Tonight’s programme was more about the addition than the elimination. Predictably, Amelia Lily won the phone vote to return (with 48%) and performed in the pimp slot. The song choice, ‘The Show Must Go On’, was clearly going to suit her much more than her rivals and told us all we needed to know about who producers wanted back. It also suggested they might have a sense of humour considering some of its lyrics:
Another hero – another mindless crime.
Behind the curtain, in the pantomime.
Hold the line!
Does anybody want to take it anymore?
To compound the sense of pantomime about this series, the start of the show was delayed by technical problems. Cue highlights from auditions starting with Goldie Cheung, the contestant who allegedly walked out because she felt like she was being manipulated. Not to mention Jade Richards being told of her audition, “that performance is going to change your life”. Producers may as well have captioned this moment, “and while we try to sort out the technical difficulties, here are some auditions of people who are better than the ones we put through to the lives”.
Finally, the show did go on.
We wrote yesterday about how producers had shown no love for Kitty last week, but that was nothing compared to tonight: she came on first; her VT was all about being “denied” doing her favourite Lady Gaga number (interestingly, painting Misha B in an unfavourable light in the process); her performance of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ was underwhelming; and the judges could not have been more lukewarm in their comments.
Pre-show odds of 6/5 against for elimination now look generous, because producers did everything they could to show us they have no interest in keeping her around. Should she be in the bottom two again, which looks highly likely, I don’t expect her to survive – unless producers really are looking to cut Janet Devlin loose, on which more below.
To complete the kill on Kitty by shoving her down the memory hole, she was followed up by another over-praised performance from Craig Colton. Coiffured like David Brent, Craig did what he has always done, and it wasn’t credible when Tulisa reckoned this was “his best performance ever”. It was competent, dull and no ‘Jar of Hearts’.
Nonetheless, his VT showed that programme makers are continuing to invest in him, suggesting he would be making records after the series ended and reminding us how “distinctive” he is, which is his main asset.
Meanwhile, Little Mix were definitely set up for a pimping next week. We’d already been told during the week that they were looking forward to doing a stripped back ballad in the performance after next, which seemed unusually forward-looking. The judges continued to tee up this storyline with their comments about them “becoming a little bit predictable”.
Their production of ‘Telephone’ and ‘Radio Gaga’ featured the curse of the perspex boxes (used for Nu Vibe’s assassination), and felt like a re-run of ‘Please Don’t Stop The Music’. ‘Radio Gaga’ is also the song that killed Jamie Archer in Queen week in 2009.
We have mentioned before that Little Mix may be fishing in the same waters as Amelia Lily, and it seems increasingly clear that producers are hoping for a post-show career for Little Mix. Could it be that they are actually hoping to engineer a Little Mix vs Kitty bottom two this week, so that the sympathy bounce Little Mix should then be in line for can help them outlast Amelia?
Next up came Janet Devlin promising to go back to basics with ‘Somebody To Love’. To our ears it was better than anything she had done since week 1 of the live shows, but the judges did their best to dampen enthusiasm for her. Tulisa voiced what may be Janet’s Achilles Heel when she said her style “is a bit one-dimensional”. Gary Barlow could not have been more damning in calling her “boring” and explaining, “I don’t feel like you’re making enough of an effort out there”.
No surprise that she drifted right out in the win market as a result, losing her spot as second favourite, and indeed becoming second favourite for this week’s elimination. Could producers really be attempting to cut her loose altogether, rather than simply cut her down to size if she is being difficult behind the scenes, as some have speculated?
It’s no longer so inconceivable. On balance I still think they would save her if in a sing-off against Kitty, though. She is by far the more marketable act of the two, after all.
Pre-show favourite Marcus Collins was also set up for a fall from grace after judges had raved about last week’s ‘Reet Petite’. Marcus has shown he could do rock with his week 3 ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way?’ so the ghastly big band arrangement to Queen’s rock anthem ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ was a completely unnecessary way to pigeonhole him into last week’s persona.
We’re still not feeling that producers want him to win, though the momentum he gained from last week should see him safe this time.
Despite her unflattering role in Kitty’s VT, the attempted rehabilitation of Misha B continued. She was last on of last week’s survivors and her VT continued to soften her image as well as shill for the Manchester vote. The different arrangement of ‘Born This Way’ was very much meant to help: taking a song that could be seen as provocative and stripping it back, making it as unthreatening as possible. Tulisa reminded us of this in her comments, and the judges did their best to make her seem as humble as possible.
Finally we had Amelia’s big return. She’s certainly the big-voiced female belter that the show currently lacks. I wasn’t feeling inspired by her rendition of ‘The Show Must Go On’ but then I have to admit that I’ve never rated her as highly as many anyway. I don’t think that she is likeable or outstanding enough to overcome the perceived unfairness of her return mid-way through the competition.
What do you think of tonight’s show? Were you more inspired by Amelia Lily? Do you agree with us in thinking that the Bruck stops here? Or might they be gearing Janet up for a shock elimination? Do let us know.