7.56 Welcome! Good evening! I'm Jack Seale, and I'm your host this evening for yet another X Factor live blog. It's week six, which traditionally is about the time when the joke contestants fizzle out and die. So that could mean the end, finally, for Rylan the bearded mannequin. Normally it would also be the point where cheesy lounge singers are under threat but, with Christopher Maloney apparently immortal, perhaps not. So I'm saying Rylan and Union J in the bottom two, with Rylan to leave.
7:57 Nearly time for The X Factor because Take Me Out has finished! If you missed it, this week Peter, a getaway driver from Dartmoor, won a date with Bartholomew, a government minister from London. See how they get on next time.
8:01 Before I go any further than I already have, I really must applaud Ellie Walker-Arnott for yet another light-fingered Strictly blog. She's 84, you know. Incredible. Do join in with our Strictly bloggery next week if you haven't already.
8:05 Here we go! Are you ready? I don't think you're ready.
Liz: Good evening. Tonight I will mainly be enjoying X-Factor with....homemade mince pies!
8:05 Mince pies? In November?! Bit late.
8:06 Tonight's theme is Best of British. Union J are rumoured to be performing Te Deum in G Major by Ralph Vaughan Williams, while James Arthur will do London by William Blake, in a mash-up with Level 42's Running in the Family.
MarilynDHunter: I am ready, willing and able.
8:08 Hello, MarilynDHunter! I like your comprehensive name!
8:09 Dermot arrives to do his mystery sporting mime. Lacrosse? Crazy golf? I really don't know. But the spin this week is textbook: a perfect 360 with wonderfully smooth deceleration into the cocked-leg dismount. Seriously, it's worth catching again on ITV Player.
Dana: Nicole is a walking talking double entendre.
8:11 We're at the stage where we're not getting two songs from everyone, but there aren't that many people left, so there's a lot of filler. There was a long montage of last week before the credits, and we've just had a chat between Dermot and the mentors, which was uneventful apart from Nicole Scherzinger trying to make "stiff upper lip" sound dirty. To be fair, she did a decent job of it.
8:13 First up, the trembling saltwater dispenser of love, CHRISTOPHER MALONEY. He pooh-poohs reports that he's voting for himself thousands of times to keep himself in, hinting that he cannot afford this. We've seen the way he dresses. Case closed.
8:15 It's an age-old sympathy-grabbing intro VT technique, with Chris seen repeatedly being told he's singing I'm Still Standing wrong: too cheesy, when Gaz says he should just attack the notes directly. The idea is that Chris gets it right now and we all applaud like drugged monkeys. Risky.
8:16 The choreography for I'm Still Standing has a skittle theme. Dancers dressed as skittles. A bowling lane animation behind Christopher. Skittles aim to remain standing, you see. That's their aim.
8:18 Anyway, I dunno if that was really much better or worse than any other Christopher turn. It was very lounge singer ("I'm still standing after awl this tam") or, as Nicole and Louis said, "karaoke king". Tulisa wonders if anyone will buy Christopher's album. I will! I'm kidding. I won't.
Kev: Is it really nerves, or does he just feel the cold? - hardly a quiver since he’s been wearing the big coats...and an extra jumper this week too and not the scarf in the VT
8:22 That is among the more fascinating theories we've ever had on this blog, Kev, thank you. Christopher isn't nervous, he's just bloody freezing! Very plausible actually. I imagine his malfunctioning internal thermostat probably affects his larynx in some way.
Kev: Lol, Dermot noted the coats too...Christopher we're on to you!
Pete: Sorry I'm late. Have I missed much?
8:24 Pete! Good evening. I can't honestly say that you have, no. You've missed Christopher, so perfect timing really.
8:25 That said, Christopher is my favourite so far. Anyone agree?
Dana: I think that X Factor is missing the opportunity in turning Christopher into a Susan Boyle-style success story. Older, sings classics, clearly is freaked out by everything. Susan sells loads of albums.
Matthew: I'm writing my dissertation, which is due on Monday, rather than watching. This blog is far more entertaining anyway...:)
8:26 We'll sort it for you Matthew, a few paragraphs each, easy. What's the title?
8:26 Dana: yes! Cover image: Christopher peeking through the curtains in his front window, wearing twelve coats, crying and looking terrified. Can't think of a title right now... bear with me.
Liz: Sunday at 7 on ITV1!!!
8:27 Top in-joking there Liz, I like it. It's like a sort of loyalty scheme.
Matthew: The title is "Does religious experience prove the existence of a higher being?"...I wouldn't bother :D
8:29 That's a ludicrous title for Christopher's album, Matthew. It wouldn't fit on the front of a CD. Honestly.
8:29 Anyway enough yabbering, it's JAHMENE DOUGLAS! He's had a pep talk on the phone from Jennifer Hudson and he's doing a quiet, gospelly Angels by Robert Vaughan Williams.
Claire: I don't think Jahmene knows who Jennifer Hudson is.
8:30 He didn't seem wholly convinced about what a mobile phone was. Holding it like an alien doing silver service.
8:31 Decent effort from Jahmene there. The note that's caught out a million karaoke bluffers ("and through it aaaaaa-oh, bugger") was tackled well, although if I'm being very critical he did slide up to it in a way that Christopher Maloney never would. Another big note at the end though, which tried to run away but Jahmene hunted it down and ripped its throat out.
Mic: That is the first of Jahmene's performances that I enjoyed. Til now I haven't really got it.
Dingo: Song = Angels.. religious experiences.. hey Matthew, a spooky message from God channelled through Jahmene there or what?
Dana: Jahmene's Angels cover beats David Archuleta's on American Idol a few years ago. That said, I wish performers would pick other things from Rob's discography to cover. I would kill for an XF version of Monsoon.
Liz: Can't deny it - that was a stunning performance
8:35 Good judge comments all round: Tulisa denies press reports that she doesn't think Jahmene can sell records - I hadn't seen those reports, but now I've heard them denied, I believe them a bit. Gary accurately says it was better for being simpler. Nicole is somewhere between tears and arousal.
8:36 Next up: Roger, Brian, Keith and Malcolm, better known as DISTRICT3!
8:37 After last week's over-choreographed performance, where it looked like they were failing to find each other at Gay Pride, the Stric are seated and harmonising for Eric Clapton's parental grief classic, Tears in Heaven. One of them's put on a leather jacket and is pretending to play a grand piano. A cutaway to Nicole throwing up in her mouth a bit. No, really. Check it online later.
Mic: My flatmate has changed the channel. This blog is now all I have.
8:42 That, for my money, was slightly offensive twaddle, but I owe Nicole an apology. Yes, another one, for something I did in public this time. She wasn't vomming, she was holding back emotion due to the song choice. A fascinating People's Front of Judea moment as District3 object to Gary saying Union J are the same but better: the Dis point out that, while Union J are merely pop, they are R 'n' B pop. Got that? Important distinction.
8:44 IT'S THE JOHN LEWIS ADVERT! Purge the soul. Make gloves your goal.
Jane R: hello m'colleague. Can I just say whatever Louis is on, I don't want any. also why z
Jane R: Did Nicole have to wipe away a teat? That was shizte!
Jane R: Oops typing went a bit weird there. Hope u got my drift.
8:45 Radio Times's Jane Rackham there, ladies and gentlemen. What can I say? It's after six o'clock.
MarilynDHunter: @Mic - stay strong - you've got hang in there and make it through!
Dana: Can we vote for the John Lewis ad to win the X Factor?
Liz: My husband's now rewinding to try and catch a glimpse of Nicole's teat.
Claire: Dana - is it not a bit creepy? I'm not sure I like the idea of snowmen roaming around without us noticing.
8:48 Yes, it's a bit Weeping Angels for me.
Dana: Any snowman who crosses the M1 without getting smashed has the X Factor.
Mic: Thank you for your support. I'm considering an xfactor-style search for a new flatmate.
Jane R: Using one of those new fangled I pad thingys. It can't keep up with my Pinot grigIo speedy fingers.
8:49 You've got an IPAD??? How much are they paying you? I'm typing this on a Brother LW-20. Five lines of fully editable monochrome text, £29.99 from Argos in 1993. Still works a treat.
8:50 It's ELLA HENDERSON, who I think might slowly be losing it a bit. She's giving Written In The Stars by Tinie Tempah a good going over but, I dunno. I mean, she's a better singer than everyone else. It's just not getting me there. Not getting me THERE. You're worse than the studio audience. Tsk.
Liz: flash bastard. I'm using a ZX81
Pete: Comical change-up to the higher register there: reminds me of a young Joni Mitchell
Dana: I'm using a Commodore Vic 20.
Tuckin: I'm using Royal Mail - I'm writing all my comments on the Thursday before the programme. I hope you have a reason to use this comment at some point on Saturday, Jack.
Jane R: What are u all talking about? What's a zx81? Or a vic20. Are they on x factor? Did I miss them?
8:56 ZX81 got voted out in week two, Jane, after their disastrous cover of Holocaust by Big Star. Vic20 were ejected from the competition at boot camp due to a previous conviction coming to light.
Delia: Oooh let's try and see if I can make this work!!
8:57 Hello, Delia!
Matthew: Would you recommend any recipes, Delia??
Liz: Delia! Wow, can I just say, my roast potatos are amazing thanks to you
8:59 As you can see Delia, we never fear the obvious gag here. I really don't know where they've got that from.
9:00 It's RYLAN CLARK! After its high-profile shave-off a fortnight ago, his beard is back. I say that - if it's anything like his eyebrows it might be drawn on.
Alan: That reminds me. Anyone help me out on ideas on what to get my 15 year old daughter for Christmas?
Dana: Thank god, Rylan's hair's black again.
Delia: Yay!!! I'm here sharing Rylan with you!!! He's like an action man errol Flynn!!!
9:01 Alan: get her a Brother LW-20. You won't regret it. She will, but you won't.
Dingo: Get her Christopher Maloney's debut album.
9:01 For Rylan, Best of British can mean only one band: Barrett-era Floyd. Not really: it means The Spice Girls. He has a masterclass with Geri Halliwell on how to maximise one's performance without relying on singing too much.
9:02 After a Queen-style video intro in which Rylan skydives, he wires down onto the stage to do a breathless Spice medley. This is way, way too fast. It's like there's something wrong with the backing tape. Someone's been murdered and has slumped forward onto the pitch bend.
Dana: Glad to see that Geri's still alive. I suspected that Gary might have sneakily murdered her in her sleep after her turn at auditions.
Delia: Rylan and Chris should have an emotional show-down...hysteria vs ...what does Chris have? Smug bashfulness?
Liz: I can't tear my eyes away. Does that mean it's good?
Guest: the woman in bikini in the glass is preferable to Rylan for me
9:05 Yes, we only saw her once, didn't we? How can I put this? The bikini wasn't precisely the correct size.
Dana: Gary said a nice thing. Rylan's definitely going home tomorrow.
Jane R: For a moment there thought Gary was a Rylan convert. But no ...
9:08 Gary says it was fun, but atrocious. Nicole: "You didn't just spread love, you sprayed it all over that stage!" Now I've been sick in my mouth a bit, but I tell you what: I can't see Rylan being in the bottom two after that. It was certainly spectacular. Not sure in what way. But spectacular will be enough.
Dingo: I really don't get Rylan. I enjoyed Jedward, I voted Wagner, I thought Johnny Robinson was actually a quite good singer and I empathised with Kitty. I want to like him, I really do, but Rylan does nothing for me. What's wrong with me :(
9:11 Tell you what, Dingo, there's a dissertation in that. Matthew, is it too late to change? "Dialectical differences in X Factor comedy contestants, 2009-12"?
jane: I totally forgot about this blog. HOW COULD I?
9:13 Jane! The other one! Hello! Welcome!
9:13 We're back from the ads and it's Amberlocks, Braeburn, Posey and Forsythia, together known as UNION J!
9:15 OK, embarrassing confession time. I hadn't realised until Best of British week that Union J was short for Union Jack. This is The Beatles all over again. I think that may be the first time I've written that in relation to Union J.
9:16 In their intro VT, Union J go for that Military Wives dollar by referencing loved ones who are in the armed forces. Their tribute is a tremulous cover of Fix You by Coldplay. They're reminding me of four young Jonjo Kerrs.
Matthew: I would have LOADS to say about Jedward, certainly
Delia: Oh god more boring boys singing slightly flat...they need to bury them more in the mix to try and hide the dissonance...unless they're going for the avant garde vote??
Dana: There's not enough room for both boybands to keep going. Which one should go?
9:21 The quiffiest one from Union J tries to end the boyband war but it's too late now, surely. The war is on. I'm not sure who I prefer as I can't remember anything about District3's performance.
MarilynDHunter: James coming up! He reminds me of Cartman from South Park!
Liz: District 3 had one on a piano and 2 on stools. It was notable for the 2 on stools staying sat down despite a key change
Jane R: District3 should go. union J are much cuter. I've been paying a lot of attention to this category.
Dingo: Did anyone notice that Union J went into their post-analysis hand-on-shoulders hug before they'd even finished singing? That would definitely cost them points on Strictly! So amateur.
Dana: I'm kinda done with both. I think they should make Jade, Melanie and Carolynne into a girl group and send both bands home.
9:26 Back from the Christmas ads and it's JAMES ARTHUR! He's doing an Adele song, although his favourite British artists are the big two, the pillars on which so much of our popular culture is built: The Rolling Stones and Stereophonics.
9:28 James is on and, at the risk of impugning someone's reputation and having to dramatically resign next Saturday, he does seem to actually be playing that guitar.
Tuckin: Should I vote for James Arthur purely because he didn't sing a Stereophonics song? I for one am immensely grateful.
9:30 Gotta say this is a canny song choice, Hometown Glory. Not overplayed so it really does sound like it's his own. That was good.
9:31 The judges' comments are a fountain. "You took the legendary Adele, you swagged it and then you freaked it. You are the future of music," says Nicole. That might be overstating it but I've totally got off Ella and onto James now. I mean in terms of predicting who will win.
Liz: 3 words: very good
9:33 That's it! Except there's 16 minutes of the programme to go, so we have to listen to One Direction first. OVER 41 MILLION TWITTER FOLLOWERS, says their intro montage. I think they might be counting some people five times there. It could only be a poxy eight million.
Tuckin: Body of a northern brickie; eyelashes of a 15-year-old Essex girl. Mr Arthur must be unique.
Kev: It’s probably just the wine talking, but isn’t that the third time District J have been on?
Claire: Oh look, they're so little their feet don't touch the floor!
Jane R: Well I like One Direction. they bring out the Caroline Flack in me.
Liz: I predict a key change
Claire: Liz, there can't be, that one in the blue shoes can't stand up from that height.
Tuckin: That song had the same effect on me that a winter in a remote hotel has on Jack Nicholson. Now, where's my axe...
Dingo: Well I'm gonna plump for tomorrow's bottom two to consist of One Direction and James Arthur's sister.
9:41 I've recovered after the high emotion of that devastating One Direction ballad. Who wrote that? What pain must they have been through? I hope they're OK now. Perhaps pouring out their torment into that perfect work of art will be some consolation. Although I think it'll only be fully appreciated in 50 years. Maybe 100. I'll always remember where I was when I heard it.
9:44 "THAT WAS GOOD, WASN'T IT?" says the ITV continuity announcer, passionately. She's either referring to One Direction or your comments, I think.
Tuckin: I think I can safely take a month off and come back for an Ella/Jahmene/James final.
Dana: I'm going to go out a limb and say the bottom 2 are Ella and District3.
Jane R: i'm going for Louis Walsh and Geri Halliwell in the bottom two. Good night
9:45 I think Dana might, might, MIGHT be right. There's a chance of Ella being in the bottom two. I think it's slim - it'll more likely be both boy bands, I reckon - but up to now there's been no chance at all.
9:46 Any more predictions before we go? The actual programme finished some minutes ago.
Liz: I'm going to plump for Rylan & Christopher but it's fairly open this week I think
Claire: Ella and Christopher, I reckon. Anyway, night all.
9:47 A million thanks for your truly excellent comments tonight, people, they were probably the best ever. You made it your own. See you next week! Mwah!