thing of beauty. And is it too tin foil hatty to say that Simon knows when it's "safe" to go to deadlock and when it isn't? I mean he runs the show, if anyone's got access to the results ahead of time of course it's him. So this time the judges can't directly be blamed for Hatey's continued existence. Handy.

Next week: The theme is "Well, Sting fucking hates our guts as well, why not do a Sting Week?"
15th-Nov-2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
I enjoy your commentary :o)

I think I prefer the loose categories like America or Number 1s. Oh it was so boring when it was all artist based.
15th-Nov-2010 11:46 pm (UTC)

I'd be quite happy for them not to have themes at all, rather than have notional themes that some people have to stick to while others don't. I'm surprised the theme weeks ever made it into X Factor in the first place, given they had to make changes so as to technically not infringe on Pop Idol's copyright.

Imposing a theme also shows up one of the big nonsenses of the show, the damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't thing where anyone who uses the same style every week is told they lack variety while anyone who has variety is told they lack an identity.
16th-Nov-2010 12:22 am (UTC)

But the exception to all this is Matt, who's bizarrely left alone to whine and agonise through everything he sings. Anyone else would be told to be more versatile.
16th-Nov-2010 04:46 pm (UTC)
I don't get why there isn't more of an attempt being made to stop Matt winning. I know Simon couldn't give a shit about having yet another winner who has one hit single then disappears 'cause he makes his money anyway, and Wand Erection will spend the next few years on teenage girls' bedroom walls whether they win or lose. But even so, you'd think he'd want to avoid having Matt hanging around the Syco offices like a bad smell for the next year, going through the motions of making an album no fucker'll buy until they've left it long enough to drop him quietly. I'd say they could at least get him to redecorate the offices but obviously he'd be rubbish at it.
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