Monday, 5 April 2010

Diamond in the rough

Top 11 Results: 4th April 2010

No pre-titles sequence for us - how strange. I feel a bit bereft without a Graham voiceover reminding me what happened "last night" and asking leading questions about which Dorothy might have run out of Yellow Brick Road to follow. Still, at least I appreciate it as far as economy of recapping goes. Or rather, I would have, had I not just waffled on for an extraneous paragraph about how there was no pre-titles teaser. So, er, shall we get on with it?

Graham welcomes us back and informs us that the lines have now closed. In fact, the lines closed nearly 24 hours ago, but we're back in the days of pre-recorded results shows where everyone knows it's not live but we're all supposed to pretend it is - a bit like Bruce Forsyth. Thank you! I'll be here all week, and don't forget to tip your waitress. One of our Dorothys must leave the competition for good, unless they are saved by the Lord. That's Lord Webber, of course - while I'm totally sure God watches this show and was probably vengeful indeed when Camille didn't get chosen as the wildcard, he's as powerless as the rest of us when it comes to influencing the results.

The Top 11 reprise their performance of 'Merry Old Land Of Oz' from "last night", now with 100% more Emilie, only instead of Graham's voiceover telling us that these girls are competing for our votes, he's now asking which Dorothy will be going home. Ooh, sinister. I like it. Of course, this being musical theatre, the girls all grin sunnily even as we debate which of them is about to join the 126% of the profession that's currently unemployed, or whatever that statistic that Sheila threw at Claire Hillier was.

Graham introduces the panel again - they've changed their outfits, but don't be fooled! This is all just the magic of television trying to convince us it is a bright new day when it is in fact not. Graham teases the search for Toto still to come, and also a terrifying-sounding "Dorothy mash-up". Clearly, someone on the production team has been watching Glee. Oh, and of course, there's the always unmissable "prove you can do what your character does" exercise, which appears to involve farm work this week. As keen as I am to see this, I can only hope there will at some point be a masterclass in which Barbara Windsor appears to show the girls how to interact with munchkins, just so she can do the Face Of Truth at us again. [FACE OF TRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTH! - Carrie]

Time for a recap of last night's show: Stephanie opened with a performance of Pixie Lott's 'Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)', in the traditional jazz hands style and involved some serious face-pulling. Charlotte enjoyed her self-confidence, and John thought she was a natural born entertainer. Backstage, Stephanie hopes people voted for her. Lauren did a wobbly version of Leona Lewis's cover of 'Run', which you may not realise was originally performed by Snow Patrol. THANKS FOR THAT, CHART ORACLE CHERYL COLE. Sheila thought she had a good crack at it, and Charlotte was in awe of her voice. Backstage, Lauren was buzzing, but not in a meow meow sort of way, kids. Dani got buried beneath an attempt at The Saturdays' 'Ego' and Charlotte thought she struggled, while Sheila and John had issues with the acting side of her performance. Steph glory-noted her way through 'I Just Can't Stop Loving You', leaving Sheila wanting more colours and John reminded her that "less is more". The Lord was not sure that The Wizard Of Oz is the right show for her, leading Steph to speculate backstage that that's a euphemism for "you are not Dorothy".

Appropriately enough, Amy took on Fergie's overgrown stripper anthem 'Big Girls Don't Cry', and John wanted her to be "less MTV, more West End", while The Lord thought she'd be great in Legally Blonde. Unfortunately, the part of Rufus has already been filled. I'm kidding! I'm kidding. Please, don't e-mail me. Backstage, Amy's all "of course, I would be AWESOME in Legally Blonde, but that's not what I'm auditioning for". Hee. I like that she's so on-the-nose about it all. She will apply those comments to next week's song. Danielle achieved the rare feat of making Daniel Merriweather's 'Red' listenable, but got mixed reviews from the panel: Charlotte liked the interpretation but not the vocal, while Sheila and The Lord were more favourable. She really wants this, and is hoping to continue. Then Emilie STOLE THE WILDCARD SPOT THAT WAS RIGHTFULLY CAMILLE'S (no, I'm not planning on getting over this any time soon), and promptly rubbed my face in it by caterwauling her way through Kelly Clarkson's 'Breakaway' like the poster child for banning music forever. Charlotte warned her to control her voice, and John thought she was too restrained. Backstage, Emilie hopes the public will continue to support her. ERRONEOUSLY, I might add.

Bronte Barbie (Mr Rochester Ken, Mad Bertha Skipper and Thornfield Manor Beach House playset sold separately) [God, I love literary in-jokes making me feel intellectual - Carrie] sang 'I Can't Make You Love Me' and "was competent" according to John, though Sheila liked her more, while Charlotte wanted more sadness. Backstage, Bronte worried that she hadn't done enough, but hoped the public would support her anyway. I'd chastise her for that casual attitude to her work, but then again most of the time my work ethic is "just be competent enough not to get fired", so I guess I'm in no position to point fingers. M&S Advert Circa The Year 2000 Dorothy Jessica sang a frankly ludicrous rendition of 'Rehab'. John thought she was the first girl of the night to make the song seem like musical theatre, while Charlotte couldn't tear her eyes away. Insert your own "car crash" joke here. Backstage, Jessica reminded us that she's just so privileged to be here, because she is REALLY REALLY NORMAL. Expect to see her running up a mountain and showing us her bra any day now. Sophie took on 'If I Were A Boy', and John and Charlotte thought she struggled, but they still liked her. Sophie hoped the public would keep her in. Jenny closed the show with 'So What', possibly the least Dorothy song ever, though Charlotte loved her, and Sheila appreciated her wit. Jenny hoped the people at home vote for her because she's not ready to go home yet.

Graham's with the Dorothys, and wants to know how it was to face "real criticism" for the first time. He asks Bronte why she was so upset, given that her comments seemed largely positive, and she says that it's good to get some degree of criticism because it gives her something to work on. Amy says that it's tough to hear that the panel wanted something different, but says that if she's hear next week, she can maybe bring the panel "half Diamond, half Dorothy". She's going to give it 50%! This girl wouldn't last two seconds on The Apprentice.

Time to check in with Overly Made-Up Jodie on the search for Toto. It's the same, slightly stilted VT we've seen several times before. Filler! Back in the studio, Graham explains that each week we'll be getting a "mash-up" from the Dorothys, and then explains for those who don't know (and given that this is a primetime BBC1 weekend show, I'm guessing that's about 98% of the audience) what a mash-up actually is. Andrew dodges the question of whether he likes a mash-up, and wishes Graham a happy birthday instead. Except it wasn't actually his birthday when they filmed this, etc etc. The Dorothys then arrive to perform their first mash-up of the series, which is a blend of 'Anything You Can Do' and Alexandra BURKE's 'Broken Heels'. And the blend isn't so much seamless as it is incredibly disjointed, but hey, at least they're trying to get down with the kids, right? Also, it's not so much a mash-up as it is half a verse of 'Anything You Can Do' serving as a curtain-raiser for pretty much the entirety of 'Broken Heels'. Still, they've got weeks and weeks to perfect the art of the mash-up, right? Andrew is speechless at the end, and is thrilled at the general quality of the talent. [Steve, this was lame lame lame. We were better at Lucky Voice the other week. And at least one of the two of us was guzzling mojitos at the time. - Carrie]

Task time! The girls are woken shortly after 5am and greeted by a video message from Andrew on their TV. It's not exactly RuPaul's She-Mail, but it'll do, I guess. He tells them they're going to be farmgirls today, and the girls are all very excited at the prospect of donning their wellies. They're going to be supervised by Countryfile presenter and farmer Adam Henson, who starts them off gently by getting them to feed some adorable ickle lambs with bottles. After that, however, they're mucking out the pigsties. Hooray! "It's not really what I expected," admits Lauren. Totally Normal Jessica dry heaves, but says she's willing to do whatever it takes to be Dorothy. Graham reveals via voiceover that while the girls know Adam is marking them, they don't know that the winner gets an extra performance on Sunday's show. Oh God, please don't let it be Emilie. Adam says he's looking for someone no-nonsense who doesn't care about glamour and razzmatazz. Stephanie giggles that Sophie is struggling, because she's a Welsh girl from the valleys who ought to be used to this sort of thing. Dani says that she's happy to be on a farm working hard. Bronte says that she's pleased to be taking the experience of the farm. Steph struggles with a flat tyre on her wheelbarrow. Amy performs well, despite everyone thinking that she'd be too much of a glamour girl to muck in. Amy tells the camera that she's more than happy for people to underestimate her. Once they've finished muck-spreading (literally if not metaphorically), the girls are tasked with some pig-herding. Group 1 (Amy, Lauren and Jenny) starts slowly but fares reasonably well, while the other girls get Benny Hill music to soundtrack them, so you can imagine what their efforts are like. Once that's all done, Adam announces the prize, and picks the best farm girl of the day: Bronte. She gets to pick three girls to share her prize, and opts for Emilie (DEAR GOD WHY), Jessica (LIKEWISE) and Amy (MIGHT AS WELL WHILE SHE'S STILL HERE).

Bronte's reward is to sing 'Love Machine' in a kind of yee-haw country style, complete with put-on sidegob. Didn't we have enough of those two years ago? [Also, inappropriately provocative choreography. - Carrie] Bronte does okay apart from that hideous snarl she insists on retaining, Jessica struggles to keep her breath, Amy is fairly sassy, and Emilie is a honking tuneless mess as usual. Seriously: good job, voting public. I can't wait for you to be let loose on the next general election.

Time for a semi-bitchy VT, as the girls name the other contestants who they perceive as a threat: a surprisingly clean-faced Amy nominates Dani because Andrew's supported her so vocally, and Jessica thinks Dani is the dark horse. Dani is looking out for Sophie, while Steph thinks Lauren is serious competition. Lauren herself wants all the others to say she's the biggest competition. Danielle nominates Sophie, Bronte picks Lauren because they have similar songs, while Sophie and Stephanie pick Jenny, while Jenny and Emilie vote for Steph. It's not nearly as much fun as the VT they did during How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? that might as well have been called "Who Is The Bitch That You Hate?", where Simona said everyone was lovely and she couldn't possibly choose, while everyone else said "WE HATE THAT BITCH SIMONA." Ahh, good times.

Before we get to the results, Graham asks the panel who is not Dorothy based on this week's performances. Sheila picks Amy, John picks Sophie, and Charlotte picks Dani, after a pause you could have driven a truck through. Finally, it's time to announce the results, in no particular order of course. Bronte's name is called first, and she's safe. Dani and Stephanie are called together, and are both safe. Jenny is also safe. Danielle and Jessica are called together, and are also both safe. The five remaining girls start to look nervous, and are asked to step down from the stairs onto the main stage. Lauren is the first to be given a reprieve: she's safe too. Amy is in the sing-off, and must remain where she is. Amy's supporters yell things loudly. Emilie is safe too, because the universe hates me, so it's between Steph and Sophie for the last guaranteed place. There's a sweet moment where Sophie, already holding Steph's hand for support, fumbles around blindly for Amy's and doesn't catch it (because Amy's hands are clasped in front of her) and gives up, only for Amy to reach across and take Sophie's hand without even looking down. Awww. Steph is told that she is in the bottom two, so Sophie is safe and through to next week's show.

Huge shocker, right? The girl who everyone thinks is basically a stripper and the only non-white Dorothy are in the bottom two in week one. I for one could not have seen this coming, because I have never seen a BBC reality show before. Graham reveals that if it were down to viewer votes alone, Amy would've been going home, but there's still hope for her because Andrew may save her after the sing-off. Yeah. That'll happen.

They'll be singing 'Whistle Down The Wind', and Andrew advises them to try to be Dorothy with all their might, because this is a song that Dorothy might have sung. Unlike, say, 'So What'. Just throwing that out there. Steph starts a little sharp but claws it back reasonably quickly, though she seems to be singing in an Irish accent for reasons that escape me. Amy sings clearly and purely, but maybe a bit too blandly. Steph's high notes are grating indeed, and then her lower notes start to crack. To be honest, I kind of think Amy's kicking Steph's ass in this sing-off, which I was not expecting before they began it. Amy's still totally going home, though. They both nod resignedly at the end, like they both think they're going home, and I don't blame either of them for thinking that right now.

It's over to The Lord to decide who continues in the competition. Andrew says it's a difficult choice between the two of them, but opts to save Steph, because Legally Blonde "is the sort of role [Amy] should be going for". Just to clear this up once and for all: Legally Blonde is not an actual part, it is the title of the show. If you think she should be Elle Woods, THEN SAY THAT. (Personally I see her as more of a Margot, or perhaps Serena.) [I actually think she'd be a good Elle. She's got that 'brighter than she looks' steeliness about her. - Carrie] He tells Amy that she's very talented, but not right for this role. Then why was she in the Top 10? If the talent pool is really so strong as you keep saying it is, then why is this girl who basically everyone, with the possible exception of John, thinks is entirely wrong for the part even on the show?

Graham tells Amy she did well to get this far, and she says that she's had an amazing time, but she did what she came here to do. Finish in eleventh place? I can't imagine that's what she came there to do. She shouts out to the other girls that you can follow your dreams whoever you are, and she will continue to follow her dreams. Aw. I'll miss Amy. I actually quite liked her, and would rather have her stick around for a few weeks than Normal Crazy Eyed Jessica, or fucking Emilie, but no one cares what I think. Also, I didn't actually vote, which does weaken my argument somewhat.

It's time for the other girls to sing Amy away: they begin chanting their way through 'We Thank You Very Sweetly' before turning to Andrew to say "you've ditched her so completely" which is both evil and AWESOME, before seguing into the opening lines of 'Over The Rainbow' (the "when all the world is a hopeless jumble" part), while Steph takes Amy's slippers away from her and delivers them to Andrew, and Amy takes over the singing from "somewhere over the rainbow, way up high". She does this while sitting on a crescent moon suspended over the stairs, which then carries her right across the studio as she sings. This show is so very gay - I love it. Amy blows kisses to the other girls as she sings, and they smile sadly at her with tears in their eyes. Amy sings the song well, but yeah, she was never right for this role. She finishes, and the moon carries her high up and out of sight - and we're out.

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