Hannah Barrett: So for anyone who doesn’t follow the dribblings of Simon Cowell’s increasingly fractured brain with the same assiduity as I do, the reason behind this “Great British Songbook” lark is that Simon is really pissy that there’s a “Great American Songbook” and has decided that THAT’S NOT FURR and the British should have one as well, like those people who occasionally get beetroot faced over having MOWO Awards and a book prize for MENZ. Never mind that the “Great American Songbook” is a vague name for a specific concept (incredibly popular universal global standards born out of the collision of the Broadway tradition with the birth of the Hollywood musical) that doesn’t really exist in this country, and even if you could stretch to it, then it certainly wouldn’t be populated by GEORGE MICHAEL AND COLDPLAY. It’s like someone going “WHY ISN’T THERE A BRITISH MOTOWN, I KNOW, LET’S PRETEND IT’S TINIE TEMPAH AND EMILY SUNDAY!”. Anyway, of course, in the end this just turned out to be an excuse for a load of flag-waving and “British songs that are British” but it always bears repeating just how ignorant Simon Cowell is…of…well…music. Oh and then the whole week was introduced to Dermot stomping out on stage to Norwegian novelty hit “What The Fuck Say” complete with obligatory stupid Dermot dance. BEST OF BRITISH. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Hannah Barrett started us off with a performance of “(I Can’t Get No) Votes”, a very subtle variation on “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” beginning the week with what British pop culture has always done best. Steal from Black American Pop Culture. God bless The Stones. The show’s attempt to make people vote for her just enough to get rid of perennial irritant Fitt Sam involved a crash course from the always popular Nicole Scherzinger who told her to smile more, clap her hands, and ask the audience to sing along, like a cut-price Robbie Williams. Apparently it worked, at least temporarily, just like when they did exactly the same thing with Misha B. Bully. I can’t see it lasting. Unless people find it that funny to make her gasp like Wheezy The Penguin during every Results Show when she’s called safe.
Luke’s Friend: It has come all too late for me to realise now, just as his “Dark Horse” edit is inevitably winding down the way dark horse edits always do, just who Luke’s Friend reminds me of. I could have got some proper mileage out of that. As it is, the chances of Luke turning into a dragon or shooting sparks out of his hands or indeed doing anything interesting at all are not getting any higher. Is there anything more redundant than last year’s John Lewis songs? Tarmaced over and replaced by Lily Allen singing down her nose, with Ellie Goulding long moved on to tarting around in LA with a different man in every video. I can’t imagine Luke’s Friend’s performance of Your Song was helped particularly by the home-video footage of him larking around with a video camera with a woman who was clearly at the very least in her mid 20s (ZOMG PEEDYOPHILE). Nothing is more anathema to a tween-girl fanbase than their idol being into older women. See : that whole period when Curly Direction was slinging it up Caroline Flack and he was briefly supplanted by The Zaynwreck and even (*jesus christ*) LOUIS as the most sexiest member of One Direction. My favourite part of Luke’s Friend’s first journey to the bottom two was this :
Luke’s Friend : “OH HI SEAL”
Seal : “Whatever”
Luke’s Friend : “I sang your song last week”
Seal : “Whoop de fucking doo”
Luke’s Friend : “Should I mention you have lots of other songs and possibly an album out soon?”
Seal : *shrug*
Luke’s Friend : “Anyway, this week I will be doing YOUR SONG…”
Seal : *looks briefly hopeful*
Luke’s Friend : “…by ELTON JOHN”
Oh yeah, and when someone in the audience said something mildly rude to Sharon Osbourne and she couldn’t handle it. That was fun also.
Sam Bailey : My favourite part of Sam Bailey’s performance on the other hand was obviously when she hurled Michael Bolton in the bin with the velocity of Halley’s Comet as soon as could trade him in for Celine Dion. SUDDENLY, Sam Bailey had a new eternal idol who she had worshipped and adored since she was a baby. Celine Dion mostly responded to this by telling Sam Bailey that she was glad someone else had sung “Titanic” other than her, because she pigging hates it. This brought to mind my favourite Celine Dion anecdote, which is that before a major stadium gig, she will occasionally go out on stage before everyone files in, and do a pretend electric guitar solo whilst pretending she’s Slash. Poor Celine and her thwarted rock dreams. Hey, maybe Sam Bailey sneaks out on stage before each live show of The X Factor and does some dub-step or post-punk, before doing the same old boring 80sfied ballid every single week on the broadcast, surrounded by little flickering video-wall candles that look a bit like the hoods of 100 Grand Wizards from the KKK, stood on a staircase that both begins and ends nowhere? Whatever she does, it’s working, as the judges openly debate what songs will go on her winners album, in more depth than will actually going into the process when the time comes (“let’s shut our eyes and point at the Best Of Shirley Bassey”). May Sam Bailey continue to represent the Best Of British, by having kids, eating crap and making fart noises.
Rough Copy: This week Gary Barlow dispatched his Wheelies to beg the Queen for a knighthood. Has anybody so ruthlessly used their acts to fuel their own Cult Of Personality? Come the final they’re not just going to be duetting with him, they’ll all be wearing little cut-out masks of his face and singing “Open Road” after a VT proclaiming it a lost masterpiece that DESERVES MORE RESPECT. As well as begging for honours for their king, this week Rough Copy also accompanied him to perform at a high-end party (and also serve the drinks and check the coats and shake his Garyness’s dinkie dry after he’s had a piddle). As if to complete the process of Barlowfication, they went out and sang Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” (SO BRITISH), glad-handing the audience and peeping on about Jerusalem. As Nicole said, clearly they need to get back to their Souli Roots (I still have no idea what she did, but I appreciate her status as an X Factor Legend that never was along with Goldie Cheung and Ichiro) and reassert some authority before their status as Barlow’s Bitches is immutable.
Sam Callahan: In a way I’m sad that Sam is gone, because trying to work out how he was going to screw things up every single week was getting to be my indisputable highlight of the show. But then again, I’m not sure he ever could have topped off him spending his VT telling us that he’s not just a pretty boy – he’s a SERIOUS MUSICIAN – a whole minute before starting his performance of “Faith” by playing his guitar like it was a cheese-grater and producing sounds that were about as pleasant. And that’s even before he started singing. Of course, decisions such as these aren’t taken lightly, so Sam had to crib special dispensation from the show’s “Head Of Music” (lol) in order to be allowed to take the risk of playing guitar and singing AT THE SAME TIME. The Head Of Music for some reasons objected, on the grounds that it “might affect your vocals”. That something “affecting” Sam Callahan’s vocals could ever be taken as a bad thing makes me baffled as how he ever ascended to the exalted role of “Head Of Music on X Factor” in the first place. I would have settled for a rusty hacksaw “affecting” them myself. Of course this suggests the self-same Head Of Music” hand-waved through Abi Alton’s plinky-plonk piano every single week without thinking twice. Curiouser and curiouser. Anyway, bye Sam, and I hope all the Cosmo photoshoots you’re about to do land you plenty money.
Tamera Foster: It was always asking for trouble asking Tamera Foster to try to hold two separate thoughts in her head at the same time. The second she was told to imagine that the diamonds in Diamonds Are Forever were her dreams of music stardom you just KNEW that something else was going to go flying right out the other side of her and …POOF there went the lyrics. It was a wonder she didn’t immediately engage her back-up mode and just start belting out Bohemian Rhapsody instead. Lord only knows it would have been more entertaining. It was the usual Tamera Foster performance – nicely sung outside of a few really terrifying power notes and utterly irrelevant. I did love though that Gary chastised her for not having a standout “Winners Moment” performance, like she was going to have one of those stumbling in and out of a giant white neon cube surrounded by rubbish backing dancers. From the constant monotone finalists chant of “SAM-NICHOLAS-ROUGH COPY” gaining momentum, it’s fairly clearly she’s been edged out of the producers initial plans for her as the new Leonabot as well. Poor Tamera. Still, she’s young.
Nicholas MacDonald : Anybody wondering what one of said WINNERS MOMENTS is supposed to look like, had their question nigh-on immediately answered, as Nicholas wailed out Adele in the Pimp Slot, surrounded by a full string-section and piano, swirling fog and glamorously pure white lights, after a VT full of them insisting that it was DEFINITELY teenage girls that want to be his girlfriend, not disturbing 30something PEEDYOFILE women, who will mask it under an unconvincing patina of saying they want to “mother him” (“nurse him” would be closer to the truth, I imagine). Because nothing says X-Factor Winner’s Moment more than a gender-swapped, anodyne slice of the current depressing trend of Divorce-Pop. Not that I think Nicholas will win, but I would imagine this is supposed to make it feel like ol’ ScrewBo now has “competition”. Depressing competition.
Next week : THE BEST OF 10 YEARS OF XFACTOR. I will accept nothing less than the glorious return of Wagner, Stacey Solomon, the Leonadroid, Tesco Mary, Johnny Robinson, Misha B Bully going “HA HA HA” and rapping about crisps, Same Difference, My Name Is Brenda Please Insert Girder, a glorious reunion of the entire Overs category from Series 5, Katie Weasel, a solo slot for Resentful Direction, 2 SHOES, a very weepy Rylan and, of course, Rowetta backstage spilling everyone’s BISEXUAL SECRETS.
I would imagine we’re getting Olly Murs though. Ah well.