Performance Show 2: Divas week
Last week! Pretty much everyone sucked! Kandy Rain went home for being sluts! There was some CONTROVERSY! Tonight on the X Factor… Louis isn’t here but his acts are going to ‘do him proud’. NotLouis is not being Louis tonight though, or rather not being NotLouis. Except he IS NotLouis. *Brain breaks*. Simon says they’ve thrown down the gauntlet. Cheryl cannot wait. Dannii flagellates herself for our benefit. Oh, no, wait, that was last week.
Dermot ‘welcomes’ us to 'our' X Factor weekend. Has there ever been a phrase so dispiriting? The judges enter to ‘One Moment in Time’. This week, Cheryl is wearing a plastic lampshade [or possibly the skin of a Weeble - Steve], Dannii is wearing a reasonably nice gold and black dress ad is working a slightly bizarre hairstyle circa Kylie’s ‘2 Hearts’ period. Simon has his chest hair out again. Put it away, Cowell, or I’ll get Tess Daly onto you. [Or Camilla Dallerup - just see what Kevin Sacre looks like these days... - Steve]
Tonight’s theme is Divas – songs by the biggest female voices (what no Elton)? Dermot says we’re talking Aretha, Beyonce, Tina Turner, Leona (um…) and Whitney who is BACK tomorrow. The audience go nuts at this, like seriously mental, and they keep going nuts even when Dermot tries to talk to Simon.
We are told to welcome ‘the legendary Clive Davis’ who discovered Whitney and others and is sitting in the audience. The audience still go mad despite not actually knowing who he is. [I spat in his general direction - I felt that's what Kelly Clarkson would've wanted me to do. - Steve] Right here folks, right here is the moment you know this week’s double bill is going to be insane. So on with the show…
Opening the show in style, and, apparently ‘Whitney wouldn’t have it any other way’, though I presume she didn’t get to determine the running order is Lucie. This week we get the barrage of sickly I wanted this as a child bits in the VTs. I don’t think I’ll have the stomach to recap all of these, but anyway, Lucie was cute and blonde as a child.
We see Whitney and Clive (who looks like Kojak and Mike Reid’s love child) in a rather fancy room coaching the contestants. At first I think Whitney looks good but then I remember that I thought that about Robbie last week when he was guest mentoring, so I am assuming this is the calm before the crazy. She’s going to be doing ‘How Will I Know?’ which is possibly my favourite Whitney song ever, but NotLouis and Cheryl think she can’t do the high bits or the dancing.
The lighting effects are all ‘80s fluoro splashes and there are some dancers on stage, but compared to NotLouis’ usual standards, it’s rather normal. Her singing is a bit squeaky, and she does indeed struggle with the high notes, but then this is a deceptively hard song. I’m assuming Steve is just glad it isn’t ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody. [Damn straight. - Steve] Still, she’s wearing a nice blue dress.
In the first of many stupid comments tonight, Dannii thinks Whitney would be proud. Simon says she’s never going to be Whitney so it was stupid to try a Whitney song. In pseudo-Whitney week. This really is going to be one of those nights. He then has the audacity to say ‘we are back to the talent now’ when referring to Olly.
His VT has some footage of him being a kid and dancing stupidly – he reminds me of one of those boys you get in every class who think they’re really funny, even though they’re the only ones in on the joke. He tells us that’s where he got his moves… and doesn’t sound like he’s joking. Whitney does some random Tina Turner impression at him in the posh rehearsal room. Whitney as Tina on Stars in Their Eyes, please?
He’s singing ‘A Fool in Love’ which I vaguely knew but had to look up, and I suppose it’s a brave option to do a song not everyone would know. Here endeth the damning with faint praise. This is awful. He has some 60s dancing girls on stage with him. He’s wearing a horrid, horrid silver suit and singing it in a pub-singer-does-rock’n’roll-karaoke style. But that’s nothing compared to the atrocity of his excruciating, bandy-legged, horrible, creepy dancing. I feel soiled just watching it. I don’t know why people are singling out John and Edward for such flak when there’s dross like this still in the final 12 – I’d genuinely say this was more excruciating than anything they’ve done so far.
The audience go wild – I swear someone has spiked them tonight. Dannii is pretty inaudible but I think she liked it. Cheryl says he absolutely smashed it. Note that smashed it. I assume by it, she means my sanity. Simon says it was really really really good and in a different league (to?) – yes, the Vauxhall Conference League. Ithangyoo.
Dermot asks him about his dance step. Don’t encourage him, Dermot. Olly says, ‘I feel it when I move’. He also has an annoying squeaky speaking voice as if there wasn’t reason enough to feel disgusted with the nature of the human race right now.
We are then reminded that there are ONLY TWO GROUPS LEFT, although with it being the second week, there would always be one category there were ONLY TWO LEFT of, so it’s no biggie.
Miss Frank are next, and they are so clearly Louis’ anointed this year, as they have the matching Tshirts. At least he waited until one of his groups got eliminated this week rather than making it blatantly obvious who his favourites were like he did with JLS and their coloured hoodies last year. Also: memo to JLS – why no coloured hoodies any more? I hope you’ll put them back on especially for us this year so the yellow one can wish us a MERRY CHRISTMAS. [Lulz. - Steve] [Epic lulz. - Carrie]
Funnily enough, they wanted to sing since they were children. The captioning people can’t spell Graziella’s name. NotLouis says if they get their song right it’ll be the best of the night. Simon says they need to act like a group more. I feel a bit sorry for them always having that storyline rammed down their throats – I mean, they’re clearly trying to act like a group, and it’s never going to be easy when you just get thrown together. We all know this, can we move on now? Poor Shar says they completely trust Louis (with his impeccable record of working with girls) and going to do it for him. Aw.
Shaniece is first on stage with a bright green light behind her that looks like the plumbob logo from The Sims. She starts out squeaky but improves: as do the other two. Shar has new straightened hair, and Graziella is wearing some odd tartany dress, because she’s the kooky one, right? They’re singing ‘All the Man I Need’ and, hmm, well, it proves why very few people can do Whitney. Anyway, Cheryl says there are no bookends in this band (and presumably putting Shaniece in the middle was to help prove this). Simon thought they were mainly terrible and out of tune. I’d have more respect for this if he didn’t completely ignore certain other acts (*cough* his category) when they frequently lose the tune. Anyway. Cheryl tells them not to be too downhearted as it took Girls Aloud two years to connect with each other with harmonies and so on. Simon says, ‘I think it was more like three’. Whuh? [God, Simon really is being a dick this year. - Steve] Simon says Miss Frank should have done an original version of the song, not a Whitney version – though I imagine that’s a hard song to rework, and if Simon’s idea of reworking is the hell-on-toast way he got Austin to rape Michael Jackson’s best song last year, then I’d rather not. [I don't think David Cook did any Whitney songs on American Idol. - Steve] Anyway, show people, if you’re reading, can they do some TLC soon, please?
Last week Rachel was on first and was thus in the bottom two. She was very excited that Whitney and Clive clapped for her. Pshaw. Simon VTs that her confidence has taken a huge knock, ‘So what has Dannii done? Given her a Beyoncé song’ and gives this massive eye roll. So, choosing a song by a young, contemporary female singer for a young, contemporary female singer in ‘Divas’ week is a bad choice? Simon has so many logic fails tonight it’s almost making me long for Louis to balance out the cuntishness a bit. Oh, and according to the whole of Twitter, she falls over again in the VT, although I missed it. [It was in the group scene, where they all saw Whitney for the first time. I'm starting to think she might want to see a doctor about all this falling over. - Steve]
She starts lying down on the floor, though I’m not sure if this is in homage to her constant falling over or nor. She is singing ‘If I were a Boy’. Ugh. Beyonce has an amazing singles back catalogue. Pretty much every song in it is awesome. Except this one. [I bet Rachel would've rocked 'Single Ladies'. - Steve] NotLouis is clearly feeling pissed off about last week’s steps incident, because he’s got her standing on a Perspex box. Uh oh. She’s a bit off-key in the big notes but generally reasonably good (though she sounds a little hoarse) – at least compared to several of her ‘competitors’ tonight. Simon liked it but didn’t love it because it was too close to the original. Can we all please remember this for when Olly does a dreary, by-numbers version of ‘Mack the Knife’ next week? He says he doesn’t think Dannii is getting Rachel’s personality out enough and he’s frustrated. Dannii says Simon would have liked it if she was in his category. Simon says it’s all about the audience who vote, which is esentially a burn on Rachel and yet the audience cheer. Weirdos.
Cheryl rubs hands Sharon-style as she introduces ‘the first of my boys, little Geordie Joe’. Sigh. That sigh is not meant for Joe, by the way, he’s inoffensive enough.
When Joe was a kid, he used to recreate Wham!’s Last Christmas video. I shall leave you to think of your own comments. Already I want to revise my opinion of Whitney, as she seems less and less sane with each contestant – though to be fair, they’d drive anyone a bit loopy. Clive says Joe’s alert. Whitney, all animated, goes, ‘Yes, yes, he is.' Cheryl says Joe has no problems. Simon says if he makes this work with this song then we’ve all got a problem. Well, presumably apart from Joe and Cheryl unless that comment is meant to confuse the hell out of us.
He’s singing ‘Where do Broken Hearts Go’, and it’s very boyband. It’s fine, it’s tuneful, it’s not exactly exciting. There’s no real emotion, although there isn’t any Danyl fake over-emotion either. Simon is singing along. Heh. He’s a shoo-in for the final, isn’t he?
Dannii says he nailed it and when Whitney says sing from the heart she doesn’t think there's anything else he can do. Simon says it pains him to say it but it was absolutely note perfect. To take on one of the big W songs, what are you 18 19? His only criticism is Joe needs to raise his shoulders a bit. Yes, Dad. Cheryl says she is going to echo what Whitney said ‘that was absolutely beautiful and I love you to bits Joe’. Did Whitney REALLY say that? Wowsers. Dermot throws over to Clive to give him another ego stroke (seriously, he is getting even more bigged up than Whitney herself) and says, ‘You produced that? Thumbs up?’ I’d love him to say no, not because I hate Joe, but you know, it’d be funny and all. Clive says, ‘Two thumbs up.’ Simon then raises the spectre of latent homophobia once more by saying, 'One final piece of advice: burn the films we saw before.' Now whether Joe is gay or not, I’m not going to speculate, but it’s pretty clear what the undercurrent to that comment was given the camptastic nature of those films.
Next up is Danyl. Last week he was a cock. Who is BISEXUAL and thus also likes cock. But that caused controversy. And the other judges called him cocky. For that is what he is. Simon says, ‘They lied about him, they’re threatened by him.’ Yes. That’s exactly what it is. In the most fakeass bit of promotional fakery ever, Simon says they are giving him a Whitney song no-one’s ever heard of, from her new record, and they had to get permission. Come on. Everyone knows the deal would have said they had to promote the new album for Whitney EUSTON (thanks Dermot) to appear. In the rehersal room, things take on a whole new level of awesome. Clive says he’s losing melody. Whitney says he needs to go back and listen to it and know the melody and stuck to it. Whitney and Clive put the burn on Danyl. Excellent. Cheryl says she stands by what she said, he had got to point where he was verging on cocky. Simon says it’s not cocky, its confidence. Because he himself is cocky and thinks it just means confident.
The song is a bit nothingy, which doesn’t act as a great advert for the album, and of course, he majorly oversings it all the way through with no light and shade whatsoever. We have the obligatory dry ice, meaningful walking round stage and lights. And lots and lots of warbling.
Dannii [Burn the witch! - The Public] toes the corporate line, which this week is that they thought he might peak on his first audition but that was flawless. Cheryl likewise does what SyCo Limited have contracted her to do and says singing a Whitney song that was not well known is a big challenge but he delivered. He says, ‘I’m trying to impress you guys.’ Simon says you didn’t exactly get rave reviews in that room did you (Meaning Whitney and Clive) and sounds rather cheesed off about this. Then he says, ‘But of course it’s a precious song to Whitney?’ Did Simon just diss Whitney? Because if that was a precious song to me and that twat ruined it by losing the tune and warbling through it and turning it into a monstrosity, then, ya, I’d be pretty unimpressed, too. But of course, no matter what Whitney thinks, it was BEST EVARZ.
Next up with a massive massive challenge is little Lloyd. Gee whizz. Is this thing still going on?
Clive says Lloyd has the challenge to make the listener feel like you’re feeling it. Oh, Clive, it was all going so well and suddenly you sound like you’ve been taking lessons from the Cowell school of inarticulacy. Whitney sings ‘The Greatest Love of All’ at him and my jaw hits the floor. Surely he isn’t? He IS a child, he can’t be singing about children being our future. Fortunately, that’s not the case, and he’s got probably Leona’s biggest hit. Well, except the one that was ACTUALLY her biggest hit, but anyway. Yvie understands why Lloyd feels worried. Gee, two songs in two weeks (last week’s co-written by a certain S Cowell, by the way) – has Leona got a new album out, do we think?
Too many of the song choices invite their own puns tonight – and here he is attempting ‘Bleeding Love’. Um, the paisley patterned lights are kind of pretty. He is just kind of vacant. Badumtish. Now, can someone clarify for me? I always thought Leona was singing that her heart was crippled by the thing that she keeps on closed in, but that it sounded very much like the vein that she keeps on closing, in the same way as ‘Call me when you try to wake her up’ in REM’s ‘The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite’ sounds like ‘Calling Cheryl Baker up’. [My album sleeve says "closing". Yes, I own a Leona Lewis album. WHAT OF IT? - Steve] Anyway, I digress. The point is that Lloyd sings the vein closing bit tonight. So can anyone tell me what the real lyrics are? So, it’s not as bad as last week. But that would be hard. It’s still incredibly rubbish and dull. Then he stops singing for a bit and the backing singers do it all, which is a bit better.
Simon says, ‘It’s very very lucky that you’re cute and the chicks will love you.’ Chicks? He says the song would have worked if it was 15 seconds, and it was like a mouse climbing a mountain. He’s going to put blame on the girl [WOMAN - Carrie] sitting on his right who is not understanding Lloyd or working with him. Two burns on National Treasure Cherly Cole in one night? Me-yow. Cheryl says she’ll take full responsibility for the song she gave him. She stars crying that Diva week was hard for the boys and she makes Lloyd hug her. [And here I was thinking there'd be LESS self-indulgent behaviour from the judges after Sharon Osbourne left. - Steve] Dermot then gives him a manly backslap (why no hug, Dermot?). She says she hopes she hasn’t let him down. He says in a droll voice ‘I ‘preciate your comments, I’ll take them all into consideration and hopes Cheryl won't be too upset’. Dermot says it’s THE X Factor song, which: no, and ‘he deserves credit doesn’t he Simon’? Simon says ‘you can’t make me feel smaller than I do already’ then ‘come here darling’ to Cheryl and he kisses her on the cheek in a patronising way. Seriously, the judges are ODD tonight.
Next up, John and Edward. Last week, they felt like James Bond, apparently. Um. They VT that telling them they can’t sing is like telling Beckham he can’t play football. They used to love 5ive when they were growing up. Can we have a rethink on ‘Musical Heroes’ week, plz? They weren’t as cute as kids as you might expect. This week they turned 18.
The boys make NotLouis laugh and he can’t get enough of them. They’re doing Britney. Does Britney qualify as a diva? I mean in her behaviour, maybe, but in her vocals? Simon says, ‘No way it can work’, but surely it can’t be as bad as when they made G4 do Britney back in the series that never was.
They are in red PVC suits, and being wheeled on in metal frames. Obviously they still can’t sing in tune, nor in time. They are trying to do Britney moves but they’re pretty stilted. It’s like Big Fun never happened. Then there’s some fire on stage and a whole troupe of Zovirax/Judoon dancers. They even do the talky bit in the middle incestuously to each other. They miss the key change. Actually, to be fair, the odd bit is in tune. But only the odd bit. [More of their performance was in tune than Lloyd's, if you ask me. - Steve] They end standing in the metal frames. NotLouis, you are a fruitloop. Simon is giggling.
Dannii and Cheryl say, um, words. I still haven’t gained my composure enough to hear them. Simon says his initial reaction was what the hell was that, and it was arguably, no not arguably, THE worst live performance he’s ever sat through (what, worse than Olly or Danyl? Cos I’m not sure. And it definitely was better than what’s coming next) but he’ll give them this, like the first time he saw The Exorcist, he didn’t like it but then he wanted to see it again. Though he was appalled by the performance he likes them as people cos they live on another planet but are sort of entertaining. Like NotLouis.
After the break, Jamie takes on Christina Aguilera. My money’s on her.
Dermot welcomes us back with that portentous statement ‘It’s only week 2’. Kill me now, Dermot.
Next up is the SCOTTISH lad, Satan. Sorry, Rikki. He tells us he’s been an attention seeker all his life. O rly? His mum looks a bit like Daphne from Neighbours in photos. Whitney says he needs to do Aretha well, as she’s one of the greats. OH NO HE ISN’T. She pulls a face when he sings and says her mum sang on that record and nobody can mess with Aretha. In other words, Whitney is telling him there is no way he should be performing an act of indecent assault on such a classic and it’d basically be desecrating both her mother and Aretha if he dares to do it. He VTs that he thinks he did it well though. Rikki: READ THE ROOM.
OH NO NO NO. Can we have a pun on the lack of RESPECT he is showing this? The backing dancers have OK dresses on. This is the worst thing I have seen in a long time. My eyes, my ears, my soul. I feel violated. The song will possibly never recover.
Dannii says she sees a little bit of Will Young’s performance in him. In that he has brown hair and a suit? She didn’t like it much though. Simon says what he did took guts but it was quite clear Clive and Whitney weren’t supportive of the song choice – unfortunately they were right. So why couldn’t they change the song?
Next up is Jamie, and in his VT, he actually says, ‘Mr cool guy Jamie Afro went out the window and was replaced by a nervous wreck’ at meeting Whitney. These people dig their own holes. Simon says he has one of the hardest songs in world to sing. Dannii says he’s out of his comfort zone. He is scratchy, better than Olly/Danyl, obviously, but still. He is way too shouty though. Oh, and by the way, he’s singing 'Hurt' which they do all the time on this show so I can’t be doing with all this HARDEST EVAR schtick. The ending is awful.
Cheryl and Dannii damn him with faint praise and Simon says they’re so unenthusiastic tonight. No, only about your acts, Simon, and also: pot/kettle. Simon adores it and says that works in the real world outside of this competition, whatever the hell that means.
The Diva of Dagenham is next as Stacey takes on Beyoncé (again?)
Stacey had to sing Celine Dion at a wedding when she was twelve and looked the same as she does now but with braces and it was so embarrassing. Whitney says to use her arms. Clive says to get into it from the start. Simon says it’ll hopefully be a bit easier when she won’t have Whitney and Clive staring her in the face. Cheryl loves her but if she forgets the words nobody’s safe. Dannii’s not worried.
She sings ‘At Last’, which I always associate with Eva Cassidy, even though I’m sure hers was a cover. I have never heard of Beyoncé doing this. [She sang it at President Obama's inauguration. - Steve] Anyway, it’s not particularly great. Still love her, though.
Cheryl loves it. Simon says there’s both a positive and a negative: she was so out of her comfort zone, in an odd dress (which looked fine to me), singing song she doesn’t know, but in the last twenty seconds got it together. I think that was the positive. He then butts in to thank Clive and Whitney and tell Louis they miss him. Dannii manages to say Stacey smashed it at the end, and Dermot bigs up the dress.
So, to recap, everyone was mediocre, except Simon’s acts who were brilliant (apart from the bit where they completely sucked). Whitney and Clive, however, proved their worth as guest mentors by dissing Danyl and Rikki. Tomorrow, the results, with special performances from Cheryl COLE and Whitney EUSTON! Join Carrie for all the “action”.