Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Chico! Walk Out The Door! 

It's Week 8 of the X Factor and, with only a fortnight left to go, the end is finally in sight. There were a few changes this week, firstly, and most importantly of all, Kate Thornton managed to put together an outfit which didn't leave her looking like she'd got dressed in the dark, looking rather fab in a purple top, black pencil skirt and, and! A side ponytail! The greatest of all hairstyles! As well as this though, there were a couple of changes in the show's set up. Firstly, all the acts got to perform two songs this week, though by "two songs", what they seemed to mean is a butchered runthrough of a minute's worth of each track, and secondly, the judges themselves have no say whatsoever in who stays and who goes, much as it should have been right from the start. As the show began the 40 a day voiceover man boomed "For the first time you are the judges", indicating to all those watching that they'd been wasting their time and money phoning in for the last 7 weeks. Oh well, given that for the first time our opinion does actually appear to matter, let's have a look and see exactly what it is we're judging.

"They deserve the big time", claimed Simon in his intro for Journey South. Certainly they deserve something, but we don't think that the golden gift of success is something that should be knocking upon their door when the boney hand of death would offer them something far more suitable. Moribund as always, first up they ran through Daniel Powter's Bad Day, with Robson's guitar seeming less a musical instrument, more a security blanket. As Jerome's dancing gets worse and worse and more and more laughable as the weeks go by, we can only assume that the pubs and clubs that put them on before they made their ITV debut were booking them under the misaprehension that they were a comedy act. For their second song, they came out dressed in suit jackets over jeans - what is this, the eighties? - to sit on stools and grunt their way through Elton John's Candle in the Wind, the marginally less mawkish original version. On stage throughout this were a number of burning torches, presumably so that there was something on stage with a spark of life and energy, either that or the villagers had finally had enough and were seeking to destroy the horrific monster which had been created. Jerome seemed to have only a passing knowledge of the melody line of the song and, throughout the chorus, insisted on doing a number of facial expressions which we imagine he felt were demonstrating raw emotion and passion, but actually made him look like he had a really bad case of piles and was desperate to get up off of his stool. "That is the X Factor", said Simon. No, Simon, "This is the X Factor", there's no excuse for sloppy grammer. Unless it's something we wrote.

"I've finally found who I am", declared Chico, no doubt after going to the toilet and catching sight of his business before he flushed it away. We also got to see a brief glimpse of him during his bodybuilding days. Urgh. We're very glad that we watched this week's episode on tape, rather than while we were having our tea, otherwise something very unpleasant could have occurred. Having proven in previous weeks that he's no Enrique Ingleasias, Michael Jackson or Ricky Martin, this week he decided to demonstrate, lest there be any doubt, that he's no James Brown either. He did I Feel Good, leapt down from the stage, sang to the judges, referenced Sharon, threw water over himself, undid his shirt and flexed his pectorial muscles. Or, in other words, every single trick he's already done in a desperate attempt to stay in the contest. For a man that seems to have such a desperate desire to succeed, we do worry about his apparent desire to electrocute himself at every given opportunity. When he returned for his second performance he was dressed in a shirt which had a clock and his name spelt out upon it in sequins, an outfit which, while garish, still posessed more style and elan than Nicholas' similarly self-centred belt. He gave us The Time Warp, which once again convinced us that it is, in fact, the eighties and, despite the fact that due to it's ramshackle nature we always figured it'd be quite hard to do a version of the Time Warp that could genuinely be described as bad, somehow Chico managed it, but at least he didn't wear stockings and suspenders, so we should be thankful for small mercies.

"I've found the missing 10%", claimed Brenda and, while she might be giving 100% now, the wardrobe department certainly aren't as for her first performance she was back wearing the pinstriped waistcoat outfit from a few weeks ago. I'm Outta Love by Anastasia was her first choice. Her performance was better than the original, mainly because she was able to inject a bit of femininity into her version of it, but overall it was a bit lacklustre. For her second track her chosen attire was a purple dress which started off looking fab but got markedly worse the further up her body it went. Fortunately her performance of I Know I'll never Love This Way Again didn't follow a similar patter, it started off well, finished fantastically and had a dammned good middle bit as well. Hooray!

If we were to put together a big long list of songs which we'd never have expected Shayne to do in a million years then, well, Mr Blobby by Mr Blobby would probably be at the top, followed by the entire recorded works of Barry White and other similarly deep voiced singers - such as Cher, for example - but after all those, the Scissor Sisters' Take Your Mama would probably rank pretty highly. We certainly imagine that a certain chunk of his fanbase, however, was more than happy to see him singing a song about coming out as one of the gays. He did a vague dance routine for this song and, despite the fact it wasn't a hugely complicated one, he still seemed to be concentrating very hard on getting it right. The dancing theme continued with his second song, George Michael's Careless Whisper, along with a pretty careless vocal at the start of the song, though tihs was rectified by the time he hit the chorus. Given his somewhat idiosyncratic approach to the medium of rhythmic moving, we feel that never dancing again can only be a good idea for him, no matter what state of mind his feet may be in.

Finally, we come to Andy. "I could hit the stars or just crash and burn", he commented, proving himself to be as clicheridden in speech as he is in performance. He then went on to ponder on what would happen if he was kicked out this week, "I'd be remembered as someone who didn't fulfill their ambitions". No, Andy, you wouldn't be remembered as that. You wouldn't be remembered at all. For his first song he gave us Phil Collins' Easy Lover, and it says something about how bad his performance was when we began to realise that we'd rather be watching Phil Collins. For his second song, When I Fall in Love, he went back to doing what he does best: sitting on a stool, crooning away and looking like he'd be the best entertainment ever if you were an incontinent 82 year old, which is probably why Sharon Osbourne loves him so. "I'm trying to sing it in a modern way", he declared after his performance, which is the third time tonight that someone has given us definitive proof that we are living in the past.

So, results time, and without a sing-off to fill out the bulk of a thirty minute show, Kate Thornton had to resort to desperate filler in a bid to keep the audience from switching over to the other side. Fortunately we were watching it on tape, so were able to fast forward through the bulk of it, which included a recap of what had happened earlier and some pointless banter with both the judges and the contestants, before we eventually got onto finding out the fantastic, glorious, beautiful truth that Chico had finally been given the boot! Sing Hosannah and various other exclamations of joy, the world is finally a better place. "I should have gone at the first audition", he said, with remarkable self-awareness. But no matter, he's gone now, no doubt off to appear in panto, then doing a round of nightclub appearences, before finally disappearing into complete and utter obscurity, or I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, as it's otherwise known.