TV & Radio
Boy, oh boy. You are in for a treat today X Factor fans.
In these straitened times, when next to nothing is free, we are going to give you twice the free stuff. Yes, we are making the impossible possible.
You might not actually want it but, dearest readers, today you are getting two X Factor reviews for the price of one. It's deflation gone completely mad. Honestly, it's more a celebration... Celebration time come on, it's a celebration.
As a warning, the reviews will be Jekyll and Hyde in nature. Let the party begin...
Dominic Bowden is working the crowd into a frenzy. He's fist pumping. Just to the left a little Dominic, your head is there.
Taye Williams got a bit of a lashing from Ratty (Daniel Bedingfield) last week, and his mentor and show judge Stan Walker says he felt Williams' pain. Yep, felt his pain. Just saying.
Williams Settles Down with a Kimbra track, subtle, I know, with judge Melanie Blatt saying she really, bless her, "felt it". She's in good form, like she's had a couple before the show. It could just be her accent though.
Blatt has been to the 'Tron apparently, where her group L.O.V.E hail from. Here's a big shout out to Geoff Taylor in the 'Tron. Keep your head down baby.
L.O.V.E tackle OMC's How Bizarre, laced with, as our readers have correctly pointed out, Salt n Pepper's Push it. My bad.
Blatt is on the offensive, rejecting Pink (Ruby) Frost's quite polite, and correct, suggestion that they sound flat. Blatt, flat, Blatt, flat, Blatt, flat. I'm sorry, I really am, but my stomach hurts and I need to run to the loo.
Unfortunately, I return to see Tom Batchelor's stomach as he fights on a pair of leather pants. I flee back. I wouldn't wish this on Bowden.
I can hear Batchelor's attempt at Slice of Heaven from the throne room and he sounds about as Blatt as I feel.
Maybe Tomorrow I will feel better. It's prescient that line, because Jackie Thomas sings Goldenhorse's number of the same name. The judges all look a bit gooey.
Her dancing is a bit odd. And why are those chairs floating above the stage? Less dancing and more singing and she's a shoo in for the final five.
As an aside I used to play cricket against her dad, Kevin, who was a radio DJ for a bit. His nickname was Two Song.
Whenua Patuwai is on to his second song of the knockout rounds (bad segue, again, my apologies). His version of Hollie Smith's Bathe in the River is good, but Ratty says he wanted to (stop it, please stop it) "feel the river" more.
Bowden, rightly, picks up on Ratty's touching comment but his attempt to parlay it into a joke with Patuwai falls flat because Ratty isn't listening. Fair enough.
Anna Wilson, who can sing, emotes something I've never heard. It's the equivalent of filling your ears with sugar and then having to scrape it out with a cotton bud and eat it.
The SBW's (Moorhouse) look good, again, but their rendition of the Exponent's Why Does Love do This to Me is just a bit blah. Much like the original. Ratty thinks they need more time with the singing coach.
They sound a thousand times better than Fletcher Mills though, who is sitting down at the piano looking troubled and warbling Bic Runga's Sway. Lyric sample: "Say you'll stay, don't come and go like you do."
Let's hope he doesn't stay. His voice isn't up to it and he should have been shopped last week. Teen girls, look past his jaw line. Blatt concurs, here are her quite brilliant comments: "The only things that are getting tortured are my ears; you've bought the whole show down; I'm over you babe." Quite rightly, Mills looks like he wants to cry.
Maaka Fiso is class again, but I have little time for the generic 'Kiwi sound' that is Six60's terribly dull Don't Forget Your Roots. I know it was No.1 forever, but it's lame.
Benny Tipene dedicates Chris Knox's Not Given Lightly to his mum, who beat breast cancer. He's a nice lad, has doe-eyed looks, good teeth and holds a tune well.
The panel say he's going to be an international star, which is also an accolade they bestow on the final two performers of the night - Gap 5, who manage to brilliantly squeeze John Farnham's You're the Voice in to the back of Lorde's Royals, and teen Cassie Henderson singing Brooke Fraser's Something in the Water.
Should you be telling a 14-year-old girl she's going to be an international star? My tummy is grumbling again.
Dominic Bowden is working the crowd into a frenzy. He's fist pumping. Keep going Dominic, they love you and so do I you sexy man beast.
Taye Williams got a bit of a lashing from the always-beautifully dressed Daniel Bedingfield last week, and his mentor and judge Stan Walker says he felt Williams' pain. We were there with him too, every step of the away. Like footprints in the sand.
Williams Settles Down with a Kimbra track and judge Melanie Blatt beams. She really liked it. I like it when she smiles.
Blatt has been to Hamilton apparently, where her group L.O.V.E hail from. Their name fits the town, New Zealand's city of love. We are all about the love (a second review for nothing, remember), so here's a shout out for Hamilton man Geoff Taylor. He's a sexy man beast, too.
L.O.V.E nail OMC's How Bizarre. The three judges that count are unanimous in their love. I think I'm feeling better than I have in a long time - I have a warm glow in my stomach.
Tom Batchelor looks good in leather pants doesn't he? It's apt that he's singing a Slice of Heaven, because that's what he is.
He's followed, by the also heaven sent, Jackie Thomas. The judges beam at her, and she really busts the moves in addition to a pitch-perfect take on Goldenhorse's Maybe Tomorrow.
As an aside I faced her father on a pitch, a cricket pitch, he was fairly handy. And boy, did he know his music.
Whenua Patuwai's big voice rips out Hollie Smith's Bathe in the River and Bedingfield really likes it. It washes over him.
I might not have heard Anna Wilson's track before, but my ears certainly like it. It's the aural equivalent of eating delicious toffee.
The SBW's (Moorhouse) are looking good again, they're probably the sexiest men beasts on the show, and they could sell-out any bar in the country touring their rendition of the Exponent's always brilliant Why Does Love do This to Me.
They've got competition in the form of Fletcher Mills, though. His version of Bic Runga's Sway will have a lot of people wanting him to, as the lyrics say: "Say you'll stay, don't come and go like you do." The judges' feedback, on the whole, is positive and it looks like tears of joy are welling in his eyes.
Last week it was Maaka Fiso getting the big ups and he's at it again with a stirring version of that classic Kiwi track, Six60's Don't Forget Your Roots. There's a reason that track was No.1 for so long.
A trio of great acts finish off the show: Benny Tipene dedicates Chris Knox's Not Given Lightly to his mum, who beat breast cancer. He's the sort of chap you'd like your daughter to bring home and have play a tune for the family after dinner
While Gap 5 manage to brilliantly squeeze John Farnham's You're the Voice in to the back of Lorde's Royals, and teen sensation Cassie Henderson stomps it up with Brooke Fraser's Something in the Water.
The panel have nothing but praise for the above trio. They say they're going to be big international stars. I agree. I really do.