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.