Saturday, 26 October 2013

X Factor 2013 (26th October)

This week's theme is movies. Why the crap has someone given Barlow a light saber?

Rough Copy. Everything I Do I Do It For You.
This week the X Factor finalists were invited to the Thor 2 premier. I expect we will be reminded of this fact a lot.
I suspect there was a good deal on dry ice machines. Their harmonies don't sound spot on tonight, but they're normally pretty perfect so maybe I just have high expectations.
Nicole thanks them and tells us that that's the way to kick off a show. Louis thinks they're like a UK version of Boyz II Men (that comparison was made last week, Walsh). Sharon says they're beyond where they should be at week 3. Gary likes that they focused on the vocals this week.

Sam Callahan. (Didn't recognise the song).
Sam was really really pleased with his performance last week. This week he is torso of the week in Heat magazine. He also got to go to the Thor 2 premier (told you so).
I just don't like him. He got a place in the finals because he's pretty, but I don't like his voice or his irritating smile, or the fact that he insists on wearing skinny jeans each week when they really don't suit him.
Sharon questions what film the song was from. Sam isn't really sure, so he looks like a bit of a plonker. Gary thinks it was a weak vocal performance. Nicole agrees with Gary. Louis says the audience loves it and that Sam works hard (translation: I also think it was a bit rubbish).

Hannah Barrett. Skyfall.
This week Hannah took Nicole to Greggs. For some bizarre reason Nicole ends up in a Greggs uniform, serving Hannah pasties. Apparently this is all good practise for a singing competition.
Good song choice! I can totally see Hannah doing a song for a Bond film in the future.
Louis tells Hannah she was born to sing. He gives her 10 out of 10. Sharon thinks Hannah has "so much" going on for her, she tells her it was magnificent. She gives her 30 out of 10. Gary says it was sensational and he doubts anyone will be able to beat her performance. Nicole says it made her want to "get up and dance and look stupid". She then tells herself to shut up.

Nicholas 'life confuses me' McDonald. Angel.
This week Nicholas has been learning how to use the washing machine and the iron. Do this lot ever do singing practise?
Either Nicholas has been taking fashion tips from Louis, or he ironed his own jacket because it's horrible. He sings the song well but I've spent so long being disgusted by the jacket that it's almost over and time for the judges' thoughts.
Sharon is full of praise (seriously there's too much for me to get it all typed down). Gary thinks it was another great vocal performance but he wants him to do something a little less serious. Nicole says that when Nicholas sings it brings her calm and peace. She also wants to go sailing with him. Well you can probably go next week, if you can fit it in between all the singing practise (sarcasm sarcasm sarcasm).

Abi Alton. Moon River.
Abi states the bleeding obvious by admitting that last week wasn't her greatest. Abi and Nicole spent some time watching films (heaven forbid she actually PRACTISE SINGING). She also went to the Thor 2 premier. Of course she did.
Well phew, it's much better than last week. Mind you, my grammar song was a better vocal performance than last week (plug plug plug). Abi seems relieved to get through it.
Louis thinks she came back fighting. Sharon says Abi was very brave but says that people will put the kettle on while she's singing - she wants more charisma. Gary thinks it was too over-thought. Nicole gives praise but Abi's on the verge of tears because Osbourne basically called her dull.

Miss Dynamix. Dreams Can Come True.
MD are actually going to perform this week (yes, I know one of them is pregnant, but perhaps she shouldn't have continued with the competition this year if she was going to be heavily preggo by the end).
They sound pretty good together but I'm not sure about individually. By the key change I'm bored.
Nicole thinks it was an excellent song choice but she didn't like the vocals or energy. Louis advises them to spend more time in rehearsals and less time on twitter (meow). The audience isn't very quick to boo these comments, by the way. Sharon likes the song choice but thinks there's some connection missing. Gary thinks the critiques are a little unfair.

Sam Bailey. My Heart Will Go On.
You'll never guess what Sam's been up to this week! (I'm not typing it again.)
She nails it. Of course she does. I'd love her to win the whole thing but I don't think an over 25 has won since the first year (please do correct me if I'm wrong).
The applause goes on for a long time. Eventually Gary says Sam sang it better than Celine. Nicole describes it as 'machesticle' (the boobs are out, you see). Sharon hopes Simon Cowell is watching so he can give her a record deal right now.

Little Mix are taking time out of their busy schedule to be in the audience tonight. (Snarky snarky snarky.)

Kingsland Road. Pretty Woman.
KR want to get the emotion and passion from their 'save me' song last week into each performance.
They sound good. If I didn't dislike boy bands so much I'm sure they'd be a favourite.
Nicole thanks them but says that at times it's "raining a little bit of cheese". Louis thinks they have better hairdos than last week but he doesn't like the song choice. Sharon says they tick all the right boxes.

Luke Friend. Kiss From A Rose.
Luke's decided to call his supporters 'Friendies'. Lame.
I'm not convinced this will be a good song choice for him, but actually once he gets to the chorus it's pretty good. Yeah, I like it.
Sharon thinks Luke's got an edge and he's dirty. Gary says it was the surprise of the night. Nicole likes the song choice. Louis thinks it was Luke's most relaxed performance of the competition.

Tamera Foster. Listen.
This week Tamera got a makeover (she's now blonde, apart from really bad roots - is that fashionable now?)
It's always a little weird when they have to cut the song down drastically, so Tamera ends up at the huge notes rather quickly but it's faultless. Possibly the performance of the night.
Louis says she stole the show. Sharon thinks she is the quintessential popstar but she wants to hear more soul. Gary thinks it was too much like a Beyonce impression. Nicole defends her fiercely.

Thankfully the big storm outside refrains from interfering with the TV signal for just long enough for Dermot to announce that Miss Dynamix has lost the flash vote and will be in the sing off tomorrow.

Monday, 21 October 2013

X Factor 2013 (19th October)

The recap's late but it'll still be great!

That almost certainly won't be the last time I write that phrase this series, so apologies in advance.

Last week Lorna Simpson was the first to be voted off the show, leaving Sharon with just two acts, and everyone else with three.

Tonight's theme is love and heartbreak.

Has Dermot given up on the dancing this year, or is that a special treat reserved for the Sunday results shows?

Oh, this flash vote is to be a weekly thing. I see.

Sam Bailey. To Make You Feel My Love.
Sam has two loves in her life. Football and her husband. I was expecting 'my children and my husband' but nevermind.
Very simple staging (just Sam with a couple of violinists) and the audience is silent until she hits the big notes, which earns the compulsory applause.
Gary says there's a great level of expectation with Sam but that tonight's performance was fantastic. Nicole disagrees and says that it left her 'luke-warm'. Louis cheerfully pipes up that he has a new name for Sam - Screwbo - because she worked at a prison ... and looks like Susan Boyle? Sharon is mightily insulted on behalf of her act. Sharon says it was beautifully confident and controlled.

Kingsland Road. Marry You.
KR are very excited to have nice-looking ladies on stage with them during their performance tonight. Quite a lot of their introductory video is taken up by them talking about the nice-looking ladies and how excited they are about them.
It's good, they're in tune, I'm just not very interested in boy bands. The nice-looking ladies are wearing baseball caps with BRIDE across the front, classy. At the end of the song the dancers each throw a bouquet and Louis ends up catching one. He's so bloody happy - it's absolutely made his day.
Nicole thinks they did a good job but questioned why there weren't any lead vocals. Louis just loves everything and notes that he and Gary know more about boy bands than anyone else on the panel, which has Sharon cackling. Sharon likes the energy. Gary praises their work ethic.

Nicholas McDonald. She's The One.
Louis tells Nicholas what he'll be singing this week and asks whether he's ever been in love. Nicholas seems confused by the question. I'm beginning to think that Nicholas finds life confusing. Because he's never been in love, he's going to sing to Nicole, whom he has a crush on. Bless.
He sings it well but when 'the one' dancer he's supposed to be singing about comes on stage at the end he's pointing at Nicole. Awkward.
Sharon likes the performance but is concerned that the dancer is a 'paediaphile' - what is Mrs O. on tonight? Gary likes his voice but not the staging. Nicole's heart is melted every time she hears Nicholas sing. Louis thinks he has likeability.

Abi Alton. Can't Get You Outta My Head.
Abi finds singing on the live shows terrifying. Nicole takes her bowling. I'm not sure of the link either.
I don't like any of this. The dancers are in It's Raining Men rain coats so I half expect them to strip off at some point, her vocals aren't great and she's quite obviously still very nervous, which makes me nervous.
Louis loved Abi's performance last week but didn't like tonight's. He says he can't get it out of his head 'for all the wrong reasons'. Exactly how long do you think he spends thinking of these hilarious puns? Sharon says it was a big risk, but a brave move. Gary thinks it was a bit sleepy. Nicole prefers Abi's version to the original and says she looks like a hot tamale.

Shelley Smith. Single Ladies.
Shelley didn't like being in the bottom two. Oh Shelley.
It starts off slowly with just Shelley on stage but things soon get marvellously camp when the backing dancers join her. Unfortunately she reminds me of Miss Piggy this week, and the slightly irritating facial expressions are not helping much. She seemed to enjoy herself though.
Gary doesn't like the song choice. Nicole loves the energy but thinks it was a little 'shweird'. Louis thinks Shelley has a future in the West End. Sharon desperately wants people to vote for Shelley.

Dermot informs us that one member of Miss Dynamix was taken ill shortly before the show and, as a result the band will not be performing and will have a free pass through to next week. Apparently the other two in the band couldn't learn her part of the song in time. Personally I think this is rather unfair.

Sam Callahan. I Won't Give Up.
Sam didn't like some of the comments last week about his vocals, so he's worked hard on them this week. That's good. I still don't particularly like you.
If you didn't know that Louis is Sam's mentor, you'd probably be able to guess from the key change/crescendo + stand up combo.
Sharon thinks it was a great song choice. Gary praises Sam for taking a risk. Nicole agrees. Louis says Sam is a dream to work with.

Tamera Foster. Beneath Your Beautiful.
I don't really like the song, but she sings it flawlessly.
Louis says Tamera's potential is incredible. Sharon says the song was perfect for her. Gary calls her a superstar. Nicole thinks it was beautiful, gorgeous and controlled.

Luke Friend. Let Her Go.
Luke's mum calls him a lot because she loves him and is worried about him living away from home for the first time. He finds it embarrassing. I find your hair embarrassing, sonny, but I don't complain about it on TV in front of millions of people.
Odd staging - lots of dry ice, Luke sitting in a boat, which he gets out of towards the end of the song, breaking the illusion of him being stranded at sea. I'm not really sure what the point of the boat was. Perhaps Louis will explain.
Sharon has a soft spot for Luke and asks Louis what the deal was with the boat. Louis says, "Because he's sailing through to next week." I think someone's been taking too many of his moron pills again. Gary didn't like the boat, he wants Luke to get his 'edge' back. Nicole sings about hairy balls (no, honestly she does). Louis thinks Luke is different.

Rough Copy. I Want It That Way.
RC had an excellent first week. One of them (sorry, I don't know their names) has a visit from his three year old son, who is the cutest thing ever.
It's another odd choice of outfits for this lot, but the vocals are good and make up for the fact that one of them is wearing a skirt.
Nicole thinks they took a Backstreet Boys song and turned it into a Boyz II Men song. Louis thinks there's a place for them in the charts. Sharon says their performances are effortless. Gary thinks they're the surprise of the competition.

Hannah Barrett. Beautiful.
Hannah has insecurities about her looks so Nicole takes her shopping.
I hate it when the judges constantly remind us how young a contestant is, but she's got a hell of a voice for a 17 year old. Wow. Nicole looks close to tears.
Louis loves the makeover and the song choice. Sharon says it was magnificent. Gary is on the edge of his seat when he watches Hannah. Nicole: "Hashtag face-goosebumps." I need to start using that phrase.

So that's all the performances. The loser of the flash vote is Kingsland Road and I am reliably informed by twitter that Shelley is voted off on Sunday.

See you next week, hopefully a little more on time :)

Saturday, 12 October 2013

X Factor 2013 (12th October)

It's that time of year again; the X Factor live shows are about to hit our screens. Yes, that weekly reminder that you don't have anything better to do with your Saturday evenings than watch yet another reality TV show whose contestants will disappear back into obscurity within a month of it ending, is back.

But it's okay because, as the late, great Zac Efron once sang, we're all in this together

Earlier I asked twitter whether anyone wanted me to do these recap bloglets again this year. The response was overwhelming non-existent, but I'm forging ahead regardless. Because I enjoy writing them and I find myself hilarious.

Tonight's theme is 80s. Excellent.

Dermot informs us that there will be a 'flash vote' at the end of tonight's show, which means that one act will be put in the sing-off straight away.

Hannah Barrett. What's Love Gotta Do With It.
Hannah is clearly loving the whole X Factor experience, but she's been on vocal rest for two weeks.
It's a good start to the show. A solid performance, though perhaps not as strong as her previous auditions, probably because her voice isn't at its best.
Louis thinks it must be daunting to open the show. He reminds us that we must vote for Hannah if we want to see her next week. Full of useful advice as always. Sharon thinks she's fabulous. Gary believes Hannah's raised the bar for the competition already. He's also pleased she got through a whole song without crying (amen to that, sister).

Nicholas McDonald. True.
Nicholas is only 16, so he obviously doesn't remember the 80s. He apparently hadn't heard of the song, or Spandau Ballet before this week. I'm 25. I was born in the 80s, but I don't remember them. I do however, know the song (and indeed the band) because I'm not a moron.

Miss Dynamix. Jump.
One of them is pregnant. "Just over five months" pregnant. So if they stay in the competition until the end (doubtful - they're a girl band) she'll be heading towards humong-o.
Louis thinks they need to work harder if they want to stay in the competition. Sharon wants them to enjoy it more. Gary doesn't disagree.

Sam Bailey. The Power of Love.
Sam wants to prove she has a place in the competition, Robbie Williams doubted her, you see. I really don't like this song, so Sam's got a job on her hands to win me round. 
She's bloody good. There's absolutely nothing to criticise or be sarcastic about, which is a shame for the purpose of this bloglet, but it's true. She's ace.
Gary thinks she's in a league of her own. Louis is nodding. Nicole is speechless, Sharon says she nailed it. Sam's just glad she got down the stairs in heels. Love her. Bloody love her.

Sam Callahan. Summer of '69.
Sam is one of those people who irritates me and I can't really give a reason why.
Lordy there's a lot of make up going on on his face. Exactly how much foundation did they use? The vocals are not great but he's trying hard. Teenage girls will love him, so he'll be around for a while yet. Joy.
Sharon asks whether Sam was happy with his performance (he was). She says he has the whole package. Gary thinks Sam looks like a popstar but that the vocals were quite poor (so he sounds like some popstars too, *snort*). Nicole says Sam has determination. Louis tells us Sam works hard and that he thinks Sam will be around for a while because girls will love him - yup.

Kingsland Road. I'm Your Man.
KR are rather excited to be in the final 12. Their excitement borders on irritating actually (can you tell I don't like boybands?)
Boyband checklist:
Synchronised dance steps: check
Annoying bouncy energy: check
Matching, but not quite matching outfits: check
Prancing around the back of the judges' seats: check
High-fiving the audience: check
Nicole is not going to lie, she was impressed. She's going to call them Hairland. Louis loves it, of course he does. Sharon thinks they'll go a long way and Gary says all the hard work has paid off and that there's no one like them out there at the moment (except One Direction?!)

Shelley Smith.
I love Shelley for her accent alone.
It always surprises me that people lose their accent when they start singing. In Shelley's case it's a bit of a shame actually. Would love to hear what How Do I Get You Alone sounds like in a strong West Country accent.
I've tuned out for a few seconds and Shelley's suddenly on top of a scissor lift. Louis loves it. Simple things.
Gary thinks Shelley was stuck in the 80s (rather than modernising the song). Sharon smooshes his face. Nicole likes the transformation. Louis says "Hey Shelley, you gave it welly." No word of a lie - those were his exact words. Idiot.

Abi Alton. Livin' On A Prayer.
I like Abi because she seems normal. She doesn't know what do to with herself during photo shoots and seems genuinely surprised to see herself "looking so nice" in the pictures afterwards.
A completely different version of the song, so much so that I don't immediately recognise it. It's nice but it's difficult not to compare it to, and prefer, the original.
Louis thinks it's an amazing interpretation and that it could be a hit. Sharon agrees. She also says it was unrecognisable (so I'm forgiven). Gary notes that the audience was silent during her performance when they'd been particularly rowdy up to that point. Nicole is proud.

Lorna Simpson. So Emotional.
Lorna's the meh act for me this year. Apparently she's the meh act of the show because Sharon's determined to get her noticed.
You know what I just realised? There's no joke act this year. There's no Rylan or Wagner. I'm a little sad.
She has a great voice but I don't think she'll stay for long. She's just quite forgettable. If she was on a show like I'm A Celebrity she'd stick around because the public just wouldn't notice her for a while. She may actually be the one who loses the flash vote tonight.
Gary thinks the first 30 seconds weren't good, but that she saved it from then. Nicole agrees. She also says she didn't remember Lorna from before. Seriously I could judge this stuff. If they want a replacement for Gary next year I'm available. Sharon's full of praise.

Tamera Foster. Ain't Nobody.
Now I think that Tamera got a place in the finals over a girl that I preferred, so she had better impress tonight.
She's very good but again I'm wishing there was a joke act right about now. At least there's some weirdness with the backing dancers, who are for some strange reason wielding metal fences.
Louis likes her style and confidence. Sharon things she's exotic. Gary says she has the X Factor (shall we all just pack up and go home now then?) Nicole is proud again.

Luke Friend. Every Breath You Take.
Luke's hair has its own twitter account. Of course it does.
Despite the silly hair and the purple velvet jacket and the fact that I shouldn't, I quite like him. He's different to all the other teenagers on the show. The stupid video of his face in the background is stupid and annoying and unnecessary, but I like him.
Sharon says the performance value was bang on but his voice wasn't the greatest. Gary thinks his voice is an acquired taste. Nicole likes the sincerity and rawness. Louis loves the energy. He thinks he brought it, whatever 'it' is.

Rough Copy. In The Air Tonight.
Rough Copy's back as a three because Gary's pulled some strings.
They're very good at harmonising, which I think just goes to show how great the groups can be when they're not shoved together at the last minute and expected to have chemistry.
Nicole says they might be the best band she's ever seen on the show. Louis thinks it was the surprise of the night. Sharon says they delivered a perfect performance. Gary loves everything about them.

After a decent amount of filling, it's time for the flash vote, and because I'm not good at building tension, I'll just tell you straight away that Shelley (nooooo) loses the flash vote and will be in the sing-off tomorrow.

If you enjoyed reading tonight's bloglet, do come back again next week. If you didn't enjoy it, don't come back next week - it'll be more of the same and you'll only find it annoying.