Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Silly Old Daniel Celebrity Roundup.

For those who are keeping track, it's now just four short days until I arrive in France. This time in four days I will (hopefully) be on the train from Lille to Le Mans, with my two giant suitcases in tow, probably listening to some kind of empowering diva song to stop me from crying alone and in public. Frightening. I'm not gone yet, though, so let's dig in to another Silly Old Daniel Celebrity Roundup...

1. All kinds of stuff is going on for that band known as Girls Aloud (unless, obviously, you're Nadine Coyle and you've stopped being invited to things).

Girls Aloud's century-long "year off" is still rolling along nicely with most of them going off and pursuing various projects in the field of performance art while Kimberley Walsh is currently flogging her own range of jewellery at Argos. OH, SHE'S LIVING THE DREAM.

Meanwhile, Cheryl Cole spent most of last week abandoning the world of mediocre pop music and being publicly elbowed in the groin by Simon Cowell and decided to take a relaxing holiday. And you know what they say- what better way to kick up your heels and unwind is there than a relaxing trip to the front line in Afghanistan??

The Geordie Princess flew out to the warzone to commemorate the fact that Britain's army have been in Afghanistan for the past ten years. And what a decade it's been, eh? The Sex And The City movie. The launch of crunchy M&Ms. The rise of Las Ketchup singing The Ketchup Song and then, of course, The Ketchup Song (Xmas Mix). Those poor soldiers have missed it all and so much more, so it's only right they should get a visit from Cheryl Cole as part of The Mirror's Pride Of Britain celebrations.

While she was there she took part in a mock gun battle, which is great because it meant we get to see Cheryl decked out in her army gear:


While she was there Cheryl also reportedly got her revenge on former boss Simon Cowell, when a dummy bearing his likeness was blown up by the army lads. Dearie me. She later, while on the frontline, heard a big explosion which she claims provoked "a few expletives". That's our lass.

Despite this, Cheryl had nothing but good things to say about the experience:


When she returned to the UK she headed over to Nicola Roberts's house (as you do) with the rest of her fellow Girls Aloud singers, who posted this picture of them all on Twitter:

I wonder if the other girls even bother inviting Nadine Coyle to these things. Would you? Honestly? Trying to have a girlie night with someone incomprehensibly wailing Insatiable at the top of their lungs so you can't hear Bridget Jones's Diary...what's worse than that?

While we're on the subject of Nicola Roberts, the release of her debut album Cinderella's Eyes draws ever nearer, so to celebrate this she's premiered another song from the album, this time it's the closing track which is called Sticks + Stones and deals with the bullying she received from the British press when she first got started in Girls Aloud.

Before you listen, please heed this warning: Sticks + Stones is not a funny song:

"Funny how I was too young for so many things but you thought I'd cope with being told I'm ugly".

2. Madonna provides the soundtrack to the fight against homophobia.

Let's be honest, homophobia is unfortunately very much alive and well and more often than we'd like people in positions of power have less than open-minded ideas when it comes to the idea of people of the same sex making a life together, being in love or INDEED just having sexual relations with one another.

This is certainly the case with Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, whose family host a Christian counselling service which offers homosexuals the chance to turn their lives around by "praying the gay away". Wow.

When she arrived in California for some class of Republican party gathering, what she hadn't banked on was a welcome party from a group of angry homosexuals who, among other hilarious slogans, performed a flash mob routine to Madonna's controversial signature tune, Like A Prayer. Can anyone think of a better way to greet someone who offers Christian conversion therapy to LGBT people than a performance of Like A Prayer?

Well done all concerned. Keep fighting the good fight, particularly if the good fight continues to feature a Madonna number.

3. Rihanna further proves that she has singles coming out the wazoo.

This time last year Rihanna was busy promoting her single Te Amo from her Rated R album when suddenly- while the song was still in the charts- it was decided that less than a year after her last album was released she was going to be chucking a new one out and with it would be a brand new single. This single turned out to be Only Girl (In The World) which ended up giving Rihanna a much-needed solo number 1 single.

It seems she's up to her old tricks again because, despite the fact Cheers (Drink To That) has only been out about 5 minutes, and her collaboration with Nicki Minaj Fly continues to climb up the charts, that's not enough for the most ADHD woman in pop. You see, earlier this week she was asked when the follow-up to 2010's Loud would be released and this was her reply:

Since then it was announced that a collaboration between Rihanna and Calvin Harris would be coming very soon, and that is exactly what happened as it had its first play on Capital FM today. It's called We Found Love-- but is it any good? WHY DON'T YOU LISTEN TO IT FOR YOURSELF:

In other words: yes. It is very good. This will be Rihanna's sixth (SIXTH!) single release so far in 2011 (seventh if you include Man Down which ended up not being released in the UK), so between shooting music videos, featuring on tracks with Kanye West and Nicki Minaj, appearing in her film debut Battleships and performing on her Loud tour, I really don't know how Rihanna finds time to record ANOTHER album.

Her sixth album is coming this November, apparently. Rihanna is, I must stress, 23 years old.


If this is my last blog before I go abroad, then I will talk to you all when I get there.
Think good things for me, please.

Monday, 19 September 2011

One year on...

One word breaks a code of silence.

Silence tells me all I need to know.

One word.

One word.

Tells me everything I need to know.

One world driven into madness.

Madness driven by the depths below.

One word.

One word.

Tells me everything I need to know.

One year ago today Kelly Osbourne sat down on her Twitter page and decided to try and right a wrong. Somebody had spoken ill of her mother, Sharon. That somebody was Dannii Minogue. Kelly did the only thing that seemed appropriate at the time, and that was to inform the world of the truth: Dannii Minogue, wearer of clothes and singer of songs, was in fact Satan incarnate. She was walking around this mortal realm, judging talent shows and releasing OK records and unbeknown to everyone else in the world, she was actually the dark ruler of the underworld. She had to let everyone know. It was her duty.

A year has passed, people. The world of Twitter has seen a lot. Pregnancies have been announced. Celebrities have dissed and received disses in return. Nadine Coyle said she liked my hair. But never let Kelly's important advice be forgotten.

Never. Forget.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

X Factor Roundup: Auditions (Part 5).

I'll admit I've fallen a bit behind in my X Factor roundups, considering that this blog will probably be published a week after the show it's summarising first aired, and two further shows will have aired since then which is a bit confusing, but I'm a bit OCD when it comes to chronology, so let's have a look back over last Sunday's show and the freaks we're having rammed down our throats this time around...

Marcus Collins

Before Marcus speaks, or even looks at the camera, our first impression of him is in the "X Factor makeup room" spraying hairspray for 6 seconds. Already Marcus has won my heart, simply for his dedication to the application of hairspray. When he speaks, in his cute little Scouse accent (the good kind, not the kind that makes you want to attack your ear-drums with a knitting needle) it's a relief because he isn't up himself or conceited or anything like that, he's a sunny lad who clearly just wants to sing.

Things do take a plummeting turn for the worst when Marcus tells us that his clients call him "The Singing Hairdresser", which can only be described as a gigantic, stonking lie. They're hardly going to address him to his face as "Singing Hairdresser", are they? No they are not. In which case they'd have to call him that behind his back. And how would he know that? He wouldn't. THERE IS NO NEED FOR LYING ON THE X FACTOR, MARCUS.

Thankfully, Marcus gets things back on track when he starts singing, because he is fantastic. His song choice (Stevie "I Dropped My Pen Could Someone Save Me The Embarrassment And Hand It To Me" Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered) could potentially be a bit boring because it's more-or-less the same thing over-and-over, but Marcus manages to bring some proper energy to it and his voice is ASTOUNDING. Well done to all concerned.

On a side note, it feels good (though a little unusual) to not be ripping a contestant to shreds on this blog for one reason or another. You know what this is, don't you? It's growth.

Have we seen the last of Marcus..? I hope not, it seems like he can do it all. He has the personality, the looks, the voice. It would not surprise me if he could also breathe fire while plate-spinning at the same time. Good show.

Jonjo Kerr

Jonjo is like The Sun's wet dream. He's a soldier. He's a devoted father. He's got a stupid fucking hat on. I don't need to tell you that as Jonjo tells us about his family, and his time in the military, Use Somebody by Kings of Fucking Leon is playing.

Jonjo explains that he is more scared going in front of the X Factor judges than he is to go to Afghanistan. This is arguably the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. One of those things involves the possibility of having all your limbs blown off, while the other involves Louis Walsh telling you that you have the "likeability factor" and that you remind him of someone else.

So out he struts onto the stage, and tells us some of his army mates have come to support him "with my wife...*pause* pregnant wife". THAT'S RIGHT, FOLKS. His wife is pregnant.

"I have a girlie question," says Kelly Look At Me Rowland, "How far along is your wife?" And, of course, it turns out she's ready to burst at any minute. It's a good job Simon Cowell is less involved this year, he'd have had her induced there and then to make sure the first ever X Factor birth took place on his watch. He says he hopes he doesn't mess it up.

IT TURNS OUT THAT HE BLOODY WELL DOES, THOUGH. "Oops I've got the timing wrong". Then he CONTINUES SINGING IT WRONG. The judges stop the song. And the serious music starts.

"You've gotta get your act together, this is no longer you performing in front of your mates", says Joyless Barlow. He starts again, and presumably the point is that he has pulled himself together, although anyone who knows the song well will realise that he has once again got the words wrong, singing "ever see a young girl cross the road", which is not a remarkable thing to see at all, is it? I see that all the time. He gets to the chorus and starts sounding a bit like Animal from The Muppets but the audience are shitting their pants over him so it's all-too-clear that the judges are gonna put him through.

"You moved me to tears," says Kelly Rowland, which is hardly remarkable because that woman would probably cry if she got to the bus-stop two minutes too late and had to wait five minutes for the next one. In fact she'd probably cry of happiness if she got the bus-stop on time, such is her emotional state. Ridiculous woman.

Have we seen the last of Jonjo..? Stupid name, stupid hat, OK performance < Pregnant wife, army man. NO I SUSPECT WE WILL BE SEEING A LOT MORE OF HIM. UNFORTUNATELY.

Which brings us nicely to...

Hilarious X Factor Visual of the Night

Graham Bennett putting deodorant on. It looks like his torso is frowning.

Watch the auditions yourself:
Marcus Collins - Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Graham Bennett - She Bangs/It Wasn't Me

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Silly Old Daniel Celebrity Roundup.

I am moving to France in ten days. What a frightening thought. Don't get me wrong I am very, very excited but I do not feel at all prepared for this. I am scared my French is not good enough and I am scared that living in a foreign country is going to be harder than I am anticipating. I am scared that I am going to get walked all over by the French teenagers I'm trying to educate and I am scared that I am going to have no friends and come home miserable when it's all over.

Those are some things that I am scared of.

In the interest of keeping my mind on more pleasant things, I am going to do a Silly Old Daniel Celebrity Roundup because it has been a while and I am sure you're all gagging for one. SO just what have those celebrities you love been up to..?

1. Madonna proves there is not enough botox in the world to freeze her sense of humour.

As of one month ago, Madonna is 53 years old. She has been alive for 53 years. This is a long time to be alive for. In this 53 years she has no doubt put up with a lot of bullshit. She's been divorced twice, her own brother stabbed her in the back by writing a tell-all book about her, and let's not forget the people around her constantly kissing her arse in the hope of getting something. A lot, a lot, of shit.

What generally happens when people reach this stage in their life is that they begin to stop caring as much what people think of them. While Madonna has never been one to consider the feelings of others, it seems this was even the case with her when earlier this month a fan appeared at the premier of her directorial debut W.E. to give her a bouquet of hydrangeas.

Madonna graciously accepted the flowers from the fan, who told her she was his "princess" (FOOL SHE IS THE FUCKING QUEEN). However, as the fan walked off, Madonna let her true feelings slide:

A lot of people have said that this video proves that Madonna is a bitch, that she is ungrateful and has no respect. But let's be honest, we've all been given presents we didn't want, haven't we? I know I have; when I was 6 years old I wanted tap lessons for my birthday. Do you want to know what my father bought me? A FOOTBALL GOAL FOR THE BACK GARDEN. WHAT IN THE NAME OF CHRIST IS A YOUNG BOY MEANT TO DO WITH THAT?? I'd have loved someone to tell that I "loathed" football to, but alas I was just 6 and did not want to appear grateful.

Let us keep in mind, folks, that Madonna did not say "I loathe hydrangeas" to the fan, she said "thank you" to him. It's not her fault that the cameras picked up on what she said afterwards, and at the end of the day if the guy was really a fan he'd know not to give Madonna hydrangeas when a simple Google search can tell you that Madonna's favourite flowers are white roses, which she demands as part of her rider. He should have got her some of them. Idiot.

Unfortunately for Madonna the video later went viral with her faux pas spreading like wildfire across the interweb. Thankfully, in recent times it seems Madonna has stopped taking herself QUITE as seriously and posted this moderately funny rebuttal video on her official YouTube channel:

Oh, Madonna. Please never change.

2. Nicki Minaj does HAHAHAHA.

I'm pleased to note that Nicki Minaj's world domination seems to be ticking along nicely. She's won her very first VMA, been praise for photoshoots she's done for magazines as prestigious as Vogue, and she has more than 5 million followers on Twitter. Now she's gone one further and sparked a new online frenzy.

Yesterday Nicki took to her aforementioned Twitter page to post this easily-imitable out-take from a shoot she did with Glamour magazine, along with the message "Got milk?":

Fans of Nicki began taking their own versions of the photo in their own fridges, leading to a brand new Internet craze known as "fridging", which follows in the footsteps of "planking" and invites people to open their refrigerator doors, climb in and take a photo. So far Snooki off Jersey Shore is one of the few stars to take part in the trend, but as it takes off who knows which A-listers will climb in their fridges in the name of Twittertainment?

Alternatively, of course, it might die on its arse. We'll see, won't we?

3. 2011's most unanticipated duet has arrived.

Having previously been a featured artist on songs for the likes of Flo Rida, Taio Cruz and Britney Spears, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before Ke$ha performed on a track for rock singer Alice Cooper.

Well the day has finally arrived as the two have unveiled a duet they recorded together entitled What Baby Wants. According to Alice Cooper himself, and why would he lie for heaven's sake, Ke$ha plays the devil on the track who tries to tempt him and ends up always getting what she wants. What a frisky minx.

He also claims that in time the world will see Ke$ha as a rockstar rather than a "disco singer", calling Ke$ha an "old friend" of his. I find it slightly hard to believe that they would move in the same circles, but then again this is a world where Britney Spears has literally noshed Fred Durst off so I suppose anything is possible, isn't it?

The song itself is not bad at all, actually. You can listen to it for yourself here:

I am keen to see what this Alice Cooper/Ke$ha duet means for the future of pop music, especially considering that Marilyn Manson has already appeared on a remix of Lady GaGa's Love Game. I wonder...

Possible Duets We Could Be Seeing At Some Point In The Near Future
Ozzy Osbourne feat. Taylor Swift - Immammammamma Let You Finish
Courtney Love feat. Justin Bieber - It Was Suicide, I'm Telling You

Those are all that I can think of right now. Feel free to add your own if you're feeling more creative than me.

That's it.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

X Factor Roundup: Auditions (Part 4).

It might surprise you to hear that, despite my tough mannerisms and rebellious nature, I have never been in prison. But what I have heard is that when men get out of prison, having been deprived of sexual relations with ladies for a long time, they tend to want to shag any female who crosses their path. Raunchy.

It works in other situations as well, obviously. Ex-anorexics are known to eat McDonalds morning, noon and night while into the early stages of recovery. Women who've spent nine months carrying a baby around inside of their wombs before pushing it out of their vaginas are usually keen to get a glass of wine down themselves after 40 weeks of abstaining. The top and bottom of it is, when you've been deprived of something for an extended period of time, it feels good to indulge in it and take in as much of it as you can.

This seems to be the only way to explain the behaviour of a certain Miss Kelly Rowland who, after a lifetime of playing second fiddle to Beyoncé, seemed to have made every moment of last night's X Factor revolve around herself. Before the auditions had even started Gary Barlow had invited Tulisa, Louis and Kelly to watch him perform as part of Take That in Manchester. Rather than just saying "yeah good job, mate" like a normal person when she saw him the next day, Kelly decided to get down on her knees and bow like a dickhead before Gary's feet, which seemed to make him nothing short of uncomfortable. Poor old Louis Walsh barely got to speak two words on last night's show. Bless.

Despite Kelly's best efforts, though, the show wasn't entirely about her, so let's get our heads around some of the contestants we met during last night's hoot-and-a-half edition of The X Factor...


I don't know about you, but compared with last year's contestants (Tesco Mary, Wagner and Chloe Maffia to name just a few), this year the auditions seem to be lacking a little thing known as "glamour". As if in answer to my prayers, last night's show opened with Kendro declaring they were going to win the X Factor. We were then treated to a short blast of Duck Sauce's Barbara Streisand as the two boys danced together, ITV's more subtle way of saying:


There's then a delightful scene of Alejandro and Kendel (oh my goodness...) in the X Factor makeup room applying powder, preening their magenta hair and exclaiming "let's go, sister" to one another. I can't be sure but by this stage in the programme I was almost 80% certain that these two might well be homosexuals.

They took to the stage together to perform their version of Lady GaGa's Born This Way (what else?) in a rendition which took a song intended to be an anthem for empowerment and instead turned it into an excuse for behaving like a prick on the telly. Before they started singing (which ironically was the only monotonous thing about them), they decided to apply some lip-gloss. Naturally.

Gary Barlow, of course, being the most BLOODY MISERABLE MAN IN THE WORLD said he didn't like it and refused to put them through but naturally Louis and Tulisa (both of whom, by this stage in the competition, have clearly stopped caring) said yes. Their fate was therefore left in the hands of Kelly Rowland. For the first of several times during the show, Kelly had taken command of someone else's auditions. From here on out she was (literally) the commander.

"I...I just don't know", she starts. Bloody hell, Kelly, this is not one of Hamlet's soliloquies, you're only deciding whether two perma-tanned bummers get through to boot camp. It really doesn't require that much deliberation. Any normal person would go "Oh go on then", and move on.

In the end, it's decided that Kendro are through to the next stage of the competition. As undoubtedly the most "out" act that's ever been involved in X Factor, I think it'll be interesting to see how the gay community react should Kendro get through to the live finals. Personally, I'm not sure how I feel about them. I can hardly sit on my high-horse and accuse other people of playing up to their homosexuality when that's all I did for the first 18 years of my life, and I must admit they did seem like a lot of fun. Having said that, if I saw them in a club they'd probably get the stink-eye. I SUPPOSE BOOT CAMP WILL BE THE DETERMINER, WON'T IT?

Have we seen the last of Kendro..? Honestly I don't think we have. I know their vocals are at best a 5/10, but this is the first group who've had any real spotlight on the show since OH MY GOODNESS AREN'T WE SERIOUS act The Keys a few weeks ago, and it's more than likely Simon has some ideas he never got to use on Diva Fever last year that he could pass onto this year's "groups" mentor.

Sami Brookes

"I just wanna sing," Sami tells us in her introductory interview, "And to be honest I'm too thick to do anything else". If you're anything like me then you instinctively hate Sami simply because of that ridiculous contraption she's decided to wear on her head. It turned out that despite an unfortunate choice in headwear, Sami was quite a charismatic woman. although she does warn us before she takes to the stage that she talks too much when she's nervous and will probably talk more than she singing. Unfortunately it turns out that (unsurprisingly) Gary Barlow is less than impressed with her chatty nature BECAUSE HE HATES JOY AND LAUGHTER.

"Shall we move this along since Christmas is coming," he says to Sami, clearly having had enough of her bubbly nature. It's a good job Christmas isn't literally coming, because I envisage Gary being visited by three ghosts during the night if it were, the miserable old git. A LUMP OF COAL NO DOUBT CONSTITUTES A PRESENT IN THE BARLOW HOUSEHOLD. No wonder Robbie got kicked out of Take That, what with him not being in a perpetual state of frown.

Aye so anyway, Sami decides to sing her version of Whitney Houston's One Moment In Time and wisely, unlike Whitney, she decides to refrain from smoking any crack for the duration of the performance. It turns out this was a wise decision because the audience love it and, I must admit, so do I. The hat is very much forgiven because Sami Brookes is clearly going to do very well in this competition, and she deserves to. She has stage presence, she has charisma and she has the voice. It's a bit shouty but it's tuneful. Kelly clearly agrees because she decides, near the end, to LEAP OUT OF HER BLOODY SEAT.

Oh God, it's happened. Kelly Rowland has once again stolen a contestant's thunder. "SIT DOWN!" I screamed at the TV when this happened. Kelly ignored me and instead started WAVING HER ARMS AROUND INSTEAD. It does seem like Kelly has an excuse though, telling the crowd: "I can't sit down right now because I am still so excited". A bit too much information for my liking, my head is filled with images of an over-lubricated Kelly Rowland sliding off her chair at the sound of Sami's voice.

Sami does seem genuinely overwhelmed by it all, comparing herself unfavourably to Beyoncé (wahey!) and Rihanna, saying she doesn't feel like she has "the look" to which Kelly gives the unforgettable quote "You know what you size is? You Size Sexy". I don't believe Sami actually mentioned her size, Kelly, she was probably referring to the fact she's willing to go on the telly in a ridiculous leoapard-print hat but well done for patronising a fat lass in front of the entire nation.

In the end Sami excitedly leaves the stage having received a "yes" from all four judges, telling Dermot she's "all sweaty" and that her "pants are falling down and everything". Lass after my own heart, don't change a thing. Except, obviously, that godawful hat.

Have we seen the last of Sami..? Sami to bloody win I say!!!!!

Twisted/Chrissie Pitt

At this point in the episode we're shown a montage of the girlgroups who've had less than successful auditions (including one where one girl says Kelly Rowland must know what she's talking about because "she's best friends with Beyoncé"--- amazing) but it all seems to pick up when these four lasses from Newcastle pile out of a pink Mini Cooper and introduce themselves as Twisted.

The group seems to be led by one girl named Chrissie, who we're told got through to the latter stages of Boot Camp last year but this year decided to come back with her "three best friends". According to Chrissie there's no one she'd rather be doing this with than the rest of the group, but even the most naïve person would be able to smell a bit of a rat with this set-up.

When they assemble themselves on the stage we see Chrissie is stood further forward than the other three girls, who so far are the only people in the episode to have spoken less than Louis Walsh who has apparently been rendered speechless. The group then start an (ill-advised, I'd say) acapella doo-wop version of Adele's Someone Like You where only Chrissie sings anything other than "doo doo doo" in the background. The judges seem uncomfortable with the whole thing and it's obvious to anyone with eyes in their head what's going to happen here.

"When you started singing," says YOU GUESSED IT Kelly Rowland, "I started wondering 'why did you bring them [the other girls] along?'"


After explaining her story from last year she looks at the other girls and says half-heartedly "this feels right" in a manner that screams "I WISH I'D LEFT YOU THREE IN THE CAR WITH THE WINDOW OPEN A CRACK".

Meanwhile Gary Barlow says the group appears to be "a solo singer with three very mediocre backing singers" which seems a bit rich coming from him when you consider this video:

Inevitably, of course, it's four nos, the girls are devastated and one of them says it's the most humiliating experience of her life. She wants to think herself lucky, I once tripped on a step running to be sick in The Bank Bar and threw up on myself. A stranger had to give me his shirt so I could go home.

Of course, the story doesn't end there and IT'S KELLY BLOODY ROWLAND TO THE RESCUE.

Running backstage, Kelly decides to channel Tyra Banks and give Chrissie a pep-talk about how she shouldn't let those less talented girls hold her back from achieving her dreams (I presume it's a similar speech to the one she overheard Daddy Knowles give to Beyoncé shortly before the release of Dangerously In Love).

Surprise surprise, Chrissie decides to abandon her "three best friends" who she couldn't imagine being in the competition without and comes back to audition as a solo act singing Cee-Lo Green's hit from last year Forget You. If ever there was an inappropriate time to sing that song, this was it. It's moments like this that I really do think just when it seems The X Factor can't get any more surreally shameless than it already is, it somehow manages to.

Chrissie gets four yeses and, I presume, three blocks on Facebook. Dear me.

Have we seen the last of Chrissie..? I think she'll get to judges' houses. She's alright.

Lascel Woods

Cher Lloyd has a lot to answer for, since her audition last year it seems that everyone with weird eyebrows in the whole of the UK have come out in full-force to audition for The X Factor, including Lascel Woods who tells us he is a 2o-year-old from Brighton.

It takes Lascel 15 seconds to tear into his sob story. His childhood "wasn't easy", he explains because he was put in foster care thanks to his mother who suffers from what he describes as " something called bi-polar". We're 23 seconds into his audition and already I know far more about his family history than I'd ever like to. I'm all for delving a bit into the contestants' back stories so we can learn a bit more about what made them the people they are today, but I personally can't think of anything more horrifying than being so uninteresting that 20 seconds into telling people about my life I've already explained that my mother was unfit to take care of me because she was mentally ill.

I said, talking about Chrissie, that the X Factor never shocks to delight me with its shamelessness but to be honest I think this was too much even for me. By the time he'd taken to the stage I had no desire to hear Lascel sing-- how could anyone exploit their own mother like that? If further down the line Lascel had used his experience to prove to young people with mentally ill parents that it doesn't have to define who you are, then I'd applaud him- that would be proper role model behaviour. Instead he's used his mother's illness to ensure that he gets a spot on the telly with the sad music and the emotional backstory. I'm sorry to be so blunt about it, but Lascel Woods makes me sick.

"The relationship you have with your mother is so beautiful", sobs GUESS WHO...

Have we seen the last of Lascel..? No we haven't, which is a shame. Sami Brookes might have all kinds in her family history, but she chose not to reveal it at her audition because she knows there's more to her than that. As for Lascel- if he wants to exploit his mentally ill mother to get on the telly then that's his prerogative, but it's my prerogative to say that he is an opportunist, shameless creep. With stupid eyebrows.

And finally...

Hilarious X Factor Visual Of The Night

Sami Brookes tells the judges she can't dance because she has "a funny arm". AMAZING.

Watch the auditions yourself:
Kendro - Born This Way
Sami Brookes - One Moment In Time
Lascel Woods - Use Somebody

Monday, 5 September 2011

How do you solve a problem like Katona?

I tried to resist, I promise you I did, but Kerry Katona has well and truly won me over on the latest series of Celebrity Big Brother. I never thought I'd say this, but she's reminded me why we as a nation first warmed to Kerry in the first place during her time in the Big Brother house. Admittedly she’s not exactly a razor-sharp wit, but Kerry does have a certain charisma and charm around her, largely down to her straight-to-the-point manner and the fact she is unashamedly- in fact, almost boastfully- flawed.

While admittedly we may never have never slurred on the sofa with Phil and Fearne or unknowingly snorted cocaine in full view of journalists from News Of The World, but I feel like we can all relate to poor old Kerry a little bit. Whether it’s going out with the wrong person, having one too many drinks in company we’ve been trying desperately to impress, or taking a job we feel is beneath us just to make ends meet- we all have mistakes in our past, it’s just unfortunate for Kerry that all of hers have been in full view of the media.

One lingering thought has remained in my mind throughout several of Kerry’s important moments in the house: when this series is over I would like to see some more of Kerry Katona on my television. The only issue with that is how. I have no desire for Kerry to make another fly-on-the-wall documentary, the fact of the matter is that while Kerry’s past mistakes may be so mammothly debauched they’d make your hair curl, her current life is simply too boring to make an entertaining fly-on-the-wall show. I watched her most recent “documentary” on ITV2, the unfortunate highlight came when in the middle of her holiday her manager made her piss into a coffee mug to prove she wasn’t on cocaine.

In place of all that I’ve racked my brain and came up with a few concepts for some new shows to give Kerry her hundredth second chance in. If you're reading this BBC Three, Channel Five or even E4 (I'm feeling optimistic) then feel free to nick my ideas provided I can host whatever ridiculous project you have coming up next. Deal? Excellent.

Kerry Katona: What Happens On Tour...

We all know Kerry’s a family girl now (“AH LUVMEE KIDS UP TURRSTARS ANNMOON AN BACK”), but if we’re honest it’s her fun-loving side that we’re most drawn to. The first idea I had for Kerry was a tour of some of the UK’s top night-spots where she could have a few naughty drinks and generally have some drunken fun to entertain us.

The problem with this, of course, is the fact that Kerry Katona is not exactly known for doing things by halves and something that started out as a light-hearted show intending Kerry to make a bit of a tit of herself, perhaps falling over in some branch of Tiger Tiger before grabbing a kebab and hailing herself a taxi, could quickly turn into a rather bleak view inside of Kerry Katona’s re-decline into addiction, culminating in an intervention and a scene with Kerry screaming “YOU DID THISSTER MEH, YOU BASTARDS” as she is carted off to rehab.

It was Vanessa who then suggested on Twitter that perhaps the idea of Kerry doing a cross-country tour is a good one, but in a shock twist she could be visiting a string of the UK’s most celebrated libraries. “But still drunk, obvs”, adds Vanessa.


Dear Kerry...

It’s fair to say that Kerry Katona has crammed a lot into her thirty years on the planet, being kicked in the tits almost every way imaginable, which makes her a perfect candidate for dishing out advice on how not to live your life.

The premise would be simple, Kerry would sit in a big armchair reading out problems sent in by viewers and attempting to solve them. Depending on the channel, this show would probably need a panel of celebrities to chip in as well. It seems like the sort of thing Sarah Milican would inevitably end up showing up on, and obviously a show headed by Kerry Katona wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from either Jeff Brazier or Alex Reid. I imagine Coleen Nolan would be knocking down the studio door at the promise of patronising a non-famous person with her worldly wisdom as well.

As time went on, more complex problems could be taken into the studio in a Jeremy Kyle-esque setup where Kerry talks to both parties independently before eventually giving her invaluable advice.

Foxy Bingo are probably already falling over themselves to sponsor it.

Are You Smarter Than Kerry Katona?

A bit like that programme Are You Smarter Than A 10 Year Old? except this programme will have a target demographic which won't consist exclusively of paedophiles. Each week people will be asked a series of general knowledge questions in a bid to prove that they are not as thick as Kerry Katona.

However, to make things more difficult, and in order to make things more fair for Kerry, the contestants must get steadily more pissed as the quiz goes on. For every correct answer the contestant must take a shot of tequila in order for them to truly get themselves in the Katona state of mind.

Furthermore, as the prize money increases further down the line and the contestant becomes more disorientated, "the Katona experience" heightens even further, with the noise of four kids being played into a contestant's ear while important figures from their past re-emerge to try and take away their prize money.

I'm not sure of all the rules quite yet, but I imagine if a contestant is sick from the drink they automatically have to hand half of their prize money over to Kerry, who will probably end up buying a Lamborghini with it and then needing to declare herself bankrupt again. You know, as she does.

Kerry Katona: I Can Do That

Undeniably my favourite of the Kerry Katona potential comeback shows, in this series Kerry is given a weekly challenge culminating in a live performance of some sort. Some weeks the challenges can be skill-based, learning to play the recorder for example. Other weeks she can master some class of physical activity, like horse-back riding or fencing which she would then have to perform live on air.

However, as the series becomes more popular the stakes would inevitably be raised and the live challenges would undoubtedly become more difficult. Simple performance-based activities would be done away with in favour of hearing Kerry carry out a 15 minute debate in Portugese or navigate her way through a maze blind-folded.

The series finale would have to be explosive, and I've got just the solution. First of all, Kerry could carry out heart surgery on someone in order to win a holiday for a family-of-four (imagine the distaste as the inevitable "well, she botched it, so sorry Johnson family it looks like you're going back to Milton Keynes empty-handed" was announced live on air). Finally, Kerry could wrestle a live bear. Live. Imagine the publicity. Imagine the opening video "I'm Kerry Katona, I've fought off worse than a bear".


Kerry Katona: Buried Alive

Let's face it, there's nothing this woman wouldn't do for publicity so burying her alive and filming her try and get out would be excellent viewing.

I'm going to have to wrap this blog up here, I'm afraid. ITV2 are on the phone.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

X Factor Roundup: Auditions (Part 3).

My goodness, can you believe we're already three weeks into the competition? By now we've really got to know the judges a lot better, haven't we? Louis is his usual insane self, Tulisa is somewhat more vulnerable than actually expected but can still hold her own, Kelly is the unexpected star of the show while Gary Barlow seems to have only one facial expression and tone of voice. If you didn't speak English and had to base your interpretation of Gary's verdicts on tone alone you wouldn't know whether he was saying "that performance was so good I actually started knocking one out mid-way through" or "get off my stage before I start throwing shit at you, you vermin". Meanwhile Dermot seems to have decided that if he can't have the American X Factor job then he is going to be as dull as possible in the UK series. Brilliant stuff.

So that's the judges, but what of the contestants we met in the most recent episode..?

David Wilder

"David Wilder's the name", David says by way of introduction. He's not finished though, as he makes the unfortunate decision of adding "Music's the game" to the end of his sentence. Ouch. Poor old David has already made the pivotal mistake of telling us what his "game" is and consequently making himself look like a massive bell-end in front of the entire nation. Now he's said that it doesn't matter how good David's performance is, he is still so hopelessly uncool he will make this look like this by comparison.

He goes on to tell us that he's 42 years old and wants to win The X Factor and be a musical superstar as a way of getting "gorgeous girls" and "fast cars". This would be a lot more convincing if David didn't literally look like he had been pieced together from discarded parts of stars of the glam-rock era. It's then that we see David is carrying a guitar around with him, which everyone knows is a complete waste of time because musical instruments are forbidden at the auditions. The guitar is merely a prop. He might as well just be wearing a sandwich board with "very serious musician" written on it. He might as well literally get the camera crew to film him deep-in-thought while sipping a bottle of Budweiser outside a bar called "The Last Chance Saloon", such is the lack of subtlety in his insistence on carrying that bloody guitar around with him.

Predictably David then sings Life On Mars? (proper Bowie fan, me, adding the question mark and everything) in David Bowie's exact voice, and it's at this moment it becomes obvious that David is probably a Bowie impersonator by trade, and that his Christian name is most likely not even David. My money is on Boris being his real name.

As many of the acts have this year, David decides not to limit his performance by staying on the stage (truly that X they have to stand on has been truly neglected this series, hasn't it) and decides to go for a wander while he performs for the judges. First he strides over to them, singing all the way, and gets right up "in their grill". Doesn't Tulisa look comfortable..?

I think she looked more comfortable when that cretin was calling her a scumbag, to be honest. It's then that David cranks it up a notch, running all the way to the top of the audience and back again, remarkably singing all the way. Quite impressive actually, especially given that he manages to stay sounding exactly like David Bowie the whole time, even when he's running back to the stage.

What's even more remarkable is that Louis, Tulisa and Kelly all tell David they're very impressed with his performance and that he's through to the next round. Gary Barlow slates the whole thing then puts him through anyway. Madness.

Have we seen the last of David..? It leaked this week that Louis is mentoring the over-25s. We all know he's partial to an "alternative" act (this is the man who has so far mentored The MacDonald Brothers, Jedward, Wagner and The Unconventionals), so it's quite likely we could see David Wilder take it all the way to the live finals, particularly as the calibre amongst the over-25s hasn't exactly been very high, has it? This year's Storm Lee. Possibly less cringey, although depending on how Louis mentors him it could be he ends up being even more cringey than Storm Lee. Watch this space, I suppose.

Luke Lucas

We arrive at a part of the show where we're given a montage of the 16-year olds who've triumphed in the auditions so far this series (obviously they knew I was watching), which features Luke as its finale. When Gary Barlow first hears Luke Lucas's name he says "well done" to his parents for giving him a good "stage name". Had I been on that panel I'd have demanded that Luke's parents be immediately brought onstage before forcibly bending them over so that each member of the audience at The O2 that day could smack their ridiculous arses with a paddle as punishment for giving their kid such a ludicrous name, but each to their own, Gary.

Unlike previous teenage contestants, Luke wisely decides not to strut around like he's already shagged half the audience but he also manages to have an air of confidence so as not to give the impression this is the first time he's ever been outdoors before. He does seem slightly nervous and maybe even a bit shy, but he goes on to explain that he is "in love" with Tulisa, which probably explains that. Tulisa, of course, is relieved to hear that, it must be a welcome change from hearing she's a scumbag who can't sing like every other contestant this year seems intent on telling her.

It's when Luke starts to sing that things really get interesting (what an odd thing to say, you'd think that would be the point of a singing competition) as he has a gigantic voice that comes from nowhere. It isn't 100% in tune and I imagine more than two songs' worth of it would be seriously grating, but when you compare Luke's unassuming appearance to some of the conceited dickheads who've strutted onto the stage in their peacock outfits only to open their mouths and have a seal's mating call cry out it's a welcome change and, in my opinion, the biggest shock of the series so far.

Luke's audition is definitely one of my favourites so far, he's got a great voice, a likeable and- best of all- he doesn't come with an attitude that stinks like a bag of pigs' heads in the sun. I look forward to seeing him progress as the competition goes on.

Have we seen the last of Luke..? He is a great talent and hearing his enormous singing voice was my biggest surprise of the series so far but considering he'll be competing with the likes of Frankie Cocozza, Craig Colton and that lad with the afro from earlier tonight in the "boys" category he could unfortunately slip through the net. A shame, really. Then again he's only 16, Joe McElderry and Alexandra Burke both won their respective series having been on the show before so there's still hope really, isn't there?

Michael Lewis

Avid viewers of The X Factor will immediately recognise Michael Lewis as the dickhead from last year who was obsessed with Michael Jackson, sang a horrendous version of Rock With You before delivering the immortal line to the audience "there's so much negativity in this room it's unreal". It's a shame that he will probably be remembered for this line more than anything else, as his finest hour clearly came in this Sky special with Derek Acorah where together they tried to contact Michael Jackson from beyond the grave:


This year Michael is back with a new look, a new attitude and a new mantra about how it's important to be yourself rather than trying to imitate others. The other thing that's "all new", of course, is the panel who he hopes will be more impressed with his efforts than Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell were.

He's clearly taking it much more seriously this year. Or so it seems. This theory is slightly disproved when all is said and done and the music starts, revealing Michael's song choice. Bravely he's decided to keep away from the Michael Jackson songs this year, which would have been a good idea had he not chosen to perform Geri Haliwell's oft-overlooked classic Look At Me instead, complete with grunts and pelvic thrusts to boot.

Rather embarrassingly, Michael mistakes the audience's mocking for applause and declares "There's so much positivity in this room it's unreal", almost as if to assert to himself that he has done a total 180 and this will be the moment he can put his past humiliation behind him and finally get on the road to instant stardom as he's clearly always dreamed of.

It doesn't quite work out like he'd hoped though. He gets a unanimous "no" from the judges and then, bizarrely, refuses to leave the stage and has a lie down. "I belong on the stage, what part of that don't you understand?" he asks matter-of-factly.

Oh. Dear. Me.

Will we see Michael again..? I imagine he'll be back next year and the year after that and the year after that. It's only a matter of time he becomes a novelty act on The Xtra Factor, and then he ends up being interviewed for a brief part of This Morning about reality TV flops and then ends up being one of those stars like Lauren Harries who get bookings purely to be laughed at. That fat lass with no teeth from series 4 ended up with her own weight loss programme, Christ knows what Michael Lewis could end up doing with the right PR behind him, he'll probably be running the country this time in five years.

Jade Richards

Make no mistake about it, Jade Richards was just OK. Her audition was the one we'd been waiting for, as we've been teased with the clip of Louis Walsh choking up as he says "I'm so glad we came here". I felt a bit robbed by the time it was over, I was hoping for a performance to end all performances, that would make the first time we saw Susan Boyle open her trap to sing I Dreamed A Dream sound like a pig farting, but unfortunately this was not what we got.

Instead we had a lass with a hundred holes in her face singing YOU GUESSED IT Someone Like You by Adele. By the end of her performance, though, Kelly Rowland was in bits telling her she'd had a dream someone would sing an amazing version of that song and that she was it. I personally had little emotion towards Jade, to me she's someone who did an OK job of a song that's been done to death, exploited her relationship with her grandmother and then slagged her home town of Fife off, calling it a "dive" and somewhere she'd rather not be living which seems a bit unnecessary to me.

The singing itself wasn't bad but I just don't understand why there's been such a build-up around Jade. I like that thing in her hair, though. Good choice.

Have we seen the last of Jade..? Definitely not. Since the video of her audition was uploaded onto YouTube 24 hours ago it's already clocked up 300,000 hits and Jade has already been named favourite to win the show by bookmakers. It's going to take stronger stuff than that audition to win me over, though, I can tell you.


This week's show was not as funny as the past two weeks have been, unfortunately, meaning Hilarious X Factor Visual Of The Night will instead, for one week only, have to be replaced by...

Mildly Funny X Factor Visual Of The Night

Jade Richards' gran almost breaking Dermot O'Leary's hand by the looks of things.


Watch the auditions yourself:
David Wilder - Life On Mars?
Luke Lucas - Who's Loving You?
Michael Lewis - Look At Me
Jade Richards - Someone Like You