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Monday, 28 November 2016

X Factor - Louis Loves

It's Louis Loves this week. Which as themes go is as good as any other. Let's face it. They could have Sex Pistols week and Matt would put some weird falsetto in and Emily would sit on the floor and sing it like a John Lewis advert. It's now down to the quarter finals which means that each act has to show their astonishing range by singing two songs. One that 'Louis loves' and one they've chosen themselves. Time for an evening of Westlife and Agadoo. 
Dermot comes on stage to 'YMCA'. Louis is gay in case you haven't picked up on the subtle references to it and being gay is the funniest thing in the world. Louis then Riverdances around and a dancer stacks it. Louis has never had so much fun. 
First up is Matt. He had a good week last week so he's really feeling the pressure. It's unclear where you have to come in the competition to not do a VT about how you are feeling the pressure. His old singing teacher comes to visit. They met when Matt was living in Spain. They clearly lived on some kind of Eldorado complex as she is American and he is English. Ahhh Brexit. Matt is going to sing 'Secret Love Song' by Little Mix as his Louis loves song. You know, Louis Walsh. Who constantly bangs on about how much he hates girl groups. Loves. Matt is doing that weird thing again where he gives weird sideways glances all over the stage. It's like something has gone wrong and he's trying to attract attention without stopping the performance. The voice may be saying 'Why can't I hold you in the street, why can't I kiss you on the dance floor' but the eyes are trying to tell an usher that some child has thrown up in the front row. The song is very quiet and boring until he goes bananas near the end. He does a 'sexy' look in to the camera at the end. My ovaries retracted and are now somewhere near my throat. Louis loved it. Sharon's excited to hear what kind of record he'll make. I think 'World's longest fingernails' or some kind of competitive eating. 

Now Saara. In her VT I thought Saara was being made to wear wacky costumes again. They're actually her every day clothes. She's singing 'The Winner Takes it All' I am only able to sing this song in this  style thanks to Rosie Ribbons. So the only way is up. She's wearing a Wonder Woman headress and a wicker basket on her head for some reason. Louis will love that. She's plonging away on a piano so we are going to be saved any detours in to disco. Ignore the headress and it's actually good. Judges love it and damn it so do I. Louis thinks it's good because she's Scandinavian and so can automatically sing Abba. 
Oh grief. Honey G. She was in the bottom two last week, only saved by Ryan finally going. She goes back to her Mum's this week to recover and her mum manages to get a sensible conversation out of her. She then plays 'You Can't Touch This' on a piano whilst Honey raps along. They must be a double act. Although I dream of the day my own mother says to me 'It's always been your dream to be a credible rap artist.' And may I draw your attention to the photo on the sideboard. 
The performance is as awful as you would think. She dances like a mascot at a theme park. As the judges give comments some pranksters invade the stage and Simon of all people goes to deal with them. I think Sharon would be more use. The rest of the comments are just people chanting 'Honey G'. 

Ugh. Five After Midnight. They went to a red carpet event this week. No mention of what it was for. My guess it was for a new carpet warehouse and they were trying out the samples. They're singing 'Uptown Funk'. One of them has the foulest, pubey beard. It's quite off putting. I am watching tonight's episode whilst I babysit my nieces and nephews. Before I arrived I was warned about my youngest nephews hair. He dislikes having his hair cut and so had got off the chair mid cut. Therefore his hair consists of one side shaved quite close. One side sort of shaved quite close and a bald bit from where he leaped. The top is long and he got his hands on a pot of gel and put the whole lot in his fringe. My niece observes that all of Five After Midnight's hair looks worse than that. The judges love it. 
Now Emily. She is sad that Ryan (her boyfriend) went home last week. So I'd imagine her song choice will be rocking. Her VT consists of the two of them saying their tearful goodbyes and wondering when they'll see each other again. The competition ends in a fortnight. She's singing 'Toxic' this week. Don't get excited. She's singing it on a ukulele. It's a little bit more upbeat than her usual fair but I'm not sure you could call it a new style. It's a bit Norah Jones. It sounds like something you would use on an advert to sell bowel inducing yoghurt in a quirky or fun way. Imagine a woman looking unhappy. She then eats a yoghurt to the sound of Emily's song. Cut to her skipping out of a toilet. Louis points out that she still hasn't moved and he wants her to dance. Sharon thought it was edgy. Yeah. Edgy like a globe. 
Now Matt again. Remember their second song is their own choice. He is singing 'Alive' by Sia. He watches a focus group critique him. Someone wants him to sing in a deeper voice and who'd thunk it, that's just what he's doing in this song. It's good and he got some squats in . His is not a natural stage presence. A little too measured. In the theme of Louis Loves; He reminds me of a young Michael McIntyre. 
Five After Midnight also watch their focus group. No one mentions their terrible hair so it lives another day. They are singing 'Sorry' and they should apologise for their backing dances trousers which are horrible. So horrible that no pictures exist. Technically this is good. I still don't like them. Simon didn't think it works but it's still one of their strongest weeks. 
Honey G is going to do a mash up of 'Push it' and 'Black Beetle'. She watches her focus group and is annoyed that she is seen as an entertainer rather than a rapper. Quite right. There is nothing entertaining about her. Once again no one knows what a mash up is. She stops singing one song and starts singing another. Good staging though. They make everyone do the mannequin challenge. Only ruined by a womble bumbling through them rapping. 
Emily is singing her own choice of the funeral march but she's going to make it her own by slowing it down. Some subtle product placement from Lenovo brings her to the decision that she is going to sing 'Human' by Rag 'n' Bone Man. She thinks it's a risk. It's certainly the most interesting thing she's done. She also dances. In the loosest, well tightest, sense of the word. We now know why Emily doesn't dance. It's fine. It's nice to see her doing anything else. Simon does the annoying clapping thing all through the comments again. Welcome back Simon Seal.
Saara has chosen to sing 'Diamonds are Forever' and 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend'. She designed the stage too and the costumes. She's also built the sets and did the catering (herring for everyone). She's singing from a cloud dressed as an ice dancer. This is weird but I quite like it. She can perform (Matt). I bet Louis loved this. 
My prediction: Honey G and Emily bottom 2. 
I was half right. It was Honey G and Five After Midnight. Honey G went. Finally. On the same night that Ed Balls left Strictly. I'm sure there's meaning in there somewhere. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

X Factor - Movie Week

It's Movie Week. So another round of 'sing any song you like'. Remember Gummo? Sam went last week in what seemed like a weird set up so lets all assume that Ryan is going to be having a break down this week. Dermot comes on and dances and then the judges come out. I miss the days of insane judges outfits. Sharon and Nicole always look nice but not bizarre. Makes you wish for the days of Rita or Tulisa even a Nick. Which isn't something you hear often. 
Ryan is singing first. He calls himself the Comeback Kid. Cool nickname Ryan. He's going to sing 'Jailhouse Rock'. So he goes to the gym with Matt where he burns 2000 calories. It turns out that this is over the course of a week so I stop googling his workout routine. This performance is very Pontins. It's fine but I don't believe this competition is about producing a second rate Elvis impersonator. Bye Ryan. I feel quite sorry for him. He can sing but they have no idea what to do with him and he's not that sure himself. Louis gives the helpful comment that 'Matt is always going to be better than you.' Constructive. Simon makes a jibe about Louis being gay. Which is as hysterical as it's been for the last ten years.

Five After Midnight. 
In their VT they go to Jordan's house to meet his family 'for the first time as a band'. Later I am going to my family's house to meet my parents for the first time wearing a pink hat on a Sunday. Special times. His brother is really milking his brother being on X Factor. His brother will go far (further than Five After Midnight). They're singing 'Try a Little Tenderness'. My goodness this is a shitstorm. It's like that brief moment in the early 2000s when cartoons were made in to full length films and it was compulsory for them to have a rap song in them. This is how Coolio ended up going from Gangsters Paradise to the Rugrats Movie. Sharon and Nicole loved it. Simon says it wasn't great. I love Simon. Louis says he's wrong because the audience liked it. 
Now Saara. 
She gets a video message from her family in Finland. They seem very sweet. I think her Grandfather may be Santa. She's going to sing 'My Heart will go on' Singing it whilst dressed as Kate Bush. Loads of people are playing violins laying down. I think it's meant to be arty. Oh and here's the wind machine. It's fine but the song is a bit done. There's nothing you can do with it except belt it out and even if you're dressed as a Victorian ghost it still sounds the same. 

Matt next. He's going to be singing 'The Writing's on the Wall'. Fulfilling the high note requirement for Matt. He skypes Nicole for advice. She looks amazing. I look like a potato on skype. I have to constantly readjust the camera so I only have 19 chins rather than 47. Sadly for Ryan, Matt supports Louis comment and is brilliant. His voice is spot on but he needs to work on his stage presence. He keeps giving little sideways glances. I think it's meant to be sexy and Bond like. He actually looks like a substitute teacher who's made someone stand in the corner and now isn't sure what they are up to behind them. The judges all love it. 

Honey G. Her routine starts on a tube train. Sadly there aren't engineering works and she makes it to the studio. She's singing 'That's the way it is' mixed with 'Getting Jiggy with it'. I have worked out who she reminds me of in those tracksuits. Roland Rat. Although I would rather listen to 'Rat Rapping' on repeat than listen to her do whatever it is she does. I feel sorry for her dancers. They dreamed of more than this. The judges keep stressing that she rehearses more than any other contestant. That's as may be but she's still shit. 
Now, to get the party started...Emily. Remember her promise? She's going to be fun this week. Fun and upbeat. She's singing the upbeat, fun song 'It Must Have Been Love' in the manner of a creepy baby who's been thrown in a frozen lake. Don't let Emily plan your birthday. This is exactly the same as every week Emily. Exactly. The. Same. Down to the weird staging. I am watching it in the same manner as every week. Which is bored to tears. Sharon says that she is a 'Young, hip Sarah McLaughlin'. Which I don't think anyone was waiting for. The judges love it. In keeping with the death theme of her performance Emily coughs all the way through the comments. No one asks if she's OK. 
I predict Emily and Ryan are the bottom 2 and Ryan goes. 
Once again I was wrong. After being treated to a performance from School of Rock (which I never want to see), there is a performance from Craig David, even though he usually chills on Sundays. Then Ryan and Honey G are in the bottom 2. Ryan tries to save himself by singing wildly out of tune it's magnificently awful. But then Honey G sings 'Get Your Freak On' and pronounces on and Orrrrn. But the judges aren't going to lose the only reason people are watching and so Honey G stays. Bye Ryan

Monday, 7 November 2016

X Factor Live Show - Girlband vs Boyband

I got trolled last week. Properly. By a stranger. Someone actually took time out of their day to send me some abuse on instagram. They had some pretty strong feelings about Halloween. Apparently I don't like Halloween because I look like a witch without make up and besides Halloween is JUST A BIT OF FUN (unlike this blog, which is deadly serious). You know what, maybe she's right. What is more fun than dressing a child up as Satan? 
Anyway, this week there are no amazing costumes (or backcombing, Ryan's hair breathes a sigh of relief) and no scares planned, except for 5 After Midnight. It's Girlband vs Boyband week so let's look forward to people singing pretty much any song they like. Last week Gifty went home so I'd imagine everyone's VTs are going to be people reflecting on how shocked they are and how they've suddenly realised that 'anyone' can go home. It's like we've learnt nothing from Gamu. 

Dermot dances. Let's say no more. 

First up to perform is Matt, who is singing a Wham song. Are there any high notes for him to force in? Matt has been riding high so I reckon this is the week the judges turn on him. He comments in his VT that 'anyone can go', yes Matt in fact all except one will go. This week he also went to Mahiki to be a celebrity. I've been there - doesn't seem so exclusive now does it. Fun fact: Nicole and Matt consider singing a Wham song a 'risk'. Like he's lost his mind and has decided to sing a Lordi song. You know Lordi. A Finnish band who won Eurovision. Saara knows Lordi. That said, this rendition is pretty embarrassing so he may have been on safer ground with Lordi. He keeps whooping. This is meant to indicate he's having a good time. It merely highlights that we are not. Louis didn't like it as much as he liked Matt last week. Everyone else liked it and Simon makes a joke about Louis being gay. It's as hilarious as those jokes always are. 

Now Sam. She's singing a Girls Aloud song. Except - sound the 'singing any song' klaxon, it's actually a Pretenders song that Girls Aloud covered. This week Sam goes to see Rebecca Ferguson sing live. Sam meets her afterwards and says that she was only 12 when Rebecca was on the show. Rebecca doesn't punch her but instead smiles and thanks her for coming. And presumably for leaving. This week Sam isn't dressed as a rock chick courtesy of Top Shop, instead she's dressed as an alien who has come to earth and has to dress as a girl in order to infiltrate our society. This has been choreographed to have her throw her arms up in frustration a lot. It's like she's doing semaphore. I'm not really enjoying this. It's fine but she seems a bit off. She has the choir this week, they have clearly been told to wear something white. Some of them have had to borrow clothes. Ahhh she cries at the end. Don't cry Sam. Nicole thinks she sang the wrong song. Simon doesn't think she sung the wrong song. This is as interesting as it gets. 

Oh bum. Honey G. In her VT Honey G addresses her haters. She's going to be singing Kris Kros 'Jump'. She saw them in concert and they inspired her to be a rapper. She then gives an inspirational talk to some kids. They are five. She struts on to stage and sings 'Jump'. Her dance break is less body pump class and more like a dance game on the wii. Imagine a teacher deciding at the end of term that they are going to do a rap in assembly. This is as good and as embarrassing. Now instead of going back to the staff room and having people not look you in the eye and saying 'that was really good Neil', she stands in front of the judges . They say nice things but I am distracted by the insane close up of her face we are treated to. This is so we can see the judges in her glasses. Clever? Yes. Necessary? No. 

Ryan is singing the Beatles. As they are technically a boyband. By this logic so are Guns and Roses, The Doors, Simon and Garfunkel, The Glen Miller Band. In his VT Ryan is in self pitying mode and reading horrible comments about himself on twitter. He also mentions that certain people in the house think that he should have gone rather than Gifty. He mentions no names. My money's on Emily. Nicole tells him that in his performance this week he should 'let everything go'. Do not take this advice Ryan. He decides to 'take everything inside himself and leave it on the stage'. Deciding to do that means I am no longer welcome at the National. He's singing Twist and Shout. I quite like it. it's definitely his best week. Sharon however wants him to give more. What do they want from the poor boy? 

Four of Diamonds now. They re-live the sing off. As well you should - think about what you've done. They too read horrid tweets about themselves. Onward girls. Never look back. They talk about how much they love each other. Jolly good. They are singing 'Hold on' by Wilson Phillips. One of them can't sit down in her skirt and has to prop herself up against her stool rather than sit on it. I quite like this. A bit 1990's compilation reggae album but pleasant. The stylist is beginning to forgive them. Except the one in the jeans. 

Saara is up after the break. They'll probably make her sing B*witched and Irish dance whilst dressed as a leprechaun. 

Apparently Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Bayliss and Harding. This is true. Everyone should get one gift that is clearly in the 3 for 2 at Boots and says 'I didn't know what to get you but really wanted to do the offer'. 
Saara is singing 'Sound of the Underground'. Cue Louis making a comment about how much he hates Girls Aloud. In her VT Saara mentions several times how happy she is to have the support of the British people. Steady on there. I don't think we ever said that. She comes on stage dressed as a Geisha. Why? We don't know. For similar reasons she is straddling a canon. I think this is called being odd for odds sake. The song itself is dull. Which isn't surprising given the visuals it's competing against. Judges like her but not the staging. Simon announces that he loves nuts. Huge laugh. 

Now Emily. Time for a nap. She's singing 'One Direction'. And guess what? She's singing it slowly. And she's bare foot. Oh she's so kooky and alternative. It's dull. The judges love it. Louis thinks she's the future. For all we know he really thinks this. 

Now Five After Midnight. Ugh. They are however singing the best Spice Girls song (Say you'll be there) so there is hope. Please don't ruin it. In their VT they are upset about Gifty. I think we've discovered who Ryan was talking about. 
Oh they've ruined the song. Their outfits are horrifying. Just insane. Is this fashion? If it is then I'm well out of it. The judges give them a standing ovation. It probably is their best week, I'm just starting them from a very low standard. 

Predictions: Ryan, Four of Diamonds and Sam will be the bottom 3. Sam will get the lifeline and Four of Diamonds will go. Ryan will spin in to an existential crisis. 

BUT NO. Ryan is through. Bottom 3 are Sam, Saara and Four of Diamonds. Sam gets the lifeline. Four of Diamonds sing 'When you Believe' which isn't bad when it gets going. Saara sings a Jessie J song in the manner of a Fairy Godmother giving advice in a Disney film. 

Louis is the only one who saves Four of Diamonds. See you girls. 

My advice, not that they want it, stick to what you were doing at judges houses. And always be nice to stylists. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

X Factor Live Show - Fright Night

It's Fright Night. Completely randomly selected to coincide with Halloween. Completely random. OK? I hate Halloween. Don't understand it. But each to their own, if you enjoy celebrating the occult and teaching your children to beg whilst dressed as demons then you go ahead. Just don't expect me to stop thinking of your children as demons come November 1st. But anyway. We're going to celebrate the tortured souls and the undead through the beauty of music. I'd imagine all the girls will have 'sexy' costumes. Except Honey G. She'll be in a tracksuit. 
Dermot dances to 'Bat Out of Hell' surrounded by sexy zombies. All light hearted, family fun. Simon is wearing fangs. Nicole hasn't brushed her hair. Sharon is wearing her usual clothes and Louis isn't too sure where he is. You can vote before any one has performed. Is this right? They are also pretending that the show is haunted by the ghosts of Bravissimo. A ha ha ha. 
Gifty is first. Her friends come to visit her and they have a staged conversation. Apparently being in the X Factor house is 'different to what she is used to'. What insight. I had assumed she normally lived in a house with a shit rapper and was wheeled out to perform for votes once a week. Wearing a horrible suit she's singing a song called 'I'm in Love with a Monster'. This is by Fifth Harmony who has some how got a deal with UK X Factor whereby their entire album must be performed every week. It's fine. Gifty is good. Louis' dancing is a highlight. The judges like it. Louis makes the mind bending statement of ' every week you bring something different and this week the same'. 
Matt is next and he feels very lucky to be here so to give something back he goes to greet his fans. Well he wanders up and down the people queuing to get in and makes them pretend to be pleased to see him. He also went to the London Dungeon. He doesn't scare easily... I think we can guess what happens next. He sings 'I Put a Spell On You' and wears eyeliner. I think the backing dancers have zimmer frames. Are we scared of the elderly on Halloween? I would argue it's normally the elderly who sit terrified whilst enormous teenagers bang on their doors dressed in masks. Anyway. Elder terror is now a thing. The next song will be performed from walk in bath. It's a good performance. Simon can't talk with those teeth in. 
Oh grief. It's 5 After Midnight. This is scary. They're going to murder a song. They watch last weeks performance and realise how awful it was. Unfortunately they don't give up and instead go for the sympathy vote and tell us that one of them is about to become a father so needs to stay in a singing contest in order to support his new family. They are singing 'Thriller' but they are going to put their own twist on it. The performance starts with a sketch where they drink poison and come back as zombies. I think the poison has affected their voices as this is dreadful. Not sure what the dancing is. Maybe they have dead legs. Ho ho. Three judges give standing ovations - what? 
Oh goodness. It's Honey G. This week she has mainly been living as the UK's top rapper. she's also been 'learning her ad libs'. She's singing 'Men In Black' and starting it from the car park. Sadly the doors are open and in she comes. She can't even walk in time. She does a quick body pump class in the middle of her performance which is praised as a 'dance break'. Stop now. 

Nicole tries to introduce an act and Rylan pops up to scare her. She recovers and introduces Ryan. He relives how dreadful he was last week and says he's determined to bring back the fun this week. He's singing 'BackStreet's Back'. I once saw a seventy five year old man do this at karaoke so he's got a lot to live up to. HIS HAIR. HIS HAIR. He's also decided to sing it like he's trying not to wake up his parents but mainly HIS HAIR. 
Apparently this is his best performance to date. Sadly that's probably true. 
Next up is Sam. Who will no doubt sing something 'rock'. Oh yes 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'. Is this a creepy song? It's an impressive set. A bit forced and ultimately forgettable. Louis thought it was 'modern'. Which sadly he probably thinks it is. Judges love it. 
After the break Saara. Who'll be made to leap about like a half wit for our entertainment as that is the only way we can tolerate foreigners. Saara uses her VT to tell us that she loves the British people. Yeah, yeah. Dance for us Finnish girl. She's singing the well known Halloween song 'Bad Romance'. She's singing it inside a church. A church on Halloween. Did no one question that? It's awful. Now she is an official comedy act she shrieks about and plays a fake organ. The judges love it. 
Now Four of Diamonds. Presumably gyrating in a synagogue. They are sad about last week so Louis gives them a spa day. Which is 'exactly what they need'. Or practice. They're singing 'Ghost' by Ella Henderson. This is terrible. Judges say they like it, why kick them when they're down? 
It's Emily after the break so I'm guessing she'll be terrified in a John Lewis fashion. Perhaps she'll come on stage and announce she's sold out of bread makers or say there's a UK hummus shortage. Or she'll sing a song in a plinky plonky nothingy way. Her VT involves her watching her performance last week which was her best yet. Hmmm. Bit odd. They then try and show that she is 'fun'. A bit like telling people you 'have a great sense of humour'. If you have to tell people, you're probably don't. Emily is about as fun as a brick. She's singing 'Creep' in a John Lewis style whilst dressed as a doll. I'm scared of dolls and don't like Radiohead or people singing songs in a weird way and thinking they're being different. So this probably isn't the performance for me. "What the hell am I doing here?". You tell me. 
The judges love it. 
My predictions. Bottom 3 - Ryan, Four of Diamonds and Saara. Saara will get the lifeline and Four of Diamonds will go. 
Oh I couldn't have been more wrong. Bottom 3 was Ryan, Four of Diamonds and GIFTY and the lifeline went to Ryan. How? This is what happens when children have mobile phones. 
The sing off. Gifty is brilliant. Four of Diamonds, not so much. Simon (after forgetting how this works) saves Gifty, Louis saves Four of Diamonds, Nicole saves Four of Diamonds (??) and so does Sharon. Bloody hell. Ridiculous. Gifty looks pissed off and rightly so. I love you Gifty. 
Gifty will later get in to trouble for looking annoyed that she had to go after a sing off with a mediocre girl band (who still haven't reconciled with the stylist) and before a novelty rap act. Be pissed off Gifty. Do it. 

Monday, 24 October 2016

X Factor Live Shows Week 3 - Diva Week

Only ten contestants left and this week they are tackling 'Divas'. To this end Dermot dances to a Whitney Houston song. His choreography is better than Honey G's. The judges come out and Louis does a dancing X Factor sign. This is the happiest he's ever been. He's also clearly been practising. They introduce all the judges with Nicole last because, what fresh hell is this, she grabs the mic and begins to sing 'I'm Every Woman'. This only makes me fear for 'Louis Loves' week. I'm hoping for Johnny, Wagner and Two Shoes to make an appearance singing Black Lace's greatest hit (s). I may have put the brackets in the wrong place there. To her credit, Nicole can sing. It all just seems a little bit unnecessary. 
First up it's the boys. Cue the sad music, it's Ryan. Ryan is reliving last week when he was in the bottom three. As is traditional in these situations he wants to get back in touch with himself and show us the real him. Because that's why we're not voting for him, because we don't know him. He also meets John Legend who I assume is either performing tomorrow or who has been kidnapped. Ryan sings 'Rolling in the Deep'. I'm not sure that attempting an Adele song is his best idea, he's only going to suffer by comparison. He's not bad but well, it's not Adele. I enjoy his fake band though. The judges don't look thrilled. Louis doesn't like it. Sharon didn't like him but consoles him with the fact that he's only 17. He's 20 so that's that shot to shit. Simon blames Nicole's singing for Ryan's poor performance. Nicole manages to retaliate in such a way that she bigs herself and Ryan up. Impressive. 
They then show clips of the judges being divas and invite us to vote, via the app, for the biggest diva. I'm alright thanks. 
Now Gifty, who is occassionally Gifty Louise. She's singing 'Lay Me Down' by Sam Smith in memory of her mother who died when she was young. It's no secret that I am a fan of Gifty (Louise) but this is very, very good. Very emotional and beautifully staged. I really hope they don't have a choir suddenly appear. They didn't. Good. Louis liked it but doesn't like her hair. Sharon liked it and her hair. 
Oh grief. Five after Midnight. But first they are going to announce who the biggest diva is. Louis is beside himself. This is exactly the kind of holiday camp entertainment he likes. Nicole wins. So that's that over. 
Now to ruin the mood some weird singing and dancing that the judges inexplicably love. They're going to do their own choreography this week and have a row about it in rehearsals. They then explain that they had a storming row because they love each other so much. OK. Someone pointed out that one of 'Five After Midnight' looks like Jake from Outnumbered. Once you see it you can't go back. They sing 'Valerie'. They were clearly too busy arguing /loving each other to practice much. I fast forward. Nicole claims they are relevant. To whom? Simon says it's terrible. Yes, Simon. YES. Sharon says that they make people happy. So does farting but we don't do that on national tv and there's a chance that it could sound better than whatever that was. 5am are thrilled that they got awful feedback so they can learn from it. This is the child on sports day who is happy they lost because they didn't want to win. 
Simon gets told off by Dermot for talking to Louis when he should be introducing his next act. Welcome back Dermot. Olly Murs never did that. 
Sam is up next and starts by making us feel ancient by recalling her X Factor memories. She was six when Leona won. Six. She meets John Legend. There's a man in John Legends room who has been bad and must face the wall (it took me three more contestants to realise that this was the piano player). Sam is of course singing something in a rock style. This time it's 'Earth Song'. Was Michael Jackson a diva? Or simply odd. I think if I lived in a fun fair and wore a surgical mask people wouldn't be saying 'Oh she's such a diva', I think they'd be saying 'stay away children, she's had a hard life'. The song is fine. Could benefit from Jarvis Cocker getting his arse out. A memory Sam won't have, because she wasn't born. She is condemned to sing Rock for ever more. Well until they tell her she only sings Rock and needs to mix it up a bit. 
Now I apologise for this next bit. Nicole didn't like it. So Simon accuses her of being jealous. This is the most infuriating argument men use against women. It is possible to dislike someone or something without being jealous. And the more you have to defend yourself the more jealous you look. So instead let's be rational about this. Do we really think that a platinum selling, broadway artist who has regularly been voted one of the most beautiful women in the world is jealous of a seventeen year old who's been made to sing Earth Song in a Rock style. No. 

Now Matt. Any bets on when the high note is going to be hit? To prepare himself for this week he has a fake conversation with his friends. He's singing 'I'll be there' and he's got Gifty's choir. I think the high note is coming... he's off his stool. There it is. I think he may trap a bollock near the end as there is a yelp that doesn't seem planned. He also looks near tears at the end so either he mucked up or he's in pain. Simon says he has balls. This is true although they may not be plural anymore. 
Oh no. Honey G. Brian tells her that 'the challenge each week is topping yourself.' Harsh. She meets John Legend. He's thrilled. 
 She's going to a dance break in this song. This is generous. She stops her appalling rendition of 'Ice Ice Baby' (was Vanilla Ice a diva?) then stands and looks awkward whilst some dancers, who will not be putting this on their cv, mill around her. Piss off Dear. There's a good girl. Louis loved it. 
Now Relley. She visits Brian Freidman who is dressed as a cow. She also meets John Legend who has met Honey G and doesn't want to play anymore. Her voice cracks whilst she's singing to him as she has a cold. Bless her. It must be annoying when you know that this is your best week and your voice isn't going to hold up. She has a lovely voice. It's not her fault I hate this song. Louis says Birmingham in a very weird way. Sharon thought it was 'clean and predictable'. Yes, she should have dressed up as a fake rapper and done some awkward dancing. 

Now Emily. She's going to John Lewis something to death. The VT is about Ryan and Emily's love. I don't care so I fast forward. She's singing 'How Will I know' and yep, singing it slowly. Unusual staging. She's singing it on a toilet. Now she's finished and is going for a walk. This is dull. And has nothing to do with being a diva. More about being a wimp who wants to flog you a fridge freezer in time for Christmas. Louis liked it. He said it sounds like a John Lewis advert. We've all moved on Louis. Nicole wanted the song to go somewhere. Home? 

Now Four of Diamonds. I hope they've made up with the stylist. They're doing a mash up. Sort. They sing Lady Marmalade (awkward) and then stop and sing 'Bang Bang'. Singing two songs separately is not a mash up. All sounds a bit thin. Simon wants them to be more British so I reckon next week they'll be dressed as pearly queens singing a Chas and Dave/ Oasis 'mash up'. 
Now Saara. Who will be going this week. Saara thinks we're not voting for her because she's not British. I'd say that's rubbish but, you know, Brexit. She sings a Bjork song whilst dressed as a loon. If in doubt, be the joke act. It's painfully awful. I suppose if you're going to go you may as well poo on the floor on the way out. Nicole thought she was dancing with sanitary towels. Simon thought it was incredible. She's going to be made to sing Europop whilst dressed as a banana every week now. She'll still go though, because, you know... Brexit. 

Results update: Saara didn't go. As long as she's insane and makes a tit of herself, she can stay. Relley went. Unfairly. Especially as Four of Diamonds made up their 'save' song as they went along.

Friday, 21 October 2016

X Factor Live Shows Week 2 - MOTOWN!

So last week the randomly selected theme for this Saturday, chosen via the jukebox, was Motown. As such the show opens with a performance from the cast of Motown the Musical. How truly lucky that they were able to book the cast of a west end musical on such short notice given that they only knew the theme six days ago. They aren't picking the themes randomly you say? I couldn't possibly comment. 
Louis dances throughout. It's alarming. 
Brooks Way have been forced to leave the competition due to issues raised about their conduct. Or in my mind they had an urgent decorating job they had to get to. To replace them 'Four of Diamonds' have returned. It looks like one of them has immediately pissed off the stylist. Wet look crop top worn over a halter neck and green silk jogging bottoms. Apologise now. They have a power you can not fathom. 

The boys are up first and Freddie is singing. Freddie was in the bottom three last week. He is being a good sport about it all and promised that he's 'going to bring it'. Gold? Frankincense? Myrrh? No, a karaoke version of 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'. His Mum and brother have come to visit. And perhaps take a few bits home with them. His version is fine. He's not behind a piano and it's a bit bland. I had to look away when he tried to do some hip hop dancing. I was mainly distracted by his backing dancers who were dressed as tarty office workers. Freddie was allowed to wear his clothes done up, but for some reason wore a Scouts woggle. Louis liked it but didn't love it (always remember that Louis loved Wagner). Sharon liked his hair (don't knock it, Smash Hits Poll used to give awards for that), Simon said it was a million times better than last week (means nothing, we're not judging it against last week) and Nicole said something about balls (who knows). 

Now the Girls. Simon announces that he excited about this. It's Emily, who thoughtfully takes time to explain in her VT that living in the X Factor House is different to living at home. Thank you for your insight Emily. This week she wants to show her individuality and 'Emilyisms'. Out she comes wearing a circuit board. She has gone the John Lewis route of making something your own - singing it really flipping slowly. She's singing 'Stop in the Name of Love' a song I never realised had so few words until it was slowed down to a funeral march. It's fine. Simon claps throughout the comments like a demented seal. Interestingly if you google 'Simon Seal' you get this:

Emily keeps walking off the stage too early. Leaving Dermot to hoik her back and make her do 'vote for me' telephone hands. 
Adverts. Why do perfume ads have to be so wanky. Surely they just need to say 'Do you like flowers? It smells like that.' 

Now Matt. a performance where we are just going to wait for him to hit a very high note. His Nan cries on the phone to Matt then comes down to the studio to throw herself on Simon. I like her. Matt is singing 'Heard it through the Grapevine'. I become obsessed by a backing singer who looks like an estate agent from a nineties sitcom. It's actually quite good. Oh and there's the high note. The judges all love it. And quite right too. This is Nicole's response. 

We move on. Sharon announces Saara. Who was in the sing off last week. And I predict, before she sings, will go this week. It's not actually Saara singing, it's Relley. Simon told Sharon it was Saara for a joke. A HAHAHAHAHAHA. Relley's Dad has come to offer support. They appear to be the same age. She's singing 'Ain't No Sunshine'. I think her jumpsuit may be giving her gip, she's walking very strangely. She is good. She joins the long line of people in X Factor who are very good but aren't going to win. Maria, Mary Byrne, Cassi Compton, Brenda Edwards. 
The camera man is on drugs tonight. Keeps zooming in on people's bottoms. 
The judges like it. 

Next is Sam. Presumably wearing (at Simon's insistence) a bin bag smeared in poo. She's having a makeover this week. Which is kind of over selling a bit of a hair trim. There is NO difference. She's singing 'Hello' by Lionel Richie. She's also wearing her coat. It's being sung slowly in the manner of a serial killer. Weird shadow puppets accompany her. I predict at least one judge will call it 'haunting'. It's fine. I'd rather listen to that than Freddie. There's a compliment there if you look. Simon has discovered her 'rock voice'. This is bad news. From now on she'll have to sing everything in a 'rocky' way. Never have a distinctive style. You'll be made to sing the Crash Test Dummies for 6 weeks then get kicked out for not being versatile. 
Now the problem with typing this up a few days after it's been on is that you have to rely on scribbled notes. I have no idea what this next comment refers to or why I wrote it or even if (given my handwriting) this is what I meant, so I am simply going to transcribe this comment and leave it here. 'Simon praises her Asian experience'. 
Now it's 5 after Midnight. A group who's appeal I simply do not understand. They have the hair of MN8 and the voices of Peter Andre and the dancing is bizarre. They're singing 'Get Ready' which segues in to 'Reach Out'. Both are awful. Why ruin one song when you can bring down two? They get a standing ovation. According to Sharon Daddy Motown would be proud. 'Who's Daddy Motown?' asks my friend. 'Berry Gordy' I reply. 'Like Strawberry?" she asks.  That is all I have to say about 5 After Midnight. A name I still hate. 

Now Ryan. He hopes he can do the song justice. Given he's singing 'Superstition' let's just say 'no, you can't'. He keeps touching his willy. Constantly. He just keeps checking it's there. Leave it alone. The backing dancers have also been made to constantly touch him like he's hot stuff. They've been paid Ryan. Don't get excited. And leave your bits alone or we'll put you in a cone. He's trying to be Olly Murs. He's failing. He claps the audience at the end. Presumably for sitting through it. 
Simon didn't think it worked. Simon is right. 
Now Honey G. Her Mum, Mummy G, comes to visit. This has to be a piss take. She's rapping/singing/performance arting - Mo Money, Mo Problems which qualifies as 'Coming Out' is sampled. It's as dreadful as you can imagine. There are two random men sat on a motorbike on stage (warning Sam, this is your 'rock' future). Honey G's hair annoys me. Always a perfectly blow dried feather cut. Louis calls her 'David Cameron in a wig'. Now I don't like her but that seems very cruel. 

Now Gifty. I like Gifty. She's singing 'Rocking Robin'. She starts slow, I bet she's going to lose her shit in a minute. Oh here it is. She's very good. A proper performer. The judges agree with me and no one compares her to an old Etonian in a wig. 
Now it is Saara, not Relley but Saara, oh Simon too funny. I assume she'll be on a chariot and dressed as Boudecia. Oh no she's dressed as Pocahontas. She's singing 'River Deep, Mountain High'. This is horrible. Do you remember in the 80s they used to give random celebrities their own variety shows and they'd sing a jaunty number. This is like that. Anita Harris and Orville are going to be next singing Downtown or something. I know she's Finnish and so of course she has an accent, but she over pronounces every word, like she's pissed and pretending not to be. Louis thinks the problem is is that people don't like her. Goodness. 
Least slag her off behind her back on a blog, not to her face. 
Now it's Four of Diamonds. Interestingly, if you google image them you have to go through a lot of pictures before you get one that isn't of playing cards. They only knew they were back in the competition on Monday so we'll give them some benefit of the doubt. Especially as they would have to had to spend a lot of the week filming idents and pouting in to a fan. They're singing a straightforward rendition of 'Keep Me Hanging On'. They are literally just singing it. Hmmm. Louis apparently hates Girl Bands. This may be true. Louis says that Four of Diamonds are different because 'they are nice'. Louis you are on fire tonight. 

So that's that. I predict Saara, Freddie and Ryan for bottom 3. Saara to go. 

Monday, 10 October 2016

X Factor Live Shows Week 1

Yes, it's that time of year again. The nights are drawing in, you can finally wear a onesie and you can read a blog that isn't updated regularly enough. 
I had spent the weekend in Oxford with my friends celebrating 25 years of friendship. It was lovely but a lot of alcohol was taken. Saturday's X Factor was therefore watched with my friend Julie on Sunday afternoon when we were in recovery. Hangovers may have influenced some of our opinions. 
So with the return of Dermot comes the return of Dermot's dance. I think I am meant to like this more than I do. That said it's Dermot. Let the boy dance. 
Nicole seems to be dressed as Wonder Woman but other than the outfits are disappointingly tame. I miss the days of Rita Ora wearing an oversize suit with one boob cut out. Made me feel alive. The theme tonight is 'Express Yourself' which means (as usual) the contestants sing whatever they want. Sharon seems proud that the finalists are from all over the UK. The rest of us know that this means that they'll be an appalling group from Scotland who stay in to the final due to the whole nation voting for them just because they're Scottish. 
Oh and Brooks Way aren't appearing tonight because of circumstances. 
First up is '5 After Midnight' 
They instantly annoy me because there's only three of them. Their VT reveals that dancing makes them happy. Good. 
They start from the back of the studio where they are pretending to DJ. They also start in a key not normal heard in everyday life, but they are so free spirited and carried away on their love of dance that things like tunes, hitting notes and having a stupid band name don't matter. They do a lot of creepy smiling at each other. This is meant to convey friendship. It does in a Disney children's programme, we're paid to like each other type way. I also couldn't care less if they're friends. Just sing in tune. There's a dance break. They love it. I don't. Julie's prediction 'Someone will say "What a way to start the show"' 
She's not wrong. For some reason the judges love it. Perhaps they were listening to something else. Simon says it sounds 'like a record'. Perhaps he was listening to that whilst we sat through a deeply mediocre version of 'Can't Stop the Feeling'.
Next is Sam Lavery.
Sam is the one that Simon made remove all her make up. This is because Simon said it didn't express who she really was. That's right. A decision she made about how she wants to look was considered unauthentic. Luckily Simon was there to tell her how she really wanted to look. She looks 'real' now that Simon has told her how she really feels. She's singing 'Impossible'. It's fine. The good news is that she's sixteen so it's a good opportunity for Louis to get obsessed by her age and keep telling us all how old she is. Nicole comments that she is like Evanescence What a compliment. I personally would rather be compared to 'Len' or 'Hepburn'. Those classic bands. 
Saara A is next. Why she has to be A I don't know. There are no other Saara's in the competition. Sharon clearly doesn't know who she is and also thinks that she's from Norway when she is in fact from Finland. Saara's dream is to be a Disney Princess. Grow Up. She's singing 'Let it Go' but in a Gothic manner. It's very, very Eurovision. This is not a compliment. She's trying to be edgy and sexy whilst singing a song from a Disney film. Visually she reminds me of someone from Emmerdale. No one specific just someone with the general look of an Emmerdale actress. But dressed as an evil panto Queen. Again all the judges like it. 

Ryan Lawrie is next. He's Scottish and a wildcard. He's singing 'Perfect' by One Direction. He is also putting far too much emotion in to it. Ryan love, you're singing a throw away pop song, not 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables'. I was distracted during this as I thought there was a man in the background doing weird hand gestures. He was actually playing the guitar but I had failed to see the instrument. I think Ryan mucks up the end of the song but no one else seems to notice. Given that I can't see musical instruments I am not going to argue my case on this one. My cat licked his bum throughout this song. I am not that flexible but this also reflects my feelings. 
Gifty Louise is up next. For her VT she is made to dress up in a coat made of dead mammoth and look pleased. I have absolutely no idea what she is singing but she looks like a pop star. She could be the Sunday night guest star, they also sing songs I have never heard of but do it well. I thought she was singing 'That's my Goal'. Which I assumed was based on the Shane Ward classic. Turns out it's 'That's my Girl'. By someone. 

I just laughed at a Talk Talk advert. I am hungover. 

Relley C appears next which makes Sharon do a Birmingham accent. She's singing 'Shackles' as apparently a twenty year old middle of the road pop hit is how she 'Expresses herself'. She raps in the middle of it whilst her backing dancers bend on one knee. This is street. I am hip to the trends of today. I thought it looked like a supply teacher proving she was hip at the end of term show. I am guessing the standing ovation she got means I am wrong.

Matt Terry appears. Full disclosure I thought Ryan Lawrie was him. He's singing 'You Don't Own Me'. A song I have only heard through talent shows. I still feel it sounds like a mid musical number which gives people an opportunity to nip to the bogs. He really, really looks like Louis Tomlinson. His thing is hitting the high notes. All songs will be structured around this ability and the group song will have a middle eight where he will come to the front and hit a very high note. Trust me. It's the future. 'Old Man River' will be interesting. 

Now Freddy Parker. He doesn't suit his hair colour. He also likes dogs. 
The song that was originally chosen doesn't adequately 'Express himself' so Nicole is going to choose one that expresses him better. She's changed it to 'Killing me Softly'. Which apparently is more him. It is fantastically boring, even though they're choreographed him getting up from the piano for the woahs. On the plus side I sorted out my bin during this. Simon knows it was shit. His face can not lie. So far I'm predicting him and Finland are in trouble. 
Bradley and Octavio appear except now they are called 'Bratavio' or Bravissimo as Julie insists they are called. I prefer to call them BO. I loathe them. Of course Louis loves them. Simon predicts 'It's going to be awful'. Simon is right. They are singing 'Boom Boom Boom, I want you in my room' which then segues in to 'Barbie Girl'. This could well 'Express themselves'. They sing everything together slightly out of tune whilst zebras move around in the background. 
Dog Shit try hards. 
Emily has to follow that. I feel I could follow that, don't think you'll get an easy ride Emily. She has just turned 18 and in an ironic turn of events she is singing 'Never getting older'. I believe this song only has one note. She is also performing in some kind of polythene tube that slowly fills with gas. This is not her style. She knows it, we know it yet we all sit there politely watching it. Simon liked it or so he says. 
Oh grief it's Honey G. Imagine living with her. Imagine it. I have new found respect for Bravissimo. I am not good with embarrassment. I just want her to stand a bit closer to the flames whilst she wears her nylon tracksuit. She's singing her own version of 'California' she's reached the Chico stage of the competition very quickly. I am not sure they are professional dancers on stage with her. Louis tells her that 'we need someone like you in X Factor'. Why's that Louis? Please explain your work. He also predicts that 'Tupac will be happy'. 'He's dead' Sharon tells him 'And he'll be turning in his grave' Nicole adds. Simon liked it. Simon I expected more from you. He also says that 'Only Sharon Osbourne could do this'. Anyone who wants to watch the world burn could do this. My only hope is that at some point she sings 'Honey to the Bee' by Billie Piper but changes it to 'Honey to the G'. 
My predictions: Finland and Freddie are the bottom two and Bravissimo are in the final 3 to make us think there's a hope they will go.

X Factor Results Show Week 1

Sunday night is results night. James Arthur will be performing  - a mere month ago this would have sounded like a sarcastic comment but he's now number 1. The judges come out and I admire how Nicole and Sharon like each other. Then I get angry with myself - I shouldn't have an opinion on this. They are women at work, it doesn't matter if they like each other or not. 
GROUP SONG. Singing Sax. A song that annoys me as it's about the love of Saxophone but the brass bit is played on trumpets. I think they turn Honey G's mic off for the singing. Finland is once again dressed as a panto villain. Clearly her look now. Matt takes the opportunity to do some squats and 5 am improvise their choreography. It's not where their giftings lie. 
There's a recap. I only watched the show an hour ago so I read the paper. 
James Arthur seems like a nice chap. He has very good skin. He also raises awareness for World Mental Health Day . Well done James. 
I'd forgotten how little content there is in the results show. 
In no particular order: Relley C, 5 after Midnight. Matt, Sam, Ryan, Emily, Honey G and Gifty are safe. 
My predictions are spot on so far. This would seem more impressive if I hadn't posted these at the same time after the results. Viewers now have to give a lifeline to the third act to save them. Results revealed after the break. Be still my beating heart. 
Lifeline goes to Freddie. This heralds the end of my boasting about my predictions. Please can Bravissimo go? 
Saara sings first. Dressed as a warrior on holiday she sings 'Alive' by Sia. It's very operatic. she can sing though. Bravissimo can't. Not that this means they are going. 
Louis promises that Bravissimo will sing their hearts out. Sharon: "Really?" 
I love Sharon sometimes. 
The blonde one of Bravissimo is in a mood. He clearly can't believe he's in this position. We haven't recognised his talent. They sing 'The Only Way is Up'. Blonde is clearly weighed down by his trainers. He has to do a weird crouchy walk. And when he sings 'Up' he can only get one leg an inch off the ground. When they are finished Dermot laughs. He tries to cover it and fails. 
Louis saves Bravissimo. This is because he's their mentor. This is also because he thought it was good. 
Sharon saves Finland. Despite thinking she's from Norway. 
Nicole saves Finland. 
Simon is going to send it to deadlock isn't he? 
But no he sees sense, says 'Nice try guys' and sends them home. 
Thank heavens for that. Quiff takes it well, they wisely don't let Blonde talk. He's livid. They'll be on Celebrity Big Brother in a year. Blonde finally speaks, he's happy people understood his vision. I'm not sure you're as complicated as you think love. 
Now to chose a theme for next week. They spin a wheel and it's 'Louis loves'. Wouldn't it be an amazing coincidence if 'Fright Night' was the same week as Hallo'ween. 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Berlin and Pedro

I went to Berlin last week. My word it's a lovely city. We got a deal in the BA sale. I suggest that you do to. It was excellent. 
My other suggestion would be that you get a better map than we did. We got one that wasn't to scale. It also hadn't put things exactly where they were, just where they looked prettier on the map. So when we decided to go to the Jewish Museum we looked at the map and saw that we could go by two routes. Both around the same distance. This was a lie. It took us about an hour and a half to walk to the museum. It took us fifteen minutes to walk home. On the plus side we did 35,000 steps that day. 
On the down side we decided to do a walking tour the next day. It was very interesting and we learnt and saw a lot. The problem was the 35,000 step count from the previous day meant that standing still was agony. To his credit the tour guide didn't seem phased by the three people doing weird moonwalking and step aerobic routines at the back of his group but it certainly doesn't concentrate the mind. 

It was on our marathon walk to the Jewish museum that a rather odd incident happened. This isn't linked to Berlin and didn't really affect the holiday in anyway, it just, well, it just pissed me off. We were on a main street and a man asked me to take his photo. I took his phone, took a distinctly mediocre photo and handed it back to him. He shook my hand, shook my friends hands. He introduced himself as Pedro from Brazil. We all smiled. Then he asked if he could have a photo with me. Odd but yeah. He gives the phone to my friend and then grabs me. He then removes my bag and hands it to my friend. By this point I am pretty over the experience and just want to go. I sort of thought he was a pick pocket. I have no idea why I didn't just walk off (I am slightly annoyed with myself and then annoyed at myself for being annoyed with myself). Photo over we have another round of hand shaking. Then he kisses me on the cheek, then the other cheek. I back off and just as my mates step forward he goes in for the full pasionate snog and I get a mouthful of Pedro's tongue. 

I wish I'd kneed him in the nuts. Instead I walked off. And this is why I am annoyed. 
1. Why the hell does he think it's OK to ram his tongue in to strangers mouths. 
2. Why did I feel stupid afterwards? 
3. Why did I feel that I should have handled the situation better?
4. Why didn't I walk off when I started to feel uncomfortable? 
5. Why did I worry more about being polite than feeling comfortable? 
6. Why have four of these points been about what I did wrong rather than just the one point of 'Fuck off Pedro you massive twat'? 

Anyway. Go to Berlin. If you meet Pedro offer to take his photo and then walk off with his phone. And for heavens sake delete the photo of me from it. 
I apologise for the random placement of photos. The bear isn't Pedro.