Sunday, 4 December 2011

Misha B gets the Shorty straw


Well, this is it folks. After what seems like an eternity, or at least time enough to gestate a baby elephant, we're about to discover who's made it through to the final of X-Factor. The excitement is palpable, especially judging by the bulging veins on Kelly's neck. Speaking of which, she's one of the performing guests tonight, alongside pubescent platinum popsqueak Justin Bieber. Someone stand-by with a crash-cart please, just in case this embarrassment of riches gets too much for me.

With his batteries now running about 23%, Dermot looks like a man beaten. He's going through the motions now, conveying all the seasonal joy of a child who's discovered that behind every door on his advent calendar is a picture of Norman Lamont. Tick those boxes - Bieber's in the house, thanks for buying the charity single, here's your finalists - does anyone care anymore? About anything?

I'm sure it was picked for its inspirational lyrics, but the group's mimed performance of Wilson Philips' Hold On, suggests the fact that they’re as fatigued with the whole format as we are. Hold on for one more day? There's another week of this shit to get through. Come to think of it, this song would have made a far better charity single, even if it is cheesier than a pack of Ritz sandwiches.

Since half of the results show is just rehashed footage from the night before, I'm going to take a similar approach. So here's a recap of the recap.

Misha challenged us to imagine a world without music, and by the end of the show I think we were all trying to. For her first performance she wore a dress made from shredded vinyl, a subtle reference to what this show has done to the industry. For her second song she tackled Pink's Fuckin' Perfect, but sadly stuck to the radio-friendly version. Still, credit where credits due - it takes huge balls to respond to those unfounded bullying accusations by performing an anti-bullying anthem. Gary even broke character to point out that this entire show is an offensive tabloid construct designed to build people up and pick them apart. He told Misha in no uncertain terms that there was no way she could win, thanks to Tulisa and Louis' ridiculous attack. Misha looked gutted. Or hungry. I don't know, her expressions are hard to read.

Amelia, who becomes less and less likeable every time I hear her speak, boomed that she was really happy with her performances last week, so it's nice that someone was. And Louis kept imploring specific regions of the UK to vote for certain acts, as though he was unaware that the whole country now has phones. Amelia sang Ain't No Mountain High Enough, but sadly the set dressers' budget couldn't stretch to icy peaks, so she had to make do with a wallpaper table. Before her follow-up performance, Amelia boasted that she can do anything, telling us "Just throw a song at me". Does it have to be a song? For her second song she chose I'm With You by Avril Lavigne, because it's one that she grew up listening to - a fact that makes me feel about a thousand years old. She also told us that she used to sing into a hairbrush, so the producers roll some footage of Amelia doing just that. This is all so idiotically literal, but the audience seemed happy enough. They like everything to be spelled out, which is probably why Gary pauses between each syllable whenever he speaks. The judges were nice enough to her, and Amelia responded by giving her best "Thanks, but I'm still going to key your car later" face.

Once again Tulisa introduced her "little muffins" - she's determined to make that a thing, even if it doesn't exactly do wonders for poor Jesy's body image. Sadly, the girls had a microphone fuck-up halfway through Keep Me Hanging On, and they struggled to get things back on track. Tulisa attempted to articulate what the girls represent, but someone should point out that they're competing in the X-Factor, not running for local government. Sensing that the girls were struggling, Kelly pointed out that "In a girl group there is always a lead singer" as she silently stabbed a Beyonce doll under the judges' table. It was a big night for the Mixes, as they got to genuflect in the presence of greatness, namely Jessie J who helped Tulisa pick them for the live shows. Jessie told her curiously spelled namesake not to cry: cue epic waterworks. By the end of their second performance, Tulisa had grown belligerent and angry. At one point during her rant, I swear she started yelling “My country ain’t fuck all.” But I could be getting confused.

Marcus' highlight of the week was filming the video for charity single 'Wishing On A Star'. Backstage footage revealed that one person's job was to sit with a bin-bag full of leaves and throw them at Marcus, prompting me to realise that I've wasted my life. Marcus is a good looking kid, but he's been so busy "wehhking" this week, he missed the end of Movember, and is still rocking a weasely top lip. Not to worry, Kelly wished he'd been singing 'My Girl' directly to her, once again missing some fairly obvious clues about a contestant's sexuality. After struggling through Can You Feel It (the second time this week that song almost undid an X-Factor contestant) Dermot sent the young lad off to the wings with a cryptic "For the time being, it's Marcus." Does that mean he’s about to pupate?

With the recaps done, it's time for awkward backstage cam, and a bit of pointless blather about how nervous/excited the contestants are. "Words can't describe...", "I've been on a journey", "It means so much to us...." If only William Hill were offering odds on contestant clich├ęs – I could clean up.

Screeeeeeam - it's Justin Bieber. The world's most famous seventeen year old. He's dressed in a Thriller-era red and black leather jacket that would drown Dolph Lundgren, and singing something from his wretched new Christmas album. It’s about as authentically festive as a pile of soap-chip snowflakes, but he soldiers on, repeatedly referencing “Shorty”. After years in the showbiz wilderness, it's nice that Warwick Davis is getting the recognition he deserves. Justin tries getting a little seductive on the Judges' table, but Kelly looks as though she could use him as a toothpick. The performance ends, and twelve million people wonder how on Earth this uninspiring adolescent managed to become one of the biggest names in pop music.

Kelly's missing from her seat on the judging panel, because she's getting ready to plug a single that no-one's interested in buying. For a moment, this has me contemplating an alternate reality where Louis has to excuse himself to prepare for a live performance of his new single. But that takes me to a very dark place indeed, so let's cheer on Kelly instead. Over the last few months we've taken her to our collective bosom, but it's clear that she'll only ever be a ginger stepchild, rather than a proper member of the family. No doubt, Kelly's an attractive young woman, but in her sparkly hot pants, the word that springs to mind is 'sturdy'.

She’s performing a half-arsed medley of her recent David Guetta-fuelled dance hits, and making a great job of proving the point she made last night about every girl group needing a lead singer. There’s something slightly incongruous about watching a performance like this on a Sunday night. Maybe if I was off my face on GHB it’d be more effective. As it is, it’s a bit like being in a nightclub, just as someone turns on the lights for a fire drill. Kelly wraps up her slot with a major plug for her new album – silly girl, she could have just tattooed its name up her forearm. Meanwhile, the regulators are drawing up the paperwork for another breach of the rules.

We’re just moments away from revealing the results, so let’s watch some filler footage of why the contestants want to make it to the Wembley final next week. Amelia’s still stroppy about being dropped back in week one, and Marcus has grown as a person as well as a performer. It’s inspiring stuff, for sure. There’s a point where Marcus looks like he’s about to cry, but his Botox-frozen forehead makes it hard to tell. He could just be squeezing out a fart. Kelly talks about how Misha is something special and really deserves to be in the final – blink twice if she’s threatening you Kelly. And finally, there’s Little Mix, who’ve worked so hard that Tulisa can’t even find the words. Could she ever?

Dermot’s got the results in his hot little hands – first through is Little Mix, who put more effort into their screams than they did in either performance last night. Next, it’s Marcus. Of course he’s smiling, he always does, but let’s imagine that he’s happy about going through anyway.

Two acts, and just one place left. One of Kelly’s girls will go through to the final, and the other one will get a Christmas card from Kelly’s PA in a week’s time, signed “Kind regards…” It looks as though Gary’s in tune with the British public, as Amelia goes through and Misha bows out. Looks like Auntie won’t be getting that grain of salt Misha promised to repay her with. There’s lots of footage pointing out just how well Louis and Tulisa sabotaged her chances with the whole Bullygate fiasco. Hell, they even got me doing it.

Misha ends her time on the X-Factor with a performance of that Jessie J dirge 'Who You Are' as her final song. She’s written a new rap for it, which references Dermot's words of wisdom. I guess there's a first time for everything. The camera focuses on Tulisa to see if the guilt has helped her squeeze out a tear, but if she strains any harder she’ll burst a blood vessel.

One final word from our contestants - Amelia's chuffed to be through to the final, even if she feels like she should have been there in the first place. Yeah, we get it. Little Mix want to thank everyone, but neglect to mention all the god-awful girl bands who came before, and made them look amazing by comparison. Finally, Marcus promises to work hard over the next week. Louis, don’t get your hopes up – he means in rehearsals.

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