Monday, December 18, 2006


It’s the semi final and everyone can guess that Emma is going to get the boot (including Emma, by the look of it). Everyone does two dances again and this time everyone is worried about the Argentine Tango, as the professionals are not that good at it either.

Tess’ breasts look all right this week, though in a nod to the festive season she appears to be wearing a dress made out of bacofoil.

(I actually watched the) RESULTS SHOW (for the first time ever!)
The guest dancers are a bare chested hunk and a lady in a sort of catwoman outfit. She does impossible looking things with her legs while he makes sex faces and throws her repeatedly into the air. Blimey.

The musical act is Cliff Richard :(

Now onto the dancing….

Lovely Mark
Mark’s love rat shame turned out to be no big deal. Ha ha, take that you tabloid bunton bet placers! For the first dance he does the Quickstep, which is the high speed 1920’s style one where they belt around the dance floor and then do flappery leg kicking. Karen falls over during rehearsals – ohs noes, will her sore leg recover in time? (answer: yes). The dance seems alright – very quick and they keep in time with the kicking bits. They look great with Mark in a penguin suit and Karen in a lilac floaty dress and their chemistry is strong as usual. The judges say that he is not quite light enough on his feet though, but he still gets an OK mark.

For the second one they do the Argentine Tango, which is like the regular tango but with lifts and complicated leg tangly type manouvres. Mark looks like he could be latin anyway and is v suave in a black suit and two tone shoes. Karen wears a Chicago-cast-member type black lace dress and they scowl and glide around each other in a sultry stylee. The leg kicking is all v good and there are some nifty lifts. It is very impressive and the crowd go wild. They get a 9 and three 10s and Karen practically has a seizure and then bursts into tears. Even Mark’s normally deadpan wife smiles and jiggles excitedly in her seat. He gets the highest placing of the night once the audience have voted too. Mark to win, though I fear that Karen will actually explode if he does

Slighty less lovely Matt
For the first dance they do the foxtrot and I don’t remember much about it. It was OK and they get a range of marks from a 7 to 9s. For the Argentine Tango, Lilia is wearing a bizarre blue dress with one sleeve and some sort of lacing up her other arm. She does lots of cool things but poor old Matt just has some very slow boring steps to do and doesn’t get to show off his skillz at all. He also still isn’t great at selling a performance like the others and is accused of not being smouldering enough by the judges. He gets OK marks and Arlene shrieks, “I want raw sex!!!” when she gives her mark, to general hilarity. He is bottom by the time the judges have finished but comes second overall.

Baby Spice
Emma knows that she could fly around the studio doing somersaults and shooting fireworks out of her arse and she still wouldn’t get through tonight, but she says she is going to do her best anyway and reminds everyone that it is all for charidee anyway so keep voting (for me) pls thanks.

She does her Argentine Tango first in a sparkly red dress and it is pretty good but apparently not fiery enough. It doesn’t help that her non-wig-wearing partner has never really done it before either. There is a good bit where she sort of leans over at a funny angle and is dragged along the floor.

For her last dance she does a samba in a rather lurid pink and orange dress. It is quite good but they spend too much part on opposite sides of the room and not enough time dancing together. All in all they come second with the judges but the public just don’t seem to have taken to her on this show and she gets the boot, leading to an all male final for the second year in a row. Mark definitely deserves to be there but I’m not really sure about Matt – he is nice enough and has improved enormously over the series but I still think that both Davetta and Emma were better dancers than him.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The X Factor - El Finale!

Many people have dared to dream. Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream today” and of course Lionel Richie, in his 80s soul-sapping dirge Say You, Say Me , spoke of having “a dream, an awesome dream”. Of course dreams do vary in magnitude, King’s dream concerned freeing America from racial hatred, whereas Lionel’s was some bollocks about “people in the park, playing games in the dark”, which strikes me as something to do with dogging. This column had a dream some 12 weeks ago, simply that this show would capture our imagination. It is now at the end that we truly see our folly, as we tune in to this final with a mixture of habitual compulsion, resignation and hatred.

Kate has a fully spangletastic frock on for the Final, although she still seems to be getting her hair done in the Play-Doh barber's shop from the look of it. We are again reminded by her about how important it is that Simon retires with enough money to officially put him above the law, and thus we must vote and vote and vote.

It's FuckOffRay to kick us off, and there is VT of him returning to Liverpool and singing to people etc. Much to my surprise people actually seem to like him, and so the fact he is in the final cannot be some dark Satanic plot to force the population to bludgeon each other to death as I initially thought.

Anyway, he's singing "My Way" again, and to be truthful I think if you didn't have to look at him it would be OK, but unfortunately you do have to look at him and so the sound is superceded by his shit-eating grin, chucky-munster face and throroughly awful ham acting all the way through the song. And to make matters worse when he sings "..shy way" it sounds exactly like "she-wee".

Leona's VT shows her going back to her parents' house and crying as per. She says that "seeing mum and dad has made me realise why I am doing this", so I assume her dad is the editor of Heat and her mum is a human size pile of fifty pound notes.

She comes on to sing the over-wrought warble-fest "I Will Always Love You" dressed in what appears to be a pink S&M dress. I hate this song and it's made even worse by her constant vibrato and falsetto jumps. There is a point where we cut to Simon and he is gazing at her with what can only described as love in his peepers, well she is his type is she not? By the time she has finished the judges are all on the Jester's shoes. I was unmoved.

Next up is a super suprise, as they wheel out Sean from we hate Wigan (spit!) to sing that Richard Marx song that he cried to in the auditions etc and everyone loves him. Apart from me, as beneath all that sickly sweet blubbing and nervousness beats the cold, selfish heart of a Pie Eater - make no mistake about it.

FuckOffRay is back on, singing "That's Life". They seem to be laying on the "plucky underdog" thing pretty thick, with his first two songs both concerned with getting on with it and succeeding even though everyone hates you and your foul chucky-face. Then, halfway through, Westlife come on to sing with him and I muse about whether there has ever been a more despicable mix of acts on a stage at the same time since the days of the Christians and the lions.

Leona returns to sing "A Million Love Songs", and I wonder who may be coming on to sing with her? That's right, it's Take That! With Leona looking so pretty in her snow white dress the lads look like they are missing the other three dwarves. This may work for Leona as Take That are the act to be with at the moment, rather than that collection of cardboard cut-outs from Ireland. At the end Gary gives Simon a good telling about how it is "your responsibility to make this girl a superstar, as she is fifty times better than everyone else, ever, so get her a decent album!". Go angry Gary!

Back we go to FuckOffRay, this time to perform "Fly Me To the Moon". So it's swing all the way for FuckOffRay tonight, the only difference with this one is that it has added Carlton Fresh Prince dance-mincing. I am calming down a bit about him until he sings 'Fill my heart with song and let me SWING or ever more', at which point I log onto

The serious section is finished off by Leona singing "All By Myself", so it's ballads all the way for her, as both acts stick to what they know - understandable really. It was an amazing performance of a dreadful song, and Simon loves her in a very real way.

The show winds up with The Final 12 singing the syrup-fest "That's What Friends Are For", it is pretty woeful and only memorable for Ben singing so loud that his microphone topped out and the shot of Dionne with a face like a malevolent thunderstorm as they didn't even give her a line to sing alone.

Kate winds things up and passes the voting to the coagulated abscess of ignorance, apathy and poor education that is the British public.


So we're back, and apparently eight million people have voted, some of whom for FuckOffRay I assume. Take That come on and sing "Patience", which is an absolute belter of a pop song by the way.

The two finalists then takeit in turns to sing "A Moment Like This". Leona absolutely beasts it as FuckOffRay reveals his limitations by simply crying and nodding his head at the significance of it each time he sings 'some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this". There is then a spectacular amount of fluff as they try to fill an hour up and it proves that the show really didn't need to be this long.

Finally it's results time. And the winner is.......LEONA!!!! The nation cries salt tears of joy as we realise that FuckOffRay won't be number 1 for Christmas, and this ordeal of mediocre entertainment is finally over.

Leona is "speechless", and to be fair I am very happy for her, she is genuinely talented and a very nice girl, or I might simply be happy because she is not FuckOffRay.

Anyway, that is that. They are already advertising for next year, so see you again then, when hopefully they will manage to find more than one decent singer...

Friday, December 15, 2006


According to this week's HolyMoly email...

Creepy-Little-Ray-Quinn, favourite to win 'The X Factor' was previously better known for playing bullied and Catholic-guilt-ridden schoolboy Anthony Murray in deader-than-disco soap 'Brookside'.

Ray joined the soap in 2000, playing a 12-year-old who, after months of intimidation, struck back at the school bully Imelda. By smacking her in the head with a rock and drowning her. (Don't vote for this monster! Think of Imelda's parents and what they must be going through every time his fat, hamster-faced grin seeps through the television screen like a pile of yoghurt in a Wolfman wig.)

Odd then, that Ray (listed in the 'under-24 category of the reality show) is listed on an agents website as being a strapping 29-year-old.

Surely a mistake? Surely a grown man of (then) 23 couldn't pass himself off as a 12-year-old actor? No, must be a typo. Either that, or 'grannies favourite' Ray is a tiny bit lacking in the hormone/chromosome department.

For those with a liking for conspiracy theories, the agent's web page has been removed. Nothing to see here. Move on and go about your business.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I was hoping that this would be a Scooby Doo type affair where the pop vixens drive round in a van unmasking wicked caretakers etc and so on, but sadly not. Instead the girls are taken round a creepy old ruin by Yvette Fielding, who then tries really hard to make them cry and wet themselves. Who is Yvette Fielding? I am sure she used to be famous for something. In this she has a severe blonde hair helmut and is wearing a pseudo-military black outfit like she is auditioning for “Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS” or something.

Nadine (aka the Irish One) is too busy boning the hot gardener from Desperate Housewives scared to go so we are left with geordie bruiser Cheryl Tweedy-Cole (who is very pretty but I don’t like her severe fringe and naff puffa jacket), Sarah (the hard faced blonde one who needs to lay off the self tanning lotion), Nicola (the ginger one who always looks like she stumbled into the video shoot off the street by mistake, here wearing some cute glasses) and Kimberley (um, the other one, who is also v pretty).

Yvette takes them to an old house and then tries to make them scared by saying that lots of people DIED HORRIBLY there and also that lots of other people have seen GHOSTS!!! She then has an impromptu séance and asks the ghosts to make a noise or go “wooooo!” or something. Yeah right, like you are going to obey Yvette sodding Fielding if you’ve been cursed to walk the earth for eternity. Anyway, an obliging production assistant knocks on the wall and the girls all start squealing and swearing like troopers. Ha ha! Nicola sensibly goes to sit in the car, Sarah has a nervous breakdown, Kimberley looks vaguely sarcastic (good for her) and Cheryl decides to bravely confront the ghosts in a Buffy stylee, which is quite funny too (“Why are you so angry, mon, why aye” etc). They turn the lights out and go to night vision, so that all the young lovelies look like dead eyed zombies and there is more nonsense with people banging things and poking them from a distance. Yet more Blair Witch style squealing and comedy swearing. This was set to go on for two whole hours but I bailed out after 30 minutes. It was all total drivel but I suppose it was nice to see that the girls genuinely did seem to get on well – if it had been the Sugarbabes there would have been a corpse in the room when they turned the lights back on!

PS. If someone tells me that they actually did unmask a dastardly caretaker in the last bit I will be very annoyed!

The X Factor - We've Got a Semi-On!

There are many things in life that promise much and fail to deliver: losing your virginity, Razorlight gigs, David Tennant as Doctor Who and the England Cricket team (gutless!) to name but a few. So as we reach the penultimate show in this Parade of Pointlessness that is the X Factor Series 3, must this be added to the list. The final three are the most uninspiring bunch since the Pop Idol when the finalists were Michelle McFatness and Mark, who is so boring I cannot even recall his surname, or the last line-up of the Celebrity Jungle thing where I literally only knew four of them.

To business. There is no theme this week, other than "Songs that make me want to kill Ray", and they are each singing two songs. Kate opens things up by bringing on the acts with their judges, thus LouLou is sat on his own at the desk, Ha Ha! Once again we are reminded that these acts face the dreadful possibility of going home to their normal jobs if voted out, so it is up to us to prop up their ridiculous notion of having a proper career in the music industry by voting for them.

FuckOffRay kicks us off, singing "I've Got A Shit-Eating Smile", looking like a Rat Pack Chucky Doll. He once again looks and performs like the type of person whose mother would dress him up in Lederhosen to go to a birthday party. It is competent, but dreadful, and I fear I cannot write objectively about this person in any way anymore, so my apologies. As my mate pointed out, his performances are a white scouse version of Carlton from The fresh Prince of Bel Air (© Joel Sidney 2006).

Twirly-haired Leona is up next to sing another bloody 90s ballad, because obviously we haven't heard enough of these have we? She does it very well, again, but are we really learning anything about her here? We know she can do gymnastic vocal scanning and I for one doubt she will be building her career on this music, but Simon obviously thinks this is a vote winner, which is really what it is all about when you've got a semi-on.

Ben, unlike the other two, has spent the whole duration of this series getting worse and looking less arsed with every passing week, in between bouts of moaning like a whale with a harpoon through its kidney. Looking at his song selection this week it seems that both he and Sharon have had enough and both want to go home. He kicks off with the uber-dirge to end all dirges, Bryan Adams' soporific vomit-fest "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" and it sounds just like what it is , a high-end pub singer singing a low rent movie ballad which, relative to Leona's performance, sounds even worse than that.

End of Act I, most people are now surely watching the Dancing on the other channel.

Back to the beginning of the Loop of Inadequacy we go, with FuckOffRay coming on to give us the finale of the musical Carousel and Red Scouse Anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone". He spends practically the whole song singing through a stream of perfectly formed tears rolling down his sickly apple cheeks. But why was he crying?

(a) His mind was full of thoughts of the Carousel finale, with Julie singing the song following the tragic death of Billy Bigelow

(b) The sheer hysteria of the semi he has on got to him

(c) He has his hand in his pocket pinching his balls with sharp tweezers to cynically tap into the Hillsborough disaster emotions and the hearts and fingers of the voting public

Answers to

On to Leona, who is having a go at "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", as made famous once more by staple Radio 2 fodder and dead person Eva Cassidy. It was again technically very good, but surely she must get some upbeat stuff to do in the final? Eh? Oh. She was crying as well.

No doubt Ben wants to cry as he has to follow all of this emotion by no doubt gruffly shouting a version of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", which he duly does. Why did they give him this song? If Sharon had given him "Angel Of Harlem" he would have rocked the joint with it, instead everyone was forced to listen to what sounded like rusty nails being shaken slowlyin a sieve whilst someone played 80s delay guitar in the background - the musical equivalent of Prince's Beef Paste on Mighty White bread.

That's it, Kate goes though the usual nonsense and then hands over to the giant embolism of fag smoke and vitriolic disdain that is the British Public to cast their votes.


Kate returns, and would you believe it - it is the closest and largest vote in the history of the civilised world! The morons at home have literally made their thumbs bleed on the repeat-dial button to offer an opinion on who they despise the least out of this shower. However as always there is more time for us to give money to Syco Productions vote, whilst we listen to the super-special guest!

Gloria Estefan, who I'm sure used to be able to sing, comes on and tunelessly quacks her way through a medley of her greatest and cheesiest hits. And then, to business...

In no particular order Leona is through, quite why they have to mention the order is a bit strange as there is a safe person, then a bottom two, is not adequately explained. This leaves a bottom two of FuckOffRay and Ben, once again Kate tells us that this is in no particular order, and I would guess she has no particular brain function if she thinks that makes sense. The final act through and thus in the Final is....FuckOffRay!! A great number of people are going to pay for this one day...

So Ben is off home to try and have a career for about 6 months before going back to his tent business. The final is between two of Simon's acts.

The nation is close to the end of this thoroughly dispiriting ordeal by television, plus I'll get my saturday nights back and will no longer get irate emails from people demanding to know where the update is! Sorry it was late by the way...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Lots of gubbins about how this is the hardest SCD EVAH! The dancers pour praise on their celebrity victims, and nobody mentions the tabloids.

Bosomwatch: After a couple of really good weeks, the InterContinental Breastly Missiles are back, under an asymmetric blue clingy affair that most right-thinking mothers - even beautiful ex-models - would put back in the wardrobe with a regretful sigh. I spend the whole show expecting (and indeed hoping) that guns would pop out of her breasts and mow Brucie down in a hail of bullets.

We're down to four couples this week, so they each have to do one dance each. I think it's one ballroom + one latin, so we get to see Ramps in a penguin suit, and Ramps in something sparkly, see through and v-necked to the point of obscenity. My cup runneth over.

Lovely Ramps
Waltz: very swoopy and romantic. Karen's sparkly bustier + big net skirt nearly envelops Love Rat Ramps's legs, but the Italian judge calls him Prince Valiant. I think that's a compliment. All 9's for that one!

Jive: Oh no. Why do they make the contestants over 30 do this one? Ramps thrusts manfully to Elvis, but loses his way a bit in the finger clicking, leg kicking part. The stoppy starty choreography doesn't help. Even Arlene takes him to task for being a bit stompy and shit and making a mistake. Mutters from the Ramps camp opposite the judges.

American Smooth: Poor old Davetta had a bit of a hard time tonight. Her ballroom dress was surprisingly chaste (for Davetta), but she American Smooths to the judges' satisfaction. Though Arlene says she should stretch her knees. eh?

Rumba: Oh this is such a wanky dance. I hate it. Vincent wears a horrible nylon v neck tunic that looks like something off Blakes 7 and they gimp around and try to be romantic. Davetta doesn't do very well.

Not quite as lovely Matt
Mr P remarks that the sports billies seem to have tapped into special reserves of sportsmanliness to raise their game. I agree. Though Matt's Viennese Waltz was a bit stodgy, and the judges didn't like it - Bitter Craig even gives him a 5. Ouch. Later on Matt says that he "wants a piece of Mark". Join the queue, mate.

Samba: Matt shows off his snake-hipped, Latino wiggly side in black and pink glitter and Lilia wears a wierd giant headband thing that makes her head look like a pumpkin. I don't really like this dance, esp the bit where the man grabs the lady from behind and then they act like a helicopter or something. Len wasn't overwhelmed, which is probably a good thing. He's in a good mood tonight. All 8s from the judges.

Tango: Red suits her better than that black feathery Moulin Rouge thing she was wearing last week. Emma puts her mean face on, and the band play a stonking cover of a Nelly Furtado song that almost tempts me to take Nelly off my List of Death. But not quite.

BTW, can I just say that the Strictly Come Dancing band is fantastic? There, I just have.

Another bloody Rumba: Gah! She does OK and wears a pretty gold dress, but there's far too much posing and leg waving for my liking. I thought she was a bit hoofy in both dances, but the judges love her. Arlene says she has to watch her hips and be more sexy in the tango. Emma mentions that her boyfriend's watching (cut to Jade from Failed Boy Band Damage grinning under his Dohertyesque trilby).

The results show gives us a taster of the Argentine tango, which appears to involve lots of draping one's self around Brylcreemed males while they sulk around chairs. This week the two lowest-rated couples have to dance again for our votes. It is called a "dance off" which makes me think of the scene in the film of "Starsky and Hutch" but disappointingly they just have to repeat the best dance they did earlier. Davetta grins and throws herself about the floor, and then gets her dress caught on a heel right at the end. Emma pulls off a less hoofy tango, and the GBP votes Davetta out. There are tears all round and actually it is quite sad. Everybody hugs Davetta, and she's in danger of suffocation by Tess's dress, but she survives...

Will Mark's Love Rat Shame scupper his votes next week? I have a feeling that someone at NotW has a lot of money on Emma to win and is prepared to stop at nothing to get big winnings!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Making fun of Nigella is like shooting fish in a barrel, but that’s never stopped me before, ha ha! She is presenting her xmas special series and starts off by wibbling on about how she loves the fruity smells of Christmas. Me too, Nigella, me too! Then we quickly move onto the actual cooking part and have lots of shots of Nigella coyly explaining recipes from behind her raven tresses. Every single ingredient is “lovely”, “fantastic” “gorgeous” etc, so the simplest procedure becomes an orgy of hyperbole;

“Mmm, feel this Mother Pride loaf, it’s lovely, so soft and white. And now I’m opening the beans. They’re so orange and shiny and I love this glossy tomato sauce they come in. It’s so moist and thick….”

etc etc

The things she cooks all look quite easy, though they all look yummy and I would try any of them (mulled wine, mulled cider, gingerbread tree decs, glazed ham, xmas cake – not sure about putting chocolate in the latter though) I was hoping for some more imaginative things but hopefully they will come later in the show. We also get to envy her huge kitchen and check out her xmas decorations (her tree is a bit shit, to be honest).

Top three moments likely to make middle aged men want to touch themselves (in reverse order):

3: When Nigella eats anything
2: Nigella shows us her some of her cookery books and gets so excited that she does a sort of little shimmy that sets her bosoms-a-vibrating
1: Nigella is making mulled wine and passionately exclaims, “My little oranges are bobbing around!”

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Everyone is doing two dances this week and they’re all doing different ones, so I’m not going to even try and list them all. Tess Daly passes bodice inspection for the fourth week in a row, so it seems safe to say that the costume designers have got the hang of her norks now.

There are lots of shots of the celebs looking tired and tripping over their own feet while the professionals throw their hands up in despair. Everybody is dead serious and goes on about how hard it is. I'm sure it is, but then so is an eight hour shift on the tills in Tescos, and you don't get to wear an entire bird sanctuary up your bum.

Lovely Mark
They start off doing the foxtrot – I don’t really understand the USP of this dance and I am none the wiser when they are done as it is a pretty poor showing. Disjointed and oddly choreographed. They are slagged off by the judges and get 7s – pretty shit for this part of the tournament. Nooo! Mark can’t go yet!!

The next dance is the samba and this is much better. Mark busts out the unbuttoned glittery shirt, gets his considerable groove on and funkily shakes his hips, while Karen pulls mad faces and jiggles around him. They get 9s from all the judges – phew, perhaps he’s safe after all!

Slightly less lovely Matt
Matt has a similar experience to Mark this week, with one good dance and one shit one. The good one is the ballroomy one, which is possibly a quickstep only I can’t remember it. Oh well. They get good marks anyway

The next one is the goddamn rumba. I am always going on about how much I hate this dance so I won’t do it again (whoops, too late!) Anyway, Cabbie Len speaks for all of us when he says that there are not enough actual dance steps and too much of Matt posing on his knees and Lilia posing with one leg stuck in the air. Heh. They get 7s too. Doh.

I don’t like the way that Davetta seems to wear less and less each week. They are really pandering to the jailbait factor. Also, when Tess speaks to her she acts as though Davetta is 3 or something. Just because she’s half your height doesn’t mean that she’s retarded, Tess!

The first dance is the Viennese Waltz and there is lots of ponceing around and not much actual waltzing in it. The judges tell them off for that but then still give them excellent marks.

The next one is possibly the samba and seems to mainly consist of Davetta rubbing her arse against Vincent Slime-oni’s crotch. Vom. The judges say that she is cheeky and saucy and give her fab marks again. Dammit.

Baby Spice
Emma starts off with a waltz too. The judges cream themselves about how romantic it is and how it tells a story (plot: Emma is dancing soppily with a man with a bad haircut. The end.) I think it is quite boring though I am not a huge fan of the waltz anyway. They don’t do anything wrong though, so ho hum. 9s all round!

For the next one they are doing the paso doble (or as I like to think of it; the gay bullfighting one) Emma is gussied up in a hideous short black outfit that makes her look like a plump Vampirella. She stomps and grimaces while Haircut minus 100 toreodorks around her and stamps his feet. The judges love it again, but the audience, and I, do not as she ends up in the bottom two. Gasp!!

Carol Smillie
My boyfriend used to irrationally hate Carol Smillie, but after watching her on this show he likes her now. Hurrah! The first dance could very well be one of the waltzes (can you tell that I didn’t take any notes this week!) and Carol looks glamorous in a sparkly red dress. She does very well and gets her first two nines. Good for her!

The next one is the samba or salsa or something and Carol continues her tradition of having very many feathers coming out of her arse. She can’t really pull off the sexy latin vibe but she is very game and attacks all the moves and does quite well. She gets more nines but gets the boot anyway. Such a shame as she had finally transformed herself from Portsmouth FC last season to Portsmouth FC this season. Carol takes the news with the same dignity that she took her numerous slaggings off. Oh no, who is going be the subject of my tortuous football metaphors now???

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The X Factor - How Manilow can you go?

It's the Final Fantastic* Four (*Shite). This week we have the pleasure of the company of Barry Manilow, a man whose face appears to be that of a normal person's reflected in the back of a spoon and the acts will be doing a song of his plus a song that have picked all on their own selves.

Kate comes on looking like a bewigged aubergine with 2 eye-slits cut into it, and we are once again reminded that it is "our vote alone!" that can give this largely undeserving bunch of charmless people with questionable talent a recording deal.

We kick off with the MacDiablos, singing the execrable "Can't Smile Without You" which is possibly the most nauseatingly sickly of all of the Conk's songs, which when you consider the rest of his catalogue is sicklier than being force fed melted Fererro Rocher through a hosepipe. Anyway, it is as you expect, a competent performance that is about as interesting Clif Richard's views on royalties law, and sounds exactly like lift music. The Dark One will however ensure their passage obviously.

Next up is Ray, and there is much talk about how he showed he could sing last week, which is fair enough I suppose. Manilow tells him that to make "Mandy" live he must imagine that he is singing to Mandy only, whoever Ray's Mandy may be. I thought it was a weak performance and he struggled with knowing where to breathe. I assume it was weak as he is still inexperienced with the ladies so his Mandy was a wank-sock at home in his bedroom that probably still has Power Rangers wallpaper.

Ben is next, with his usual preamble where he moans and moans about how tough it is and how he wants this more than anything in the world etc etc etc. Shut your face you insufferable tosser! He then sings "I Made It Through the Rain" and it was totally unconvincing, sounding like Axl Rose attempting the love theme from some low-rent braoadway musical. Why everyone thinks this bloke is so good I have no idea.

Leona comes on looking very pretty in a cute outfit and she sings "Could It Be Majic". It is vocally outstanding (again), she moves like a Thunderbird puppet being operated by Stephen Hawking (again), and the judges adore her (again). Quite right too, she is the only real talent in this show.

End of Act 1. Barry makes some obsequeous noises about everyone being aces and we move into Act II - In which they have picked their own songs.

The MacDiablos enter again, this time doing "Shang a Lang", complete with Tartan ties, tartan lighting and tartan scarves in the crowd. It is truly, excruciatingly awful, but also good fun and I fear they may stay in after this, they will then get a recording contract and the Necromanser will send his message throughout the world via bland cover versions. Take Heed!!

Ray decides to sing "My Way" (oh I wonder why). This is not a song for a 19 year old to be singing at all, least of all a nineteen year old whose "Way" has involved being stroked with sickly affection and indulgence by his cloying parents and 'professional scouse' family only to then be foistered upon us every week as some kind of miniature Satan every saturday. By the way, if anyone thinks I'm being harsh about his parents should know that in an interview it turns out that the reason Ray auditioned is beacuse he asked his parents what they want for their birthday and they said "Go for the X Factor, to get you talent truly seen". I rest my case.

Ben has taken the calculated and cynical brave decision to sing a capella, however there are levels of a capella and this one involves a 75 strong gospel choir as backing, mmm. His version of "Somebdy To Love" is alright, certainly better than his first effort anyway. Everyone says how brave he is at the end. NEXT!

Leona finishes us off with "Without You", and it sounded like every other ballad that she has done and showed us nothing we didn't know.

Kate hands over to the congealed pustule of barely hidden xenophobia that is the British Public to make their decision....


It's once again the biggest vote ever in the world, zzzzzzzz.

Manilow comes on singing some song that was so dull I can't remember it ansd he appears to dance exaclty like Kermit the Frog.

At last the results arrive. In no particular order Ray goes through first - will someone please think of the children! Leona goes through next, thank the Lord, leaving a Bottom Two of the MacDiablos and Ben. There is no judge selection nonsense this week so we go straight to those with the lowest votes and it's the MacDiablos!! So it would seem that the He Who Walks Backwards will not corrupt the world via these lads and he'll have to have another go with Journey South....

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