It doesn’t matter how godless and secular you might think British society has got - Sunday is still a day for ritual and communal worship. Let the nation gather under one slightly stained Ikea blanket - YES, that’s NUTELLA! Stop COMPLAINING! Blot the gravy from your bobbliest pyjama bottoms and begin by slagging off the judges’ outfits. Nicole and Tulisa have stopped dressing like Zoar from He Man, and now look like they’ve had to glue something together from the window display of a craft shop in Stowe on the Wold. Louis has ditched the turtleneck in an attempt to look less like...himself, and Gary appears to have had his razors confiscated, suggesting that looking after the Overs is getting very depressing indeed. The group song is enough to make anyone go fully Sylvia Plath. The most apposite bit of Owl City’s good time is the “we don’t even have to try” refrain - you can hear the ghosts of Steve Brookstein and Joe McElderry blowing on their necks.
But none of them are quite as impressive as Rita Ora, who is paying tribute to the sad ballad of Chantelle Houghton and Alex “Roxanne” Reid, by dressing as the celebrity divorce´ and cage fighter would do if they caught their body stocking on the door and laddered it whilst fleeing the shared flat/sex dungeon. I’m not sure what the enormous puffa jacket is supposed to represent. Perhaps Rita has an appointment to go and sell weed to some public school boys. In 1994. I really don’t get Rita Ora - as far as I can tell, she’s just the same as Rihanna only more readily available for in store promotions at Wilkinson’s. She’s all vowel, no wow-ell. Still, according to my Twitter timeline she is “very good at singing” and has “a lovely bum”.
More astonishing is Gwen Stefani. I know that No Doubt are a band, and I should be focussing on their joint musical venture and not just Gwen’s thighs, but let’s be frank. There will never be another Tragic Kingdom. It’s unlikely there will even be another Rock Steady. They’re no longer a band at the peak of their musical powers - they’re flogging a generic whooshy dub-by noisy tune that will one day be used to sell a car. So let’s talk about the fact that you could hurt yourself on Gwen’s cheekbones. That her skin looks like it was crafted from the priciest petals you could order from Interflora. That she has the power to turn straight chicks gay and gay dudes straight whilst wearing a pleather kilt that may or may not have been purchased from an auction of Mad Max memorabilia. And those thighs. They’re as haunting as a Tennyson elegy, taut as a Joe Orton joke, joyful as an unsupervised kitten on a string of fairylights. I cry for your thighs, Gwen. Nothing is as transient as physical beauty. Which means that some of the contestants will be around for a long time...
I know that No Doubt are a band, and I should be focussing on their joint musical venture and not just Gwen’s thighs, but let’s be frank.
Kye and Rylan are in the bottom two, which gives us 10 minutes to create and enjoy a new portmanteau. Krylan. Which could only really mean weeping and wanking. It’s not the same as the crank - the tears are fuller and more prolonged, and you don’t really get near any kind of logical conclusion. Just a semi and some chafing. Rylan sings Desree’s Kissing You, and it’s not half bad. I swell unwillingly with goosebumps. It’s a bit spooky and suspicious that his mentor Nicole compared that swoopy soulless goth girl one to “something from the “Romeo + Juliet soundtrack” last night - was it a prescient comment, a coincidence or cheating?! I would like to see Rylan singing Des’ree’s other “hit”, Life. Well, just the toast and ghosts part. This is definitely the strongest Rylan moment I have seen so far - he needs to start channelling Bette Midler singing The Rose and stop trying to be Lady Gaga fellating a glitter cannon. The only thing that jars is the lyric change. The original line is “I’m kissing you boy”, unless I am mistaken, Rylan kisses boys - why does he have to sing that he’s kissing a girl?
Someone who mysteriously gets a lot of girls to kiss is Kye, despite looking like the Ghost of Emo Yet To Come Anywhere Other Than His Hand. He sings Jason Mraz’ I Won’t Give Up, which makes me think all sorts of uncomfortable and disturbing things. Thoughts like “you know, I’d rather be in the pub with Ed Sheeran talking about The Problems Of The World than listening to this”, and “perhaps I’ll spend the next five minutes hiding in the bathroom, eating toilet roll” and most shockingly of all “why did I throw away all those Travis albums? In comparison, they were BRILLIANT.” Gary loves it, natch. So does Louis, who announces he’ll keep him in and “do the right thing” - and by that, I assume he means the thing that the producers just whispered into his ear piece. Nicole and Tulisa take it to deadlock, which means it’s down to the public vote. Home time for Kye, who presumably is still in a North London Wetherspoons picking dazedly at a plate of congealed nachos as Gary punches the Curry Club blackboard.
Rylan is safe for another week, but I don’t think he’s got much longer - he certainly won’t be enjoying any Advent calendar chocolates as an X Factor contestant. Unless he records a duet with Ella - I’d like to hear them doing I Know Him So Well. But only if he doesn’t have to pretend that he’s singing about a lady.
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