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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.