Luke Friend: What I liked most about Luke Friend this week is, after proving his MANHOOD in the sing-off last week by throwing down his guitar and HOWLING, Louis Walsh still introduced him going into his first song this week as “a little boy from Devon”. It is entertaining as ever watching Louis try to promote someone with pretensions to artistry, rather than a joke act or a Mum’s Favourite act. He still kind of wants you to pinch Luke Friend’s little cheeks and then confiscate his weed. Anyway, as we are in the semi-finals now, Luke got some Next Level instruction as to how best to bring his guitar-strumming, Mumford-apeing style to Elton John vs Beyonce Week. First of all NotThatCisco told him not to try to dance like Beyonce did in the Crazy In Love video for his version of “Best Thing I Never Had”, which ended up sounding a bit like a vegan-option “Bad Moon Rising”. Personally I’m never really a fan of Making It Your Own on this show but at least he made the song a bit faster, as opposed to the usual SLOWING IT DOWN and MAKING IT BORING. I’ll never forgive Ella Henderson for what she did to Believe. NEVAH. For the Elton John round, Luke performed “Something About The Way You Like Tonight” in a truly hideous purple velvet lounge-suit and got praised for being on the show “for the music” rather than for the fame. As a compliment this was said. Somebody being on The X Factor “for the music” was being used as a compliment, rather than a back-handed way of suggesting they’re a bit thick. To be honest, it was a bit of a middling week for Luke, which is why I was grateful for this week’s mandated use of the Product Placement Phone, which was going back through Luke’s “journey” on the show. I may have squealed a little when The Boat appeared. Who didn’t love The Boat? Sadly nobody loved it enough to bounce Luke Friend high enough to avoid the bottom 2, where he met his natural end and John Lewis’d himself on “Somewhere Only We Know”.
And then…survived. Maybe it was Alexandra Burke’s endorsement (dot com)?
Nicholas McDonald: Nicholas’s recap of past performance was by some distance less interesting than Luke’s, and it was only partly due to the lack of boat. There’s just been so little range to the stuff he’s done this series, and when he has pushed himself outside of his box, it’s been kind of terrifying. Although not as terrifying as his version of Halo which (FUN FACT) is my favourite Beyonce song, and which he fed right through the Rosie Ribboniser somewhere around the key change. So badly that it made Sharon Osbourne crack up laughing, which is officially the only bearable thing Sharon Osbourne has done all series. Of course she then ruined it by yelling “TELL THE MOTHER EVERYTHING! WHY ARE YOU CRYING?” at him like she was angling for a very special guest role in an incest themed episode of Law & Order : Special Victims Unit. (Nicholas was crying because he wanted to go all the way by the way. In the competition). Louis followed this up by snapping at Nicholas “STOP CRYING! I WANT TEARS OF JOY!”. Seriously, Best Mentor Ever. At least he clued in to Nicholas’ natural appeal for his Elton John song, a version of “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” performed halfway up a giant staircase so comically outsized it made Wee Nicholas look a bit like Robin The Frog. I have to say that the brief appearance of the memorial CONTEMPORARY DANCERS OF DOOM did make me worry a bit that they might be trying to get rid of Nick before the final, but thankfully he survived, making a finale where Sam Bailey slaughters both of her sons mercilessly, like some sort of X Factor Medea, a racing certainty. What a narrative.
Sam Bailey: Speaking of the mother of all overs, this week Sharon decided that the best thing she could do as a mentor was to get her out of the house. Into a different house. Hers. With lots of deers running around everywhere and a great big swing. As Judges Houses go, I’m sorry it won’t be appearing next year, as it certainly beats the arse off another Mediterranean Anonyvilla. Speaking of anonymous, Sam Bailey’s performance of “If I Were A Boy” was probably her worst of the series so far. She bellowed off-key throughout and inserted a patented unnecessary X Factor key-change in a vain attempt to try to get the song into her range, and still didn’t manage it, any more than the X Factor stylists pulled off her special SEMI-FINALS MAKE-OVER via the medium of stapling her into a dress more restrictive than the prison she wardens, and sticking her in one of Leona’s cast-off wigs (ONE MORE SLEEPS TIL WORLD DOMINATION!). In fact the Product Placement Phone showed that Sam Bailey veered from one ill-advised pantsuit to another. Presumably they had a job lot left over from when they were still hoping people would find Komedy Shelley hilarious and then…nobody cared. Sam Bailey’s performance in the Elton John round was “Candle In The Wind” and she gets all the points I can possibly give for not singing the Princess Diana version. Although I’m sure if he’d not hung on for those lost few days, Simon Cowell would have made her make it about Nelson Mandela somehow.
Rough Copy: Dermot introduced Gary this week as having been 2nd two years ago, then 3rd last year, as though this meant he was going to win this year. I don’t think Dermot’s too strong at sequences to be honest with you. In fact Gary ended up exactly where destiny would have him land : 4th. Oh yeah, and his act as well. Can’t forget them. Yet. As much as Gary Barlow might whitter on about how he performed at Wembley with Take That in 1992, would you like to see a video of it? Although I did learn all their names this week. There’s Sterling, Joe and…erm…no, it’s gone again. Caz? Yaz? Howard Donald? Speaking of irrelevant back-ups, Rough Copy sang “Survivor” by “Beyonce” for their first song this week. Michelle who? Kelly what? Their performance basically consisted of them being incredibly breathy and then shining a laser directly in Louis’ face until he started crying and wailing for them to STOP IT. When HE had an urban vocal harmony group he made them sing Beatles medleys and “Stand By Me” and maybe occasionally a bit of a jig. No KILTS, no BACKPACKS, no HIP HOP DANCING and most certainly no EFFING LASERS. Taking this on board, they sang “Sorry Seems The Hardest Word” to round out their X Factor stay, like Blue but without an Anthony Costa. It was appropriately boring that none of the judges fell out their rocking chairs.
I mean obviously that wasn’t the lasting final impression of them, which was of yer man yelling “MAKE A NOISE IF YOU BELIEVE IN GOD” just as Dermot was trying to interview them out, an event which he was clearly not happy about. There is no place for God on this show boys. None. He’s still doing the American version.