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2012
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The Subaru XV has been named ‘SUV of the Year’ by 4x4 Magazine ahead of rivals from Audi, Kia, Mazda, Nissan and Volkswagen.


Judges were impressed by the compact crossover's fuel economy, enjoyable driving characteristics and ground clearance.

Subaru’s customer service package called Everything Taken Care of (ETCo), apparently helped tip the balance in the Subaru’s favour.

Commenting on the XV’s victory, Nigel Fryatt, Editor, 4x4 Magazine, said: “The SUV class in 4x4 Magazine’s 4x4 of the Year test is one of the most competitive. The Subaru XV was an interesting new arrival in that class, which did much to impress judges.

The Subaru XV range is available in 1.6 petrol manual or CVT, 2.0 petrol manual or CVT and 2.0D manual options.

Prices start from £21,295 OTR.

Related Links:

Subaru website.


Following the successful launch of the coupe version of the Aventador in Summer last year,  Lamborghini is offering the Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster. The convertible version can immediately be recognized by the unique profile of its upper area, which extends along newly designed geometric lines from the removable roof to the engine hood.

This open-top luxury super sports car is powered by a 700-horsepower, 6.5 liter V-12 engine and mated to a ISR seven-speed transmission. The car goes from 0 to 62 mph in only 3 seconds. It is said to have a top speed of 217mph.


The Lamborghini Aventador LP-700-4 Roadster is listed at a cost of 300,000 euros (45,000 euros costlier than the closed version).


As I was driving to work today I realised that the inside of my car is looking a bit scruffy. I have a stock of car and wheel cleaners but none for the inside of my car. Moreover, now that winter is finally here, I also need to stock up on car accessories including ice scrappers and like all parents with kids, a good carpet cleaner.

There are a range of car wash products out there and I usually buy the good quality brands because you do not want to skimp when it comes to your car care products. To save on money, I usually buy them in bulk or in larger packs. I do not want to be running down to the supermarket every few weeks. A good tip is to look for wholesale dealers on the net.

Anyway, quite recently I got to know about a wholesale car wash supplier on the net - Pronto Sales. The site carries an amazing range of car care products and car accessories ranging from paper air fresheners to even snacks and candies. I also noticed that they have a Winter Windshield Shade which is something I am definitely going to buy. Saves a lot of time and effort - I hate scrapping ice of the glass in winter.

They are now offering free shipping on orders over $100. So if you are looking for wholesale car wash accessories, check out the Pronto sales site.

Early this year, Jeep launched the new 2013 models. All these models come with a new premium soft top which are made of Haartz’s Twillfast RPC. It is an acoustically enhanced three-ply composite made of acrylic twill weave outer fabric, a rubber inner layer and polyester lining fabric.


The soft tops are definitely cheaper than the retractable hardtop designs. However, the problems with soft tops is that they were not really good at noise insulation and are quite difficult to clean. Haartz’s soft top overcomes these by including a rubber inner layer which provides enhanced acoustics. Furthermore, the Twillfast RPC is easier to clean than previous materials used for the soft top Jeep models.


X Factor UK now has its own blog, dedicated to news and reviews of this series. You can find it at XF12.blogspot.com and that's where my articles, videos and everything related to the show will be published from this weekend. X Factor USA and American Idol have had their own review blogs for a year now and it should make life much simpler to follow your favourite contestants or just keep up to date with the latest news.

This Entertainment News blog will continue with news of other shows, of course, and all those wonderful nuggets from past years, Eurovision and many more will always be available in the archives here.

Watch this remarkable performance by one of the favourites to win X Factor USA. Carly Rose Sonenclar is just one of twelve acts surviving across the Pond, each of which is a worthy contender for the title.



This performance really does put into perspective the talent that these shows can support - and make me wonder who on earth could possibly want someone like Old Baloney to represent UK's best efforts in 2012. So please, folks, think before you vote at the weekend. Ella, James, Union J, District3 and Jahmene. Even Rylan could be turned into a star of sorts, I suppose. But for Britain's sake, hide Granny's phone and let's get Old Baloney off X Factor UK.

Gary Barlow had that expression that made it clear he realised that one of his acts would be in the bottom two this week. Neither Kye nor Old Baloney had exactly shown that they were anything other than average, vaguely interesting in the case of the former or dated and likely to be forgotten come January in the case of the latter.

Kye does, at least, write his own songs, although the fact that the producers, whilst happily promoting James Arthur's skills on The Xtra Factor and, of course, Lucy Spraggan's on the main shows, haven't shown any raises the questions of just how good they might actually be. He reminds me of Alexander in Fame Academy, runner up to Alex Park, who did a lot of his own tracks but wasn't terribly great at singing them himself. Perhaps Kye will be representing us in Eurovision 2013.

I can see an album from Kye coming out and being sort of reasonable, with his gathering a small posse of fans and with a bit of luck his X Factor experience will mean he doesn't need to sweep too many more chimneys. He seems a nice enough bloke and may even have survived if he hadn't done the Rob Brydon impression on Saturday night or been wearing make-up that I can only assume had been left lying around after Hallowe'en.

Old Baloney had managed some decent notes in the well-chosen commercial track but his singing style, with massive gaps between each word, and general orange and brown appearance just cannot seriously be a good example of what the current British music scene wants to offer the world. Or our children for that matter. He may not descend to Wagner's low levels of appearance and lack of talent and weird, occasionally worrying personality, but beats everyone in averageness.

When interviewed on Xtra Factor after the results show, Kye was asked about Chris Maloney. Interestingly, he was stuck for something to say. He could easily have come out with some simple vaguely complimentary and harmless line and moved on but there was this blank look, a long pause and all he could say was something along the lines of Well, Christopher is Christopher. Olly Murs quickly moved on from that one!

The Results Show itself started with what was one of the worst let's-all-sing-along I can remember. Everyone seemed to be in a different key to the backing track and band. Dreadful and trying to watch James Arthur doing the commercial intro stuff is painful tv.

We did have some light relief from Rita Ora doing a Rihanna-type job quite well and No Doubt coming back from a long time ago and sounding very cool indeed.

Union J were delighted to escape the bottom two this week and were first to be called safe. After last week's surprise low votes they must have wondered what had happened to all the fans. Maybe they'd been taken away on holiday by their mums and dads at the start of half term. I honestly can't think of any other reason as there were several far worse. Anyway, back to this week, Ella, Jahmene, James all get through as you'd expect. It was down to Old Baloney, Kye, Rylan and the act that most people were predicting would go, District3.

When Christopher's name was called safe, Louis looked despondent. Even Dermot O'Leary's normally carefully non-expressive announcement had that slight sound of frustration  this time. Surely Kye would be next called, leaving Rylan and District3? No, it's District3 who are safe! They are absolutely delighted - and, I suspect, quite surprised, - and dance and hug everyone and let out some words that ITV didn't have time to bleep. So it's Kye and Rylan left standing. Gary's not looking as shocked as he might. Secretly, he's thinking that, at last, Rylan will be gone and Kye will live to sing another day.

Rylan sings first and delivers something quite different from what anyone would have expected. I didn't know the track but he used falsetto and his stronger ranges really well. This was heartfelt and showed, with no bum notes or fancy acting, that he is genuinely talented. I wouldn't buy his stuff but I would expect to see him on reality TV shows and genuinely entertaining people for some time yet, in the Jedward vein but with actual ability to get notes right. That might just save him.

Kye comes on stage and looks a bit better than the day before but still odd. He does, though, put in a very good vocal performance. Every note good and a more powerful performance than Rylan, beating him fairly and squarely on all fronts - except as an entertainer or as something current. Throughout Kye's performance, the camera catches Rylan's arm around Dermot's shoulder throughout the show, tapping appreciatively in time with Kye's song. I still can't get over how ruddy tall Rylan is, either, but that's another thing.

Now the judges have to vote. Gary and Nicole obviously vote for their guys. Louis I expecetd to go for Rylan but he chooses to save Kye. Hadn't expected that. Tulisa makes the very good point that it's Rylan that she and probably several hundred thousand viewers tune in to see rather than Kye. Good for her. Her decision leaves it to the public vote. I can see Rylan surviving after all now. He does. Remarkable.

There's a lot of sympathy for Kye who really had done well. Everyone is thinking it should have been Old Baloney up there saying farewell and certainly not being Gary's last remaining act! He hadn't actually selected him, so that places Christopher at least as his 5th choice (and I am pretty sure he would actually have been nearer 8th in Gary's list).

Once again, the bookies got it wrong. I wonder if they're actually right with Ella, still predicted to win? If you take a look at the Top 16 on X Factor USA, you may not see Ella as that good after all. Each of their female acts, including three 14 year olds, could do as good a job as Ella. That says a lot about this year's bunch. In fact, I have a feeling that, if the Granny vote doesn't continue to dominate, and current potential chart acts and big sales are better reflected, then both groups and James Arthur are the ones actually to watch. And Ella, still, who should be reliable and may fill a young Adele-type hole and is unlikely to make a mistake as each of the others might.

Just let's get rid of Old Baloney now - he really is spoiling this show.

Rylan kicks off in fine Essex style, including a clip of Amy from TOWIE training Nicole in the local habits. We then get him crashing through some sugar glass out of 'Rylan's Boutique' for some reason best known to whoever staged this. He actually sang pretty well, though and is certainly entertaining. I can imagine him getting through for another week with that.

Union J do the Taylor Swift Love Story track and make a reasonable job of it. Good choice, Louis. Slight shift of lyrics needed and it's a pity the show expects each individual band member to have his own 'slot' as they'd be better with one clear lead and the decent harmony the others can produce on tracks like this. Still, that should see them safely through.

Kye next. He's vulnerable tonight. He was before he started and certainly will be after some quite desperate effort there. He tried hard and there were mostly good notes and the upper ones were welcome but then he tried to do what stars do by high fiving the judges and prancing around oddly. That didn't work at all and he really showed his inexperience. Pretty poor.

James did No Doubt and started well but then started rapping and seemed to be struggling not to swear, It may have worked for his fans but you did get the impression that he was trying just that little bit, no, hugely actually, too ruddy hard.

Ella. Firework. No explosions. That worked very well, apart from some high notes that she doesn't seem able to manage. I could have sworn she managed notes perfectly before but this wasn't 100%. She's still favourite to win but I'm not so sure.

District3 get girls. Quite a fun number that I thought worked OK and they did a pretty reasonable job. The judges didn't, though, apart from Louis, of course. That'll be one for their fans to decide, I guess, Are there enough of them to keep them safe this week or are the bookies going to right for the first time?

Jahmene performed something I didn't recognise at first. It was a bit of a mess and he put some runs in where he couldn't quite make the notes and kinda got away with it. He's safe enough I should think, as he gets some of the Granny vote too but he needs to pick something more appealing and manageable next time.

Old Baloney. All By Myself. Wish he were, somewhere far away from my TV. Dreadful.

Let's see how the odds finished up at the end of the show.



Hmmm.. it looks like District3 v Old Baloney tomorrow night. At least there's a chance of getting rid of him after all. Even more fun would be Kye v Old Baloney.

Looking at Betfair's odds, there is little to choose between four acts vying for elimination in Week 5.

Assuming that the show does, indeed, go on as usual after Lucy's exit, District3 and Kye are the two expected to have to sing off. To be honest, though, Rylan and Old Baloney are only a whisker less fancied in that respect.

So, as someone has bound to have told them, expect them to make a particularly special effort to survive.

At the other extreme, fortunes would be made should any of Ella, Jahmene or James go home this week.

Of course, so far the bookies' favourite to go - even after they've sung - has survived each week and it's been punters' 4th choice that's gone. At the time of writing that would mean Old Baloney goes at last!!

We can only hope.


Just a little reminder of what shows like X Factor can find - Carrie Underwood won American Idol in 2005. This track, sung live, no autotune or convenient vocal backing track, last week has to be one of the big ones this decade, even though there are a few years to go yet.



Remarkable lyrics and production by Carrie herself and Nashville songwriters. I'm not sure who did which but, as we settle down to watch some questionable talent on X Factor UK yet again tonight, before voting, just think to yourselves: can you really imagine Old Baloney (or, for that matter, most of the other acts) writing, singing and looking this good? As LA Reid asked on X Factor USA, Ok, you like them. But would you spend $5 million on them?

Think before you vote. Kids - hide granny's phone.


Fun and Robbie Williams were entertaining. Just as well as the sight of James Arthur taking part in the intro sing-a-long was not pretty. Robbie was quite remarkably good and the brief run through of his past hits was a salutary reminder of how Kye hadn't really done a great deal with his efforts at Let Me Entertain You. In the middle of his performance of Candy, his brilliantly commercial current single, Robbie shouts out his support for Rylan. That must have made the guy's week.

The votes won't have made Union J's week, as they found themselves in the bottom two, much to everyone's surprise. Every judge and commentator had expected a group but it was District3's useless performance that was supposed to have been the dud, not Union J who, whilst not exactly inspiring, were far better.



Jade was the much predicted other low vote recipient, deservedly so after a very strange song selection. She might have rescued herself with a careful and excellent sing-off track had she been up against anyone else than Union J. She wasn't though and so didn't.

She was likely to go in the early weeks but I had expected her to survive longer. Once again, it is abundantly clear that the people voting are still an entirely different mix to those commentating, with Old Baloney through yet again.

Next week it's Number One's Week which, unfortunately, could be up Old Baloney's voting supporters' street. Anything is possible, with such a vast range. So who'll be doing Firestarter?

Kye looked awful - and that wasn't just the make-up for Hallowe'en night on X Factor. Must have been a bit inspired by meeting Robbie Williams, though, as he certainly put in a good effort, running up and down through the audeince to where a camera was conveniently focussed. He kept in the range he's good at as well so no obviously dodgy notes. I just don't see him drawing huge crowds and Let Me Entertain You remains very firmly Robbie's track and Kye just a pale imitation.

UnionJ next. Amid clouds of smoke but thankfully not made up as ghouls, the four lads were OK, James stand-out with the vocals. They didn't make any mistakes and it was the sort of thing that goes on track 5 of an album, easily forgotten afterwards. But, look, they're through anyway and din't even get a plug from Robbie so must be content to drift this week.

Rylan can certainly put on a great show. Not one I'd want to go to, mind, but he's got Kylie and Robbie backing him which has to be to his credit. Nice job.

Ella. Evanescence. Excellent. Critique from Nicole though who thought it could have been more exciting and didn't really impress as much as she'd hoped. Fair point.

Old Baloney another 80s cruise ship job. Gary complains about Tulisa's fag breath. Nicole lost her horny horny moves after that.

District3 messed up. Started well with the police number but it all went wobbly afterwards.

Jahmene sang nicely but so sleepy with the Roberta Flack track. At least he didn't do the Fujees' version.

Jade was a disaster to listen to but lovely to watch. Great set, on a par with Rylan's. But the song? The voice? Dreadful and no way will the Daily Star readers vote for that.

James almost put us to sleep too with a strange version of Sweet Dreams. Not that it matters, he could have just stood there this week and still survived after a very tiresome trawl through the 80s.

I can see District3 and Jade being in trouble. Kye actually must be much safer than he seemed at the start,

All in all, another very poor show. At this rate, both Xtra Factor and XFactor USA will be making ITV2's ratings higher than ITV1's. Well, they would but there's a lot of grannies in Liverpool, I suppose.

And here are the odds at the end of the show.




So we start tonight with Kye and Rylan neck and neck for the bottom spot, and Old Baloney only a few points away. Jade and  District3 look a bit like they're lacking support - in the Betfair community, at least. The slightly higher odds for Old Baloney must be some indication that punters, smarting after losing a bundle last week, have started to believe the Daily Star.

They may regret it. After going home instead of attending a session with just about everyone's hero and big X Factor supporter, Robbie Williams, he has angered production staff and they'll be inclined to want him at the bottom of the pile and gone. However, it is Hallowe'en theme night tonight at which he may excel, visually, at least.

I just hope he's annoyed the camera crew sufficiently and gets blurred or something.

We'll find out soon enough.

Kyes Sones and MK1 were the two acts with the least votes on Sunday night. The judges voted sensibly enough and produced another deadlock, with the decision as to who goes home being simply the act at the bottom of the public voting pile.


That proved to be MK1. It was quite a sad evening as they had put a great deal into trying to make what they do a little more commercial for what they'd assumed to be this show's type of viewers and, whilst I don't think many expected them to last that much longer, this should not have been the week they went.

The sing-off was one of the best for a long time, both MK1 and Kye choosing tracks that they clearly both knew well, cared about and were able to perform really well. As is so often the case at times like these, you wonder what might have been the outcome had they produced those performances for the public to vote on. Despite still not really coming across as an act that will come close to winning this thing and actually being quite disappointing to date, Kye might still manage to find some numbers to do that are exactly in his zone and will please the voting audience and must be wondering how on earth Christopher Maloney keeps beating him.

MK1 may well have expected to have to struggle in this show but, strangely, may well be the act that is first to be snapped up by a publisher. Now that they're available I wouldn't be at all surprised to see someone take a chance on them and give them an album deal later this year. That should also remove some of the sting of being judged worse than Rylan, Jade and Christopher Maloney too.

Jade had a lucky escape and I think she knew it. She'll need to show us something pretty spectacular, and more than the spectacular makeover she's had, to stay around for much longer.

Ella, Union J, James, Lucy, District 3, Jahmene all easily deserved to stay but the real lucky ones must be Rylan and Christopher. Now Rylan I can sort of understand as this year's odd ball contestant who entertains people and even gets people voting juts for the hell of it. He can also sing well, not that he did this week. What he can do, though, is put on a good performance and get the crowd cheering and laughing, for better or worse. Christopher's survival, on the other hand, leaves me totally speechless - and not in a good way. In fact, it's got to the point where I am beginning to believe the Daily Star reports that he has been topping the public vote and, therefore, making me lose interest in this show as a vehicle for promoting new talent and finding an act that will entertain us with chart tracks, albums and live performances over the next year or two.

I am resigned to the winner not necessarily being the best but I do expect the votes to stack up in such a way that the last four or five are about right. Rylan surviving Jedward-like a bit longer than he should I can cope with but just as I found Wagner's continued survival offensive, so too am I already actually quite annoyed that Christopher is still there.

Absolutely none of the popular on-line polls had him anywhere other than bottom with a tiny percentage of the votes - some with over 5000 people and, whilst not, I understand, able to be termed representative of the X Factor voting public, you would expect there to be at least some correlation. You would think that the type of people visiting the official X Factor site and places like Tellymix, Digital Spy and others would cover a fair spread of those who vote. With hundreds of thousands of bets (and pounds) placed on the outcome, too, at bookmakers, you would expect the odds to bear some resemblance to what happens and old Baloney was as close to being a certainty to going both last and this week as you'll see on programmes like this. Nor did those odds change as the show progressed - in fact, they got considerably worse! So it wasn't a case of his live performance on the day changing punters' opinions of his X Factor suitability.

I can only conclude that it is the phrase those who vote that is key in all this. Much as many of my friends and colleagues might not like to admit it, they do watch the show. Very few would dream of voting, though. I know that lots of teens watch the show and love the groups in particular, even Rylan. Quite a few do seem to vote but there's not a single teen I have ever encountered out of a good number since the Live Shows began who would even think of voting for the bumbling Baloney. So who the hell is?

It seems that there has to be a very significant bunch of people who are watching and voting consistently and specifically for the likes of Christopher. Think about that - these people are willing to spend good money and time pressing buttons or texting because they reckon Baloney is who they want to win. That can only be women over 45 with little or no knowledge of the current music scene, no clue as to what is in the Top 20, probably never listening to the radio as Daytime TV is on wall-to-wall until the soaps start at five thirty. If they do ever hear music it'll be in the Labour Club down the road, a karaoke bar in Huddersfield or a wedding at Sandals in Saynt Looseeea. Christ, give me Rylan's gay bar and TOWIE crowd any day over that lot! So do I really want to spend time writing semi-informed and hopefully amusing-in-places stuff about a programme in which the outcome is heavily influenced by that lot? Not really, because it is impossible to draw any sensible conclusions and I do not want to start having to consider the DE category vote in gauging good contestants' chances.

So until Baloney goes, expect my articles to be rants like this. Or maybe I shall ignore him completely.

This was not a memorable show by any stretch of the imagination. Club Classics? Hardly. I can't imagine anyone in a club feeling like getting up and being classic if any of these acts had been on the stage. That doesn't mean there weren't some good performances, just nothing that we'll look back on and think Wow! or rush to YouTube to add to our sites.

For X Factor USA and even last year I was including videos for the best each week but I'm really not bothered at the moment.

Christopher

Quite glad that we get old Baloney out of the way at the start. Strong enough voice but he's just so tedious and who on earth will want to buy his album? As LA Reid would have put it across The Pond, Would you give this old Baloney $5 million? No. Of course we wouldn't. and nor is anyone on this side of the ocean either. He started the show at odds of nearly 4 and finished at 3.2, clear favourite to be at the bottom of the voting pile. But then he was last week and must have done better than at least two others. Damn the Liverpudlian Granny Vote. Can someone go round the old folks homes and remove all the ear plugs.

MK1

The idea of this being their week is a bit ridiculous but I suppose it was more suitable than Abba week will be. They have a strong, faithful fan base from what I can make out and actually put on a good show. If Will.i.am could get over here and give them the sort of treatment he's been dishing out to several other acts (including a remarkably good job for Jessica Sanchez, American Idol runner-up) then they'd get some more fans but, as it stands, they'll be lucky to survive each week from here.

They didn't do themselves any harm, though, with a professional and confident performance, especially from Charlie the girl lead who is quite a star in her own right. They started at 6 and ended 7. Going up is good, but that's still likely to be bottom 3 range.

Jahmene

Once we get past the emotional back story stuff (I wonder whether each act will be getting this extended sympathy vote treatment?) the guy does his bit looking very smart with a nice blue bow tie and matching highlights on his black shiny suit. Not bad. The guy can sing but he can sing a lot better than he did tonight. He didn't look comfortable with the faster track and seemed a beat behind most of the time. That won't have increased his fan base but the back story stuff might so he'll end up safe and sound.

He started at 90 and finished at 85 which is as close to no change as you'll get at those odds which would make someone an absolute fortune if he did go home. Hence it's not going to happen this week.

Jade

Another sympathy vote plea as she's lost her voice. I've always thought her a strange selection for the live shows. She's OK and has a certain different style in her voice, when she has a voice, and has certainly been made to look pretty spectacular by the make-over people, but there were better in this category during auditions. She seems to have really impressed the judges, though, so they must have seen something I missed. This performance was just average. She ought to be safe enough but for how much longer I'm not sure, unless she can really discover some character that makes us want to get behind her.

She was quite well fancied at 20 at the start but dropped heavily to 12.5, probably still safe but now in the land of the here today, gone tomorrow or the next days.

James

At last someone who actually seems to know what he's doing and looks comfortable doing it. Protected by a guitar, James sings well and really puts a lot into the track. He's quite impressive and is someone you can imagine getting an album contract. Not a No 1 at Christmas but a steady No 8 maybe.

He went out from 80, below Jahmene, to 130, well above. people liked that performance. Two in a row for this guy. Good job.

Union J

This is the band that really got themselves together last week and probably were the best act of that week. they've got a huge fan base already and it's only Week 3 which is remarkable for a manufactured affair. They do look good and this week sang well again, making their position nicely safe and a guaranteed run through to Week 4.

With odds moving from 90 to 200 they're going to be a force to be reckoned with. Already being talked about as the next 1 Direction, I see them in the final if not winning the whole thing. These are very early days, though, and it may only take a few dodgy performances for votes to drift.

Rylan

I still find this chap's height amazing. He towers over anyone else nearby and Dermot tends to keep well away. My children spotted the two together last week and reckoned that Dermot was going up on his tip toes and Rylan was making himself sag to be a bit shorter while the camera was on them. See for yourself, too, the extraordinary difference between him and the two boys on Xtra Factor!

He was looking forward to Club Classics. That seems to be his bag. You wouldn't really have known, though, other than from his outfit and a whole pile of dancers everywhere. You hope that he'll at least be a bit entertaining. Last week he actually sang well too but he didn't manage either the entertainment or the singing this time.

We're just hoping the crazy fans that he's accumulated in Wagner-Jedward-Chico style will, at least, carry him through and send Christopher home, whether that be by judges' votes or the public vote if someone else backs Gary in a deadlock.

It's not looking good at the end of the show, down to 4.9 from 6.6 at the start.

Lucy

Well, Lucy does what Lucy does and this was pretty much indistinguishable from all that has gone before. Good, but how long can she last with that style? She's sure some odd ball in this rack. Definitely heading for an album and that will sell too. I can see her occupying a sort of slot of her own in the charts for a while and she should make it through for a week or two more.

The bookies think so too, stretching from 11 to 19.5.

Kye

It was nice to see Gary giving it to Kye straight after last night's show, pointing out, even if it was a little pedantically, Kye's thirty two bum notes in that performance. Whilst this was better, it still wasn't good and Kye's going to need every vote he can lay his hands on and another bum lecture from Gary if he's going to get his act truly together to justify his selection. Disappointing as I think everyone expected much more than we've been getting so far.

Kye dropped from 9.6 to 8.2, and into a danger zone.

District 3

They'd been lucky to survive last week with a very lacklustre performance and that seemed to ahve had the desired effect as tonight they may well have been the one of the best acts or, at least, the most improved. they sounded together, relaxed and seemed to know what they were doing and with a desire to entertain and do well. Much more confident, in tune, looking good and more mature than Union J but still probably feeling in their competitor's shadow.

They moved from a low 4.5 to 9, which ought to have lifted them out of the danger zone but we've seen groups go at this point even when they've put in a really good performance. Last year is still fresh in their minds no doubt.

Ella

Closing this less than inspiring show was the ever-reliable Ella. She did the Florence number really well and looked a lot better and moved around more. She said that she wanted to feel sixteen again and I guess she made it back to somewhere in her mid twenties.Yes, she's good and seemingly miles ahead of everyone else in the competition but I still have a doubt about how things will pan out. She is just a little cool still on stage and lacking that something that would make her the real star as opposed to someone who'll have a decent album or two and then not do a great deal more. We don't actually want another Adele.

She'll surely make it through to the final, where my guess is that she'll be up against Union J and James. By then I do hope she'll have got back to sixteen and also something a little original.

She started at a massive 200 and finished at 360. She ain't goin' nowhere, as The Byrds would have sung.

The Xtra Factor was actually far more entertaining a programme and you learned more about some of the acts in that programme's hour, with Caroline Flack and Olly Murs up to mischief and getting all kinds of admissions from everyone. There it was fairly clear that people are fed up with Christopher and also see Ella as the likely winner.

So maybe ITV could swap with ITV2 and put X Factor USA mainstream at weekends where there looks like being some stunning talent coming through and some really interesting rounds. The USA show is a week or two behind ours so no particular problem with finals clashing either.

Twelve become eleven tonight as the votes come in for this second (and mostly much improved!) week of performances.

Entertaining the crowd while the producers added up the scores were Rebecca, runner up to Matt Cardle last year, looking totally different and so much more confident than during her weeks on the show. She still stayed pretty much in one place, as was her trademark last year, but sounded fabulous. She shared the bill with the remarkable Taylor Swift. Taylor writes her own material and presents in a way that so much confirms that. This was a performance of the single with Never Ever Ever in the long title that everyone under 21 knows well. Maybe not her best ever ever track but it was a joy to watch her knock the years off the X Factor stage and show us something fresh and fun rather than the heavy over-production of some of the contenders' acts.

This should have been the week that Old Baloney went home and you could the cries of 'Oh no!' echo round the audience as his name was called out along with the favourites Ella, Union J and James. MK1 were clearly delighted to escape the Bottom 2, and must have expected to have to perform again but clearly someone somewhere liked both their style and strange renditions of Jackson Five songs. Lucy, Jade, Jahmene and Rylan names are called too, the latter's resulting in Nicole being lifted up and transported around to cries of 'Oh no!' from Rylan himself.

That left Kye, District 3 and Melanie standing looking forlorn. Kye, who had been called first in Week 1 was the last safe in Week 2 and must have thought himself pretty fortunate, especially if he'd listened overnight to some very dodgy notes in his unimpressive performance.

So, between Melanie and District 3, everyone was working out who would vote for whom. Louis and Gary, of course voted for their acts and Tulisa voted for District 3 to stay. Bearing in mind Nicole's complimentary remarks about District 3's appearance yesterday I had expected her to confirm Melanie's exit but she went the other way and one again it was down to who had the least of the public votes.

District 3 had made a good effort to hit the right notes, show some brotherly love and stay in tune, apart from the very last note. Melanie had put on a really good show, a track that you got the feeling she had performed many times before, and anyone judging the two acts on those performances would have had to go for Melanie. However it was she that had the lowest vote and that meant she had to go, the second of Gary's acts, reminiscent of Tulisa losing two groups in quick succession last year.

Hopefully Club Classics will see the end of Christopher next week.

At least it's now even - with three in each category after Carolynne failed to impress voters sufficiently and found herself at the bottom of the pile last week. Louis got all the blame and Gary walked out but it's time to move on now.

I like the way Dermot's taking charge of the show. And there's a change of seating 'after nine years'.

Dermot lists the numbers. Cue the screams. On that basis, Union J win and Melanie doesn't. But let's see how they all do tonight.

Jahmene


Spot-on singing but no connection between the amazing voice and the lyrics. Great performance but lacking real emotion. One of Louis' 'favourite ever ever contestants'. What? Out of all nine years?

Nicole calls Jahmene 'Baby Cakes'. No-one quite likes to ask.

Dermot said he wouldn't but, yes, he does the heady patting eventually, despite Jahmene ducking out at his first try!

Christopher

Big ears looks like a football ref. Sings like one after a few beers. dreadful start. Oh, it's the Heart number again. Typical karaoke stuff. Solid voice but who'd going to buy this sort of stuff? He separates each word. Sounds odd. looks odd. He gets only modest applause. He needs to go.

Dermot doesn't heady pat Christopher.

Union J

Hope they get the song together better than they did their attempt at 'Team Louis' in unison. My God, it's bleedin' Bleeding Love. That works really well actually. An excellent arrangement. Brilliant. That'll go down well with the fans - and the voting fans too.

No heady patting though.

Ella

Can someone please leave her hair alone? She looks so good naturally. Are the 40s coming back? If so then release her album now and get it over with. This, though, is one of the most difficult songs ever. Loving You Is So Beautiful. OK, she hit the notes, amazing notes at that, but... but there was no emotion or connection at all. It was a bit clinical and, talented as she may be, that's not going to get her the most votes this week. Minnie Ripperton had the feeling and the notes and, whilst she didn't have any more success than that to my knowledge, if you dig out her version you'll see what was missing from Ella's. That might change the odds a little, especially with such a strong Union J performance. Doubt I'll get 25-1 on them again for a while.

So, will she get some heady patting from Dermot. With that hair? Perhaps not.

James

Nicole says 'This is my first time in a pub' during the preview bit.
James gets a call from Mary Blige and, unless he's acting really well, he handles that extremely well - he's looking and sounding very mature, not at all as I'd expected him to be coming across.

Now this guy can do feeling. No More Pain was delivered as if he meant every word. This guy's good. That was a 'moment'. Well done, James.

Nicole likes his trousers. No heady patting.

Lucy

After all the bad news she'd had in the week, and in 'Love and Heartbreak' week, she does a cheery song. Gold Digger. Remarkably well done as if she'd written it herself. Nice performance, totally natural and relaxed. That should be popular.

No heady patting for Lucy either.

District 3

They didn't like the song. I Swear. Heavy production. These guys have good voices and harmony and pull off this tricky number. Not bad but Union J get the boy band votes this week.

Nicole wants them like tabasco on apple pie. And baby oil, with all the actions. Well, not all of them but enough to make you wonder.

It'll be interesting to see how the votes total up - will there be enough for both to be safe? If so then when one does eventually go that could well seal the deal for the other. If not, they'll be out soon.

Jade

Forgettable song last week, despite an excellent makeover. Love Is A Losing Game. Accentuating the tone of her voice that distinguishes her but that also showed the notes that she didn't make which was a shame. I'm not a big fan and I'm not sure how many voters are. She seems very much on her own in this competition - that might help her but she needs to make her own space somehow, like Rebecca did.

Louis says she's in a tough category. That's right, for sure, and I think she knows it but there's nothing to stop two girls being in the final four. Unfortunately, I don't see her being one of them.

She gets a shoulder pat from Dermot instead of heady patting which sends her off before he's had a chance to read out the voting number so he has to call her back. Still no heady patting, though.

MK1

The bloke in the group puts on some sort of comedy act this week. Charlie's great but even her style makes this version of I Want You Back weird. That didn't work and even the dancers were totally irrelevant and mostly off screen. It was a bit like Jedward had returned in places. They may be in trouble.
they did make a good point themselves that they are aware that the people that like their style of music are not the type who normally watch X Factor, let alone vote! Fair comment and all credit to this pair for that.
They get hugs from Dermot. No heady patting.

Kye

This guy could easily be a future producer. Reminds me of Chris De Burgh. Great voice and production - I just wish he'd hit the high notes better in the first half. He may have rescued himself near the end when he was right in his best range and sounded good. He's a talented chap but may struggle. Christopher's and MK1's unpopular-sounding performances may just save him, as should the judges if it comes to it.

Rylan

Clear favourite to go at the start of the show but now looking safe with the bookies, at least! He doesn't wind up the show but he does wind up Gary by starting sing one of the Barlow numbers. Lovely. Starts then stops and is very relaxed in swapping from number to number in this weird mash-up and way OTT production. The budget's gone to hell. Groove Is In The Heart was never in tune in the 70s so he could get away with some dodgy bits but actually was not at all bad. It was weird but interesting and even included reference to Gangham Style and loads of references to the new wave of Korean stuff coming our way in there too. An informed production for which Brian gets all the deserved credit. I've no idea what to make of it and nor will many voters but it was bizarre enough to keep him in.

No heady patting as he towers over Dermot like a giraffe.

Melanie

White trouser suit. Flares. That says 1970 to me. Bond-style silhouette behind her is more interesting than Melanie. Two Worlds Collide was over sung but oversung pretty well. Not sure how that'll go down. I'd have given her a Righteous Brothers track.

Louis says the old school is now new school. OK? Whatever that means.
Tulisa, in an attempt to catch up with the million points already scored by Nicole this week, says Melanie was in MILF mode. No baby oil, though.

Nor heady patting.

So that's Week 2 done - apart from the results. It should be Christopher going home but might be District 3 or MK1 getting the close shave. Jade, Melanie and Kye should thank their lucky stars for another week.

"DON’T BUY A CAR ONLINE"  is the top tip on The Car People site. They equate the experience to buying a house and I guess, I would have to agree with that. Before buying a used car, I would definitely want to see the car and more importantly, take it for a test drive before I actually buy it.

Buying a used car can sometimes be a bit of a gamble if you are not very car savvy. I bought my current car from a used car dealer and the experience was not that great. The reputation of used car dealers (and quite unfairly I should add) has been ruined by some rotten eggs and people are quite wary. One of the things that most people hate about used car dealers are the over eager pushy salespeople. However, there are several great used car dealers out there with great customer service and no irritating salespeople.

If you live in Manchester, Wakefield,  Sheffield and surrounding areas in the UK, and are looking for  reputable used car dealers, do check out The Car People. They have been operating for over 10 years and many of their customers go back to them again and again.

They have put together a list of 10 very useful tips you need to consider before buying a used car, which you can download as a pdf document on their website.

Check out their really funny TV ad.


Look at Betfair's odds at the time of writing (Tuesday evening, 9 October). The odds are greater for someone not actually in the final 12 to be the 2nd elimination than they are for Ella to go!


Her position as favourite, not just to survive this weekend, but actually to win have been cut even further and are now under 2.0 (which means you win less than $1 for each $1 bet).


This chart shows how the odds have dropped - they can't go much lower  now - and you can also see that nearly half of all the bets placed have been on her.

Remarkable. If you think that someone else really stands a chance then now is a good time to place a bet. I'm not encouraging this and always hedge my bets so that (almost) whatever happens I break even at worst. It should be said that the bookies have been proven wrong in the past too although, apart from Little Mix last year which totally caught us all by surprise and must have made someone a fortune, they usually get the top 3 about right, just the wrong way round. Leona Lewis was the last early favourite to win and even she was at 3s and 4s.

25 for UnionJ is attractive. If their fan base grows - Louis may be frustrating but he knows how to build support for boy bands - and they manage to do lively covers, stay in tune and please the fans then who knows. There's a long time to go between now and the final.




The first results show. Wow! If SYCO were looking for headlines in the tabloids, a mass of Twitter messages and to hit as many other publicity buttons as they could to boost ratings then they did a good job with this show.

Dermot raced through the acts that were safe - he had ten of those and calling out District3's name between Ella's and Lucy's was the first surprise. Union J, Christopher, Carolynne and Ryan were the four left standing. Being 'in no particular order', putting Union J on the safe side of the stage was predictable as they may well have had one of the biggest votes, despite a lacklustre performance last night.

That left us with Christopher, Carolynne and Rylan. We guessed that Christopher, having only just been brought back from obscurity with public wild card votes, was safe and it was, indeed, Carolynne and Rylan left standing as the two acts with the lowest votes.

That was quite a surprise. Both had put in reasonable performances last night. Both had been in tune and stronger than several of the others but this is all about who the people actually voting prefer and, certainly to me, Rylan had not garnered as much of an early following as I'd expected and Carolynne had just not impressed anyone with a song that her natural supporters may have recognised. She may have fared considerably differently with a safe standard as she was confident, looked really attractive and sang very well but just not in a way that appealed to enough people pressing the numbers on their mobiles on a Saturday night.

Their sing-off performances were both good. Rylan was in his element with an excellent choice of One Night Only which I wondered might be apt. He was in tune and it was a strong performance with a gorgeous background and everything just worked for him. Carolynne was faultless and produced a stunning performance which all her supporters must have wished she'd done the night before. As she finished to impressive applause from everyone, she was the obvious choice to stay if anyone was to be judged on those performances.

Betfair's odds showed Carolynne favourite to go at the beginning of the sing-off. As she sang those odds reversed and Rylan became the clear favourite to go instead.

Now the fun starts. You know that Gary would support her and Nicole would support Rylan so it was down to Tulisa and Louis. You can also be pretty sure that the judges had been tipped off beforehand as to the voting and would have chatted about what to do. My guess is the producers had told Louis to take it to deadlock and Gary to argue and do something like walk off in disgust.

So that is more or less exactly what happened. At the end of the day, Gary would have to accept that Carolynne's bottom place in the voting wasn't boding well for her in future weeks and Rylan does have that entertainment value too which, in the absence of a Jedward or Wagner this year, the show seems to insist on.

Louis played along brilliantly and got everyone annoyed, not least good old Dermot O'Leary desperately watching the clock and trying to get a decision out of him. In fact, Louis first said he was saving Carolynne and you really did have to feel sorry for her when he clarified that, well, completely reversed it if we're being accurate, and said that he wanted to leave it to the public vote - hence saving Rylan.

That gave us tonight's unexpected result of Carolynne falling at this first hurdle and Rylan living for another week. It may also have given SYCO  better viewing figures for next week by the time the headline writers have had their day!

Here we go - the first of the real shows. The auditions are history. Bootcamp booted out all but about 30 and the judges in hotels, glorious resorts or country retreats chose the twelve acts. With little choice to vote for the sobbing Christopher got place 13 as a wild card. I think the voting figures were Christopher 6, Adam 3, Times Red 3 (they voted for themselves) and Amy 0 (she voted for Adam).

Now the public get a chance to have their say and we'll find out who those that vote prefer. We know who the newspapers like and who the bookies like, who the judges reckon will win too. This is where things can often change with seemingly brilliant acts stumbling and hopefuls losing nerve and then hope while someone who seemed average comes out and surprises everyone!

District 3

Someone must have had some faith in them to put this group on first. A very quiet start to Simply The Best and they might have made a reasonable backing act to Tina Turner. It was all very sleepy and uninspiring. Nice harmonies, which is what they're good at but, despite being the most experienced group, the stage did seem to dwarf them and they're vulnerable from the very start.

James

Sings What Doesn't Kill You Make You Stronger and starts fairly straight and then raps, now that we haven't seen before. No guitar, either. He looked confident on the stage, walking around and he's a natural performer. That track won't have raised his profile with voters, though, but he'll get through.

Melanie

With A Little Help From My Friends in Joe Cocker's day was slow and earthy. The Beatles wrote it as a cheery sort of number. This was just slow and Melanie seemed to be making just too much effort to be noticed and screamed quite a bit. Admittedly she did scream in tune but it was all a bit over the top and the end decidedly dodgy. She was looking good, the makeover team having done well and the Woodstock outfit was just the right shade of terracotta. She won't be a long-term act, though and could well be in the fateful Bottom Three. Not a good start to this show with two out of the first three performances headed for home.

Lucy

Now this was interesting. Performing her own song, very comfortable on the stage. It was as if she were as guest on the X Factor show, not a contestant. The song was clever, not as jokey as the drinking number she's famous for now, and will surely be an album track before long if her contract permits (which it probably doesn't) so it'll be nearer Christmas. She made a nice job, not spectacular, but that was the right move to make in this nervy and unpredictable first week. Those who were already going to vote for her definitely still will and she probably picked up some more fans on the way. So she's safe for a while.

MK1

Now I'd put this duo down as most likely to go first but I have to revise that now. Although I have no idea how many tracks they mashed up and rapped out they were extremely strong, confident and together. The girl, Charlie, is a good singer on her own and, although not to my own taste, their style is very 'today' which is more than can be said for most of the acts.

Tulisa would have been best advised to wait until the applause and cheering had died down before starting as  MK1 needed to bask in the love for a minute. They did themselves a lot of good and will now be around after all for at least another week.

Christopher

Hero was all very traditional. Nothing exceptional. Just 'OK' singing and in no way do I see him as a 'star' unless there's a Steve Brookstein market out there. He improved a bit as the song went on and is certainly someone who can belt out a tune but really shouldn't be around. He'll survive this week, just, but is one of the acts that has to go sooner or not so much later.

Union J

Who suggested they kick off with just one guy singing? Weak. they do finally get under way and had fun with Don't Stop Me Now. They finished a lot better than they started and there are some good singers in the band. There was a crazy dance routine going on that seemed to have nothing to do with the track and I was expecting the four pretty girls to hook up with the four pretty boys and who knows where that would have gone but as it was the boys remained on freshly painted blocks of wood lifting them a foot or so higher than the stage and making them even more nervous than they probably already were.

Louis got blamed for everything, of course. Actually, if the boys had let themselves go a bit and started a bit more confidently then we'd have been saying how good it all was. Anyway, they'll be through as there are lots of girls voting for them and they'll win the votes from District3 too.

Jade

She looked fabulous in blonde, the most impressive transformation - or restoration - by the makeover team. A very nervous start, though, to I Can Be Your Hero. Nor did it get a great deal better with no opportunity for her to show any of the style that presumably Tulisa had spotted at some point. Very disappointing and not the 'moment' I had been expecting. Indeed, we're still waiting for anything approaching a 'moment'.

Rylan

I had no idea what to expect from this chap. Yes, we may recall the rocking blonde-haired guy from the first audition show but since then we haven't really heard a lot more. We've seen plenty! He appears in a gold dress of some sort on a dramatic stage, surrounded by dancers. The song is Gold and it works well. actually very well and a hell of a lot better than many in the place expected. He's got a strong voice and held most notes and stayed in tune. That was a surprise. He'll survive another week, despite the negative attitude of quite a few commentators.

Kye

Man In The Mirror seems a popular track with the producers as I'm sure it appears every year. This time it's Kye's turn to do something with the Jackson number. Another weak, quiet start. Oh dear. But he does get into a performance of sorts quicker than most of the others managed and put in a decent effort, moving around the stage and saying hi to people in the front row. At times he got into some sort of stride and character but largely it was pretty average stuff. The ending was really crap. Not a clever job by Gary there.

Ella

Rule The World is, of course, a Gary Barlow song and I won't be giving anything away by saying that he was the first to hand out great praise by agreeing that she had sung it far better than he had. She was by far and away the best so far. There were some faults but you kinda forgave them as the rest was so good. Very very good. I don't see how anyone can beat her unless the range of types of performance move away from what she does best.

Carolynne

Keeping up the standard, carolynne is professional. A good start and you could sense that she was happy on stage and had been there, well nearly there, before. She looked good, naturally pretty and was just competent and spot-on notes-wise. Her 'country' version of a Nicki Minaj song I didn't recognise and it's no big attraction for voters but she ought not to have to worry.

Jahmene 

Jahmene gets to close the show with Imagine. Everyone knows this song. His voice is clear and he knows where the notes should be and hits them. then he starts finding a whole load more, almost making things up as he goes, but in a nice way. There were times when, like last year's Joshua, he tries almost too hard to impress and the notes wail into the air pointlessly but this guy is capable and really talented. Definitely safe for a long time yet. He could win but I don't see a market yet for what he'd do and we've yet to see that individual star quality emerge. Dermot O'Leary, finally back with a decent job there, is forever rubbing Jahmene's hair and the two seem to get along really well. Not that that influences anything.

So, Sunday brings the first Bottom Three, the first sing-off and the first sending home. I fear for District3's chances.


These are the odds at the time of writing at Betfair.com. Ella way, way out front. Carolynne and Rylan are regarded as least likely to win. 

District3 (shown as GMD3) are very much the favourites to go in Week 1 one, though (in charts not shown here). Second favourites to go are currently MK1 and Carolynne.



So now we know the Top 12 who will be performing in the UK Live Shows from next week. In fact it'll be a Top 13 with, presumably, Christopher, joining as a Wild Card. Although someone less like a wild card I cannot imagine. A beetroot that's been peeling onions seems closer to the mark.

Tulisa wouldn't have had to think for long for her first choice Ella who is the very clear favourite to win, currently 7-4 (with James at 15-2). Lucy will be fun to watch and will add some interest to the shows for a while but she must have seen something in Jade Ellis that I've missed. I guess we mustn't forget that Tulisa won last year with the girl band Little Mix, that she created out of several other 'mixes' and individuals, and that they have proved to be pretty successful (against quite a few predictions) so perhaps we'll see why she chose that Jade instead of the Jade Collins I'd hoped as the Live Shows get under way.

Ella

Lucy

Jade

Nicole was always going to have trouble with her third choice, James and Jahmene looking pretty certain, but the exclusion of Nathan, and not even ranking him 4th out of the six is the big surprise of the evening. Rylan will make good  TV for a week or two but he shouldn't plan to be around for much longer.

James

Jahmene

Rylan

Gary made exactly the right decision to give Kye a chance, Carolynne a second chance and Melanie is going to bring something with an edge to what is otherwise looking quite an inert line-up. He may well have gambled that Christopher would get the public Wild Card vote whereas Melanie wouldn't. Clever.

Kye

Carolynne

Melanie

Louis surprised many by choosing both of the young boy bands, which I'd predicted, but did, indeed, drop Poisonous Twin and brought in MK1 instead which I didn't. 

Union J

MK1

GMD3

In a twist at the end we discover that there will be a single Wild Card addition to the first Live Show. The public can vote for one of Times Red, Christopher, Adam or Amy to join the chosen twelve. So that's Christopher through after all then.

Times Red
Christopher
Adam
Amy



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