Last week on The X Factor
: We spent Saturday being repeatedly told that it was “the battle of the boybands” and “can there conceivably be two boybands in this competition?” and so on. Then on Sunday, surprise! It was the two boybands up against each other in the bottom two, almost as if the whole thing had been planned. Why exactly The X Factor
chooses to open this week’s show by drawing attention to how it manipulates the results is anybody’s guess, but there we are. The Tributes from District 3 were sent home because out of the two boybands they could sing a bit, and they didn’t have a creepy, dead-eyed Harry Styles ventriloquist’s doll crowbarred into their lineup.
Dermot’s generic sports mime now includes a kick as he introduces Guilty Pleasures Week, so let’s get it out of the way that yes, this whole theme is quite insulting, if you like a song you shouldn’t feel guilty about it and fuck off X Factor
for saying people should. Anyway, since Gary Barlow still exists, Guilty Pleasures Week will inevitably translate into “songs that are good and lots of fun, so let’s slow them down until they’re less so.” Dermot celebrates the theme with the return of Dermot’s Dance of Heterosexuality, which sees him in silver Hammer pants dancing with his ladiez to “U Can’t Touch This” in a pre-recorded segment – I mean, did they think we didn’t notice that he wasn’t
wearing silver Hammer pants when he first walked onstage? Does anyone
on this show care anymore?
The judges come in to “The One And Only,” which is an appropriate choice because there’s four of them. Nicole Shitsinger’s wearing an origami version of the show’s logo.
They nearly went out last week, and the show’s definitely not trying to boot them or nuthin’ but here they are in the death slot, it’s TWO DIRECTION
. Louis introduces Josh, Jaymi, George and JJ – honestly, could George not change his name to Jorge or something, so that the name “Union J” might border on making sense? It could be his contribution to the group, god knows he’s not justifying his place in it with his boundless charisma. In their VT, we see that the remaining contestants are going by EUROSTAR (fabulously comfortable and speedy book now!) to DISNEYLAND PARIS (great deals for families book now!) to perform and, according to Louis, “make some new fans.” New fans who presumably don’t live in this country and can’t vote for them so well done there. Also, given that The Tributes were accused of being “a bit Mickey Mouse Club,” how rude that they waited until they were gone before bringing out a treat that, you'd think, would be tailor-made for them. There’s a lot of stuff about how Two Direction are bezzie mates with Ella, presumably to try and garner some votes from her fanbase. Except if the rumours are true Ella barely has a fanbase to tap so good luck there. At DISNEYLAND PARIS (fabulous Christmassy fun book now!) Random George has a few too many fizzy pops and feels unwell, and the rest of the band are worried he might be unable to turn up and MAKE NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER to their performance. But it’s OK, he feels better and makes it. False jeopardy just isn’t what it used to be. They’re singing (if that’s what you want to call it) Carly Rae Jepsen’s tribute to a character from Arrested Development
, “Call Me Maeby.” Which was a big hit this year, so whatever you think of the song, Guilty Pleasures Week starts with The X Factor
telling its audience “you bought this song and probably still like it, and we are saying you should be faintly ashamed of your taste in music.” Which is the week’s overall theme. I know, I said I wouldn’t go on about it any more. And maybe I should embrace it since “music is something to be bitterly ashamed of” is the message I get from The X Factor every
week. Anyway, like the video, this ends with the cute boy with a horrible chest tattoo turning out to be a gay
. Which we already knew but there we are. Toula CONTOSTAVLOU doesn’t like the song and claims the whole point of Guilty Pleasures Week is to take a cheesy song and make it cool (or “slow it down,” as regular people call it.) As if anything could make a song less
cool than having it performed on this show. She says it’s cheesy, which coming from somebody who’s currently the colour of a Wotsit is a bit much. Barlow lies that their lack of success so far had anything to do with there being another boyband in the competition. So… the Tributes’ fans will automatically transfer loyalty to Two Direction now? You’d think Gary would know a thing or two about boyband rivalries. Hahaha as if Gary knows a thing or two about anything! Shitsinger says they need to do more on stage. Which is true, but in context translates to “do some backflips so we can tell you you’ve lost your identity.” Then she says they look expensive. I wouldn’t have pegged Shitsinger as the person on the panel who knows how much it costs to hire a pretty boy for the night, but people can surprise you.
Is THE 16-YEAR-OLD WHO IS 16 YEARS OLD
the last girl in the competition? You’d think they’d have mentioned it. And while we’re at it, how old is she? About the right age to enjoy a trip to DISNEYLAND PARIS (fun for all the family book now!) where she performs “Firework” minus the fireworks, on a stage with the number 20 behind her, representing the amount of people voting for her. But she’s wearing Minnie Mouse ears so PERSONALITY! ELLA HAS ONE! Actually it then turns out she does
have a personality, and unfortunately it’s that of a raging Twilight
fangirl, who goes to the Breaking Wind Part 2
premiere and screams uncontrollably when The Three Least Expressive Actors On The Planet are wheeled out. Hey, ITV viewers, you know what you should feel guilty about liking? Grease
. Remind me what channel broadcast a Grease
casting show a few years back? Look never mind that now, Ella’s going to be singing that song that nobody would be seen in public liking, unless it was at a massive show that ran for years and years, surrounded by hundreds of people who also don’t want anyone to know they like it, “You’re The One That I Want.” Which, of course, in Ella’s version is a shouty, tragic dirge, complete with sad choir, about the angst of being a 16-year-old who is 16 years old and WHY WON’T MY VAMPIRE BOYFRIEND LOVE ME? Barlow says that “somehow” making every song boring engages him emotionally. Shitsinger kind of looks like she might be trying to bring up the whole “stop slowing everything down to funereal pace FFS” thing but Barlow’s ready to bite her head off so she doesn’t. Louis says she’s got the voice and that’s what this show is all about. Well it’s certainly what a
show is about Louis, would you like to be a judge on that one? I reckon you’d love
the chairs. Then he makes some crack about Toula being a WAG so I guess she’s dating a footballer now? Good, I feel like Cook from Skins
deserves someone with better aim.
You know what’s a natural match? DISNEYLAND PARIS (young and old book now!) and PAOLO NUTELLA
. Because she’s not an idiot, when Nicole Shitsinger announces this special surprise on camera to James, she opts not to mention where
in Paris they’re going, as undisguised contempt may not be exactly what the sponsors were looking for (happiest place on earth book now!) Then we hear about his alleged “bromance” (ugh) with Rylan, who’s apparently taught him to see the lighter side of life. Spoken, of course, in the tones of a man who’s just found out that all the kittens on the internet had a suicide pact. James is worried that he won’t get a recording contract if he doesn’t win this competition – given what history has taught us, I’d be more worried about the recording contract he’ll get if he does
win, and just how many picoseconds it’ll be valid for. It’s Guilty Pleasures Week, and obviously it’s the “pleasure” part that he’ll have a problem with. But fear not, his mentor is Shitsinger, which means she’ll cheer us up with another fabulous portmanteau word. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you “Gourgeois.” This word is being used to describe one of James’ more bearable efforts, a grumbly take on “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” So Andy Williams is someone to be ashamed of now? I think you’ll find someone thinks differently:
Also, this being originally a Frankie Valli song, I assume it’s in Jersey Boys
, which kind of continues the show’s theme of musical theatre as a thing of shame and disgust. And given the very, very luckiest of these contestants might hope to get a career in musical theatre if they’re good boys and girls (or even if they’re not – eh Maliddlejoe McElderry, playing Tommy
in concert after slagging off Dame Musical Theatre?) and eat their greens, you’d think the show might lay off. Toula CONTOSTAVLOU says it was like being in a club in Camden seeing someone credible while getting her urban roots touched up, as opposed to what it actually was. Barlow wants James to win this competition as opposed to his own act, because even he can no longer pretend his remaining act isn’t awful. Paolo wants to know if anyone in the show’s history has ever performed quite as live as he just has. Oh fuck right off.
Dermot talks to the judges to tell them that Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has tweeted that “Call Me Maeby” was the song of the year and Toula CONTOSTAVLOU should STFU or similar. Clearly this is only because Shitsinger will inevitably respond by going “Ed Balls? Balls? Mmmm, balls.” She reliably complies. Shitsinger says her guilty pleasure is Salt n Pepa’s “Push It,” Barlow says he always wanted to be Rick Astley (still cooler than you, Barlow,) Toula says the Backstreet Boys, and Louis says Engelbert Humperdinck and Take That. Barlow looks offended. Why, pray tell? After all, he’s saying he likes them; he also suggests liking them is shameful, a judgement Barlow passes on other people’s work on a weekly basis and is therefore presumably a valid comment. It’s not quite
what I was hoping would happen in Guilty Pleasures Week (namely one of the contestants doing “Open Road” followed by three of the judges telling him he miraculously made a terrible flop song sound good) but it’ll do.RYLAN OFFICE SUPPLIES
goes to DISNEYLAND PARIS (book now book now book now!) where people give him their babies to hold, and he rather marvellously says it’s like he’s a child minder. Then there’s some jeopardy as there’s apparently a prop in the performance and it could all go wrong and he’ll be crawling around bloody and etc. He’s got a massive quiff, a string vest, a jacket with shoulder pads to make Dynasty
look subdued in the costume department and trousers that light up in different colours, singing “Girls on Film” which segues into “When Will I Be Famous,” and walking on a treadmill for a bit surrounded by the male dancers with their tops off. And this is all still irrelevant because all that matters is what happens in judges’ comments. Not the bit where Toula complains that she expected Rylan to be more mental in Guilty Pleasures Week (obviously having missed the point that Rylan has no concept of this idea of feeling guilty for the music you like.) It’s not even the bit where Rylan comes back at Gary’s criticisms of his voice by saying any major star who does the kinds of routines he does would mime. No, it’s when Dermot mentions a tiny segment of the VT where Rylan was in a boyband doing Take That covers. Barlow asks “I want to know which band member you were.” “I definitely weren’t you, I’m too skinny for that, G.” Rylan to win for that burn alone. And the joy on Shitsinger’s face as Barlow flips.
Hey, if Rylan can’t win, how about succumbing to the inevitable and having GLORIA HUNNIFORD
win it? Getting there would be a painful process but it would
be hilarious as The X Factor
continued to pretend it has a cool bone in its body. Hey, it’d be good news for Brookstein as well – no longer the most embarrassing talent show winner of all time! Just a close second. Evidently Christopher closed the show at DISNEYLAND PARIS (20 years of family funtimes book now!) which should not be taken as an indicator of anything, oh no. He’s saying he wants to text Gary to tell him how good it was. You know, a text to Gary’s “special” phone that’s only for Christopher, and which he will mysteriously lose down a landfill the second the show ends. For now, here’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” overshadowed by a terrifying image of Christopher’s grinning face with laser beams coming out of his eyes. I’m sure they told him this was a little tribute to the original video but let’s face it, the message is loud and clear. FEAR THIS! FEAR THIS CREATURE! DO NOT LET IT GAIN MORE POWER THAN IT ALREADY HAS! IT WILL EAT YOUR YOUNG! Even better is Shitsinger describing the backdrop as “life-size” – yes, I think we’d all got that impression about the size of Gloria’s head.THE SINISTER GIGGLER
looks like he might want to destroy DISNEYLAND PARIS (now up to 94% sex offender-free book now!) with his frickin’ laserbeam but instead he’s been invited there with the rest. We are reminded that he HAS NO CONFIDENCE but maybe if everyone in the entire world sends him a letter telling him he’s awesome, he might just start believing in himself. Never let it be said he asks for much. This week he’s singing “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” Is that a guilty pleasure because it was sung by one of those gays? That’s kind of how this show works right? He starts deathly slow (obvs) but then goes back to the original disco version, except for the notes, which as usual are of his own choosing. He’s standing on a very tall box and wearing a jacket that seems to be made of a dead glitterball. Louis says Jahmene reminds him of various other black people – phew, I thought Louis had lost his touch there. (“Lost his touch? I wish.” – all of Two Direction.) Toula CONTOSTAVLOU says she’s running out of ways to kiss Jahmene’s butt every week. Have you tried just slapping it disinterestedly around your cheeks a bit Toula? Ladies and gentlemen, this week’s Tulisa blowjob joke was brought to you by XTube: For all your “popstar headbutting a bellend” needs!
Louis tries a burn about Shitsinger complaining about Union J being put on a box, then putting Jahmene on the box herself. Shitsinger says Union J have been on the box “forty thoosand” times. Then Dermot tells us to call Giggler’s number if we want to see him try to mess up his hairstyle again next week. Well, you can try
, Dermot, but I was under the impression that Jahmene’s hair was tattooed onto his head like François Sagat. Or I would be under that impression, if I had any idea who that was, but obviously I don’t.
Spinny spinny round and round camera spins around the remaining acts standing in a circle, it’s the Results Show! Sports mime with added kick again from Dermot, who introduces the judges: You keep your distance, you don’t make any sudden movements and you don’t ever, ever look them in the eye. Also, don’t get them wet and never feed them after midnight. Voting numbers and then the dreaded group song. Which of course this week was due to be Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night,” except the Sinister Giggler objected because it’s about drinking alcomahol and is therefore naughty and etc. So instead they’re singing our very own Toula CONTOSTAVLOU’s “Young,” which is about apologising for getting caught on video giving inept blowjobs, and therefore much more appropriate in the eyes of Mr Jesus. Given how, even by the group song’s standards, Giggler sounds particularly “strangled cat” on this one, I assume it was chosen as punishment for him giving the producers lip.
Recap of last night, then the first guest star, Olly FUCKING Murs, who as usual is wearing clothing so tight it’s actually beneath a couple of layers of epidermis. Given Dermot’s clothes are always too big for him and Olly’s are always too small, would a merged entity have clothes that fit? This notional Olly O’Deidre entity is scaring me now, so let’s move on, to our second guest. Alicia Keys, who’s come dressed as Posh Spice, and is singing about a girl on fire. About time someone did a musical exposé of the Salem witch trials. Well this is dull, let’s move on to getting rid of some dead wood. No, wait, we can’t do that yet, apparently the acts have to tell us why they want to win first. Actually I could do with knowing why they want to win, god knows it’s not going to do their careers any good if they do. The 16-Year-Old Who Is 16 Years Old wants to stay in the competition because she doesn’t want to go back to school and be the girl who sings but “doesn’t let it out.” Because as we all know, it is physically impossible to sing in public unless there’s a TV camera aimed at you. Paolo Nutella wants to do it because nobody loves him, Gloria Hunniford wants to do it because his nan loves him. As do all the nans, evidently, fuck knows why. Two Direction want to stay in because they’re totally all bezzie mates who won’t chuck Random George out of the band (/a moving vehicle) the minute they’re out of the show. Rylan Office Supplies wants to stay in because this is already his second reality show and he needs to leave a little gap before the inevitable appearance on I’m A Celebrity
. And The Sinister Giggler doesn’t know, just like he doesn’t know the answer to any question ever put to him. Given this week’s behind-the-scenes shenanigans, I’m going to assume the producers won’t let him answer every question with “BECAUSE JESUS” and this is why he answers everything with a nonspecific gibber.
Actual results! Finafuckingly! Through to next week are TWO DIRECTION! And RYLAN OFFICE SUPPLIES! Which means two people in the bottom two who’ve never been there before, it’s good so far. THE SINISTER GIGGLER! So at least one of the judges’ favourite special snowflakes is in trouble, and given the way the voting’s been going could the final person through to next week be…GLORIA HUNNIFORD! (Huuuuuuuge boos in the studio.) So it’s THE 16-YEAR-OLD WHO IS 16 YEARS OLD
in a sing-off with PAOLO NUTELLA
. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Why it’s almost as if happy fun songs slowed down to funereal pace isn’t what the country loves best, despite the judges telling us every week that it’s our special favourite. Weird.
Toula grumps that first up is someone who doesn’t deserve to be there, and then Ella does a (slowed down etc etc) “If You’re Not The One.” Well you’re getting no sympathy from me if you’re doing Bedingfield, Ella. Besides, that’s a slippery slope to go down. Before you know it you’ll be waving your privates around in a video. Also, the big screechy note? Ella makes a BAD NOISE! Then Shitsinger introduces one of the greatest talents ever to grace this stage. And this is a stage that’s played host to Jedward and
Wagner so that’s no small thing. James “effing” Arthur does Alicia Keys' (slowed down etc etc) “Falling.” Who’s that for? She was just a guest, she can’t vote you back in. It’s almost like these two thought they were safe and didn’t put much effort into their sing-off songs BUT THAT ARE VERAH, VERAH UNLIKELY. Toula grumps that “people are voting for the wrong people,” because hey it’s not like it’s their own money they’re spending, and that the people voting for whoever the fuck they want is the whole sodding premise of this show or anything. Then she obviously saves her own act, and huffs “I shouldn’t have had to make that decision tonight, at all, in the slightest.” Oh, that’s fine then Toula, give the money back and you don’t have to do it. What’s that? Oh, you didn’t say anything. Shitsinger looks FURIOUS but at least she doesn’t complain about actually having to do her job as she sends home Ella. Louis tries to build up his part but it’s not his job to send it to deadlock this week, and he sends home James. Barlow is all “I told you so” and rather hilariously says it’s time to leave the Saturday night razzmatazz behind and focus just on the voice (says the man whose act had lasers coming out of his massive face.) Hey, maybe the judges could not even look at the contestants; they could sit in big chairs with their backs turned to them and then oh wait. I’m sure ITV1 are thrilled with the image of a two-hour show where people dressed in sackcloth stand still in a spotlight singing dirges on a bare stage. Saturday! Night! Entertainment! I’m no Strictly
fan, but given this show is being trounced by one where four inches of makeup and some strategically placed glitter counts as a costume for males and females alike, I’m not sure less
razzmatazz is the answer to all your problems. Oh, anyway, he saves Ella, which means…
MOAR DEADLOCK! And the act with the lowest viewer votes is… The 16-Year-Old Who Is 16 Years Old! She says she wouldn’t be where she is right now if it wasn’t for the show. What, you wouldn’t be on this stage specially constructed for this show if it wasn’t for this show? Well, it’s true, I suppose. Hmm, maybe this is why we never got any hint of Ella’s personality between “is 16,” “is loud” and “ZOMG Twilight
!” What went wrong, asks Dermot? Oh I dunno, I mean SHE SANG “YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT” LIKE IT WAS “SUICIDE BLUES.” Apart from that, nothing much. Sadly Ella must now go back to school, where she will be physically incapable of ever singing again because apparently that's what happens when you're not on telly. Sucks to be her.
In other news, Toula CONTOSTAVLOU is the first judge to lose all her acts (unless you count Barlow losing all the acts he personally chose) which is a bit of a bummer after last year’s TRIUMPHANT OATIBIX VICTORY, but on the other hand a nice change for Louis. And Nicole Shitsinger still has all her acts
, in fact more acts than all the other judges combined. LOL, as they say on the internet.
Apparently one of next week's themes (yes, sadly it's that time where they each do two songs a week, pray for me) is ABBA. Good luck doing that with no razzmatazz, Gareth.