AMELIA LILY is up first, singing “Billie Jean.” You know at the end of the audition rounds when they edit together a load of the contestants growling their big notes and it’s like one long “aaaaaaargh!” sound? This is roughly what her performance is like. We keep getting reminded she’s only 16, possibly because she actually looks about 46. Kelly Row-land, who’s come as the green one from a tin of Quality Street, assures us that 16 is not too young, and lists a load of successful artists who started very young. For some reason she misses out the artist whose song Amelia was actually singing, as if sometimes an early start doesn’t work out that well or something.
JOHNNY BEDSIT is singing Cher’s “Believe” next, but without the autotune. Unfortunately. NotLouis and his insane stagings may have gone to X Factor USA, but whoever his replacement may be (NotNotLouis) is clearly trying his best as Johnny is lowered onto the stage in a giant glitterball. He's got nail polish on, as a first step towards the inevitable drag makeover. Dame Gary Barlow objects to the fact that Johnny and his dancers were dressed in tin foil, but Louis points out that Johnny loves the Pet Shop Boys. Um, is there really any need for euphemisms where Johnny’s sexuality’s concerned? I think everyone’s got an inkling. Kelly thinks the audience’s response is proof that he was good, i.e. she’s not yet figured out that this audience would go wild if you put a farting dog on stage. Speaking of which...
OATIBIX are a Boot-Camp girlband, so no need to pay attention, they won’t be around long. They’re the ones with the lead singer who looks a bit like Lion-O. One of the others has had half her head shaved so in return she’s allowed a bit of the spotlight, doing some of the rap in “Super Bass” by Nicki Minge. Their mentor Toula CONTOSTAVLOU gives them a standing ovation, because prolonged exposure to Dappy has left her easily impressed. Gary Barlow calls them the best girl band in X Factor history. Incidentally this exact phrase has just been accepted by the Oxford English Dictionary as the official definition of “damning with faint praise.”
You thought ARSETAT was just a cunt? Well no, this week he’s a cunt singing “The A Team.” Well, I say singing. He’s mainly just speaking the lyrics, proving that he can actually talk off-key. His makeover doesn’t seem to have included giving him a good wash. For someone whose alleged selling point is that he’s a cocky little shit, he’s the most nervous-looking so far. He walks off afterwards looking like he’s shat his pants, possibly because he has.
Ad break – o hai Cerith Flinn in a towel in the Lynx advert. I’ve seen him naked on stage, you know. (I recorded the ITV2 repeat so your ad breaks may vary.)
SOPHIE HABIBIS didn’t get any screentime during auditions so she’s got to make us notice she exists. Her makeover attempts to do this by throwing a load of tat on her but she’s a bit more flatteringly made up on stage, sitting on a piano with the microphone up her nose. She’s singing “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry who according to Kelly is “the biggest UK artist” at the moment. FFS, show, your theme is two countries, at least figure out which country is which. Sophie’s not bad but she’s doing it in the style of Luna Lovegood, which totally won’t do and Kelly will surely chuck her – after all Luna’s style is unique and in no way like Ellie Goulding’s, we can’t have someone else doing this. Anyway she doesn't appear to think that her day job in a pub is beneath her and a fate worse than death, like all the other contestants do, so as a result I'm kinda warming to Sophie, whenever I remember she exists anyway.
OMGSOLDIER!!!!¡¡!! is an OMGSOLDIER!!!!¡¡!! in case you hadn’t noticed. Actually his makeover is pretty decent – don’t tell anyone, but I almost would. His backdrop features the Union flag because he is an OMGSOLDIER!!!!¡¡!! in the British Army if you didn’t know already. He just about gets by with The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” and the judges act surprised that he’s, at best, so-so, as if they ever put him through on talent rather than him being an OMGSOLDIER!!!!¡¡!!
The name 2 SHOES conjures up a nightmare image:
But the reality turned out to be amazeballs. Now they’re also applying lippy in their glamour VT, singing in a pink car with “Shoe” written on the windscreen over both the driver’s and passenger’s side, and surrounded by topless men (well done, NotNotLouis) while Right Shoe’s lipstick covers roughly half her face. As if this wasn’t enough reason to keep them as long as possible, it turns out Left Shoe is pregnant, so if she stays to the final we’ll get to see her expand on a weekly basis, a bit like Gary around the time Take That broke up. They’re doing “Something Kinda Ooh” but Gary thinks it's karaoke and, not having worked out yet that he's a judge on a karaoke competition, doesn't think this is his idea of fun. I think we all suspect that Gary's idea of fun includes the words "Horlicks," "slippers" and "Last of the Summer Wine" so let's not humour him in this, OK? We'll have nearly three months to regret it.
JAMES MICHAEL has realised nobody knows who he is, so tries to sob story his way through the VT telling us his family lives in rented housing. Nice try, but Johnny’s already beat you to it with BEDSIT!!!! Oh well, he’ll try the professional Scouser route instead, singing (ish) “Ticket To Ride” while sitting on the set of Blood Brothers. It’s really fucking weak if we’re honest. But he’s got a guitar and a Twat Hat so... yay? I hate to agree with Louis but fucking hell it really was the most boring arrangement conceivable.
MISHA B completely fails to get into the spirit of the show by being amazing. As if actually being able to sing wasn’t enough, she gives us a cracktastic show involving a throne, an outfit made of old newspapers and dancers in bin liners. She now has two Cornish pasties on her head, and one of them has a crown on it. Most incredible of all, the song is “Rolling In The Deep” and yet I don’t want to throttle her. If this show was a singing competition or a search for people with indefinable star quality, as opposed to whatever the hell it actually is, she'd just win it on the basis of this one performance.
NU VIBE - which Boot Camp boyband are they? Oh, they’re the ones with the one who was a juvenile delinquent but thinks that singing on telly in some way proves that he isn’t. I don’t want to judge the rest of them on the basis of him, but tough. Apparently they're all twats who hate each other so I'm not being too unfair on them. They’re a bit shit anyway. At the end the one in the middle lifts his T-shirt to show off his abs. I assume he’s meant to be the sexy one but since he’s got a spivvy little ‘tache that looks like the result of a rimming-related mishap I can’t see this working.
MARCUS COLLINS aka Scouser #2. Oh wow, they’re sort of grudgingly acknowledging a tabloid article about the fact that he's shagging one of Eton Road, and not even denying it – this is by far the closest this show gets to being out and proud. He does “Moves Like Jagger” and looks confident and like he’s enjoying himself but the vocal’s iffy. The judges appear not to have noticed this. I mean the comments about his lovely smile and stage presence are accurate enough, but there’s kind of an elephant in the room. Oh shit, I said “elephant in the room” and it’ll seem like I’m being rude because the next act is...
THE PRIDE OF P&O. Her makeover look is “unconvincing drag queen.” So is her performance style. Kelly Row-land has decided “puttin’ it DOWN!” is her catchphrase, and uses it for the third time now. Gary Barlow threatens to leave the show if Louis doesn’t put her through. CALL HIS BLUFF, LOUIS! That would be my idea of fun, as it happens.
Toula CONTOSTAVLOU’s personal MIX AND MATCH boyband are next. Even by this show’s standards, they don’t look like any kind of band. Or sound like one, if that was relevant. They’re doing Plan B’s “She Said” and at least they change the words to the rap, as we know Toula CONTOSTAVLOU doesn’t like it when people rap someone else’s lines. She says they’re credible musicians. If you say so, dear.
Scouser #3 is ADELROY. He’s been on a diet, which has apparently made him lose a stone in a week. There is no conceivable way that is healthy. He’s singing “Jar of Hearts” and, according to Toula CONTOSTAVLOU, proves he’s not just “the funny man.” I was not aware that’s who he was, but there we are. Gary says it was the performance of the night. Well it was a performance. And it was at night. Very late at night actually, since we’re now FOURTEEN FUCKING ACTS IN and it still shows no sign of ending.
KITTY LITTER has seen some of the nasty things written about her in the papers but you know, fair enough, she is an appalling human being. Kitty’s muse, Hatey Waissel, started her own reign of terror last year by butchering Queen so it’s only appropriate that Kitty should make her live show debut by converting “Who Wants To Live Forever?” into a series of honks and yelps. Gary attempts a joke about there not being enough drama in her performance but nobody really gets it. To be fair she didn’t pretend to fall over at the end, which is like subtlety for her.
The pimp spot goes, of course, to LUNA LOVEGOOD, whose glamour VT inexplicably shows her RUNNING!!! Away from Diana Vickers and that cease and desist order, presumably. In front of a dead tree she sings “Fix You,” which she has renamed “Fish You” as she has decided to spice up her performance style by channelling Sean Connery. “When you try your besht but you don’t susheed... When you get washoo want but not washoo neeeeeed...” And that, at last, is it!
Results! Well I say "Results!" but I mean "unfinished business they really should have done last week at Judges' Houses!" In fact the only genuine Big!Twist! is that the X Factor has voluntarily given up on a week's worth of phone vote cash. The judges have had to make a hard decision, which Toula CONTOSTAVLOU says she only finalised half an hour before the show started. By which I assume she means that's when a producer took her to one side and told her the entire reason for sacrificing this week's phone vote money was to get rid of Pregnant Shoe, so if she doesn't want to go the way of Cheryl COLE she'd better think on.
In an attempt to make the judges' decision even harder, we now have a return performance from last year's winner, Matt CARDIGAN. Yes, for the last 24 hours Kelly, Gary and Toula CONTOSTAVLOU thought keeping the more talented acts would help them win, only to find out that the winner is randomly picked out of a hat. Imagine Kelly's joy as she realises she's joined a show whose last winner's whole schtick involves singing in a falsetto WHICH HE IS NOT ACTUALLY ABLE TO REACH. Meanwhile Louis' sitting there grinning, thinking "see, Goldie doesn't seem like such a strange choice after all does she?" Anyway Matt CARDIGAN yelps his way through the dirge Barlow's written for him. He's brought a guitar on stage with him largely as a comfort blanket although he does make some strumming motions in its vague direction at the end of the song. When it's over Dermot O'Deirdre asks him if this is what he's been doing since last December, and to be fair Dermot does sound suitably disgusted that after all that time this is what he's got to fucking show for it.
After the break, Cee Lo Green does a medley - well, that's not the right word but there is no word for whatever it is he's doing. I can't be bothered trying to describe this shitshower so instead I'll just share my personal trainer's reaction whenever Cee Lo Green comes on the gym TV: "Well, he won't live long." Anyway finally, results! Or, judging! Or whatever you want to call it. I was going to say "trimming the dead wood" but that would involve getting rid of almost all the contestants, a couple of judges, and Dermot. Instead, Louis will tell us which of the Overs are allowed to stay. He's keeping THE PRIDE OF P&O! He's keeping KITTY LITTER! And he's keeping JOHNNY BEDSIT! Which means that the first person who can fuck off is OMGSOLDIER!!!!¡¡!! I mean it was the right decision but still slightly surprising, given the whole OMGSOLDIER!!!!¡¡!! thing. Maybe they realised that once the Sun readers started voting for a HERO!!!! they'd never be rid of the fucker.
Next it's the boys and I was pretty sure Gary would ditch The Gay but no, MARCUS is first through to the next round. (But let's face it, he's gay and black, how many votes is this audience realistically going to give him?) At this point it's pretty obvious that Gary won't send home ADELROY or ARSETAT so of course it's goodbye JAMES MICHAEL, we hardly knew ye. No, seriously, no fucking clue who you were. Toula CONTOSTAVLOU next and this is where it gets nasty - she really should ditch them but instead her first choice to save is OATIBIX, followed by MIX AND MATCH and NU VIBE. Yes, she's ditched 2 SHOES. You are dead to me, CONTOSTAVLOU. Not only have you got rid of the only group who actually auditioned as a group (seriously, next year can we just arrange for hundreds of people to turn up on their own and say "oh I don't really want to be a solo act, can you put me in a group please" as this would at least be honest) and the only group to give us half-naked male dancers covered in soap. You have also made this year's show conform to Gary's idea of fun. Not just any Gary, either. Gary BARLOW. The only Gary with a less popular idea of fun is Glitter. Anyway, enjoy being the first judge to end up with no acts left, Tulisa.
Anyway it's nearly over, the girls have been left for last since they're clearly the only decent category. Kelly saves LUNA LOVEGOOD first, of course. Next she saves MISHA because she's the only act to have the X factor, which allegedly is of some significance on this show. And also because she's currently dressed as a Christmas decoration, which would make it a bugger to get a cab home. And she's finally saving SOPHIE HABIBIS. Which means that even though 16 was definitely not too young and she was definitely ready for live shows (and having got to them, the X Factor rules state she can never audition again) AMELIA LILY is definitely going home.
OK, can we go now? Next week's theme is "songs with notes in them."