TX Date: 12th December 2009
First of all, may I offer my humblest (though not as humble as Danyl's would be, no doubt) apologies for the tardiness of this recap. I won't go into exactly why, but let's just say that it involves an administrative error, and the Bitch Droid responsible will be permanently decommissioned. Either that, or we'll just stick it in the back room and make it listen to Leon Jackson's album on a continuous loop. Whatever we decide to be the more inhumane punishment of the two. Also, I inadvertently deleted tonight's episode off my V+ Box before realising I would be recapping this particular one, so I'm dependent on ITV Player for rewatching purposes, with all the problems that entails. Still, as the saying goes, don't hate the ITV Player, hate the ITV Game. Anyway, thanks for sticking with us, and without further ado (other than the ado provided by the insanely bloated nature of the two-part finale), let's get on with it.
Oddly enough, we begin not with 'O Fortuna' and a series of egregiously overblown statements, but in a quieter, more sombre way, as soft black-and-white footage reminds us of the first time we met our three finalists. Aw, they all look so fresh-faced and young! And, with the possible exception of Joe, they all looked much better when they were styling themselves. Let's add "hair and wardrobe" to the long list of things this show can't do properly.
THEN we're back on more familiar territory as we return to colour transmission and that irritating man starts shouting at us in that faux-Tom Baker voice of his. The three finalists' first auditions are shoehorned in with some of the comedy terrible auditionees, and the unfortunate result is that it's all done in such quick succession that it makes them all sound kind of terrible as well. Also visible are the likes of Jamie Afro and Jedward, whose initial audition was spikier than their hairdos. Then we see all the people who were sacrificed along the way to tonight's final, including the rest of the Top 12: SLITTY SLUTTY SLUTS Kandy Rain, Rikki Loney (remember him?) [Yes, and I still hate him - Rad], Miss Frank, Rachel Adedeji, Lucie Jones, Jamie Archer, Jedward, Lloyd, and Ho-Humble Danyl. Now Olly, Joe and Stacey remain to fight for that "life-changing" recording contract. They'll be going home somewhere along the way, before two of them are forced to go home permanently.
Dannii says that Stacey has got better and better, and Stacey grins that she wants to win this competition and be a superstar. Bless. Simon says that Olly has come from an office job (OH THE HUGE MANATEE) to having the chance to change his life forever. Cheryl says that Joe's the best singer left and has star quality and deserves to win. Joe says that tonight could be the first night of the rest of his life. Unless you are felled by a stray pyrotechnic, Joe pet, it definitely will be. Louis says something that doesn't matter. It's time! To face! Something masquerading as music! Titles!
Dermot emerges in a positively blinding lightshow and greets the studio audience with that stupid salute-and-spin move of his. You'd never catch Ryan Seacrest doing that. Hell, you'd never catch Kate Thornton doing that. Dermot makes out like we should be impressed that Joe, Stacey and Olly made it to the final three out of 200,000 auditionees, when really I'm just appalled that out of that volume of people this is the best we could come up with. The crowds will be out for the contestants in their hometowns tonight: Dagenham for Stacey, Colchester for Olly, and South Shields for Olly. This all feels very low-budget telethon.
The judges arrive with all the accompanying bombast. Louis and Simon are in suits, of course, Dannii has a lovely purplish-brown off-the-shoulder number going on, and Cheryl has some kind of mid-80s-Cher bodice and poofy skirt thing that she can't walk properly in. Still, at least she hasn't got two giant discs over her tits, because really, anything's an improvement after that monstrosity.
Then, as something of an afterthought, we have the finalists. Olly is rocking the "Lidl Will Young" (and no, I don't mean what it would sound like if Cheryl were introducing him) look of a shirt, tie and waistcoat. Joe has a shiny shirt on with no tie. Stacey has a sort of sweaterdress thing with one shoulder exposed. They all look very wholesome.
The contestants will be singing three songs each tonight, Dermot tells us, and one of them will be sent packing at the end of the show. The audience hoot and holler like the pieces of plankton that they are.
Our first theme for the evening, and one that I actually think is quite an interesting twist, is for the contestants all to reprise the song they sang at their first audition. We're kicking off with the Unwanted Vaginas: Dannii talks about her amazing trip to Dagenham with Stacey, which we'll see later, and then introduces the lady herself. We see brief snatches of Stacey's JOURNEY across the series, and she talks excitedly about being in the final three. "I never even thought I'd be in the final twelve, now I'm in the final three!" she guffaws. It's either adorable or intolerable, depending on your own personal feelings towards Stacey. I'm wholly in the former camp, just so we're clear. We see Dannii and Stacey going home to Dagenham, and it's hard to tell which of the two is more excited. They start off by going back to Stacey's old school, which is coincidentally named King Solomon High School. Blimey, I know they're proud of her, but shouldn't they wait until she wins before naming the school after her? The kids go nuts for her, and Stacey doesn't have a clue how to handle it, which is quite sweet. She goes home to see her family and friends, including her adorable little boy, and is mobbed by well-wishers. She says that introducing Dannii to her family was amazing, and Stacey enthuses about how supportive Dannii has been all along. Stacey's dad pops open some champagne and breaks one of the bulbs in the overhead light. I love how Stacey's entire family is as dorkily adorable as she is. Dannii is clearly having a blast, which is something you might want to note for later. Stacey's mum says how proud she is, and Stacey smiles shyly. Stacey does a gig at her local theatre, and is astounded at the crowds that have turned up to see her. She says that it meant more to do this gig because it was all the people she cares about, and she wants to make them proud. I hope that doesn't mean she doesn't give a shit about the non-Dagenham voters, as this is a bad time to start admitting things like that. She says that doing the gig made her feel like a real pop star and now she wants this more than anything.
Stacey reprises 'What A Wonderful World', while perched on a stool and looking very pretty. It's a really nice arrangement that shows her progression from her audition, and makes me a little bit sad that we haven't seen more of this quirky (proper quirky, not CONTRIVED QUIRKY like The Claw last year) side of her, instead of her constantly being stuffed into an ill-fitting balladeer box. It's a fantastic vocal, anyway, though one of the held high notes is a tad sharp. A minor quibble.
Louis remarks on her amazing transformation, and says he loves everything about her and that she deserves to be in the final three. He adds that he can't believe she doesn't know how good she is. Cheryl congratulates her for looking so comfortable when the pressure is so intense. Stacey says "uh oh!" when she realises Simon's due to comment next, which is cute. Simon agrees with Cheryl, saying that Stacey's turned into a bit of a nervous wreck over the past few weeks ("THANKS A LOT!" squeaks Stacey), but now she's a calm nervous wreck who sings beautifully, and he's glad to hear her sing that again, because it reminds him of how she surprised him at her first audition and continues to surprise him now. Dannii tearfully says that she's so proud of everything Stacey's achieved. Dermot asks her if she can believe she's in the final (watch the fucking VT, Dermot, and learn to stop asking questions that have already been answered at least five times), and Stacey gibbers something generally unintelligible but essentially amounts to "no, I can't." She says she feels calmer than recent weeks, if not actually calm. Then we cross over to the dreaded Jeff Brazier in Dagenham, who shows us the Vote Stacey pizza [But they never told us the toppings! Or was I too drunk to pay attention? Possibly, given I watched it on fastforward at 2am very much worse for wear - Rad] , and some mad Stacey fans who are all trying to crush him. Not that I blame them.
Back in the studio, Dermot thanks his lucky stars that he's in the nice safe studio tonight. He smarms that Stacey "quite likes" Jeff, and Stacey Les-Dawsons "all right, Dermot!" in return. Hee. Apparently the Stacey pizza has "everything on it - the fatty I am, I love a big pizza!" Seriously: best contestant ever. Dermot reads out Stacey's voting number and throws to the break, promising Olly on our return. I curse the lack of other channels to flick to on internet catch-up services.
Some time later, we're back, and Dermot throws over to Simon, who wants to welcome a young man, who's one of the nicest contestants they've ever had apparently. Simon clunkily mentions that his father was from Essex, so it was like going home for him too. I am so sure. Olly's VT reminds us of his early audition days before his schtick got really tired. He can't believe he's made it to the final, and admits that he cried like a baby when he got through last week. Simon says unconvincingly that he was proud of Olly. Simon and Olly take a chopper back to Essex, and Olly goes back to his old school, where children are being squashed up against the railings like they're in a Tatu video. Where are social services when this is happening? Olly walks out into his school hall, looking like a twat in a hat, and gets mobbed. They drive back to Olly's house in Simon's car, where there are crowds in the street waiting to scream at him. Olly is pleased to introduce Simon to his family. Olly's mum gives Simon a butterscotch Angel Delight, which he apparently loves, and Simon tells her that it needs more milk. I'm all for people staying in character, but don't be rude to people in their own homes, Simon. It cheapens us all. Simon tells Olly's family and friends that Olly is nice and hardworking. Note the absence of any words even resembling "talented". They get back into the car, and at this point it's interesting to note Simon's total lack of interest in everything that's happening, and compare it to how genuinely excited Dannii was for Stacey in the same situation earlier. Olly arrives for his own gig and fireworks go off, and he signs lots of autographs. He smiles that it was the best day of his life without a doubt, and he doesn't want the dream to end.
Olly struts back out onto the stage to sing 'Superstition', and the most immediately obvious thing is that his dancing has not improved at all since his first audition. His vocals are pretty good on this song, but so much of it is showboating, and I think a more subtle song might've showed his shortcomings here. Still, NotLouis's mad choreography is out in full force, including a moment where Olly lies on his back and slides backwards between the legs of all his female dancers in their flapper outfits. Dirty!
Louis says that not many people can sing Stevie Wonder. I think the very existence of this show would suggest otherwise. He thinks Olly has the x factor because everybody loves him. Dannii calls it a fantastic performance, and says it's great to see him singing that song again. Cheryl says that everyone's calmer and more comfortable tonight, and that this was a performance you would see at a real concert. Simon says that he took a risk on Olly, but it was the best risk he's ever taken. He tells Olly it's the performance of his live. Olly says he's ecstatic, even though he slipped during the performance. That would explain the "whoa!" that seemed a bit too spontaneous to be an ad-lib. Michael Underwood is in Colchester being thoroughly drowned out by female screams. He talks to one of Olly's football team mates, who is broadly appreciative of Olly's body of work thus far. There are some cheerleaders, who just yell "we love you Olly!", which is pretty piss-poor as cheers go. Back in the studio, Olly attempts to talk to Dermot, but the audience is cheering so loudly that he quickly realises there's no point in continuing.
After some more ads, we're back with Dermot, and National Treasure Cheryl Cole. She says that she now classes Joe as a little brother, and they got to go back to "their" home town. Ick. Joe's VT shows him being cute and consistent if never especially exciting. He says he feels on top of the world. Cheryl says it was the best feeling to be taking him back home. They go into his old school, that he probably only left about six months ago. He and Cheryl giggle about the insanity of it all, which is a rare genuine moment on this hugely artificial show, and I appreciate that. Then they head off to his mum's house, where he gets hugged by all and sundry. He says that Cheryl just slipped into the family. Fnar. Various members of the family get tearful talking about how proud they are of him, and more hugs are shared. Cheryl says that she KNOWS HOW HE FEELS, and sounds like Nuhdeen briefly while she talks about how his life might be about to change forever. Joe does gig in a venue that looks bigger than Olly's or Stacey's, and gets an apparently rapturous reception. Someone has a cut-out-and-keep Joe face mask, which is kind of terrifying. IT HAS NO EYES! Joe, like everyone else, really wants to win this. Shocker!
He's singing 'Dance With My Father' again, which is always schmaltzy and overly sentimental on this show. Weirdly, his shiny shirt has a little strap and buckle over one shoulder that just sits below his neck. Why is it there? What is it for? It seems to serve absolutely no purpose. These are the things that keep me awake at night. Joe's vocal is sweet and strong, but his performance is a little stilted - he still hasn't quite developed the big presence to go with the big voice, but I'm sure that will come in time. Er, if he wins. Which he might. (Spoiler!) A choir comes in on the key change, of course.
Louis says that Joe has got better and better since his first audition, and that the show is all about finding someone with a great voice. We can say this now, of course, because Jedward went weeks ago. This show doesn't even pretend to have consistency any more. He tells Joe that he's got it all. Dannii says that Joe is a brilliant performer with an amazing voice, and it's been incredible to see him throughout the competition, never letting them down. Simon agrees with Dannii that he deserves credit for his progress over the whole series, and says that Joe is talented and a nice person, and he wants him to do well. Cheryl tearfully says that Joe is a "testament" to his mum and dad (what?) and she prays he's in the final. Joe thanks everyone for supporting him thus far, he can't believe he's here, etc. Kimberley Walsh (yay!) is in South Shields wiht the Joe fans, and is thoroughly overwhelmed. She talks to a baker who has made Joe cookies, and then to someone who has changed her name to "Vote Joe", who is apparently just one of 75 people to have done this. Kimberley's "bitch, you crazy" look at this point is marvellous. More Kimberley next year, please! "That's where you're from!" says Dermot, unnecessarily, and then demonstrates that he wasn't paying attention to the VT because he thinks the mad woman changed her name to Joe McElderry, and the real Joe has to correct him. Novice reality show contestant: 1, supposedly experienced TV host: 0.
Dermot opens the phone lines, which will remain open until they get frozen just before the end of the show. There's a video recap, and I don't need to recap the recap, because that way I'd just get into some kind of terrifying timey wimey loop. Dermot promises "some big surprises" after the break - except that everyone knows who this year's celebrity duets are, so: not really.
Adverts. I remained disturbed by why there is an electrician in the bath in the 118 247 advert. That is the very last place you want someone waving live wires around.
We're back, and it's time for the surprises round - well, the celebrity duets round. Now, remember how in the third series Leona got to sing with Take That and you knew she was going to win? And then Leon got to duet with Kylie in the fourth series and you knew he was going to win? And how Alexandra got to duet with Beyoncé (SO AMAZING) and you knew she was going to win last year? Well, by those standards, no one is going to win this year, because the celebrity duet partners are all kind of uninspiring. [But I suspect the person singing with the most famous/established singer might still be the winner. Just a hunch - Rad]
Anyway, Stacey is singing 'Feeling Good', and doing a better job of it than Danyl did, and halfway through Mickey Bubbles comes out to join her, like we haven't all seen enough of his crooning ass this year. The two of them work pretty well together, admittedly, but it's a bit of a comedown after automatic Beyoncé win last year. Dermot smarms into view and asks Bubbles what he makes of Stacey. Bubbles does not understand him. God help Bubbles if he ever tries to talk to Stacey herself. Then Bubbles talks at length about meeting the Queen, and Stacey might as well not be there for this bit. Then he and Dermot remember she's there, briefly. Not that it matters. Poor Stacey. Apparently surplus to requirements in her own performance slot.
Next up is Olly, who is singing 'Angels'. Oh good. His arrangement seems to cut out a lot of the long, high notes, conveniently enough. And then Robbie Williams comes out, and hilariously, starts singing too early. HAHAHAHAHA FAIL. At this point, the collective amount of smarmy laddish ooze in one place is dangerously high, and Olly has the nerve to say "go on, Robbie!" just before the chorus, as though he is Beyoncé and Robbie is Alexandra. And I'm sorry to keep referring back to that, but come on: look at this. No part of tonight's show even comes close to that. Oh, and then Olly really cheeky-chappies his way onto my permanent shit list by adding a "why's that, Robbie?" just before Robbie sings "I'm loving angels instead", like this is a cheap fucking comedy skit or something. Actually, that may not be so wide of the mark. [I hated what I saw of this, which was admittedly only about five seconds, but FIVE SECONDS TOO MUCH - Rad]
As if by magic, the Dermot appears. Robbie admits to being a fan of Olly (naturally), and Robbie says that he can't believe how confident Olly is. Not OVERconfident, obviously. He is HUMBLE too. Like Danyl. Robbie says that Olly should give it 110% tonight, or if possible, 111% or 112%, "but it's never been done on TV before". I beg to differ. [I think 111%, 112% was his attempt at humour over the game of ridiculous percentages - Rad] Robbie gets the audience to start chanting Olly's name, as if the tossers needed any encouragement.
After that, we're back with Cheryl and Joe. Joe is going back to the Elton John stomping ground that he's so comfortable with, singing 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me' again. He's excellent, obviously, because this is so where he's comfortable, and then George Michael comes out to join him, looking a bit squashed of face but generally well-preserved, all things considered. This is the first of many times this weekend where it becomes apparent just how very teeny Joe is, by the way. Joe holds his own against George, and it's probably the best duet of the night, although still not Aleyoncé levels of awesomeness by a long shot. George sunnily wishes Joe good luck at the end without being prompted, which is quite sweet. Joe can't believe he's just sung with George Michael and politely thanks him. Bless. George says that Joe has a great future, but wishes luck to all three contestants. What a gent. Dermot asks Joe about his mum, who is a huge George Michael fan, but the cameras can't pick her out in the room, rendering the whole thing a bit redundant. George tries to escape, but Dermot scolds him that he can't go anywhere until he's read the numbers. I'd have so been all "I'm George fucking Michael, I can do whatever the shit I like, short-arse." [Whitney wouldn't have stood for that - Rad]
Back from the break, Dermot is standing by the judges' podium, and Cheryl is late getting back into her seat. Remember this, it will be important later. It's now time for round three, where the contestants are singing what they have decided, along with their mentor, was their best song of the series. Dannii says that the upcoming performance was when Stacey truly started to believe in herself - it's 'Who Wants To Live Forever', of course. She's better at this one second time around too - she's much stronger and more on key at the beginning. There are still one or two dodgy notes, but it really is an incredible performance, and one that she should be proud of. There are lots of shots of Dannii beaming with maternal pride interspersed throughout.
Louis says it was her best performance and very few people can sing Freddie Mercury songs, and he hopes she makes the final. Cheryl thinks Stacey looks and sounds incredible, and has her fingers crossed that Stacey makes the final two. Simon says that she "smashed it", apparently quoting Cheryl (though I think it sounds more like something Dannii would say). Dannii once again says how proud she is of Cheryl. Stacey is thrilled to get a compliment from Simon, and says that she's proud of herself for making the final three. She says it would be so cool to make the final three, and she can't even think how good it would be. Then we cut to Jeff in Dagenham once again, who's with Stacey's best friend Daniel. I can't really hear what he says about her, but it all sounds very encouraging. Back in the studio, Stacey says it's so nice that people want her to do well, and it's the nicest feeling ever. Dermot asks if she thinks she can do it, and she says she hopes so, but you can never tell what's going to happen. Dear Danyl Johnson: this is how you do humility. Lots of love, The Bitch Factor.
Simon introduces Olly performing the song that really made Simon think he could really be a pop star - 'Fool In Love', from Divas week. I really don't like this performance - it looks like an under-rehearsed amateur production of Chicago. Olly's singing is fair enough, though I don't really see Simon's perspective on how this makes him a legitimate pop star, because there's nothing contemporary about this whatsoever.
Tellingly, at the end Simon and Cheryl are on their feet, but Louis and Dannii are not. Louis tells Olly he owned the stage and the song, and he doesn't know how the public are going to pick, but he hopes that Olly will be there tomorrow night. Right, so that's three people Louis has now said he wants to see in tomorrow's two-person final? Back to remedial maths for you, Walsh. Dannii says it was Olly's best performance of the series and it was so good to see it. Cheryl was impressed by the improvement since the last time he did it, and wishes him luck for being "in the bottom two" tomorrow. I don't think that means what she thinks it means. Simon thanks the celebrities for giving up their
Finally we have "the boys and Cheryl" - but enough about her boobs. Joe's singing 'Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word', just to remind us that he really did sing a lot of Elton John songs over the course of the competition. I miss the "sing a Christmas song" part of the final (specifically, I miss "Merry Christmas!"), but I guess the way the calendar has fallen this year has made it a little bit too early for that sort of thing. Oh, right: Joe. Excellent, as usual. Seriously, I don't think he's put a foot wrong throughout the competition.
Again, a semi-ovation from Simon and Cheryl. Louis bleats on some more about Joe being the voice they've been looking for, and his potential as a recording artist. Of the three people remaining, Joe DEFINITELY deserves to be here tomorrow. Dannii says that it was beautiful, and he needs to be in the final two. Simon says that Joe is "really special" (presumably in the good way), and that the performance proves what a great singer he's become. Cheryl says that she adores him and she feels like they've made a strong bond and she can't bear the thought that this could be his last song. She's sounding all tearful, but not actually crying. Just pointing that out. Kimberley's still alive in South Shields, and talks to Joe's friend Stevie from college, who is very proud of Joe. Back with Dermot, Joe says that he really wants to make it to the end.
That's the last performance of the evening, Dermot informs us - one act must leave the competition later tonight, so it's time for a recap of the voting numbers and the performances so far. Feel free to nip off to the loo or put the kettle on - I'll wait for you.
Dermot says the contestants "sang with their hearts out" (now that I'd like to see!) but there's still more to come - an exclusive performance from Robbie Williams after the break. Oh the sheer uncontainable joy.
We go back to the show post-adverts, and Cheryl is late back to her seat - again. I would absolutely love it if you all left your best theories in the comments below on what she was doing (other than wearing a dress that prevented her from moving at normal speed) to make her so perpetually tardy this evening. The filthier the better, quite frankly. Just nothing that could get me sued, obviously.
To fill time while people are voting, there is Robbie Williams, singing 'You Know Me'. He's titting about with a cane, and the song is shit. I impress myself with the succinctness of my summaries sometimes. At the end, there is a sign in the background saying "Have a Very Robbie Christmas". I'd rather not, thanks. After shooing Robbie off, Dermot announces that the lines have been temporarily frozen, and after the break, we'll be finding out who's finishing in third place.
After yet more adverts (well, I suppose this is one of the very few programmes of the year that makes ITV any money, so I can overlook it), we're back with Dermot for the final time. The studio is plunged into near-darkness as he welcomes back the finalists and their respective mentors: Olly and Simon, Stacey and Dannii, and Joe and Cheryl. Everyone's looking pretty nauseated right now, but most noticeably Stacey and Cheryl. The first act through to the final, in no particular order as always, is...Olly, who Simon wraps in a hug quite quickly to prevent him from being too much of a twat about it. Smart man. Stacey smiles thinly at this point because she knows it's over. Joe sticks his head in Cheryl's tits. Dermot announces the other finalist as Joe, and he cheers and hugs Stacey. Stacey, of course, is unflappable in defeat, just gleefully chanting "I came third! That's really good! I'm really proud!" Bless. Dannii thanks everyone for supporting Stacey. Dermot tells her that her attitude's been brilliant, and it really has: as much as this isn't really the time for a sidebar, I love that while Stacey has been incredibly enthusiastic about this show, she's also been very realistic about it, and has only dipped her toes into the hyperbole of "THIS SHOW IS LIFE OR DEATH" when shoved in that direction by Dermot - the rest of the time she's still been the same girl who admitted there was "always Asda" when considering her alternative career prospects. And I know it only got her to third place, but I still admire that attitude a lot more than I admire "I CANNOT RETURN TO THE INDIGNITY OF OFFICE WORK D: D: D:"
We review Stacey's JOURNEY, where Simon was surprised at her first audition that she could sing even though she looked thick, having learnt nothing from Susan Boyle, then she sang in front of Kylie, Robbie, Whitney and various other exciting people. Her performance of 'The Scientist' was a highlight, and she wore an ugly dress to the premiere of DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL and sang a lot of nice songs.
Stacey says that every moment of the show has been a highlight, and then she is ushered off with no singout. What a load of old shit. Dermot welcomes back Olly and Joe, who will compete in what is now to be a boring sausagefest of a finale. Olly says that Stacey has been amazing and that anyone could've gone home at this point. Joe says he feels numb, and that Stacey was amazing just like Olly said. Told you tomorrow was going to be boring. The lines are reopened, with the previous totals still standing.
And that's it! Rad will be here tomorrow with the recap of Sunday night's surprisingly succinct and content-filled grand final. Ha! Just kidding. The poor lady has to recap an absolute bloater of a show with filler stuffed into every available orifice, and where the solitary highlight is a performance from two acts who competed in a previous series. I don't envy her at all.