Sunday, December 12, 2010

X Factor: the Final 2010 The Winner is . . .

Farewell Wand Erection. They'll make a fortune sure enough so no worries about their 3rd place. Onto the final Matt v Rebecca.

Matt starts well. I still think his best were in previous shows but there you go.

Rebecca had a massive chance to steal the show with the beautiful Distant Dreamer. Unfortunately nerves seem to have taken over and she missed all sorts of really important notes and opportunities to blow us all away and get people punching the buttons on their mobiles.

To be honest, this is the first Final where I haven't been that bothered. It was Matt, by the way.

X Factor: The Final 2010 Pt2 One Direction 3rd place

I had some bright orange trousers in 1969. Matt's neon yellow pair were quite worrying. He did Firework fairly well but didn't set the stage alight. Confusing shades of blue dancers took our gaze away from the pants luckily.

Wand Erection did Torn quite nicely. They had nicked the firework background that Matt should've had but never mind. Standing up and shuffling around on a plank made them look smaller, strangely enough. Nice shot of one of them slapping Harry on the shoulder in the middle as if to say, "Hey, it's Zayn's turn." Luckily, Harry carried on regardless.

Rebecca Sweet Dreams Are Made of This delivered with her now trademark stationary static stance. Cool and classy. According to all the odds and polls that wasn't enough to beat the Tweenie vote but it did. Remarkable.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

X Factor: The Final Pt 1 Cher takes 4th place

Cher and Rebecca made their mark from the start - just as well as for a moment I thought they'd got the Glee cast back again. Whoever wrote What A Feeling must be getting a fortune in royalties. Matt seemed a bit less than enthusiastic but that may have been because he had Wand Erection behind him. I seriously think they should be renamed 4+1 as Zahn never ever seems to be there when he should be.

With ads at a rumoured £¼ for 30 seconds I'm surprised there were any but, sure enough, they came thick and fast after virtually every song.

Matt kicked off the real competition tracks with Dido's Here With Me. He seemed a little uncertain and not appearing as if he felt great. A tricky time for him. An extraordinary outside broadcast from Stacey Solomon, who seemed to be thinking that she was calling all the way from the Australian jungle was odd to say the least.
The guy's going to be around for a while and is more appealing than James Blunt and one or two others he'll be likely to compete with. He needs to pull something really impressive out of the bag, though. Another Nights In White Satin, perhaps?

Rebecca sang Just Like A Star by Corinne Bailey Rae but didn't inspire as she had in the intro. It was very laid back and, a bit like Matt, she almost seemed to be holding back for later. Neither can really afford to do so if they want to win, with Wand Erection's massive appeal and Cher's determination.

Wand Erection appeared and did a Christmassy rendition of Elton's 1970 Your Song. Pretty dull, really. Competent enough but dull.

Those outside broadcasts definitely have to go.

Cher's mash-up of The Clapping Song and something else was, indeed, something else quite brilliant. Dancing around and having fun, she was just so much at home on the stage and seemed totally natural. Way out in front for the first round.

Into the duets bit we go and Matt almost swoons at Rihanna and clearly can't believe his luck. Rebecca introduces Christina Aguilera and that tear that rolled down her cheek may well have bought her a load of extra votes. Showing them how to do it really well were Wand Erection and Robbie Williams. Great entertainment and you could see he'd rehearsed it all with them and they got it just right, blending so well you could have called them Take Them.

Cher actually outperformed the Black-Eyed Pea,, who may well have scared off anyone over 50 from voting unfortunately. Totally at home, though, she had the time of her life.

I'd hate to have to choose one to go based on all their performances to date but my bet is it's Matt or Rebecca who'll be in the audience tomorrow.

In the meantime, Rihanna kept all men everywhere wonderfully entertained and you could almost hear the camerman being told "Zoom out, Zoom out!!" as she re-created some of the Kylie manoeuvres from that performance with memorable verve. Dermot needed a handkerchief afterwards.

Not to be outdone Christina Aguilera created an on-stage version of something not far removed from a 60s Jimi Hendrix album cover. All good stuff and you had to wonder just how any of the contestants could compete with either. Sort of put things in perspective.

Nothing changed the way things have been going so far, though, and Cher took the 4th place this year. Not bad. Not bad at all. She'll be fine.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

X Factor: Semi-finals results

The big girl in the Glee troupe must have been told to plant her self six inches away from Simon to prove they were singing live. You could have told that from some of the nervous guys but, as always, it came truly alive when the pretty girl started and, miming or not, she's gets my vote every time.

Only this show could follow Glee with the Black Eyed Peas doing a Dirty Dancing number! Something for everyone, I suppose.

With four potential winners, and I really wouldn't want to choose between them at this stage, I was dreading Mary being declared safe. Great to see Matt making it through after a pretty lousy couple of performances which everyone realised he'd never have even attempted in any other circumstances. No judge was going to choose Mary over Cher. Louis had to but that didn't matter.

Nice to see the right four acts in the final. Amazing to see Cher at 44-1 this evening. She's getting better and better as she proves that she can handle an emotional ballad in a modern way, not just in the traditional way someone from the 70s might have done. Another performance like that and a dumb song selection by Wand Erection could change those odds a lot next week.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

X Factor: Semi-finals

After a bottle of plonk, my friend Sarah could do better than Mary did this week. Tescos really ought to be getting the P45 ready for whoever's been manning the Mary till for the last few weeks. However, I worry that the maths might be against Matt as Mary is really the only conceivable person that the Wagner vote could go to, ridiculous as that may be. With a bit of luck they're all be out protesting about Brazilian student fees or selling grit to Scotland.

Rebecca and Wand Erection should be safe and sound. Cher has always been a Top 4 candidate in my book and I have money riding on Matt to win but neither set the place alight tonight.

Rebecca 17+19
Very cool. Still not moving a great deal but spot-on vocally and showing quite a different side to her undoubted talents.
Followed with one of the most impressive performances of the evening. 'Amazing Grace' will go down as one of the classic X Factor performances of all time. Excellent. I had once thought she would struggle to reach the last 4 but this has been effortless.

Mary 4+2
This was rubbish - something quite a few people I know do better at parties.
Followed with a dreaful first and oh-so-important first line of 'Memories' and, quite frankly, a pretty awful set of lines afterwards.

Matt 11+7
Clearly strained tonight after an illness but also clearly determined to do whatever he possibly could to stay in the competition. A good upbeat performance but not one of his best this week.
Second song was easier on the old tubes, and the ear, although still a bit wobbly which is not what he would normally do. Not a patch on last week's amazing rendition of the Moody Blues number and not the best of choices.

Cher 9+17
Another not initially showing her best talents tonight with their first song. She's fun and is good to watch, always with an original streak and very much 2010
The second track was sheer brilliance and she reminded me of a young Madonna, a little raw, a little edgy and probably totally unmanageable as she gets more successful. It wasn't a safe number to get through with, though, and more credit to her for that - if she gets away with it. She should as she well out-performed Matt tonight.

1 Direction 16+17
Great, smooth and natural performance that was always going to appeal to the girls. Still don't find Zahn convincing, he's either late or looking desperate when singing alone. The other four more than made up for that though.
Spot on second time around too with the classic Coldplay track. They're through, no worries.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

X Factor Week 8 Results. At last...

The problem with tonight's show was always going to be having to listen to Wagner and Mary ruining good songs again. Before that, though, we could gaze at Nicole from Pussy Cat Dolls and wondering what had happened to the Cat Dolls then.

The Wanted already looked slightly ridiculous climbing steps and then bumper cars appeared for no apparent reason at all. This was a boy band who'd managed to avoid the naff limelight but I guess the dosh from kicking off a show watched by millions is enough to influence anyone. In the 1960s we could have had Grateful Dead. One thing they did was to show Wand Erection just how much better they'll need to get to get more than a Christmas hit and an album or two. This is going to be a tough night to watch, not just the miming but with two going, one of them not being Wagner would mean talent like Rebecca and Katie being vulnerable.

Justin Bieber follows and the intro seems to take longer than his actual performance, if you can call mouthing along badly to a backing track. Pretty smart dance routine, though. You have to hand it to them, that was well-produced.

Dermot is just one cool host for this show, with just the right amount of cheek and unscripted lines. He also manages an expression at times which says exactly what he's thinking but daredn't say, such as "We'd better get Justin out of here before he gets torn about" but with an expression that implied it wouldn't be the girls in the audience that would be doing the grabbing. One great leer that the person choosing which camera to show live will probably get fired for showing so finely.

Breaking the news to Katie was fairly easy and she went, victim of just about every tabloid newspaper's muck-raking. Well-spoken, calm in exit and probably relieved not to have to sing-plead yet again. That left Wagner v Mary and at last, at long, long last . . . he's gone.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

X Factor Week 8

It looked being another less than inspiring week. Only Cher and Katie seemed to shine in the first half and get into the mood in the first half, the others, including Wagner, doing OK but not a lot more and, in Mary's case, quite a lot less. Then Matt did "Nights In White Satin" and Cher finished off in cheekily fine style (for a girl singing the lyrics meant for a guy!) doing "Walk This Way", booking their places alongside Wand Erection for next week. But who will join them? Katie, or maybe Rebecca if she actually moves, should, but I have a horrible feeling someone else will.

Wagner 6+2
Remarkably, his rendition of Creep wasn't at all bad. I never imagined I'd ever write that. "I'm a weido. I shouldn't be here." Too right. Well done, though. Oh dea, that means he'll be back again.
Back to usual rubbish with Addicted To Love done very badly. Yuck.

1 Direction 8+14
One of my All-Time Top 20 tracks, Summer of '69 was always going to be a crowd pleaser. There were OK but didn't do the track any justice really and nothing very inspiring. It was also truncated ridiculously which largely reduced the meaning of the lyrics to garbage which was a shame.
Not sure where "You are so beautiful" fits into rock week but never mind. Three of the Five lads crooned well and that was quite a smart move. Improvement on their first effort.

Mary 5+4
All I Want Is You is a brilliant U2 track which worked quite well for the old bat but I still don't want to watch her wrecking any more tunes I like. She was distinctly off-key at times which I hope the voters notice.
A horrifying version of Brass In Pocket that I couldn't watch all the way through followed. Desperately trying to restore the vision of Chrissie Hynde that I should have lodged in my brain. Ah, that's better. Mary should be in the bottom two this time, at last.

Cher 16+13
Cool version of the young Girlfriend track. Lively and spot on. We'll be seeing lots more of her, one way or another. Followed up with Walk This Way. Interesting lyrics for a girl but coolly done.

Rebecca 7+7
U2 again. Another Joshua Tree track too with I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. Effortless and very smooth but pretty boring and not something people would rush out to buy. Don't know whether that'll do her much good. Luckily she has another song this week.
Who can sing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" and stay rooted to the spot? Rebecca can. Not bad, not brilliant. A bit different which might help and she's quite original.

Matt 7+19
He sand "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" but really wasn't very convincing. Neither here nor there. Sung well but uninspiring and that won't be on his first album if Simon has anything to do with it. Nice girls on stage with him, though. That helped.
Second half: Wow! What an incredible version of "Nights In White Satin". He sounded like all the Moody Blues. Excellent.

Katie 15+11
Sex On Fire worked very well for her. I would like to have seen her coming out even stronger and louder but that was enough to get Jamie Afro out of my head which was quite an achievement. Could she have made it back into this competition? Dunno. Hope so.
Everybody Hurts, another of my Top 20, so she'd damn well do it justice. Good effort - way too short but impressive and believable. The dress was dreadful. Someone do something about her appearance if she's still there next week.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

X Factor: week 7 results: Brazilian Bucket stuffs the Jacket Potato

A complete farce with Wagner getting more votes than Cher. Farewell to the Jacket Potato. I really wouldn't object if someone did fiddle the votes and get rid of Wagner now as it's totally spoiling the show and even I'm beginning to thinking about giving up whilst Rage Against The Machine or whoever's behind the Brazilian Bucket continue to get away with this mad mangling of the vote numbers.

Nice to see Olly back and bringing some much-needed chirpiness back to the stage. His vote went to Wand Erection so it's really now down to which the other two are going to be for that all-important final.

Mary's miming on the Heroes track was rubbish. Aiden reminded us that he shouldn't have gone last week being one of the two recognisable elements on the single, Cher being the other.

I'm posting this before Cher stops singing. If I'm wrong then never mind. I can fix it later.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

X Factor: week 7

Why does Beatles night have to be the same flaming tracks every year? They wrote 100s of fabulous numbers and we get Yesterday, Let It Be and if Wagner does Mull of Kintyre I shall use language that will get this blog banned in schools. Oh shit! He's started Hey Jude and totally destryoed it. Sod the schools. "Could've gone worse" said Dermot. Not a lot. Wand Erection clear favourites now.

Matt 9
Come Together. Looked like he'd come in to do some painting and got caught when the stage lights came on. Big production didn't suit him, or the song. Looked like he'd been 'packaged' for the show. Better just as Matt with a mike. Should be safely through but not exactly a memorable performance we'll be searching YouTube for next week.

Cher 11
Imagine. Just like Joe last year, Cher's looking increasingly like Cheryl, well, from one angle at least. Nice performance that should pick up some of the oldies' votes to add to the bag of teenagers' she's got already. Simple, but effective. I did expect her to get up and do a bit more with it but the restraint was probably not a bad idea at this stage.

1 Direction 16
All You Need Is Love. Danii spotted what I've been going on about every week and that is the way Zahn seems to be a bit of a spare prick at the Fab Four wedding, looking like he's wet himself and wondering whether he should sing now or hang on until the next line starts. Smart re-working that suited them down to the ground. These boys are on a roll. Looked good, sounded modern.

Rebecca 8
Yesterday. Competent but not a great deal more going on. Most of the compliments weren't about her performance. All a bit predictable and another track that's neither here nor there unless the artist really grabs it and makes it mean something. I'd never have chosen that one but I doubt if she'll need to worry too much.

Mary 8½
Something. You could have heard that in several halls around the country this evening and not be particularly inclined to pick up a phone and spend money. Like Rebecca, good in so far as she hit the right notes and came across well but nothing special. It'll probably turn out to be her best shot in the competition and shouldn't be her last with old Wagner around but you never can tell with Brazilians.

Paije 6
Let It Be. Oh, is Paije still in the competition. I'd forgotten the Jacket Potato. Bang it out, that's all you have to do, said Danii before he went on. Hmm. Wobbly start. Odd middle. Banged it out at the end. Pretty pointless.

Wagner 0
Oh dear. Oh dear. Some weird concoction of Get Back, Hippy Hippy Shake, Hey Jude. Totally wrecked them all. Horrible.

Katie 9
Help. There's a pixie on the stage. If she wanted to be singing a couple of songs again tonight she may have chosen the wrong one first. It'll be help she needs to battle against whoever she's in the bottom two with. Reminded me a bit of Petula Clark. She can sing although the first two thirds were less than convincing. I think she's on her way out before long but not because she's a bad singer.

And the winner of X Factor 2010 is . . . . . . . . . . . . W . . . .

Fast forward a few weeks and we've thankfully got rid of Varrrrgner and Rebecca, Matt and Wand Erection are the final three. They've each already recorded the Christmas single which they then proceed to deliver again before Dermot does the Big Pause and we watch his lips move forward to form a W and Louis, for a moment, reckons Wagner's won before we get And Erection as the suffix and the place erupts.

Simon's been searching the archives for a decent track that hasn't been a major hit here for a time and could have landed on O Holy Night which would give each of them a fair chance. He may, of course, insist on the Monkees'  Mary, Mary  track just to make sure Matt and Rebecca get shafted and give Louis something to sing along to, but, as he'll be managing them all afterwards anyway, he plays fair and goes for the sparkly Christmas song.

Lee Dewyze, one of the last standing in American Idol last year, gave me the idea. This was his performance yesterday at Gracelands in the cold.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

X factor: Week 6 results

Harry's getting all the camera focus in Wand Erection. Paije seems to have caught the Zahn bug of suddenly realising he should be singing and starting a second after he should. Of course in the mime-to-the-track we get at the start it's even funnier as the Jacket Potato was mouthing but forgot that he should be mouthing into the mike so double-take 1 'oops I should be singing' followed by double-take 2 'oops I should be using the mike'. Hilarious.

Katie is finally getting some good make-up and style advice. So much better with Russell Brand on his honeymoon and someone a bit more traditional taking over while he's away. Reminds me a bit of Siobhan from AI9. How on earth she's going to get enough votes to survive, though, with Rage Against The Machine supporters prodding their mobiles every weekend for Wagner and keeping him out of the bottom two, I don't know.

Christmas must be approaching with JLS, Westlife and Take That featuring Robbie Williams on the stage one after the other. Remarkable. I have to say Robbie stole the show with a fabulous piece of writing by Gary Barlow. Howard Donald. Just thought I'd give him a name check as he never seems to get a mention. Nice to see the production company spending some of the profits though. Kylie can't have been cheap last week either.

Now it ought to be Mary and Wagner in the bottom two (again) but my prediction was that it'll be Paije and Katie (again) and Louis saves the Jacket Potato by allowing it to go to the public vote numbers. A better racial mix for the XFactor tour too although they may have to give Edgware, Bradford and Luton a miss.

Up until Wagner's name was called it was almost as if the voters were being sensible. I thought I'd got my prediction right but it was Aiden that was dumped this time. I guess that made it easier for the judges at any rate. As they wandered forlornly off the stage to prepare for the sing-off you could almost hear them saying 'How on earth can the public believe Wagner and Mary have more 'XFactor' and could possibly be more suitable for a hectic teenage XFactor tour next year than us?' Oh well, I suppose they can now include a few care homes and village halls on the itinerary.

Expecting Katie to do one of her pleading, begging things but I guess she realised she didn't stand a chance against Aiden who cut down on the weird stuff just to be on the safe side too. Less likely to be emotional, Aiden was thrown on first and pranced slightly oddly, showing an Olly move or two, giving a very solid performance. Katie has an ability to produce just the right songs for the occasion and, for what it's worth, I thought she was excellent. Preparing to write Sad to see her go I was genuinely shocked that it was Aiden who went and Katie lives to fight again. Watch the headlines tomorrow.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

X factor: Week 6

You could have turned on at 9:24pm and not missed anything. Apart from Rebecca's outstanding Candle In The Wind, which could have been downright boring but seriously wasn't, this was a pretty tedious show tonight. I suppose you can't expect much with Mary and Wagner still there. Even Dermot seemed tired.

Paije 7
Crocodile Rock. I bet he's scared of balloons bursting. Maybe that explains why he was looking nervously at them all over the stage around him. He didn't seem to be having much fun and it was a pretty average, well, below average job.

Aiden 9
Naturally talented this guy. He adjusted the flow of the song and it worked although walking over the specially set-up planks on top of the piano was a bit strange. He's an intriguing entrant, a sort of quieter Adam Lambert / David Cook from AI9 and 8. They did well. He's yet to come alight, you know, give that totally winning performance that is needed to close the gap on Matt, Rebecca and Cher.

Mary 6
Yawn. a whole load better than last week, though. Notes good but she's just not got that X factor unless you're over 70. Seriously, can you imagine thousands of X Factor fans rushing to dial her number? They'll need wheels on their zimmer frames.

Katie 8
Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting. Looking a lot better this evening but this girl's not the rock chick I expected. I really did think she'd have come out fighting and socked it to us in style, especially as, if voting stats are to be believed she's going to be struggling anyway tomorrow. Pity.

Matt 10
The Yellow Brick Road. Damned difficult track to sing. He did OK but nothing magical tonight. I guess we're all expecting better after what he's done so far. He'll be safe, though.

Cher 12
Sorry seems to be the hardest word. No-one seems to be doing well with Elton's numbers tonight. Nice variation as we've come to expect from this girl and the most relevant so far but still not exactly right. She's surely still in the running, though, for the top spot and we'll hear a lot more from her yet.

Wagner 1
I feel sorry for all the youngsters who go to the XFactor shows which he is seriously going to ruin. At least #jedward were funny. It would work far better if he didn't actually try and just giggled instead of leering at the ladies. I thought this guy was supposed to be an opera-style singer. In which case, why the hell didn't he do something with Circle of Life. Honestly, the 1 point was for the girl in a red dress appearing to walk him to his spot making me smile.

Wand Erection 12
Harry and the boys kept Zahn out of the limelight sufficiently well to put on a nice performance. Nice, rather than groovy but, boy, do the girls love 'em! Glad I put some money on them when the odds were reasonable.
Peter Dickinson (the Voice) has obviously been told to emphasise the Die in Direction but Dermot still keeps the Wand alive.

Rebecca 18
Classy performance. In fact, the performance of the night. By a mile. By a hundred miles.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

X Factor: Week 5 results

You have to hand it to the X Factor production team; the set, backdrop, and lighting are visually damn good. I'm getting a bit tired of the judges having to go through the motions of walking out at the start of every show and wasting five minutes but I suppose that's cheaper than getting someone to perform.

The contestants must be hoping that if they win they'll get some better songwriters than Shayne Ward has had since winning in 2005. Peter Dickson (the Voice) beefed him up as best he could but by my calculations all the boomed plaudits were due almost entirely to earlier this century.

Kylie would definitely get my vote even though the new single sounds like something Pete Waterman wrote in the bath.

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that only about 40 people can be bothered to vote each week so there's just a vote or two at most between Matt and Wand Erection at the top with 5 each and the bottom two, with 3 each. That has to be the only reason Wagner's still there and 'voted' as better than TreyC and Katie. Ridiculous.

Katie showed some cool nerve with a highly personal Don't Give Up On Me simply sitting on the stage after quietly announcing "Sod it" and I can imagine how it must have felt to watch Mary and Wagner in the safe seats. The right decision, in my view, was made and Katie must have been so relieved that it didn't go to the public vote.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

X Factor: Week 5

Matt and Wand Erection totally out-performed the other 8 tonight. Cher and Aiden tagged along and ought to be safe. Mary, Paije and TreyC stumbled and may have to call their supporters up themselves to remind them to vote to avoid the awful Wagner getting through once again. which he certainly shouldn't. In fact this is becoming a show of two halves: Pop Idol and What Konni Did Next with the also rans being more entertaining on ITV2 just chatting.

Cher 14
New York suits her and she tweaked Alicia Keys track well and will sail through this week. Having said that, it wasn't a performance that was stunning.

Mary 4
That didn't work. It was like she'd forgotten the words, the tune even but realised she hadn't got much choice but to carry on. Luckily the musicians knew the tune and she followed it a second or so afterwards. Not good. Lousy choice by Louis. Not quite sure who on earth was screaming for her in the audience unless large 50-year-old women now appeal to teenagers. Very odd. The only reason I'd like to see her survive is that if she doesn't then the Brazilian old bloke will still be there.

Katie 9
Nice version of No Doubt's Don't speak. Again, she shouldn't be anywhere near the bottom two. I could actually imagine her doing New York as well as Cher, which is interesting. Not sure how many new votes she'll have got, though.

Aiden 15
He's sort of got through unnoticed so far. Odd performances that, luckily, have appealed to enough of telephone land so far. Now he's the young one that isn't in Wand Erection. Tonight really ought to change that. Anyone thinking he'd listen to Danii and drop the intensity forget it as he launched into Prince or Sinead's Nothing Compares To U, one of the most intense songs around short of some REM numbers (Everybody Hurts next week?). Apparently all at less than 24 hours' notice too.

Paije 8
I'm a Believer merged with something else in the middle. Fun but hardly winning material. Neil Diamond is probably glad he's just got back to New York and missed this.

Rebecca  9
All very competent but, just minutes after she'd finished I have genuinely forgotten what she sang. The judges were terribly impressed and I guess she must have been good but somehow I don't see where she fits in yet. She'll be around next week anyway when perhaps I'll get another chance to latch on to whatever it is everyone sees in this girl.

Wagner 3
The Wonder of You bit was vaguely reasonable. The Viva Las Vega bit was rubbish. Really, the whole thing was rubbish. I have no idea why he's still there.

Matt 20
Now that was stunning. Roberta Flack's The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face is one tough song at the best of times. Quite extraordinarily well delivered.

TreyC 5
Off-key at the start and missing the beat most of the way through. Some very painful notes further on didn't make up for a couple of good ones. I think she's probably got as far as she's going to go. Whilst she wasn't the worst tonight, she could well be at risk tonight.

1 Direction 16

Kids in America was a brilliant choice by Simon. Zahn was late as usual but he's improving and this suited them absolutely down to the ground and will have bags of appeal. They'll be back, no problem. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

X Factor: week 4 results

This was more like 80s night  First Bon Jovi  trots out a greatest hit from, yes, you guessed it, his Greatest Hits album. It sort of started and finished and you sort of wondered where it went. It was so familiar and he seemed to be thinking of the cheque he'd be getting all the way through anyway. Then JK came and went, making absolutely no impression whatsoever apart from doing his best to make up for some badmouthing of the show a while ago. Then Rhianna in red hair and a silly dress that Lady Gaga might have worn in the 80s performed a bland number we'll all forget apart from the fun bun throwing party behind her.At least she was live and nice to see her giggle. Oh yes, she had a single to promote, although hardly much point as Apple made a few more bob from her announcing it was already Number 1 on iTunes. That's another cheque for her too. JK must be wondering why he only got one.

Oh, it was a results show, wasn't it. Belle Amie vs  Katie. Wagner got quite a few boos when he got through. That's just mad as his performance had absolutely nothing anyone in their right mind could conceivably wish to pay money to vote for. Katie was convincing and desperate. Belle Amie were better than I'd expected but still a bit desperate and very nervous. They've used up all their lives now. They'd have been around a while longer, perhaps, if sense had guided voters but probably not that much longer anyway.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

X Factor: week 4

This will be an interesting week. Behind the crazy costumes, ranging from Mary's Tesco horns to others' carefully and expensively applied make-up and costumes lie a few people who are fabulous and a bundle who'd be better baking the potatoes for Bonfire Night. One should even be on the ruddy bonfire. After a brilliant week last week, this was mostly eminently forgettable. Matt battling with the Leona Lewis Bleeding Love was one exception and Cher the clear highlight.

Wagner and Belle Amie are in trouble tomorrow. Having said that, Mary, Paije and TreyC could be in for a shock. TreyC if only for the black lipstick.

Mary 8
You can't deny she puts in a good solid performance. I'm just not sure what for. She isn't X Factor material. At least not what I think should be and she and the old Brazilian bloke are taking up spots that could have given a chance to other new pop talent. She's going to go eventually, though, however well she can sing other people's 70s songs.

Aiden 12
Brave, brave attempt. Total re-working of Thriller.  Intense, again, which seems to be becoming his trade mark. I don't know how much he'll be appreciated. He could be at risk as I feel that the people who vote may not be the type who vote for this type of work.

Belle Amie 6
Decidedly off at times, as some of the girls seemed almost to wait for the right time to start and two individual vocals were quite annoying to listen to. One, I wish I knew which, really showed some effort to pull the others along and make Venus a bit different and their own but how can they survive another week on her efforts? They'll be in trouble again, I fear, and I do have to wonder whether, however nice they look and good they may be individually, they can be serious contenders in this competition.

Rebecca 14
A golden opportunity with this very cool Chris Isaak track. She almost took it. A remarkable, static, performance and mostly in pitch and tune but, maybe it was the backing track that didn't work, something went amiss and her eyes seemed to show she noticed it too. She'll be through for a good few more weeks yet and if Cheryl continues to pick such great tracks then she'll be in the final three. In a way, she showed both Aiden and Mary just what they could have done but didn't.

TreyC 8
I really don't like that black lipstick. Good effort at a complicated song. I remember Lulu entering in the middle of the Take That track and setting it truly alight. This didn't happen as she attempted to lead all the way through. She's always really right on the notes and powerful and talented and deserves to outlast several of her competitors. One or two good weeks could transform her chances, although she's not showing signs of being someone we'll remember in years to come. Not yet, at any rate.

Matt 16
Another stunning performance. How on earth he managed to make Bleeding Love his own and not just a copy is a credit to his ability. Excellent.

Wagner 3
The three points were for the opera bit at the start. Had he carried on he may well have done better. Unfortunately, it switched, and none too smoothly, to Bat Out Of Hell. I was worried that MeatLoaf  might appear at any moment and run the guy down on a motorbike. Actually, I wasn't that worried. The guy's got to go and after such a crap performance, this could be the night.

Paije 8
Paije doing Amy Winehouse nearly worked. He seemed to wake up half-way through and realised that he wasn't just singing along to a backing track. He may have left things a bit late, though. He's a kind of average guy who really isn't going to win.

Katie 12
She's good. Vocally spot on and clearly professional, moving around far more than almost everyone else tonight. I'm not sure she's yet made enough friends to stay for long but she doesn't deserve to go tonight.

1 Direction 15
Great choice of track with Total Eclipse of The Heart. Simon got the two strongest vocals up front and the rest joined in which made the whole performance so much better. As always seems to be the case, Zahn looked around and realised he should be singing at the end and seemed to be apologising to the others before he'd finished the last wobbly note. Still, the crowd totally loves them and I think voters do too.

Cher 20
Absolutely brilliant. One of the best X factor / Pop Idol performances ever. She even looked good. If she can keep that up then the final 3 will be a fascinating Matt-1 Direction - Cher play off.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

X Factor week 3 results

Usual bland start-off song when the vast majority must be wondering why on earth they have to do sing-a-long when they're in a show to become unique individual pop stars. The highlight for me was Wagner whose only line was "Why? Why?" to which, of course, only the coffee and wax people have the answer.

Watching Michael BublĂ© my mind wandered past the Facebook entries I'll be shortly be inundated with from female friends to whatever happened to little Ray? He came second a while ago to the remarkable Leona Lewis.  Or do I remember  anything at all about Leon who ruddy well won the year after? Not a lot and nothing, respectively. On that basis, who knows what will happen this year? John wins and just pips Mary. Louis is beaming and repeating That's what the show is all about to a bemused Dermot O'Leary. I have to say Dermot   is doing a damn fine job in difficult circumstances and could teach American Idol's Ryan Seacrest a thing or two. With his brilliant Radio 2 on Saturday apparently also live from 2 to 5 he must be knackered, but a lot better off, by Monday.

Belle Amie, Aiden and Katie looked particularly worried from the start. They needn't have been as the crazy voters decided not to vote for TreyC in rock chick guise or John because they probably hadn't noticed him. neither should have been standing there at the end of the evening but, of the two, TreyC was the right choice to survive.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

X Factor week 3

Some really good performances again this week, Cher, Matt and TreyC leading the way to the finals. Paije and Rebecca showed they deserved their places on the show and will survive. Assuming we've done some deal to give illegal Brazilian immigrants visas and free mobiles and Wagner doesn't go (which he surely should do by any reasonable criteria) then it's Belle Amie, Aiden and Katie who'll be wishing they'd chosen a better track or slept better the night before.

Paije 14
Pretty good performance, although the cartoon T shirt beneath knee-length rose-crimson jacket did tend to take your mind off the singing. For all that he did a good job and really ought to be safe this week. I can just see him releasing a 78 of 50s deep blues numbers at Christmas.

John 12
Once I'd got the thought of John & Paije doing White Christmas together, and I've no idea where that came from, sorry, his performance of Zoom was good. A tricky track at the best of times but it can't have done him any harm at all to get most of the notes right and to inject a lot of his own personality to the show for the first time.

Rebecca 13
Another faultless performance - 'a class act' as Louis said on the show. It was all a bit old-style, though, and I'm not convinced she's the star that the judges are predicting. She's good, no doubt about it, but I just don't see her selling big volumes. So far I feel as if I'm watching a programme from the 70s: it would have been excellent then. For all that, she deserves to stay and maintained the high standard set by the other two, not quite matching the impression Paije delivered.

Cher 18
Stunning performance of Shout. Strong vocal and she managed the huge staging of the number really well. She seemed to be more like one of the guest acts on the show rather than a mere contestant. That'll take some beating amongst the younger X Factor voters so she'll be back next week too.

Matt 16
The whole idea of Matt singing Brittney's Hit Me Baby One More Time may sound bizarre and it could have gone horribly wrong but it didn't. In fact, it was the best version I've heard of the track. He made it his own and it worked wonderfully. Boy, this is turning into a tough show for someone to lose. Definitely a star in the making. He didn't match the total confidence of Cher this week but is still heading firmly for the final and a new life in the music business.

1 Direction 8
This was OK but nothing like as good as the single acts before them. At one point I thought the good lead vocalist was going to carry them through the whole number and, judging by Zane's late and only just in tune nervous efforts, he might have been well-advised to do so. When they all started blasting the mics together then it was good solid stuff but pretty much instantly forgettable too. People say they've got massive support out there. They'll need them this week.

TreyC 16
Performing Led Zepellin's Whole Lotta Love really well, TreyC certainly made her mark. Not a track that many would even attempt but she hit it and was excellent. My only criticism was that she appeared pretty stationary throughout and really should have been moving around a lot more but I guess you can hardly blame her with all those weird notes to manage.

Mary 10
Ten out of ten for a faultless rendition but no star quality for me. Yes, she's a great singer. No, she's not my idea of an X Factor contestant. Lots of albums sales at Christmas, though. She'll be fine, however long she lasts.

Aiden 8
Diamonds Are Forever never struck me as the sort of song he should attempt. I'm still inclined to think that after watching him deliver his intense style version. He's talented but he's still vulnerable and seems still to have to fit in to this competition. If he gets through and can build up his confidence then he could survive a while yet but any more odd choices of track and he'll not be there for long.

Belle Amie 6
In trouble again, I think, the lovely girls, individually competent, just don't come across that well together and suffered the same sort of wobbles that 1 Direction Zane had earlier. They sang Stand By Me (the more recent one, not the Sam Cooke one unfortunately) and it sort of came and went without leaving any real impression other than that one of the girls is considerably better than the other three. I think they're on their way out, maybe not this week, but soon enough unless some of those I'd considered also-rans fail next time out and they get their act together.

Wagner 1
I'm almost beginning to feel sorry for the guy. He's out of place, out of time and the sooner he's out of here the better. Unfortunately for the other acts, he's getting some perverse following and those people can afford more calls to premium rate numbers than the rest. Either that or we've done some deal with the Brazilian immigrants on coffee prices or visas

Katie 7
Oh dear. What on earth is she doing singing I'm The King Of The Swingers? A big risk which will either endear her to people or just add to the mass that seem to dislike her for some reason. She is talented but will she get a chance to show us how good she can be again? Much depends on how badly people rate the others. Being last might just save her. Hope so as she's got a bundle of super talent to share. We just didn't see it tonight.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

X Factor: early polls and betting put Matt and 1 Direction ahead

Matt and 1 Direction lead both a poll of 15000 X Factor updates site visitors and the betfair tables today. Odds have tumbled to around 3-1 for each. Although the annoying Wagner isn't bottom (he's singing Relax, Lord help us all this weekend!) another two getting kicked out should prevent him reaching the Top 10. Who joins him would be Belle Amie or Katie if the figures are to be believed. I have a feeling it'll be someone else.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

X Factor: the farce continues

Storm must have been worried when he was placed with Wagner (that's Varrgner, Louis, not that that matters now) in the let's all sing along to a modern track intro. Katie got the first slot and Cher the star billing although the camera seemed to linger longest on the eight Belle Amie legs. Paije smiled slightly desperately in the darkness and Diva Fever looked as though they were carrying on the party they probably started last night. Aiden repeated his I'm going to put my head on one side and look terribly serious look and one has to wonder what on earth he'll do in Abba week if he lasts that long.

Who goes tonight will either be the sensible choice for a programme that is attempting to find a real future recording artist or the two that get the least votes from grannies and people with more mobiles than sense.

Just as a reminder about how people can get things wrong, Diane Vickers appeared, totally transformed from the girl on a swing to Britney Spears with longer legs and fewer mental issues. That was the year Eoghan Quigg beat her. Alexandra Burke and JLS deservedly beat her too but she should have had that place in the final.

Katy Perry left Russell Brand at home with the au pair and added to the evening's evidence for the case that fat girls don't make pop stars. She would have been better with a backing track as, despite all the effort, her attempt to promote Fireworks fell way short of California Girls or, for that matter, any of her other hits.

Storm duly exited stage left and may have expected to have been vulnerable. Few youngsters I meet seem to like his 80s revivalist approach and no-one liked the magenta hair and black eyes so he wasn't going to win. Anyone being kicked off the show while the old Brazilian remains must be inclined to lose the will to live though and, as I rather hinted yesterday, the real tears were for Diva Fever and Belle Amie, forced to perform again. With Diva Fever we were taken back to the 70s with a somewhat inappropriate I Will Survive and even less attractive brown trousers. Belle Amie risked Big Girls Don't Cry and did.

My guess is that the public vote would have sent Belle Amie home but they survived and it was farewell Diva Fever. I also reckon, had he had a chance, Simon would have kept them as I do think they could be packaged and appeal a lot, admittedly to a niche market, and I still maintain we'll see yesterday's track in the charts before long. Again, though, on current performance, and particularly Belle Amie's nervous effort this evening, neither looked like winners and Diva Fever probably the least likely and they had to go sometime.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

X Factor: 14 There'll be tears tomorrow

We're used to seeing some absolute crap in the early weeks of X Factor but, with one obvious exception, all the acts did a good job, Matt and Diva Fever spectacularly well and if the mp3 downloads that people can get after the show are eligible for the charts then one or two acts will actually be in the Top Twenty next week. This will be most frustrating for people like Storm, Paije, John and maybe even Katie and Aiden who put in good efforts but, in this year's crowd could be vulnerable. There'll be tears tomorrow.

Storm 10
A brave move to take on The Boss, and with Born to Run which regularly gets voted the number 1 pop song of all time. I like this guy but not so sure many voters will. He made a professional job of it - an almost faultless performance, great stuff. He just doesn't look right but that's largely Louis' fault. Star appeal? Not sure.

TreyC 15
Purple Rain brought back comparisons with Ruth Lorenzo who fought back with this track when in the bottom two at some stage in 2008 (I think). It was a really good performance but still, despite a marvellous vocal and looking good on stage, there was something missing. She's set a high bar for her rival Rebecca to get over, though, and for the next few weeks, that's what it's all about. Dermot took a huge chance with his "Hate to see you go but love to watch you leave" remark. Expect to hear more of that on twitter!

Paije 6½
Neither here nor there really. He won't be topping the polls and much depends on how the others that follow him fare. It was OK but watching him doesn't match listening to him and neither the song nor his delivery did anything for me that makes me say he should be around much longer.

1 Direction 13
Or Wand Erection as they're beginning to get known in other circles. Some very dodgy vocals at the start and from Zane in the middle and at the end but rescued by great performance and the other three generally. In a way, I have a feeling it wouldn't matter much anyway as there is a huge following building up and they'll be safely through. They been turned into pop stars and I predict we'll hear a lot more of them.

Cher 12
A bit weird this week. She can rap and strut well and is great when in her own attitude zone but the intermixing softer vocal was on the edge and occasionally about to fall off. Bags of modern star quality, though, and, like Wand Erection before her, that's what the show's all about.

John 8
This was a nice track and sung well. I just don't remember it now, a few minutes later. Sorry. I rather think that's what'll happen to him unless Louis comes up with something, assuming he gets a chance.

Diva Fever 16
Top performance of the night so far. Brilliant choice of track by Simon and prefect set and clothes. I'd never heard the song before but it's an instant hit and, another prediction, that'll be in the shops just as soon as contracts allow. The real credit has to go to the three girls doing the catchy ooh ooh bits but I have to say that what we did hear from the boys was spot on, albeit mimed for some reason best known to the producers. Pity they didn't lay down a track for Harry and the Wand boys a bit earlier.

Rebecca 15
She equalled TreyC and may have beaten her with a cool performance of a difficult Nina Simone track that was faultless. I don't quite see the star billing that the judges were giving her but, yes, I can see her selling some records wherever she comes in this competition.

Aiden 9
Something tells me he's trying too hard. He could be great but there were important notes that didn't work and that is simply not on for such a great track as Jealous Guy. If he'd taken it with less intensity it would have been more believable. He could be in trouble this week, despite having bags of talent, as so many others are getting so much so right this week.

Wagner 1
That was awful. I preferred the ad break. He has to go - he's just interrupting a show of genuine potential stars. Pointless. Ken Doddio in 70s gear.

Katie 11
A beautiful song. I remember suggesting that Didi Benami, a brilliant American Idol contestant, did I'd Rather Go Blind last year so it's great to see someone picking up on this. She did well and, although, I'd have preferred her not to seem to have been trying so hard and to have given a more gentle, quieter performance which would have come across as more confident than this slightly desperate few minutes, she may have done enough to win back some voters. I hope so, at any rate.

Belle Amie 16
Well done, Simon! Cool choice picking You Really Got Me for the girls to have fun with on stage. It worked and the crowd loved it. All three groups have done well this week but I think the real girls have just beaten the others on this occasion. I'm not sure how they'll manage to hang together as they are quite diverse as individuals still but we should get a chance to see and hear some more.

Mary 14
Excellent performance. Still not someone whose CD I would see kids rushing out to buy but it would make a nice present for Grandma. And if Grandmas across the nation are doing the voting then she'll do well and should certainly be back for another week or three.

Matt 17
He stole the show with an amazing version of Amazing and I'm so pleased that everyone seems to be recognising the talent he has. If anyone deserves to win the X Factor for the current generation then Matt does. I'm just glad I got my bet on him early enough as the odds must be shortening now. Brilliant.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lady Gaga on CapitalFM some time ago

Note to X Factor contestants: watch and learn. No autotune, no mentor, no band, no dancers. And the most tedious of backgrounds. OK, a silly hat, but here's someone with real 'x' factor.

Find more reactive videos at

That's the sheer unpredictability of XFactor early rounds...

You have to feel a bit sorry for the bottom three on XFactor this week. Katie, FYD and Nicolo have to try and sleep tonight in the knowledge that more people voted for some ugly old bloke who can hardly be described as UK's next big thing than bothered to vote for them.

I had Nicolo and FYD down to go but only one of them and that one would be accompanying Wagner. How on earth he made it through to the next round I have no idea. Seeing Katie in the bottom three was a surprise too on the basis of talent but she really hasn't endeared herself to the public and if Twitter comments are anything to go by she'll struggle to do so still.

Sometimes you just have to sit back and be entertained by the sheer unpredictability of the people making premium rate phone calls. I expect to see ads for hearing aids, long johns and insurance for the Over 60s replacing Yeo Valley before long.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

X Factor: The Final 16

So here we go again. The Good (Matt, Aiden, One Direction, Cher, Katie, TreyC and Storm). The Bad (Wagner). The Ugly (Wagner) The first week is always a bit odd but this year things were pretty well-rehearsed and almost predictable. There are acts that we simply will not remember in years to come, some that will finish up 4th or 5th and could eventually do really well Diana Vickers-style and one or two potentially good long-term pop stars which is what the whole thing is supposed to be about.

As predicted, a further 4 were brought back and I expect to see two of them, TreyC and Diva Fever around for a lot longer than many of the original 12 first choices. Two of the 16 go tomorrow.

Dermot finally gets onto the stage and shows Ryan Seacrest how the job should be done.

Here's how they came across in my living room. Points out of 10. Video links for the ones that I might want to see again.

FYD 5½
Difficult to tell which were the group and which were the dancers. Nervous start but they didn't make any mistakes in a song that not many will recognise. Disappointing but I suppose it's early days. Simon's weakest entry by a long way. Odds of 100-1 were available on betfair at the time of writing which kinda sums up their chances.

Matt 16
Fabulous. This guy has to be around for a long time. Superb song choice and as the first solo act of the season he set a standard others will find hard to match.

John 4½
Er, no. Right at the end we saw something of his performing personailty but it was too late as people had gone to wash up or something. I do hope they don't ask him to do Eurovision either like they did Andy.

Rebecca 7
Over the top make-up and styling not to my taste, ageing her unnecessarily. Pity. Competent performance, well, nearly. Great dance tune but her version didn't work for me.

Storm 9
An excellent vocal performance marred only by Louis' ridiculous presentation, set and, basically, everything else. I really hope he gets plenty more chances to prove just how good he can be without all that.

Belle Amie 6½
Nerves times 4! They could be good - just need to get used to the big stage. Tricky song to start with as mistakes easy to spot but they didn't make too many and will appeal to lots of viewers too.

Cher 11
Everyone's been waiting to see her. She confirmed that she does deserve to be there. A cool performance and she's one to watch as I guessed at the very start. Not the best tonight, though, but safe enough.

Diva Fever 8
A great track choice by Simon. Not so great was his dressing them up in purple bin bags then stripping them down to dreadful shorts. Camp fun and glad to see them in the competition. One can certainly sing well and seemed much more confident than several others tonight. They won't be his first group to go (unless those shorts reappear).

Paije 6
Another of my contenders for the Top 12 who just scraped in with a wild card. He had a great song but didn't deliver the goods consistently, sounding nervous and breathless when he tried the moving around bit which was actually quite embarrassing. If he drops the decorations and plays it straight he'll last a lot longer.

Katie 15
Possibly the best performance of the night. Near-perfect vocally and original phrasing of the Queen standard worked well for her. She presented herself really well but I feel she's still got a lot to do to persuade the audience and, thus, voters

Mary 10
Full marks for the vocal and song choice - her experience showed. But really, do I want to hear her on the radio or see her in the charts in 2011? She'll be singing covers. No. She did get a remarkable reception in the studio, though, so may be around a while yet.

Nicolo 5½
I don't get this guy. Better than I expected but still a mystery as to where he'd fit in and I simply can't think of anything else to say about him.

One Direction 14
The girls'll love them. I realised while watching them just how much older everyone else seemed! great performance from most of them once they got going. They'll do well and stand a real chance of entertaining us for the kllonger term.

Wagner 3
Simply not interested in this guy. He's pleasant enough but should be on Brazil's Got talent or something. He'll be going tomorrow. Actually typing this during his performance as no point listening too closely.

Aiden 14
He looked terrified. He almost seemed to be trying to hard and I preferred Alex's interpretation of the classy track - she genuinely seemed to feel the words of Mad World. However, this guy was spot-on vocally and certainly made a mark and will be back for sure.

TreyC 15
Very, very good. far better than Rebecca, who must appear to be the first person she has to remove to get on in this competition. She is following in the 2008 winner's shoes, though, (the other Alex), so no winner here but she deserves to be around for a long while yet.

Wagner, John, FYD and Nicolo seem to be in the dead zone, in that order.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Wild cards and wild rumours as 12 may be 16 on X Factor

Looks like there'll be more than 12 in the 'Final 12' on Saturday with all kind of fascinating digital rumblings about wild cards. I'm only guessing but it seems like a good idea to get some more publicity and also maybe run along the lines of Simon's "I think I've made a mistake" in years before or someone who's name I forget now rushing after a bunch of lads who thought they'd failed auditions for Joseph.

There's also bags of fun to be had with Tesco references for Mary but no McDonalds name drop for Raquel, Mary's sales of a massive 19 in the first week for a record she released after winning an Irish talent show in 2008 and some seem to think she's a Westlife member's aunt. Gee, that'll help her a lot. Add to that Katie's several akas and having performed with Storm some time ago and no doubt more I haven't found yet.

The ramblings worth some attention, though, are those of people spotting the judges in some of the reject's home towns giving legs to the story that Paije, TreyC, Diva Fever and Wagner (Wagner??!!) will get some kind of second chance. If it weren't for Wagner's inclusion in that list I'd have been more impressed but I'm still reasonably content to spread the gossip.

And the Gamu thing's a separate matter altogether! More tears I fear.

X factor: at the judges houses Pt2 The top 12 confirmed!

One day they'll think up a new format. An hour and a quarter of long pauses, annoyingly rehearsed explanations that give nothing away, the vast cutting and editing and Dermot relegated to standing outside doors and hugging people has to be the one programme you'd happily miss if you knew the results. The only chance to learn anything more about the contestants is in the last few minutes when you see them several months later and can only but applaud the talents of the make-up teams.

I really should have missed it too. I did peek at the results a few minutes beforehand. What I wanted to know was why Paije and Keri didn't make it and how I could have been so wrong about Nicolo. I'm still none the wiser.

Louis's choice was simple enough. Storm is one of my personal favourites. The guy's tremendously talented but whether he'll sell in 2011 I don't know. If it all comes down to who sings some final ballad better then Mary will be on just before The Queen in December but I rather suspect that all three will have departed before then.

Simon chose well, and I'm sure he'd have put through four groups if he could, Diva Feva being the pair I reckon he so nearly preferred to FYD. He's taking a big chance with both the home-made groups 1 Direction and Belle Amie but absolutely right to do so as 1 Direction I predict will be in the final. The other two should have a long shelf-life too.

Danii got Matt and Aiden right and Matt's got to go all the way to the final. Big shock one for me was her choice of Nicolo over Paije. Her explanation made little sense to me nor apparently to them either. Unless I'm seriously out of touch with the voters or he is totally repackaged for next week, Nicolo won't be around long.

Finally, the tearful and scared-looking Cheryl and her tearful and really scary and scared-looking girls. I'm astounded at the omission of Keri, who I'd tipped to win, and TreyC. Admittedly, TreyC would be following in the footsteps of 2008 winner Alexandra and there may not be room in the market for both. Alex has totally justified her win with brilliantly-written material and can now relax that no-one's likely to be sharing that next year. Comparing the collapsing faces of the three she did put through, Rebecca, Cher and Katie to the pretty composed Keri and TreyC might worry ITV producers to the point of asking Cheryl if she's sure she didn't get her papers mixed up. From the glimpse of Rebecca several months on (and currently 3rd favourite to win), it does look like Cheryl's performed some transformation. We'll have to wait and see. Katie is going to annoy people, I think, and, despite singing well with originality and passion her appeal to the Saturday early evening crowd is a query. We all said Wow! when Cher first appeared and visions of a totally 21st Century X Factor started to be drawn. Since then, though, not a great deal. Maybe the producers are holding out on us just to give us some surprise. I really do hope Cheryl's seen something we haven't. Unique, though, Cher ought to last a while.

And then there was Gamu. Did you notice how she was the one contestant not shown after rejection? Even though I'd predicted her going out I couldn't say why. Simon will get her signed for a CD of 60s covers for Christmas.

So, they're off. And here are the (fascinating) starting prices:

  4-1 Matt 
  4-1 1Direction
  9-2 Rebecca 
  8-1 Cher 
11-1 Aiden 
24-1 Belle Amie 
25-1 John 
29-1 Nicolo 
30-1 Mary 
33-1 FYD 
35-1 Storm 
40-1 Katie 

They'll be changing a lot over the weeks! A good time to get some decent odds on the outsiders and if Cher and Storm do perform well you won't see 8 or 35 again..

Saturday, October 02, 2010

X factor: at the judges' houses Pt1

I still haven't opened that link that I published in mid September with the actual Top 12. So here's my review and I guess tomorrow I'll either be very embarrassed or relieved to be still vaguely on the ball!

Danii has by far the toughest job but possibly the best chance of choosing the ultimate winner if she selects Matt, Aiden and Paije. Paije is a certainty. Matt is brilliant but she may feel he doesn't fit the X Factor mould. If he gets through then he's my current bet to win. Tom would be a decent alternative to Aiden. Either will be so disappointed not to get through. I expect to see whoever she chooses from these being there pretty much up to Christmas.

Simon's task looks hellish too and for some reason best known to ITV we've seen little of any of the groups so I find it almost impossible to predict on such flimsy evidence. However Princes & Rogues and One Direction shone tonight. Bella Mi too and FYE but then I wonder whether he'll go for ratings and book Diva Fever for entertainment value? Twem would be the dark horse. Husstle disappointingly average. The Reason - competent but so 90s!

Cheryl has the girls and I rather suspect the tears will be flooding Astcot (well, have flooded Astcot whenever it was recorded) as well as a few living rooms tomorrow as Gamu fails to make it through and Cher does. Keri and TreyC could join Cher. I've hardly noticed Raquel or Rebecca - either would be a real dark mare if they have shown something to Cheryl that I missed. I don't see Cher winning now unless the image team straighten up her expression and song choices are inspirational enough to let her prove she has a wider range. Top 4, yes. Anastasia would have walked through any other year. She'll be sad too.

Louis, poor old Louis has the odd balls. Some are just mad and their presence must depress those who didn't even get this far! Storm deserves a place - he can sing really well, with passion and can entertain. Forget Johann, Stephen, Spock - I mean Justin - and Julie. That only leaves John, Mary and Elesha. Mary seemed inevitable but I'm not so sure she'll sell records and Louis does have some sense. So he could go for the other two. To be honest, though, it won't make much difference unless one of them suddenly comes to life live.

So, it's Paije Matt Aiden, maybe Tom or Marlon | Cher Keri TreyC or Rebecca | One Direction Diva Feva FYE maybe Princes & Rogues or Bela Mi | Storm Elesha John maybe Mary

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

X Factor: the top 12?

I'm trying very hard not to click on this. Before we get there we've got to watch the usually bizarre stage where acts and individual hopefuls are forced to work together and even the best people look ill at ease. I guess they'll get through that [cue focus on the angry girl and the ex-group in tears] over this weekend. Then the desperate, but more understandably so, heart-wrenching moments at the judges' houses where I just know there'll be a couple of big surprises and someone I thought could be Top 4 gets dropped.

So there's a few weeks to go yet but if more obvious twitter spoilers or red top headlines appear that I can't pretend to ignore then I may just put myself out of my misery. It did occur to me that @tvcritics, one of the most intelligently funny people I follow, has linked to a page of 12 complete dorks or a dozen turtles flapping on a sandy beach somewhere. If that does turn out to be the case then I won't just follow him but drive over to Ireland and shake him warmly by the hand. Then swear profusely.

Anyway, the choice is yours. Then, at last it'll be ours and I can get on with the job of some spread betting to pay my children's next term's bus fares.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Gamu sets the standard from the start in XFactor

I sit through the usual nonsense, tweeting something to make people smile . . . and then there's this girl called Gamu. The very very first note is a perfect (and not auto-tuned) squeal and you just know she's going to be good. She was. Watch the video.

Late writing this - the show went out last weekend - and since then there's been a great outcry about the annoying auto-tune that most acts seemed to need to avoid us turning off before advertisers had a chance to sell us their wares. If Idol Headlines are to believed, however, Simon Cowell has said that they won't be used and the programme scheduled for tomorrow has been substituted for a later one from the auditions. (Presumably while they de-tune some performances!)

That's probably good news but, in moderation, auto-tune's OK with me. So many top drawer artists use it regularly nowadays and I have a feeling that it won't make a lot of difference to the success of contestants. There's just that something about some of them that makes them special. Crystal and Didi had it in American Idol. I suppose you could call it the 'x' factor!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Eurovision 2010: The final

I guess I should be a little worried at actually really liking a Eurovision Song Contest winner. Lena's simple little track appealed to me from the first time I heard it a month ago. What's even more worrying is that I got 7 of the top ten right and 4 of the top five. Then I think of the useful extra income from the bets I placed and it's something I can live with and will, of course, return to yet again next year!

Turkey clearly got the heavy-duty votes for those who still think something mechanical should win and Romania must have put in a good performance to push my other winner prediction, Denmark, and the bookies favourite from the start, Azerbaijan into 4th and 5th places respectively.

Impressed to see the so serious Ukraine entry close the door on the weird Russians for the 10th spot.

Obviously France simply couldn't reproduce the sex on the beach film on stage and, thankfully, that track should only be heard again in holiday nightclubs for the summer before being forgotten.

The surprises for me were the poor showings of Iceland, who easily got the best audience reaction in the semi final (or maybe it was because that was the last song and they could all go home) Norway - I mean, you'd have thought they'd have given the country paying for the whole shooting match a few more votes - I can only assume that their guy didn't hit the notes at the end after all and Moldova, who must have lost out to several neighbours or screwed up on stage.

I didn't bet anything on UK coming last. I was sure they'd be near the bottom but not actually bottom. I still recall the dreadful UK selection programme where every option was an 80s production and left us feeling pretty let down. I honestly don't know anyone who thought it had a chance. I even thought that such obvious disappointment at the time might have made someone somewhere think twice. Whilst Jade made a good impression last year, I still don't think the process worked and all we seem to get are committee songs or least worst options. Remember Andy something or other? Wasn't he last too? Scooch crashed and didn't burn when we went for something wacky and the really good song that we rejected (and which Terry Wogan mistook for being accepted!) would have given that year's winner, a similar offering by Serbia, a run for its money.

So in 2011, can we please not have these TV specials and instead get one of our successful bands or singers to come up with our entry? Someone singing something they've written themselves seems like a good idea.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

American Idol: The Final pt2

Memories of the 2009 Season as Lee, who seemed to spend the whole evening looking out of his depth and with pretty average performances was voted the winner. In complete contrast, Crystal, perhaps because she'd been tipped off earlier about the result, was relaxed, totally at home with the array of stars appearing and performed brilliantly throughout. Duetting with Alanis Morissette and leading most group acts in which she featured, she will, I'm sure, be the act we see hit the headlines over the years to come.

The evening's highlight was an extraordinary live performance of You Lost Me by Christina Aguelera.

We also had The Bee Gees, Chicago, Janet Jackson and even Alice Cooper and Joe Cocker. At least Alanis Morrissette was reasonably young. You do have to wonder quite what goes through the producers' minds in terms of who watches this programme. Surely they're not all as old as me?

Paula Abdul got one of the biggest cheers and led the farewell to Simon Cowell, and I'll miss having a judge I just about always agree with. Anyway, the single America should be sending to the top of the charts (and it will be fascinating to see what happens as it bound to be released sooner or later) won't be the winner's but Crystal's.

Eurovision 2010: 2nd semi final review

Having found some dusty old Bay City Rollers' trousers somewhere I can probably understand the desire of five odd-looking guys to remove them but not, please, when they're wearing such embarrassing knickers underneath. I suppose Eurovision has to have a bit of complete bollocks and this seems to be it, or them.

♪Armenia ▼►
I always want to see small countries sock it to the big boys and this is a catchy number that I had as a Top 10 contender but not so sure now, after seeing some massive great apricot stone sitting on the stage.

UK's Josh really does lose out in both the pretty boy and singing ability stakes to a couple of countries, Israel being one of them. Even unbelievably white teeth, though, don't convince me that this deserves its current 3rd favourite placing. In fact, the guy failed to hit a few of the notes this evening but he got some super-human high one near the end so I guess that'll be OK then.

♪Denmark ▲ ►
Yes!! There's a wind machine on the real stage too!! This is my favourite. Love it. Great track that just makes you feel uplifted if not blown away. My prediction for a winner if the German girl doesn't get the votes.

If big ears are your thing then this will appeal. Otherwise it just starts and stops and not a lot more, other than some ladies in expensive-looking dresses wandering off in no particular direction for no particular reason.

Sweden ▲ ►
Another excellent track. One girl (who genuinely can sing well). One huge guitar. Well-written song. Oh, pity about the extra singers at the end. Still, should do well and she has a sort of vulnerability.

The favourite, at the time of writing. Iconic dark haired girl singer looks a lot better without the woolly leg covering from the initial video release. Powerful and modern number that will, without a doubt, be very close to the top on Saturday. She didn't quite get things right at the end, though, and if nerves kick back in at the final then she may be disappointed. I still reckon she'll be the one getting all the Balkan and ex-USSR votes, though. Gosh, this is a strong set of semi final contenders.

♪Ukraine ▲ ►
You can be sure of remembering Ukraine's entries from year to year. Fabulous song and well sung, seriously, but . . not so sure it'll be that popular and whether Ukraine even go through in such a tight round is uncertain.

Oh, here we go. Sha la la lee, sha la la sha la. Or words to that effect. Am I in 1973? At least it should steal votes from the awful Greek Opa business. For that reason only I hope it goes through.

♪Romania ▲►
Yet another good performance and this is one to worry Azerbaijan. Possibly the highest note in black leather on the night.

I've got a few pounds on this at 580-1. I can't get comparison with a Slumdog Millionaire theme out of my head and find the girl's 'Naivo' terriblt catchy. Nevertheless I admit to the distinct possibility that, in this group, they could have trouble getting through.

Don't know if was just my TV put the sound didn't seem right. Nice song but seems a little out of place. I like the flute player, possibly the most attractive part.

Scary bloke in white. Why so many men in white this year? I'm sure this guy was miming. He won't be there on Saturday.

This is a far more British entry than UK's - a Welsh guy singing and Brits involved all over the place in this. My first impression a few weeks ago wasn't great but now I quite like it. I guess it's not winning material but hope it goes through.

Three model-like girls. Six very long legs. Pretty, but pretty unco-ordinated movement. They can certainly sing but maybe not that popular for all that.

♪Georgia ▲ ►
This was awful in its first outing on the video. Much better now although being tossed around by yet another scary guy in a white suit may have contributed to some odd notes. Passionate. If it was just the girl on stage it'd be much better. You kinda want Georgia to go through, though.

Another well-backed track with the bookies. One of very few rock entries. Extraordinary girl robot with odd shaped boobs strips at the end but the cameraman seems to miss most of it. Odd but may get through with those wanting a heavy track as there's no competition at all in this group.

▲ better on stage than in initial video
▼ worse on stage than before!
► the ten I thought should go through to the final
♪ the ones that did - no Sweden! That's the big surprise. Georgia, Armenia and Romania going through will damage Azerbaijan's chances a bit.

American Idol: The final Pt1

I was in the middle of typing a detailed review of the first section and Crystal Bowersox started performing The Mountain, her third song of the evening and what would be her single if she wins.

It was simply superb and, for a moment, I thought the judges were speechless too. One incredible TV moment I'm glad I witnessed. This girl really has to win. That's all I'm going to say.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

1st Semi Final review

♪Moldova ▼ ►
I always said that the best parts of this were the sax breaks. And the almost iconic electric blue lit guitar.

This is so weird that I almost want it to get through so I can giggle at the bit where the two guys seem to cheer when the lead singer says he's lost and forgotten. In this performance we also got a glimpse of what was actually on that photo - a biro drawing!

Good move putting them on just after Russia so that maybe they don't seem quite as strange as they would next to virtually any other act. The video version did at least lend some visual artistry but watching five blond guys in suits just didn't do it for me and surely that won't get through.

Slovakia ▲ ►
At last, someone singing in their own language! Sounds so much better. They've managed to retain that beautiful shade of blue-green and an elfin-like look, although not so sure about the fat fairy. This is a much improved performance and the best so far, but seeming like a very long 3 minutes.

Love the violinist. Worried about the two blokes in white suits. Chaotic dancing.

The video was funny and less tinny sounding. I was looking forward to "What for are we living, Only Mr God knows" but live this girl's rubbish with just polite appluase to follow maybe telling us that won't be going through.

♪Serbia ▲ ►
Can't think of anything to say about this apart from not being able to wonder about that haircut and whether it'll take off over here in the summer. I bet the guy's really popular in the Balkans so should get through and some girls will like him. Decent live performer.

♪Bosnia Herzgovenia
Any song with the line "Thunder and lightning holding hands" has to stand a chance in Eurovision. Apart from an over-muted guitar and slightly staid movements for rocker-types, an improvement on the video.

I thought the Russian entry was weird. What is this???? Genuinely don't remember this at all. maybe I couldn't stand the video for long in the first review.

♪Belgium ▲ ►
Nice performance after a nervous start. The audience seemed to be willing him along and if can handle the high notes better on the night he could even do quit well. I hadn't got this a s a top ten but now think it could be.

Malta ▲ ►
A ballad. Bit better than UK's but not a lot. Smart ending.

♪Albania ▲ ►
Much better than the initial video released. Strong performance but a crap song, unfortunately that will be forgotten. Possible top ten. This will go through because it is one of the very few that is a pop song

More worrying men in even more worrying white suits or underwear (apart from one in black playing a cricket bat violin thing). It'll go through but I really wish it doesn't. So do the IMF as that'd be another $1bn they'll need to host it.

I spent all 3 minutes trying to figure out just what she'd left standing up on the piano. Missed most of the song but it sounded awful.

FYR Macedonia
Improved performance on the awful video. Probably won't go down very well. Old bloke with young girls with very little on. Oh, maybe, it will now I think about it . . .

Pretty song but lame in English. Watch for the cool dress pop-out near the end. That might put them through but doesn't really matter either way. If the girls had led with the men backing it might have been better.

♪Iceland ▲ ►
Big. Big production. Big girl. Far better than the video and worth a late bet. Just put something on at 70-1 just in case.

I could have done without the annoying female presenter and hope I'll stay patient long enough to complete this. Paddy's fine, though, with some lovely incisive comments and observations.

My ratings:

► means they should go through 
▲ better live than the video 
▼ performance doesn't match the video release
♪ means they were voted through

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