So this week on X-Factor Kelly Rowland is back sitting next to Tulisa since all the Misha B silliness kicked off a couple of weeks back. The two female judges were huddling as the quartet emerged from the back and Tulisa even told Dermot that this competition isn’t about the judges and that it’s all about the contestants. Unfortunately nobody forwarded this message to Louis Walsh who was the undoubted star of the show during Club Classics Week. This was evident most to his comments to Frankie Cocozza where he launched into a massive diatribe telling him that it was like a bad karaoke performance, the only thing that was big about him was his hair and that he would never be a rock star. This last comment provoked a backlash from Kelly who seems to be moonlighting as a motivational speaker berating Louis for telling someone what they could never be. To be fair even Frankie knows he shouldn’t be in the competition anymore and his opening VT proved that he couldn’t think of one reason why the public should vote for him, not the best message to give during a double elimination week. Even Gary apologised for giving Frankie a rubbish song, I’ve Got a Feeling by Black Eyed Peas, which he didn’t even really sing just talked to the tune. He was even outshone by the invisible backing vocals and the fact that there was no extravagant staging or needless preamble screamed that this would thankfully be Frankie’s last week. I really thought that Frankie would’ve been better in a group as that would’ve covered up his lack of vocal ability and he could’ve still be the ‘cheeky one’ without everybody’s eyes on him.
Louis also bought back his old ‘you remind me of a young….’ catchphrase back with Craig Colton getting the comment that with his singing and dancing he was reminiscent of a young Gary Barlow. As Barlow admitted later in the night that he couldn’t dance I wonder how much of a backhanded compliment this was. Craig’s club classics choice was a mix up of Bryan Adams and DJ Sammy’s versions of Heaven meaning that he could sandwich in a bit of dance music between two bits of ballad, and we all know how much Craig loves a sandwich. Rightfully Craig’s dancing was about as bad as Gary’s back in early 1990s Take That mode but thankfully he kept the moves to a minimum. If this was Barlow’s idea of what a club looks like then he really should get out to me because, due to Craig’s dated leather jacket and the day-glow jumpers and leggings worn by the dancers, it seemed more like an under-16s Disco at a Youth Club in the Wirral. There’s nothing really negative I can say about Craig but personally I just can’t warm to him although I fully imagine he’s a big fan with the nans and he’s probably leading the phone votes by quite some way.
And back to Louis’ list of famous black singers which he used to tell Paije Richardson who he reminded him of last year, which got a bit silly when he compared him to Lenny Henry, reappeared when Marcus was compared to Little Richard, Bruno Mars and Jackie Wilson which was good as he was singing Wilson’s Reet Petite. For me this proved that Marcus can basically take anything that’s given to him this was a really naff number but he made it, to use an X-Factor cliché, relevant. Thankfully Louis didn’t get his list out for Misha, maybe he’d run out by that point, and I think everybody was even more grateful that he wasn’t at the house when her family came to visit. Like Marcus, Misha is one of the best acts left in the contest but this week her look was a lot more stripped back this week as she performed Tina Turner’s Proud Mary. For once there was no massive hairstyle, no giant structure and no Quality Street costume instead she was in a white suit surrounded by suited men making the performance look like the finishing number in Mad Men: The Musical. Misha even got the best compliment from Louis Walsh as he ramped up the hyperbole he did that high-pitched emotional voice that he only does when he really likes you.
But there were some disappointments firstly from Johnny which is surprising as you’d think Club Classics would be his week. After impressing last week I thought we’d get another Rat Pack song with Louis defending it as a Jazz Club Classic but he performed an underwhelming mash-up of Hung Up and You Spin Me Round. This was all very restrained from Johnny’s sensible suit, to the staging being a big record and even the dancers who seemed to be doing their own thing. Like with Frankie, I think Johnny realises the double elimination will probably see him leave the contest but to be fair he’s gone further than most of us thought he would. Janet took the advice from Gary and Tulisa last week and changed her style to present something up-tempo for this week however it wasn’t to be as it all went wrong for her rendition of I Want You Back. Janet had got the hair-straighteners out and was showing an awful lot of legs in her tights but most notably fluffed a lot of the words as she was concentrating too much on moving. Janet was accompanied by a plethora of musicians including two drum kits, the bongo drums that haven’t been used since Wagner’s stint last year and a couple of backing dancers with guitars which really made me wonder what the show’s budget is for guitars that are never played?
Once again Tulisa’s group failed to make an impact on me mainly because I’m struggling to believe them as one unit instead of separate unities. Both of their VTs aimed to get us to know the personalities more as The Risk met up with JLS and Little Mix told us where they all came from and if you’re interested it’s too from South Shields, an Essex Girl and one from the prestigious town of High Wycombe. I do feel it was a mistake pairing up The Risk with the JLS boys as it just reminded me how much better those guys were better than The Risk are. When they came out on stage and performed A Night to Remember I was just craving a meal from The Harvester. Although The Risk did elicit the best comment of the night from Kelly – ‘I just think you could sing better,’ while Louis and Gary thought that Charlie should be used as the lead singer of the group but to be fair I still couldn’t tell you which one Charlie was. As we saw in their opening video, Little Mix had been performing with Jessie J during the week which I personally think was a mistake as it is a bit of undue publicity for BBC’s upcoming The Voice on which Jessie will be one of the four judges. The girls failed to impress singing a Rihanna song despite the hallucinogenic Tron-like backing set which reached its climax when all four of their outfits illuminated different colours.
Finally Kitty Brucknell can now do no wrong in my eyes as we saw she wanted her performance to have a Sister Act 2 vibe which is one of my favourite films of all time and to be fair there was certainly a choir feel in the early going when she was signing her way through Like A Prayer. What I was disappointed about was that Kitty was on pre-watershed as, when I heard she was singing this song, I was expecting crucifixes and the black Christ but what we got originally was a choir wearing bejewelled robes clapping along. But this being Kitty she wouldn’t be covered for long and soon enough we got the leotard and then the number descended into something akin to a Rosemary Conley workout video from 1989. Kitty wasn’t as strong vocally as she has been but she is still definitely a captivating presence and as Tulisa pointed out she is the act who always holds your attention while you’re watching her.
If Tulisa still believes that it is all about the contestants then why does she always feel the need to get into arguments with her fellow judges? At the end of the episode it is all the comments and spats that stay in your mind while the majority of the songs are a distant memory, personally I couldn’t even remember what The Risk sung and had to go back and watch it again. The only other thing worth watching the show for these days is Dermot O’Leary’s increasingly more difficult dance routines as he comes to the stage. And if the host is more entertaining than your contestants then it’s most definitely not about them.