Warning: This review may contain flashing images. Don’t worry, that probably just means that Tulisa’s decided to forego the tit-tape – gravity, do your worst.
Apparently, tonight’s theme is Club Classics. Not that you’d guess, since all anyone can talk about is what a terrible week they’ve all had. Drunken evictions, swollen chords and tabloid exposes. It’s enough to make me thankful for my three-hour daily round-trip commute. At least I’m not stuck in a cold studio with Brian Friedman dressed like a Sith Lord.
In a ‘hilarious’ twist, Dermot does an elaborate dance routine to S-Express. Hope you enjoyed it, it’s the last decent dance music you’re going to hear for the next two hours. Of course, it wasn’t really Dermot doing those moves – they didn’t even try to get a dancer who looked like him. If nothing else, the quick switcheroo at the end serves to remind us that this isn’t going out live. Still, he recovers in time to introduce the judges, who come out in standard formation. Nicole and Tulisa both seem to be struggling with their fancy new shoes, like toddlers trying out Mum’s stilettos for the first time. Dermot asks why Gary’s acts have been dropping like flies, to which Gary responds by saying “It’s a good question.” But not so good that it needs answering, so he doesn’t. Louis complements Dermot on his dancing, probably because his milky eyes couldn’t see that it was a stand-in. “Don’t gang up on Louis just yet,” implores Dermot to a jeering crowd. No, let’s all meet at the stage door at 10.30, with a rounders bat and a coal sack.
Dermot welcomes us back and tells us “It’s hardcore in here.” Guess he’s finally watched the Tulisa video then
It’s time to face the music, so let’s start with Gary who introduces Christopher by saying “This is the week I’ve been dreading.” I’m hardly cock-a-hoop at the prospect either. Christopher clearly misread the memo, and is doing Working Mens’ Club Classics. If Jane McDonald shaved her head, and threw on a shiny unisex suit, it might be something like this. The song is Waiting For A Star To Fall, and to be fair to him, it feels like something from the mid-90s. At least that means he’s getting better, and by the end of the series he might only be a couple of years out of date. He’s managed to keep his nerves in check all week, but blows it by finishing on a big note that has his leg shaking like a shitting dog. Tulisa says she doesn’t get it, but to be honest, she’d look for the instructions on a bag of Wotsits. Louis tries to get excited about ‘club classics’ but it sounds as if his dentures are coming unstuck, and Gary reminds us that Christopher is the people’s choice. “You did not let your people down” he booms, seemingly confusing his pub singer with Moses.
Dermot welcomes us back and tells us “It’s hardcore in here.” Guess he’s finally watched the Tulisa video then. Meanwhile, Brian is helping MK1 take the pop out and put the grit back in, because that’s what Saturday tea-time viewers want. Let’s not forget that this show is for people who can’t handle the edginess of the Million Pound Drop. Fearful that someone might accidentally enjoy one of their performances, MK1 have decided to build most of their performance around Gypsy Woman by Crystal Waters; a song so annoying that it was responsible for an additional protocol in the Geneva Conventions. True story – when I was in sixth form, we used to spend out lunch hour in a pub where the jukebox gave twenty plays for a quid. Once, for a laugh, we programmed Gypsy Woman to play twenty times in a row. We cleared the place in 15 minutes. MK1 seem to have a similar effect on the studio audience, and the addition of Tinie Tempah’s Pass Out doesn’t help matters. Gary’s concerned that they sound like impersonators when they take on Tinie, because Barlow knows his rap. Alternatively, Nicole thinks it was “frickin’ sha-mazin.” I guess she’s desperate for her own hashtag. She also has some weird finger jewellery going on, that looks as if she sneezed into her hand and couldn’t find a tissue.
Poor Jahmene’s had a tough week, since the tabloids ran stories about his violent dad. So we probably shouldn’t make matters worse by pointing out how the X-Factor PR machine tends to work. He seems like a genuinely nice kid who’s had a pretty tough start in life, and here he is pouring his heart and soul out to Nicole, who’s decided that today’s the day for an ostentatious hat. Tonight he’s performing Say A Little Prayer, and it’s OK but the vocal acrobatics sound like a gerbil being dangled over a food processor. The judges weigh in with lots of compliments, as the poor lad just stands there and cries. Nicole is back obsessing about his balls again, probably because we can see them through the unforgiving cut of his teal trousers. She tells him “You are here for a reason; you’re destined for great things,” which is probably a sign that his midi-chlorians were testing off the scale.
Now it’s Jade’s turn to complain about what a shitty week she’s had. Or she would if she had any voice at all. She’s packed off to see an ENT consultant who tells her to rest her vocal chords for 72 hours. Thankfully, Samsung have provided her with a tablet and stylus so she can still communicate. I’m hoping this means she’ll be doing an instrumental selection from Michael Nyman’s score for The Piano, and scribbling some improvised lyrics as she goes. But no, she’s thrown on a pink dress that’s part Beyonce, and part Abigail’s Party kaftan, and she’s talk-singing her way through Ultra Nate’s Free. Louis starts grumbling that she didn’t sing like a superstar, but I’m too distracted by the fact that his black polo-neck and jacket make him look like a floating disembodied head; a camp Irish Jor-El.
It’s the first time that Jame's performance hasn’t sound like a desperate cry for help from the roof of a multi-storey car park
Then it’s time for a quick commercial break, brought to us by the product placement team at EON Productions. Is there a new Bond film out? They’ve certainly kept that quiet. It gets so bad that I half expect the Sensodyne ad to turn into another James Bond plug, where the dentist shags his hygienist and then shoves her in a supplies cupboard with the pink mouthwash and dental dams.
Back to the show and, guess what, James has had a tough week too. The onsite medic is concerned – James is in a bad way. But I’m surprised she noticed, since he always looks like a week-old Jack-O-Lantern. Apparently, he went green and had spasms, which is when one of the team finally realised that he wasn’t right. Like I said, hard to tell. He’s doing a stripped back acoustic version of ‘Sexy, And I Know It’ and it works better than it has any right to. It’s the first time that his performance hasn’t sound like a desperate cry for help from the roof of a multi-storey car park. Gary notes that it’s a silly song, but he managed to give the lyrics real meaning. Next week he’ll be tackling the tricky oeuvre of Bombalurina.
Unlike the rest of the crew, Union J have had a great week beating off girls with a shitty stick in Top Shop. They’re doing When Love Takes Over and it’s not bad at all, so Louis allows himself a cheeky smile at his notepad, where I think he’s drawn a big knob. Tulisa’s obviously read the producers’ notes and makes lots of references to their female fanbase, so we’re in no doubt that they’re all unequivocally heterosexual.
Rylan opens with “Oh my God, last Saturday was unreal.” Like a cheese dream. With his beard shaved off he kind of looks like an orange Grace Jones, so his version of Get On The Floor makes J-Lo seem butch in comparison. Tulisa says “I always want to see it again,” but it’s not clear whether she means the performance or her dinner. Nicole kicks off a bizarre argument with Gary by saying “Two words – Borge, Waah!” No-one has a clue what she’s talking about, but it soon descends into a weird exchange where they take it in turns to add unnecessary hyphens to words that have no need for them.
Closing down the show tonight is Ella’s enormous Dartford Tunnel mouth
Following the death of her Grandma, Lucy got hammered with Rylan, which ended up with them being kicked out of the hotel. Tonight she’s taken Sia’s Titanium and made it a song about a single mother in a kitchen sink estate. They’ll love that in Ibiza. For once, they’re right when they say she ‘made it her own’. She did, but in the same way that a car thief might change the plates and arrange a quick re-spray.
Gary helps Kye prep for tonight’s performance by pointing out that he hit 32 flat notes in last week’s show. Evenings must be a hoot round at Barlow’s gaff. After much mangling of percentages, Kye takes to the stage to give a piano-based rendition of Swedish House Mafia. His keyboard looks like a giant bonfire, so I hope someone did a sweep for sleepy hedgehogs before he started performing. It’s not exactly a club-banger, more like the accompaniment for a round of curly sandwiches in a funeral home. Nicole says “I felt like I was watching Chris Martin up there.” I’m sure she intended that to be a compliment, but as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Dermot says “I’ve never seen a mentor give his own act such a hard time,” but then he wasn’t around when Simon Cowell voted off his own act. The Conway Sisters are still holding a grudge about that.
Once again Louis is doing that thing where he makes a point of naming all the members of his groups, so that’s nice. District 3 are keen to show their fun side, which means that while one’s singing, the other two will be doing Bruce Forsyth impressions and card tricks. Their vocals aren’t up to much, so they fall back on that old JLS staple – the unnecessary back-flip. Tulisa’s feedback is all about how to attract girls, so maybe she’s getting them set up on MySingleFriend after the show. Gary enthuses “It’s modern, it’s current.” This from the man who wrote the Queen’s birthday song.
Closing down the show tonight is Ella’s enormous Dartford Tunnel mouth. Ella can dance which has Brian thuper exthited. There’s a stern warning that “The second she has a bum note, she’ll be eaten alive.” Wow, they’re really taking this Colosseum mentality to extremes this year. I can’t be too critical of her rendition of ‘You Got The Love’ since she’s clearly the winner of this series. I guess that means we can all stop watching now, right?