Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Sound of The Sound of Girls Aloud 

The Sound of Girls Aloud, the greatest hits of, umm, Girls Aloud is now out in the shops. It seems unlikely that anyone who reads this site won't have already rushed out and bought their copy, but if you are swithering, we've put on our best critical hat to bring you a full, complete and in depth track by track guide to the album, giving you all the important information you'll need to help you make up your mind:-
  1. Sound of the Underground - Ace.
  2. Love Machine - Ace.
  3. Biology - Ace.
  4. No Good Advice - Ace.
  5. I'll Stand By You - Slightly ropey.
  6. Jump - Ace.
  7. The Show - Ace.
  8. See the Day - Slightly ropey.
  9. Wake Me Up - Ace.
  10. Life Got Cold - Ace.
  11. Something Kinda Ooooh - Ace.
  12. Whole Lotta History - Ace.
  13. Long Hot Summer - Ace.
  14. Money - Ace.
  15. I Think We're Alone Now - Ace.
Overall: Ace.

We reckon that pretty much covers the salient points, if not the word count.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Wheel Gone Kid and Di-Gone 

It's Week 3 of X Factor and there's a shock twist: "How will the acts take the news", ponders Mr Voiceover Man. With apparent indifference as it turns out, which is hardly a surprise really as the twist was nothing more than a double eviction, an event which is now such a mainstay of reality shows that it's only surprising if one doesn't happen at some point during the series. Not that this stopped Kate Thornton (Dresswatch: An actually quite flattering black trousers, blouse and silver belt combo. Her stylist must have been in a good mood) mentioning this at every possible opportunity, telling us all how our votes have never mattered more in a desperate bid to ramp up both tension and phoneline profits.

This week it's - yawn - big band week - and we do have to question whether the producers of the show have any sort of imagination whatsoever. Why not go for a metal week? The music might suck, but at least it'd be interesting at worst and hugely entertaining at best - so this week's guest star was Tony Bennett, who was to the Rat Pack what the Krankies were to punk. Simon reckons he's the coolest guy on the planet, something which we beleive to incredilby unlikely, even if the only other guy on the planet was made entirely of fire.

First to take the stage was Ray who, as he's been at pains to inform us since his first audition, is a big swing fan, seemingly unaware that the only 18 year olds who are massively into swing are 63 year old paeodphiles doing a very bad job of pretending to be a teenager in internet chatrooms. "This week is my week", he proclaimed smugly, as he slurred and mumbled his way through Ain't That a Kick in the Head with all the charm and grace of a tramp whose head kick has arrived thanks mainly to downing half a crate of babycham. Perhaps the problem was that he couldn't connect well enough with the song, maybe not understanding fully what a kick in the head would actually feel like. We urge anyone who passes him in the street to help him out by demonstrating to him exactly what it feels like. Feel free to do it as many times as you like if you don't feel he's quite got it yet. Louis, who seems unable to comment on anyone without likening them to a young version of some already established artist, reckoned he was like a "Young Michael Buble". This, apparently, was meant as a compliment.

Sharon and Simon had a brief argument as she introduced Dionne, with the Osbourne reckoning that Simon was using Dionne as a means for working out his anger. Simon denied this, but we can fully understand why he might be full of rage; having to deal with Ray and Ashley on a daily basis would turn even Ghandi's thoughts towards violence. With this sideshow developing around her, it's perhaps no surprise that Dionne was a bit nervous, although the fact that she was dressed as a daisy certainly was. There was a nice husky, breathy quality to parts of her performance of For Once in My Life, but she still has a tendency towards forgoing subtlety in favour of a more sledgehammer like approach, but by the end of the song she seemed to have the whole thing under a lot more control, even if she did commit the cardinal sin of indulging in a bit of skat two thirds of the way through. Not that sort of skat, thankfully. That's for the ITV3 show, XXX Factor. Louis and Sharon loved it - not that Louis ever really expresses a negative opinion. Dionne could have simply stood on stage and led the crowd in a playground chant of "Louis's a plonker", and he would still have said she had potential - while Simon insisted she had the grace of a boxer to which Dionne responded "Oh, just fuck off. Seriously, fuck off.". Well, she didn't, she just said she was disappointed he felt like that, but you could she was thinking it. Sharon then asked Simon outside for a fight, perhaps in a bid to demonstrate exactly how graceful a boxer could be, which, as with most forms of pub-style grandstanding fizzled out before anything could actually happen, which was a shame. We'd definitely have stuck a fiver on Sharon.

Nikitta, who may have a dead mum but, if the Scottish tabloids are to be believed - and they probably aren't given that they also claim that the MacDonald Brothers are doing the country proud - makes up for it by having at least half a dozen dads, gave a rather sultry, if not quite as sexy as perhaps it could be, version of Sway, but ruined it somewhat when she walked past the audience and started dancing with a bloke in a dinner jacket who might as well have had the word "STOOGE" tattooed on his forehead, such was the subtlety of this piece of performance. "It was a bit of a struggle", suggested Louis, before once again going on to moan about Simon's choice of song for her. "What song would you have chosen?", asked Nikitta, in what seemed like a genuine desire to raise her game in his eyes. "Not that one", replied Louis, proving to be roughly as helpful as a dead rabbit with no ears. "I've got bra's older than you", was Sharon's contribution to the debate, which added little, other than the knowledge that she really needs to get her underwear drawer in order. "The main problem", reckoned Simon, "was that your dancer was too short". Unless he'd been wearing platform shoes in rehearsals, we're not quite sure why this wasn't noticed earlier. People tend not to lose a foot overnight. Well, apart from Heather Mills of course. Sorry.

"You're going to be really surprised", reckoned Sharon as she introduced Ben, and she was right, he did show a different side of himself tonight. Previously we'd had him marked down as a rubbish Rod Stewart impersonator, but after Saturday's performance we see he can turn his hand to sounding like a rubbish Kelly Jones from The Stereophonics impersonator as well. Truly his talent in a multi-faceted thing. "Smile, though your heart is breaking" he sang, which is fair enough, but he wasn't quite so keen to offer advice on the facial expression you should adopt when you're sitting watching TV, bored out of your mind. The judges, of course, loved it, apart from Louis, who took advantage of his position to audition for a job as a continuity announcer: "The show is called the X Factor", he offered.

Of course, when it comes to boredom and being so charisma free you might as well be a statue, Ben's got nothing on The MacDonald Brothers, the human equivelent of grey paint. "They blend very well", was the consdered verdict of Tony Bennett, and we can only assume that the phrase "into the background" was awkwardly edited out of his comments. Ironically enough, given that when they're on stage your eyes generally focus on anything other than them, they did Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You with all the unfettered raw emotion and sexual energy of two blokes who are still a bit scared of girls. "Scotland loves them, Scotland's gonna put them through", said Louis. Worryingly he's probably right. We hate our countryfolk sometimes.

Summertime is a song which is best heard on a hot, sweaty, lazy and sunny afternoon in the, umm, summertime. It is not, perhaps, the best choice for a cold and miserable autumn evening, but this didn't stop Simon choosing it for Leona and, to be fair to her, she does sing technically well, if still far too fond of warbling, but she singularly lacks any sort of stage presence, spark or watchability. She wasn't wearing any shoes, and the fact we even noticed that fact is, perhaps, a testament to the fact that her performance wasn't exactly an entertainment spectacular. It might just be us, however, as the song certainly stirred certain passions in Simon and Sharon, who snogged each other while giving their verdicts. Shudder. It's worse than the thought of your own parents having sex. "Good lips", was Simon's verdict on his fellow judge. Feel free to add your own innuendo here.

Kerry was once again perched awkwardly on a stool as she gave a slightly flat and very lifeless performance, despite stating in her VT that she was going to put her heart and soul into it. If that really was the case then we can only wonder exactly what she considers to be a lazy, by the numbers performance. Simon once again likened her to a hotel singer, while Sharon half heartedly attempted to turn it round by suggesting a hotel in Las Vegas. "I can do better", whined Kerry, but she's been saying that every single week and we're now more convinced than ever that she can't, she really, really can't.

Ashley is like a racehorse, apparently, but we must disagree with Simon here. With a bit of effort horses can be taught how to count, a task which we imagine Ashley has some difficulty with. Remembering the words to the song was also something which caused him problems, but this came as less of a surprise, as we find it hard to beleive that he can even remember to pull down his trousers every time he goes to the toilet. Even ignoring that particular mess up, his performance was nothing less than awful and the warmth we briefly felt for him last week has now faded, once again being replaced by an icey disdain. If this had been one of the audition shows, his Moondance would have been one of the ones shown purely for comedy purposes; he looked ridiculous, sounded wobbly and was just a mess from start to finish. Not that the judges noticed, once again praising him to the skies and even letting his inability to remember three minutes worth of words slide. Ashely then thanked the Lord for blessing him, and no doubt still wonders why people think he's a bit cocky or, indeed, that he's a bit of a cock.

Sharon, presumably only having had the time to write one introduction this week, told us that like Ben, we were going "to see a different side of Robert this week", and would that we could. Specifically, we'd like to see his rear view as he leaves the X Factor studios with his head low, an aura of dejection hanging over him like a bad smell as he finally gets his comeuppance and returns to the obscurity from whence he came. His version of Mr Bojangles was the sort that makes Robbie Williams' Swing When You're Winning album seem like an absolute pinnacal of the genre, such was his complete inability to infuse the lyrics with any sort of character or emotion. "Like velvet", reckoned Sharon. Yeah, the posh toilet paper.

And finally, we come to Eton Road, who were hampered this week with swing not really being a style that suits them, although given Antony's way of dressing, going for a style which doesn't suit him comes as second nature. They didn't, however, do too badly, and were certainly passable enough, even if they did choose to cover Mack the Knife which is even more predictable than the whole idea of a big band show in the first place, and some good falsetto work - which Simon reckoned was squeaky - from Antony just about managed to save the day for them.

After a couple of songs from his new duets album, which Tony Bennet sang by, ummm, himself, it was time for the results. As it's a double evition, the least popular act according to the audience - which, of course is how it shoudl be anyway - is first to go, with the second and third last place acts going into the sing-off. After the usual faffing around and fake tension building, we're left with just Ashley, Kerry and Dionne left and, alas, Dionne is the first to go. Despite the fact that she never really hit the heights of her first performance, we're still quite disappointed to see her go. As, no doubt, are a number of top dentists who were all looking forward to claiming the lucrative dental restruction contracts that would have been on offer had she actually won the contest.

With Dionne's best bits out of the way, it's time for Kerry to face Ashley in the sing off. Kerry provided a bit more sass with her second performance but was still about as likely to set the stage on fire as if she was a giant bucket of ice cubes. Ashley was still a tosser, but at least he remembered his words second time around. Louis had the casting vote and, despite castigating him for forgetting the words, even though he initially said that it didn't matter, Ashley was allowed to stay while Kerry's dream finally came to an end. It was no great surprise really, after all, it was clear from her very first audition that she wasn't going to walk it. Guilty arf!

Next week is Abba! Hooray! But if anyone does a better cover than B*WItched's take on Does Your Mother Know we'll be very surprised.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

Emo is riding high in the charts right now, with My Chemical Romance currently at number one. Admittedly they've achieved this feat mainly be pretending to be a different band and not actually sounding that emo really, when you get right down to it, but a feats a feat, and misunderstood outsiders all over the country are no doubt celebrating this achievement as we type. Or at the very least stopping moping about their bedrooms for five minutes and giving a half hearted thumbs up. We, however, will celebrate this, with all the crushing inevitability of a ten ton weight suddenly finding itself suspended above your head, by giving you ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the world of Emo:-
  1. Shortly before his tragic, yet hilarious, death, comedian Rod Hull was in the midst of recording a tribute album to this genre, to be titled Rod Hull and Emo. Alas, after his accident, the recordings were consigned to the vaults, never to see the light of day. Much like Rod's right arm, come to think of it.
  2. Emo is hugely popular amongst those who wish to express their individuality by looking exactly the same as everyone else.
  3. If you're not sure whether a song you like is Emo or not, count the number of words in the title. If it's ten or more, then congratulations! You're listening to a particularly pretensiously titled example of the genre.
  4. If you find that the track you're listening to seems to consist of little more than a constant, repetitive whirring sound, but evokes a pleasant smell of freshly cut grass, it's likely that you're listening to a flymo instead.
  5. In times of war, the Government is legally able to force all Emo kids into service as signal flags, using their brightly coloured hair to send out messages to ships at sea.
  6. Emo kids carry plastic bags inside their tiny rucksacks in case of emergencies. Such as actually needing to carry something.
  7. The only thing whinier than an Emo kid is a hungry cat. And the latter has the advantage that the problem can easily be solved by the medium of fish.
  8. While Emo has now reached, if you ignore the Daily Mail, mainstream acceptability, for many years finding that sort of music in your local record store was stressful, complicated and thankless task. The struggle of some fans to locate the latest Panic! at the Disco was immortalised in the recent film, Finding Emo. It's a comedy.
  9. The best Emo album you can buy is E=Mo2 by Emo Philips.
  10. Life is unfair. Kill yourself or get over it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Music Week 

Out today - as is the Popjustice album, which is also really rather ace, even if it does have the Sugababes slightly rubbish cover of the Arctic Monkeys on there - is the new Girls Aloud single, Something Kinda Ooooh which, as we've already mentioned is a slice of genius as brilliant as a two billion watt lightbulb, although we do have to subdue our praise for it slightly with the revelation on the official lyrics that the line is "Jumping on my toot toot" and not "tu-tu". Disappointed doesn't even beging to cover it.

Anyway, you'd be forgiven for thinking that, given the amount of times we've written about the Girls since we started this site, we've not so much started scraping the bottom of our comedy barrel when it comes to material about them, more digging confidently downwards and heading towards Australia at a rate of knots, and frankly you'd be right, but our vault of original ideas is stretched thinner than Nadine Coyle, so, with a certain air of inevitability, let's have a look at what our five favourite females have in store for them this week:-


As always in the pop world, a single release means a heady whirl of promotional appearences, live performances and meet and greets, with pretty much every second availiable to the Girls being used to get the message out to the general public that Girls Aloud have a new single out, it's really rather good indeed and they should really consider making their way down to their nearest record shop to buy a copy. To this end, Nadine, Cheryl, Kimberley and Sarah will spend today ironing out the finer details of their complicated itinery with their manager. Nicola will spend today going through the Radio Times with a fine toothcomb in the hope of finding out where their TV appearences are likely to be.


With such a huge variety of locations in various parts of the city of London and, indeed, the country, to visit, getting the right travelling arrangements for all the girls is a vitally important job. Nadine, Cheryl, Kimberley and Sarah will spend today being whisked from studio to station in a large, comfortable, chaffeur driven people carrier, never having to worry their pretty little heads about the spacial impossibilities of travelling the distances required in the time availiable. Nicola will spend most of today arguing with the bus driver about whether her travelcard has expired or not, before returning home to try and find enough change to enable her to purchase a one day pass (Zone 1 only).


As always, the girls not only have to sing like angels, chat with the ready wit we expect of our stars and dance with sassy exuberance, they've also got to look like the part as well, even for radio interviews. Who knows where the paparazzi will be hiding! Nadine, Cheryl, Kimberley and Sarah will each have their own personal stylist and make-up artist who will dress, paint, tweak and preen each girl until they all look like the incredibly beautiful young ladies they clearly are, with touch-ups being applied between each interviews lest a hair fall out of place or a crease cause concern. Nicola will today mooch around Topshop, trying on a few outfits and wondering to herself whether it'd be worth getting a Saturday job here so as to take advantage of the staff discount.


With such a stressful, busy and highly active schedule this week it's important to make sure the Girls are well fed and that their energy levels don't drop. To help them out, and to thank them for their hard work this week, the label will today take Nadine, Cheryl, Kimberley and Sarah out for a slap-up meal at a five star restaurant. Nadine enjoys the experience so much that she keeps dashing off to the toilet every five minutes to phone her friends and tell them all about it. Nicola makes herself a cheese, ham and pickle sandwich. Although as a result of a difference of opinions between herself and Tesco's about whether they should offer her credit or not, she's opted to have it without pickle. And ham. And cheese. And butter. And bread. But she does have a picture of one to look at and imagine what it might taste like.


Friday night is party night, so it's a chance for the girls to wow some of their fans with a nightclub appearence. The audience go wild as Nadine, Cheryl, Kimberley and Sarah appear on stage and run through a short set featuring their greatest hits ending, of course, with the fabulous new single, Something Kinda Ooooh. Nicola will try and join in, but will be turned away by the bouncer for wearing trainers.


It's the last chance to sway the Saturday shoppers so the Girls must swallow their pride and appear on the lowest of all TV shows, T4. Cursing the powers that be for scrapping CD:UK and, to a lesser extent, TotP:Saturday, Nadine, Cheryl, Kimberley and Sarah must sit and smile awkwardly as June and Vernon interview them with all the skill and subtlety of a kitten attacking a ball of wool, only without any inherent entertainment value. Sitting at home Nicola will smile happily to herself about her lack of involvement in that particular escapade, before cursing vocally as her powercard runs out ten minutes into Charmed.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

4Sure 4Gotten 

It's week 2 of X Factor and, according to the throaty sounding voiceover man, "just 11 acts remain". Just?! No wonder the links on this show are sometimes a bit torturous when the writers don't even understand the meanings of some of the more basic words in our language. Mind you, they've already proven, in series past and present, that their definition of what 'the X factor' might be veers dramatically away from what the rest of us would expect.

After another run through of the remaining acts, on the not entirely unreasonable grounds that their names are unlikely to have lodged firmly in the heads of those involved with the show, Kate Thornton (Dresswatch: A horrible green wrap thing, more bathrobe than dress) introduced tonight's 'special' guest, Rod Stewart, a man who's clearly forgone the use of both botox and, indeed, a hairdresser whose training has been updated since the seventies. She reads off a whole ream of most impressive sounding facts and figures about his career, but fails to give any sort of justification for any of them. Rod appears on stage to wildly enthusiastic cheers from the studio audience who, as we've previously pointed out, would no doubt cheer an appearance from the reanimated corpse of Hitler, or even someone truly evil, such as The Kooks. All the acts tonight will be performing songs taken entirely from his back catalogue, although as it turns out, this has been stretched somewhat to mean songs he's done, songs he's covered, songs he once sang along to in the shower and songs that he once heard the chorus of on the radio, back in 1984. Rod jokingly berates the judges for not picking any of his more recent songs, but perhaps if Rod hadn't spent the last decade selling album after album of pisspoor covers to an undemanding and uncritical audience they might have had something to choose from. All the acts this week have also had the joy of Rod popping into the studio to help them with their rehearsals, an experience we imagine would be akin to having an aging uncle taking an interest in your relationship with their son or daughter and offering you some advice in that regard; entirely unwanted, frankly off-putting but you're not in a position where you can just tell him to fuck off.

But it's not about Rod, it's all about the finalists, and first up this week is Leona, who appears to be sharing a wardrobe mistress with Kate, such is the unsuitability of her dresses. The theme song for scalpel wielding surgeons everywhere, The First Cut is the Deepest, was her song of choice, but unfortunately for her - and for most of the girls in the contest. And Antony from Eton Road - Rod's songs are designed to be sung in a somewhat lower register than her own more girlish tones can muster, and she definitely struggles at first, but eventually discovers her inner testicles and manages to deliver a more ballsy performance by the end of the song. The judges all loved her, but then, with the exception of Simon, the judges seem to love pretty much everything this year. They're obviously getting their water from the same supply as the studio audience.

Next up is Kerry who, according to her mentor, Sharon, is "unstoppable", which is only true insofar as there are no stairs in the way - guilty arf. Kerry tells us that she wants to "make Scotland proud the way Rod has", which leads us to point out for the umpteenth time that Rod is not actually Scottish. He wears tartan, it's not the same thing, otherwise we'll be able to claim Rupert the Bear as a proud son of the highlands. In a bid to convince us that she's in the contest on the basis of her singing talent alone and not because of her disability, her wheelchair has been ditched for this performance and she's instead sat perched upon a stool, which serves mainly to give the impression that the show's producers are embarrassed by her, an impression not exactly helped by the fact that she doesn't get to come out with Sharon's other acts during the introductory piece and instead has to come on awkwardly from the side while the rest of them appear behind the screen.

Seemingly possessed by the spirit of Jayne MacDonald, she failed to connect emotionally to the song at all during her version of I Don't Wanna Talk About It, preferring instead to give it the sort of melodramatic edge as beloved of regular kareoke goers up and own the country. Despite this the judges still showered her with an avalanche of praise, despite Simon claiming that "We've still not seen the best of you", much like he did last week, and much like he no doubt will every week throughout the series until she's knocked out once the public finally realise that, in actual fact, we have already seen the best of her and it's just not that impressive. "I don't think that you're going anywhere", said Simon, somewhat unfortunately given that going anywhere wasn't really an option for her until the stagehands gave her her wheelchair back.

Jesus wept, it's The MacDonald Brothers, and they're wearing red t-shirts and tartan free, black kilts - i.e. pleated skirts, not kilts. If they try and up their Scottishness - in an entirely touristy view of the word of course - they'll be coming on next week dressed as haggises and performing the theme to Supergran. We're Scottish ourselves and we feel embarrassed just watching them come on stage, and that's before they've even started singing. One of them is clutching a guitar which, as is traditional in this sort of contest, the strumming of which has no bearing on the sound which comes across on the backing track. Sailing is their song for the night, proving if nothing else that they have a remarkable talent for finding the absolute nadir of an artist's entire output. Of course, this is the only remarkable talent which is on display during their performance, but this doesn't seem to bother Louis or Sharon, the latter of which asks them, with the crushing inevitability of gravity, what they've got under their kilts. Yawn. Simon correctly points out that they're terrible, to which Louis responds "Give them a chance, they're trying very hard". They probably are, which is the worrying thing.

It's Ashley next and according to Simon "he's got an opinion", if not any actual braincells. This seems to be a reference to him not being overly happy with a song choice back in bootcamp and getting a bit mardy over it, which isn't so much having an opinion, more being a toddler, and he's certainly expressed no personality whatsoever since the live shows began, unless by 'personality' people mean 'big hair. Whatever. Actually, he was almost quite good this week as he sleptwalked his way through a song which may or may not have been called Something Told Me It Was Over, and we'd probably warm to him more if it wasn't for the fact that a) he constantly decides to sing like he's got a mouthful of phlegm - which we think is his attempt at showing character - and the slightly more important b) he carries himself entirely in the manner of an irritating arsehole who you wouldn't want to see in your local pub. The judges, who don't go to local pubs, preferring to enjoy the atmosphere in private members clubs, with Louis being particularly fond of an exclusive gentlemen's club, instead treated him like he was Jesus incarnate and practically prostrated themselves before him. "You're going to be a right little handful", suggested Sharon, being rude. Again. Yawn.

Last week Dionne shone, but it seems that the experience of being in the bottom two has caused her to try a bit too hard this week. Coming across more like a parody of a soul singer during her run through of Tonight's the Night - a not hugely appropriate song for her voice. Mind you, all Rod Stewart songs can be ultimately said to be inappropriate in general - bellowing where she should have soared and generally seeming a bit uncomfortable with the whole thing. And she was wearing too much lipgloss. Both Louis and Sharon likened her to Tina Turner, having taken an entire week thinking of another black female singer to add to their usual list of Diana Ross and Gladys Night, while Simon suggested she might like to "spend some time in front of a mirror, practicing your performance". And applying your lipgloss more frugally, he didn't say, but he was definitely thinking it.

"Doing a Rod Stewart song is outside our comfort zone", moaned 4Sure in a polite manner, but even so it's no excuse for the embarrassing way they crooned through You're in My Heart, sat upon stools, looking for all the world like they'd rather be anywhere else, as they finger clicked simultaneously during the dodgy harmonies on the chorus. "You did a good job", suggested Louis, as if they'd just sorted out a minor problem with his guttering that he wasn't in too much of a rush to get sorted. "Old fashioned and wet", was Simon's considered opinion, and he was right.

Nikitta, who not only has a dead mum, but has a dead mum who was apparently with her on stage last week. Surely this must be in breach of the rules? If she wanted to perform as a duo then she should really have auditioned as a group, and we'd have loved to have seen Louis deal with a live artist and a dead mum in the background. Mind you, he's got a lot of experience in dealing with presenceless spectres, clad only in white, who can only make an uncomfortable, eerie, eldritch noise. He manages Westlife. Arf! Nikitta was accompanied by a choir, who she seemed to be peering at quizzically, presumably on the offchance that one of them might be her dead mum. Her song we'd never heard before, but may have been called Bring it on to Me and bring it on she certainly did, giving a confident and sassy performance which easily outshone every other act this evening. Not that Louis noticed, describing it as a "forgetful song" - we never knew songs had memories - and claiming she showed no star quality from the stage, while Sharon could find little to say other than suggesting that the one glove look she was rocking made her look like she was wearing OJ Simpson's cast offs, so it's nice to see that Sharon, as always, is living in the present day with such a relevant and topical comment.

Robert - who was "unbelievable last week". Well, we certainly couldn't believe it - does Try a Little Tenderness, starting off slowly before shouting "Come on, let's party!" as the song takes a wrong turning down the road of listenablity and ends up in a bizarre uptempo cul-de-sac of wrongness. It was the sort of thing that Chico would have done, only Robert doesn't have the, for want of a better word, 'uniqueness' of Chico's personality to carry it off. It was all just an embarrassing mess. Unless, of course, you're Louis Walsh, in which case it was "the best performance of the night". It wasn't even the best performance of the last three minutes. "You were running around like a bat", was Sharon's contribution, which leads us to wonder exactly what sort of creature she thinks a bat actually is. Simon likened it to a Chippendale show and the judges collapse in helpless giggles as they question when, exactly, Simon went to see the Chippendales.

Eton Road's fans have football rattles, which they spin irritatingly before and after their performance, and possibly even during, but it was hard to tell as their performance of This Old Heart of Mine apparently came direct from an echo chamber, such was the poor sound quality, so we can't really comment on whether it was any good or not. They looked like they were having fun, though, so we'll give them the benefit of the doubt. The judges were certainly enthusiastic, likening them to Take That, with Sharon claiming that her daughter Kelly Osbourne wanted to propose to Antony. We're not sure whether Antony is gay or just a bit camp, but if not then the thought of Kelly wanting to get her claws into you would certainly be enough to turn a man.

"This is what I've wanted to do for a long, long time", is Ray's opening gambit. Ray, remember, is 17. We've probably waited for buses for longer than he's wanted this. He's still a supremely irritating young man, and his mother clearly still holds a lot of influence in his life, not only was he wearing a waistcoat and trousers combo that she'd clearly picked out from George at Asda especially for the occasion, but he's sporting the sort of greasy slicked back hairdo that can only come from mothers spit. She probably cleaned his cheek with a hanky before coming on stage as well. Ray claimed that It's a Wonderful World, something clearly not true as if it were there'd be no Ray in it for a start. He's essentially Jamie Cullum - who, as we've not mentioned him for a while, is a cunt - without the piano, which is disappointing as it means we can only entertain fantasies about strangling him with his mike flex but not simultaneously slamming down the piano lid on his fingers. "If this was a smiling contest you'd win", offers Louis, while the head of programming at ITV2 quickly notes this down as a possible prime time idea. Sharon comments on his less than modern style, claiming that he's in a category with kids who are cutting edge. If Ashley, Leona and Nikitta are at the cutting edge then someone really needs to take modern culture down to the sharpeners pretty damned quickly.

"I don't want to be seen as a Rod Stewart impersonator", worries Ben, before coming on stage and performing Maggie May in the sort of way you'd expect a Rod Stewart impersonator to do. He began sitting at a piano, before getting up to dance around a bit - in a not exactly rhythmic sense of the word - after the intro, including jumping on top of said piano at the end, something which will play merry hell with the tuning. No respect. Or range beyond being a bit growly and throaty, although Simon reckoned that he showed a different side of himself with that performance. We, however, are beginning to think that Ben is a bit of a one trick pony and is so 2-dimensional that if he turned to the side he'd disappear. He's a bit like Paris Hilton in that respect... and one other.

And so the 11 acts have sung for their supper and now it's time to find out who's going home without getting the chance for seconds, but not before Rod gets to sing a song as well, dressed, for reasons which were never made clear, in Pete Doherty's old cast offs. We found this performance very uncomfortable to watch, mainly because every time they did a close up on Rod's face we got worried that our TV had suddenly collapsed in on itself. After Kate's failed attempt to get Rod to offer any sort of opinion on the acts' performances - and who can blame him for wanting to keep quiet. After all, you can't swear on ITV at that time of night - it was time to find out who would face each other in tonight's sing off. Once again, and against all possible reason, the MacDonald Brothers found themselves safe and sound, with even Louis looking gobsmacked at this result, with the public coming to the reasonably accurate conclusion that Robert and 4Sure gave the two worst performances of the night. There was little differences of any note between their second performances and the originals, although Robert performed sans jacket this time around for all the difference it made, and there were even less surprises when Simon, once again given the casting vote, chose 4Sure to take the long bus journey back to obscurity, although he didn't bother giving any reasons why. One of the band started crying, while the other claimed that "It's not the end of us, we know that much", despite the fact that the overwhelming historical evidence suggests that it definitely is the end for them. "There's nothing that they didn't do", was Louis' final thought. Well, apart from getting enough votes, that is. Goodbye 4Sure, you won't be missed a huge amount, that's for sure.

Gordon Bennett, next week it's Tony Bennett. Someone had better do the All Seeing I's Walk Like a Panther otherwise there's literally no point to him being there. Altogether now: "A halfwit in a leotard stands on the stage..." (Yeah, yeah, we got our Tonys mixed up. We must have left our brain in San Francisco)


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Madonna's Guide to Adoption 

Hi! I'm Madonna, and I know exactly what you're thinking, but no, I've not got a couple of gnarled tree roots sticking out of my sleeves, those are in fact my hands! I know! Oil of Olay are so getting sued. Seven signs of aging my ass. And we really don't want to start talking about how aged that part of my body is looking, so let's move on and begin discussing the real reason why I'm here, and that's to talk to you about a subject very close to my heart: Adoption.

I've recently adpoted a child of my very own, you may have read about it in the news. He's called Damon, or David, or something like that. I forget, but I've only been his mother for a couple of days so, hey, don't judge me. Wait til you've walked a mile in my shoes, then you can comment. It's not easy trying to juggle the demands of being a publicity hungry media slave with keeping my body unpleasantly toned, and I have to tout some manky bits of red string and overpriced bottles of water in the name of religion as well! It's a wonder I have a time to give a damn about any of my kids, let alone this new one. He should just consider himself lucky that I've authorised the nanny to spend at least thirty minutes a day of quality time with him, and do a dirty diaper - or nappy as you quaint English types call them - check every two hours. This may not seem like much to you, but remember, David comes from the depths of poverty and mud from some strange and foreign country were they're so deprived that they don't even buy my records, so he's currently experiencing what is, for him, untold luxury. To provide anything else would be too much of a culture shock for him and more than anything else I want him, and my press agent, to be happy.

I'm naturally a style leader, so the minute I adpoted a child everyone instantly, and for exactly the same selfless reasons that I did it, wants to hop on the zeitgeist train which I'm driving and get one of their own. As I'm sure you're aware, adopting a child from a foreign country isn't easy - you even have to fly over there yourself! - so to help you out, I've put together this handy guide to adopting a fashion accessory of your very own. Aren't I good? Yes. Yes I am.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

Publicity seeker and occasional singer Madonna has once again hit the headlines as she attempts to convince the world that money and celebrity is a more than adequate substitute for standard legal process when it comes to adopting a fashion accessory. Sorry, child. We're currently trying to persuade her to put together a guide on how to adopt a child when your annual earnings are more than the GDP of his or her home country, but she's currently too busy shouting at the nanny and going to pilates classes, just like every other new moth, so until then, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the nation's favourite grandstanding granny:-
  1. Recent single Hung Up was inspired by her experiences phoning around all the major film studios, asking for acting work.
  2. She will shortly be reworking and re-releasing her first hit, Holiday, making it more relevant to the sort of lifestyle she lives today. It'll be called Saga Holiday.
  3. Madonna is a practioner of Kabbalah, a religion whose main tenet is the redistribution of wealth. Specifically from you to them.
  4. She reckons it's entirely feasible to go quicker than a ray of light, proving that whatever else she may have going for her, a sound foundation in the fundamentals of physics isn't one of them.
  5. She snogged Britney Spears at the MTV Music Awards, instantly changing the views of a million straight men who had previously thought that Britney getting involved in some lesbian action would be "hot".
  6. Madonna is so controversial that not only has she appeared live on stage apparently crucified upon the cross, but she's also drawn a picture of what she thought the Prophet Mohammed might look like upon a piece of paper. But she rubbed it out before anyone else could see it, just in case.
  7. Just like Doctor Who, Madonna likes to reinvent herself every few years. She also has two hearts, a sonic screwdriver and mansion that's bigger on the inside than on the outside. It is not yet known whether Russell T Davies plans on giving the Doctor a faux cockney arse of a husband to balance out the similarities.
  8. Madonna has done theme songs for both Austin Powers and James Bond, though wisely the producers refused to let her have a cameo role in either of them, with Mike Myers declaring "I know we're a comedy, but come on! We've got limits."
  9. The Catholic Church's attempt to ride the Madonna bandwagon by offering confessions on a dancefloor came to an abrupt end when it transpired that the only dance the priests knew how to do was the electric boogaloo.
  10. Seriously, love. Put some clothes on.

Monday, October 16, 2006


It starts with a bang and will end, if previous series are anything to go by, with a whimper. Once again ITV's, if nothing else, most lucrative series returns to clog up the Saturday night schedules like a rancid onion skin in the plughole of life. But they're not content to rest on their laurels, oh no! It's all change as they've finally decided to upgrade the starting titles, with the episode now starting off with shots of a massive X shooting through space, crashing through the atmosphere and landing somewhere in London with sparks, fireworks, and other such brilliant things. It makes the whole thing seem very exciting, so we're currently in consultation with our lawyers to see whether we can get them under breach of the Trade Descriptions Act. The set has also been rejigged, with a million plasma screens covering every bit of blank space the designer could find, a look which serves mainly to give the impression that the show is coming live from a branch of Dixons.

But the changes aren't just superficial. Well, they are, but they have decided to 'theme' each show and have a very special guest who has both nothing better to do on a Saturday night and a record to plug who's keen to offer their input on the acts performances and represent the chosen theme. This week they producers went for the entirely original and not at all done to death choice of Motown, so naturally they booked the guest whose name springs straight to everyone's lips when they hear the word and went for, umm, Lionel Richie, a man so famous that Kate Thornton (Dress Watch: Black, strapless, extremely unflattering, and at least a size too small) had to spend five minutes introducing him. Still, the crowd did go wild when he was introduced. Mind you, the crowd also went wild when the 12 acts, about two of whom may actually ring a bell if you watched the auditions, were all introduced on stage by the voiceover man with a Lockets phobia and, judging by their apparent willingness to cheer anything, would no doubt have continued to go wild had all the contestants as one turned around and simultaneously mooned the crowd. But we digress.

"This is history", says Lionel, presumably referring more to his career than to the two hours of entertainment we have ahead of us, "We're only in this business because we're fans", he continued, distracting Simon Cowell who was at that moment busy working out exactly how much money he'd made since the show started, and, having offered us such hugely insightful pearls of wisdom he's off, presumably to work out exactly how much money he made in the last thirty seconds, but don't worry! Kate promises us he'll be back to perform his latest single for us later. Please, be still my beating heart.

But it's not about the old stars! It's about making money. Oh, and some new talent as well, but that's more of a means to an end, but either way the first of this year's crop of wannabes is here to strut their stuff and it's Robert, who's in Sharon's category and, according to his mentor, has an amazing personality, although frankly we could no more pick him out of an ID parade than we could who ever was driving the bus we got two weeks last Thursday. He give us Lionel Richie'S All Night Long, which includes a number of hand movements which appear to suggest, somewhat unpleasantly, that he's masturbating. Just because a wanker managed to do quite well last year and end up releasing a couple of singles is no reason to start trying to emulate him. We seriously don't need, or want, another Chico.

We can't fault his energy' he strides around the stage like a man who's just downed a keg of sugar, but it's hard to see exactly what he's so enthusiastic and excited about given that his performance as a whole is quite, quite dull. "You're what X Factor is all about", opines Louis Walsh, and we can only concur. He gets impressive comments from all the judges, and begins to blub a bit, but composes himself and does a bit of dancing when speaking to Kate. "Get down with your big bad self", she suggests, sounding for all the world like the nearest she's ever been to the ghetto was once wandering into a branch of Netto by mistake. An experience she would no doubt have found almost as horrifying.

Next up are Eton Rd, who we quite like, if only because they do at least manage to seem like a proper group who are actually mates, unlike their ousted rivals, Avenue, who quite clearly could see nothing more unpleasant and hateful than the prospect of having to hang out together and pretend to like each other for the next three months. We're still not quite sure why Brian Molko from Placebo is fronting a boyband though.

My Girl is their song of choice, though bizarrely, despite being a four piece band who are fully able to provide backing vocals of their own, surely one of the main benefits of having entered the competition as a group, their backing track has backing vocals on it, surely one of the more pointless things in the contest other than the very contest itself. Despite this needless intrusion they are very good indeed, although the fact they dance like a group of tramps trying to shake a turd out of their trousers may count against them in the long run. The judges all reckon that they're odd, but in a good way, while Louis reckons that everyone in Liverpool will be voting for them, labouring, as he seems to do on a regular basis, under the delusion that someone coming from the same 20 mile radius as you do means you'll automatically think they're the bestest thing since sliced Blunt.

Nikitta, who can't even spell her own name properly and has, as you're unlikely to be aware as she hardly ever mentions it, a dead Mum, is the third act of the night and reckons, apropos of nothing, that her mum will be round her as she performs. We'd pay good money for someone to dress up as the dead mum, sit just behind the judges each week and, after Nikitta's performance, shake their head sadly, and get up and leave with a look of abject disappointment on their face. Actually, that's not really fair, as she was quite good, and would probably have done a bit better had she been given a decent song to sing and not something which sounded like a pastiche of the genre, designed to be used in cheap documentary series on low-key cable channels who can't afford to pay for the rights to use any of the proper songs from the era. "She's 17!", protests Sharon, as Louis points out this faux pas from Simon, "She's never done this before", as if that in any way mattered. "You're a nasty vicious little man", offers Simon, despite the fact that Louis had praised Nikitta's performance to the skies and reserved his criticism for the song choice. Perhaps Simon felt that the audience were desperate to see a physical representation of the phrase "Takes one to know one".

According to Sharon, Ben "defines the rawness of rock & roll", by which she means "He has long hair". He growled his way through Tracks of my Tears, pointing randomly at people in the audience during the "Need you" bit and throwing his arms around like a toddler having a tantrum. He's fine if you like Rod Stewart, but given that liking Rod Stewart instantly renders any musical opinion you may have null and void, this is pretty irrelevant. Sharon praised them, especially because this was the "first time he's ever performed without a guitar or behind a piano", which presumably means that all the time he performed without a guitar or behind a piano during the X Factor audition process was nothing more than a group hallucination. We'd have hoped that a group hallucination was a bit more interesting to be honest. "Possibly one of the best contestants we've ever had" was Simon's contribution to the debate, this time giving the audience a physical representation of the phrase "Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and prove it".

Less a band, more two annoying kids doing a turn at wedding, The MacDonald Brothers turned in a performance which managed to be even less entertaining that that sounds. They're essentially a Scottish Journey South, only worse, something which top musicologists had hitherto thought impossible. They gurn their way through Three Times a Lady, dedicated, in a slightly uncomfortable way, to their mum. Three Times a Lady is a song which anyone who has even a passing interest in music knows is on a par with two day old dog excrement. Even someone particularly amazing and talented would struggle to make anything decent out of it, so two charm free losers dressed in awful matching waistcoats just aren't going to cut it. It was an honest, pure, "No frills" performance according to Louis, although perhaps he just mispronounced his 'th'. The other judges were less enthusiastic, but the brothers, while slightly down, seemed relatively unphased, saying "We enjoyed every minute of it". Well, at least someone did.

Ray, a cross between Malcolm in the Middle and Eddie Munster and as punchable as a Vernon Kay shaped punchbag, does Ben - nice to see the rival contestants getting on so well, arf! - and gives it his all, assuming "His all" is equivalent to his benign nasal, awkward and as irritating as putting your hand in a lucky dip barrel filled with itching powder and pulling out a Sandi Thom CD. Both Louis and Sharon reckoned that he'll easily capture the mum vote, which may be true, but he's not got the dead mum vote has he? Simon reckoned his performance was 'believable', but so is a rather dull story about going to work and seeing a pigeon. It's not necessarily something you'd call enjoyable.

Scrubbing up rather well indeed, even if the gap in her teeth is still somewhat offputting, even if it will give her an advantage should the contest ever become more whistle based, is Dionne, who was frankly amazing. Her performance of I'm Gonna Make You Love Me was generally powerful and, like an exciting form of Ronseal, did exactly what it said on the tin. We may well have found this year's Maria, i.e. someone who's going to get unceremoniously dumped thanks to a hellish combination of cloth-eared members of the public and fuckwitted judges. Still, tonight she shone and we can only look forward to her doing so again for at least half of the contest. "You looked a little stiff", suggested Simon, but we'd suggest that that was probably more down to the fact that her dress was designed more for standing and less for actually, y'know, doing stuff.

We've become quite fond of The Unconventionals, awful band name aside. This is mainly down to the fact that we find the blonde girl who looks like Jenni Falconer rather pretty and we're rather shallow, but they do, unlike most of the acts on the show, at least have the potential to be interesting. Mind you, we said that about G4 and look what happened there. Dressed in the proceeds of a ramraid at BHS, they gave us Dancing in the Street, coming across like an ADD S Club, with the camera desperately trying, and often failing, to keep up with whoever was actually singing at the time. They did their best to give everyone a shot, and they were certainly fun, but it was a little bit too much and came across more like they'd all had a sherbert dib dab before they went on stage and were just a little bit too hyper. "I got confused for a minute" said Sharon, but we think she was just meaning in general, rather than anything to do with the band.

Ashley clearly has an extra chromosome somewhere down the line. There's something not quite right about him, and we don't just mean the fact that he considers Sideshow Bob to be a stylistic role model. His song choice, Easy Like Sunday Morning was rather appropriate, as he's definitely a Sunday morning singer as opposed to a Saturday night one as, like all Sunday mornings, he was dull, pointless, and a complete non-event which can only be enlivened by watching the Hollyoaks omnibus. We don't like Sunday mornings. He even waved to his mum in the crowd like a particularly gormless child in a school play. The judges all praised him however, and Ashley seemed quite chuffed by this, grinning and staring wordlessly at Kate, looking for all the world like the feckless simpleton he no doubt is.

And so, Kerry. Is she in this competition for any other reason than the fact she's not going to be winning any speed walking competitions any time soon? Nope. She's not a bad singer, she's pleasant enough, but while she might want people to look beyond her wheelchair, she's got nothing else to make her stand out from the pack in this competition. We're not entirely convinced that having her reclined on a bed for her promo shot was exactly a tasteful idea either, it serving mainly to look like she's been dumped there and left while they set up the lights. She did Sunshine of my Life but made it feel more like a cloudy day with only occasional flashes of warmth. Rather than get involved in the whole judging process, Simon decided to start flirting with her instead, which is an interesting Pete & Nikki in Big Brother-esque tactic towards keeping her in.

Managing the impressive feat of having a worse band name than The Unconventionals are 4Sure - which we assume was the last word they could think of that hadn't already been used as a band name with the word 'for' in it - a sort of negative Blue, not that a positive Blue exists, of course. Blue never did a positive thing in their entire career, merrily harmonising their way through What Becomes of the Broken Hearted with a bit of street dancing thrown in for good measure and were exactly as memorable as the anniversary of the first time you examined your nails for dirt.

Closing the show is the remarkably horsey looking Leona, who made great play in her opening video about how she lacks confidence in her singing and lives in eternal fear of knockbacks. Despite this claim, however, she's clearly more than aware of the fact she's a good singer, but it's probably fair to say she doesn't exactly exude confidence, instead it's an air of smugness that hangs over her performance of I'll Be There. For all the technical goodness, there was a distinct lack of spark or star quality, and she had a definite tendency towards oversinging, rarely failing to use a dozen notes when only one would do. She showed no emotion whatsoever during the actual song, but did manage to shed a few tears when the crowd cheered her at the end, showing exactly what she's looking for in this contest. The judges were overwhelmingly positive towards her, although Sharon did moan that she performed like an older person, but thanks to time constraints, Leona was unable to give Kate her thoughts on the comments she'd received, which was probably for the best given that she responded to most of the judges comments by mouthing "Thank you"'s like a grateful goldfish.

And so, two sodding hours of our life later, it's all over. The acts have all done their best and it's time for everyone to reach for their phones and vote in this meaningless parody of democracy. An hour or so later, the results show begins, but not before we get that Lionel Richie performance we were promised! Oh lucky, lucky us. Lionel performs I Call it Love - we call it something else all together - and it's little more than an even duller version of Neyo's So Sick, with all the cloying unbearableness that that implies. "Show your appreciation for Lionel Richie!", demands Kate. Oh we are, Kate. Trust us, we are. Given they've dragged him all the way out from backstage, Kate demands that he gives us his opinions on the acts, but fails to actually give him any time to do so. Though to be fair this was mainly because he wasted most of it chuntering on about "Potential" - and acting as if this was some amazing word that we might not have heard of - and wondering what the acts might be doing in twenty or thirty years. We've thought about it and we're not entirely sure. We don't know how the Tesco promotion system works. When he eventually decided to name his favourites, he named virtually everyone who had performed, which made the whole thing a bit pointless. Just like his career. Arf!

Anyway, the usual tension building "You're through" bit begins, and many of the acts react with undue enthusiasm to the news they're going to have to come back and sing Rod Bloody Stewart songs next week. Sharon encourages this sort of behaviour from all her acts, even suggesting to Kerry that she should pop a wheelie, something which isn't patronising in any way shape or form. But the votes have been counted and verified and the result is not, as you might have expected having actually watched the show, The MacDonald Brothers vs Anyone Else, It Doesn't Matter Who, but instead was The Unconventionals vs Dionne. Oh, for fuck's sake. Of course, The Unconventionals weren't exactly helped by the fact their overlong name was far too longwinded to actually text in. We're not surprised if people started, got bored half way through, thought "Bugger it", and decided to vote for Ray or Ben instead on the basis that life's just too short.

Now, if the MacDonald Brothers had any sort of morals or backbone they would have stepped up at this point, pointed out that there had clearly been some sort of mistake and obviously they were the worst act of the night, so there should be no debate, no sing-off, none of that malarky, just evict them and we can all move on, safe in the knowledge that their departure will make no difference to anyone's lives whatsoever. Alas, they couldn't even get that right, reacting to the news that they've managed to make it through by the skin of their teeth with the sort of happiness and celebratory movements more suited to a group who actually deserved to be there.

There were no more surprises to come. Despite giving it a bit more oomph the second time around, there was no way in hell The Unconventionals were going to stay going up against Dionne. They knew this, and at least were gracious in defeat, even if Simon wasn't in his mini-victory of having the casting vote, and were perhaps smiling inside with the relief of not having to deal with next week's theme. They're doing Rod Stewart. We're not sure we'll be able to watch the whole thing without tearing out our ears.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

And what we've now decided to be a special X Factor themed week - us? Short of ideas? As if! - continues on with the show being given the dubious honour of being this week's subject for our 10 Things... feature, and you can join us later this week as we bring you an actual Worst Records piece on some of the releases from various X Factor finalists. Sometimes this stuff just writes itself. Anyway, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the nation's premier barrel scraping show:-
  1. To represent more the sort of talent which has been discovered by the show in its previous runs, the colour scheme for this year's set will be changed from a striking, powerful and energetic red to a more subdued, uninspired and ultimately dull shade of beige.
  2. Depending on whether you profit for the show or merely have to watch it, the 'X' either stands for 'Excellent' or 'Excrement'
  3. The only thing Louis Walsh considers to be more important than winning the contest is protecting his breakfast cereal from the covetous desires of the other two judges. "They'll never get me Lucky Charms", commented the devious Irishman, as his eyes darted suspiciously around the room and he shielded his bowl from any possible attempts at theft.
  4. Winning The X Factor guarantees the victor a brief period of a success, a year of being a laughing stock, booed and jeered in the streets, before a lifetime of being the answer to a quiz question in the very pub's you're now forced to hawk your trade, the only tangible difference to your life being that you now have the phrase "Television's" hastily added in front of your name.
  5. Many accuse The X Factor of being nothing more than a glorified kareoke contest. This is unfair. At least with kareoke you get to pick your own songs.
  6. One of showbusiness' biggest secrets is that Sharon Osbourne actually left the show after the first series. Since then her role has been played, unbeknownst to the general public, by Grotbags. She has the same desire to win as the other two judges, but her attempts are constantly thwarted by her continual reliance on her inept sidekicks, Croc and Robot Redford, to carry out her sabotage based schemes.
  7. Previous X Factor winners include, ummmm, that bloke, name like a cricketer, you know the one I mean, and... no, it's gone. Sorry.
  8. Given the unlikelihood of a female act ever succeeding or even doing remotely well in the contest, next year's series is going to be renamed the XY Factor.
  9. Simon Cowell is a keen gardener and has lent his name to a popular brand of digging tools known as Cowell's Trowels.
  10. Still, it kills a few hours before the invevitable death which we must all eventually face. Or Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, as it's otherwise known.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Music Week 

It's Monday! And in just under a week's time X Factor goes live until either Christmas time or the end of the world itself, which ever comes first. We'd put a few quid on it being the latter to be honest. Well, we would if we thought there was any point. As always, we'll be there to bring you our weekly insight into the show - and by 'there' we mean 'watching it on the telly' and by 'insight' we mean the usual bitter, angry, barely coherent ramblings on the subject that you've come to love and expect. Well, expect anyway. It's a busy week ahead for us as we try and psyche ourselves up for the prospect of once again seeing how dried up both the UK's pop talent pool and Sharon Osbourne's face have become, but it's nothing compared to the sort of week the three judges have in store. What's going to happen? Let's take a look shall we?


As the twelve finalists become more aware of the terrifying reality of performing live on a weekly basis in front of a TV audience of millions, all baying for their blood, it's time for the judges to ease their charges into the new world they've entered by giving them a pep talk to try and calm their nerves while simultaneously avoiding dulling their competitive edge. Simon Cowell cheers up his group of 16-24's by pointing out that now the contest has begun his normally astute powers of critical awareness will entirely desert him and he'll happily shower them with the sort of praise normally reserved for demi-gods and other wondrous things, even if they come on stage and honk like a dying swan before wetting themselves with fear and bawling for their money. Louis Walsh will take his groups down to the popular London nightspot for the homosexually inclined G.A.Y. so they can have a taste of the sort of venues they'll able to perform in should they hit the big time and strike the right chord with the general public and not in any way because he quite fancied a night out there himself and needed to have the right excuse. Sharon Osbourne, however, gathered her group of over 25's together with the promise of helping them to get over their fears and making sure they're all fully aware of the fact that they're in the contest because they deserve to be and shouldn't in any way feel uncomfortable about the whole process, but instead proceeded to talk about herself for five hours like the self-obsessed shrew that she is.


It's song choice time today, and it's possibly the most important part of the week. After all, a wrong choice here could have the viewing public instantly losing faith in the artist you've so carefully weeded out from the, umm, other weeds and failing to pick up the phone and vote for your contestant. Not only will this lead to them being voted out of the competition, but more importantly it also means that the lucrative revenues from the premium rate voting lines won't be maximised to their full potential and that is something which simply can't be allowed to happen. Simon takes this job very seriously and will be spending this morning pouring over the track listings from every Robson and Jerome albums and the 20 Karaoke classics CD he bought for 2 quid in the garage on his way down to the studio, desperately trying to find the right song which will remove any sense of excitement and energy from his supposedly youthful protege. Louis' task is even harder, as dealing with the groups means that he has to ensure that all the members of each band has something to do and doesn't just end up standing around, looking like a spare wheel, something he entirely failed to do with Westlife. While he could direct his energies to choosing a song which could be expertly arranged for the appropriate number of singers, allowing for some beautiful harmonies and a fulsome sound which the other categories would be unable to even come close to attaining, Louis will instead pick any song at random, tell them each to sing a line from the verse before they all join in on the chorus. Sharon will give all her acts My Sharona to sing, but tell them to drop the 'a' from the end of it.


Rehearsals, and a time for the mentors to hear how their acts are going to sound on the night. Simon will find this a revelatory experience, mainly as it's revealed to him in its full, horrible glory just exactly how charisma free and irritating his acts are. Clenching his fists together behind his back, he will force a smile as he congratulates his acts on their performances, before going up to the soundbooth to remind the engineers exactly whose production company makes the show and suggesting that if they'd like to keep their jobs they might well want to consider making the audio as muddy and unlistenable to as possible for all the other acts. Louis is always keen to win the contest and so is making a special effort this year to make sure his acts are at the very top of their game. To this end he's already identified who he feels to be the most promising group in his category and is making sure that they get the very best of his attention. It just happens to be one of the boy bands and Louis has been taking them all back to his discreet London flat where he's been giving them all one on one tuition. He's also taking special care of the lead singer and has been giving him a daily dose of salty medicine to make sure his tonsils remain in tip top condition. Sharon refused to let any of her acts perform during her rehearsal time, instead monopolising the stage for the entire two hours by prancing up and down bellowing Life is a Cabaret at the top of her lungs like she was sort of insane Liza Minelli. Well, insaner, anyway.


It's a busy day for the acts as they all troop off to get styled and clothed for their big night. Simon, always with an eye on the pennies, sends his team off to the local market to pick out a few outfits, making sure they make subtle enquiries about the possibility of getting a refund if by some strange quirk of fate the outfit didn't fit properly but they only found this out on the Sunday and it definitely hadn't been worn by a contestant on a nationally televised talent show. No siree bob. Louis initially takes a passionate interest in clothing his acts and spends hours with the first act to enter the changing rooms, who just happen to be the boy band, making them take on and off - mainly off, it has to be said - many different outfits as he tries to find them the perfect look which may or may not involve leather. Unfortunately all this energy early on quickly tires him out and by the time the girls arrive to pick their outfits he makes his excuses and leaves, clearly exhausted judging by his departing mutterings about taking the boys to bed. Sharon forces her group to choose items from her own wardrobe to wear, before taking them to her personal hairdresser who's swift to style them after his mistress. They then have to stand in a line and swear an oath of allegiance to her, before she patronisingly pats them on the head, gives them a cookie and lets them go to bed.


And while the acts nervously ponder tomorrow nights events, the judges all gather together for a top secret meeting with the show's producers where they decide who's going to win, in what order the acts will leave and exactly what share of the profits they'll all make from his resulting, brief, and ultimately futile success. All, that is, except for Sharon, who's too busy supervising the construction of a 100ft statue of herself, to be position in Buckinghamshire. Or possibly Croydon.


Showtime! And for one contestant their dream will come to a quick and painful end as the public as one decide that that person is a bit shit, when you get right down to it. That contestant, however, will be the lucky one, as the other 11 have to watch their dreams come to a slow and painful end as they realise that this pop lark isn't all it's cracked up to be and what they think they wanted isn't quite the same as what they're actually going to end up getting. Still, watching people cry is always good telly, isn't it?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nicola Roberts: A Life in Videos - Part 4 

So, Nic-mas has finally arrived and the ever lovely Miss Nicola Roberts has now turned 21, which not only means she gets the key to the door, but also means she's also eligible to stand for parliament, which we're sure she'll be keen to do if only so she can have some input in sorting out the Irish problem, something which has vexed her for a few years now.

It's clearly a great day today, but despite it's wonderfulness we don't wish it was Nic-mas every day, mainly because this would mean she'd age horribly rapidly, a bit like that scene at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and would be a wizened, hackneyed, terrifying looking old crone by the time Christmas arrived, and one Madonna is more than enough.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Nicola! And to celebrate we can muster up nothing more imaginative than continuing our look at Nicola's performances in GA videos past and... well, just past, really, and today our look back brings us just a hair flick away from the Chemistry era, but first, this:

I'll Stand By You

Urgh. Not only is it a) a ballad and b) a cover, it's c) a charity single, and the only thing more likely to turn pop music from a maelstrom of excitement and creativity than doing it for the kids - in a Children in Need sense, that is, not in an Art Brut one - it's being in the same room as The Stereophonics. The director here isn't so much afraid to rock the boat, more so terrified of the boat even vaguely wobbling that he's pulled the boat up on to dry land and cemented it firmly to the pavement where not even a hurricane will make it tremble even slightly.

The Girls stand, wearing some quite nice dresses, in the middle of a desert wasteland, where only some stones, a dead tree and, for some entirely unexplained reason, a rope, which Nadine feels the need to pull upon incessantly, stand to break up the monotony. A charitable soul - and given that it was for a good cause we'll assume there were some around - may consider it a metaphor for the way that Girls Aloud have stood out amongst the wasteland that pop had become before they stepped on to the scene and reignited the scene with the sort of energy and excitement normally seen when throwing a bucket of petrol into a bonfire, but it's probably more likely that the director had just built a new patio and had over estimated how much sand he was going to need.

Once again this is mainly an ensemble piece, with Nicola's solo spots mainly arising with her solo lines. There's a lovely moment after she sings the "Nothing you confess could make me love you less line" where she closes her eyes and an entire nation sighs as one. Or we sigh enough for an entire nation. One of the two, anyway.

The director eventually realises that some girls lounging around in the sand isn't the most visually arresting of images, and decides to arrest this drought - arf - of imagery by making it rain. Unfortunately for him, giving the brevity of this sequence - about 10 seconds, tops - and some slightly poor editing, it mainly succeeds in making it look like Nadine has just pissed herself, so for that alone, we salute him.

Finally, it ends with all the Girls sat in what is either a tent bedecked with fairylights or the chill out room in a particularly cheap club. Well, we say "all the Girls sat", in actual fact there's only room for four of them on the nasty looking sofa. We wonder if you can guess who has to lie on the floor, all uncomfortable as she lays amongst the traipsed in sand. That's right. Nicola. :( .

Wake Me Up

What a bunch of bikes! Yes, the Girls have gotten all motorised, riding a convoy of choppers, something which we're sure is an entirely new experience for them. Quite where they're driving too is never revealed, but given that the backdrop for their entire journey is an unchanging, unconvincingly coloured sky with an entirely straight road heading off into the middle distance with ne'er a junction or curve in sight, we can only assume that the destination they have in mind is the Road Rash high score table.

It is perhaps for the best, however, that the road they're driving along doesn't appear to actually exist at all in the real world, given their motorbike skills leave a lot to be desired. Nicola, however, despite being perfect in all other ways, seems to believe that riding along one handedly, or even treating the powerful machine like a chaise longe sofa are entirely consistent with the highway code and continued ownership of her license. Though were the police to actually catch up with them, they would probably ignore her misdemeanors which are relatively minor compared to Sarah, who applies nail varnish - foolish both in terms of road safety and smooth coverage, and Kimberley, who decides that driving along at a ridiculous speed on a vehicle which is all to easy to lose control of if you're not paying full attention is the perfect time to start blow drying her hair.

Incidentally, lovers of subtle conspiracy messages may like to note that in this video Nadine is quite literally flying the flag for Girls Aloud.

It's not all cycling, though, as the Girls get fed up with having a throbbing machine between their legs and get off to shake their bits around to the middle eight. Our heroine uses this as her opportunity to shine, ending her own personal dance routine by blowing a kiss to the camera and giving a little wave, before they all hop back on their bikes and start throttling for all their worth. The engine, that is, we don't feel the group's animosity and jealousy towards Nicola's talent has yet extended towards trying to murder her - though there was the time where Nadine tried to push her off a roof - so we'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

After a few more hair flicks - they should really be keeping their eyes on the road, if this was their test they'd so be getting failed - the girls eventually ride off into the vanishing point of the entirely featureless highway, all five of them reflected in Nadine's sunglasses, a feat which is simultaneously impressive and impossible. Unless, and this a worrying thought, there are two Nadine's, something we desperately hope isn't true. She's barely got enough clothes to keep one of her covered up.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Nicola Roberts: A Life in Videos - Part 3 

It's the night before Nic-mas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, save the whirr from our DVD player as we watch through another couple of Girls Aloud videos in our continuing celebration of Nicola Roberts' contributions to their art. It's a hard life, sometimes. We've moved on to their second album now, but never mind what the neighbours are gonna say, here's what we think:-

The Show

Disappointingly for some, this director is of a less literal bent than some the Girls have employed in the past, and so there's not a single shot of them hanging around anywhere in their underwear, let alone the kitchen. Instead it's set in the Curls Allowed - arf - beauty salon, run by Kimberley, with the other Girls as her willing employees. It's perhaps fortunate that they're now all making a few pennies from this pop lark as their less than professional treatment of the few, screamingly metrosexual, punters who turn up to be beautified and merely end up as the butt of a few pranks at their expense is unlikely to encourage return visits and the all important recommendations to friends.

Nic, who we are reliably informed in the opening shot of the video - and it's quite right that she should be fronting their comeback single - is playing the role of "Chelsea Tanner" - Do you see what they've done there? Probably not as it's not exactly a reference which anyone in GA's target audience is likely to recognise, but never mind - who is the salon's tanning expert, although judging by the swathes of St. Tropez all the Girls were covering themselves in at this stage in their career, being an expert doesn't necessarily equate with knowing when to stop. This was also the first sign of Nicola's distancing herself away from her ginger roots by, umm, dying the fuck out of it. Boo! Hiss! Grr! Etc!

But the Girls don't just perform the treatments in this salon, oh no! In a bid to cut costs after the budget was blown on the fancy plasma TV in the reception area, they haven't bothered to employ any juniors and so have to clean up the place by themselves, but the Girls don't mind. Taking inspiration from Mary Poppins they've decided to make a game of it and have concocted a dance routine to perform while they do the sweeping up. And no doubt taken enough mind bending drugs so that they too imagine they're dancing around with cartoon penguins and can fly by the simple expedient of holding up an umbrella. The choreography here is performed with aplomb, with Nicola's mastery of the brush very much a show stealer, no doubt thanks to the weeks of practice she put in before the video shoot. And after, come to think of it. Indeed, still today the other Girls insist she practice this sequence over and over again "And make sure you practice into the corners and all the tricky bits as well", they cry, "And don't just rehearse it under the rug like you did last time, we'll be checking".

She follows a similar slapdash approach to the role of tanning specialist as the other Girls do with their roles. One gentleman initially appears to have the words "Dream date" inversely tanned on to his body, in itself hardly a good look and pretty much the equivalent of having "Moron" printed upon your forehead in biro, but a quick flick of the towel - and her hair - by our heroine reveals that "Dream on Dateless" is, in fact, the message imprinted upon his torso. A similar trick, proving that if a gag's worth doing, it's worth running into the ground, is performed on her other customer, where "Big" quickly becomes "Big Ego". A laboured arf.

Sarah's, who runs the hairdressing arm of the salon, prank is no less hilarious, as she gives the three gentlemen in her care ludicrous hairstyles which they all react to with horror - though given that one of them was seen earlier sitting back quite happily with curlers in his hair, we're at a loss to quite why he seemed so shocked to discover that his hair was now a bit curly - including, in some subtle, subtextual bullying, the bloke who's style has undergone no change whatsoever other than the fact it's now a shade of ginger. Grr. Boo. Hiss. Etc.

But the working day comes to an end, Nicola tosses her towel over her shoulder while giving the camera one of the most excellent facial expressions ever to be recorded and the Girls all clock off after a tiring day. It is not revealed whether any of their customers got their money back.

Love Machine

Welcome to the Eskimo Club, the coolest nightspot in town - arf - and the Girls are out and about for a night of dancing in some rather fetching dresses. Hooray! They arrive, sit down and order some drinks. Nicola appears to be inordinately fascinated and impressed by the cliched antics of the cocktail waiter, who's tossing around the ingredients like an alcoholic juggler. She's clearly never been in a Henry J Beans before which, to be fair, is something she should be proud of.

It's not all sitting around for the Girls, though, as despite the fact their shoes are clearly unsuitable for prolonged bouts of standing around, they're all keen to be up and dancing, both amongst the lensflare and underneath the glitterball, and while their video directors have moved away from the literalness of their first few promos, the choreographers have moved closer towards it, with pretty much every single lyric being acted out for the hard of hearing by the Girls. Cheryl's attempt to act out "turning into tigers" while still retaining a modicum of dignity is particularly impressive, if ultimately failed.

This vid is very much a group effort, with none of the Girls really getting to do much to stand out on their own. The largest solo performance in the whole affair even possesses a Y chromosome, as the cocktail waiter takes centre stage to dance around, still chucking bottles and shakers around, while the Girls hang around in the background and clap, oblivious to the queue of thirsty, angry punters, lining up at the bar and desperately wondering what sort of shitty service they offer in this place.

Finally, after just one dance - and to their own song, how egocentric can you get?! - the Girls leave. Or do they..? In actual fact, only four of them head out through the revolving door at the end, and Nicola isn't one of them. We can only assume that she's pulled so the other Girls are leaving her too it and are heading off to another club where the guys are less choosy. Either that or they've quickly finished off their drinks and snuck off laughing the minute she went to the toilet. Bitches.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nicola Roberts: A Life in Videos - Part 2 

Our celebration of Nicola Roberts much underrated contribution to the art of the three minute pop video continues today as we career helplessly towards the end of the Sound of the Underground era. WARNING: Contains fridges.

Life Got Cold

Which happened many years ago. Well, three to be exact. The Nicola actually gets quite a bit of screen time in this vid, presumably as a result of finally being awarded the quota she was denied in the last two, presumably because the more downbeat tone of this song necessitated a more mean and moody look for the video and if there's one thing that Nicola can do well, it's using slightly too much fake tan. But if there's two things, then looking moody is definitely the other one.

In a bid to keep the moodiness theme going, the director has racked his or her brains to try and think of the most suitable location in the world to set this video and, with the sort of brilliant flash of insight which only a truly talented auteur could come up with, has decided to half arsedly set it in New York by showing a New York Post newspaper machine in shot on a couple of occasions. A similar demonstration of his powerful imagination can be seen by the fact that he's decided to represent the lyrical theme by having Nicola stand next to a fridge for the vast majority of her appearances and using a lot of blue lighting. In short, he's not the sort of director Shitdisco ever want to get involved with, not unless they have very high powered showers and access to industrial strength body wash.

The fridge against which Nicola reclines against so fabulously is located within a somewhat dingy bedsit, where the rain lashes against the window with unconvincing volume and the central heating appears to be on the blink - look! Her life is getting even colder! He got paid for that! - but she doesn't just get to hang out in such a squalid location, even if it probably did offer more luxury than the dressing room that we suspect she was given - "Look Nicola", they would have said, "It's a little picture of you, it must be your room", "But it's Nadine that always wears the skirts", she would have argued to no avail, looking up at the stick figure stuck to the door, "And I can't see any reason why I'd need that many cubicles", but we digress. Not only does she get to hang around the kitchen in her outerwear, she also gets to hang with the other girls on the bus during the chorus. Unfortunately more bullying is in evidence here as, despite the fact that other than the girls, the bus is completely empty and there's an embarrassment of spare seats available, Nicola is still forced to stand at the back of the bus, holding on to the rail for dear life, while the other girls use the seats to stare menacingly at her, with threats of violence no doubt hanging in the air if she even thinks of resting her weary legs. Either that or the director just reckoned it was a nice piece of composition.

Now, at this point in proceedings we should really be looking at the Some Kind of Miracle video, which would no doubt have been set in a deconsecrated church and featured a breakdancing vicar, but for reasons best known to themselves, the powers that be decided not to bother releasing this as a single, consigning it instead to the box marked "Greatest Number Ones that Never Were" (See also Amy Studt's Ladder in My Tights), so we shall instead move on with a look of grumpy disdain upon our face which Nicola herself would be proud of.


And, as the DVD excitedly informs us, this is the exclusive new edit we're looking at here, by which they mean they couldn't get clearance for the Love Actually footage, the soundtrack for which this song came, so instead they've stripped it all out, changing the video from one in which Girls Aloud were sneaking around the Prime Minister's house in a desperate search for a scandal which could bring down the government, a job they could have achieved more easily by drawing the public's attention towards both the fact that the Prime Minister is Hugh Grant and the existence of the film The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain, to one in which they're sneaking around a fancy house with no purpose or reason whatsoever, except possibly to get a sneak preview of the Love Actually script, so keen were they to find out what was going to happen in it. A notion so preposterous that only a fool or, indeed, Richard Curtis would even consider it to be a plausible plot.

But, for whatever reason, the girls are breaking into someone's house like a troupe of sexy criminals - The Pussycat burglars anyone? No? Please yourselves - and, not exactly being experts in the field of crime, they've decided not to dress in the more traditional greys, blacks, and dark colours more normally suited to activities where you don't really want to be seen, and have instead chosen to dress like sexy, futuristic, American sports players in big, bright, primary colours. Of course, this isn't their biggest faux pas in the whole keeping-their-activities-under-wraps side of the project; the fact they're singing, dancing, and generally running around the place like a horde of baby elephants is probably going to give the game away anyway. Perhaps they're hoping that their antics will be disguised by the horrible purple lens flare effect, which the director is clearly worried will go out of fashion unless he uses it in every single sodding shot, despite the fact that it's never been in fashion, unless you consider "title sequences from dodgy sci-fi series" to be fashionable. Which they aren't.

buoyed up by her performance in the previous vid, Nicola is keen to get involved this time around and is quick to jump on the bed as the girls attempt to listen through the wall to hear what sorts of shenanigans are going on in the other room. Unfortunately Nadine has been similarly buoyed by the amount of screen time Nic had just enjoyed, albeit in a more negative way, and quickly leaps in front of her, making sure her shot is obscured. We also wouldn't put it past her to have been the one who suggested that Nic lead the party as they try and get down the stairs without being caught, no doubt realising that if they were to be found by security, the perceived leader would be the first to find themselves on the wrong end of a punishment beating. Boo to Nadine. Nicola, however, appears to be oblivious to all the plotting and machinations going on around her, preferring instead to spend much of the video spinning around happily as if one of her parents was a roundabout.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Nicola Roberts: A Life in Videos 

It's Monday! And it's an exciting week here at TiaPL Towers as we gear up to celebrate the single most important and life affirming date in the calendar: Nicola Roberts 21st birthday on October 5th. Hooray! No doubt you'll be marking this national holiday in your own way, but we believe that such a milestone deserves a proper build up, so this week we're going to proudly present to you, our dear reader(s), Nicola Roberts: A Life in Videos.

Yes, as we count down to the momentous day, we'll be looking at Nicola's performances in every single Girls Aloud video. And by "Every single Girls Aloud video" we mean every one up to Long Hot Summer, as the others aren't out on DVD yet and it's hard enough trying to spot what they've let Nic contribute to the promo without having to do it via the medium of low-res YouTube blockiness. Besides, other then Biology, the rest of the Chemistry videos don't have much to recommend them, apart from the fact that, despite having made a career out of looking, and lets not beat around the bush here, a bit grumpy, Nic chooses the Whole Lotta History video, a quite downbeat and sad song about a failed relationship, to start smiling, grinning, and generally looking like it's the happiest thing in the world that could have happened to her.

Anyway, lets go back, way back, to a time when the world was more innocent. A time before James Blunt, Katie Melua and Sandi Thom, a time when there was still a hope that Bush wouldn't win a second election, and a time when Nicola was still actually ginger. It's December, 2002 and this is Sound of the Underground.

Sound of the Underground

It's quite clear from the get go that the brief given to the director was twofold: 1) Keep the whole shoot as low cost as you can, we're still not sure whether the girls will recoup or not, and 2) the ginge stays out the picture. And so it was that the debut video by the greatest group the world has ever seen consisted of them dancing around in a poorly lit chicken wire cage with Nicola, the greatest pop star the world has ever seen, stuck right on the far left of shot, perfectly positioned so that the cameraman can accidentally cut her off as he swoops in on the group, something he does with annoying regularity. Indeed, such is Nic's lack of involvement in the video that the casual observer could easily be forgiven for believing that Girls Aloud are, in fact, a four piece. Or, for that matter, given that it achieves more screen time than the flame haired popstrel, that the disembodied strumming hand of the guitarist was a full time member.

This is not, of course to say that Nicola doesn't shine. In our entirely unbiased and non obsessive opinion she's clearly the best thing in the video, even despite the fact that the directors lack of interest in her extended to her wardrobe, with her forced to pull her shapes in a shapeless black top and not hugely appealing pink trousers, while the other girls got to wear clothes that could, in a New Look sorta way, be considered sexy. She does get a few solo shots in which she smoulders in front of the camera, even if the abiding impression you're left with from the framing of the shots is that she's been locked in the cellar and is spoken of only in coded terms by the others, and the bit in the second chorus where she spins round and her hair fans out behind her like a flaming ring of gold or, in slightly less poetic terms, like some hair is particularly impressive. Or it would have been had it not been going on in the background while the others arse around in front of her.

At one point a bulb explodes. It was probably the one that was supposed to be illuminating Nic.

No Good Advice

The girls all absolutely hate this video, which just goes to show that even perfection can be wrong sometimes as we think it's pretty ace. Their main dislike of this vid comes from their lukewarm attitude towards the bacofoil - sorry, silver leather - outfits they had to wear which, by all accounts, were uncomfortable, too hot, and had a tendency towards ripping, so that by the end of the shoot most of their essentials were covered by the not exactly glamorous medium of duct tape. It may not have been pleasant for them, but they do all look rather good in it, with the exception of Kimberley, who was clearly busy on the day of the shoot and so her role was played by Pete Burns.

Nicola herself, who looks slightly drunk, tired, or both, was wearing a short bacofoil dress and heels, the right one of which we own. We have no idea what it's worth, but we'd hazard a guess at at least a million pounds. Our attempts so far to clone a Roberts from the DNA contained within the sole have so far come to naught, though we have managed to grow some cress, so result!

Our ownership of pop star footwear aside, this video mainly features the girl dancing round, on top, and in a car, with occasional glimpses of Sarah smashing up a phone booth, presumably in reaction to every right thinking person in the world calling up and suggesting that they might want to give the ginger one a bit more screen time. As this is their second video the budget has been increased which allows them to use top of the range special effects, or "Blue Screen" as it's otherwise known. To this end the girls flash in and out of shot, with multiple versions of each girl often appearing on screen. Despite the fact that there's often twice the Nicola in some of the shots, she still only gets half of the air time, a lot of which is spent showing her feet as she dances atop the car with the guitarist while the camera finds other things to focus upon.

By the end of the video, the budget has clearly run out so the special effects software is now running on an Atari from the early nineties, using techniques last seen in a Bonkers Happy Hardcore Classics video. Blue flame shoots across the screen as the girls morph in and out of each other, with Nicola getting literally blacked out at one point, as if they hadn't already made their incomprehensible desire to keep her appearances down to a minimum crystal clear, but whether they like it or not, she was given the last line in this song, and so it ends, as frankly all videos should, Girls Aloud or not, with Nicola placing her hand on her hip and shooting the camera with a look of disdain. And quite right too.