We began the usual way - with the sing-off at the start which I know many viewers are finding annoying as there is no real tension. Also, we then get on with the show and the person leaving does not really get their 'moment.' Even so, this is the format, or is it?
The bottom two consisted of David and Tim. I know David has a loyal following but his Manc rendition of "You Got the Love" was all wrong. It's a song associated with the show Sex and the City of late and seeing this guy who sings Indie music really well try and Indie that - was just - well the equivalent of apple pie and cous cous. So, here is in the bottom two with Tim who has suffered because of the back story the poor guy has been lumbered with. The VT of him saying he could not take his shirt off in front of his wife - has crucified (sorry, but Amanda Holden does this all the time) the poor guy.
So, we settle in watch the sing off and then we hear they are all going to sing again and then the bottom two will become one. What? I scratch my head but this is a show with a final on a Wednesday so anything is possible. So - fast forward and Niall is on stage singing "One" - surrounded what looks like Christmas. He sings the line "Have you come hereto play Jesus?" and gets a round of applause. His voice though is all over the place - his acting is improving but he does wander around the stage looking for emotion. It's there in the song, Niall.
Rory is not doing it for me. He sings another rock song (yep, I know this is a rock musical) "Roxanne" and as it's efficient but he does the same old schtick night after night. I want to see him sing something tender and move me. At the moment he leaves you with tapping feet and the judges' turn into the Churchill bull dog and sit there nodding along. But he does nothing for the heart.
Next up is David (yeah I know - he's in the bottom two but clearly the Lord wants him through) and he's doing Elbow when by rights he should have been given it earlier. He decides or someone else has told him to do it with a Manc accent again. This is fine if Jesus is going to hail from Wythenshawe. Abba never sang with a Swedish accent so this does seem like a strange choice. He's teary and it's unfair to tell him to do a sing off and then make him do his song. But like I said, the Lord had him down as a winner. Some may cry fix, others are heating up Heinz tomato soup thinking 'When's Summer coming?' Jason tells him he "bares all." I passed a huge queue for Magic Mike yesterday so maybe this would get the ratings up.
I really like Ben and think outside of this show's format - he is a winner. But I worry that he is being lumbered with some really naff songs. The arrangement of "Everybody Hurts" made my teeth itch and Maroon 5 is hardly a stretch, is it? I know the Lord would save him but he needs a songs with natural emotion. If we're going for pop - a George Michael classic or Will Young - something that suits his voice but that he can push to the next level. As I say, a great singer and peformer - shame about the songs. Some viewers might be thinking - give him the job and get rid of the show. It is tiring having this on every night until 10.30pm - do you agree? Is anyone here?
Jon does ballads well and I think he has been surprised by his own voice - like the nun in Sister Act who looks gobsmacked when a gospel Whitney Houston voice comes out. But who is picking these songs? The producers will tell you it's a collaborative effort. If that's the case - why do so many of them look uncomfortable? If you can ditch a sing off, why can't they all now sings from shows? Then we at home can vote with some authority - as opposed to voting because we listen to a pop song on our ipod. Jon is let down by a song which makes him act like he's performing at Eurovision. He does well with the material but he needs songs which move him as when he connects, he's brilliant.
Nathan has been told to connect and show some vulnerability. The poor guy has taken their advice literally and his hair is tied back like he's just got out of the bath. He's not carrying a snake round his neck and is in his Sunday attire. Ok, all of this is cliched and reminds me of a TV movie where emotion is highlighted by lack of make up and a quivering lip but he performs "Save a Life" really well. But because of the villain character he's been given, I'm not convinced he will win - see Lauren Samuels for proof. Dawn is convinced though and says he "Could be Jesus." Been waiting to hear this line about anyone as it's hilarious. Say it again: "You Could be Jesus!" lol
Roger does "Here I Go Again" which rock lovers know as do fans of the show Rock of Ages. This guy has a lovely personality and I like him. But his back story - Simba - relegated to scratching around for dead deer to feed himself means that he now comes across as desperate. He fits the stereotype the show needs - older guy - once in the West End - now seeking a comeback. As I said, I like him but I feel sorry for him. Should I feel sorry for Jesus?
Tim sings next (yep, he's in the bottom two and going home, whatever he does) and he's surrounded by blind Kylie lookalikes. Like a low budget Blade Runner made by a student - this distracts. He starts really well but it feels like he has been set up as his song becomes over blown and the sense of occasion overwhelms him. This leaves him floundering he reverts to screeching again. Simba will eat him if he's not careful as he sounds like part of the "circle of life." It's safe to say the poor guy has been stitched up. But this is X Factor with jazz hands.
Jeff sings Seal's "Kiss from a Rose" which if swapped with Roger would equate magic. Roger would nail (cliche alert) this one. And Jeff would turn Roger's watery rock song into wine (another one) but as it is, Jeff's eyes start popping out his head with each piece of praise. God, these shows are cruel. The contestants start filled with hope and then the thought of work makes them turn into Linda Blair from the Exorcist.
Now, it's time for the bottom two to be revisited. We had the song over an hour ago and Andrew picks...........David. Hardly a surprise, really. He claims that Tom has a great deal of "angts behind him." Why make him sing twice then? The show milked this angst in the beginning so much so I thought they were going to make mugs with his face on saying "Have the shirt off my back."
We end with the Kaiser Chiefs which looks like it was recorded earlier. God, this show is as uneven as Hyde Park in the rain. Good job they don't do "I Predict a Riot" as there may be one on twitter if the format keeps being played with. Although, now events are reminding me of an answer I received when I asked a student of mine where his homework was. I expected a list of excuses and a narrative plucked from thin air.
Instead took a deep breath and replied: "c-b-a."