You know, I piss and moan about there not being any weeks revolving around artists I like, and then they do one and I remember why I don’t like that either. Because the songs they pick are always the most obvious mainstream, dull, ballady ones. I guess I just like complaining (YOU’D NEVER GUESS!).
Danyl Johnson : OK, can I use this Danylly Johnson space to say that I didn’t miss John & Edward for one second? And also the clip of them auditioning used for the competition was great in a “no, really people, despite that one clip on Sky News, they actually cannot, in any way, actually sing, like at all, ok?” sort of way. Maybe they were just melted out of my brain because of the excitement of DANYL DANCING! And then immediately proving why this is a bad idea when his ear-piece lept for freedom, making him completely unable to hear the music, Jemini style. Although at least, unlike Jemini, he mostly stayed on point after it happened, and also he didn’t subsequently blame it on terrorists or something. As I like all of the Take That songs written by somebody else, and hate all of the Take That songs written by Take That (unless they’re sung by Ruth Lorenzo), I didn’t mind his song choice either.
Of course the show then missed the entire point of Your Song, which is a very humble little song, about a modest man expressing his love (deliberately) awkwardly through song, by making Danyl honk it like he was in a gale, backed up by a children’s choir. Not for the first time this series, I was with Louis. Too much. Too too much. Oh and I’m quite happy for him managing to hit the big opening note after all that froo-fraw in his VT but…it would have been nice if he’d managed to hit 1 in 8 after it. Which at times seemed like it was proving a problem for him. It’s a shame, because he’s got one of the more interesting voices in the competition, but of all the people left he veers off course more often than anyone else, except perhaps Stacey. He needs training, and a better vocal coach than sodding Yvie.
Lloyd Daniels : Hmmm… if I were a bit conspiracy theory inclined I’d wonder why he wasn’t allowed to open the show, given that all the other performances ran in sequence with each other. Not that they wanted rid of him this week or anything. To be fair it was probably past time, and those…rumours which of course I could repeat here about who in the house was sleeping with who, possibly influenced the producers to try to get shot out of one of the two people involved, not that I’d be insinuating who any of those people were. Ahem. Anyway, “Million Love Songs” was more than adequate on the Lloyd Performance Barometer, and he was sensible to do it for his sing-out. It did unfortunately provoke “I LAHV YOU LLOOOOOOOYD!” teenage panty-wadding in abundance, but really what can you do about that at this point?
“I’m Still Standing” on the other hand was, to coin a Simonism, “indulgent”. Really you know it’s getting close to closing time for a contestant when they start doing “no, really, I’m still here, somehow, can you believe it?” songs. Bless him, he was so taken up with remembering what to do with that bloody cane he forgot to actually do anything than just sing, right out of his face, without any feeling whatsoever. Still, he showed why I liked him when he finished, by agreeing with Dannii’s negative critique. And without calling her “babe” or anything. Sigh. I’ll miss you Lloyd, shit makeover and all.
Olly Murs : Oh Good God no. Not the “singing to an audience member” please God no. I know they’re making every effort to turn him into an “entertainer” rather than a singer, but that’s just beyond the pale. Especially with Simon pretending to hit on her aftwards. And what is it with Simon Cowell ganking Ruth Lorenzo’s best performances to give to his acts? In all the ways he is trying to personally piss me off this series, that’s by far the most egregious. Of course he doesn’t have Ruth’s nuclear bomb strength vocals so it all came across as a bit of poor copy. A more intimate version maybe, but not a particularly deep one.
Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting was better, once I got over Simon sneering as to how it was “Elton’s only butch song”. Fuck the fuck off Simon. Oh and here’s a hint, nothing sounds gayer than using the word “butch”. I quite liked the gimmick of the ring-girls. I have no idea why, except for my eternal soft spot for Bryan Friedman’s overly literal choreography. You couldn’t really hear him most of the time, not that that;s unique of the performances tonight (/these entire past 3 series) but it really was most noticable here. Of course, as Cheryl points out on the Xtra Factor, Beyonce does it, so why not X Factor? Except for the part where Beyonce is ESTABLISHED and so she can dress like a who…I mean use a loud backing track. THAT’S RIGHT CHERYL, I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN! KANDY RAIN FOREVER!
Joe McElderry : OK, first off “Geordie Joe” has officially reached my breaking point. WE KNOW WHERE HE’S FROM CHERYL, IT’S THE ONLY REASON YOU PUT HIM INTO THE TOP 12 IN THE FIRST PLACE. I’m glad he got my favourite Take That (/Barry Manilow) song because, while I like Joe, I do need something a bit extra to push me into actually paying attention to his performances. And if I hadn’t heard he was doing this, I probably wouldn’t have seen the PICTURE FRAME MADNESS! Aint no madness finer. I’m not totally convinced he actually really owned the stage in anything other than a totally theatrical way and his skills at Manilow won’t really tick off the “contemporary?” box that he fails at more than even Olly does, but any performance that involved pcture frame madness would be enough for me to vote, would that I were a person who did that.
“Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” on the other hand was sold by him alone, and damn well. No gimmicks, no attendant nonsense, just him selling the song as hard as he could with his voice (not his face, not ever his face, and he never will) and it’s not really a surprise that after these performances Simon has done a total Alexandra and has basically started supporting him as hard, if not harder than his own acts.
Stacey Solomon : There come in every series of X Factor, times when you look at the screen and think “no really, what the fuck?”. Stacey singing “Rule The World” with a giant ball of flames eminating out of her as thouh she were the Dark Phoenix being one of those times. I know there’s a lot of wank about her being awful at the start of the song but… listen to the recorded pressing of “Rule The World” and specifically Gary Barlow conspicuously failing to get the start down in one take. ). It was ok as it went, and I can’t believe they brought in the “backing singers of vocal support” just in time to drown out the one part she was actually singing well. Arrangement fail quite frankly.
“Something About The Way You Look Tonight” was better, if only because they did more interesting things with the arrangement, and had her singing whilst lounging on a sheepskin rug on a piano. I mean, it played merry hell with her voice, but it was a sheepskin rug on a piano so…I’m quite happy to take the hit. I mean, who doesn’t love a sheepskin rug right?