1850: It's the Wild Card round tonight. And hey, there's a studio audience! That's a first. We're still on the cheapo set, though.
Recap of the wildcard list being announced on last week's results show.
Ant confirms that this show is properly live (all the episodes so far were pre-taped). Kieran is up first. Video package of him and the voice coach guy doing a post mortem on the previous show and discussing where they went wrong. Kieran has been told to be sexy. This does not appear to accord with his self-image.
He's doing "I'm Your Man", with a proper backing track. I'm not sure I'd call this "sexy." "Cheesy", perhaps. Kieran has adopted the posture of a man riding an invisible donkey. Maybe the ladies like that these days. I don't know. Kieran makes gestures of relief and happiness once the song is finished.
Fox is pleased that Kieran has changed his image, but thinks the song was a bad choice. Nicky points out that he looked relieved at the end, which undermines his claim to have enjoyed it. She's pleased to have heard an up tempo number at last. She does realise that we've had pianos so far? Pete says it was "awful" and "lacklustre." Simon says it was "absolutely horrible.... end of the pier, and not even a very big pier." Simon and Pete both emphasise that he can do better than that. The audience, who apparently don't understand their role in this show, fail to boo either of them.
Kieran tells Ant and Dec that he's gutted. He says he's not going to cry, and then promptly starts crying. Dec gives his usual "it's the people at home who decide" speech.
Jodie. I think I liked this girl when she was up first time round, didn't I? Oh yeah, she did "One Day I'll Fly Away" when she was ill, and that's why they've given her a second go. She's wearing a bizarre denim outfit with a miniskirt, exposed midriff and flared sleeves. It looks like Rob Liefeld's idea of a linedancer, and generally seems at odds with her song choice - a ballad arrangement of Bryan Adams' "Heaven." It wasn't a desperately good performance, to be honest, with tuning a bit ropey. She's got promise, even so.
Fox is delighted - "a tad screechy in the middle" but she looks like a pop star. (She does, but she looks like a member of Rednex.) Nicky agrees that the high notes were dodgy, but liked the rest. Pete liked it. Simon disagrees with the praise - "adequate" and good enough for a girl group, he says, but not for a solo artist. He's got a point.
Rebecca. She was thrown by some wrong notes first time round. Cece (or however you spell it) does the distraction training routine that Carrie was doing in Pop Idol. Rebecca comes out and immediately fails to tune a note properly in the first phrase. She's doing "I'll Be There", and and it remains rather patchy. There are bits which are rather good. And there are bits which definitely aren't. It's getting better as it goes on. She looks terrible up there; the costume is not remotely flattering, and the trousers seem to have started off life as a tarpaulin.
Fox is impressed by the improvement over her last heat, and thinks it was "a really good performance." Nicky questions whether she was too busy showing off her voice to get the emotion, which is a very sound criticism. Pete hesitates, before saying that he was slightly disappointed. He agrees with Nicky that there wasn't enough tenderness. Simon is disappointed generally; he hasn't seen anyone tonight who leaped out as having slipped through the net. He's right.
Rebecca thought she did okay, but kind of vaguely concedes that they had a point. Then she goes onto the "made it my own" defence which is always wheeled out for misguided interpretations. The other contestants offer their support.
Jason. I don't really remember this guy. He's trying to act. I suppose he's doing alright. What on earth is that hairstyle? Something about it's catching the light and making him look like he's got steel wool glued to his skull. I can't even remember what that song's called. He was quite good, though.
Fox admits that he didn't particularly want Jason to make the wildcard list, but thought it got really good by the end. Nicky thinks he's improved significantly over the previous heat. Pete agrees. Simon observes that Jason's main asset is cuteness and his voice isn't that great, but then goes on to predict that all the grannies will vote for Jason. Surprisingly, this crowd seems to be heavily pro-Simon and laughs at his Pete Waterman jokes.
Glenn. Last week he did "A Million Love Songs" and came fourth. He needs to show more emotion, say the vocal coaches. This week, he's doing "Yesterday" and looks extremely constipated. This is an awful choice of song. I've never seen anyone look so tense. What on earth is that posture? He's S-shaped.
Fox isn't impressed. "You looked very uncomfortable," he says, which is an understatement. Nicky witters about nerves and says he's not going to get through. Pete: "You looked a defeated man." Glenn attributes it to nerves, and Pete points out that that's not going to help him. Simon: "This is not a good show, and you're one of the reasons why." Simon again expresses disappointment at the standard of the whole show.
Backstage, Glenn looks utterly miserable. He thinks it's all about nerves, and murmurs that Simon's not in a good mood. (Nor should he be.) Glenn complains that they shouldn't get bad reviews because they've all worked so hard. I don't care how hard they've worked. I only care whether they're any good, and Glenn certainly wasn't. Fuck off, Glenn.
Suzanne talks about the horror of watching herself back on video. Seriously, didn't she see herself on video during the preparation for her heat? Cece makes Suzanne shout in public to overcome her nerves. Right. Suzanne has opted another startling fashion error. I'm no style expert, but for god's sake. She looks like a dumpy ballerina. She sings "I Don't Want To Talk About It", quite well.
Fox loves her voice, and throws in a criticism of her clothes. Nicky says something about a "unique style", which is exceptionally tactful. She correctly points out that Suzanne is plagued by nerves. Pete loved the vocal. So did Simon, much to her surprise.
Suzanne expresses her surprise to Ant and Dec, and then namechecks BO SELECTA. Oh dear.
Danielle. Ah, the one-handed wonder. Hey, everyone's got to have a gimmick. She does a passable but unexceptional version of "Thorn In My Side." Fox says it was a bit cabaret and rather nervous. Nicky, rather implausibly, claims that "at the beginning we didn't really remember you", as if the early round auditions were full of one-handed women and it was just so tough to pick Danielle out from the crowd. Pete is pleased with the development but generally seems to be bending over backwards to find excuses to be nice about her, without actually showing signs of enthusiasm. Simon is happy enough, but not convinced by the song choice.
Ant and Dec ask Danielle about song choice. Her reply suggests a general lack of understanding of why it should be significant.
Sam. Last time he did "Walking In Memphis", and he thinks he started too big. This time, he's doing... what's it called? "Over My Shoulder"? Well, whatever. Sam's a total boy band act, which means he's not desperately good and relies heavily on the echo on his mike, but can at least carry a tune. He gets by on being cute. Except, of course, he didn't get by on being cute, which is why he's here in the wildcard round. This is not desperately good, but it would do for a boy band member.
Fox is reminded of David Cassidy, and then realises that he has to explain who David Cassidy is. Nicky likes the passion and enthusiasm. Well, he does seem to enjoy being on stage, that's true. Pete thinks Sam doesn't have the strongest voice and needs more training, but agrees with the rest. Simon thinks it's between Sam and two unnamed others, and breaks off to correct Ant & Dec on their pronunciation of "judges."