It’s Fright Night! Oh god, are scary things in store? Is this week’s X Factor
going to consist entirely of close-ups of Christopher’s face? No, it’s the annual Halloween “special,” and Dermot’s Dance of Heterosexuality features “Thriller” and devil-horns on him and the dancers. It looks like a hen night in Taunton. Dermot’s the bride. Apparently it’s a Halloween extravaganza, which is a bit of an optimistic claim for a show that rarely manages to provide even the minimum required amount of vaganza. Here are the judges: Louis appears to be in a velour suit, Toula CONTOSTAVLOU has fangs, Nicole Shitsinger has come as Elvira in a see-through catsuit and enormous mane of hare (and there’s quite a lot of it on her head as well AHAHAHAHAHA) and Gary Barlow is doing an impression of Diana Vickers.
This week Lucy won’t be performing because she’s got DIARRHOEA. Or similar. I mean she wouldn’t be my first choice of person to skip but anything that cuts down the number of performances is fine by me. So first we get THE OTHER ONE
. Which is a bit of a shame because the joke of writing long paragraphs about everyone else then completely ignoring The Other One doesn’t really work when he’s up first. Still, at least he’s singing “Let Me Entertain You,” which throws up so many glorious levels of irony, and not the one the show itself seems to think it does (namely that Barlow’s his mentor and it’s a Fat Bob song.) In the VT The Other One tells Barlow he wants to have fun this week, and strangely Barlow doesn’t smack him. Anyway, suffice it to say that fun is about as on the cards as entertainment is. Louis says he was really surprised to see The Other One in the bottom two last week, because he’s an unbelievably boring white man, which should really make him a shoo-in for winning the whole show then immediately disappearing from the face of the earth.
Dermot tells us TWO DIRECTION
are looking “relatively scary.” Presumably he means “relatively scared,” as Random George in particular looks like he’s about to shit his pants. Maybe he’s just realised that as The Designated Harry Styles of the group he is now required to sexually satisfy every woman in the country aged 30 or above. Or maybe, as the VT demonstrates, it’s because as The Designated Harry Styles of the group he’s required to be the main public face of the group, a task for which he seems ill-equipped. Their song is “Sweet Dreams” by Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, and shall we bother trying to figure out what the tenuous Halloween links in these song choices are going to be, or just acknowledge that there isn’t one, like always? I mean they usually at least make a tiny effort for Halloween week but so far even this seems to have gone by the wayside. Well all I can suggest is the “beautiful nightmare” lyric as a horror theme. And can you imagine what NotLouis would have done to put the concept of “beautiful nightmare” on stage? I suspect it would have been glorious but no, we’re back to NotNotLouis so Two Direction are wearing leather jackets and sitting on a car. Terrifying! If you’re the mother in a 1950s film. “Homer, come quick. Bart quit his tutoring job and joined a violence gang!” The Gay One On The End is showing a bit of chest, but it transpires he’s got one of those silly tattoos of writing across his chest, like Marcus Collins – what is it with the cute gay ones on this show and those awful tattoos? Anyway the judges say The Gay One On The End’s vocals were good, which translates as “he’s the token one who can actually sing” and demand that they do something different next week, so that they can then complain that they’ve messed with a successful formula. I KNOW HOW YOU WORK, SHOW! The good news is, Gary says this while enveloped in dry ice, so his words are coming out of an indeterminate mass of grey. JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER TIME THEN etc.RYLAN OFFICE SUPPLIES
has had support from Kylie Minogue and Fat Bob (the latter popping up in these VTs as a guest mentor. I say “mentor,” his contribution seems to consist of the acts being led in one by one to spend a couple of moments in his presence and tell him how much of an inspiration he is. Where did we ever get the impression that Fat Bob might be A Bit Needy?) Then Rylan has a birthday party at which Shitsinger turns up wearing the Ann Summers catalogue and sits on him to sing Happy Birthday. He does a medley of “Toksvig” by Broccoli Spears, “Horny” by Mousse T, and “Poison” by Shitsinger, and he’s been given custody of the Wand Erection Memorial Backing Singers – a strategy that backfires somewhat when one of the female backing singers’ voices completely drowns his out near the end. Louis says Rylan’s like “a little Jean-Paul Gaultier,” so it’s not quite vaguely racist as we've come to expect from him, but it’s appropriately meaningless. Rylan promises that if he’s back next week he’ll just stand there and sing a song straight to Barlow. So… he wants to go home next week then?
Toula CONTOSTAVLOU announces that THE 16-YEAR-OLD WHO IS 16 YEARS OLD
is “her little cupcake.” She’s moved on from little muffins then - what is it with Toula and baked goods? If you want to go on The Great British Bake-Off
just apply like everyone else. She just needs to make sure she can get the sausage rolls onto the shelf rather than just slapping them around the side of the oven door. Anyway the good thing about Fat Bob hanging around the hotel like a bad smell this week is that it’s an excuse for the contestants to listen to his advice, which by definition will be the exact opposite of Barlow’s. Not that Ella actually does
move around much for a slightly odd arrangement of Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life.” Ah, a song about god: Fair enough, Halloween is about made-up scary things after all. Barlow says he finds it disrespectful when people tell the 16-year-old who is 16 years old that she is a 16-year-old who is 16 years old. The reasons why he’s on the wrong show just keep piling up, don’t they? Shitsinger is the first to DARE to criticise anything about the 16-year-old and says it was in the wrong key. Toula says, oh who cares what Toula says.
Barlow decides this is the right week to show GLORIA HUNNIFORD
a clip of his audition because it’s a while since they showed anything on a nice shiny white tablet that plays videos, and the product placement money’s drying up. The overall theme of the VT is that Gloria’s not been looking quite so nervous the last couple of performances, so for god’s sake try and get some shakes back in to get votes, what do you think this is, some kind of singing competition? Just to be on the safe side, let’s remind people that he IS FROM LIVERPOOL and HAS A NAN! We don’t see Gloria meet Fat Bob, because Fat Bob mistook him for a Terry’s Chocolate Orange and tried to eat him. Gloria just died in your arms tonight, in a big coat suitable for walking to the cab after getting fired from The Apprentice
. There’s some dry ice and flashlights and can I just remind you that this is NotNotLouis’ first week back in the job. He, she or it has known all along that their first week was the Halloween show, an opportunity for even the dullest contestants to at least have a bit of mental staging going on behind them, and this, this
is the amount of effort being made. Why not just have a caption onscreen throughout saying “might as well stop watching now, there is literally zero chance of anything entertaining happening here between now and Christmas.” Shitsinger patronises the living shit out of him, Louis calls him a little Tony Christie, Toula thinks the staging was cool and spooky because, as made abundantly clear when the camera cut to her during the performance, she wasn’t paying attention. Then she slags off Gary’s song choices for Gloria, and Barlow comes back at her by complaining about her fag-ash breath. Toula says she can smell the red wine on him. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the precise moment when The X Factor
finally descended into two people saying “your mum!”
Now that The Remaining 66.6% no longer remain, it falls to THE TRIBUTES FROM DISTRICT 3
to take up the “creepy Uncle Louis” mantle. They ask him to be the fourth member of the group. LOLarity fails to ensue. They’re doing “Every Breath You Take,” meaning that for probably the first time ever, and almost certainly by accident, that song has been correctly interpreted as a sinister, Halloween-appropriate song about stalking. They’re dressed like they wanted to come as Clockwork Orange
characters but got it slightly wrong, and the song segues into “Beautiful Monster” in case the rapey one wasn’t Halloweeny enough. The vocals are wobbly, which wouldn’t be a problem except they forget to do backflips or remove any clothing, so it might be difficult for people to remember they exist. Gary and Shitsinger object to the existence of mash-ups, Shitsinger because that particular one didn’t work, Gary because they’re not dull enough.
Six down and we’re already 2/3 of the way there! I could get used to this! Except as soon as I do
get used to it they’ll just make everyone do two songs per show and have it go on all sodding night again.
Last week THE SINISTER GIGGLER
cried on stage after the production crew spent the entire segment prodding at his troubles at home, can’t imagine why that would have happened. Turns out Samuel L Jackson is a fan. Oh Samuel, I am JUDGING YOU. Giggler is wearing black sleeve protectors like a Victorian clerk for some reason. He’s singing “Killing Me Softly,” and such is this show’s level of Gay Panic that the lyrics have been gender-swapped, despite the fact that if you pay the slightest attention to the lyrics that’s not what they're about. Louis thinks Jahmene is like a lot of other black people. Phew, I thought he’d lost it! And speaking of people who’ve lost it, Barlow now lets us know that he thinks people on American talent shows are better than the people on this one, except for Jahmene. Yes, telling the audience that this show has inferior talent is exactly
what the producers will have wanted right now. I smell a man who wants out of his contract. If you were wondering what that smells like, it’s suspiciously like the smell of slightly too much red wine.
Do you live in a tower block, BROKEN LIFT
? Does it have a broken lift? Well, Toula CONTOSTAVLOU came round to visit this week. I’m assuming she got a lift from a helicopter right up to the balcony ‘cause I can’t imagine Toula does stairs. Well, she’d probably be out of breath after all those fags she’s smoked anyway. Jade is dressed in the leftover Cyberwoman costume from Torchwood
, doing a remarkably unenthusiastic version of “Freak Like Me.” Maybe they should have kept the “hurty throat” sob story for this week, given how much of the song she doesn’t even get round to singing. To be fair, the judges actually seem to have noticed they’ve witnessed a car crash for once.
Look, this stuff where the contestants on a talent show perform and are judged on it is all well and good (except for the “good” part; and the “well” part) but it’s getting in the way of the real issue, which is: What about Emeli Sandé? Does she still exist? Is there something we could be doing to promote her musical oeuvre? Fret not, for she’s meeting with PAOLO NUTELLA
in his VT, giving him inspiration that maybe one day he too can take a global sports competition and make it all about him. Also, Labrinth wants James to turn up at one of his gigs with a guitar and not play it. He’s doing the Sucker Punch
version of “Sweet Dreams” and doing lots of wailing and flapping his arms around. Is he wearing jeggings? He is
wearing a lot of mascara which is presumably meant to be all gothy and scary but given how much of it he wears most weeks it’s hardly going to make that much difference this time. Louis says they’ve never had anyone dark and emo and intense on the show before, and it’s Aiden Grimshaw’s turn to have a crywank at home. Toula says that’s how you take an old classic and make it modern – well don’t tell him that, tell Emily Browning. Dermot says girls have sweet dreams about James every night. EEW. James thanks Labrinth “if he’s watching” (LOL he isn’t) and then says he just did his “usual intense dark thing.” Well, good to know it’s not an entirely calculated performance style or anything. Then he picks his nose. Jeez, it’s all about who can sabotage themselves the most tonight, isn’t it?
Reminder of the voting numbers. “There’s only one number different between them all so dial carefully.” Dermot telling viewers HOW TO USE A TELEPHONE, there.
Results show! First up, a recap of “fag-ash breath” because god knows you want to remind people of your show’s finest moments. Dermot’s HETEROSEXUAL sports mime starts off looking like it might be a golf swing, but ends up looking more like tennis. I’m going to assume it’s gonnis
. The judges enter and Fag-Ash Lil goes back to doing her “buy my perfume” salute because she’s stuck a Nicorette patch on her elbow. Now I’ve used those patches and either Toula is microscopic or that thing is MASSIVE. How much of a habit is she making up for? Sixty a day? Does she smoke non-stop, day and night? Is she absorbing tobacco smoke rectally while she’s on camera?
“Normally it’s every act for themselves.” And never more so than during the group performance, during which we will be hearing lines sung in a variety of notes and keys, none of which David Guetta envisioned ever being part of “Without You.” After the recap it’s the first guest act. Contrary to popular opinion, fun.
are not Gary Barlow’s least favourite band. In fact they’re his favourite, because they’ve got a full stop in their name, and Gary’s been trying to put a full stop to fun for more years than he can remember. Dermot says they’ll be doing their new single, but instead they do the one people actually know. Afterwards Dermot goes up to them and says “that’s a huge, monster hit, number one everywhere in the world. Er… well done you.” Ladies and gentlemen, the finely-honed interviewing skills of Mr Dermot O’Leary!
Another break, and when we come back Dermot informs us that Tom Daley’s in the audience. He has to tell us, because Tom’s wearing clothes so we might not recognise him. If Tom’s teeth flash and distract the acts during the sing-off, do they get to go again? Anyway, then Dermot lies that the judges smell good (they actually smell of used banknotes and despair) and they’re asked who’s going. Shitsinger and Barlow agree it’s Broken Lift and The Tributes From District 3. Toula thinks it’s the Tributes, Louis thinks it’s Jade. While the votes get counted, Fat Bob turns up to do “Candy,” dry-hump Louis, and sit on a Wayne Rooney lookalike in the audience. That tight purple top with what looks like a bulletproof waistcoat is not the best look for a man who appears to have kept all the Trick or Treat chocolates to himself. Then adverts, and it transpires that O2 customers get priority booking for Michael BOOB-LAY. I assume this is an ad for Vodafone. Also, X Factor
competition time: “Viewers! We see you keep voting for Christopher for some reason! We assume from this that you might also be interested in owning a Volvo!”
Actual results! Voted back in are THE 16-YEAR-OLD WHO IS 16 YEARS OLD! THE TRIBUTES FROM DISTRICT 3! THE SINISTER GIGGLER! (He responds by giggling in a sinister fashion.) PAOLO NUTELLA! THE OTHER ONE! RYLAN OFFICE SUPPLIES! And GLORIA HUNNIFORD! So for the first time this series Gary doesn’t have anyone in the bottom two, which consists of TWO DIRECTION
(who knew having two acts go after the same demographic would be a bad idea; especially when that demographic is tweenage girls who aren’t over Wand Erection yet anyway) versus BROKEN LIFT
. The latter is wearing denim dungarees, I shit you not. So, to make up for not gender-swapping the lyrics in her song last night, she now has to be an über-lesbian stereotype?
Two Direction sing P!nk’s “Fucking Perfect,” but the version without the fucking. Is now really the time to let anyone other than The Gay One On The End do the singing? I guess, given halitosis-gate last night, they know how this is likely to go down and don’t feel the need to make too much effort. A clearly-resigned-to-her-fate Toula introduces Jade, who does Dildo’s “White Flag.” The line “I will go down with this ship” is, at least, an accurate prediction, although how much of this ship is even left above water at this point is subject to debate.
Starting the votes with the acts’ mentors so of course Louis sends home Broken Lift, Toula (gosh, that nicotine patch seems to have disappeared from her elbow already; I hope she’s had a cigar or something during the ad break or she might get cranky) sends home Two Direction. Skipping straight to Shitsinger she sends Jade home, which leaves Barlow last for “dramatic” “effect.” If he was a decent reality TV supervillain he’d sip some red wine before sending Jade home, but he can’t even get that right so he just votes her off. No Deadlock for Gary! We don’t want the public sticking their nose in, their opinions are always wrong! Except for when they’re always right and must be treated as gospel! Two Direction paw all over Jade and Dermot has to keep telling them to go away. Come back next week Two Direction, you know what you have to do! (Hint: Backflip or partial nudity. Preferably both. It worked for the other lot.)