I haven't bothered to do this up until now this year but I think it's about time I started this blog's X Factor round-up. As in previous years, I'll update it in live time as the show goes on. So if you can't be bothered to watch or indeed can't face it, then have no worries. With some acts, this blog will be better fun in any case.
It’s Queen and Lady Gaga week – help m’boab. No one can sing Queen and anyone can sing Gaga, so the Queen-mob are going to be at a disadvantage. But first they have to replace Frankie Cocozza, who is supposed to have broken the rules of the competition by taking cocaine. The tabloids have portrayed this as shocking and transgressive, but Frankie came over to me as a complete prat, about as ‘transgressive’ as Plastic Bertrand. How many people have taken cocaine? Millions probably. Join the back of the queue, Frankie. Bye.
First up is Kitty singing Queen. Kitty is another who thinks she is original and transgressive. She wanted to sing ‘Born this Way’ and is emotional about not getting to sing it – I’m rather glad, I must admit. It would have been an ego-fest of a song for her. She has a lion-mane on her head. What’s that about? Her vocal limitations are really being shown up by ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. Terrible. Do stop her. Please! Tulisa likes it. So does Kelly. Maybe the volume of the live show has obscured how weak some of that was? I’d give that 3 out of 10. Wife says 7. Daughter says 7. They are in a generous mood!
Now it’s Craig, who wants to be “unique” and “have his own sound.” You’re on the wrong show, Craig. Maybe you should have joined a band and written some songs and played in grotty wee pubs for a few years to develop uniqueness. He’s doing Paparazzi. He’s singing it well enough as a ballad. But Lady G’s original had a degree of fun about it, which this entirely lacks. However, Craig at least seems like a nice guy and he is a good singer. The judges are all saying how great it was. It wasn't 'great' by any stretch of the imagination, but at least he tried to do it differently from the original. I’ll give that 8. Wife says 8. Daughter says 9.
It’s Little Mix now. They can at least sing in tune. However that doesn’t help them become any more than a-girl-next-door version of The Saturdays. Here they come, astonishingly with Radio Ga Ga!! No, they were fooling us, they’re doing Lady Gaga’s Telephone. That’s more like it! That’s what we expect and they’re doing it in exactly the way we expect. And they are doing it well. Louie loves everything about it. Kelly says the vocals were shaky at the beginning (and she is right, although they did get better). Gary says it was predictable, which is putting it mildly. Oddly, two of the girls who looked nothing like one another at the beginning of the series now seem to get more alike with every week. Spooky. I’ll say 6. Wife says 9. Daughter says 10. Crikey...
Now we have Janet. She started really well in the competition, but her first audition sounds far better to me than anything she’s done since. And they’ve styled her all wrong too. Ha... Kelly seems to have realised that and wants her to "go back to who she was" (and actually is). She’s singing a very strange version of Somebody to Love. It’s like they’ve taken a Queen song and Clannad-ed it or something! She is singing OK, but I don’t really like it. Louis loved it. Tulisa says she’d have to be in a certain kind of mood to listen to her. Gary says he’s bored. I’d have to be semi-comotose to appreciate that performance. A shame, as I genuinely like her. I’d say 6. Wife says 9 for her voice, as opposed to the arrangement. Daughter says 10 (she loves Janet).
Now it’s Markus. Now, Markus really is good. He has real soul, although we’ll see how long it takes for Cowell to knock that out of him. Sounds like Another One Bites the Dust crossed with Phil Collins singing Motown. Can you imagine? Who writes these arrangements? The song arranger should be locked away with bread and water for week. Markus is singing well, but really they all sing well at this stage. The arrangement is truly awful. Ugh... People in leather trousers are dancing weirdly in the background. Some tactical comments from the judges who want to elimintae the stronger acts so their own acts benefit. Naughty, but they're all at it. Oh, I’d give Markus 7 for his performance. Wife says 10 for his vocals. Daughter says 10.
Misha B is next. They gave her a nice hairstyle last week, very natural, and she looked all the better for it. Sometimes they’ve put a curious modernist sculpture on her head, which I’m told may have been made from her hair. I hope it’s the natural look tonight. It is. Good, as I’m sure it helps. She’s singing Born this Way and I’m sure she’ll make a better job of it than Kitty. The clattering drum sound is really annoying. What are the dancers? Glam traffic wardens with shiny pyjama bottoms? She sang it well though (yawn, as ever). All the judges loved it. I’d give her 8 for the performance. The arrangement isn’t her fault. Wife says 8. Daughter says 9.
Now we're going to find out who has been chosen to replace Frankie. It should be Amelia Lily, I think, as she should never have been put out in the first place. But I heard some tabloid rumour that it will be '2 Shoes'. God save us...
Here we go. Who has won the public vote to re-enter the competition? With 48% of the vote the winner is Amelia! Well, at least that’s justice. Now can she cement her place? She’s singing The Show Must Go On. She singing it on stage all by herself, no dancers in ridiculous costumes in sight. Perhaps they didn’t have time to rehearse an idiotic stage show with the ‘possibles’. And all the better for it. She is in the Leona Lewis mould. Not my kind of music, to put it mildly, but she sang it with passion and conviction. I’d give her 8. Wife says 9. Daughter says 10.
And that’s it for tonight. It's a fairly middling line-up, I'd say, even for the X Factor. No one is obviously favourite, which is different from most previous years, but may also point to a worrying lack of something. Markus, Craig, Little Mix and Misha B could all steal it. I reckon Kitty and Janet are in trouble after tonight and will sing off tomorrow.