8:07 GOOD EVENING! I’m Jack Seale, and this week I’ve been reinstated on the Radio Times X Factor Live Finals 2011 Blog – or RTXFLF11B – following a four-way public phone vote between myself, Paul Ross, Tim Lovejoy and Bashar al-Assad. Many thanks for all your votes! Please make use of the comment function. I literally cannot post them all, but you simply never know your luck. Let’s see if we can’t make it through this thing together. OK? OKAY.
8:12 Can this edition of The X Factor possibly live up to all those midweek thrills? Feral sex-gonk Frankie Cocozza was given his marching-powder orders on Tuesday for being illegal, so there’s excitement tonight before we even get to the singing. Now Frankie and his lemur-infested barnet have returned to the south coast to terrorise Brighton’s housewives – he’s reportedly earning £3,000 a night for club appearances, although you can expect that valuation to depreciate faster than a Candy Cabs DVD box set – there’s a chance for one of Amelia Lily, Jonjo Kerr, James Michael and 2 Shoes to make a sensational return to the contest. Or a return to the contest, anyway. Who deserves to win the phone vote? Leave a comment with your answer: comments are charged at the normal rate (£0) and of course, don’t forget to begin your message with “2 SHOES”.
8:15 High, high drama already, as the show itself fails to come on due to “technical problems”, so we’re getting an emergency highlights tape! Goldie Cheung is back on the telly! Stock up on tinned pulses! Everything has gone wrong!
8:19 Normally when something goes awry on The X Factor, you suspect it’s all part of a grand plan to get people’s attention. And this is getting people talking, isn’t it? I wouldn’t put anything past them, y’know.
8:21 OK, so if they’re playing old stuff, I will too. David Wilder, from that week’s (non-live) blog: “The expectation-defying hero of the episode was David Wilder. Having rocked to no acclaim ever since leaving school, he now claimed to be 42, but looked closer to 42 and a half, equals 63. David had all the marks of an embarrassing, clapped-out glam uncle: long hair thinned by decades of blond dye, ambitious jeans, use of the word “baby”, and plumes of those boho scarves, wristbands and jewellery that don’t suit any man if it isn’t 1971.
“David started badly. He punched the air madly to the slow piano intro of Life on Mars, then introduced his wheezy twang of a voice by marching up to the judges and giving them a line each, right in the face, nose-to-eyeball.
“But this was enthusiasm, not desperation. Soon David was dashing into the crowd, somehow singing better while running, which he did with the infectious spring of Anneka Rice trotting into a builders’ merchants. It didn’t matter that he had to hit the big high note twice using two different octaves to kill it off: by then, four semi-ironic yeses were in the bag.”
8:22 “Michael Lewis was 27, but a dire warning of how confidence can be dangerous: he was brazenly back as himself after the epic squirm of his Michael Jackson tribute last year. That he’d freely chosen to sing Look at Me by Geri Halliwell immediately signalled that it would have been kinder not to let him display his real self in public. The less said about his version of it, the better. There were pelvic thrusts.”
8:23 If you just tuned in: the continuity announcer mentioned “technical difficulties”, on came a highlights tape, and that was that, we’re still watching it. There MAY have been a half-second shot of the studio before the tape came on, I’m not sure.
8:24 “Fife 21-year-old Jade Richards looked right, which is to say wrong – trackie top, pudge, badly drawn eyebrows – and thanks to a super-supportive gran backstage in a wheelchair, Jade’s sob credentials were impeccable.
“The judges fell for it, with Kelly Rowland weeping throughout (and babbling about having had a premonition – spiritual hooey lurks behind her harmless exterior) and Louis Walsh saving his tears for a sudden downpour after Jade had stopped. When the hysteria’s all mopped up it might be clear that this soul-scraping epiphany was really just a competent cover of Adele’s unimprovable Someone like You. It was the song chopping the onions, not Jade.”
8:26 Again, from that week’s blog (written after the event): “Neil and Margaret Sinclair were meant to be hilarious, because they were odd and unattractive. They met in their 50s, online. They were shown kissing with tongues, twice – yuk! And in fairness, Margaret was a bit of a sour fish when the judges trashed her. But Neil was a hero: his Crocodile Rock was a disaster delivered with absolute conviction and good humour. The X Factor rewarded him by snidely showing footage of him getting lost on his way out of the arena.”
8:27 Ooh, here we go. Do we? No, it’s a commercial break! This surely smashes the programme’s all-time record for earliest ad break: 0 minutes 0 seconds. What’s the Ofcom rule on this?
8:27 Comment From Bolivia Is Frankie rampaging in the ITV studio? What’s with the tape?!
8:27 Comment From Dingo No need to bring an old contestant back, let’s just skip thus week! Do like 2Shoes though, they could be this generation’s Weather Girls with regular slots on any show hosted by Keith Lemon.
8:27 Comment From Paul There was a split-second shot of a darkened studio, no-one behind the desks, large colourful lips on the screens on stage
8:27 Comment From Vicky Thought the highlights themselves had broken for a moment there.
8:28 Vicky might be right. This could be an EMERGENCY ad break. “Bear with us, we’re having problems with the technical-difficulties highlights tape. We’ll bring it to you as soon as we can.”
8:32 “We’d like to apologies for the technical problems we’re having this evening…” The continuity announcer is back and then, after a scintillating two seconds of dead air, we’re off! Or at least, they’ve found the opening credits. We might still cut to an empty and/or blazing studio when we go live.
8:32 Dermot O’Leary, covered in other people’s blood but otherwise immaculate, sombrely reads from the autocue. Not really.
8:33 IT’S TIME! TO… WE DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S TIME FOR ANY MORE!
8:33 Dermot does his dance again. Dermot! Do not do your dance!
8:34 Technical difficulties with Dermot’s spin this week, as he underpowers it horribly and has to stagger two steps back to recover. Everyone’s on a knife edge here.
8:35 Comment From Vicky Who decided to make Dermot dance? And why? FIND THEM AND FIRE THEM.
8:35 Comment From Lindsey Jack please tell Dermot to stop dancing!
8:37 All bets are off tonight. Kelly comes out in a skinny ladies’ tux and pointy-collared white shirt, while Gary is Movembering it right up with thicker facial hair. Louis, as always right behind his own acts, says he thinks Amelia will come back.
8:38 Footage of Frankie breaking the news to his fellow contestants. “I’ve decided to leave…” he says. It cuts away before we get to “… because they shouted at me to get out immediately before they called the police.”
8:39 Comment From Gab The technical difficulty was that Kelly didn’t know how to do a tie-knot
8:39 Comment From Emmylou Amelia Lily’s lipstick gives me the eebie-geebies.
8:40 A reminder of the four potential resurrected rejects. 2 Shoes loveable as always (“Ultimate totes emosh!”), Amelia bellowing coldly, James like a sock in a teacup, Jonjo absolute rubbish – and I don’t think he even mentioned being a soldier in the VT, so that’s his only hope gone.
8:41 First, KITTY BRUCKNELL! Her dad, who presumably is some sort of martial arts champion or carrier of a firearms licence, has been drumming up support by wandering around a town centre with a sandwich board.
8:42 Kitty wanted to do Born This Way in Queen/Lady Gaga week, but Misha B nabbed it first. That’s OK though, Kitty is a Gaga specialist – so instead she’s doing, er, Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen.
8:42 Comment From Pete Does she have stuff covering her legs this week?
8:43 Pete gets straight to the main question. We can’t see Kitty’s legs! Surely she doesn’t have trousers on?
8:46 Ah, Kitty emerges from behind her, um, desk to reveal what for her is an extremely demure mid-thigh-length feathery skirt. Hair and make-up like a Brazilian Kim Wilde as Kitty delivers a fairly good version of the song, solid but unspectacular. Her new habit of laughing at the sky like a Bond villain at the end is intact.
8:46 “DON’T STOP HER NOW!” says Louis. Brilliant! I cannot type for laughing. Wait. Yes I can.
8:47 Comment From Adamski Note to self: Never take acid in the middle of the chicken dance
8:49 Comment From Pete I think she looked like an old Toyah Willcox, Thunder in the Mountains stylee
8:53 Second to perform for our pleasure: CRAIG COLTON! In the VT, Gary says it’s important to show us what Craig’s records will sound like. Craig wants to show us his own sound. He’s doing Paparazzi by Lady Gaga. A lovely moment in rehearsal as Gary throws his head back and joins in on the high note. PHWOAR.
8:55 Craig’s fringe this week: straight back, rigidly, like Rick Astley fell into a vat of Elnett Super Hold.
8:56 A slow-burn version, on a sparkly platform surrounded by wet fire. You can’t fault the singing there. Craig is easily the best vocalist in this. Even if Jonjo Kerr comes back.
8:57 Comment From Ian Hair do aside, I thought that was impressive
8:59 Comment From Lauren Does anyone else think that Kelly Rowland looks like Cat from Red Dwarf?
9:00 Praise across the board for Craig there as we go to yet another ad break. Incidentally, I think he’d do a cracking Fistfull Of Love by Antony and the Johnsons. But my repeated applications to become an X Factor mentor so far have not even led to a first interview, so what do I know.
9:04 We’re back! Dermot reminds Britain of its role in the big 2 Shoes referendum. VOTE YES, BRITAIN. VOTE YES.
9:06 Anyway, it’s LITTLE MIX! Harrowing backstage footage of the other acts hearing live that The Risk had been eliminated. Gutted that they hadn’t been voted out themselves, they were. Then in rehearsal, one of Little Mix cried. Will she cry now? Use that prospect to keep you awake! Here they are!
9:08 Telephone vs Radio Gaga. Just sort of bland shouting, really. How are they still in? They don’t really do anything wrong, but that’s because they don’t do anything.
9:11 Kelly points out that the vocals sounded better and better as the backing track got louder. That was the gist of it, trust me. Gary, as he usually does about someone, says it was predictable. He knows they can sing, though, because he’s “been around the house”. The great X Factor House Phantom Fridge Raider Mystery just got solved. Also, Gary urges them to come armed with acoustic guitars next week, in one of the least subtle sabotage attempts ever. Yes, Little Mix! Next time, do something by Bon Iver. Possibly a track off Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen. Or how about some Bert Jansch? The possibilities really do not have an end.
9:14 Phew, well, after a relentless run of one more act, it is of course time for some advertisements. None of this stuff looks worth buying to me.
9:14 Comment From marianka Why does Gary want everyone to be as boring as Craig? Is he aiming for an album of intimate lounge music by xmas?
9:21 After last week’s disco-dancing cataclysm, JANET DEVLIN is going to “be herself” again, which means angling for a spot on next Christmas’s John Lewis ad by singing a famous song slowly and yappily. It’s Somebody to Love by Queen! But very slow and quiet! At the point where the record surges, Janet’s version continues to trudge apologetically along the floor, chewing the sleeves of its cardigan. I am actually leaning forward in my seat to try to hear her. Is there a big finish? Not really: a slightly louder Celtic yelp, and it’s over. Some tremendous bored, sarcastic clapping from Tulisa! “Another captivating performance,” says Louis.
9:22 “Bordering on boring,” says Gary, although he also says “it’s nice seeing her get back to herself”. Bit of a contradiction.
9:24 “She totally changed the arrangement of a well-known song!” says Dermot in Janet’s defence. Not so much “changed” as “removed”, Derms. “It’s Janet’s birthday today!” adds Dermo, as she leaves the stage to the Kathryn Williams version of Unhappy Birthday by The Smiths.
9:27 MARCUS COLLINS says he’s found his identity after last week, when he dressed as a teddy boy. Surely not? Pencil moustache and boxy suit, every week? No – the tache is there but the suit is grey flannel and the arrangement of Another One Bites The Dust is perky big-band jazz. This is quite weird. Craig Colton is the new favourite to win, on this evidence.
9:30 Kelly and Tulisa both hated it, their comments dismissed by Gary as “tactical critique”. K and T’s look of confusion at this phrase not shown.
9:30 Comment From Gab Annoying that Gary is never honest when it comes to his boys.
9:33 We’re in ANOTHER ad break. I think as the number of contestants decreases, the number of ad breaks is staying the same. Next week: a pause in the middle of a Janet Devlin yelp for a message from Rennie.
9:35 I’m surprised all the acts don’t have their own sponsors, actually. Craig in association with Weight Watchers; Kitty sponsored by BT’s new, more secure Caller ID system.
9:39 Talking of BT, Dermot blames a power cut at BT Tower for the delay at the top of the show as he introduces MISHA BRYAN. Born This Way is her Lady Gaga song, and you can imagine Misha emerging from the womb clutching a mic, in a blue foil dress with triangular shoulder-pads. Great vocals as always, although where you’d expect some ragga-tipped rapping, Misha did a bit of clog-dancing.
9:40 LOUIS MILDLY RACIST COMPARISON KLAXON! “You remind me of a little Chaka Khan!”
9:41 Comment From Pete Dermot not mentioning there that the power cut was caused by Misha B holding Little Mix’s fingers in the plug socket….
9:41 Comment From Gab Lion King version of Gaga – love it
9:45 Gary again commenting that he’s seen Misha B researching her next song when he’s been “around the house”. I wonder if the room doors have their own locks – although Misha would surely dispatch intruders with a simple death grip. Meanwhile, the increasingly at-sea Kelly does her worst drawling parody of an American person yet (“Hayllow? Hayyyyyllooooow?”) before exclaiming, “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IT’S MISHA B!” as if she hadn’t started yet. It wasn’t Misha’s best performance, admittedly, but I did notice it happening.
9:46 Ad break, obviously.
9:48 So, the seventh act to perform (and I believe whoever it is, they’re doing The Show Must Go On) is… AMELIA LILY. 48% of the vote. Britain, you dullards.
9:50 She’s stuck with the Mollie Sugden pink rinse for the past five weeks! These Syco contracts are terribly tight, aren’t they?
9:51 Comment From Vicky Poor things. The others don’t even get to come onstage. Which means WE DON’T GET TO SEE 2 SHOES. We may as well switch off now…
9:51 Comment From kim Dermot looks a teeny bit embarrassed to be part of X factor tonight!
9:54 I love Queen but it’s a terrible dirge, this song. Which doesn’t help Amelia, who’s naturally cold and soulless, like a lipsticked piranha. She hit the notes, to be fair. But who would like her enough to vote her back in, then vote for her again a few minutes later? If that’s you, do explain yourself. It’s the first step in your recovery: getting it out in the open.
9:56 I think Kelly’s trying to do hip-hop/ghetto but it’s coming out as more Dukes of Hazzard. Anyway: “One, two, three!” she says to Gary, taunting him about his new lack of acts since Frankie’s disgrace. Presumably Amelia’s been thoroughly dope-tested, otherwise that’s tempting fate horribly.
9:59 That’s it! The recap strengthens my feeling that Kitty’s heading for the bottom two, to be joined by Misha B, who seems to have suddenly run out of gas. Your thoughts?
10:01 Comment From Jude Janet ? Surely she can’t go any further.
10:02 Jude: yeah, if it were up to me, Janet would have gone a fortnight ago at least. I thought she was awful this week, but it was a return to her signature sound and obviously someone out there likes that quiet yelp. Not sure.
10:02 Comment From Vicky Bottom two = Kitty and either Little Mix or Janet…
10:02 Comment From marianka Bottom two: Kitty and Janet. Kitty snaps her like a twig backstage.
10:03 Comment From Dingo For the comedy Factor it would be funny if Amelia goes. I can’t see Kitty making it past the bottom 2 though.
10:12 As ever, thanks very much for your comments, and I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did. Ideally you’ll have enjoyed it quite a lot more. See you next week. Good night!