FORE NOTE: Yes, I realise Aiden Grimshaw has since been eliminated but in my eyes he was still the star of the show, next to Matt. SO THERE.
Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who found last Saturday’s X Factor utterly un-engaging from start to finish? Maybe it’s because I wasn’t keen on the certain performances, or because I can’t stand the Judge’s bickering anymore, or maybe it’s because I don’t like The Beatles? Who knows?
But you can’t blame it all on the Liverpudlian foursome, as tensions rose to all knew highs in the X Factor House; with Wagner being forced to leave and reside in a local Hotel; Tesco Mary finally spent time with her family; Aiden spoke out about how he “isn’t fond” of Katie; Cher nicked Katie’ trousers; Cheryl’s still favouring Cher; Paije felt insulted by Simon; Matt went “nose to nose” in a verbal outrage at Wagner; and more suspicions arise with Katie’s link to the X Factor following someone who either needs their ears syringed or at least has far too much time on their hands when she was apparently spotted cavorting about on stage with Jedward in X Factor 2008 whilst they performed ‘Rock DJ’ (she’s rumoured to be the disc jockey at the back of the stage, for those who haven’t seen it).
And after all that drama, you do begin to wonder what Rebecca’s been up to, because her performance wasn’t anything to shout home about if I’m honest. The Judge’s can blame it on the nerves in the first few weeks but this late in the show, that safety net should be dropped; if you give a bad performance, or in Rebecca’s case: a tediously boring one, then it’s the act themselves fault. If you ask me, I blame that clown suit the stylist gave her – she looked like she was modelling Louis Vuitton’s latest range of Karate chic wear, with added bobbles. But did you see her VT!? SHE LAUGHED! OMG! ACTUAL EMOTION. From a girl whose descriptive vocabulary is usually too tentative to stray beyond (*Livairpewl accent*) “real nice”, this is quite something, but it is a shame it didn’t reflect in her performance.
Well anyway, if there was any night on the show that needed a top performance, it was this one. As the final eight performed, the Judges finally dropped the nicey-nicey outer-coating and began to criticise each other’s acts, with our favourite Irishman on hand to slag everyone’s acts but his own (despite having the worst act in the first place), and Cheryl got personal because Wagner said she was lucky to be where she is because she came from a council estate. To be honest, I think Wagner’s clarification of what he really said to that journalist impressed her more than his singing.
Paije Richardson very kindly demonstrated how unforgiving the show is by delivering a stale performance of ‘Let It Be’, generally not being as good or as interesting as Matt Cardle, and ultimately getting the mean old X Factor boot up his arse. Mind you, with the amount of times the show felt obliged to remind us with Peter Dickinson’s signature bellow how “LAST WEEK… *dramatic scenes*… A SHOCK ELIMINATION… *dramatic scenes*… SHOCKED THE NATION INTO SHOCK… *bit of ‘O, Fortuna’*… “, so they should’ve seen it coming, really. If you ask me, Paije was a talented singer, but he well outstayed his place in the competition because I found him to be very uninteresting, and I really couldn’t see him winning.
And on Matt Cardle… HELLO TANK TOP! I think woman (and Brian Friedman) everywhere welcomed a very hot flush as he stood atop that platform, revealing the gun show. Once the shock of the missing shirt had settled in, I realised he was singing ‘Come Together’, as performed by Olly Murs last year. And his shirt wasn’t the only big difference: It’s out with the soft-as-velvet falsetto, in with the rockier, deeper register. Meet ANGRY MATT. Witness the fitness! The roughness! The GRRR! I loved the fact the growling, rockier vocals that his band Seven Summers were accustomed to became present in place of the dainty, pop voice he’s been flaunting as of late. And I particularly like how he managed to tackle the modulation at the end. All in all, he gave the best “absolutely dripping” performance of the night, but only because Aiden Grimshaw wasn’t there.
On to Cheryl Cole #2, a.k.a: Cher Lloyd. She’s plonked her behind down on the floor before the songs even started, only she’s done it with a little more grace than Katie Waissel, because she’s atop some half-finished stairs, swinging her legs as she sings John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ (I half expected Louis to throw to rule book at Cheryl at this point, what with all his nit-picking about song choices this year). Now, I find ‘Imagine’ one of the dreariest snooze-fests posing as a song ever, and Cher’s amateur squawk is far from “the big surprise” she promised us. I thought it was bearable; she gave a faultless albeit very weak vocal. Louis of course gave the no no. And does anyone think Louis kind of resembles Louis Spence when he finishes slagging an act off? Like the way he moves his head and his slightly sulky facial expression? Just me? Okay, moving on.
I really wish we could skip this part. One Direction are mauling ‘All You Need Is Love’. Wait? ‘All You Need Is Love’?! BRING ON THE TRUMPETS!
Err. Soz. No can do. They’ve been ousted because Simon feels obligated to be biased towards his own act, and so gives them plenty of synthesisers and a drum machine to make them more current. Again. Whatever happened to your staple quote of “Don’t mess up perfection”, Simon? On a good note, the boys had brilliant harmonies at the start of the performance, but once the random stranger crowd invaded the stage, they not only looked like a cross between High School Musical and a Black Tie dinner party, but they fell apart vocally, with Zain and Louis not even knowing when to come in, as Dannii kindly pointed out.
(And can we get some trousers than actually fit Louis Tomlinson, please?)
And by now, none of the acts have been particularly bad, but my God have they been a snooze-fest. So I’m just in time for Tesco Mary it seems. She chooses ‘Something’, and it’s perfect vocally and it was easily her best performance so far. She’s certainly regaining her confidence, and the song choice was perfect, but I’m feeling the line “Mary’s got her mojo back” is getting tired now, so can we drop that one, Louis?
Mary clearly has quite a voice on her, and as I said last week, she’s established that, but now I want a performance, not just a little (okay, quite a lottle) bit of singing, and no amount a ABBA-style shimmy/wobbling and finger snapping is going to suffice. She should sing something current, even if it is “in her style”; I loved her on ‘Could It Be Magic?’.
Next up is Paije and- what!? MORE MOJO!? Louis, shut up please. You’re speaking privileges have been revoked. I found him tediously boring to watch this week, as I said earlier, and the gospel choir that appeared from nowhere didn’t do anything for me.
X Factor are clearly saving the best for last – Wagner and Katie.
Wagner sings a medley of ‘Get Back’, ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’, ‘Hey Jude’. Does he ever sing just one song? Or is his attention span not that big? He was horribly out of time, the backing track and vocals were much louder than he was, and the medley didn’t even work so how on Earth was he going to make it work? He lolled around on stage like a lost puppy, and just before the “Na Na Na-Na-Naa Naaa” hook on ‘Hey Jude’, it actually looked like his head was going to explode with the pressure of trying to get the right notes, even though he could barely manage more than two pitches.
And his styling was way off too, he looked like a dancer from Scissor Sisters’ slot at G-A-Y who had stumbled onto the X Factor stage.
Closing the show, the ever-controversial Katie Waissel, with a new makeover. Christ, my dear, you only needed your roots doing – you look like a 1940’s pillow case with additional wig in that thing. Mind you, I respect her being different.
Yet another apt song choice for Katie, but considering the audience appeared to go with her last subliminal plea ‘Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)’, this could be a good thing for her.
Forgetting the grudge I have against her after last week, I liked her this week. For the first part I thought she sounded like her usual, flat self, but by the end she convinced me that yes, she is a brilliant singer and even if her new look leans towards that of the 1940’s more than the 1960’s, it’s only a matter of the song choice that decides the quality of her performance. I don’t think The Beatles’ Britpop is the kind of music she’d be making if she won.
Best Performance: Matt Cardle
Best Song Choice: Matt Cardle – ‘Come Together’
Worst Song Choice: Rebecca Ferguson – ‘Yesterday’
Best Vocal: Matt Cardle
Biggest Improvement: Paije Richardson
Most Boring: Rebecca Ferguson
Biggest Gimmick: Katie Waissel’s “new look”
Resting On A Plateau: Mary Byrne
Who I Wanted To Leave: Wagner Carrilho
Who I Thought Would Leave: Paije Richardson