Whenever I get it wrong, I like to imagine Cilla Black bursting through a paper wall in a Technicolor parrot costume screaming, “Surprise, Surprise!”
When I get it right, I like to imagine a languid Cilla Black on a mildewed chaise longue in a Victorian opium den, a pipe hanging from the side of her mouth, lazily slurring… “Surprise, Sur-fucking-prise.”
Tonight was the second, more sarcastic kind of surprise.
We opened up with Rough Copy. Their waning odds in the betting market seemed for sure the result of insider info as the boy trio slid under the Strictly bus.
Perhaps producers wanted to level the playing field with last week’s flash losers Kingsland Road or perhaps there was jealous confusion surrounding the fact that the lads insist on pronouncing the word ‘you’ as ‘Joe’ in numerous love songs. Speaking of which, all the “no one is going to expect this” shit doesn’t tally with the boys ballad-beating record in any way.
The Copy with the John Waters moustache is quite creepy but the boys had an alright edit (mum alert!) followed by a performance accompanied by glowing lights and a gospel choir. Judges reminded us there were THREE STRONG SINGERS and pointed out that they boys were out of their comfort zone (doing another ballad? Which they always do?) NEVER MIND THEN.
Dead Weight slash Torso Of The Week Sam Cally learned from Louis that he would be attending the premier of “TOR-TOO” and continued to be the subject of a gentle VT in which he was wowed by the glitz of the red carpet.
Sam’s number was red and black and boring but far from totally damning. Sharon questioned the song choice as weird and didn’t know the movie. Amen Sharon.
Sam’s critique wasn’t great but it was far more centred on motivating criticism than ‘damning with faint praise’ (hereon referred to as ‘DWFP’). Sam avoided the bottom of the flash vote. I don’t think he can avoid it forever due to his blandness and lack of regional appeal but he escaped another night.
Hannah Barrett’s sausage roll exchange with N-Scherz was entirely reminiscent of the James Arthur pints-in-the-local charade. Hannah continues to push a good angle that working in Gregg’s is “GREAT” but she would PREFER to be a popstar. It’s a nice slant – |I’m a worker and a happy one but I still have one eye on the dream.” Capitalism works so long as you’re aspirational.
Unfortunately, and a week early for Halloween, Hannah showed up on stage as a widowed jellyfish with vanilla frosted piping. Big dip from last week. Adele songs seem significant in XF history, either bestowing great favour or showing up weaknesses.
Are producers nuking Hannah in favour of Tamera? Or perhaps they have time to let her lay low? With such a pimp last week, it would be easy to imagine TPTB willing to jettison the 17 year old if she couldn’t pull a vote from the closing slot. Hannah looked unhappy (the insider knowledge kind of unhappy, the green mile unhappy) as she received comments.
Nicholas followed in the steps of Little Mix as he learned to use a washing machine for the first time in his VT. AW BLESS!! BLESS!! HE’S A YOUNG BOY SO LET’S GIVE HIM FRANKINCENSE AND MYRRH… etc.
The ‘baby Buble’ or as I prefer to think of him, ‘bargain bin Buble’ gave another stellar vocal and there seems no particular sign of anxiety from programme makers to slow down his train. Nicole wants to sail away with him (God, David Gray was tedious) and Daniel suggested to me that wee Nic has been “frown from petri-dish to stave off the menopause.” Even post ad break, we got a mini-interview with Nic’s Scottish relatives in the studio audience.
If Scotland hasn’t quite got the message yet: VOTE FOR YE KIN OR BE YE A TRAITOR!
“Delicate flower” Abi Alton’s VT reminded us how badly she got slammed a week ago. She hadn’t seen the movie. Moon River was a pure Diana Vickers production with none of the admittedly naff charm. For me, Abi was the disaster of the evening. I’d feel very sorry for her if she seemed able to exhibit any semblance of personality.
The story of Miss Dynamix followed reality TV history in gracefully washing over the possibility that there might be professional life after pregnancy (remember when Gwen Stefani got preggo and then had babies and became fat and poor and grateful?)
‘Dreams’ was a dull and not at all motivating song choice and MD’s staging seemed like a ten-years-on Stand By Me-style sequel to a Little Mix win in which one member had died and the rest were touring village halls and pride concerts.
It’s a pity. Much as with alumni Miss Frank, the girls are talented and capable of more. The show just doesn’t bother with them. Judges’ comments (“less time on Twitter, more in rehearsal” “lacking chemistry”) can only have assured the girls’ failure tonight.
Up next (Dermot) it was LEICESTER’s Sam Bailey. Sam’s VT made a point of her excitement at attending red carpet events and also downplayed her professional experience. The “Butlins on sea” admission might work in two ways: on the one hand it suggests humility but on the other slightly larger hand, it suggests terminal smalltime potential.
Celine Dion in a bad purple bridesmaid’s dress is never going to inspire, is it? It’s not the raw-around-the-edges cut-off-tee Sam that we saw belting for her life at Bootcamp. Judges thought “machestical” and “Disney fiasco.”
Still, it’s not hard to imagine Old Bailey and Wee Nic mopping up 80% of the votes between them with other acts fighting for scraps. A slow deramp doesn’t seem unlikely.
Trying to bounce were Kingsland Road, this week with half the backing track of previous weeks. The boys did however come down from a suspended plinth; very reminiscent of Little Mix’s descending swings for breakthrough ET number. Unlike Little Mix however, KR did not put on a game changer.
Luke baffles. More mediocrity from the boy I imagine is the producer favourite male regardless of obvious Wee Nic dominance. We washed Luke’s hair, we saw him play guitar, we joined in with his fun. James Arthur he ain’t. Kimberly Walsh lookalike perhaps.
Closing the show, Tamera was a weak sub for last week’s Hannah. She can’t belt the notes as purely as Miss Barrett when the ballad crunch comes but perhaps the public aren’t really that discerning.
I prefer Tamera singing ‘Ain’t Nobody’ to impersonating Beyonce, much as I didn’t think she quite hacked Whitney in her audition. However, Tamera had gold, stars, halo lighting – the works. Are TPTB still deciding between her and Hannah or is the choice clearly made?
And more importantly, who will join Miss Dynamix tomorrow in the kangaroo court of shame? Surely the fem-trio are toast right? Right? Will Sam-Cally be joining them for the sing-off? Another of the groups? Or a surprise contender? My personal feeling is that Abi seems vulnerable enough to warrant top class sympathy.
But what do YOU think?