It’s X Factor time again. I will comment live as the show moves along. I should warn you, I was at Helena Nelson’s book launch this afternoon and was waylaid afterwards by the Tolbooth bar and two pints of Kronenbourg. So I may have less patience with Matt’s desperate attempts to impress etc.
And guess what? It’s Matt first, with ‘Come Together’, probably my least favourite Beatles song ever. Matt is attempting to rock out. He says he wants to develop a ‘swagger’. No Matt, you either have swagger or you don’t. And you don’t. It was a shrieking, horrible version of a dud song. The judges loved it, apart from Louie. They are idiots, apart from Louie. I’ll say 4. Daughter says 9.
I should have said – it’s Beatles night. Cher says she’s not going to let anything get in her way of winning, as if that's what music is about. She’s singing 'Imagine'. Crikey... She is over-singing it. Too many trills, as if Mariah Carey, without the vocal range, had been let loose on a Joy Division song. She’s trying too hard to er...‘improve’ a song that thrives on a simple approach. Horrible. Cher has showed her age and her lack of perspective. It’s all about ‘hear me sing’ rather than the song. Oh dear. I’d give that 4 as well. Daughter says 8.
Now here come One Direction. They will surely sing early Beatles, something cutesy. But no, they’re doing 'All You Need Is Love' – but an up-tempo version. It’s very different from the original, so points for that. But I don’t care about it much. In this case, I do like the original and that version didn’t cut it for me. It’s hi-energy, but lacks the original’s warmth. And warmth is everything in this song. Well performed though, to be fair. I’ll say 6. Daughter says 9.
Not the best start, to be honest. But Rebecca is next. My wife says, "Bet she’ll sing ‘Let it Be’." Maybe. Hard for her flying the Liverpool flag – pressure...It’s ‘Yesterday’. Slightly dodgy start for Rebecca too! She has been great up until now. But this sounds kind of strained. Like Cher she’s over-singing it, to show what she can do. Sounds a little uncontrolled. She is better with a swing. Harsh, tight hairstyle too, which isn’t her fault of course – a softer style would make her look much better, in my opinion. Not terrible, but not as good as we’re used to. I’ll say 7 (first time I've given her less than 9, I think, and it was 10 for the last two weeks)). Daughter says 9.
Now we have Mary who has bored me for ages now. Can she sing a Beatles song? Let’s see. She’s singing ‘Something’ and is singing in the style, even the intonation, of Shirley Bassey. I hate it when people do songs in the style of already inferior covers. She sings very powerfully, but it’s so derivative that I can’t warm to it. I am being very catty tonight, I realise that. Anyway, I’ll say 6 for that. Daughter says 7.
Paije and Wagner next, after the break. Not something to look forward to, although Paije now and again can surprise me. Can he tonight?
Paije was stung by Simon last week saying he had no chance of winning. Amazing how they take the judges’ words so much to heart. What power those judges must feel they have! Not over anything important though. Anyway, where are we? Paije is singing ‘Let It Be’ and, as ever, he is adequate. Adequate Paije. But nothing special. Really I could give Paije a 6 or 7 every week for all eternity, and so what? The judges all liked it. Adequate. I’ll say 7 this week. Next week it could be 6. Or 7. Daughter says 10.
Wagner!!! What Beatles’ song could he possibly sing? Octopus’s Garden? Back in the USSR? Ah OK, it’s ‘Get Back’. And suddenly it’s the Hippy Hippy Shake. And suddenly it’s ‘Hey Jude.’ It’s TERRIBLE. Just embarrassingly bad. So I guess all the anti-X Factor people will be more committed than ever to vote for him and keep him in the competition. Cheryl is angry because she'd read some comment in the press Wagner had made about her coming from a council estate. Wagner protets that he had said she was a role model for kids because she had made something of herself despite her background. This at least shuts Cheryl up, but doesn't save the performance. I’ll say 1. Daughter says 1.
Last tonight, Katie. She’s been in the bottom two four times now. I don’t think that’s because of her performances. She’s better, more interesting, to watch than most people in the show. So it must be because she’s ‘irritating’, although she doesn’t strike me as more irritating than any of the others. She’s singing ‘Help!’ – but as a ballad! No wig tonight. Great for the first minute or so. In fact, great for most of it. A few unnecessary histrionics, but the best tonight – easily. Danii wants to know the ‘real Katie’. Katie probably doesn’t know the real Katie, and why should she? Shut up, Danii. Surely Katie can’t be in the bottom two again after that? My wife has said for weeks they should style her less rock-chick, and I think she’s right. I’ll give her 9. Daughter says 10.
Who should go? Well, it's been a poor week. Some people who are normally good, like Rebecca, Matt and Cher were quite weak, but I suspect they'll be OK. Obviously Wagner should go, but might not due to mischievous voting. Katie shouldn't go, but on past voting patterns, she might... OK, I think Wagner is for the chop this time. He only needs to finish in the bottom two, against anyone, and he's toast. This week is his final week.