7.45 Good evening! I’m Jack Seale, and due to an administrative error I will be your host this week on the runaway smash barnstorming ripsnorter of an internet hit sensation that is the Radio Times X Factor Live Blog. It’s what some people are calling the quarter-final this week, with all the final five singing twice each! That means it’ll be the longest live show since, er, four weeks ago when there were ten people. Still: exciting. The theme is guilty pleasures. That’s the theme of The X Factor every week for me, but never mind. Let’s turn off the lights, strip to our undies, hold hands and stare hard at the telly together for the next two hours. Your comments will, as always, be reluctantly tolerated, so stick them in that box there. No, THERE. That’s it. Fankyoo!
7:49 Who’s going tonight then, folks? I’ve had a sneaky look at the songs the last five are performing and, based on that, I think it’s going to be Amelia Lily and Misha Bryan in the bottom two, although both Janet’s choices look well risky.
8:02 We’re off! A brief revisit of last week’s appalling travesty, when my beloved Craig was crushed like the delicate, podgy flower he was. Too good for The X Factor, Craig. Sniff.
8:03 IT’S! TIME TO FACE THE! MUSIC!
8:04 Dermot’s dance: Holding Out For A Hero, with boxing moves. Clenched. But the spin has returned, and it’s beautifully controlled, a perfect 360. Derms is BACK!
8:04 Comment From Pierre Etchebaster Have Little Mix played the ‘online bully brigade’ card too soon, I wonder? This would have been a good week to roll it out…
8:04 Comment From Deb What, here? Are you sure? Oh, OK then…
8:04 Comment From Pierre Etchebaster (It’s a very big card, so you have to wheel it out in a barrow.)
8:07 The judges emerge, with Tulisa openly taunting Ofcom by, as usual, holding up the advertisement for her perfume range which she has, classily, tattoed onto her arm. “Vote Little Mix” in felt tip on the other arm, equally classily.
8:07 Comment From Vicky Louis has gone for a patterned shirt. UNWISE.
8:08 First up, it’s LITTLE MIX. They’re the bookies’ new favourites following their ascent to mediocrity last week.
8:11 An American diner theme as the Mix totally mash it right up with Justin Bieber’s Baby smashing clumsily into the middle of Where Did Our Love Go? by The Supremes. In the intro VT, one of Little Mix was seen aged 6, having been cruelly forced by her mother into that ankle-ruff dress Diana Ross wore circa Chain Reaction. As usual, that was sort of OK but about as memorable as a thingummy doodah.
8:13 Louis says there’s something lacking, Kelly derides the lack of beatboxing, Gary has given up his quest to make Little Mix sing acoustic indie – he enjoyed it, as much as he enjoys anything – and Tulisa not entirely convincingly tells us to wait for their second song. Little Mix – who incidentally all look 13 in those cutesie outfits – totter off.
8:13 Comment From Bolivia Little Mix have been put in the kiss of death opening sequence…. hmm.
8:14 Bolly: I think Little Mix are too popular to be affected by that. Plus, they’ll sing again in the middle. Going first perhaps not a big problem any more.
8:15 Without so much as a ten-minute ad break we’re straight into JANET DEVLIN.
8:15 Well, this is embarrassing. Janet shows herself up as a casual, fairweather Hanson fan by choosing their international megahit Mmmbop rather than the far superior but lesser-known follow-up, Where’s The Love. Playing it safe as usual.
8:15 Singing Mmmbop in a sober, sparkly black cocktail dress. Erm.
8:16 JANET HAS FORGOTTEN THE WORDS. Of the verses, obviously. Even Janet couldn’t forget the words of the chorus to this.
8:17 This is desperately bad. She’s rooted to the floor. Terrified. She’s gone.
8:18 Louis asks her what went wrong: Janet mumbles something about almost throwing up. Vomiting halfway through would have greatly livened that up. If Janet survives – and on that evidence, she won’t – that could be something to keep up her sleeve for next week. The tactical chunder.
8:19 “You are not a groove vocalist,” says Gary. Harsh, but fair.
8:19 Comment From Joe I think she can pull it out the SICK BAG hahahaha
8:19 Comment From Michaela Taxi for Devlin?
8:24 Comment From Jules Do you think they will turn the Christmas lights off for a couple of minutes to mark her demise…
8:26 For those of you who read the blog without watching the show (no, you’d be surprised): there was the first ad break there, which is why we all went quiet for half an hour. Now we’re back with MISHA BRYAN, who promises to get back to her nasty alien self tonight. Hoorah! Vaporise ’em, B, with your soul lasers from Jupiter.
8:27 Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper. Like all songs with “fun” in the title, this is normally totally fun-free. An irritating, trapped duck of a song that should be illegal unless you’re on a hen night and nobody not on it can hear.
8:29 HOWEVER, this is Cyndi, Misha-style: a massively crunking Afrobeat, a rap breakdown, the works. For some reason she’s wearing a trackie top and zebra-print slouchypants, like someone watching The X Factor rather than appearing on it, but otherwise that was all kinds of jiggy. That noise you can hear in the background is Janet finally blowing chunks with fear.
8:29 Comment From Vicky An urban ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’. Reeeeeally?
8:29 Comment From Martin McC The inevitable rap…ugh! Capital C
8:29 Comment From annatastic Hurrah – Queen Misha B, better then anyone else on this show, is back!
8:35 It goes without saying that I reckon it’ll be Amelia and Janet in the bottom two now, not Misha. If it is those two I apologise in advance for failing to conceal my delight. Would a small impromptu fireworks display in the back yard be overdoing it, do you think?
8:37 Next: MARCUS COLLINS. The Scouse vote is all his now our Craig has gone, but he and Craig were best mates so that’s upsetting. In the VT, Marcus expresses his grief by wearing a series of last year’s unwanted Christmas jumpers.
8:41 Marcus does I’m Your Man by Wham! It’s one of my karaoke staples, that, and although Marcus can’t compete with my version he has a very good stab at it. A cheeky “here we go!” before each chorus, showing the sort of confidence I think the viewers like.
8:41 Comment From Bolivia I wish Marcus would stop “Woo”ing. Liking it otherwise.
8:43 Marcus causes a stir by lifting his vest and flashing his abs, but I’m more interested in the other end of him. By which I mean his lower neck, where his Latin tattoo remains frustratingly unreadable. We can only see “quoque”, which if my schoolboy Latin holds up means “also”. Something, also something. At least two things. That’s all we know. Anyway, it’s AMELIA LILY!
8:47 Amelia, with shorter hair and a white floaty dress that means she no longer looks like the entertainment booked for Phil Mitchell’s stag do, sings China In Your Hand by T’Pau. Some restrained moments, but the bridge lets her do some of her trademark grating bellows. Not too bad overall. “That could be a massive number one record!” says Louis, slightly hysterically.
8:48 “Your face when you’re singing is like you’re in a music video,” says Tulisa, who really cannot be rivalled for compliments that sound like insults. Yes, she does look a bit like she’s miming it for the seventy-eighth time in a row, you’re right.
8:49 Gary outrageously says that that was more in tune than the original record! From what little I know of Carol Decker, she is not someone to mess with, and only lives in North London. Paging X Factor security! Be on the lookout! She could get a cab there in ten minutes.
8:50 Comment From Joe China in your hens?
8:50 Comment From Pete “vita est quoque brevis”
8:50 Comment From Martin McC Will T’pau bar X Factor from using their song/s in future after that comment from Gary?
8:51 Martin: I am no expert, but I do know that when Johnny Robinson sang I Believe In A Thing Called Love, Justin Hawkins from The Darkness tweeted to say there was nothing he could do about it, even if he wanted to. Which I suspect he didn’t, but there we are.
8:52 After the break, all five sing again, doing songs by their all-time musical heroes. I am looking at the song list and, in at least two cases, that’s a bit alarming.
8:55 Pete: so Marcus has had a tattoo paying tribute to the new Ricky Gervais sitcom? Did he see it this week? It was awful! Warwick Davis is just doing a David Brent impersonation. I think Marcus will regret that.
8:59 Anyway, we’re back with LITTLE MIX, who are given a big heartstring-pulling intro video on the back of them singing Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. A simple presentation. Chairs. Dry ice. Vests.
9:00 Who are these people who go online and slag off Little Mix? Why, I’d like to sit them down and ask them just how the HELL they manage to work up the passion to say anything about them at all.
9:01 Once again that was… OK. They couldn’t really sing the difficult bits, but the idea of the song speaking for them will inevitably win them a shedload of votes. Safe.
9:02 “They are NOT SAFE!” says Tulisa, glancing at this blog on her phone.
9:03 “Everyone has insecurities,” says the one second from the left in Little Mix. Dermot nods, but I wonder what his insecurities are. What keeps him awake, late at night. What terrifies him, deep in the darkest reaches of his soul. I’m struggling to imagine. But now: JANET DEVLIN!
9:04 Oh, lawks. Janet’s heroes are annoying, sock-ruining corporate funk atrocity Red Hot Chili Peppers, which is a bit worrying. Janet! Stay off the horse!
9:06 It’s Under The Bridge, with the Celtic yelp back in full effect. “Day”, “feel” and “love” have all become three-syllable words.
9:09 A quick mention for Janet’s evident feud with the X Factor stylists. This week: washed out tie-dyed maxi dress, and what looks like a jewelled horseshoe round her neck.
9:09 Comment From Laura That picture of Janet on the back wall reminds me of the painting of Vigo in Ghostbusters 2.
9:10 A break for the X Factor competition: one lucky winner will NOT receive two tickets to see Olly Murs in concert.
9:10 Comment From Jules I reckon she will get through as there is a reason to vote. Might not be the right reason but a reason all the same.
9:13 Comment From Matt Would Kelly Rowland be tolerable if she was mute? I’m going to write to Ofcom about her relentless abuse of the English language. Momma.
9:13 Comment From Pierre Etchebaster Hold on: an Olly Murs competition in which entrants must be 18 or over? Right…
9:20 Back once again: MISHA BRYAN. After some more product placement for a sportswear company in the intro tape, here she is doing Killing Me Softly. Fugees-style, but without anyone shouting “ONE TIME!”. Fairly conservatively dressed, is Misha: a simple PVC dress, some massive crystal shards round her neck, and a single elongated gold fingernail, like a very glamorous version of those tiny dinosaurs that had one big finger for digging grubs out of trees.
9:21 Anyway that was good but it didn’t really take off. Touch and go between Misha and Amelia for that second spot in the bottom two, next to poor, doomed Janet.
9:21 Comment From marianka I keep picturing Kelly taking Misha B for low-fat yogurt while Amelia and Janet watch jealously, faces pressed against the window
9:21 Comment From Lynsey Can Misha B get through 2 lines of a song without saying ‘ha’?
9:23 Gary, who is haemorrhaging acts at the moment, introduces the return of MARCUS COLLINS. He’s doing Stevie Wonder’s fantastic cuckold anthem, Lately. Big, big song.
9:23 Comment From marianka Why does Marcus keep wearing xmas jumpers? Is this an M&S side deal?
9:24 It’s too big for him. He’s wobbling like a gran in a kayak.
9:26 Deceptively difficult, Stevie Wonder songs, because everyone’s too busy marvelling at Stevie’s records to notice that he’s the greatest singer on Earth. Marcus recovered a bit in the second half of that – he’ll be OK.
9:27 Tulisa takes a moment to talk about Marcus’s personal bravery. He’s been through some tough times, which he doesn’t like to talk about. In case you’re wondering, she’s referring to his time as a member of terrible boy band Eton Road. That poor man. Vote for Marcus if you can. Please.
9:28 Comment From Joe Remember everyone, it’s all for MI MUM
9:30 Ad break – including a trailer for a film done in the style of The X Factor, and featuring either X Factor announcing bazooka Peter Dickson, or someone who does an amazing impersonation of him. Is that allowed under Ofcom rules? I’ll answer my own question: no.
9:32 Only one act left when the ads have finished: AMELIA LILY. No, wait! Come back! Something might happen.
9:34 Amelia’s all-time hero – her ALL-TIME HERO – is American Idol series one winner Kelly Clarkson. Marie Curie and Emeline Pankhurst didn’t do many pop songs, to be fair.
9:35 Comment From Pierre Etchebaster Kelly Clarkson has been famous for more than half Amelia’s life. I suddenly feel very, very old.
9:35 Comment From Tim It’ll be nice to hear a kelly clarkson song sung in tune…
9:36 Since You’ve Been Gone. Canny song choice, this: lots of shouty bits, which Amelia puts in even if they’re not supposed to be there. Choosing something that had them in the original makes for a slightly more credible performance. Clever.
9:36 Comment From marianka Amelia’s stolen Little Mix’s plinths!
9:36 Comment From Bolivia Does anyone else think that Amelia Lily is secretly 30?
9:37 Louis Walsh’s unusual polyester leisure shirt seems to be rubbing his neck. One of many reasons why that sartorial experiment has backfired.
9:39 Kelly, whose attempt to brand Amelia Lily’s fans “The Lilies” will fail both because it sounds silly and because Amelia surely doesn’t have any fans, says Amelia “hits those notes in her sleep”. Marcus’s decision to move out of the contestants’ house this week suddenly makes a lot of sense.
9:40 The phone lines are open, although you can vote for free in our much more interesting, hate-fuelled eviction poll. Who’s in the bottom two, my children? I’m sticking with Janet and Amelia. Or Janet and Misha. Ooh I don’t know. Could be Amelia and Misha.
9:42 Comment From marianka Kelly is all-powerful. Shock bottom two: Marcus and Little Mix
9:42 Comment From Joe Everybody this week seems to be cursed by the dreaded interrupting gurn.
9:43 Comment From Martin McC watching the highlights reel makes me yearn for johnny and kitty.
9:44 Comment From Jules Misha and Little Mix
9:44 Comment From Emmylou I think I may have stopped caring?
9:44 Comment From Dave Gee CSI is on 5 at the moment…surely Simon Cowell will be conducting one of his own after this years ragbag show
9:45 Comment From Laura I think Janet has to go before they give her Zombie to sing. Janet and Misha in bottom 2.
9:46 Comment From Vicky I will be very surprised if Janet doesn’t go…I enjoyed Amelia a lot more than I should have done. Therefore Janet and Misha in bottom two please.
9:46 Well, that’s it. As always, thanks a million for your comments – REALLY good ones this week. See you next Saturday! Have a good week now.