*Mmmbop du du du du … emmmmmmmmmm … bop?
Du di du du … emmmmmmmmmmmmmm bop?
something something … when your lead singer looks like a girl … mmmbop, mmmbop, mmmbop, mmmbop
oh yeah … mmmbop … mmmbop … mmmbop
[repeat until you make your own way to the exit and close the door behind you]*
We know she’s different and makes a point of not pandering to other people, but – jaysus – doing an instrumental on the X Factor takes some balls. Janet butchering the not especially good to begin with MmmBop was the most embarrassing thing ever broadcast on ITV and this is from someone who once watched in the region of 7 minutes of The Grimleys. You’d have to go back all the way to Simon Cowell’s clumsy flirting with Cheryl to find something as cringe-worthy and uncomfortable on the show. Going down in a blaze of mumbling and stifled Dad-dancing, Janet was always going to pay the price and when the verdict finally came it was about as shocking as hearing that a Premier League footballer can’t keep it in his pants. Voicing the unique brand of delusion and defiance only the X Factor can produce, she spoke of her relief at exiting the show, but it was massively disappointing for the viewing public – who’s boring performance are we going to go out and make a cup of tea during now? The show rolls on and no-one involved seems too upset about her departure.
The adage in sport is ‘no-one ever remembers who loses in the semi-final’. When it comes to the X Factor, you can extend that to include the final and quite possibly the person who actually wins it, but that’s not going to stop this batch of hopefuls as they try to secure a place in the final. Apart from Louis – who since week 6 has mainly been turning up for the free wine and finger food – each of the judges will tell you that their acts are going to win it, but clearly they can’t all win. Only one act will go on to claim the mixed blessing that is X Factor glory, whilst for the others it’ll be a desperate scramble to get what’s left of the work for panto season:
‘It’s behind you.’
‘Your fifteen minutes of fame.’
At the outset of the competition, the artists now known as Little Mix looked every bit like one of the girlbands that wouldn’t be on the show long enough to even get their fair share of internet trolling, but with the end in sight they’ve come from the rear of the field and struck for the front. And no – that horse racing tinged analogy isn’t a clever joke about the shape of their faces. It’s hard not to warm to the girls, because they’ve hung in there and weathered what counts as a storm on the X Factor, but really isn’t that big a deal. Between the threat of litigation, getting abuse hurled at them for the sin of having a chubby girl in the group and probably getting chatted up badly by Frankie Cocozza, the girls have had it rough, but they’ve stuck with it to be one of the less annoying bands ever seen on the show. Plus, having a chubby one in the band isn’t necessarily a barrier to success – that’s precisely why Gary kept Robbie in Take That for so long.
If you think a guy is going to win it, then you’re pinning your hopes on the endlessly chirpy, but always on the verge of tears, Marcus Collins. Despite having the … em – for want of a better word – ‘pedigree’ of having worked with former X Factor failures, Eton Road, the Scouse hairdresser began the competition considered the type of inoffensive outsider no-one likely to remember after his Week 4 exit – too good to be strung along for a few weeks for comedy value, but not good enough to actually win the thing. He’s given that pessimistic forecast one in the eye and over the weeks showed us all that he’s got set of pipes on him strong enough to consider leaving the curling tongs behind him once and for all. The words ‘musical’ and ‘theatre’ have featured in several assessments of him, but at least they’re not saying ‘operating theatre’ which would be a far more damning verdict on his vocal ability.
It’s hard to know exactly how the public feel about the whirl of sassy chick rock and pink highlights that make up Amelia Lily. She’s already felt the sharp end of the judges’ metaphorical boot earlier in the show, so there seemed to be a wave of sympathy when she returned to the show as a result of Frankie’s bid to boost South America’s export industry, but it was short-lived and only a week later she was trying to out-sing Craig in possibly the most northern sing-off in the history of the show. At 11/2, she currently resides in the no man’s land of X Factor betting. She’s obviously not as fancied as the two leading acts, but she’s not judged to be on the same hiding to nothing as Misha. She still might be able to defy the odds and considering only a few weeks ago she was starring down the barrel of going back to school and her paper round, she can be pretty happy with how she’s fared. Kids still do paper rounds, don’t they?
Having faced the final showdown on no less than three occasions in the series, Misha B is clearly a fighter. Sadly she seems to take that persona a little too far when it comes to dealing with the other contestants and that may explain why she’s considered the outsider of the bunch. She’s arguably been the most consistent of all the remaining contestants on the show, but it seems the public are about as likely to pick up the phone and request a house call from Dr. Conrad Murray as they are to vote for Misha so she’s been clinging on to her place in the show since about week 3. If it was purely a singing contest, then she’d have a great chance of winning, but it’s a singing competition mixed with a popularity contest with a dash of politics and the votes aren’t stacking up for her.
The betting suggests we already know who’ll contest the final, but – especially this year – you can’t be too certain for anything on The X Factor. If last weekend’s Janet episode, this is not the time to fluff your lines.