Well, HMV have declared New Kitty in a Bin Bag the winner of this year’s X Factor, so that saves us all 4 hours of our lives on Saturday. And also helps us establish that what the judges and most of the viewing public consider the ‘X’ to stand for is ‘Ability to least annoy the audience by having a personality, or failing that, ability to annoy the audience least by having least exposure to them.’
But “Don’t look back in anger” warbled Oasis, and if you defy Liam or Noel they will probably pop round and punch you, so it is in bewilderment that we shall look back on the predictions I made back in July for our new crop of judges. Ah, a more innocent time, when hopes were high for some of the exuberance and enthusiasm of the post-Cowellian American Idol judging panel to spread itself to the X Factor. However, it turns out that if you hire superstars with massive careers like J-Lo and Steven Tyler, they will happily be their charismatic and successful selves, and have some actual experience and advice to pass on to the contestants. If, conversely,you hire one of the non-Beyonces from Destiny’s Child, Gary from Frodsham and some misguided bird who’s been in the industry for all of five minutes they’ll spend their time desperately trying to pretend they are the new Cowhell and forgetting to really help the contestants at all. So here we go:
Prediction: Would continue to be a smug self-centred arse and going bald. Would start dressing like Simon.
Reality: Surpassed all imaginable levels of smug self-centered arsery, with a commenter on one forum suggesting he had cut out the carbs in order to facilitate his desire to self-fellate himself. Continued to go bald. Developed fetish for tweed. Rolled out Robbie Williams at every available opportunity, aware that even a self-obsessed, somewhat unhinged foo-fighter has a larger fanbase than him.
Prediction: Empathetic and approachable, by Christmas Tulisa’s stock would have reached such heady heights she’d be a better investment than gold.
Reality: Out of her depth musically and emotionally, missteps such as verbally attacking a teenager over a facet of her off-stage behaviour and having a ridiculous forearm gesture have made her marginally less popular than the rest of the Greek nation. Screw you, Tulisa and your ridiculous tattoo, for making me get it so wrong!
Prediction: Would have terrible flu and turn up for work coughing and sneezing through all the performances.
Reality: Skived off in LA with a ‘sore throat’.
Prediction:Would try to foist some kind of crazed novelty act on an unsuspecting public.
Reality: A suspecting public voted Jonny Hawtrey out far too early, leaving Louis to personally provide all the crazy they could eat.
Anyway, its the semi-final, Motown week, and ‘From Thousands, only Four Remain.’ You’d think that would give us, the viewing public, fairly good odds those 4 would be exciting, talented performers, right? And yet…It certainly doesn’t save us from seeing Dermy shake his tuchas at us to the strains of ‘Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)’. Oh the irony.
On come the judges. Tulisa is wearing a necklace composed of actual Quality Street, not just the wrappers, and gives us a flash of her ‘It’s F***ing Dross’ tattoo. Gazza has achieved the impossible and managed to find some collar studs that don’t fit his shirt, and in general is attired as if he is about to bust out some innuendo about Mrs Slocombe’s pussy.
Wardrobe have come up with an homage to the judges this week, and dressed Misha B in what looks like a potentially lethal collection of broken records while she does a not very inspiring Dancing in the Street. Louis is clearly playing ‘Louis Bingo’ this week as he manages to trot out practically all his standard lines, starting with ‘Stating the Painfully Obvious’ (“You’re in the semi-final!’) moving on to ‘Being Privy to the Innermost Thoughts of People He Has Never Met’ (“If Berry Gordy was alive he’d absolutely sign you!’) and ending up at ‘Geographical Encomium’ (“I want all of Manchester to vote for you!”) Unfortunately, he is prevented from getting a full house by forgetting to compare Mischa to a young Aretha Franklin. Which is sad for him, but not as sad as it is for Berry Gordy to find out from the XFactor that he is dead.
Winning Kitty yells her way through ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, while looking like an even more white bread version of Avril Lavigne. Louis urges everyone in Middlesborough to vote for her. Manchester is bigger than Middlesborough, right? Maybe the Maccems can vote for Winning Kitty as well to even things up. Mr Humphries, for whatever Machiavellian reason, affects to love it. Tulisa says she brought Motown back to life. Berry Gordy AND Motown dead? This is a sad week indeed.
Apparently the Lidl Muffins performed at the ‘Hugo’ after party. Which kind of taints the idea of a PG movie starring Borat and directed by Scorcese. Perhaps this combination was occupying the mind of the red haired one, because certainly she had no room for the words of ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’. Mr Humphries says they need a lead ‘sing-gah’. Oh Gary. Perhaps what they need to keep fans interested is a 40 year old break dancer.
This week’s prize includes a limo ride and dinner in LA with JLS. Before I pick up the phone, what I want to know is, how sanitised might this dinner be? Is it me, them, and a whole entourage of management and press officers? Or is there any chance of me necking too much booze at the Chateau Marmont and being escorted out with my skirt tucked into my tights, stealing a bottle of champagne off someone’s table at the Skybar before walking up to some random bloke, telling him he’s Kevin Spacey and demanding tickets to the Old Vic, having to be restrained from stripping off and getting into the vivarium at the Standard and finally insistently proposing a threesome with Aston and Oritse? (Or the others, I just don’t know their names.) Because I might invest a quid on the chance of the second option.
In the ads we discover to our boundless joy that Beyonce has yet another ‘fragrance’ out. (K-Boobs has none.) It’s called ‘Pulse’. Whatevs. She’s having a baby and will spend three months smelling of Eau de Beyby Sick. Back in the studio and the crazy pink painted bloke from Middlesborough is in the audience. Andy Warhol is turning in his grave, muttering “I didn’t actually mean EVERYONE. It was a TURN OF PHRASE. Not EVERYONE!”
Next up, Scouse Hairdresser. I’ve put quite a bit of effort into getting into the right mood for Markizz to blow me away with some Marvyn Gaye number – booze has been drunk, candles lit, chocolate orange consumed. I am, in short, in an expansive mood and ready to appreciate his efforts. To no avail: Markizz gives us a rather too faithful version of ‘My Girl’. He even has a Jackie Wilson hairdo.
Ding Ding! Seconds out, it’s round two, catchily themed the ‘song that will get them to the finals’ round. Misha, dressed in one of Cilla’s old tops, sings Pink. Look, no-one was more pleased than I that Cowhell’s absence might mean we got to hear more than ‘Unchained Melody’ and ‘Could it Be Magic’, but there seems to have been a far too radical swing to singing stuff so recent you have to be at the stage of life where you are still recording the charts in order to appreciate it. “To make it in the music industry you have to stand out from the crowd!” says Louny, which doesn’t explain why that one from Boyzone always looks like an accountant from Hayes. “Yer’ve beeen accused uv beeeeeing sumthing yer not and Ah don’t think yer can win this competition because uv that,” says Boring Gary Barlow helpfully, knocking Misha’s confidence and reminding the public they hate her in one fell swoop.
New Kitty was inspired by her Avril styling to sing an actual Avril song. I actually like her dress, though. Loupy Lou says “I believe in you.” Along with leprechauns.
Scouse Hairdresser says “If I won, there’d be no more sweeping the floor and making the tea.” Now, I’ve had a haircut, and it definitely involved hair washing and scissors (and a lot of foil) and hair dryers and straighteners. But my actual hairdresser did not sweep the floor. No, that was the job of the salon junior, so it seems that, at 23, Markizz has risen to the heady heights of Scouse Hairdressing Assistant. On the evidence of his performance of ‘Can You Feel It’ this may indeed be his crowning achievement, as for some reason the song has been pitched too low and makes rather uncomfortable listening. The judges think it’s the wrong song, but that’s because the only one of them who is capable of identifying that it’s the wrong key is busy defending SHA to the hilt.
Lidl Cutprice Muffins do Beyonce, a risky step as this is generally as popular with KBoobs as treading dog poo into her dressing room carpet. They’ve kind of overdone the styling and are teetering on the verge of drag. “If I Were A Boy wasn’t meant to be taken literally!” wails a viewer. K-Boobs says they have to find each other’s strengths – you know, like Destiny’s Child found Beyonce to be the best singer and crazyass dancer, and the other two were stronger at standing in the background and being the other two. Tulisa nearly has an aneurysm screaming at the audience to vote for them. And that’s the end of tonight’s aural terrorist attack. Time to muse on how odd it is that Harry Judd, a professional drummer, should be far better at dancing, a hobby he only took up recently, than these self-advertised singers since their cradles should be at singing.
In the results show, we get another group performance. Holy god, I thought Miss Piggy was wearing gold foil hot pants but it is just an unflattering t-shirt. New Kitty is wearing bin bags, Misha another of Cilla’s tops and the one of Lidl Mix who isn’t the one BGB thinks can sing, or the red haired one, or Miss Piggy, is wrapped up for Chrimbo. Markizz’s eyes are dead as he does the last line of that Wilson Phillips song resurrected by ‘Bridedsmaids’. In fact, the performance reminds me of ‘Bridesmaids’. Yes, it’s like a big shit in the street.
K-boobs busts out more of a Jane Fonda workout than a singing performance. Dermy throws it over to the judges – sadly only to Louis, whose ‘You Remind Me Of A’ random generator comes up with ‘a young Tina Turner’, as it has clearly broken, and not to Boring Gary Barlow, who would be reminded of the dodgy tuning issues.
Ad time, and Ministry of Sound has brought out an ‘Alternative 80s’ album. Featuring such edgy outfits as Duran Duran. So…alternative.
We sit through the final begging VTs, the contestants apparently having given up singing for votes and decided simply to beg instead. According to New Kitty, winning would “be like going from ambition to reality.” Except, of course, it would literally be that. You just know that she spends, like, literally her whole time misusing the word ‘literally’, and now she has the chance to use it correctly in a sentence she gets it as wrong as a woman in leopard skin ears and a fake beauty spot. Markizz is on the LOCOG payroll. “I want to take home gold,” he says, going on to make it clear that silver or bronze would not be good enough, in case we’d forgotten, or indeed never learnt, how the whole metal medal rankings system works. Lidl Mix seem to have got this far on the basis that none of them are strippers and they are all ‘ normal’ girls. What’s this obsession with normal? One look at the charts would suggest that we’re actually quite keen on nutty. I’m looking at you, Gaga Lobster Head Tea Cup Poser, and you Katy Banana Dress Marrying Russell Brand Perry. Even quite clearly bog standard performers like Jessie J have to renounce trousers and dig up Cleopatra’s wigs in order to make an impact.
Thankfully there’s no sing off this week. After all, the bottom two are by definition the ones we don’t want to hear from, so why we would want to sit through more crap from them is not clear. To no-one’s surprise, BGB has monotonously and lugubriously called it right, and Misha B is out. She finishes with a final FU by singing Jessie J’s new single – the very one Miss J staggered through so appallingly last week – flawlessly (and doing a ‘I’m Misha B and I’m going to kick yo ass, N-Dubz girl’ rap). And with that she stalks off into the sunset, only, it is devoutly to be hoped, to return like a phoenix rising from the Quality Street tin.