Live Shows week 6: British Britain United Kingdom Team GB Week - 16th November 2013
Hello, and welcome the week of BRITAIN. I have drawn this shortest of straws YET AGAIN and have got the Britain Week. Seriously. We need to get some kind of union involved in this stuff. [We'd offer to give you a good week, but... what good week would that be? - Rad]
Anyway, last week Steve talked you through the controversial/indifferent return of Humouring Robbie Williams With A Big Band Week. Sam Callahan got hit repeatedly by a big massive bus to the extent that he may as well have been wearing a sign with “DON’T VOTE FOR ME” above his significantly large head but the public ignored this and chose to send home the walking John Lewis Advert Abi Alton, who also had a large public transport vehicle thrown at her in the shape of the death slot and removing her glasses so nobody knew who she actually was. [She literally never saw it coming. - Steve]
So, as always, to business. Tonight it’s THE GREAT BRITISH SONGBOOK that’s illustrated by the Royal Wedding, Boris Johnston, Amy Winehouse and Big Ben. [Isn't he on Strictly? - Steve] Not my Britain, anyway. Funsponge and Rough Copy are embracing the theme like nobody else. Nicole wants her girls to go out with confidence and self belief. Louis reminds us all that he still has three acts and three Great British stars. Sharon and Sambailey know that Britain is behind them. We are, but not as much as I’m behind Nicole doing an awesome Sharon impression complete with bowler hat and Union Jack flag. She declares that she sounds like her and toddles off, presumably looking for more gin. Sharon declares that Sambailey pretty much IS BRITAIN. Funsponge needs your vote but before that, it’s time for the GIANT X.
The voiceover man says Great Britain for the fifteenth time tonight already and announces the arrival of Dermot. Dermot arrives onstage to the musical abomination that is “What does the fox say?” I imagine if the fox could talk it wouldn’t say RINGADINGADING it would say “oh Dermot, remember when you used to be good? Remember when you could look in the mirror? Your suit doesn’t fit and you’re shit at presenting this kind of live television where you have to be straight laced. I’m glad you’ve got rid of the waistcoat this week though. Right, I’m off to the Foxy Bingo with Fantastic Mr Fox, Samantha Fox and Matthew Fox. Laters”.
He welcomes us to the weekend which started yesterday for goodness sake. He reminds us that we’re only four weeks away from the final. Don’t tease us. That seems like so long yet no time at all. He introduces the judges as people who might not all be British but they’re all fair and enjoy a good moan. Oh Durrbot, they’re only fair if it says so in the script. It’s the JUDGES!
What are they wearing? Well, Louis is in a suit that looks like it’s been hastily wiped down after committing a particularly gruesome murder. Sharon is wearing the kind of sparkly tenty number that would’ve appealed to my six year old self. Nicole is in another dress I would’ve put a Barbie in which consists of a big bow around the boobs and a long straight skirt and Funsponge is shaking it up a bit by wearing all black. Wow. That’s some edgy shit right there. Durrbot tells us that the votes and downloads this week will go to the typhoon appeal in the Philippines. At least something good will come from this disaster.
First to the judge who is apparently as British as cowboys and apple pie. Oh that’ll be Nicole! It’s funny because none of those things are British! LOL. It’s Hannah Banana Barratt! We open with Hannah and Nicole singing Satisfaction together. Hannah is just lounging in the sofa in couture and Nicole just happened to be hanging around when there was a camera there. Hannah reiterates that it’s the GREAT BRITISH WEEK and she’s singing a GREAT BRITISH CLASSIC. Nicole thinks the song is perfect because it’s all about her struggle about being in the bottom two without being depressing. I thought it was about drugs but I learn something new every day watching this crap. Hannah understands. She can’t get no satisfaction. She says this in a way that NO WAY suggests that she’s finding it difficult to get laid in a house full of sixteen year old pretty boys. This seems to be this show’s pitiful attempt at trying to inject some personality into her after having her entire shtick be ‘sadfass’ for the last god knows how many weeks. Nicole knows she was gutted to be in the bottom two but she’s going to make sure it doesn’t happen again. She urges her to get the audience to clap along with her as it’s an amazing feeling. Hannah doesn’t seem as sure. In fact, it seems like she’s finally broken and just letting Nicole do whatever. She agrees that she’s not connecting with the public and taking Nicole’s advice on just getting them going. Nothing is mentioned of the fact that she’s probably not connecting with the public because all they saw her do for the first few weeks is cry. No, she’s got a personality now! She’s cheery Hannah! We’re told AGAIN that Satisfaction is the perfect song for her because she’s not getting her own way on this show and we all know what we do to people who are presumptuous on this show! Again with the getting the audience to clap. It’s almost like all this participation is in preparation for her farewell! She’s feeling the pressure but she’s back!
Hannah is standing on a plinth that actually rotates at the bottom, like a wedding cake covered with homoerotic dancers. She’s at the top wearing a dress that makes her look like she’s got brass instruments for bones. Look at her pedestal! Are you ready to knock her down from it GBP? She sings well because she’s a good singer. She tries to put her personality in it but all this amounts to is adding the odd Misha B Memorial Giggle (tm) into it. She also seems to forget to ask the audience to clap which was put forward so forcefully.
Louis is first to feed back. Hannah has opened up the show (genius critiquing there but possibly also a statement on her placement), it’s a Rolling Stones song, she was in the bottom two last week. I love Louis. If you don’t have anything nice to say then just describe what has happened in front of you. She reminds him of a little Tina Turner and we should all vote for her. Sharon calls her Hannah Banana and remarks on her smiling and her lovely singing. She thinks it was a good performance and a great song choice. Sharon thinks its good she enjoyed her performance and had fun with it. Oh dear, the At Least You Had Fun kiss of death. Funsponge calls it another brilliant performance but reminds us that she’s been in the bottom two twice. He’s glad she’s come back fighting. He can’t promise we’ll vote for her but she would. Nicole’s going to spend all her money voting because Hannah connected with the audience and the people at home. [Not that I ever vote, but this was my favourite of Hannah's performances for some time, and my favourite of the night - Rad]
Durrbot doesn’t want to shatter her happy bubble by asking her any questions, but Hannah says that she had fun for once and she hopes to get the Satisfaction she’s been trying so hard for. Oh god, just chuck her out now and save us from all of this. Durrbot nails the coffin firmly shut by mentioning again how it finally seemed like she was enjoying herself. She’s going to keep going, trust her.
BUY THE APP! There’s songs by Elton and the Beatles after the break. I think we should be doing an appeal to get Myleene a sandwich.
When we return Durrbot is behind the judges reiterating that it’s all about BRITAIN. He makes much of the competence of Louis Walsh in that he has three acts left. Well, who knew that the man behind Westlife knew what he was doing when it came to crafting acts that teenage girls [/grandmas and mams - Rad] love. Durrbot says that there’s a lot on Louis’ shoulders having to do three introductions. I’m sure he’ll manage. He tells us to get ready for Luke.
Luke’s segment begins with Louis and his full complement of boys talking about how ace it would be to have an all boy Final. Louis wonders what Funsponge would make of that. I don’t think he’d be happy. To show what a tight knit little gang they all are they all go ice skating whilst Luke tells us how they’ve all been mates since bootcamp. Louis reminds them all that they’re friends but they’re also competition so less of the boys together and more of Luke looking at his tweet from Seal on his SAMSUNG TABLET and talking about how song choice is everything. We see Luke meeting Seal in his studio and Seal telling him he’s got a great voice and Luke telling Seal that it’s his favourite song. Seal seems unconvinced. Seal would like to know, along with the rest of us, what horror Luke will be wrapping his proto-dreadlocked head around this week. It’s Your Song. Luke interviews that it was quite a choice because it’s almost as if the Great British Songbook was picked as a non category that you can fit just about anything in to. Seal thinks that Luke will make it HIS SONG. I see what you did there, Seal. Louis reminds him to get it right, even though Seal thinks he will. God, Louis. Luke hopes that one day he will write a song that goes into the Great British Songbook. [Michael Bolton! Seal! This show really is doing well with its contemporary references this year - Rad]
Luke is just standing on stage singing. He manages to make this as obnoxious as possible by doing this without socks on in Capri pants, in front of a projection of what is clearly supposed to be a home movie and wearing a scarf tied around his arm for no discernible reason other than being as much of a twat as he possibly can be. [He's a total tryhard, but he's only little, so I can forgive him his misplaced attempts at cool a bit. He'll learn. I think one of the reasons this series isn't working so well is that so many of the contestants are SO YOUNG, that it all feels a bit uncomfortable, not just in terms of recapping, but also in terms of the way the judges treat them and, well, the whole thing. I mean, it's one thing going on this in your twenties when you should know what to expect, but to be paraded in front of the country on TV and in the papers when you're only SIXTEEN and everyone around you is SIXTEEN or SEVENTEEN (apart from Sambailey the mum and Rough Copy, obvs) can't be that helpful for your sense of who you are and where you fit in the world - Rad] Luke clearly has been listening to the Ellie Goulding version above all others. He does a serviceable job though. He sings it well and I manage not to break my television by keeping my eyes on my laptop.
Sharon mentions that it’s a big song, not great, big. She then says that he sings like Keef Richards would sing if he could. Oh Sharon, Jack Sparrow and Keef are not interchangeable. Someone in the audience shouts a swearword that I can’t make out at her and she tells them off. Oh primetime. Sharon thinks it was an organic performance. I think that means he looks like he smells. She then tells the man in the audience to go home. Funsponge thinks he’s come back fighting after he slagged him off last week. He hammers home the point that he doesn’t like him by saying that he’s clearly not a technical singer, that it’s more about style and tone. Both things that the X Factor general audience understand. He then drops in an anecdote about how Elton is his mate and they’re on first name terms but he’ll allow Luke’s version because it’s not the same. Nicole then amazingly goes on to say that she thinks Luke’s performance is like his hair in that it’s organic, real, grown through the competition and it’s full of grit and dirt. It’s also shit. She loves his Luke Friendly stamp on things. Louis goes down the ‘made the song your own’ route and says that he always gives a solid performance whilst Sharon attempts to stick her finger up his nose.
Durrbot does that thing where he asks a question, answers it then asks another one. The final one is about song choice and hammering home the point that Luke picked his song himself. Luke says that he only found out it was Funsponge’s favourite song just before he came out and he’s glad he did it justice and finally pleased the world’s most unpleasable man. Durrbot then says he knows Luke takes his influences from lots of places but probably takes the most from going ice skating with Louis. They then show a picture of Louis in a hat that the boys gave him. Luke thinks he should wear it all the time. Sharon cackles that it makes him look like he’s got another head. It’s like onesie gate all over again.
The next act’s mentor is the Queen of Rock which, let’s face it, is a moniker that could apply to pretty much anyone on the panel. It’s Sambailey! She interviews that she had an amazing week last week, what with meeting Michael Bolton and Celine Dion. She tells Celine that she sang ‘Titanic’ last week and an entire nation puts their face to their palms. Celine is nicer than me about it though and talks to her in the same manner she would a small child who’s asked to meet her because she’s dying and says that she’s glad Sambailey sang it because that means she doesn’t have to. Sambailey pretends to laugh. Sharon then interviews that even though Sambailey’s been getting great reactions from everyone her feet are firmly on the ground. This is how much Sambailey’s feet are on the ground:
1. She misses the chippy, Steak pie and jam tart days
2. She can make Jam tarts and fart noises with her kids
3. She does the school run
4. She has kids
5. She combines being a top popstar with being a mum
6. She’s worried that the youngun’s are better than her
SEE SHE’S A NORMAL WORKING MUM. She’s singing ‘Something’ by the Beatles in the style of Shirley Bassey on the gin wearing a dress that really has been cast off by Sharon. She’s on a staircase to nowhere doing the Evita arms. Now, I love Sambailey but this is not the song for her. This is a beautiful, delicate song that a man wrote from his heart to the woman he loves. Sam sings it like she’s calling ships home. A bit of a softer hand was needed here I think. It’s written all over Nicole’s face when they cut to her.
Funsponge kicks off the feedback by saying that it was an incredible performance. He says that he loves being on the show because people talk to him about it. Oh, that’s not what you’ve been saying in the papers but never mind. Anyway, one of the things he says that people say to him is can Sambailey sell records? Well he’s sick of this because there’s no way being a woman over thirty can stop her. I know that this is an issue but I think the fact that she’s dull has got more to do with it. He then compares her to Celine Dion and says that she’ll sell records because she’s brilliant. Nicole compliments her dress and calls her performance epic. There’s nothing she can’t sing, apart from quietly. There’s a but though, and Nicole adds ‘Cheeks’ to soften the blow. Geddit? But, cheeks? Oh NICOLE. I’m sensing you’re not far from Celebrity Intervention. She has to explain it to Funsponge and it loses all joy. Her but cheeks is that she doesn’t want the song on Sambailey’s album because she doesn’t want to hear George Harrison sing The Power Of Love. I see where she’s coming from but Funsponge comes over all gallant and protests. Sharon says that she’s going to have new songs on her album. Louis doesn’t agree with Nicole. He loves all the divas and thinks Sam is as good as them. She’s a world class vocalist and she gets better every week. Sharon says that Sambailey does herself and her family proud every week. She thanks the judges for their comments and urges the public to vote.
Durrbot then says that if the worst the judges can do is complain about song choice then she must be on to a winner, doesn’t let her speak and then says that she’s clearly not had a jam tart Wednesday for a while as she’s looking good. Sam said she was worried about her performance because she didn’t really know the song. Ok, probably one of the most famous songs by the biggest band of all time and she hasn’t heard of it. Let’s move swiftly on. She says she made it her own, which again, can’t be all that hard when you’re not au fait with the original and connected with it. Durrbot wants to know if it’s going to be on her album. She thinks it probably will. Bye Sam!
ADVERTS! Remember it’s for the Philippines.
When we return Durrbot is in the crowd with Stirling from Rough Copy’s mum and a very uncomfortable looking Matt Willis. He introduces Funsponge as the man responsible for a large chunk of the Great British Songbook. Yeah, I’ll give you that. It’s Rough Copy! Rough Copy respond to the British Theme by doing posh accents which is CLEARLY the message that is a helpful one. Oh dear. Rough Copy then seem genuinely surprised that Funsponge isn’t a sir. Not as surprised as him after all the stuff he’s done to try and get there. They think he should be, not that they’re biased. They then say that Britain is great because they have the Queen, fish and chips and Buckingham Palace which is a big house. Funsponge thinks it’s time for the fun to end and get down to business because there’s so many good singers in the competition. He’s such a good mentor he’s invited them to perform at a posh do with him. They make much about being introduced by him even though he does so every week. They say they’ve always seen him on telly and now they’re singing with him. They’re singing Viva La Vida this week and OF COURSE Funsponge is friends with Chris Martin. Funsponge thinks that ‘Chris’ will love their version and wants them to do their best. They’ve had a good week, they’ve got a good song so they’re going to go out and do their best.
Their best seems to be all about bringing back the Skort as a fashion item...for men. They sing it well but their Jerusalem Bells are only ringing and not ringadinging. They do their best but the song is fundamentally dull and no amount of Christmas bells is going to change that. They do seem likeable though and I’ve no doubt they’ll do well outside of the competition but I really, really don’t like the name. Oh here come some men in actual skirts with timpani drums. Batshit.
Nicole says they never fail to bring the energy week after week and they have great chemistry. She felt that their performance was a bit vanilla and missing the chocolate. They didn’t put their Souli Roots stamp on to the performance. No, can you IMAGINE if she was still around? [If only. - Steve] She quickly corrects herself and talks about their Rough Copy stamp but I’m now lost in a Souli Roots reverie. She doesn’t want them to lose their roots. Louis remembers they haven’t been in the bottom two so they must be doing something right. He loves the song and the swagger. Sharon cackles that he wants to be in the group and how ridiculous a notion this is. Sharon doesn’t know how they managed to make Coldplay interesting. I beg to differ. Funsponge says he knows they’re an urban act but they’re good at other things too. He feels that sometimes the show is a bit serious (!) and that they bring a bit of fun into things (!!) and he loves the three of them. And fun, suddenly.
Durrbot then remarks that Louis called Rough Copy snazzy last week and swagger this week. Louis says the swagger and style make them. He then asks them about singing a different kind of song and they say that they’re just trying out different styles to show their versatility. They just love music and they’re always up for a challenge. Durrbot then urges Sterling not to get his mum started. [Then they shout ARSEY ARSEY ARSEY a lot - Rad]
Break! Only three acts to go!
Where’s Durrbot going to be this time? Oh look, he’s behind the judges again. Back to Louis and it’s time for Sam Callahan. Sam Callahan is STILL HERE and Louis and he wonder what Funsponge is on. Sam says that he’s watched back the show on YOUVIEW and he feels he’s taken an battering from Funsponge. Louis wonders if Sam’s confidence is affected. Sam says it isn’t and Louis basically calls Barlow out on being a tedious fun sponge. Sam thinks that nobody has seen him for him. He’s a multi instrumentalist who has written songs since he was 13 and can play the guitar, piano and drums. He and Nicholas have a chat about the songs they are going to sing. Sam says he would like to do something different with his guitar. Nicholas thinks he will rock it. He then asks Simon Gavin, HEAD OF MUSIC if he can play his guitar because HE’S A PROPER MUSICIAN AND NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE, OK. Simon Gavin thinks that this will be a HUGE RISK because it will affect his vocals and he only decided this yesterday. Louis is behind him if he wants to do it. He wants to, because he’s not going to play it safe.
Safe is what it is. It’s a vaguely substep version of Faith by George Michaels and he’s singing it in front of some light up speakers. The camera never lingers on the guitar long enough to tell if he’s actually playing it or just doing a Tabby and just holding it. [Given how legitimately awful it sounded, I think the guitar was all Sam. - Steve] His playing can’t be that important though because he chucks the guitar on his back half way through so he can do some Olly Murs legs for the mams and have a disco with his fake dancer mates. It’s a bit Karaoke to be honest. I’ve heard better screeched on a Friday night in a Yates’.
Sharon begins the feedback by saying he chose the song, chose to play guitar and he’s brave to have done that. She wants to say that tonight he seems to have given up when he shouldn’t. He’s apparently very much still in the race because he has loads of twitter followers. Funsponge didn’t love it, it was risky and the guitar was out of time. He feels that everyone has been progressing faster than him but regales him with a story about when he were a lad and he wasn’t the best singer in the charts but he took the opportunity. He sees that Jamie is also taking his opportunity and he’s got to respect that. Nicole then goes on to say apart from the mistimed guitar at the beginning (which I thought was part of the arrangement) it was good because the fighter came out. He’s got the right attitude to make it. Louis says he works hard, gives 150% and the girls have got to vote for him because he shouldn’t be in the bottom two.
Durrbot then asks Sam what he makes of the Judges comments. Sam thinks they were amazing because he’s a bit stupid and he thanks them, and says he’ll take the criticism on board and come back fighting.
Caroline is now backstage with Sambailey wondering if little bits of criticism are harder for her because everyone is so far up her backside. Sambailey just says that it makes her strive to do better next week. Caroline loves her. She then wonders what Rough Copy made of the Vanilla comment. They say that they respect her opinion. Meh. Luke is with his mum and mum steps in between them lest there’s any funny business. Luke is happy with his comments and he had the best time ever singing and enjoyed being a bit slower.
After the break, Tamera!
Upon our return, Durrbot is in his favourite spot behind the judges table. He makes a lame joke about having to return the Great British Songbook to the library tomorrow. He then asks Nicole to introduce her act and she introduces the Gorgeois Tamera Foster. Tamera loved big band week but remembered that Sharon told her to put more emotion in and this week she doesn’t want to hold anything back. We’re teased with the fact that Tamera might have done Bohemian Rhapsody but chose not to in the end because she realised that it was a bit dark which is like calling Funsponge a bit boring. She’s going for Diamonds are Forever by Shirley Bassey, but they’re going to modernise it. Tamera knows that in changing her song she’s got to work extra hard. Nicole wants Tamera to go a level deeper into the meaning so that she connects with the audience. Connecting with the song means that she has to watch it on her Galaxy Tab until she decides that the diamonds in the song are her dreams and they’re all she needs. There’s some DANGER! Though, Tamera forgets her lyrics. I HOPE THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN AGAIN.
The modernising of the song involved dressing Tamera up as Rihanna, putting her in a cube and putting some extra Christmas bells in the background. There’s nothing about it that isn’t pure session singer until she forgets the words and has to physically stop herself from having a tantrum. She recovers well but one can’t help but notice that it was her stink face that gave away the fact she forgot the words and nothing else.
Louis kicks off the feedback by saying she looks great and it was an unusual song choice for a young girl. He says that even though she messed up, she recovered well and that’s the important thing. Sharon thinks it’s bittersweet because it was her best performance to date but she forgot the words and her stinkface let her down but her stinkface is because she’s a baby. Funsponge sees great potential but thinks that she hasn’t had her magical showstopping moment where she looks like a winner. He knows it’s in there and he prays they get to see it. Nicole thinks she’s already stolen the show so STFU Funsponge. She’s proud of Tamera because she kept going on the live show and didn’t on the auditions.
Durrbot goes back to the point about her messing up and wonders what she thinks it was a tough song but she’s proud of herself. She realises she messed up but she powered through. YAWN. But if that’s not boring enough, Nicholas is doing Adull after the break. OH GOOD.
ADVERTS! So sick of the Christmas ones. It was better when they were all adverts for toys.
Durrbot’s final post-advert position is again behind the judges table. He goes to Louis and asks him to introduce his Highland Terrier. Louis describes Nicholas as Scotland’s finest. Again, I beg to differ because that’s clearly me. Nicholas and Louis are having a chat about his feedback on Big Band Week and Nicole saying he’s going to have girls dreaming of him. Nicholas interviews that he didn’t have much luck with ladies at school but now he’s a popstar they’re crawling all over him. They stand outside the studio in the rain for him and they follow him and the cameras around the supermarket. They wait for him outside the house and they send him fan mail. Girls want to marry him and everything. He’s 100% single but he doesn’t want any girls messing up his focus. He’s singing Adult’s Grammy Award winning song, Someone Like You and he’s nervous because it’s a massive song.
Nicholas has a Jesus light and the pimp spot so I guess that we’re supposed to vote for him. He’s singing with a piano and some strings on stage, but none of this can hide the fact that he’s sixteen and singing a song which requires several years of pain and bitterness behind it for it to work and the fact that he’s sixteen and singing a song about his ex having a baby and being married is well creepy and I’m from Dundee where 30 year old grandmothers are commonplace.
Everyone bloody loves it though. Of course they do. Sharon begins by saying that he never fails to deliver every week. He has a fantastic voice and she can’t believe the emotion he put into the song as a sixteen year old SINGLE MAN. Funsponge says he’s reliable but he wants to see more individuality. LIKE YOU’D KNOW. Nicole calls him her Nicky Blue Eyes and says his voice is soothing and calming and wants to buy his album. Louis calls it the best and most honest vocal performance of the night.
Durrbot demands to know how on earth a SIXTEEN YEAR OLD SINGLE BOY can be more of an individual. Funsponge cites Luke as an example saying he made the song his own. It’s the sharp edge of the competition and he needs to make things a bit more Nicholas. Durrbot then asks him about singing at Hampden on Friday night he says he was honoured and it was an honour.
So, that’s it! Lines are open. Let’s have a bit of a recap of the night and get everyone back on stage before I tell you all to join me tomorrow to see how those carefully aimed buses land alongside Funsponge singing on stage and the human trainwreck that is Miley Cyrus.