Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Brenda Asunder 

It's week 9 of X Factor and that can only mean one thing: Any vague interest which the contest might have held has long since evapourated to be replaced with a feeling of boredom and the only thing which makes you sit down and watch the bloody thing is a misplaced sense of loyalty and obligation. Oh, and it's the semi-finals. Last night the show also managed to win a prize at the Comedy Awards, which is quite appropriate really, given that with Maria's eviction the whole show became little more than a laughing stock, so to celebrate Kate Thornton went for a classy look in a strapless black cocktail dress, and very lovely she looked too. More importantly, though, how lovely were our four remaining finalists? Let's find out, shall we?

Andy, along with all the other finalists, got to go along to the King Kong premiere this week, and the proper premiere as well, not just an advance preview screening with free tickets he got from a Radio 1 competition. He was excited by the fact that people there were screaming his name and asking for his autograph. "Fans", he reckoned, oblivious to the fact that the people who go along to these sorts of things would scream at the top of their voice for anyone they even vaguely recognised, even their school's lollypop man. Despite this brush with 'fame', Andy soon returned to the earth from whence he came and gave us two songs, first up being an awful arrangement of Bryan Adams' Everything I Do (I Do It For You), which was so cynically picked to target his expected fanbase he'd have been as well doing an original song entitled "Lonely Housewives, I Love You So". To show that such a level of cynicism was no one off, he also plucked out his kids from the audience at the end. Did Chico's eviction mean nothing to these people? Secondly he did a much better performance of Lately - the Stevie Wonder track and not, alas, the surprisingly good Skunk Anansie track of the same name - giving it his all, occasionally missing the mark, but generally ticking all the boxes his contract requires him to tick.

When Journey South used to play the pubs and clubs, the best they could hope to get was occasionally having someone come up to them after a gig and say "That was alright". Most people at this point would have got the message and realised that they probably weren't cut out for this pop star business after all, but not Journey South! Oh no, they have the sort of thick skulls that not only give them a vaguely neanderthal appearence, but also mean that they're unable to absorb any sort of criticism and just carry on stumbling through life without changing direction in any way, shape or form, until they somehow manage to end up performing live on national television every Saturday night despite possessing all the charisma of a dead sheep. Indeed, it seems that rather than being human beings, they are in fact passion vaccuums, managing to suck any sort of emotion out of every song they turn their clumsy, unfeeling hands to. This week, Let it Be and Rod Stewart's You're in my Heart were chosen to face the soulless evil that is Journey South. Neither song was particularly strong to begin with, so it's no surprise that they both ended up battered, bruised, and defeated, wondering why they had to be punished so. "You haven't changed a bit!", exclaimed Simon, joyfully. We're not quite sure why he felt that was a compliment.

Sharon has been raiding the Cupboard of No Imagination in her bid to find the most uninspiring and predictable songs for Brenda to do. This week she was lumbered with Respect and Without You, not bad songs in themselves, but so utterly overused in shows like this that they might as well be performed by a pile of discarded dishcloths for all the interest they hold. Brenda did her best with them, but they're the sort of songs she can perform in her sleep, which may explain why she was wearing a silk dressing gown tucked into her trousers for her first song.

Finally, we have Shayne, a man with so little personality that Louis finds himself unable to introduce him by saying anything more interesting than "He's young, he's from manchester, he can sing", before falling asleep at the desk until Sharon elbows him and wakes him up again. This week he gave us a perfomance of If Tomorrow Never Comes, which owed a lot to the sort of stagecraft you'd expect from Mr Excitement himself, Ronan Keating, and finished up with Unchained Melody. Whatever did happen to Gareth Gates?

And so, with all the inevitablity of the winner's second single flopping, we come to the results show which, as with last week, is little more than a bloated mass of filler purporting to be a TV show. Eventually we got round to the announcement of who was to go, with Kate pausing far more than someone normally should, either to indicate that. This. Was. Exciting. Or because her autocue was sticking. Either way, she evenutally got round to giving the results and unfortunately our prediction a few weeks back has proven to be correct with Brenda being given the boot, a decision which, as with the Maria eviction, was once again booed by the studio audience. Of course, had they spent less time booing and more time voting for the poor girl we might not actually be in this mess, but never mind.

On Saturday, Andy, Journey South and Shane fight it out for the poisoned chalice of being the X Factor winner. Who will win and who, indeed, will care? Can you wait to find out? We know we can. Join us for our final rake through the rubbish bins of reality TV on Sunday. Or Monday, depending how hungover we are.