“Be afraid, Britain!” yells Peter Dickson, as if we’re not terrified every week. What unholy acts of desecration will be performed upon beloved songs this time? It’s Fright Night, and in keeping with the theme there will be changelings occupying the studio as, assuming you had any idea who any of the acts or judges were to start with, they will be mysteriously transformed in the blink of an eye! For example, Kelly Row
-land is not here this week because she’s got diarrhoea. Possibly, I mean I wasn’t really paying attention. I suspect whatever’s actually wrong with her, its proper medical name is Toula CONTOSTAVLOUitis, judging from last week’s farrago. Taking Kelly’s place this week will be best ever X Factor
Winner, Alexandra “Alexander Girl I Know What You Like” BURKE! After Dermot O’Deirdre attempts a little dance entrance that’s best not dwelt on, the judges come in all holding hands, supportive like, except for Gary Barlow who’s too busy urging the audience to cheer louder for him. As if this lot need any encouragement to shriek like mentalists.
Up first to claim their much-deserved new nickname of COMPLETELY INTERCHANGEABLE COLLECTION OF MALE VOCALISTS
are The Risk, one of whose members acquired some self-awareness during the week and ran for the hills. Instead of going ahead as a trio, the others have asked to have Rimstache from Nu Vibe replace him. Possibly because he enjoyed being eliminated so much a couple of weeks ago he wanted to try it again very soon. Or possibly because the one who left was called Ashley and Rimstache is called Ashford and they figured “meh, close enough.” This being a Halloween show, allegedly, they’re doing “Thriller,” not that you’d know from the staging. Terrible vocals aside, it’s unbelievably boring, so they can’t even have paid attention to what the song’s title is. The judges obviously all pretend it was good because they’ve had “such a difficult week” and Gary alludes to Fat Bob leaving Take That and how they carried on regardless (although not for long eh?) except for Alexandra BURKE who goes a bit off-message and politely tells them they’ve got no identity. What with the fact that nobody, including the members of the band, is entirely sure who the members of the band are.
Previously, JOHNNY BEDSIT
has been camp and entertaining but we found out that only “ballids” are real songs apparently, so he sings “Ole Devil Called Love” well, if not interestingly, and proving that he can do torch songs if he fancies a break from his drag career. Alexandra BURKE says he sang his little heart out. I love
how patronising she is!SOPHIE HABIBIS
had some free time in the week ‘cause god knows the stylists and NotNotLouis weren’t going to bother spending any significant amount of time with her, as usual. So she went back to the pub where she works. Bless, it really is as if everyone else is busy going out and doing pop star stuff, and she’s at a loose end so she’s popped home for a bit. I’m surprised they don’t show her putting a quick wash on. She attempts to rally the London vote, as if there is such a thing. Scotland can win it for you, yes, although they won't buy your records afterwards. Liverpool will put the effort in and Ireland is pretty enthusiastic. Wales can maybe keep someone in for a few weeks, if they can be bothered. But London? As local loyalty voting goes that’s a non-starter. Her song is that terrifying classic “Bang Bang” but obviously slowed down so much she’s almost singing it backwards. The concession to the Halloween theme is spider webs on the video screen and red lighting over the topless dancers writhing behind her – it’s more James Bond opening credits than horror. The vocal’s nice but it’s all so boring. Louis is the first to admit defeat in the ongoing pretence that Sophie might have any X factor, and calls her a secretary who sings at the weekend. She is no such thing! She’s a barmaid who sings at the weekends. Even Gary Barlow found it dull. EVEN GARY BARLOW! Her temporary mentor Alexandra BURKE congratulates her on going up on stage and singing like a big girl and not wetting herself, or something. I don’t know, all of Alexandra’s comments boil down to “well, you tried, I guess.” She is amazing.PROFESSIONAL SCOUSER MARCUS
opened the show last week but is the first of the boys up tonight as well because Gary still considers him the most expendable despite him being his only remotely interesting performer. (Actually what am I saying, this is Gary; he considers him the most expendable because
he’s his only remotely interesting performer.) This week it’s “Superstitious” with a bit of the riff from “I Need You Tonight” thrown in and as ever the vocals are wobbly but Marcus is still adorable and it’s the first entertaining performance tonight. The concession to Halloween is some dark eye makeup. It also involves a cane. (I was in the pub while the show was on last night, and Jim who hasn’t seen this year’s series before was rather taken with Marcus. Admittedly, the sound was turned down.)
After last week’s Bullygate it was inevitable that MISS MISHA B
would get The VT Of Contrition, right down to shots of her walking sadly through a park and thinking about what she’s done, if in fact she did do it (her interview sees her apologising for something or other while insisting she didn’t do whatever it is she's apologising for.) The look is even more Grace Jones than usual, the Cornish pasty on her head is now a rhino horn, although I’m not sure “glittery monobrow” is a look that’ll ever catch on. The song is “Tainted Love” with added rap stylings, and as ever it’s basically a fully-formed single that people might buy. Gary says she’s like an artist who’s been developed by a record company for the last ten years – I wouldn’t entirely discount the possibility to be honest. Alexandra BURKE wants to see her completely stripped down. FILTH! (Actually this time I’m going to have to side-eye Ms BURKE because the last thing we need is Misha standing still doing a dull ballad, that’s what every fucker on the show is for.)
You know what I hate about LUNA LOVEGOOD
(apart from the fact that she’s going to win?) Every performance is so similar I have nothing new to write every week. This week, the broken Victorian music box does “Every Step You Take.” Given that it’s been chosen for Halloween week, I could at least get excited that someone’s finally realised it’s a creepy song about stalking. But since the actual theme is “songs” I’m not sure this is a conscious thing. Toula CONTOSTAVLOU thinks she sees something new in Janet’s eyes tonight. That’s makeup Toula. Gary, who seems to have also been replaced by a different person tonight, calls her predictable and isn’t sure if that’s a good thing. Where’s the Gary who only likes dull and predictable things? At this rate, his wife might cook beefburgers on fish finger night and he might not even complain! Alexandra BURKE just wants to cuddle Janet and take her home. Not listen to her sing.ARSETAT
says he’s sorry if everyone expects a cheesy choirboy type of singer. We’re not, Arsetat, but we are kind of expecting a singer of some description, as opposed to, you know. This
. He walks on through the audience, with lots of girls reaching out and touching him in a not at all contrived way. I do hope they’ve been provided with wet wipes to clean their hands with. He’s doing “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” (oh the irony!) a song that requires a minimal amount of actual singing at the best of times. Alexandra BURKE tells him she worries about his vocal range (because he doesn’t have any vocals, let alone a range) and wonders if he’s taking it seriously. He says she’d know how serious he is if she was in the X Factor
house with him. Well, good job the result is voted for by people who live in the X Factor
house then, eh? Oh.KITTY LITTER
was in the bottom two last week and wonders if the public are still judging her on how she presented herself in auditions. Which they are, and I know that’s unfair, but if you will
go out of your way to appear obnoxious maybe people will think you’re obnoxious. This week it’s the Sucker Punch
version of “Sweet Dreams” and instead of self-harming, Kitty is hoping someone else will harm her as she starts by spinning on a knife-throwing target board. Nobody’s actually throwing knives at her though, possibly because they couldn’t be trusted to deliberately miss. She has a big Frankenstein scar on her neck, which I’m not entirely sure is makeup. Once again it’s an entertaining performance, not that I think there’s any chance left of Kitty being judged on her performances. There’s an overall circus theme, but no clowns which is stupid ‘cause they’re clearly the scariest thing about a circus. I seriously doubt that NotNotLouis actually knows what Halloween is. Toula CONTOSTAVLOU calls her “my fellow kitty-cat,” having apparently not noticed that the cat ears she was wearing at the start fell off her head ages ago.OATIBIX
have had to change their name this week. For some reason their VT doesn’t want to dwell too
much on The X Factor
attempting to sue a charity and looking like cunts, so instead they go for a sob story distraction tactic, involving Lion-O being sad that someone on the internet called her fat. Their new name is Little Mix, starting a flurry of “Irish dwarves” jokes on Twitter. I think I’m just going to keep calling them Oatibix. They’re doing Katy Perry’s “ET.” A song about having sex with an alien. It makes so much more sense when you remember she’s married to Russell Brand. NotNotLouis has them made up as creepy dolls, which is at least borderline Halloweeny if not in any way related to the song. New name, but they still sound like two foxes fucking. In a blender.ADELROY
is on last. According to the VT, all of Liverpool is voting for him, which will come as a blow to Professional Scouser Marcus. His local takeaway is livid
that Gary Barlow’s put their main source of income on a diet. Speaking of Gary Barlow, he says this week Adelroy won’t be doing a ballad. “Set Fire To The Rain” by Adele, well this definitely isn’t a ballad, unless you use any commonly accepted definition of the word ballad in which case it is. He’s in a big coat and any idea that it’s Halloween has long since been abandoned. Toula CONTOSTAVLOU pisses on Gary’s “not a ballad” chips by saying she’d like to hear Adelroy do something other than a ”ballid,” which is what this was. Gary says it was the performance of the night, and at least Adelroy has the common sense not to look too excited that someone with a vested interest in saying he was good, said he was good.
Sunday afternoon, my sister texts me to ask who I think will go. I say Sophie, because it’s getting harder by the week to remember she exists. So at least something about this week’s results won’t be a horrible surprise.
Results show! Kelly still has diarrhoea so Alexandra BURKE is still here and has joined in with this year’s confectionary dress theme, coming as a box of Matchmakers. “Ten acts remain,” says Dermot, “but imagine if we put them all together in an X Factor
supergroup!” Imagine? I was going on the assumption that’ll be next week’s lineup of The Risk. But no, it’s the group song. I wonder if this autotuned-to-hell sound is what the judges hear in their imaginations when they claim the acts have given a decent performance? Next we get the recap of last night’s performances – that Halloween theme really was completely non-existent, wasn’t it?
First guest performer is another returning act from last year, THE CHERYL COLE VOODOO DOLL. We see her “journey” and oh yeah, Simon Cowell used to be on the show. It seems so long ago, so determinedly has Gary stamped his (lack of) personality on this series. The stats in her VT are a bit meagre compared to most guest artists so they pad it a bit with how many YouTube hits she’s had. This could be a bit of a slippery slope, X Factor
- if you start booking guest acts based on what videos people are looking at on the internet, things could get a bit inappropriate for a Sunday night. Cher is dressed as some Smarties, and is, unfortunately, singing “With Ur Love” live. When former contestants come back they’re usually allowed to mime, for the sake of all this is holy Cher Lloyd, please do so! This is painfully out of tune. Still, at least it’s not “Swagger Jagger.” Which on the one hand is damning with faint praise; on the other hand, the difference between any song ever recorded
and “Swagger Jagger” is roughly equivalent to the difference between a minor parking violation and genocide.
The other guest act is Nicole Shitsinger.
Through to next week are: KITTY LITTER! COMPLETELY INTERCHANGEABLE COLLECTION OF MALE VOCALISTS! ADELROY! OATIBIX! PROFESSIONAL SCOUSER MARCUS! JOHNNY BEDSIT! LUNA LOVEGOOD! We get a tease that the public might have seen sense and not voted for him this week but no, the last one through is ARSETAT! (The audience boos again. Heh.) Which means the bottom two are SOPHIE HABIBIS
and well done Toula CONTOSTAVLOU, your sabotage tactics against MISS MISHA B
have worked, as you knew they would. I was going to say given the acts they don’t like, you’d think an ITV1 audience doesn’t enjoy being entertained, but of course they don’t – they’re an ITV1 audience. Alexandra BURKE introduces Sophie first, who comes on like a woman who knows she’s doomed. Then Alexandra BURKE again, rather dropped in it this week, introduces Misha, who isn’t really in her element without a load of mental staging but still obviously knocks it out of the park with “Use Somebody” as her survival song. She ends on a sob which I’m not entirely sure is genuine, but if it isn’t hey, at least she knows what show she’s on.
Time to vote
someone, it could be anyone, off. Kelly Row
-land is on the phone from LA, putting on the most unconvincing “calling into work sick” voice you’ve ever heard. Louis sends Sophie home. Toula CONTOSTAVLOU gibbers and faffs around with how she and Misha had her issues but they solved them in private the night before. Ah yes, in private, that’s where these issues are best dealt with. Shame she didn’t think of that before actually starting the whole thing on live TV, eh? She talks shit for another few hours while Dermot gets audibly pissed off with her and tells her to just send someone home because Downton Abbey
’s about to start, and she finally picks Sophie for the chop. Kelly Row
-land is still doing “oooh, my poor voice” but manages to faff for a bit before sending Sophie home. So that’s that, but Dermot asks Gary anyway, just so he can rub salt in Sophie’s wounds that she would have got a full house booting her. So Misha’s through but her days are numbered. We need her around for the final, really, but I can’t see it happening now. Quite apart from her performance ability, I want to see how many different shapes her hair can get into (this week it’s a sort of wedge thing.)