The X Factor 2011: semi-final – as it happened

We want High Wycombe to read this! Yes, it's the essential recap of Saturday's X Factor...

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7.45 Good evening! My name’s Jack Seale, and I’m your loyal Radio Times X Factor liveblogger. I’m as festive as the Christmas Radio Times, and twice as thick. Also, I am available in red or green. Why not buy both? Alternatively, how about watching The X Factor with me, leaving your comments like precious, shiny droppings as we go? I’d love it if you could. Right then.

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7:50 We are gathered here this evening, I fear, to witness the passing of Misha Bryan. There’s no sing-off tomorrow so it’s all down to the public – a public who have voted Misha into the bottom two a ludicrous three times already. Dare I say that forceful, independent young black women scare off voters? Too late, I just did. Anyway, unless there’s a big turnaround, Misha the merciless layer down of Saturnian soul power is delivering her swansong tonight, more than likely while wearing something that resembles a swan made of bacofoil. On her head.

7:51 Or am I mistaken? Could the unreliable public suddenly realise Amelia Lily is no good? Could Marcus Collins or even Little Mix suffer a shock eviction? Your thoughts are, as ever, not just welcome but ushered upstairs and given a nice cup of tea by the fire.

8:00 Quick! Turn over to ITV1! That programme’s on!

8:02 IT’S TIME! TO ADMIT! THAT DESPITE THIS NOT EVEN BEING THE LAST SHOW I HAVE TOTALLY RUN OUT OF AMUSING WAYS TO REARRANGE “IT’S TIME TO FACE THE MUSIC!”!

8:04 Comment From Vicky QUICK EVERYONE SHIELD YOUR EYES…Dermot’s dancing again.

8:04 Here’s Dermot, mashed potato-ing his way through a routine that fairly screams “Hours of tuition with a choreographer who has since gone on long-term sick leave.” Level of his embarrassment when it’s over: record-breakingly high.

8:05 Tulisa, as usual, shows us the tattooed advert for her perfume. On the other arm this week: “Iceland Hoi Sin Duck Christmas Trees, only £1.”


8:07
Comment From marianka Ah, Misha loves children. And puppies. And the Beatles. (Subtext: vote for Misha!)


8:09
First up, it’s the condemned MISHA BRYAN. Dancing in the Street is her Motown song (that’s the theme for the first half). Supremes-style barnet and a minidress made of sliced-up vinyl 45s. Well, it was good but if they didn’t vote for you before, MB, they won’t vote for that, surely.


8:12
“If Berry Gordy was alive, he would absolutely sign you,” says Louis. He also does his traditional “I want to see you in the semi-final”, which he says every year in the semi-final, but quickly corrects himself. Gary gives a pleasant eulogy, as if Misha has already gone and we’re watching her best bits – although in that outfit, we can almost see them. Kelly says something about dancing “on top of a room”, I think. Possibly she’s got an extension with a flat roof. Careful, Kelly – if the incline on the felting isn’t right, water collects and causes all sorts of bother. Overall: solid judges’ comments.


8:14
And, as Berry Gordy’s family recover from that shock news delivered by Louis, we go to an ad break.


8:18
We’re back! Will Dermot explain to distressed viewers that Berry Gordy is in fact still alive? No, it’s straight to Kelly Rowland, who covers for not being ready by telling us that WE’RE not ready for her other contestant, leopardskin foghorn AMELIA LILY.


8:20
Amelia does Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. Er, she’s singing it. Quite loud. Oh she just went up some steps! Um. This is boring.


8:20
Comment From Lauren Amelia may be able to sing, but she does so with the charisma and cold, dead eyes of a shark. A shark with pink hair.


8:23
Louis: “You absolutely killed that!” Tulisa, in contrast: “You brought Motown to life this week!” Yes, that performance virtually applied the electric paddles to Berry Gordy’s lifeless body, didn’t it? No. No it didn’t. Anyway, Kelly subtly mentions that Berry isn’t dead as Louis compares Amelia to Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera, two female white singers. Louis – who is on top form tonight, he really is – also expresses a wish to see Amelia in the final. Logically that now means he doesn’t want to see one of Marcus or Little Mix, but we know Louis better than that.


8:23
Comment From Pierre Etchebaster Well I think Amelia deserves to be in the quarter-final.


8:23
Comment From marianka ‘Throw a song at me and I’ll do it for you’ – Amelia’s debut album title


8:25
Video of the next act, LITTLE MIX, on the Hugo premiere red carpet. I was there but my question, “You on the left! Are you new? I’m sure you weren’t in the group last week” was ignored. Boo.


8:28
The Muffin Mix, as I think they’re nicknamed although I may have misheard, perform You Keep Me Hanging On by The Supremes. Standing in a line, shouting – OH AND THE ONE WEARING TWO SKIRTS FOR SOME REASON FORGETS THE WORDS! I thought all that was over when we lost little Janet Devlin, but no. That was a classic word-forgetting as well, the sort that devolves right down into a mixture of primal mumbling and black, echoing silence. Well done.


8:28
Louis says there was “something missing”. Yes, it was half of the second verse! HA HA HA HA HA.


8:30
Comment From Mics dAd We know what happens to those who forget their words…..


8:31
Kelly hated it too. Gary says the problem is that Perry isn’t pushed forward as the lead singer, which seems harsh. She only just joined! Louis backs him up by saying something about the name of the group being “Diana Ross and the Supremes”, which I’m pretty sure it wasn’t when that single was released, although this isn’t Louis’ worst Motown-related factual error of the evening so never mind.


8:31
Comment From Vicky Gary can’t say they need a lead singer now, he’s spent the last few months saying it’s good that they can all sing equally well!


8:31
Comment From @mkmswain Gary’s therapist shakes his head and writes ‘Robbie issues’ on his pad


8:31
Harsh, mkmswain. Harsh. I like you. Welcome.


8:32
Incidentally, a disappointment there was Louis not saying Little Mix “deserve to be IN THE FINAL!”, thus busting my prediction that he’ll tell everyone that. Although he’s got their second song still to go.


8:34
Comment From Adeworcs Is Marcus murdering a Stevie Wonder song again i do hope not 🙁


8:36
Ad break. It’s that Boots one that can’t decide if it’s a joke or not. Also, Ed Sheeran’s album! The perfect gift for people you hope never to see again.


8:40
Mathematicians among you will have worked this out already, but it’s MARCUS COLLINS! He’s had a rehearsal-room visit from Robbie Williams, who offers a series of fist-chewingly useless self-help nuggets like “Don’t let nerves become your master.” I think you’ll find Marcus is already contractually unable to replace Syco Music Plc as his master, but it’s a nice thought. Anyway, Marcus is doing My Girl by The Temptations, as made famous in that film where the kid gets attacked by bees.


8:40
Comment From Adeworcs No he’s murdering David Ruffin’s memory instead – should i laugh or cry please?


8:42
Comment From @mkmswain Marcus is still very cutesy and sane – he’s learned nothing from his Robbie time


8:43
Is David Ruffin dead? I’ll check in a minute, but for now that was a competent job. Marcus didn’t fear the falsetto notes in that – in fact he threw in about 58 of his own new ones. Kelly liked it when he “smoothed that thing right on out”. That was fairly dull, although Marcus was wearing a baseball jacket with a bow tie – a Googlewhack of an outfit.


8:45
End of round one and the quick recap confirms that Little Mix were a long way behind there. We didn’t re-live the brilliant word-loss, but there was a lot of aggressive pointing. Surely they won’t go home, though. Let’s not dream yet.


8:46
I see M&S have edited Jeremy Clarkson out of their Christmas ad.


8:54
Comment From Pierre Etchebaster It’s Misha B! When exactly did the other Misha get voted out?


8:54
Comment From Mics dAd This insistence of putting a rap section in is very irritating to say the least.


8:54
We’re back! It’s round two and it’s the best “oh sod it, just sing whatever you want” theme yet: songs the contestants think will get them to the final. Well, yeah. First, it’s MISHA BRYAN! After another highly sympathetic intro VT, she does Perfect by Pink. It’s the Beautiful by Christina Aguilera that everyone hasn’t heard 1000 times already, and YES, there’s a bit of a rap breakdown in the middle despite this being a ballad. Totally asymmetric hair, leftfield song choice but instantly accessible: if that is her last go on this crazy rocking horse, I think Misha did everything she could.


8:54
Comment From Pierre Etchebaster That’s the best vocal performance of the whole series. She’ll be out soon, then.


8:57
Very VERY interesting comments from Gary, especially if you think The X Factor isn’t fixed, but is very heavily controlled by its producers: he went all out for a sympathy vote for Misha by playing on the idea that she’s been wronged throughout the competition. A not too obtrusive reference to bullygate topped off the idea that Misha going would be a travesty. Even Louis was on message. Dare I hope Misha could get through? Here’s the likely casualty if she does: AMELIA LILY.


8:57
Comment From Vicky The rap didn’t annoy me so much that time, becuase it is actually in the original…


8:57
Thank god you’re here Vicky – now I can admit I never heard that Pink song before in my life!


9:00
Amelia does I’m With You by – spit, retch – Avril Lavigne. The original has all the subtlety and romance of a falling anvil. Let’s see what interpretation Amelia brings to it… OK, so it’s a departure from her usual style in that there are quiet bits, but then there are also very very loud bits. Sadly for us Misha fans, that probably wasn’t quite bad enough.


9:01
“That is one of my favourite songs of all time,” says Tulisa, who evidently still hasn’t got round to downloading Aretha’s Gold.


9:01
“Your shouting-loud voice cuts through brilliantly,” says Gary, suddenly streaking into the lead in this year’s Best Insult That Looks Like A Compliment contest.


9:02
Comment From sue Sooo boring Amelia. Please leave the building. Louis believes in you


9:02
Comment From Vicky Happy to be of service. Can’t help feeling I should be doing something else with my Saturday evening, but for now this’ll have to do!


9:02
What, Vicky? WHAT?


9:03
There isn’t… an outside world, is there?


9:04
Comment From @mkmswain Bet Gary’s going to have a merry chat with his fellow judges in the break…


9:04
Comment From Mics dAd This blog is the only reason to watch what has turned out to be a disappointing series.


9:05
Thanks Mics dAd! Bet you’ll be back next year though. I swore to leave the country if Same Difference got to the last four, and here I still am.


9:06
Comment From @mkmswain So, will Little Mix go with smoke machines and reaching or N Dubz streetz innit? OR BOTH?


9:06
Comment From Louise I actually saw Same Difference in my Freshers Week circa 2008. Admittedly it was a low moment.


9:08
Despite an ad break to prepare, Gary is taken by surprise as he has to introduce MARCUS COLLINS. A fascinating titbit in his intro VT: Marcus attended the British Hairdressing Awards, which were presented by… Jonathan Ross. Good to know the British Hairdressing Awards don’t take themselves too seriously.


9:08
Comment From Deb Same Difference told my daughter that she was beautiful – it was really special for her at the time


9:10
If you’ve had a nagging feeling that nobody’s done Can You Feel It? by The Jacksons, and that somebody really should, don’t worry, here it is! Marcus starts off in a dodgy key and then does some very questionable high notes that no amount of cheery “woo!”s can cover. He’s choking here a bit. He hit the last note, though, so he’s probably rescued it.


9:11
Comment From Mics dAd Oh dear…. was Marcus also caught out? He sounds forced…


9:11
Comment From Jules No Marcus I can’t


9:13
Louis – who has gone weird this series, alternating between his familiar village idiot persona and being totally spot-on – leads the way in saying that was the wrong song. Tulisa and Kelly agree that it was well awkward. Gary boldly says “You’re going to the final!” which could easily backfire with the fickle public. “That bassline touched me” is Marcus’s explanation for his choice of number.


9:14
An ad break before LITTLE MIX, the Dr Oetker girl group, return to the stage to try to atone for that disastrous first performance.


9:14
Comment From @mkmswain At least he’ll be a fine addition to the We Will Rock You chorus


9:16
Comment From Katie The reason everyone is singing in a differet order in the second round is because Little Mix are still arguing backstage about who should be the lead singer!


9:18
“Say it with me everyone… Little Mix!” urges Tulisa. Nobody does.


9:20
Little Mix all really really love Jessie J. Imagine that! Imagine having a strong emotion about Jessie J, one way or the other.

9:20
Perry and the Muffins do If I Were A Boy by Beyonce.


9:22
Comment From Mics dAd Perry rocks out…. and some of the others manage a note or two.


9:25
Comment From L Jack is stuck for something to say cos pick n mix were actualy quite good! Damn!


9:25
“There’s something about this band that reminds me of Girls Aloud, with a little bit of the Sugababes,” says Louis, remembering two other white girl groups. He also says he’d like to see them in the final – has he done everyone now? I’ve lost track. More excitingly, Gary has a right go, saying (correctly) that those vocals weren’t much cop. Tulisa responds with a desk-slapping rant which includes her, at one point, screaming: “I WANT HIGH WYCOMBE TO VOTE!” Finally the semi-final gets dramatic but, er, it’s finished now.


9:26
Comment From Lauren I’d say those comments were a LITTLE MIXED! I’m here all night, try the mahi mahi, etc.


9:26
Comment From Pete Little Mix for me, out of a very mediocre bunch


9:27
Pete: the best, or going home? On merit Little Mix should certainly be put in the Moulinex, but I can’t see an act that’s never been in the bottom two going now. I still reckon it’s probably Misha but might be Amelia. Your views, everyone?


9:27
Having said that, the recap reminds us that Marcus was all over the show in round two, so maybe everyone’s at risk. Maybe that’s what they WANT us to think, though. Damn.


9:28
Comment From Pete THE MIX to win ofc!


9:28
Comment From Mics dAd Past caring ….


9:28
Comment From Katie I’d say Ant and Dec to leave.


9:28
Comment From Louise H..OMG Ant or Dec.


9:29
Ant and Dec appear to plug the IAMCGOOH final. Make sure you’ve had your dinner before you watch, they say. Well yes. It’s half nine. Of course I’ve had my dinner.


9:29
The programme this blog pertains to has now ceased broadcasting.


9:30
Comment From sue It’s all been poor tonight. Can’t take much more – my ears are bleeding


9:30
Comment From Adeworcs Well Jack thanks for a very entertaining blog on a pretty boring show thank Misch B for her second song the rest was pretty dire


9:30
Comment From Katie Again, a fab live blog. Makes Xfactor about bearable!!


9:30
Comment From @mkmswain If Little Mix get voted off, will Tulisa bitch slap Gary? Because…great TV.


9:31
Comment From Jules Well since they showed the Beyonce ad in one of the early breaks I realised that I was watching mediocre at best – but if I have to pick I would say it has to be the oldest 17 ever Amelia to stay and the overrated Misha to go.


9:31
Thanks everyone and thanks, as always, for your comments. Without them this would just be me ranting on like a tosser. With you on board, it’s like several tossers ranting together which is a lot better I think.


9:31
Comment From Deb Don’t go Jack!


9:32
Comment From @mkmswain Thanks for another fab blog! It allows me feel watching this show is an ironic post-modern exercise, not…err Saturday night sadness


9:33
Comment From Katie Can we stay for an aftershow party?!


9:33
Deb and Katie, I have to go, I’ve been desperate for a slash since about 8.15. But I’ll see you back here next week – on Saturday AND Sunday, oh yes – for the grand final, right? Right? Right. Bye!

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9:34
Comment From L U mean u haven’t got an incontinence portable toilet Jack? Wud have thought it was an essential accessory for watching this show!