X Factor – Hallowe’en Week

So nice to have a theme week based around a genre that the contestants might actually go to work in. The novelty Hallowe’en Album market is HUGE.

Boys

Bless Aiden Grimshaw. He was pretty much the only one even trying to do an actually unnerving performance for Hallowe’en. There was everyone else titting around in light-up hen party devil horns, or desperately scanning lyric sheets for vague uses of the word “spell”, “magic” or “zombie apocalypse” (as used in the original Ryan Tedder cut of Bleeding Love). But Aiden Grimshaw wasn’t having any of that. Oh no. Slow a song down, sing it in a creepy voice, twitch about like a nutter, and borrow some of Storm’s gimps to stand around in front of a giant clock. For pre-watershed ITV it was as scary as it gets outside of episode of Loose Women when they’re talking about sexual positions. It’s kind of a shame he opted as Thriller for a song, as Michael Jackson songs really don’t go for the slow-down treatment, and it outmatched his voice, but you know…Halowe’en. Might as well give it a go.

Much better thanMatt Cardle‘s effort at any rate. Everyone knows that every decent horror needs a reasonable body count, and the murder of one Leona Lewis song isn’t nearly enough. Maybe if he’d worked in “Happy” or that one where she’s a hooker-ringmaster or… no that’s it isn’t it? Those are all the Leona Lewis songs. So long as you remember that Snow Patrol originally sang Run, which so very many people fail to do. I certainly don’t get buried under an avalanche of cultural whinging about it every time she sings it. Anyway, am bored of Matt singing girl songs for the sake of it now, and Dannii might want to think about not throwing the excitement and difficult of gender-switch around when that’s all he does.

Although he did a better job of that than Paije Richardson did. Bless the poor lad, he was so confused. First he was with a girl, then she was leaving him for another…girl? I mean we all know that X Factor is still a little bit behind the stage where it can acknowledge bisexuality. It’s not even managed to deal with Joe McElderry coming out without frantically pumping the “flush” button on his career until he finally swirls down the pan. No something went very wrong this evening with a very confused young man, struggling with…issues. Now let’s all be quiet and respectful and let him pass on by.

Girls

OK, I have to say that I’m never going to get Rebecca Ferguson. I was present for a conversation at work today where people were saying that she was just too good for the show. She needs to do her own thing. Not go commercial like the show would make her. Preserve her fledgeling talent and work in true jazz and music of the soul. So it really is just me that thinks she mostly sounds like a cat being force-fed its own anus then? I mean she’s a bland, pretty, sweet-seeming young black girl. As such if she wins, she might actually have a career beyond an appearance on next year’s X Factor on an iceberg set surrounded by slip-sliding penguins and swing-dancing polar bears. Surely I should be all for her? And yet I just can’t. That note they chose as her “highlight” for her voting package went through me like light shoots through all 10 ears of One Direction and out the other side again.

Would that TreyC Cohen had such an easy passage through…well anything. After their aborted attempt to turn her into a rock chick, the show has absolutely no clue what to do with her does it? Shouting her way through Relight My Fire? Is this the best they can do? Cheryl doesn’t know where she lives. The chyron editors are probably on the verge of forgetting her bizarrely spelt name and introducing her as TraySee. She’s just hanging around so she can leave before Katie and prove that Cheryl was Right About Everything All Along As Usual. Poor TreyC. Maybe she can have one defining moment of awesome before she leaves. It is Rock Week next week after all. Why not go out strong and scream your way through Pour Some Sugar On Me?

Speaking of La Weasel, she is rather beginning to beg the question “just how many total nervous breakdowns to Etta James songs can one contestant have before she’s put out of her misery and just allowed to die already?”. Dolled up like Tilda Swinton reeding her way through the Bewitched theme tune and then just running around singing yet another Etta classic, this time bizarrely to the tune of Cry Meow by Pixie Lott. How many wings does this particular butterfly (/moth) have left to pull off at this point. Maybe she can reinvent herself yet again as some sort of leather-clad cigarette-flicking “rock chick” and get herself eliminated. Please?

Finally (*heavy sigh*) Cher Lloyd whose performance didn’t reveal a moderately pleasant singing voice, so much as the public’s kind of gross issues with rap music. Again, some more, lots. I mean, don’t get me wrong, she was no Marcella Detroit, and I think the frantic ramping up that Simon was doing of the performance robbed it of a lot of its resonance, but I hope this is a “yes, she’s proved her vocal credentials to you all now” performance before she goes back to doing what she loved, which I couldn’t abide half the time but which she at least seemed to want to do because she enjoyed it rather than to prove a point, rather than “a whole new direction” for Cher Lloyd wherein she is saved from awful Black People Music.

Overs

Wagner really has become something rather special hasn’t he? Jedward may have been bizarre and theatrical and amatuerish and charming, but they always operated just this side of the line of coherance. Wagner running around bellowing incoherently in Latin and English, swinging from Carl Orff to Meatloaf and back again via…oh who the hell knows what was going on in the middle there, not even Bryan Friedman I’d warrant, let’s say it was some Mama Cass, has no parallel in the history of recorded sound. He’s like a bizarre cross between Daniel Johnston and late night chat-show Oliver Reed.

Mary Byrne on the other hand is superb for her steadfast refusal to spiral into X Factor over-choreoraphy madness, not even a little bit. So you’re sticking little light-up devil horns on her head? Surrounding her with fornicating young people locked up in cages? Making her sing Take That? Sod all that,s he’s standing there in black, blahhring out emotion like she’s trying to keep ships from wrecking on the rocks of heartache like what she has known, and you’re going to like it. DAMNIT. If she doesn’t do “And I’m Telling You” for her eventual Bottom 2 appearance, that’s what the bloody point really?

Groups

And then there was one. Thank goodness, because really, how much more could anybody be expected to find to say about Belle Amie. Throw another failed girlband on the bonfire, we’re not squeezing any more out of this one. It did my heart glad to acknowledge that the Frankenstein Bands on this show really do all hate one another. Belle Amie, with their queasy distance and lack of interest in each other still came out ahead of Hope or Miss Frank, although at least they could sing.

And so to One Direction. Simon’s last best hope – running through hi-NRG maulings of Total Eclipse Of The Heart, born aloft entirely by backing vocals and pre-pubescent screaming. They’re all he has. And unfortunately, it might just be enough.

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