We interrupt normal poetic service to bring you the nation’s favourite live commentary on the X-Factor. By 'nation', I mean 'nation of citizens liable to read Surroundings even in passing'. This week is week 5. On every occasion so far, Surroundings has correctly predicted one of the acts sent home (even on weeks when no blogging was carried out – you’ll just have to take my word for it). That this is a fluke, I have no doubt. Be prepared for a shock this week when I get it wrong. As ever, I’ll blog live and paste in commentary as the show progresses.
Missed Cher. Thought the show began at 8pm, but it was 7.45pm. The judges didn’t seem to like it, but what do they know?
Mary is next. She looks nervous and isn’t quite getting it right. Well, it’s getting better as the song goes on. But not all that good. She seems less comfortable. I think she has a musical career ahead of her and will never work in Tesco again, no worries there. Mary is tearful, despite fairly positive comments. I’ll give 5 out of 10. Daughter says 9.
Here comes Katie, so daughter will give her 10. She was in the bottom two last week. One commentator suggests that was because Katie can be ‘annoying’. I agree, to be honest. My wife says her styling might be putting people off, as it’s very harsh week by week. It’s a Madonna/Lady Ga Ga (interchangeable) wig this week with tight black leather suit. Looks fine. She sings well enough. Some negative comments from judges. Cheryl says yes she is a drama queen, but so what? I’ll say 7. Daughter says... 10!
Next is Aiden. What song will he turn into a Radiohead dirge this week? I wish the judges would stop telling him to smile and be 18 and have fun etc. He likes singing moody dirgey songs. His voice is different from any other contestant the X Factor has ever had. He’s started really well, singing ‘Nothing Compares to You.’ But it’s a boring song. Probably sang it as well as it could have been sung. Zzzzzzzzz though. Apparently they changed his song 24 hours before the show. OK, I’ll give it 8. Daughter says 9.
Paije did well last week, partly because of the Amy W. song. Louie wants to see the ‘fun, bubbly Paije’ tonight. Hmmmm. He starts with ‘I’m a Believer.’ Not just as Neil D/Monkees copy version, to be fair. He does look as if he’s having fun. He segues into oh... whatja call it... and would have been better to stick to ‘I’m a Believer’ all the way through. Louie says he’s a little Lenny Henry (?). Simon says there was an ‘Austin Powers vibe’, and meant it as a compliment. The judges loved it. I think they have rather over-estimated how good that was! I’d give it 6. Daughter says 8.
Rebecca, who has been consistently the best every week so far, now has to keep the momentum going. The song is emotional and she has been crying while singing it in rehearsal. It’s Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’. Fantastic song, of course. Rebecca is singing it brilliantly so far. I even think Bob would approve of this one. Nothing else to say – just superb. Louie says she ‘stands out,’ which is an understatement. I’ll give her 10. No one is going to top that tonight. Daughter says 9. Not often I give a higher mark than her...
Wagner! His vocals were seriously off last week, far more so than in earlier weeks, as if they no longer meant anything compared to the ‘performance’. This week, even worse, on ‘Viva Las Vegas’ – all over the place and out of tune. Loads of dancing girls doing a kind of can can, and now suddenly into ‘The Wonder of You’ without warning. He wanders around the girls who smile at him mock-hero-worshipfully. Simon says he liked it. Perhaps he feels that by criticising it, he might encourage people to vote for Wagner. I wonder if his run has come to an end. That was surely just too bad. He has a cult following, we’re told, and they may phone enough times to keep him in. Maybe. I’ll say 4. Daughter says 6.
Matt, now. Not too good last week, but had seemed like one of the favourites before that. I predict he’ll be back up there this week. Here he goes. Lots of falsetto. Very clear, perfectly pitched vocal, switching from high to low and back again. A song to remind everyone he can sing. Very much in his comfort zone. Louie says he is the one everyone has to beat. I prefer Rebecca, but I can see that he is very good and with a great recording voice in the X-Factor-mould. Simon says, “This is the Matt and Rebecca show tonight.” Of course, his own act, One Direction, are still to come. I’ll say 9. Daughter says 10.
Treyc enjoyed herself last week, but I thought it was too similar to the original. She looked great though in her little red Santa hat. I think she can probably sing as well as anyone, but needs to take a risk or two to stand out. A Bon Jovi ballad isn’t exactly what I had in mind as a risk. That said, she’s singing it really well. Simon says she needs passion and belief that she can win. Treyc says she has it but needs to show it. Hmmmm. Dunno if any of that matters. She just needs to do her best and sing really well and make songs sound like she's given something unique to it, surely? I’ll give her 7. Daughter says 9.
Finally, it’s One Direction, the boy band. I find them irritating, but they are full of energy and appeal to teenage girls. Simon reckons they’re about to ‘stamp out the opposition’ this week. With Kim Wilde’s ‘Kids in America’? The usual energy, smiles, girls screaming from the audience. Yes, they’re doing well. They’ve cheered Cheryl up, apparently. Safe as houses this week, I reckon. I’ll say 7, although they probably deserve more. A grouch like me can’t go above 7 for them though. Daughter says 7 too.
Who’s in trouble this week? Hard to say. I’ll predict that Wagner or Mary could be up for the chop this week. The novelty acts running out of steam. Mind you, Treyc doesn’t stand out and might not attract voters, even though she sings well, and poor old Aiden sang a rotten song. But I’ll go for Wagner or Mary. Results tomorrow. Will this be my first wrong guess? I hope so – the pressure to get it right every week is beginning to get to me!