7:29 Good evening! I’m Jack Seale, and back in June I beat thousands of other auditionees at the O2 Arena to become the Radio Times X Factor Liveblogger 2011. Join me as we watch the final 12 fight TO THE DEATH! And by death, I mean one of them not being allowed to sing next week. Please make use of the comment function! Together we can get through this, I know we can.
7:41 So last week: Amelia Lily, 2 Shoes, James Michael and Jonjo Kerr were ruthlessly expunged. Mostly the right decisions, I think, with the obvious exception of 2 Shoes who deserved to be crowned champions immediately and issued with damehoods, at the very least. Who’s going tonight? My money’s on Rhythmix, with a small saver bet on Sami Brookes. Yourself?
7:43 Jeremy Kyle’s going to HELP people on his new quiz show! I like him now! (Sorry. It hasn’t started yet.)
7:44 The power is back in our hands, says the continuity announcer. YES! It’s like Tahrir Square all over again.
7:46 IT’S TIME! TERFAYYZE! THAAAMUUUUUUZIIIIK!
7:49 Good spin from Dermot tonight, nice and slow, just making it round before falling effortlessly into his opening lateral walk. Beautiful. Preceded by a playful leg-cock, I noticed, but sadly the camera was too far away to do it justice.
7:50 It’s NU VIBE! Again the theme of the opening VT is that they hate each other. Never mind, eh? It never did Steps any harm.
7:51 Separate platforms.
7:51 Comment From Ralf Nu Vibe hate each other, but greed has brought them together, it’s so touching
7:53 Comment From Olivia Nu Vibe love a cheesy euro riff don’t they?
7:54 Comment From Dingo NU VIBE: If One Direction had ASBOs.
7:55 It’s a dancey version of With Or Without You by U2. Quite moany. Boy band, in the sense of sounding like 12-year-olds. Going first as well, which isn’t good in a public vote. Louis drops “There’s something missing” which, let me tell you, means he doesn’t like it. Kelly didn’t mind it but Gary Barlow thought it lacked tightness. Nu Vibe could be going, which I think we can all agree would be brilliant.
7:56 The theme this week, by the way, is love. So again, that’s nearly all pop songs ever.
7:56 Ad break. Bring on Yeo Valley!
8:01 Louis introduces SAMI BROOKES. “She’s from Wales.”
8:02 “I’ve had a lot of messages on my Facebook from overweight children. They’re going to have singing lessons.”
8:02 Comment From Adrian I prefer the Yeo Valley song to all those on the X Factor
8:04 Sami sings I Will Always Love You. At least, I think it’s Sami. Possibly they’ve put a tape of Malta’s 1993 Eurovision entry on by mistake.
8:07 I like Sami but that was all over the place. 23 notes where there should be 1, and none of them the right one. Blown it. “You have a massive voice… you nailed it,” Tulisa lies politely. “You look gorgeous tonight,” says Gary, kindly overlooking Sami’s questionable straight fringe and shiny forehead. I think we’re all more or less agreed. Cruise ship, as Gary so rightly said. “I tell you what, I love Jane McDonald,” Sami says, unwisely.
8:12 CRAIG COLTON! Come on! Craig was easily the best last week.
8:12 Comment From Kim Gary trying desperately to stop Sami requesting a duet with Jane McDonald! Love it!
8:13 Comment From Ray The Scientist trending on Twitter before Frankie performs it
8:13 Comment From Faye Less of the whistle register and back to the cash register for Sammi
8:16 Craig does Best Thing I Ever Had by Beyonce. Not as good as last week, but then, how could it be? The backing track seemed a bit fast for him – which led to some pitch problems as he tried to catch up – and I’m not sure about the raspberry trousers, but surely Craig isn’t going anywhere.
8:17 “You deserve to be on that stage!” says Louis, hoping people will forget the bit last week where he said the same to Amelia and his voice cracked. Too late. It was on TV Burp.
8:18 Someone has to cut Craig’s fringe precisely every week. I wouldn’t want that pressure.
8:21 JANET DEVLIN. News of her grandfather’s death, followed by a couple of seconds of a silent black screen. Janet sings the UB40 classic Can’t Help Falling in Love.
8:21 Comment From Dingo Eurovision: Malta 1993 and now Ireland 1998!
8:22 Took the words right out of my mouth, Dingo. It must have been when you were kissing me. This too is Eurovisiony.
8:23 Pretty poor, that, but I hope we’re not the sort of country that votes off a 16-year-old whose grandpa just died. ARE WE, BRITAIN?
8:24 “I feel every note you sing,” says Gary. That’s the Celtic twang vibrating your innards, Gaz.
8:26 Kelly says Janet’s grandfather would be proud. Dermot says she must have been doing that for her family. They just stopped short of whipping out sharpened sticks and poking Janet, screaming “CRY ON CAMERA, YOU LITTLE BLEEDER! GO ON! IT’S TV GOLD!” Janet didn’t comply, to her credit.
8:29 Comment From Kim Janet a recording artist……I could just about cope with 1 song…..but an album? Nooooo!
8:29 Comment From Tim I don’t just hear and feel every note you sing – I see every note you sing, Janet… And smell and taste it…
8:30 Lock up your ears! It’s randy 1970s milkman FRANKIE COCOZZA!
8:31 My wife confidently predicts that Frankie’s hair smells funny.
8:33 It’s the first major Preview of Doom of the series, as we learn that The Scientist by Coldplay was a last-minute change. And Frankie is getting the words slightly wrong, but the real problem is – I hadn’t really noticed this before – Frankie can’t sing at all. Sounds like someone’s sitting on his chest, and not in a sexy way. It’s weak.
8:33 Comment From Tuckin Somebody please make it stop! He’s murdering my TV.
8:34 Comment From Jude I’m bracing myself for the week they make Frankie do The Strokes. It’ll be the end of music.
8:35 Louis says Frankie has lost his swagger, an attempt to use post-1960s slang that gets short shrift from Kelly. He’s right, though.
8:35 Comment From Dingo Murdering a Coldplay classic – surely that can’t go down well with viewers. But he does already have an army of Twitter fans, unfortunately.
8:37 “I should have given him I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston!” says Gary. “It wouldn’t have been as good as our version!” is Louis’ comeback. People not getting your sarcasm: story of my life. I sympathise, Gaz.
8:38 JOHNNY ROBINSON defends his Bacofoil Cowboy outfit from last week, before marvelling at Twitter. Sami’s got a Blueberry, apparently.
8:39 Johnny does Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie Minogue. A bad start as Johnny momentarily forgets the lyrics, between “just” and “can’t”.
8:39 Johnny is offputtingly thin. Craig is trying to lose weight. There’s an obvious solution here.
8:41 It’s a trademark Louis Walsh production, bringing out the inner Japanese vibe of the song by putting Johnny in a kimono and surrounding him with similarly attired dancers. Johnny shouts “VOGUE!” at the end for no reason, then waves delightedly at the crowd.
8:41 Louis defends those god-awful squeaky vocals. “It’s only week one!” It isn’t, in fairness.
8:44 “He looks like he’s in Aladdin!” says Gary. “I’d rub your lamp any time,” replies Johnny, bringing the house down and rendering his singing more or less irrelevant. Which is a good strategy.
8:47 Comment From Tuckin At least Johnny remembered to shout “Vogue” at the end, rather than “Harper’s Bazaar”.
8:48 Nu Vibe or Sami hot favourites to go now I think. Rhythmix will probably be terrible, but they’ve got a favourable late draw.
8:50 MARCUS COLLINS! During the week I nailed down exactly what his outfit last week was. At the time I said waiter at an outdoor event – specifically, though, it was Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall in Coming To America, waiting at the event hosted by Mr McDowell where Eddie Murphy ends up comforting the woman on the swings. Anyway.
8:53 Marcus is singing Russian Roulette by Rihanna. Not, as I first thought, It Must Have Been Love by Roxette, which would have been more fun. Quite good. A bit of dramatic oomph, anyway.
8:54 The judges hated it. Even Marcus’s mentor Gary Barlow said it was “absolutely brilliant”, but with a “no it wasn’t” expression.
8:56 “It’s your girls next door, RHYTHMIX!” says Tulisa. Are they a better girlband than Bad Lashes, Kandi Rain or, er, Girlband, asks the VT? Let’s aim high, ladies.
8:57 Have Rhythmix got some new members? I didn’t recognise that Geordie one.
8:58 Rhythmix do I’m Like A Bird by Nelly Furtado, which was before Nelly went all jiggy, although Rhythmix are trying to jig it right up in your grills in the area innit.
8:59 Slightly weird Dario G vibe to that. Yes, I referenced Dario G.
9:01 Tulisa reckons Rhythmix fans across the UK are saying: “We are women. Let’s unite and stay strong!” Let’s also get dressed by flailing around in the bins round the back of Primark in the middle of the night!
9:02 Comment From Jude Louis might say ‘You’re like a little Loose Women!’
9:07 Next: MISHA B. The papers reckon she and Kelly hate each other more than Nu Vibe hate each other. More than Frankie hates soap.
9:08 Bearded voice coach alert! Who is he?
9:09 Misha does… hang on, this is Would I Lie To You by Charles and Eddie! Blimey.
9:10 Of course, it’s a Martian doom-techno version of the Charles and Eddie classic, performed in a purple foil jumpsuit with a bit of Grace Jones spraypainted cleavage. Cosmic.
9:11 “We need a new urban queen!” says Louis, whose life has long been blighted by this.
9:12 KNEEL BEFORE MISHA B OR SHE WILL DESTROY YOU. I enjoyed that.
9:19 It’s THE RISK! Still cuddling furiously during their VT interviews, which I like. Men shouldn’t be afraid to throw their arms around each other.
9:20 The Risk do Just The Way You Are by funny little saccharine merchant Bruno Mars. You simply cannot go wrong with this. One of them could open fire on the audience and they’d still be through.
9:21 The first Westlife Stools of the series, there. Mature. Reflective. Caring. The Risk.
9:23 Gary: “Guys, two words from me. Westlife Stools.”
9:23 OK, he didn’t say that. He said “pure class”. Hardly different.
9:25 According to Tulisa, fans of The Risk are called “the Riskettes”. Let’s not hastily dismiss “the Riscuits”.
9:26 SOPHIE HABIBIS! “I’m still not as well known as others in the competition.”
9:26 Comment From Jude Sophie should be Jade. I’m not over it.
9:30 Sophie, in an unpretentious red frock, stands there and works her way through Wherever You Will Go by appalling indie milksops The Calling. Dry ice, sparkly bits all around her… it started well, but halfway through Sophie panicked and started shouting like the song was her boyfriend and it had left the club with that slapper Amanda and I HATE HIM. Caterwauling. And yet somehow still boring at the same time.
9:31 Comment From Pete How can the judges say this is good?!
9:31 Comment From Dingo I love her. Her voice crushes me. I wish they wouldn’t style her like the woman from the IT Crowd.
9:31 Sophie thanks the judges for their constructive criticism, but with a look that says “I’ve sharpened these stilettos”.
9:35 Just KITTY BRUCKNELL left, then. She’s doing a big Bjork song, and it isn’t that 25-minute one about mackerel.
9:40 Kitty is controversial, says Louis – like Lady Gaga, Prince and Madonna. It turns out Brian May sent Kitty a supportive email after her version of a Queen song last week, but let’s not get carried away – Brian regularly emails badgers.
9:41 It’s Oh So Quiet, choreographed Alice In Wonderland style. This isn’t completely abhorrent, actually. Not completely.
9:43 A close-up reveals Kitty’s corpse make-up. OK, that’s a bit creepy.
9:48 That’s it! Dermot, about to bust out of his high-buttoned double-breasted at any minute, opens that historic first phone vote of the year. If I had 36p-other-networks-may-be-higher-mobiles-will-be-considerably-more to spare I’d probably stick with Misha B. Nu Vibe and Sami are in trouble, I think, but I reckon Marcus will go earlier than most people expect, if not necessarily this week. On the recap, Craig and The Risk sounded a bit better than they did the first time, and the editors cruelly picked out the bit where Sophie totally lost it.
9:52 Comment From Pete Johnny, Misha B and The Risk for the final 3 with Misha B to win it, I hope.
9:54 Good night, everyone! Many thanks for your comments, your company and your sheer bloody common sense. I’m off to have my hair cut into a sideways fringe. See you next week!