The X Factor – Series 11 Episode 11

Five extremely-out-of-date-but-hopefully-you’ll-still-read-it thoughts about the final round of Boot Camp.

1. Most Underwhelming Cliffhanger Resolution Since Lost Ended: In a move that I’m sure was shocking and unexpected and devastating to anyone who was watching television for the very first time: Simon chucked out that girl whose performance we hadn’t even seen and gave her seat to Jay James. I’m stunned.

2. East Is East: To finish off the Overs category, we had the last two women in the group: up first was former Addictiv Lady Fleur East (who continues to disappoint me by not singing that Addictiv Ladies song that they walked in singing during their first audition back in series two), who was sharp enough to notice that there were no seats left, but didn’t let it distress her as she popped on a pair of sunglasses and performed ‘Paper Planes’. Mel gave her a warning about Song Choice because she thought parts of it weren’t very good, but Simon liked it enough to give her a seat. Specifically, Raign’s seat. I mean, in the long term of course I’m fine with this because I think Fleur has much more to offer than Raign as a singer (obviously Raign has much more to offer as an X Factor oddball, that goes without saying), but in the short term it distressed me because Cheryl was so bloody smug about it. She even glared at Raign as she left, because Cheryl does not possess the ability to be classy even for 20 seconds. Raign even took her exit surprisingly well, saying that Fleur has a fabulous voice, but there’s now nobody like Raign in the competition and that’s a shame. (Disclaimer: writing this the night that the second live show aired, I appreciate the truth in Raign’s words more than I did at the time this episode actually aired. COME BACK RAIGN THIS SHOW NEEDS YOU.) Rounding off Simon’s category was Helen Fulthorpe, who I legitimately do not remember ever seeing before, but I’m sure she must have cropped up at some point. She sang ‘Nobody Knows’, and I love a bit of Pink as much as the next person, but Emo!Pink is always my least favourite kind of Pink. Helen’s performance wasn’t that great either, just rather loud and trilly, but it made Mel cry because Helen is a BRAVE MUM or something. Simon commanded Helen to take Sister Pattinson’s seat, then changed his mind and told Sister Pattinson to sit down, and binned Janet Grogan From Dublin instead, because apparently the audience were really upset about Sister Pattinson going or something. It says here.

3. Group Therapy: Fortunately the show saved the best for last, because Louis’ handling of the entire process was a hot, hot mess and the whole thing was delicious. It all started off simply enough with The Brooks, Unnamed Eight-Piece Boyband Project (who at this point had been together just 24 hours) and Blonde Electric all getting seats – just one seat per act, though, just to make that section of the stage look really messy. Then seven-piece girl group The Pow Pow Girls (really?) turned up and were kind of a mess all over their performance (although their harmonies showed promise) and Louis decided to boot them. This wasn’t a popular decision with the crowd, who started chanting “bring them back!” (which one of them claimed was all she needed to hear, hooray for clearing a low bar), which unsettled Louis enough to call them back and give them a seat.

4. Bands On The Run: The general sense of despair pervading the Groups category continued as Overload sang ‘9 To 5’ rather squeakily and earned the quietly damning critique of “it was more fun than good” from Simon, but still got a seat because Louis presumed they were money in the bank. Then the Five-Piece Lady Frankenband came out to sing the John Lewis version of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’. The final harmony was pretty atrocious, but the rest of it was apparently good enough to counteract that and earn them the last seat. They were followed by boyband Concept. That’s not one of my tongue-in-cheek cynical names, they are actually called Concept. Louis wanted to give them a seat, and decided to chuck out Blonde Electric before changing his mind and ditching Lady Frankenband instead. And that’s when things really started to get messy.

5. Most Overcrowded Stage Since The Polyphonic Spree Performed In Our School Assembly: The last group to perform were Only The Young, the mixed-sex group who appear to have broken all of the rules by actually knowing each other prior to the auditions and forming a group voluntarily. They also performed ‘9 To 5’, also got a seat, and Louis decided to jettison Overload. Except Overload refused to leave quietly, and The Blond One said that they wouldn’t leave without a fight. Rather than call security as any sensible person would’ve done at this point, Louis decided to have A Motherfucking Sing-Off between Overload and The Pow Pow Girls to see who’d get the honour of losing their seat to Only The Young. And if you thought that wasn’t complicated enough, Cheryl decided to chip in and say that if Louis was going to do this, he might as well whack Lady Frankenband back in there too and make it a real competition. So The Powerpuff Girls (who sounded suspiciously well-prepared for such an ostensibly spontaneous turn of events) sang ‘Roar’, Overload sang ‘Pompeii’ and Lady Frankenband sang…’Somewhere Only We Know’ again. And to think they say the definition of madness is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result. Judging by the sing-off alone, The Powerpuff Girls were probably the best, Overload were clearly the worst, so I was expecting the last seat to go to Overload, and Louis decided to give it to…Lady Frankenband. Huh. Well, if nothing else, it’s nice that even after 11 series, the workings of Louis mind are still as mysterious to me as they ever were.

NEXT: Judges. And houses.

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