X Factor 2011, Week 7: Louis Loses His Marbles

The 'best' singer went home, the groups got another reshuffle and Goldie proved to be the classiest contestant of the lot. Some weird shit went down on last night's X Factor.
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Previously on The X Factor: Frankie’s arse tattoo got infected (hopefully). Two Shoes’ extensive vajazzling caused havoc going through airport security (probably). And Robbie Williams did a ‘Sinitta’ and wore some leaves (Twat).

Big decision time! It’s the judges houses round! 75 minutes of tense deliberating, meaningless platitudes and clichéd attempts by the contestants to express just how much a shallow, slightly pointless, 15 minutes of fame really does mean to them. The big question of the night was, of course, who did the judges heartlessly cast on the scrapheap before pushing wheelbarrows full of cash back to their grandiose villas?

32 acts needed whittling down to 16, meaning insurmountable disappointment was just around the corner for a chosen few. For the judges, it was a chance to air that dodgy damp smell from their holiday home. For us, the viewer, it was chance to bitterly reflect on how we too could have owned a glamourous property portfolio, if only we’d pursued a singing career. For the producers, it was a chance to give the wannabe contestants a glimpse into a world they could never hope to achieve. It remains the cruellest gameshow tease since Jim Bowen’s classic ‘here’s what you could have won’ Bullseye moment.

In the grounds of the judges homes the remaining hopefuls waited to hear their fates, blinking in the sunshine like dolled up pit ponies after a day down the mines. The tension was palpable, the air was thick with enough Lynx to asphyxiate a large mammal and the infinity pools were full of Frankie’s nits and enough DNA samples to keep CSI Miami busy for decades.

If you were lucky enough to be doing anything other than bawl your eyes out at a complete stranger's success or failure last night, here’s what you missed.

Gary was first up to dole out some valuable life lessons for John Wilding. You can whiten your teeth, cover your freckles in top grade concealer and wedge your ‘nads into the tightest jeans available, yet it won’t beat an arse tattoo. Yes, John had his hopes of stardom dashed again and was sent home, while Frankie made it through on the basis of being a bit of a cock. Still, at least Gary told John he was the best singer. Bravo Gary. Bravo.

It remains the cruellest gameshow tease since Jim Bowen’s classic ‘here’s what you could have won’ Bullseye moment.

Tulisa decided to play fast and loose with the groups category. In an X Factor first, she made a ‘supergroup’ by yet again combining the best singers from two groups. So, not so much an X Factor first, more a predictable, desperate attempt to prop up the groups category. This meant Charlie (from The Keys) spent all of two seconds deliberating on whether to ditch his mates in the pursuit of fame. I’m guessing The Keys won’t be inviting Charlie to their inaugural performance at their local Con club.

While Charlie was busy deleting four friends from Facebook, Louis played a blinder in Barcelona by putting all the shit over 25’s through. Louis cares not a jot for talent (Jedward taught us this). His preference seems to be any act most likely to piss off the nation and Simon Cowell. If I didn’t know better I’d suspect he’d done a body swap with Sharon Osbourne. It can be the only logical explanation for last night’s choices. The truly shocking outcome from this round was the unsettling realisation that Goldie was the only contestant with any sense. In a twist we’d all read about online weeks ago, it was clumsily announced she’d ditched the show with fears of being a laughing stock. Well done Goldie, in the history of the contest you may be the only contender to realise what a circus the whole thing is.

The last big decision of the night was left to Kelly. Jade or Janet? A tiny warbling Irish pixie or a slightly scary looking Scottish belter. Either choice was going to leave viewers wondering just how much crack Kelly had smoked to arrive at her decision. Both singers seemed worthy contenders, but the diminutive, frail and in no way able to cope with weeks of live shows, Janet was picked in the end.

So, that was the final stop before we slip headlong into a seemingly never ending shitstorm of live shows, voting fixes and Christmas number one campaigns. Gary’s got Marcus, Frankie, Craig and James. Tulisa snapped up 2 Shoes, Nu Vibe, Rhythmix and The Risk. Louis plumped for Kitty, Samantha, Johnny and Jonjo. And Kelly opted for Sophie, Misha, Amelia and Janet. Some controversial choices meant the conspiracy theories began even before the show had ended. Cries of Fix! WTF? and OMG! were pinging across Twitter as a nation of armchair experts decreed the judges decisions utter bollocks. Bollocks or not, I know I'll be tuning in for a weekly fix of dashed hopes, eye watering off key notes and questionable wardrobe choices.

Next time on The X-Factor: Will we be able to stop laughing at the final 16’s makeovers long enough to hear them sing? Will Two Shoes ever be comprehensible without subtitles? And can Dermot summon up enough enthusiasm to carry him (and us) through the long weeks ahead?

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