ABBA and Motown, ABBA and Motown, go together like a horse and carriage, as precisely nobody sang, ever. Yes, we’ve sat through this much X Factor
and this is the thanks we get, two sodding songs per act. Dermot’s done his sports mime, Nicole Shitsinger’s been made to apologise for not actually swearing, let’s get this horror show over with.
DING DING! Round one: ABBA. Well it had to happen eventually; this series has been all about sucking the joy out of happy songs, but ABBA specialised in fucking miserable lyrics about divorce, to a happy tune. So if we can get the happiness out of the tunes, Gary Barlow’s dream of mass suicides in front of ITV1 on a Saturday night could finally come true.
We go to “the only judge in X Factor
history to have all her acts left at this stage in the competition;” who could it be but the fabulous Dame Nicole Shitsinger, who’s piled her hair up on top of her head to celebrate. RYLAN OFFICE SUPPLIES
is first, and in his VT he says he “and the boys” will be cooking Shitsinger a Thanksgiving dinner because she’s from the America. Except it’s just him and James staring at an uncooked turkey, while Jahmene also exists. Of course Rylan’s wearing a “muscle” apron to cook, and the four of them wear pilgrim bonnets for their meal, so it’s all rather fabulous. He sings “Mamma Mia,” starting on a throne with stained glass windows behind him, then moving onto a chessboard with dancers surrounded as chess pieces (I like to think this is a nod to Benny and Björn’s post-ABBA musical theatre stylings.) Then there’s an explosion of confetti. I fear things can only go downhill from here. Louis, Toula and Shitsinger rave about it all, while Gary gives what Dermot describes as “grudging respect,” but I would say was more like “acknowledgement that Rylan won’t JUST DIE like he wants him to.”
Last week, The Gay One On The End of TWO DIRECTION
shocked nobody by turning out to be a gay. This week, the show shocks everybody by actually acknowledging it in a VT. They’re doing “The Winner Takes It All” and they’ve actually sped it up a little, which is like an insult to everything Barlow holds dear, and therefore a good thing. Gary says they’re on a roll, presumably in an attempt to jinx them, given how his pronouncements have turned out so far. Then Dermot makes the mistake of trying to interview Random George afterwards. Dear god, he makes Conor Maynard look charismatic.
Not that THE SINISTER GIGGLER
is the only remaining act who could conceivably stop Christopher from winning or anything, but this week we’re reminded that he has A MUM who is SAD and he SUPPORTS HER. He brings his mum down to have a MAKEOVER so she’ll be less SAD. There’s lots of dry ice and gold churchy stuff in the background as Jahmene sings whichever notes of “I Have A Dream” suit him, and then some others. Judges love it etc.
Last week PAOLO NUTELLA
was in the bottom two and was… sad about it? I mean who can tell, this was his exact same demeanour at Disneyland. Shitsinger says he’ll be turning ABBA into “The James Arthur Experience,” which I sadly suspect will differ from the Dame Edna one. He’s singing “SOS,” initially acoustically with just a guitar, in that way that NOBODY IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION has done before. There’s a bit more backing music as it goes on, and god help me, I’m finding this pretty bearable. Louis says he never thought that angst and ABBA would work together, which, see above, is rather to miss the point of most of ABBA’s back catalogue. You’d have thought Louis of all people would be more familiar with their oeuvre. Shitsinger says James takes everyone’s songs and makes them better. Steady on Shitsinger, let’s not go too far.GLORIA HUNNIFORD
’s VT is all about how he’s totally not the evil diva the papers have said he is (LOOK, HERE ARE SOME OF THOSE ARTICLES ABOUT HOW HE’S AN EVIL DIVA) and he like totally deserves to be here ‘cause people are voting for him and they didn’t vote for Ella so fuck’er. I can’t imagine what gives people the impression the producers want him gone. Obviously the song’s “Fernando,” in the club style, with the dancers doing Bond Film Opening Sequence poses around him. The topless male dancers are particularly prominent behind him, which I don’t get – if they’re trying to use Gay Panic to get the old biddies to stop voting for him, why would they highlight The Gay One On The End’s gayness earlier and dilute the effect? Louis’ openly chuckling at all this anyway. “That was a lovely theatrical piece,” patronises Shitsinger. I’m all for Shitsinger giving Christopher backhanded compliments, but I must continue to voice my objections to “theatrical” being used as an insult. Louis waxes lyrical about the topless men and “poor Fernando” and is so unashamedly taking the piss that Toula CONTOSTAVLOU has trouble keeping a straight face as she calls the performance “creepy.” Which, welcome to every Christopher performance, ever.
“They’ve all performed one song but it’s only half time.” I feel like Dermot should follow this with a Tenth Doctor-style “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” but he doesn’t. DING DING! Round two: Motown Classics. Cue Dermot dad-dancing with Shitsinger to “Let’s Get It On.”
Oh, different running order for round two? “It’s Josh, Jaymi,
Jorge and JJ” says Louis again as he introduces TWO DIRECTION
. I’m not sure why he’s showing off that he knows their names, Simon Cowell isn’t there anymore for him to rub his nose in the whole “calling Zayn Olly” thing from a couple of years ago. They’re doing The Jackson Five’s “I’ll Be There,” and they have lava behind them. They’re standing in the wrong order, so The Gay One On The End isn’t on the end any more, but he’s still the one who can sing. It’s not very interesting. Was it ever likely to be?
I don’t think anyone told Nicole Shitsinger there were two songs tonight and she’s already been on the meths. First she can’t find which camera to look into, before announcing PAOLO NUTELLA
. At which point RYLAN OFFICE SUPPLIES
’s VT comes on. D’oh! Rylan and Shitsinger look on a shiny tablet computer (exciting and good value BUY NOW!) at his past performances before he announces he’ll be doing a Supremes medley. He walks in down the audience, dressed as some custard, before going up on stage where the women dancers are all in bright candy colours, the male ones are still topless (well, saves on laundry) and the backing screen has a Rylan Wii Mii. He ends by jumping off the stairs into the dancers’ arms. Barlow calls it a bit Eurovision, which is definitely going to give someone some ideas. And probably should do.
Dermot fills a bit by going to the friends and family in the audience – evidently Jahmene’s mum’s makeover involved turning her into Pippi Longstocking. (Pippi Frecklenose in Greece, fact fans. Being ginger is generally considered more worthy of mention in Mediterranean countries than the ability to wear unusually large hosiery.)PAOLO NUTELLA
now. Yes, Shitsinger, you sure? OK, here goes, for reals this time. The VT’s just more “here’s what you done on this fabulous tablet” but the song will be “Let’s Get It On,” which James says will show his vocal abilities. Which it kind of does, I mean he still doesn’t have a huge
range but he actually does some singing rather than growling into the mike for a change. I’ll never be a fan but credit where it’s due, people are always being told they upped their game after being in the bottom two when they did nothing of the sort, and what with actually showing a bit of a variety I think James actually did
come up with a couple of unpredictable performances now his complacency’s taken a knock. Toula CONTOSTAVLOU brings out the old “you’re the only person who could get away with doing that song” tripe, and I suspect he may not
be the first person to cover that any more than he’s the first person to play an acoustic guitar on telly, but there we are. Meanwhile Louis and Toula are still basically just dicking around in these judges’ feedback bits like a woman who’s got no more acts to worry about, and a man who knows he won’t have any such concerns much longer. James almost manages a smile at all this. Shitsinger, worried she might be starting to look like the "sane" judge, announces that this performance will be responsible for a lot of inseminations tonight, before saying he “murdered” the song – yeah, I don’t think you’re going to be able to turn that particular expression into a compliment, Shitsinger. “Killed it,” for some reason, works, “murdered it” not so much.
Come on, nearly there, only two more to go. Too bad about which two it is. THE SINISTER GIGGLER
’s VT sees Shitsinger tell him this week is a fight to the death – finally! A fight to the death! On the rooftops of Gotham City! There can be capes and sophisticated weapons disguised as inoffensive objects! There can be a pen that spouts purple knockout gas and then gives off a signature giggle so the citizens know who’s behind the destruction! And he can escape in his Gigglermobile while giggling in a maniacal what? He’s actually excited ‘cause it’s Motown? OK, disregard the above. Shitsinger says he’ll have to go out there and “give them heck” – I hope ITV makes her apologise for her offensive use of the word “heck” there. He’s singing “Tracks of My Tears” while standing on the “M” of a massive JAHMENE. Hey at least it’s not a box.
“Get out of your seats, it’s Christopher Maloney!” Good idea Gary, I’ll get out of my seat and go somewhere else, do anything
else other than watch GLORIA HUNNIFORD
murder (this is how you use that term, Shitsinger,) “Dancing On The Ceiling.” Is 1980s dance pop really “Motown?” Or is Gary just interpreting the theme as “a black person done sang it?” Of all Louis’ qualities as a judge that Barlow could do with taking on, this really wouldn’t have been my first choice. Then Shitsinger says she likes Coco Pops in full fat milk and Christopher is a cornflake covered in vanilla. Is it too late for another nickname change? It’s never too late for another nickname change. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s THE MILKY CORNFLAKE
. Gary says he’s sick of all the criticism Milky gets all through the week, and the audience cheers – the same audience who booed him at the start of the show. Seriously though, goldfish mock the X Factor
audience for their short memories.
Results show! Sports mime, judges, recap, and this week’s shitshower of a group song will be Coldplay’s only acceptable song, “Viva La Vida,” here made less acceptable. By now only The Gay One On The End has anything close to the ability to carry a tune. Moar recap, then “special” guests. They are Bruno Mars and Rihanna, therefore I can’t be expected to pay any attention to them but can only assume that, like all their other songs, these are about stalking, and Rihanna’s vagina, respectively. Bruno Mars follows up his song by shilling his album in a really obnoxious way, and Dermot then encourages him to do it again for some reason. And during Rihanna’s song it starts to rain on stage. Ironically, she has not brought along her umbrella. Ella. Ella. Eh. Eh. Eh.
Then, before we get the actual results, we get a look back at what’s happened to the contestants over the last few months, in case the five VTs from last night on that subject weren’t enough. They really might as well stop with this and just put a test card with “filler” written on it on screen for a few minutes, at least it would be more honest. So back in the very distant past of a couple of months ago, James was on his bed “strumming his guitar” (not heard that masturbation euphemism before,) Christopher was, I dunno, strangling people, etc.
Actual results! Through to the “semi-final” as they insist on calling it are PAOLO NUTELLA! THE MILKY CORNFLAKE! proving that even accusing him of attempted murder on the front cover of the Sunday papers won’t stop nans voting for him, and The X Factor
may as well give up now. And THE SINISTER GIGGLER! is the last act through. Meaning it’s TWO DIRECTION
versus RYLAN OFFICE SUPPLIES
in the singoff. Arguably Two Direction are the ones most past their sell by date, by a long way, but I don’t think anyone’s in any doubt how this will go, especially after last week’s “oh noes Ella went because Rylan got her place unfairly” and etc. Certainly the judges don’t pretend there’s any competition, as Shitsinger introduces Rylan with “he’s done Shamazing to get this far.” He done sung Athlete’s “Wires” about as well as he is capable, and goes round the judges’ table to give a last little dig at Gary. Then Two Direction sing Leona Lewis’ “Run,” which was definitely never performed by anyone before Leona Lewis, nossir.
Judges’ votes and Shitsinger, of course, saves Rylan, who gives a great “thanks anyway for the gesture” face. Gary and Louis save Two Direction. Go on Toula CONTOSTAVLOU, send it to deadlock now you’ve got nothing to lose. Nah, she also sends Rylan home meaning that’s it for him, and we get his highlights VT – which, for the first time this series, perhaps the first time ever, includes some actual highlights. So Rylan will not be around to make the remaining shows entertaining. On the plus side, there’s only two of said shows remaining, and for that let us be truly thankful.