28 Apr 2015

The X Factor NZ: Back to black

9:08 am on 28 April 2015

This week was yet another reminder that beneath a thin veneer of order, chaos still reigns at X Factor NZ.

X Factor's Steve Broad.

X Factor's Steve Broad. Photo: The X Factor NZ

With the announcement this week that Dominic Bowden is to be hosting Dancing with the Stars, it seems timely to query, what the hell is the deal with this guy? This week Dom’s typically bizarre conduct included a particularly poorly-executed joke in reference to #ponytailgate, when he asked poor Lili post-performance if he could pull hers. It wasn’t funny. Lili looked uncomfortable. It didn’t even totally make sense since she was wearing braids.

How does he manage to come across as both sleazy and completely asexual? In any case even the thought of Dom’s touch was enough to taint Lili for New Zealand once and for all and after a shock final two pairing with national hero Steve Tonks, she was at long last dispatched.

The theme this week was ‘Musical Heroes’, theoretically a chance for the acts to finally indicate how they actually perceive themselves stylistically and musically, a little late in the day, but whatever. Some acts were better at this than others. While Lili’s choice of Amy Winehouse shed some light on what it was she’s been going for this whole time, Steve Broad’s sudden love of Usher only further scrambled his already deeply troubled personal brand.

Considering Steve’s improbable continued success, his mentor and paramour Mel was mad salty on Monday night and though they were very cuddly in the elimination show I fear there is trouble in paradise. Alternatively she might be as sick of this whole circus all as everyone else, and just want some private time with her new toy boy. Though Mel was unarguably disagreeable, where there is a grumpy woman there will be condescending misogynistic jokes and this week’s X Factor was no exception with the hashtag ‘angry mel’ created just for her. No wonder Mel hates them all.

Amongst all this were performances from Avalanche City and Lili-alike Gin Wigmore, a seemingly completely unplanned visit from Demi Lovato and a cheerful montage of the contestants at a magazine photo shoot. What a week.

X Factor's Stevie Tonks.

X Factor's Stevie Tonks. Photo: The X Factor NZ

Monday night’s show was opened by Stevie Tonks covering ‘Billie Jean’ by Michael Jackson. Like the other judges I disagree with Mel that the dancing was too “musical theatre” and, though it was a pretty great performance, Stevie inexplicably found himself in the bottom two. It has been widely noted that the first acts to perform for the previous four weeks have been the ones to be eliminated and with the near loss of Stevie it is now clear that the curse of the opening act is real and deadly. Dear Stevie narrowly and heroically escaped, but I fear now that it will pursue him, Final Destination style.

With her blue hair well and truly washed out it really was time for Lili to leave, and though her choice of Amy Winehouse as her musical hero was alright, her elimination performance of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Blue Jeans’ was an affront to Lana fans everywhere. Poor Lili was never going to last and having suffered at the hands of Dom and Shelton, we can only hope that now she is in a better place.

Beau chose 1950’s musician Frankie Lymon as his musical hero, and though on paper his dubstep version of ‘Goody Goody’ appeared ill advised, it was easily his best and most competent performance so far. Though I totally buy the Beau brand, this week was the first time I saw just what a heartthrob he has become. This of course puts him in direction competition with Steve Broad and perhaps explains why Mel was particularly unkind to Beau, calling his performance “cheesy” and reminiscing about when she used to like him. #angrymel

X Factor's Brendon Thomas and the Vibes.

X Factor's Brendon Thomas and the Vibes. Photo: The X Factor NZ

Brendon Thomas and The Vibes revealed their musical hero to be Stevie Wonder (“pure feel, and he’s blind too!”) and they were very pleased to return to ‘good’ music having the week before played a “commercial” rock song (“something we never do!”) Their performance of ‘Higher Ground’ was neither here nor there and they greatly overestimated how cute or interesting the drummer wearing pyjamas would be. Like oh my god we get it. How are they still here? We have all had our fun with BT and the V but my god they are so whatever to me now. Shelton has turned these simple good natured bourgeois faux hippies into elitist monsters and I will not stand for it.

Nyssa heeded the judges’ advice from the previous week by moving around the stage and turned out to be entirely competent at it. Nyssa’s musical hero is Alicia Keys and her performance of ‘Empire State of Mind’ was lovely. It could have been super lame when she changed the lyrics from New York to South Auckland but it was totally endearing. Even Shelton was nice about it, though not without the disclaimer that he didn’t think he heard the vocals properly over the audiences screams.

Eliminated: Lili Bayliss.

Eliminated: Lili Bayliss. Photo: The X Factor NZ

The final and most bizarre performance of the night was Steve Broad whose idol is apparently Usher, and boy his version of ‘Climax’ was not good. His falsetto was terrible and no one was buying that he is secretly an Usher fanatic. Mel’s and Steve’s love has run amok just as I predicted, and neither of them are seeing clearly.

From his Ronan Keating attire to this bizarre song choice, this week we learned infinitely more about Mel’s own sick fantasies than Steve’s own musical aspirations and she must be stopped. Steve’s performance was the worst of the week and he’s clearly the weakest left in the competition. I have always been very fond of dear Steve and I was so ready to write him a very loving obituary but my god he just won’t die.

With Stevie Tonks in the bottom two and Steve Broad still firmly in the competition, this week was yet another reminder that beneath a thin veneer of order, at X Factor chaos reigns. Mel can barely stand the whole thing anymore. Stan is down his final act. Shelton is still a misogynist. Demi Lovato can drop by unannounced at any moment. And led by Bowden, anything could happen.

Stevie and Nyssa are the only two truly deserving contestants remaining and yet the possibility of a Steve Broad victory is becoming an increasingly sinister possibility. Please think carefully dear viewer, for not only does the winner get some kind of recording contract they also win a car. Who is really the most deserving of that? Steve can get a ride with Mel. Have some decency.