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Sunday, 7 December 2008

The X Factor, ITV1


Did we like it?
Just when we were getting jaded, the show comes alive with some performances that actually managed to entertain us, and the result was on a knife edge all night.

What was good about it?
• The result was the correct one. Diana could have turned out to be Kate Bushtastic but she allowed herself to be turned her into a pop poppet. Before her demise, she did a reasonably authentic take on Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend but Brian Friedman's latest "big production" was a distracting mess of skateboarders and netting – he's so unhip. And she touched us with White Flag, even though we generally avoid having our ears sullied by Dido songs.
• Ugly Kid Eoghan was entertaining for once, although his voice was drowned out as he made Busted's Year 3000 "your own" (in the process, redefining the phrase "rocking out"; it is now synonymous with "skipping about"). And we're not sure if it was wise for him to be singing an Abba song about paedophiliac desires while precariously balanced on a piano.
• We're glad Alexander is in the final but the judges were wildly wrong to get so enthusiastic about her renditions of Rihanna's Don't Stop The Music and Tony Braxton's Unchain My Heart. The first performance reminded us of one of those anonymous singers called in to front up a producer's dance track when it gets on Top of the Pops; the second was almost over before she really sang well.
• We've never been impressed by JLS but they did enough to overshadow Diana and earn a place in the final. Their cover of Rihanna's Umbrella was the most polished routine of the night; their cover of Westlife's Already There was anodyne enough to not put anyone off them.
• Diana in a cricket jumper. Strangely arousing.
• Eoghan's hair was less birds nesty tonight, and we only got a brief flash of that weird, crooked, nervy smile he always pulls as Dermot reads out the phone number.
• Simon's spot-on comment about what Louis would have done if he was handling Eoghan: "You'd have been in a blazer singing Puppy Love tonight."

What was bad about it?
• Dermot has been going down and down in our estimation and, thanks to those silly spins he does, we can now ordain him in The Ancient Order of TV Jerks. Okay, he's still got more credibility than Vernon Kay and Ben Shephard, but the difference is being eroded week by week.
• The VT clips of well-rehearsed lines about dreams and needs and pressures, delivered just seconds after the director has said something like: "A little more desperation please, love. And a few tears wouldn't come amiss" or "That's Diana's line this week. I'll get the scriptwriters to come up with something different for you."
• With no acts to boss around/be ignored by, Dannii is a waste of space. Her only memorable verdict of the night was when she likened Diana to a young Debbie Harry – memorable for being so ridiculously wrong.
• The dreadful Il Divo twittering through Amazing Grace.

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