Week Ten

Frankly there’s more rock on the bottom of my fish tank.

It’s rock week (apparently) on The X Factor, but our reviewers don’t appear to have been rocking out with the performances…

Rebecca Brodeur — aka, The One Who Is Usually Asleep
Saturday: Well, I stayed awake which is an improvement from last week. But how did rock week perform? Tulisa and Kelly seem to alternate who has the long and the short dress on, but Tulisa couldn’t move in hers. Really – and that’s just the start of some of the styling issues the contestants had, as if adding black and leather makes someone look rock (ok, it can help). Tulisa clearly has no idea what rock is, looks like the judges had also been instructed to be as rude to one another as possible and start fights to try and up the ratings. Not sure it’ll work.

Intro VTs for the contestants this year just seemed to confirm that Frankie is pretty repellent, Janet a bit stroppy, and that the others were pretty much as we expected. Janet’s hair was very Rocky Horror show, if they have a musicals week she can do a Magenta song (and yes, I’m assuming she’ll go far). Kitty and Johnny were definitely the most entertaining of the night, I actually think these two have a decent chance of staying a while this year, the rest are so… predictably very good or bad. Whatever anyone says, it’s not just about the singing – and we all know that. Even the playbacks at the end just reminded how unmemorable some of the singing and songs were tonight, which may make for a more interesting results show!

Sunday: Transfixed again by Tulisa’s inability to move in her dress. I really prefer her in more casual clothing. The attempts to rehash any ‘controversy’ just showed up how scripted it all is – be rude, then apologise, yawn yawn. Enjoyed Kelly Clarkson but not the kind of song I particularly like. Enjoyed Bruno Mars. Kind of happy there was no group number, even though it’s often a delightful car crash. Surprised Kitty was in the bottom two, but think Sami wouldn’t have got to the final anyway, so hope the best for her in the future. Of course the biggest controversy is that Frankie is still in the contest!!

Garry Pinches — aka, The Professional Musician
Saturday: Are you ready to ROCK? Me neither but I’m contractually obliged to watch. It’s turned out for the past few episodes half of the session musicians are friends of friends and this week it’s the turn of musicians I follow on twitter to appear in the background. Being a drummer, I should point out the excellent drummers you may have seen loitering in the dark tonight – @Gemmadrums and @HollyHardydrums are not only fantastic musicians and truly lovely & interesting people to follow on twitter but tonight they made marching bass drums cool!
You also have to admire their restraint, I’m not sure I could be that close to Frankie and armed with sticks without the result being either a life sentence or drumsticks you’d never want to touch again.

Regular readers of my review will be expecting nothing but a rant about Frankie but tonight I want to be serious, so I’ll have to quickly squeeze in a reminder that Frankie is a talentless nobber.

Now for the serious bit… I respect Gary Barlow as a musician and let’s be honest he’s the most qualified judge on the panel by a long shot. I’ve liked how honest he’s been with the contestants and with the other judges even if at times we get more than the odd hint that he’s been briefed to try and sound nasty or Cowellesque. It’s annoyed me that Barlow has been praising Frankie’s clearly piss poor performances and I was happy to to Gary acknowledge he had outright lied last week. It’s a shame he then went on to praise Frankie again for tonight.

Best vocalist tonight – Misha.

Sunday: If you voted to keep Frankie in, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Amy Jones — aka, The Reluctant Obsessive
Saturday: Tonight really wasn’t Tulisa’s night. First she chooses the two most ridiculous, non-rock songs ever, then she accuses one of the most popular contestants of bullying. Maybe it’s true. Maybe Misha is a total bitch backstage and is making acts cry. And that’s not right, and it should be dealt with. But is dealing with it on stage the best place? No, it’s not. And everyone with half a brain cell knows that. Tulisa has just made herself look jealous and petty.

Right, next problem was the absolute stagedness of the entire show. I know that this is The X Factor and I know that it’s 90% staged. But they’re making it worse each week. Janet’s intro bit that was all “JANET VERSUS TEH PAPS” couldn’t have been more fixed if they had put out copies of the script the week before so we could be all sassy along with her. And Frankie? With the whole “Yeah, I’m such a bad boy! Sex! Drinking! YEAH!” is just stupid. He’s not even got hair on his chest yet, stop trying to make him all adult and dangerous.

The good part was Johnny. Ah, Johnny. How I love you. Twitter exploded in a veritable love fest for my secret favourite and it’s not hard to see why. Louis stopped dicking around and chose a song that suits his voice and styled him and the stage appropriately. And he rocked. He’s not the best singer but he’s so entertaining, and I love him. Go, Johnny, go!

Sunday: Tonight, I found myself rooting for Kitty to stay and actually giving a damn about what happened. I think this means I’m getting obsessed again. Not good. Not good at all.

Dan McLaughlin — aka, Not Frankie Cocozza
Saturday: After watching The X Factor, I need something to cause fun. I remember the times when I used to enjoy watching this…erm…freak show. I predicted from the start that this being ‘Rock Week’, there will be a few cringe-worthy moments. The one thing which infuriated me throughout this evening’s show was how Rock was interpreted. For some reason, Tulisa did not understand that this means using the genre of Rock. Kesha, as far as I am concerned, is not a rock star so why on Earth did Rhythmix sing a Kesha song?!

So, the fun: I am going to give a one-worded description (or near enough) of all the acts and their performances.
Marcus: Mediocre. (He’s good enough but he is nothing extraordinary.)
Janet: Sweet. (I love Janet to bits and I thought she did well but not exactly rock ‘n roll.)
Sami: Karaoke. (Such a nice person but it comes across as ‘very Butlins’.)
Rhythmix: Not rock. (Tight vocals but annoyed. They would get a U for not answering the question properly)
Craig: Ain’t half bad. (He’s alright, I suppose)
Sophie: Who?
Kitty: On fire (both physically and metaphorically)
Frankie: Tosser.
The Risk: Meh.
Johnny: ROCKED! (I absolutely loved him tonight. This is exactly what I wanted to see.)
Misha: Excellent, as always. (Rather peeved with the bullying allegations but she just screams “Winner”.)

Final thoughts: Is Gary Barlow on HRT? Someone give Tulisa an education in music.

Sunday: So who was in our bottom two? Poor Sami and not-so-poor Kitty. It is very easy to dislike Kitty so I avoid this; she performed well on Saturday’s show. I said that Sami was ‘karaoke’ but I failed to say that it was indeed good karaoke. These two contestants were not those I wanted to see in the bottom two. I wanted to see Frankie and Forgettable Sophie. Shame on you, general public, shame on you. Sami’s last performance was beautiful. She was one of the few contestants whom I could connect with emotionally. Unfortunately I knew her fate when the bottom two were revealed. With Kitty’s performance, it was something I have wanted to see from her in the last couple of weeks. No gimmicks, no melodrama; just plain, simple singing.

After this week’s X Factor, I have nearly lost faith in the general public. Oh and did I mention that I think Frankie is a tosser?

Sam Burnett — aka, The One Who Thinks He’s Simon Cowell
Saturday: I know I keep banging on about the Cowell thing, but he is the X Factor daddy and the show is in need of some parental boundaries. I expect he’s going to come back in a few weeks and be really annoyed with the work experience producer he left in charge.

The whole thing seems to change every week – this was supposed to be Heroes week (‘Tonight, Dermot, I’m going to be the Snickers one’) but was changed to Rock to try and win back some viewers. Desperatemuch? The judges appear to have been told to argue more and the cheese really has been turned up to 11. And it’s still rubbish. SORT IT, COWELL.

Sunday: Well. What a The X Factor The Results that was. Crammed with singing, intrigue, guest stars… OK, I admit it. I’m writing this early so that I can flick straight over to Spooks. The last one ever! So sad. What will happen to Harry?! Oh right, The X Factor.

Why did they even go to results on a Sunday? Was it to get more money from 14-year-old girls texting in? ITV trying to plug an hour in the weekend schedule? Who knows. It’s kind of turned into Top of the Pops but where the acts that fall out of the top 10 get murdered onscreen at the end.

Ah, The X Factor. What a tumultuous relationship we have together. Will I be as upset when you finish as I am with Spooks? Well, no.

Eli Lower — aka, The Only Teenage Girl That Doesn’t Want Frankie Cocozza Anywhere Near Them
Did no-one tell Kelly that no-one other than Jon Bon Jovi should ever, EVER sing Livin’ On A Prayer? Ever. Well clearly they didn’t, if Sophie Haribo’s performance is anything to go by. Everyone in my house watching simultaneously groaned when she leapt for the high note… and missed completely.

I particularly enjoyed the the intro for Frankie “The Walking STI” Cocozza. I say enjoyed, I mean I enjoyed that it gave me even more of a reason to hate him. It’s not even like his complete lack of decorum can be redeemed by having excellent musical talent! At no point was he anything that I ever even slightly in tune. And honestly, I have no idea what’s going on with my age group (16-year-old girls) but whatever it is, it’s embarrassing and it needs to stop.

Kitty, though I really, really hate to admit it, was okay. Better on the loud shouty stuff than the actual singing, but you can’t have everything — although, as it’s a singing competition, she really should be able to sing both loud and quiet. Plus she was upstaged by the sideburns growing out of her eyes. Misha however, well frankly I am just disappointed that Misha didn’t rap about Purple Rain.

And finally, Nick Bryan — aka Mister Nice Guy
Saturday: Tonight was “Vaguely Rock Themed Night” on X Factor. So a few covered rock songs by shouting, others performed turgid ballad arrangements of rock songs and, weirdly, the two remaining groups did pop songs and claimed they were rock because the backing tracks had been made slightly heavier.

Most of the acts were insipid and boring, to be honest. I’m going to agree with Gary Barlow’s judgment of “karaoke” upon Sami Brookes and apply it to the whole field. There were a few exceptions, I’ll do them in a minute, and yes, these guys can probably sing more competently than the average drunken pub random, but the mythical X Factor was largely absent.

Brief exceptions for Kitty, who put on a show at least, Johnny, reminding us that he has range beyond camp disco, and Misha B, who can seemingly do no wrong. Janet Devlin’s performance was okay, though the song was boring.

And I’m getting serious mixed messages on Frankie, who got an intro film seemingly engineered to make him look like a bastard, then a staging more elaborate than anyone else’s. Unfortunately he was once again let down by his nagging inability to sing.

The judges, meanwhile, squabbled, bitched and embarrassed themselves; I can’t believe I used to complain they didn’t fight enough. I think it’s time to give them all happy pills.

Eviction predictions? Sophie or Rhythmix, I still don’t think they’ll let Frankie go. Please put some effort in next week, this is making me unhappy.

Sunday: I watched the results show and all my predictions came to nothing. Not only did Sophie, Rhythmix and Frankie fail to get evicted, they were not even in the bottom two. Even worse, no awful group performance at the start, meaning the entire first half was utterly vacant.

Well, there were the usual special guests to remind me that I hate modern pop music. I did enjoy Bruno Mars’s performance, to be fair, but I’m not sure that was modern or pop. Can we have more like that? (From the guests, not the contestants, just to be clear.)

And then Kitty and Sami came bottom in the vote. Sami was one of many boring efforts last night, but Kitty I enjoyed. Between that and their failure to nominate Frankie again, I’m disappointed in the British public.

Still, I was pleased with the judge’s verdict. Based on this experiment, maybe we should ditch democracy and trust the next general election to a panel of pop musicians and record execs?

Amy Jones

Updated: Oct 22, 2011

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