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X Factor results: Lloyd leaves, no-one is shocked

“Little Lloyd Daniels,” as his mentor, Cheryl, enjoyed calling him, has finally been booted from The X Factor. I say “finally,” because he’s really been on borrowed time for weeks.

Before Simon Cowell left the stage following the results announcement, he had a few words in Lloyd’s ear. I wonder if those words included the phrase “See you in my office on Monday,” because I think Simon could still make a few bob out of Lloyd. He’s a pretty boy, very marketable, and he’s not a terribly bad singer.

So we go into the semi final with Stacey, Olly, Danyl and Joe. Out of the four, I think Joe has to be assured of a place in the final, but I’ve no idea who will go next week. I’d like it to be either Stacey, who is massively over-rated, or Olly, who is getting more and more annoying each week. I’m not cockahoop about Danyl either… Oh, why don’t we just get straight to the bit where Jeff Brazier shows us Joe’s Christmas no. 1 single being pressed?

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X Factor: Joe becomes a man man

I wasn’t much looking forward to The X Factor without John & Edward. Their departure means that Louis is the only comedy turn left, and in a competition full of just-alright singers, there mightn’t be a lot to smile about.

Step up Joe McElderry. A couple of weeks ago, Cheryl told Joe that he was “turning into a little man.” In last night’s performance of ‘Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,’ Joe has apparently turned into a proper, big, grown-up man. It was absolutely beautiful, pitch perfect as usual and sung with amazing control and feeling for someone so young. You could see Simon Cowell’s brain go “Ker-ching!” just looking at him.

It was a mixed theme night. The contestants had two songs each, the first half by Take That, the second by Sir Elton John, which unfortunately gave Brian Friedman the chance to stage Olly’s ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’ in a boxing ring with female dancers dressed as boxers. It was the kind of literal interpretation of a song those of us old enough to remember Pan’s People thought had gone forever.

Stacey slumped over a Steinway in an effort to appear sexy (that was the idea, anyway), but PLA Jr, who has perfect pitch so we must believe what she says, reckoned Stacey’s performance was “very sharpy-flatty.”

Danyl got the chance to do a more uptempo number this week with Take That’s ‘Relight My Fire.’ He’s been singing ballads every week till now, and I’d forgotten about the alarming faces he pulls when he has to sing anything fast. The singing was ok, but noticeably better on the bit Lulu normally sings on the original. Draw your own conclusions.

Little Lloyd Daniels once again struggled gamely, but surely he’s got to be going home today. If he’s quick he may still be in time to be invited to turn on some Christmas lights in some small provincial shopping centre.

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X Factor results: Do they look bothered?

Last night’s X Factor results show was a shocker, wasn’t it? The main shocks being (a) Lloyd wasn’t in the bottom two and (b) a judge (Dannii) actually making a decision for a change.

So it’s goodbye John and Edward. The show will be a little duller and less like a box of frogs without you. It’ll revert to a boring old “singing competition” stuffed full of fairly average singers. Ho hum.

The usual reaction to someone reaching the end of what is irritatingly called “their X Factor journey” is tears, a brave smile perhaps, a little croaked-out thank you to everyone who’s supported you. Not John and Edward – they looked as buoyantly happy as the day they first stepped onto the audition stage. Now they are either blessed with inner serenity, are on mind-altering substances, or – and this is most likely – they have the confidence of people who have an absolute mountain of contracts and offers on their desk just waiting to be perused at their leisure.

They’ve achieved what they wanted to achieve. They’re household names. They even have a household nickname! As I said a while back, they will make the most of the chance they’ve got and wring the neck of their little piece of fame while it lasts, because it was clear from day one that these two aren’t daft.

So don’t relax yet – we haven’t quite seen the last of Jedward.

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The X Factor: It’s not about the singing

I found myself watching The X factor in a very distracted way last night. I’m just not convinced by any of them as stars of the future. I’m thinking this year will be a Leon Jackson/Steve Brookstein year – the winner will inevitably get the Christmas number one (Cowell has bought and paid for that already) and sell quite a few copies of their album, and will be quietly dropped into obscurity.

So I’ve started noticing odd things, like Olly’s huge hands. He has massive hands – he must have to get his gloves specially made by the people who make clothes for the Tweenies. He also dances like a dad at a wedding, but that’s quite sweet, in a peculiar way.

Lloyd has had his hair cut, and the judges and PLA Jr all agree that he looks lovely. I don’t. Call me curmudgeonly, but Lloyd has gone from being a pixie boy to looking like one of Journey South.  Remember them? No, and you won’t remember Lloyd in a few months either. Lloyd was this week’s person that Cheryl is enjoying seeing “turn into a little man.” Last week’s little man was Joe.

I’m about ready to throttle Stacey. It’s that yodelling that passes for speaking that she does. I swear it’s entirely contrived as she didn’t do it on her visit home. Her singing isn’t that great either.

John and Edward disappointed me this week (oh dear, I am having a bad week) by only singing part of Wham Rap, tucked inside another song. They looked like wallies as well, but at least they were entering into the Wham! spirit of the thing (it was Wham!/George Michael week. George sent a message of goodwill but sensibly stayed at home – was he watching Strictly instead? We’ll never know).

Joe sang beautifully, again, but again not much personality apart from a big smile showed through. And on the subject of big smiles, my other half has taken a strong dislike to Danyl (who also sang beautifully and even made me feel a little emotional at some point during his Careless Whisper) – because “his mouth is too wide.” Well that never held Steven Tyler back.

So who goes? I reckon it’s got to be Lloyd this week. I have no idea who else will be in the bottom two – possibly Danyl, possibly Jedward? I think I’m ever so slightly past caring.

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X Factor: He was the leader of the pack, and now he’s gone

jamie-x-factorThere was a time, back in the judges’ houses phase of The X factor, that I really thought Jamie Archer/Afro would win. He had soul and swagger and could belt out a song like nobody’s business. But with Simon Cowell as a mentor, things went downhill from there.

The only thing Simon understood about Jamie was that he could get a crowd going, in a “get up on your feet and clap your hands!” kind of way. What Simon didn’t realise when Jamie did this in his first audition, was that the crowd got on their feet and clapped their hands simply because the singing was so good, it was a great song, and Jamie was having a great time singing it. More or less ever since the live shows started, Jamie has been given dullish songs, unsingerly songs if I can coin a new word, like ‘Get It On’, where his only recourse has been to get his hands in the air and try and get the crowd going.

For Queen week, he was given the abysmal ‘Radio Ga Ga,’ and the writing was on the wall after that. In last night’s results show he sang (kind of appropriately) ‘The Show Must Go On’. That he had another Queen song ready for the sing-off made me wonder if this wasn’t the song he’d have picked himself – there have been at least two occasions this season when he and Simon have disagreed about the song choice, and after the result Simon muttered something about letting Jamie down with song choices. Too right you did.

Oh well. All we can hope is that he’ll carry on with the singing career he had before, only now he’ll be more high-profile and hopefully better paid. I did read that he’d been offered a supporting gig with Bon Jovi but had to turn it down because his soul now belongs to Simon Cowell, so maybe he’s going to need a decent lawyer as well.

Back to the results show, and it was no surprise that Lloyd was in the bottom two, and again he didn’t sing very well in the sing-off, but you knew as soon as the vote went to deadlock that he’d have had more votes than Jamie, because he’s young and cute.  Before all that we had to enjoy the spectacle of all the X Factor finalists taking turns to sing a line of Michael Jackson’s  ‘You Are Not Alone’. It’s like a musical Murder on the Orient Express, but it’s for charity, so that’s alright.

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The X Factor: A funny thing happened

john-edward-x-factorA very strange thing happened during last night’s X Factor. John or Edward started to look attractive. I say John or Edward, because it was definitely only one of them, but I can’t actually tell them apart, and I couldn’t even say “it was the one on the right,” because they keep moving around. It was the one on the right when I noticed him being attractive, and it was his posture that did it. They’ve always had that cockiness about them, right from their first audition when they blagged their way into the next round, mainly by being Irish (it’ll do for Louis), and they’re now looking like they believe their own hype and are priming themselves for their forthcoming (and probably shortlived) moment in the sun.

Speaking of Louis, I reckon he’s doing a brilliant job with these two. What a masterstroke to basically have them singing Vanilla Ice’s ‘Ice Ice Baby’ when it was supposed to be Queen week. Louis knows his boys can’t sing*, but they can prance, and they can just about rap in a white-boy way, and as I said at least one of them has fabulously arrogant posture. Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen liked it, the audience liked it, and I liked it.

This week I also have to give an honourable mention to Joe, who is still a little dull, performance-wise, but gave a note-perfect rendition of ‘Somebody to Love’.  Danyl was also good this week, but I wish they’d stop going on about whether he comes across as “cocky” or not. Cocky is good! What rock god from Jim Morrison down to Adam Lambert hasn’t had “cocky” on his CV?

Mention of the word “rock” brings me to Jamie Archer/Afro. I’m worried about the lad this week, I have to admit. Fist-punching the air and getting the crowd to join in just won’t cut the mustard if the performance isn’t there, and the performance was distinctly lacking in mojo this week. I always think it’s a shame that the singers can’t go out of the box with their song choices. One of Queen’s earlier songs like ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ would have been a stormer for Jamie.

Olly was ok, but I wish he’d stop doing that thing with his fingers like he’s gesturing us towards him. He does it about twenty times a song and it’s starting to annoy me. Stacey was what Randy Jackson would describe as “pitchy” throughout the song – how come on The X factor none of the judges seems to know or care when a person sings out of tune? Lloyd was weak as usual.

So my prediction for the bottom two this week is Lloyd, and I’m sad to say it, but probably Jamie (for some reason everybody loves Stacey). But I was wrong last week, so who knows?

*Footnote: Maybe Jedward can sing after all – watch this

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The X Factor: Let’s talk about sex

joe-mcelderry-x-factor“Songs from the Movies” night on The X Factor last night, and there were some unusual choices. No ‘My Heart Will Gwaaaan’ from Titanic, thank the lord, and no ‘I Will A-Hallways Love You’ either. Instead we had some creative choices, such as Jamie’s decision to sing ‘Crying’ (the old Roy Orbison song) from everybody’s favourite movie, Gummo (no, me neither, but it is real).

Joe stuck to the tried and tested ‘Circle of Life’ route, and he sang it well. The judges all agreed that Joe ticks all the boxes – he sings in tune, his voice is pleasant to listen to, he’s a nice person, and he’s good-looking. So why am I finding his performances so forgettable? The answer, I think, is that he’s just not sexy. I’m sure he’s as hormone-packed as the next boy, but there’s just no sense of it when he performs. Granted, ‘The Circle of Life’ is hardly the tune to start exuding animal magnetism to, but I’m not talking about thrusting pelvises or pouting into the camera-type sexuality (yes, Stacey, I’m talking about you here – good try, love, but no).

Compare Joe to the older Olly and Jamie. Both of them, and particularly Jamie, look like they’ve had a memorable night or two in their time. Compare also to the younger Lloyd. He’s all pretty Welsh innocence at the moment but he has that glint in his eye…

Anyway, before I start speculating too much about the glints in eyes of 16 year old boys, let’s move on to how everybody else did this week. I’ve been criticised for criticising Olly, but I like Olly, honestly I do. He’s a lovely bloke and he throws himself happily into his performance every week. Sadly this week he sang ‘Twist and Shout,’ a song that John Lennon put so much into when he sang it, it left his throat bleeding. You’re never going to top that (though to be fair to the lad, he fair brought the house down). Lucie was revisiting her Avril Lavigne look this week to sing a song from Camp Rock, and the judges all said she was “authentic” and “relevant.” If they think they’ve found a British Miley Cyrus they’re deluding themselves. Brownie points to Stacey for managing to walk on unfeasibly high heels and sing at the same time. Jamie’s version of ‘Crying’ was heartfelt, but I didn’t like the way he had to keep switching octaves to suit his range. Danyl was much better this week, and his new Ashley Cole haircut has at least gone down well with Cheryl. Lloyd, bless him, is, as the judges said, out of his depth in a singing competition. But he should be snapped up for Hollyoaks immediately – he has the face of a pixie angel.

Which leaves John and Edward and their ‘Ghostbusters’ routine. If Jedward had to just stand on the stage and sing, they’d have been out of this competition weeks ago. But, thanks to Simon Cowell realising (following Britain’s Got Talent) that what the nation wants is a variety show of a Saturday night, they get the Brian Friedmann routines and the full force of the costume and props people behind them, and produce an amusing little routine each week. And, frankly, it’s often the highlight of the evening.

So who will go tonight? I have no idea, to be honest. The bottom two will probably include Lloyd or Danyl, but I think Jamie may be at risk (noooooooo!!!). Go on, Britain – vote Jamie!

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X Factor: “Diva night”

jamie-x-factorIn honour of guest mentor Whitney Houston, last night’s X Factor was dubbed “Diva Night.” The problem (or the Very Good Thing) about this year’s X Factor is that there are no “divas.” No Leona or Alexandra, or even Rhydian. So it was always going to be a struggle.

You can go two ways with these X Factor themes. You can take them at face value and have a bash at the suggested style, which is ok as long as it lies in what’s normally termed your “comfort zone.” This is what Stacey, Lucie, Miss Frank and Rachel chose to do, and all of them fell woefully short of what was needed. None of them, on this showing, has any stage presence and what might be termed “the X factor” so it fell to the boys to show them what was what.

The other way you can go on a theme night is what I think of as the Adam Lambert route, by basically ignoring the theme and doing your own thang with a vaguely related song. Jamie was once again the class act of the night as he did just that, with an authentic, emotional performance of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Hurt’. I was also impressed by Olly, and thought Lloyd wasn’t given due credit by the judges for a nice interpretation of Leona Lewis’s ‘Bleeding Love’. Simon criticised the song choice, but I think Cheryl correctly sussed that Lloyd’s constituency was likely to be made up of people with a musical memory of no longer than 2 years anyway, so she played to his audience. I like Lloyd, and can picture his face in Mizz and all the other pre-teeny magazines.

So who will go tonight? I’m hoping it’ll be Rikki, with his whiny voice and slappable little face. (On the subject of voices, could someone please get Stacey to not speak in public ever? I’m not falling for this Essex girl shtick at all). But most likely to go will be Rachel, after another poor week. If she can’t do it in Diva Week, she’ll have a real struggle when it’s Abba.

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