X factor week 2 - the results

The campaign paid dividends, justice was served...

X Factor Live Shows, Week 2 - Unfortunately for music, Rylan reigned supreme

So the endurance test that is this years X Factor continues... If they’d cut out the interminable VT’s where the contestants remind us ad infinitum of their woes, the whole thing could be done in half an hour and we could all watch a good film or something. It was particularly pointless this week as Lucy trumped everyone with the sad story of the passing of her Nan. (My condolences Lucy of you happen to read this). This week's theme was ‘Love and Heartbreak”, which was fitting as I definitely felt heartbroken as I listened to the contestants murder some of my favourite songs.

Two questions:
  1. Why were lines open before anyone has sung a note?? What with that and “Deadlock-gate” last week, I am already smelling a fix…
  2. Is Nicole this year's Caroline Flack? That Tabasco & Baby Oil stuff directed at a bunch of 12 year olds (one of Louis’ generic boy bands), was more than a little bit pervy...
Whilst we’re on the subject of Nicole, I am seriously considering writing to the X Factor to demand that Nicole be muzzled for the rest of the series. She spouted a serious amount if useless drivel last night, including a totally unnecessary  'en pointe." There's no way I'll cope with 8 more weeks of this...

It is with a heavy heart that I turn to the contestants. Everyone (according to their VT’s) planned to 'give the performance of their life' last night. Based on what I heard, (a number of the performances could at best be described as dire..), everyone will be dead next week. On the upside, at least that means the show will be shorter..

Lucy singing "Gold Digger' with her guitar - not good
The Girls: Lucy just wasn’t good I’m afraid, as someone on the Xtra factor pointed out, she should have entered ‘Britain’s Got talent”, she’d have won that hands done. The X factor just doesn’t suit her ‘unique’ style. She does what she does brilliantly and I’m certain they’ll be a market for it, just not here.
No explicit mention of Jade's kid this week having been trumped by Lucy, but she managed to chuck in a sneaky reference to the school run, lest we forget. Jade has an interesting Gabrielle-esq voice, which I actually quite like, however, she made one of my favourite Amy Winehouse songs sound like a dirge, which is a shame as I really used to like that song....
Ella was of course very good, despite being dressed like a 40 year old housewife. (A blind one at that, who did her make up?? Was it done in the dark using a trowel?) I repeat my call from last week: Why are we even bothering to waste all the other contestants time by holding this 'competition'? They should just give her the money now and give us 8 weeks of Rylan camping it up.
Jahmene dressed as an extra from Miami Vice
The boys: I hate to admit this, but I actually quite liked James. This week, he wasn’t wearing guy liner which was definitely a plus. Also, he took Nicole to a pub, where, try as she might, she couldn’t stop herself from looking uncomfortable. If he had force fed her Guinness and Pork scratching, I would have instantly become his biggest fan.  Jahmeme can sing and benefited from dropping some of the Mariah Carey-esq vocal stylings, however, he was dressed liked an extra from Miami Vice (the original series). Tulissa thought he looked amazing and that that he’d have the “Ladies lining up”. What, to pay for their shopping???

The show had been so dull, that by about half way through I found myself actually becoming excited at the thought of Rylan's performance, he didn’t disappoint. He can't sing, he can't dance, but Rylan was the most entertaining act on that stage last night! I loved his little ‘Take That tease to wind Gary up at the start of his performance. In an attempt to outcamp Rylan, Brian Friedman invented the word ‘Gourgeois’, to describe the staging of Rylan's song. ‘Gourgeois’ WTF???? Stop it Brian, no one can outcamp Rylan, he is in possession of most of the camp in the universe. just be happy with the smattering that he’s allowed you to have.  Also, surely Rylan established a new X factor record last night? I heard at least 4 songs in Rylan's mash-up'. (Loved Gary’s catty "If this was a competition to see how many songs you could kill in 2 minutes” comment btw!) I almost wish I could be bothered to vote, so I could ensure Rylan will be back next week.
Camping it up, Rylan style
To the overs where Louis actually said something I couldn’t disagree with, Kai was bl@@dy boring. Worryingly for Kai, he felt that the performance was a true reflection of him.  As far as I’m concerned thats enough of an offence to get him sent home now. He pretty much admitted that drivel was the best he can do, he's doomed.

Christopher indicated in his VT that he would be ‘singing for his life’ last night. If that was Christopher's attempt at 'singing for his life', I hope he’s ordered his last meal....In summary, it was dreadful, boring, pitchy and overly dramatic. Gary, tried to distract us by saying that Christopher is 'The voice of Liverpool'. Is he Gary? He's taken over from the Beatles then has he? I wasn’t fooled, Gary knows Christopher is not long for the show. He’s even started getting him used to his inevitable future as a lounge singer, by sticking a bar on the set last night. Gary said in his summing up that “changing him is not the way to go”. You’re wrong Gary, very wrong… As for Melanie, what on earth was she wearing?? It was so bad, it almost distracted me from the screaming....Side note: How gallant of Gary to mention that she's 'the oldest contestant in the competition'…

One of the generic boy bands. Union J?
Finally, the Groups and I have just one word to sum up MK1’s performance, dire.  Louis told District 3 (I think? The ones that WEREN’T dressed as modern day street urchins) "You can't do a One Direction song, you'll be compared to them"
 Surely that could only have worked in their favour? What they did sing sounded awful, not least because everyone appeared to be working to a different melody.  I'm sure I heard one of District 3 say "the moral of the story is trust Louis" in their VT. Boys, boys, boys, have you not seen this show before? The moral of last night's performance is, never trust Louis...  Union J, the ones that WERE dressed as modern day street urchins, to my mind, were equally as as bad. The judges however, were rhapsodising about them. What on earth were the judges listening too? Perhaps Union J sound a lot better without wine.... One of the judges said that they had “totally transformed”. I guess they meant from cr@p to sh@te…..

Who'll go tonight? I think it'll be Christopher, thank goodness he's had some practice singing in bars now.


X factor 2012 - The campaign to bring back Yeo Valley...

...(which so far has just the one member... ) starts here. How on earth are we expected to get through 9 weeks of this without these 'talented' fellas?

 And we mustn't forget the owl...


X Factor 2012 - Live Shows week 1, surely the best results show ever?!!

So it was down to Rylan (the most entertaining act in the contest) vs Carolyn, who could bore paint into drying. I know who I was rooting for, but was worried that the judges might go for the better singer. Rylan was dreadful, but he had come dressed as Skeletor and for that reason alone deserved to go through. Carolyn sang one note and I practically fell into a coma...

The deciding vote rested with Louis, who I have decided is a comedy genius masquerading as a bumbling eejit. Louis chose the boring country woman and then clearly got told off so 'changed his mind'. Gary, the dementor, stormed off as Louis kept the fun act in. Rylan, the Emperor of over reaction, had his now customary melt down. I love X factor!!!!

Not this week's meltdown, but not dissimilar!

X Factor 2012 - Live Shows week 1 or "Battle of the Cry babies"

Dermie Dad dancing, please make it stop...
So, the endurance test, that was the first live show last night, is over. Frankly, I struggled to make it through…. It started badly with  Dermie fumbling his way (unconvincingly) through 2 seconds of Gangnam style. (Message to the Producers:  Dermie's Dad dancing opening sequences were not well received  last year. Why have you brought it back??) Even the acts that I expected to be good appeared to be delivering some form of punishment to those of us who were stupid enough to be watching. James Arthur, sang ‘What doesn’t Kill you makes you Stronger', which came as a timely reminder for me as I seriously felt like I was on the verge of death after the first couple of acts. It was good to know I’d survive the evening.

Apparently the theme of the night was ‘The Olympics’. As a reward for their sterling efforts over the summer, our Olympians were subjected to an evening of screeching and caterwauling that didn’t appear to include any songs with an Olympic theme. (To be fair, what songs do have an Olympic theme?) To be honest, I only kept watching after the first act, (one of the boy bands Louis created from the Boy Band factory in his back yard), in anticipation of the latest Yeo Valley Yoghurt ad – WHICH NEVER MATERIALISED. WTF???? Said band has a new name apparently, tellingly, I have no idea what their old name was, but the new name is probably only marginally less sh@te. I seem to remember them saying the public had voted for it. Was it just the least sh@te option or are the UK having a laugh at their expense? I suspect it’s the latter.

The X factor has now completely morphed into American Idol (minus the talent) and has started doling out the contestants’ sob stories in detail and at length, very early on in the series.  (Tactical error me thinks, what will they use to gain the all important sympathy vote, in the critical last couple of weeks before Christmas?) So we already know the following about the contestants:
  •  Everyone is doing this for his or her Nan/children/next door neighbour/puppy. (Dermott ominously pointed out that he’s sure that won’t be the last we see of Nan. Deep sigh, I suspect he’s right…)
  • Everyone knows that the others really ‘want this’, but equally, none of the others want it as much of them.
  • Everyone has been working sooooo hard to make it in the music game, but just haven’t had the breaks/this is their time.
  • Everyone has struggled all of their lives (all 14 years of it…), eaten coal and has shared the one family shoe. Music has been their life line/is their only way out.
The X Factor script writers will have to work hard in the coming weeks to find something new to attempt to tug our, the hard nosed X factor viewers, heart strings or Rylan will win. Speaking of Rylan…..

Camptastic Rylan
Rylan is now my absolute favourite after his major breakdown last week. Yes, yes, the guy from Liverpool who (inexplicably) got through as the wild card, tried to replicate Rylan’s magnificent performance, but could only manage a stumble and a blubber. So Rylan definitely won the battle of the cry babies, that guy from Liverpool clearly has no idea who he's dealing with. No, what with the superb blubber fest and last nights Camptastic performance of “Gold” (a favourite of mine until last night), Ryland, the Emperor of over reaction, will take some beating. (Unless Yeo Valley are teasing us and plan to deliver some new sexy farm hands, avec owls, later in the series, in which case they’ll win).

I suppose I should mention some of the acts….The generic boy bands were generic and boring and I already can’t tell them apart. Expect one has a silly name that they seemed quite excited about and Louis, screwed the other boy band by agreeing his song choice was sh@te. (The groups are Louis category btw, they’re all doomed). MK1, destroyed some song (“Champion”?), singing in a key I’ve never heard of, alongside some dubious ‘rapping’. Despite that and the fact they were dressed like rejects from an 80’s ‘hip hop’ movie, all the judges thought they were ‘current’?????

James Arthur was good, but had so much slap on he looked like he was channeling Ryland. Ryland, to be fair, was wearing all the slap in the world. If he hadn’t been moving, I would have thought he was a waxwork version of himself. I sort of agree with Gary, James shouldn't let Nicole 'sanitise' him. Whilst we're on the subject, if she had to give him that slightly creepy makeover, couldn't she have sorted out his teeth? Jahmene apparently has been working without his balls (yes Nicole said ‘balls’ tee-hee, not…), which would explain the high pitched screeching he subjected us to during his rendition of ‘Imagine’. (What on earth has that song got to do with the Olympics btw??) Jahmene has a good voice, but the Mariah Carey/Whitney Houston-esq warbling at the end of every line of the song just wasn’t working for me.

Jade, smiling through the pain of being forced to sing an Enrique Iglesias song
The Girls: Lucy sounded awful, did she peak with ‘Beer Fear? Time will tell. I like Jade, but an Enrique Iglesias song? Seriously? Is Tulissa trying to sabotage her? No Tulissa, adding the dub beat to the backing track did not detract from the fact that it was an Enrique Iglesias song…..According to Louis Jade looked like an ‘International Pop Star”. He’d run out of comparisons by this point, having compared: Lucy to Victoria Wood; the screechy overs woman to an act from Woodstock; and MK1 to a ‘Young N Dubz”.  On the upside, he did point out that a number of acts made the song “their own”. I felt  that called for  a glass of wine, which I definitely made my own…

To the overs, in summary, Gary definitely won’t win again this year. The guy from Liverpool (who had been Tangoed in honour of his performance) and the Screechy woman, whose day job is to pretend to be a fairy, will very quickly progress from mildly irritating to full on annoying. Can someone tell the screechy woman that she is not being assessed on volume…Kye sang completely off tune for most of his song and the country woman was bland and boring. So her attempts to make country music ‘sexy’, (by singing a Nicky Minaj song, which is rubbish in the original R&B), failed miserably then.

The judges were the same as last year. Louis is as mad as a box of frogs.  Louis, you remind me of a little box of mad frogs, you really make that judging panel your own. Tulissa, continues to support acts that she considers to be 'urban', no matter how bad they are. On the upside she didn’t do that stupid salute she took to doing last year. On the downside, she threatened us with the return of N Dubz… Nicole was as hopeless as I expected her to be. She has obviously been genning up on her UK colloquialisms as she used the word ‘spunky”...but not in the context we would. Other than that she mentioned someone’s harmonies being “on point”, oh and she also forgot one of her own acts name (that's "Jahmeme", Nicole)….Deep sigh, 9 more weeks of her inane babble to go…. 

Ella, definitely this years winner, if Yeo Valley fail to deliver
Actually, why are we evening bothering with the next  9 weeks? Is it really fair to waste all the contestants' time and build up their hopes when it's obvious Ella is going to win? What we should have is 9 more weeks showcasing Ella (who was very good btw), with Rylan in support for the fun factor. Wait, scrap that, what would we spend the next 9 weeks making fun of?

So who’ll go tonight? Sadly only one act…. (does that mean next week's show will be 2 hours long too? Deep sigh) I predict it will be the bland Country woman, who failed, (what’s worse than failing miserably?) to make Country music sexy.


Police boy & evidence of the declining education standards in the UK...

The declining standards of education in this country, has now officially extended to the Police. (Quelle surprise! I hear you cry, given that your average bobby was never the brightest but the one I met one November morning took the biscuit...)

I was walking towards the train station, filing my nails and clearly looking a bit shifty. I say that as I was physically stopped by a Policeman i.e. he actually touched me. Brave man I hear you cry. I didn't hit him, not because he was a Policeman, but because I swear, he couldn't have been more than 12, and I thought he might cry. So he said to me, whilst pointedly staring at my nail file:

Source: CPJ Blog
"Can I ask you what you have in your hand?"

"I think you've just demonstrated that you are more than capable of asking." I replied.

Admittedly, the whole interaction would have been a lot shorter and less confrontational had I just stated the obvious, but: I had a banging headache; was late for work; my nails looked like I'd just come off of a building site; AND HE TOUCHED ME.  I wasn't in the mood.

"You have also demonstrated that the social norms of the country you live in are a mystery to you. It's not usual to touch someone without their permission."

"What?" he asked, looking more than a little confused...

"Have you recently arrived in the country?" I asked. "For future reference, in England, we generally don't say 'What' like that to strangers."

He glanced over at his mate, who I think was 8. Side note: How old do you have to be to get into the police these days? Also, have the Met instituted an equal opportunities policy that extends to dwarfs? Laudable, but I'm not sure how useful they would be in a crisis... Anyway, for some reason I suspect he was a bit embarrassed, because he suddenly got all aggressive with me.

"Are you being rude to me young lady?" He asked.

"I'll have you know sonny," I replied "I am old enough to be your Mother. Furthermore, I believe when you reflect upon this conversation later today, it will be clear to you which of us was the ruder..."

He lost patience at this point, which was a bit of a shame as I had really started to enjoy myself.

"What's that in you hand?" he barked.

"It's a nail file." I said, holding it in front of him.

"And what did you plan to do with that?" he said.

"Well initially, I had planned to employ it as it's original inventor intended and use it to file my nails. If I'm honest, since this conversation started, other ways that I could possibly use it have been popping into my head thick and fast."

"What?" he said looking confused again and going a bit red.

"There you go with the 'What' again." I said "You'll come a cropper using that sort of tone with the wrong person one day. Just a friendly warning. Now, as much as I'd love to spend more time instructing you on grammar and vocab, I'm late for work, so if you've nothing else I'll be on my way."

It turned out he had nothing else, so I went on my way.

True story.


X Factor 2011 - Gaga vs Queen week...

So it turned out that the high point of tonight's show, was wondering whether there was actually going to be one or not. Whilst ITV struggled with their technical difficulties, we were treated to a montage of the auditions, which served to confirm that: Goldie really was rubbish; Johny was brilliant before Louis got his hands on him; Janet, is definitely a one trick pony; Frankie's Dad must be one of the show's producer - that can be the only reason he got through....

Amelia Lilly returns
 The Gaga vs Queen week turned out to be people singing Gaga's covers of Queen songs vs Queen week.  I couldn't help but feel the injustice of Johnny having already gone, he was born for a Queen week (boom, boom). In any event, most of them, predictably, were awful, but on the upside, Dermot danced a bit :-) Am I alone in finding dancing Dermie ever so slightly sexy? Yes? Oh well... (Side note: Why was Kelly dressed like Harry Hill - or a 1920's lesbian, for those of you not familiar with Mr Hill's wardrobe?)

The show began with the chilling announcement that Frankie's demise meant 'someone had to take his place'. I began to wonder whether the X Factor contestants are actually hostages who are being released one by one at the kidnapper's whim. Said kidnapper obviously has a schedule in mind that meant 'someone had to take his place'. So began the pantomime that was the phone vote to determine which of those released earlier, would be coming back. (I assume that Johnny and The Risk have cut some sort of a deal with the kidnapper as they were excluded from the vote...) It was all an elaborate ruse anyway, everyone knew Amelia Lily was coming back and strangely, it was announced that she did, before the voting was closed... (Another quick side note: I thought Amelia would have had the good sense to get rid of the pensioner's pink rinse the stylists had given her. Clearly suffering from Stockholm syndrome, she decided to keep it).

Tonight's show was more than a tad boring, with the high point being Kitty's (who looks more like a transvestite each week) leather, gimp horses. (You had to see it, I don't know how else to explain it... ) She did, however, come fully clothed this week, so that was an improvement. Little Mix did the same song they do every week. Craig, didn't do his stroke face as much tonight, but that was possibly because he was concentrating on murdering Gaga's "Paparazzi".  Apparently, Craig still reminds Louis of a 'young Gary Barlow' - Gary having felt the insult of the comparison keenly last week, managed to do a decent job of looking unconcerned this week. (I assume that, as the camera didn't cut to him for a reaction). 
Kitty and the leather clad gimp horses
Janet sang her song at 78 speed, I say sang, I am being charitable, most of it was off key. Like the gorgeous Gazza Barlow, I am so over Janet now.  Apparently though, she'll be better once she's found' the middle ground between sad and happy'? Where's that? 'Sappy'? Based on tonight's performance she's already there and it's not a good place...Marcus did his best with a ridiculous arrangement of 'Another one bites the dust'. It seems he spent the last few weeks searching for himself (not sure why when he was clearly on the show) only to find out that he is Jackie Wilson. I suspect that means that whatever the theme is going forward, it will be done in the style of Jackie Wilson. There goes my dream of 'Grime Week'...

Mischa's was the best performance of the night for me, topped only by Louis realising that she reminded him of a "young Chaka Khan". Amelia, who won the phone vote (quelle surpris), sang 'The show must go on'. She sang it like she meant "sirrus bizniz" according to Kelly, which I'm sure Amelia felt was extremely useful feedback. I spent the vast majority of her song worrying that this was a signpost telling us we were to be subjected to one of those awful group songs instead of ending the madness. Thankfully, the nightmare ended there, leaving me to conclude that prolonged technical difficulties would probably have been more than marginally preferable to this weeks show.


The Killing Second Series

At last!!! The date for the second series of 'The Killing' revealed. It starts on 19 November BBC4 and apparently is only 10 episodes long this time, which is a shame but beggars can't be choosers. On the upside, it seems as if Lund's jumper will be back by popular demand. Wait, 19 November is in a couple of weeks, must start brushing up on my Danish....

Taster below, I am beyond excited!


Top Boy - Top quality viewing

Ra'Nell, Dushane, Sully and Gem
I’ll have to be honest, I was worried about Top Boy. Set in Hackney, Top Boy is a 4 part mini series that portrays life on the streets of Hackney for it’s for young protagonists. I worried that it would paint the mainly young black youth that it featured in a bad light. Whilst their actions and are appalling, the storyline is such that you do find yourself rooting for the main characters. Even Dushane and Sully, brilliantly played by Asher D and Kano, who are trying to make they way up the criminal hierarchy, by any means necessary. Ra'Nell, with a mother suffering from metal health issues, is left to fend for himself; and Gem, abandoned by his mother and living with a Dad, who’s long hours mean he’s never at home.  The two youngsters Malcolm Kamulete and Giacomo Mancini deserve a mention for their understated and mature performances

There are a number of negatives, the portrayal of Hackney – I don’t live there, but know people who do and it’s not as scary as the show would have you believe. Due to the subject matter, it will, inevitably, reinforce a lot of the negative stereotyping that young black men are already subject to. It does, however, have an awful lot going for it. Whilst it isn’t exactly an advert for Hackney, the acting particularly and cinematography are superb. There are some very poignant moments, such as Ra'Nell's visit to his Mum in hospital, or Dushane bumping into his Father for the first time in years. There are also some light moments, like tonight, post a meeting with their ‘boss’ where they talked about drug, guns and sorting out rival criminals who robbed them, they get in their car and Dushane tells Sully to put his seat-belt on!

So leaving aside, reluctantly, my worry that this will inadvertently glamorise the lifestyle, rather than warn of the dangers, Top Boy is brilliant. If you've missed the first couple of episodes, catch up on line, it's definitely worth it. A great showcase for British actors, writing and production, I’ll be watching through to the end.