Sometimes you wish they'd just not bother with silly themes for X Factor. I mean, it's scary enough with Louis and Kelly and even more so with Alexandra Burke on the other side of the desk. Dermot O'Leary also did a good job of frightening the pants off anyone who knew him well by dancing at the start. Suppose that was marginally better than the contestants dancing, though, so let's be thankful for small mercies.
The new version of The Risk kick off the show with Ashford brought back yet again, this time from recently evicted NuVibe, when Ashley left in the week. I guess we need to be a bit gentle on them as they've only had a few days to work out what they're doing, plus all the strange requirements that the show needs. At this rate Louis and Simon will be part of the group by the final. This was an easy-listening version of Thriller. Not very impressive at all. their star quality has improved, though, as the new guy is popular.
♫ 6 ☼ 9
Here comes the pencil-shaped old guy. Take a suck of the balloon and keep away from the flames on those big candles, Johnny. Louis was going to dress him in latex but didn't want a rubber Johnnie bouncing round the stage so he gave him a suit. He sang well enough. Well enough for a wedding or something, but not a £1 million contract. The crowd are loving him, though.
♫ 8 ☼ 9
She did Bang Bang, as it was in the David Lynch movie theme. Cool start but lost it a bit in the middle. She let nerves get to her by the seems of it. I also wonder where that special quality will be coming through that I think she possesses but we have seen little of yet.
♫ 6½ ☼ 5
He was well in his element with Superstitious. an excellent performance which woke us up a bit, thank Heavens. He did look more like a Marcia tonight than a Marcus but I suppose we can't hold that against him. Nice job.
♫ 9 ☼ 8½
Tainted Love. Very competent, if a bit predictable version. Just can't get excited about this woman and her outifts and styles really put me off. The rhino horn hairdo was bizarre. Not Gaga bizarre but yuk bizarre.
♫ 9 ☼ 5½
Every Breath You Take. Oh dear. What happened at the start? I almost expected her to stop and ask to start again. So off tune from the one you always thought would be spot on. Nervous and wobbly, she did eventually gather herself together but it was only a glimmer of her former brilliance. Not good enough, reminding me of Vicky's fate a few year's back (although she did go on to do really well).
Funny thing is that when I listened to a recording this did sound better. Perhaps we should always hear her tracks twice to give us a chance to tune in properly. Instead of her tuning to us we tune in to her. Novel.
♫ 4½ ☼ 8½
He seemed much more relaxed tonight. Obviously had a good night's rest! This guy's good but Should I Stay wasn't a brilliant way to show off his qualities. Not bad and he should definitely be safe but I'm waiting for those star performances that we all expected at the start. He's far better when he let's go and does it his way.
♫ 8 ☼ 9
Sweet Dreams. At last. a really good act to make the programme worth watching this week, which it hasn't been so far other than for some morbid reason. She was first class, with vocals that made you forget even how good Misha had been in that department. add to that a great show and, slowly, the make-up people are getting it right and, perhaps, the public will start to warm to this genuinely talented star.
♫ 10 ☼ 6
Once a bunch of disparate individual contestants, then a group or two, then Rhythmix and now Li'l Mix. they did the Britney Poison number really well and you can imagine them winning if they keep up this good work and get the right tracks each week. Several of the singers are excellent on their own and this li'l group could be the surprise in future weeks.
♫ 9 ☼ 8½
OK, the boy can sing. Pity it was an Adele number which we are beginning to get pretty sick of now. He should have left this for one of those dangerous weeks when he might have been at risk. Tonight he could have sung a Pinky and Perky number and been safe in comparison to most of the acts.
♫ 10 ☼ 7½
Difficult to call this week. Frankie is vulnerable, despite a reasonable performance. I just don't think he'll get the support. Remarkably, he could be joined by, real shock, horror ... Janet, or even, dare I say it, The Risk! More likely it'll be Sophie with Frankie and, this time, it could be the one with the lowest public vote. Too close to call. Against either of Janet or The Risk, though, Frankie or Sophie would be doomed.