brokenbottleboy's blog

Pale writer type currently on the run from the mainstream media.

19:38 It’s nearly time for Week 3’s first live show and the producers have provided all right thinking people with fully functioning ears with a challenge. That’s right, this week’s musical guests (after Whitney’s warblings last week) are jazz terror Michael Bublé and the shambling zombie boyband corpses of Westlife. Let’s hope the acts make up for that offensively terrible line-up.

19:56 Girlfriend making popcorn. Me taking vailium in preparation for watching Big Band week. Big Band music surely is the worst form of human musical creativity. It pretty much stopped being a valid musical form when Glenn Miller got lost in that fog.

19:58 I’m also slightly confused by the competitors’ song choices. Miss Frank are singing a Frank Sinatra song (the mind boggles) and Lloyd Daniels has opted for Fly Me To The Moon but the rest are singing really modern songs or just totally unrelated tracks. How will they make Rachel’s rendition of Creedence’s Proud Mary or Jamie nuzzling up to U2’s Angel of Harlem fit the theme?

20:02 It’s the recap. And we’re reminded of Simon’s slagging of Cheryl last week. Expect some more artificial drama between them. Simon also reckons this is the week, “you absolutely have to bring it.” As opposed to usually when you can just tit about?

20:03 Cheryl says it was awful losing Ricky and makes it sound like she lost a man in ‘nam. Oh and Louis’s talking tough which is like watching a Lepracaun get gobby.

20:05 I always suspect that Dermot has no functioning genitalia, like an Action Man brought to life by television magic.

20:07 Louis gets a nice welcome back and he’s slagging the other judges already. First up, it’s Ollie. He got a great response last week but the consensus in TV Throng headquarters is he’s a bit like a cream cracker – fine but bland.

20:08 “Ollie’s a good looking boy.” Oh, did you notice Michael Buble? Interesting…

20:09 Ollie’s out with a bowtie and the full smart suit trimmings but no jacket. That’s a fashion faux pas right there. I’m a fan of his dancers but Bewitched is just not a very interesting song. It’d win your local karaoke comp hands down but I’m simply not…bewitched (groan) by Ollie’s performance. And that fake laughter is dreadful. Seems like Simon’s given him the Robson and Jerome handbook.

20:11 Louis says Ollie is the “dark horse” and is “the boy next door”, he’s the dark boy horse next door. Positive comments from Louis and from Danni. Cheryl likes him too. In the battle of the dresses, it’s a dead heat between Cheryl and Danni – both a bit too sequin. Simon makes a hi-larious gag about Ollie’s dancers: “I know what it’s like working with two witches.” Rolling eyes from Cheryl.

20:19 Lloyd Daniels next. Last week’s song choice – Bleeding Love – got an absolute kicking. Cheryl says she won’t make a mistake this time. He’s a sweet boy is Lloyd. Very very Welsh. Almost hilarious Welsh. “Smile man, have a great time with it…” – some seriously technical advice from Buble there. And Simon says: “I hope Cheryl doesn’t give him something obvious like Fly Me To The Moon…” And here’s Lloyd Daniels with…Fly Me To The Moon. Oh dear.

20:21 He’s being beaten by the band. He’s too quiet. “He looks great but he’s not sounding good…” says Ms TV Throng. I can’t help but agree (though I’d rather she didn’t sound so keen on his looks!).

20:22 An unnecessary backflip gets no love from Simon and his singing remains far too weak. His big support in Wales could keep him in but frankly he’s not done brilliantly to strike the Bleeding Love debacle from the record.

20:19 Lloyd Daniels next. Last week’s song choice – Bleeding Love – got an absolute kicking. Cheryl says she won’t make a mistake this time. He’s a sweet boy is Lloyd. Very very Welsh. Almost hilarious Welsh. “Smile man, have a great time with it…” – some seriously technical advice from Buble there. And Simon says: “I hope Cheryl doesn’t give him something obvious like Fly Me To The Moon…” And here’s Lloyd Daniels with…Fly Me To The Moon. Oh dear.

20:21 He’s being beaten by the band. He’s too quiet. “He looks great but he’s not sounding good…” says Ms TV Throng. I can’t help but agree (though I’d rather she didn’t sound so keen on his looks!).

20:22 An unnecessary backflip gets no love from Simon and his singing remains far too weak. His big support in Wales could keep him in but frankly he’s not done brilliantly to strike the Bleeding Love debacle from the record.

20:28 Miss Frank are also doing a Sinatra song. Buble says they’ve updated a classic. So expect it to sound a little different. Bit of rapping to get mixed in there. It’s That’s Life – the song they did at boot camp but they’re going to change it. Hmm…

20:29 Someone’s dressed two of them in prison romper suits. Sack the stylist! However, the performance is great. They’ve got real star quality. Even if the rumours from backstage suggest they fight like drunken cats in a sack.

20:31 The rap was great! And as usual Miss Frank had real personality which is not something you can say for a lot of the field (Danyl, I’m looking at you).

20:33 Great comments from the whole panel. Simon likes the prison baby look but what do you expect from a fella who pulls his trousers up that high?

20:40 Rachel was great last week and I have no idea why she was in the bottom two. Dannii can’t understand either.

20:41 I think Rachel will do well whether she wins or not. She’s also doing Proud Mary by Creedence Clearwater Revival which is a fantastic song. Ms TV Throng’s verdict on Michael Buble: “God, he’s a tit.”

20:42 Dannii keeps referring to Michael Buble as just “Buble”, it makes him sound like a pasta dish.

20:44 Funkiest outfit of the night – a sequin covered magic eye picture cut in a totally mad way. Also: she has great legs. Bit of a Beyonce shake going on. If this performance doesn’t connect with the audience, they’re muppets. Sorry audience but you really are if you prefer Ollie’s meh-inducing performance to this. It’s a firecracker.

20:46 The whole panel asks for the audience to vote for Rachel. “This was not the same person I’ve been seeing for the last two weeks,” says Simon. He says she’s been acting too old and she’s finally having fun. “We’re starting to see the person you really are…you are in with a shot.” Dannii – “That’s how it’s done.”

20:55 Here’s Jamie and his magic afro. Ms TV Throng likes him. I think he’s pretty cool too as much as I don’t want to agree with her. Buble is really not giving out any interesting advice.

20:56 They changed Jamie’s song really late on. Is that a good thing? I bet it ends up being a triumph. “It’s a massive risk for Jamie’s future…” says Louis contorting his little face into a mask of concern.

20:57 Jamie’s on and it’s U2’s Angel Of Harlem. And unlike when Bono sings it, it’s not utterly odious. Just marginally odious. Jamie’s good but I can’t really accept anyone but Susie Quattro wearing leather trousers.

20:59 “That’s not big band,” says Louis. Oh and Creedence Clearwater Revival is? I think that’s Louis controversy moment. Dannii loves it. Dannii loves most things. Oh and Louis’s annoyance, he had one of his acts doing Britney in diva week. If it had been divvy week, that’d have been fine.

21:01 Simon: “Louis’s sitting here like some little bloke from the council with a rulebook…I don’t think he’s got the right to sit here telling us about musical taste knowing about the two horrors who are coming up…” Oh god, I’d forgotten about the children of the damned (John & Edward, genetically bred to drive me insane).

21:03 Stacey’s kid is a total cutey. Buble says sing it to your kid. Oh god, he is so insufferable. And we haven’t even heard him sing yet.

21:04 “I just hope…” Louis always starts his little VT comments with that. He actually means (if it’s not his act), “I just hope they fall flat on their face.”

21:05 Stacey is dressed as the Aldi Marilyn Monroe but it’s pretty cute really. And she’s doing When You Wish Upon A Star justice. Ms TV Throng says: “She’s like a Disney princess…she’s a Cinderella.” I’d have spent a little longer drawing her face but she is pretty endearing. All she needs now is a talking animal sidekick.

21:07 Good comments across the board though Simon says: “You looked better than you sounded tonight.” He thinks she was a bit robotic. She smiles throughout.

21:08 Oh bit revelation time from Dannii this week. Apparently Stacey came to her in tears. That’s manipulating the crowd right there.

21:09 She can’t breathe or move in the dress. “Only a man would criticise her for staying still…” Ms TV Throng is really not pleased with Simon’s comments.

21:13 Here’s Danyl (my least favourite). Because of that alone, I suspect everyone else in the whole world will think he’s the best thing since gold covered gold.

21:14 Feeling Good. It’s the standard “hey-listen-to-my-vocal-tricks” song. And the stylist has decided that he should have the undone bowtie look going. I’m no big fan of the deliberately disheveled look but to be fair, it’s a good performance. However, Ms TV Throng (a fan of Danyl *groan*) thinks he’s “been better”.

21:18 Good comments from the whole panel. Simon doesn’t know why Cheryl hasn’t bigged up Danyl more. Bit of a cat fight between Cheryl and Simon again. That’s purely for the tabloid stories tomorrow. Danyl says he’s glad Louis’s back. Aw shucks…

21:25 It’s Northern boy Joe now. Ms TV Throng is doing her version of his accent which is best described as “Victorian chimney sweep”. Buble has told Joe to be sexy. That’s like telling a doormouse to smoulder. I think it’s really quite unlikely. The choreographer says, if he messes up the dance he’ll look like an idiot.

21:27 Singing Sway, Joe is about as sexy as a Margaret Thatcher centrefold. My least favourite performance of the night.

21:28 And who thought dancers in white polo-necks was a good look. It looks like a group of geography teachers dancing at a wedding reception.

21:29 He’s a nice guy says the panel. But “bloody linen water’s nice” says Ms TV Throng deploying one of her most baffling analogies.

21:30 Simon liked the singing but wasn’t sure the performance was that authentic: “You have about as much latin flair as a dolphin.” Obviously he hasn’t met my friend Senor Dolphino.

21:33 Ms TV Throng on Michael Buble: “He’s SUCH a drip! He’s only got one facial expression.”

21:34 Lucie’s singing My Funny Valentine. And she’s giving it a bit of smoulder. It’s all about hugging the vintage mic and big come to bed eyes. Or maybe I’m just getting a bit flustered. “Looks good, sounds good,” says Ms TV Throng.

21:28 Simon’s criticising Lucie’s performance for lacking something. The rest of the panel doesn’t agree. Dannii’s come straight back at Simon: “I do not appreciate Simon’s comments.” Louis is still banging on about Jamie not singing big band. I think he needs to let that go.

21:45 It’s the group everyone wants to see and hear, says Louis. Really? I want them to be locked into glass cubes, Superman style and blasted into space like super-villains.

21:46 She Bangs by Ricky Martin. John and Edward in horrific suits and with a selection of super-short-skirted dancers. I suspect they wouldn’t be interested in them usually…oh, sorry, I came over a little bit Dannii Minogue there.

21:48 Ms TV Throng’s verdict: “Better than last week.” They move around too much to really sing that well but they are quite fun as performers. If only we didn’t have to listen to them talk.

21:49 Dannii: “I’m torn here. The singing is not of the standard to follow Alexandra Burke winning the show but…it was a great performance.”

Cheryl: John…and…Edward. You are two of the nicest kids I’ve ever met. The boos are pantomime. Your fast becoming my guilty pleasure.”

Simon: “I don’t know if I can do this anymore…let me try and be constructive. If you heard it on the radio, it would probably be one of the worst things you’ve ever heard.” He’s spot on. He gave them credit for dancing but he’s right, they are a twin-headed nightmare.

Louis brings up Zig and Zagg: “These boys are better.” Simon did realise they were puppets when he signed them though Louis.

21:56 Right: get voting and let us know who you like best and more importantly who you think should go in the comments. Ms TV Throng’s favourite is Jamie and she’d like to see Ollie binned because he’s boring. For me, I like Rachel best and would also like Ollie ditched.

Tune in tomorrow to find out who goes and to watch Westlife and the man Dannii calls simply Buble perfoming “live” in studio.

Want to download tonight’s songs or catch up on the “facts”? Try UKTVObsessed’s super-accurate blog over here.

So we’ve come to the end of the “12 week job interview from hell” and it’s down to robo-Apprentice Kate and Yasmina the chef who couldn’t cook her books. Place your bets ladies and gentleman because the final furlongs of the race to be Sir Alan’s apprentice (and slouch about some grey offices in Brentwood) are about to be run…

And what’s more – the rest of them are back!

21:00 Before we see what happened, it’s the man described by Stuart Lee as “a Toby jug full of piss” Adrian Chiles to introduce the show. He’ll be back later for the final You’re Fired.

21:03 “Sir Alan Sugar…famously hard to please” but easy enough to get into your government. Yours for a Lordship. Looking forward to that next series “Lord Alan Sugar is in charge of a vast business empire and a little Labour thinktank” (as long as the Tories don’t get the BBC to tell him “yer fiyurd”).

21:05 “Winning is what it’s about,” says Yasmina, showing her usual gift for the bleeding obvious. Kate and Yasmina meet Sir Alan down at bankside in a warehouse that’s been tarted up but looks like it used to be the kind of place where gangsters took their enemies to whack them.

“This task is going to be hard one,” grumbles Sir Alan, “So you’re going to need some assistance.” Unfortunately, they’ve only got the rejects to pick from.

It’s like a school sports day as the two women pick from the meagre selection of losers.

Kate doesn’t pick Philip. Trouble in paradise?

Yasmina’s got Philip, Lorraine, James and Howard.

Kate’s got Rocky (remember him?), Ben, Debra and “the American”.

The final task – to create a new brand of chocolate. “The chocolate industry is worth over £3bn a year,” says the narrator. A researcher’s been at Wikipedia again.

21:09 At the ideas session, Philip is after creating something “fun and quirky”. Don’t listen to him Yasmina. Remember Pantsman.

Their plan: create a box of chocolates targetted towards men.

21:10 Over at Kate’s team, Ben’s being allowed to throw ideas around. “How about something about sharing? Maybe have a threesome with a box of chocolates.”

Thankfully Kate pretty much ignores him going for Debra’s idea of a his’n’hers box.

21:11 “I’ve got an idea for a box,” says Ben, “But it’s quite sexual.”

He wants to make the box a “69” shape. Kate’s sorting him out.

“Ben, this is about romance. We draw the line at sexual acts.” Of course she would, she’s a robot. She’s about a minute away from tilting her head and asking: “What. Is. Love?”

21:12 At a discussion session with some bankers, Yasmina’s team’s idea of chocolates for men doesn’t go down well. Philip thinks they should ignore the bankers.

“It’s like with Pantsman. People didn’t get it at the time but I tell you they will,” he says confidently. He’s never going to let that go is he. That’s going to be on his gravestone: I Was Right About Pantsman.

They decided on the name – Cocoelectric. “That’s exactly what it is,” says Yasmina. Um…OK.

21:14 Meanwhile at the supermarket, Kate’s team are researching chocolates.

21:15 Talking to some chocolateers, Yasmina team’s plan to make chocolates for men again doesn’t go well. “Who eats chocolate?” they ask. “Women.” Yasmina is looking gutted already.

The idea changes – it’s now all about shocking flavours.

21:16 At the product designers – Kate’s team box is going to have three drawers (his, hers, one to share). Nick likes the idea but says they need a good name.

21:17 Rocky and Debra are with a renowned choclateers coming up with flavour ideas. We could well have the similar mistake with the soap could be about to happen again. They’re going for flavours like champagne. Kate does not want to spend more than £13.

“Is it commercially viable at that price?” she asks Debra.

“Yes,” says the most aggressive woman in British business. She’s not really fussed.

21:19 Howard’s in charge of box design for Yasmina’s team. Lorraine’s input is doing her odd Irish accent again.

21:20 Yasmina wants to get her box together for about £5. Too cheap. Again, she’s going for some strange flavours – the least sensible of all Explosive Chilli. That sounds like an…um…accident waiting to happen.

21:21 Kate’s team have decided to call their chocolates “Intimate”.

“Sounds like a feminine freshness product,” says Nick delicately.

With ten minutes to go, Debra arrives and convinces them that the name needs to go.

They change the name to “Choc D’Amour”. Classy.

21:23 Kate and Kimberley are now filming the team’s TV ad. It features the most irritating couple since the Nescafe couple.

21:24 Meanwhile Howard and Yasmina are tasting their chocolates. They’re disgusting.

They bring Margaret over for the taste test. She looks like she’s going to be sick.

“I’m still waiting for the explosion,” she says tastefully.

“Try one of those,” Yasmina being overly hopeful.

“I think one’s enough,” says Margaret with tissue in hand.

21:25 Across town, Philip is choreographing dancers for his team’s launch. He is remember…an estate agent. This does not bode well. Particularly as he dances like an elderly uncle.

21:26 “I’m a bit dishearted with the quality of everything,” says Yasmina attempting to direct her TV ad. The actors are spitting out the chocolates. They’re shocked alright.

21:27 Kate has changed the ad concept. “It’s looking a little cliche. Let’s change it up a bit.” Now it’s turned into a chocolate based bondage scene.

“She’s given it a twist,” says Nick. It looks like it may have been a good move.

21:29 Yasmina is struggling to edit her ad while Lorraine has decided that the print ad should feature nothing but the logo.

“I love it,” says Yasmina. Yeah, why would you need to see the product in the ad.

“It’s bold!” says Philip.

21:30 “No-one is immune from getting stagefright,” says Kate. Are the producers teeing us up to see her choke?

Yasmina aka “I’m Good At Everything” girl is brimming with confidence. With that product (terrible ads, disgusting flavours) I suspect it’s misplaced.

21:32 “Staying in…is the new going out,” says Kate practising her presentation. Yes, Kate and being crap is the new being great.

Yasmina’s confidence has gone: “My presentation style is pretty crap. That’s what it is…I’m not going to stand here and say within two hours I’m going to be Martin Luther King.” As we all recall Martin’s range of chocolates actually flew off the shelves.

21:33 The creme of the chocolate industry and Sir Alan, Mr Sweet himself, are in the house to see the products presented.

Kate’s presentation is droid like. The cold steely efficiency of a killer robot.

She’s thrown in the obligatory reference to the economic crisis in.

The crowd does not look impressed and Sir Alan is even less pleased about the price: “That is a lot of money.” Lady Sugar’s not getting a box.

21:35 The TV ad goes over very well.

 

21:36 A man in the audience is not impressed with the price. Another guy compliments the flavours but again attacks the price – what about the margin? Kate says she’s confident. No need for figures, just blind, rabbit-in-the-head-lights false confidence.

21:37 Here comes Yasmina. This is not going to go well.

Yasmina is panicking.

They’ve gone with Danger! High Voltage! by Electric Six as her intro music.

Sir Alan is frowning at Philip’s dodgy dancers.

Yasmina is oddly patronising and bizzarely disjointed.

“Take some strawberry and add some basil what do you get?” A bit of sick in your mouth. Oh no, apparently, it’s a “Coco-Electric”.

Sir Alan looks happy about the £6 price point but he’s still looking queasy after tasting Yasmina’s delicacies.

21:40 The TV ad is a montage of people wincing when they try the chocolates. Well, at least it’s realistic.

21:41 “I’d like to leave you with one final thought: 100 years ago electricity shook the world, now Coco-Electric is going to shake up the confectionary market”.

21:42 An extremely sensible woman in the audience wonders in what reality getting an electric shock is a good thing. Meanwhile a man reasonably asks who would want to taste those flavours.

21:43 “You were brilliant,” says Lorraine. Well, if she’s on board Yasmina, no worries yeah?

21:43 “You would definitely buy them first time,” says the Waitrose buyer talking about Coco-Electric. “I’d be concerned about whether they’d come back for a second box.”

21:44 Yasmina – “I don’t know if there’s much more I can show Sir Alan.” I think he’s probably seen enough.

Kate’s not going to go in the boardroom to “throw dirt”. So, that’ll be a few minutes before she starts throwing dirt then.

Time for the final boardroom…

21:45 The finalists are flanked by their teams.

“James, it seems you were a prophet,” says Sir Alan, “I did end up as Willy Wonka.”

“I think I’ve got Lorraine’s gift,” he chuckles. Wow, it’s comedy hour in the boardroom.

Kate says Debra has an “exceptional pallette”. “See, ” says Sir Alan, “I’ve been talking about your blahdy mouth for the whole process and now you’ve put it to good use.”

21:46 Kate is admitting that the initial product name was a bad idea.

Intimate – “You tend to find that on boxes in the gent’s loos,” grumbles Sir Alan.

21:47 Kate’s assertion that the product would be mass market is getting picked appart. This could cause her some issues.

21:48 But now we’re over to Yasmina.

“We started off a little bit higgledy-piggeldy,” she reveals. Certainly sounds like a business strategy.

Howard’s trying to explain the shocking advert.

21:49 “They weren’t shocking flavours,” says Sir Alan, “They were shocking chocolates.”

Yasmina is trying to justify herself.

“You were on the money with the packaging, the financials, the advertising,” says Sir Alan, “But the chocolates weren’t very good.”

James is defending her. “The only thing we did wrong was not tasting the chocolates.” That’s like saying – “The only thing we did wrong with the car was not putting an engine in it.”

21:51 Yasmina’s team all say nice things about her. But then Lorraine spoils it a bit – “They’re both good to be fair.” I wonder if she’s been down the bookies.

21:52 Nick says he was sitting next to a major chocolate retailer who said both women had done a fantastic job. Presumably this was before he tried Choco-Electric.

21:54 Kate, what were you greatest moments? She’s naming pretty much every task she’s won. Now we’re on to attributes – “I can sell, I can present…” She can fire lasers from her eyes.

She’s revealing her 10-year-plan to become a director. It’s like she’s a one-woman Soviet Republic.

21:55 Yasmina’s noting her presentation as one of her highlights (“I pulled it off,” she says a little bit unconvincingly).

Sir Alan’s on to Yasmina’s business – he doesn’t want to make her 20 employees redudant. There’s that Entrepeurship Tsar compassion at work.

21:57 Sir Alan’s recalling that he was 9 years younger than Yasmina when he started his business and 2 years later he was “made”. He makes it sound like he was a little mobster.
Will he deprive Yasmina of the chance to “do it herself”?
Yes he will. He’s hired Yasmina.
Kate activates her smiling programme.
“I’m going to be the best apprentice you’ve ever had,” beams Yasmina. Given that she created some truly horrendous chocolates, it’s baffling.
22:00 Now we’re in to The Apprentice: Your Hired.
Ruby Wax, Jonathan (@Wossy) Ross and Michelle Mone (bra queen) are on the panel.
They’re showing a replay of Yasmina winning already. That’s almost an action replay.
22:01 Kate’s onstage looking ultra-glam. “I’m happy to be hear with you Adrian,” she lies.
“Obviously, I was gutted when I found out the news that I wasn’t going to get hired…” The way she phrases it almost reveals how the finalists are both filmed “winning”.
Michell Mone says Kate’s stunning (bra modelling contract on the way?), while Ruby Wax…um..waxes lyrical about her “American teeth.” Rossy praises her for making so few mistakes (“Not counting Phil.”).

22:04 They’re pretty much running clips of the task. This is going to be one of the cheapest hours of television BBC One has ever transmitted.

22:11 Kate’s got a degree in the Psychology Of Business. Maybe she can tell us just why Philip’s such a prat.

22:12 Asking Jonathan Ross about professionalism seems like asking Bill Clinton about fidelity.

Now we’re on to the hilarious moment where Kate didn’t pick Philip. Awww, bless ‘im.

“If I’d chosen him, the whole final would have been what Kate and Philip got up to.” Not avoiding the robot accusations by speaking in third person there Kate.

22:14 “Philip came across as an enormous cock…but I couldn’t help but see a bit of myself in him.” Jonathan Ross tacitly admits he’s a knob.

22:15 Now they’re replaying Lorraine’s moment acting like a one-woman News Of The World, outing Philip and Kate in the boardroom.

“Looking back now, perhaps Lorraine had a valid point.” That’s very magnanimous of Kate.

Michelle Mone works with her husband but they don’t “have sex in the boardroom”. That’s good to know.

Michelle was expecting Philip to make the final. And I thought she knew about tits.

21:17 Now we’re seeing footage of the aftermath of Philip’s firing. “At the end of the day, we’re here for a business process,” said Kate with steely eyes.

She doesn’t want to talk about her relationship with Philip but he can “share a box of choc d’amour” with her any day of the week. Look out for that OK cover any time now or maybe just a spread in Heat.

22:19 Now a montage of Kate’s bizarre sliding mouth using the phone – she looked like a horse going at a sugar lump – and her Charlston-esque dance when winning tasks.

“Boy would that come in useful,” says Jonathan about Kate’s odd mouth movements. The man essentially speaks innuendo.

22:20 There onto Lorraine’s changing accent. Wossy wanted her in the final.

 

22:21 Now we’re onto Wossy’s picks of the men’s worst moments. And…here’s Pantsman again. Based on Philip’s performance of the Pantsman theme, I’d get a novelty single out right now.

22:22 “Out of the men on my team, I probably am the best looking.” Has no one told Ben he looks like the Pilsbury Doughboy after a Pinnoccio style “I’m a real boy” transformation.
22:23 Thankfull his screentime is short lived and we’re on to Nick and Margaret.
An amazing montage of Nick’s best “I’ve just been made to eat a bag of lemons” looks. He is a champ.
“If Nural says one more time ‘I’m looking to sell” I will personally stamp on his foot.” You don’t mess with Nick. That’s one of The Apprentice’s golden rules.
22:25 Nick’s highlights – the sandlewood scandal and being ticked off by Debra “what man wouldn’t enjoy that?”
22:26 Margaret’s best bits (she’s not impressed when Adrian calls her a “woman of a certain age”).
It’s clear that it wasn’t just Margaret that was the star but her eyebrows.
Her favourite moment of the series? James supplied it. His antics in the birthing pool or as Margaret puts it: “The strongest argument for birth control ever shown on television.”
22:27 Sad news – she’s not appearing next year (which we all already knew).
“Are you pregnant?” asks Ruby Wax crassly.
“I think that’s unlikely,” says Margaret with oodles of class.
She going off to continue her PHD in ancient Egyptian texts. “You may find it odd,” she says dryly, “But I find it fascinating.” She’s single handedly raised the tone 100%. We’ll miss you Margaret.
22:29 So Kate didn’t win the show but Adrian’s given her one of those air-guitars she played during the home shopping task. Well, that’s almost as good as a £100,000 job isn’t it. And I thought Sir Alan said there was no second prize.
22:30 Cue Kate’s best bits – lots of smiling, Joan Jett soundtrack, plenty of shots of Philip gazing at her like a sex-crazed Durham wolf.

22:31 Yasmina’s come dressed as Barbarella. Far too much clevage on show.

22:32 Lots of shots of Yasmina being “focussed”. I’d plump for gormless actually.

22:33 And here’s Sir Alan “soon to Lord” Sugar. “That’s a bit premature,” says Sir Alan, “There has to be a committee to decide if I’m suitable first.”

After that Party Political Broadcast he’s explaining his decision. It’s something about vision and the way she “stared at him” in the boardroom. So, it’s vanity then. She listened to everything he said.

22:35 Sir Alan’s said Kate can call him 24/7. If I was her, I’d call him at 4am and put the phone down.

22:36 Yasmina’s going to be sticking digital signage in doctor’s surgeries. Woo! The thrilling cutting edge of health care signage.

22:37 We’re back on to how Yasmina was on the money with everything but the taste. I really think making chocolates that made you feel queasy is a major failing.

22:38 Sir Alan reckons it was fine that the sweets tasted foul. They only had two days. That doesn’t really explain how Kate managed to make her’s taste passable.

22:40 We’re seeing Yasmina making the super-cheap sandwiches in week two. “That task was bloody brilliant…she managed a 200% margin” says Sir Alan. Yeah, who needs to make quality food products. As long as you make a mint, a bit of food poisoning doesn’t matter. That’s all larks but it probably should steer you away from picking up any Viglin products.

22:43 Sir Alan’s delivering a paegn of praise to the candidates. “Let me tell you, if I got Bill Gates, Philip Green and Richard Branson [to do these tasks] they would not know what to do. This mob are a great mob.” He says it’s the papers that are to blame for making them look like prats. I’m pretty sure Ben is quite capable of doing that on his own. And Debra’s rage would give Kelvin McKenzie a run for his money.

 

22:44 Sir Alan says everyone warmed to Debra. “She’s only 23 years old.” Well, that’s OK then.

22:45 Now we’re moving on to James’s best bits. This all seems to be adding up to the fact that Yasmina is pretty boring.

22:46 Sir Alan looks at James as if he’s his idiot nephew.

22:47 Now we’re on to the love of Philip and Kate. “When I heard Philip was falling in love with someone, I thought it was himself,” says Sir Alan. If anyone knows about self-love, it’s Sir Alan. He speculates that they might be the first Apprentice wedding or provide the first Apprentice kids.

A frightening mock-up of what those babies might look like – a tiny Lorraine and a baby with Ben’s face super-imposed on it. That’s my nightmares set for the week.

22:49 Adrian gives Yasmina a copy of a Canapes recipe book. “Stop calling them canopys.” Not sure he should be giving anyone pronunciation advice.

22:50 Yasmina’s best bits montage is to Oasis’s She’s Electric – that’s appropriate, a band who’s outputs been average since 1995.

22:51 What’s Sir Alan looking for next year? Hi-calibre people. So it’s all change then.

He says he wants to be “concious of the ‘so-called’ credit crunch” and invites people who’ve been “made redundant”.

Then we’re on to the Junior Apprentice. “We’re going to choose people with potential.” That shouldn’t be so difficult. Almost all kids are idiots.

22:53 A montage of the best mentions of The Apprentice this year then on to Sir Alan’s evil moments backed by the Imperial March. I’d definitely prefer looking at him if he had a Darth style helmet to wear.

His “funny” moments backed with the Curb The Enthusiasm theme:

“Can I get you a cushion, if you keep sitting on the fence like that, you’ll wake up with a sore arse.”

“This is Margate not Watergate.”

22:56 And it’s time for Sir Alan to thank Nick and Margaret. And Andrian. It’s like those awkward bits during school assemblies when a teacher leaves. I expect Margaret will be presented with some cheap flowers and card signed in biro any minute now.

The Apprentice will be back in Spring 2010. See you on TV Throng then. Thanks for following the series with us.

 

20:57 We’re down to five – “Devilish” Debra, Yasmina the bland, James the jester, Lorraine – owner of the longest face in Britain and Kate – the Heather Mills bot. After a programme introducing us to their families and their hard luck stories (plus Debra’s long suffering boss), it’s time for the penultimate episode. The interviews are always the most enjoyable stage as Sir Alan’s stooges really stick the boot in. Expect Kate and Debra to field the most blows. I’d like to see James in the final but suspect his jokey demeanour could count against him. Then again, look how well Lee McQueen did with that “reverse pterodactyl” impression of his.

21:00 “This is a job interview from hell…” etc, etc. Oh Sir Alan, are you sure you couldn’t just offer the cash alternative?

21:03 The phone rings but this time we know what’s in store for the feckless five. Kate’s the one who rushes to grab it, looking better without her usual polyfiller level of slap.

21:04 Debra’s shown being kind to Lorraine while they’re chatting in the kitchen. A softer side suddenly coming through? It’s like a cobra suddenly asking for a cuddle.

Both Lorraine and Yasmina are certain they’ll sail through the interviews.

21:05 The narrator lets us know that Debra has “made few friends” at her previous jobs. Department of no suprises.

Kate: “I’ve only ever had one interview in my life where I didn’t get offered the job. They were complete idiots…”

Lorraine is worried that her CV is “a little watery”. She should have gone with the traditional paper format.

Yasmina needs to look up ‘humility’ in the dictionary. “I’m brilliant at everything.”

James delivers another of his brilliant one liners: “The last thing I want is to be in the boardroom with Sir Alan kicking me so hard up the arse that I’ve got his toes for teeth.” Let’s hope his Wildean bon mots help him handle Sir Alan’s suited and booted attack dogs.

21:08 “I’ve got four of my trusted associates to interview you,” says Sir Alan doing his best Don Corleone. One or even three of the candidates could go depending on their feedback.

Here comes the panel:

Gordon, chief exec of Viglin.

Claude, Sir Alan’s former trouble shooter, now a multi-millionaire in his own right.

Karen Brady, chairwoman of Birmingham City.

Alan, city investor and trusted business advisor.

They’ve taken references, read the CVs and been through the candidates abpplication forms.

Karen Brady has come dressed as a cup cake for some reason.

21:10 Yasmina: “I tend to be good at everything.” That’s it, go for the modest approach.

21:11 “It’s like waiting to see the headmaster,” ponders James. Well, yes, if the headmaster had split into four mad eyed business barmpots.

Claude opens the attack on James: “I’ve read your CV and its fair to say it’s exceptional…exceptionally bad.” It seems James’s CV is littered with terrible acronyms.

21:12 Gordon’s asked Kate to tell him a little about herself. She runs through her qualifications.

“That’s good,” says Gordon dryly. “So what are you doing here?”

He’s setting her up for a beating. Slowly, slowly, catchy mascara’d monkey.

21:13 Karen Brady’s interrogates Yasmina about setting up her restaurant and looks on indulgently.

Claude is impressed by Yasmina’s website. “However, I don’t know how honest a person you are…why are you so happy with yourself?”

She says she made 4.5% net profit but it says gross profit on her CV. Not very smart.

Claude’s got her business accounts. “How did you get hold of them?” asks Yasmina.

“They’re a public document.” says Claude, his eyebrows rocketing skyward. He systematically takes her appart. She knows nothing about how her own business is doing.

Outside with the others, Yasmina puts a brave face on it. How was it? “Good. Very good. Nice man.” She spits out in a staccato fashion.

21:17 In with Karen, Lorraine has suddenly brought out her Irish accent. She has a gift for spotting things she claims. Karen wonders why she didn’t manage to spot wrong employment dates on her CV. “Why did you lie on your CV?”

Unlike Yasmina, Lorraine plays it straight when she comes out the other side: “That was HORRENDOUS.”

21:19 Claude has Debra in his clutches. “I would struggle to consider you a team player. People find you ruthless.”

“I”m amibitious,” says Debra her eyes colder than deep space.

21:20 “I put a leash on people who want to spunk money up the wall.” Claude is quoting from James’s application.

“This is frankly indefensible.” says Claude. James’s application also boasts about how “ignorant” he is. Someone else in need of a dictionary.

21:21 “I might spend too much time with a smile on my face and walking around chatting too much.” admits James as Gordon accuses him of being a joker. Let’s hope he never has to defend himself in court.

21:22 Kate’s application says she’d struggle working in a team of all woman. “Obviously I’m a woman myself,” twitters Kate.

“Oh you’ve noticed,” says Claude with a desert-like dryness.

21:23 Alan’s reading references for Debra. “She’s loud, aggressive and inexperienced, swearing at people and telling them to F-off.”

Karen’s on to another one: “People either love her or hate her but most people hate her.” Is she too ruthless?

No, says Debra reaching for her shiv as her cheeks get redder and redder.

“No one calls me a bitch,” says Karen. I’m sure Google searches wouldn’t back that up actually.

21:25 Karen continues her support for the sisterhood by bringing up Kate’s relationship with Philip. The Heather-McCartney bot doesn’t respond well.

21:26 Alan wants to know why Yasmina made her mother remortgage her house to finance her restaurant. Again, not exactly explained well.

21:27 “You’re just perfect aren’t you?” Claude tells Kate.
“Well, I wouldn’t go that far,” glows Kate.
“I think you’re just a competent interviewee,” he mutters.
The glow is fading a bit. Kate goes grasping for her accolade as the youngest person put forward for the McDonald’s management team as a teenager. Hmmm…maybe not quite good enough.

21:29 “I don’t think I’ve heard so much negative feedback in one day,” Debra says looking shell shocked. She should have tried bugging her old office.

21:30 Lorraine says getting the job will fulfil 20 years of dreams. Unlike Kate’s dead-eyed statements of passion, you really feel she means it. But her inconsistent CV and stuttering interview performances do not bode well. Kate has the pretty blonde card that has been played well on the show in the past.

21:31 Sir Alan has the panel in the boardroom.

Normal Alan on Lorraine: “I couldn’t shut her up.”

Karen Brady: “In her application, she had put that she had a special gift.”

Gordon: “She told me she could read people’s minds.”

Margaret sticks up for her. She’s made the right call plenty of times.

Claude doesn’t think she’d cope while Alan is even more straight forward: “She’d drive you up the wall.”

21:33 Claude is impressed by her entrepeneurial spirit but not by her collapse once he started to unpick her accounts.

Alan’s issues are different: “Why does she want to come and work for you?” He’s also disgusted that she pushed her mother to remortgage her house and then only gave her 1% stake in the restaurant.

21:34 Sir Alan remembers boring money from his parents to buy a car to help him work. Yasmina’s decision doesn’t play badly with him.

21:35 Karen recalls asking James to tell her one thing to impress Sir Alan:

“I want him to be like Willy Wonka and give me the keys to the factory.”

Sir Alan is not Willy Wonka, though I could imagine him enjoying employing oompa loompas.

James is pretty much written off as a joker.

21:37 Karen’s on Kate – “a little bit too robotic.”

Kate claims her friends would never describe her as “boring”. How about bland?

Nick ponders: “Maybe she hasn’t got a personality.”

A little chuckle amongst the men as Karen quotes Kate saying “women are moany, mopey and whiney.”

“I’m glad you said that,” says Sir Alan – a man who once publically criticised the very concept of maternity leave.

21:38 Debra’s problem was those terrible references.

Alan is unconvinced by Debra’s suggestion that she’s changed in the 10 weeks.

“She’s impressively tough for a 23-year-old,” says Karen.

Gordon thinks she’ll deliver but will kick anyone in the teeth on the way.

Good comments and Sir Alan seems impressed. But will Debra’s back-stabbing instincts activate his inbuilt Caeser complex. “Et tu Debra?”

21:41 Gut instinct? Lorraine and James definitely to go. Debra and Kate to be in the final. Yasmina, wavering.

21:41 The candidates are delivering their final sell.

James kicks off first: “On paper I look horrendous…” Excellent start there. “I’ve got a treasure chest of experience. I think you and I could be a good match.” It sounds like he’s filling in an online dating form.

Sir Alan wants to know why his application form was so flippant. Oh, I don’t know, so he could get himself on the telly?

“You’re not reinventing the wheel with me, ” James says continuing the joking despite trying to say he’s not a joker. “You just need to fix a few spokes.”

21:43 Can Debra curtail her rabid junkyard dog demeanour.

“I have the desire to succeed in business. If I have to change, I will.” she says trying to come over nice and fluffy.

“You need to conquer yourself before you conquer the world,” says Sir Alan. I think he’s hiding The Little Book Of Calm under the desk.

21:45 “My colleagues think you’re a little robotic” he tells Kate.

“I take that as a compliment” says Katebot 3000 activating her nodding and smiling protocol.

21:46 Sir Alan wants to know if Lorraine can handle “these difficult times”. There’s that phrase again. I think he has a quota he needs to fill of recession references.

21:47 Why does Yasmina want to give up her own business and independence? “My skills are being wasted in the catering industry.”

Sir Alan wants to know if she thinks she’s one of those most credible remaining candidates? Hmmm…what might her reply be. “No, Sir Alan, I’m a tit that doesn’t understand my own accounts?” No, she goes with a simple yes.

21:48 Sir Alan summing up:

Debra – leopard but can she change her spots?

Lorraine – can she cope?

Yasmina – is she there for the right reasons?

Kate – too good to be true.

James – a corporate man, who made him laugh but…HE’S FIRED.

The joker gets junked first. I think we all knew that was coming.

21:49 Debra looks tearful. This is unexpected proof that she has human emotions. Meanwhile, Kate is leaking WD40. 

We’re on course for another all female final.

21:51 Two more up for the chop.

Sir Alan’s back questioning Yasmina’s commitment.

“100%” she says. Doesn’t she know The Apprentice usually goes up to 150%

He seems unconvinced. Now he’s back trying to deconstruct Kate’s “clinical, robotic approach”.

“Personality has the power to open doors,” he says gnomically. “But character keeps them open.”

21:53 Lorraine recounts her background again. “Yes, yes, very sympathetic to that.” grumbles Sir Alan “But you rub people up the wrong way…” And…she’s FIRED.

21:54 Yasmina’s hanging by a thread. The fact that she’s got a business is a real sticking point.

Debra’s a fighter but Sir Alan wonders if she’ll be able to control herself in the real world.

Kate tilts her head with a “What is love style expression” and Sir Alan puts her through to the final. The bland blonde is through.

21:55 It’s between Yasmina and Debra. If entertainment wins out, it should be Debra going through.

But it’s not. She’s FIRED. However, Sir Alan praises her to the hills and asks her to “keep in touch.” If she doesn’t get that TV shopping channel job we predicted last week, she’ll be working for him eventually.

21:57 Yasmina and Kate return to the penthouse. That’s going to be one uncomfortable round of cocoa.

21:58 Next week: the departed candidates return to help Yasmina and Kate attempt to launch their own competing boxes of chocolate. Clearly a task chosen to allow Sir Alan and the narrator to indulge in gratuitous “bitter regret”/”sweet taste of success” metaphors.

Initial thoughts: Kate is the Michelle Dewberry of this year’s Apprentice (even down to the affair with another contestant) – efficient, blonde but slightly boring. Yasmina didn’t really need the job but she’ll fight hard for it in the final.

Join me again on SUNDAY to find out who comes out on top.

With last night’s tearful drama for Hollie Steel provoking sympathy and derision in equal measure across the web and finding its way on to News At 10, tonight’s show has a lot to live up to. Will Susan Boyle (who’s gone from Hairy Angel to four-letter word flinging liability in the eyes of the tabloids) get the win as the bookies predict or will one of the other finalists pip her to the post, American Idol style?

Join me here from 6.40 for a no-doubt snark filled commentary on the most exploitative show on telly (well, at least until Big Brother returns next week).

18:48 They’ve got the guy who does the “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble” boxing announcements in to introduce Ant and Dec onstage. I suspect tonight’s heavyweight battle will not be a knockout.

18:49 Amanda Holden has come dressed as Marilyn Monroe (the Aldi knock-off version).

18:50 “Tonight, I’m going to sit and watch like the rest of Great Bitten.” Is Amanda talking to a giant bird?

“It’s great that we’ve got something that takes our minds off greedy bankers and politicians…” says Piers playing to the gallery as usual.

18:52 First to perform it’s Flawless. “If you work hard, you can achieve you dream.” Heartwarming sentiments from the dance crew there. Simon is setting up a battle between Flawless and Diversity. It’s the biggest dance battle since Michael Jackson’s Beat It.

18:53 And…as if by magic, Flawless are dancing to Michael Jackson medley with what looks like an old Volvo in the background.

We’ve switched to James Brown’s I Feel Good and back to Jacko again. The moves are smooth and the choreography is inventive. Flawless are a typical variety show act so they’d be perfect to perform in front of the Queen but to me, they’re just a bit predictable.

18:56 Simon declares the Flawless should really walk this kind of competition while Piers ladles on the rhetoric and Amanda (self-appointed dancing queen) dubs them “one of the best dance acts in the world.”) No doubt she did a very thorough survey of the alternatives.

18:58 The first of the big acts is up next – Shaheen, the little Welsh wonder who got Lily Allen’s backing on Twitter.

He’s dressed in his finest page boy at a wedding get up and is singing Who’s Loving You by the Jackson 5. It’s the second Jacko influenced performance of the night and it’s great. The trouble is, just like the original, it’s super-creepy seeing such a young boy singing a love song.

19:02 Piers says it was “unbelievable” and goes into a little speech attacking people who say BGT shouldn’t feature children. Will every summing up from him be a chance to jump on the soapbox? It’s like he’s editing The Mirror on the fly. Amanda throws down some seriously patronising comments and Simon’s on to the debate about allowing kids to audition too. “I’ve been in two minds but that performance made me realise that if you’re talented and you can cope with it, why should we deny you the opportunity?”

Simon is praising Shaheen to such a degree that you suspect that if he doesn’t win, a contract is ready and waiting for him.

Unlike Hollie who really did seem a little stage school, Shaheen seems very genuine.

19:06 First break – quite disturbed by the new M&S advert with Twiggy. “It all started here in 1888.” “Alright, Twiggy,” says a passing Victorian ragabond. Is she really that old?

19:09 And we’re back:

It’s Aidan Davis, the little body-popping Timberlake alike. He’s a really sweet kid but we’ve already got George Sampson. Do we really need another one? It only encourages them.

19:11 Simon wonders if he can top last night’s performance.

He’s dancing to Low by Nelly. It’s about a woman with a big arse wearing Nelly’s brand of jeans (Apple Bottom). I’m not sure I’d class that as age appropriate.

It’s a good performance from Tiny Timberlake but he slightly telegraphs the last move. The studio audience loves it.

19:13 He’s got real charm and remembers to thank the audience.

Amanda loves his “superstar attitude” and asks if he’s already got “the birds lined up in his caravan”. Slightly creepy once again.

Simon says the performance wasn’t as good as last night which is quite unfair given that he’d only had 24-hours since the last show.

Piers capitalises on Simon’s audience baiting by saying exactly what they want to hear: “I don’t agree. That was better than last night.” Piers Morgan, king of bread and circuses.

19:16 Simon manages to upset Aidan a bit with his comments. There’s a few tears in his eyes. Is this the new BGT gimick? Tearful kids.

19:17 It’s 2Grand – the grandfather/granddaughter singing duo. They’re incredibly sweet. They won’t win but the story is just really uplifting, even for a heart-hearted little git like me.

19:19 They’re singing A Whole New World. John’s voice is not brilliant but Sally’s singing her heart out and looks lovely. It’s as if a club singer and a classical pop starlette accidentally got lost and ended up on the same stage. The story is better than the act. But what a heartwarming story.

19:21 Lola Darling has a fond place in her heart for them as they’re from Doncaster and so has Simon (“I love you two.”) though he knows they won’t win.

Piers does a little speech about John’s wife who recently passed away (the man knows his smaltz): “Wherever she is now, she’ll be thinking wow, they’re on Britain’s Got Talent!” I think she’ll be thinking: “I didn’t think you’d get such a good Freeview signal in Heaven.”

John says performing on Britain’s Got Talent has really brought him out of a depression. That almost makes the whole thing worthwhile.

19:23 After the break it’s two of the most talked about acts – Hollie Steel (tears again? drama?) and Stavros Flatley (another Lily Allen favourite).

19:28 Here comes Hollie. Dec introduces her as “the little girl who’s got the whole country talking.” I’m really not having Simon’s “bravest girl in the world” statement, I’m sure there’s a few in Afghanistan or hospital wards or facing up to their abusive fathers who deserve the award a little better. Hollie is just incredibly precocious and I have the feeling that her parents are too pushy.

19:30 She’s singing a Les Mis tune – I can’t tell you which one as I have always conciously avoided it.

19:31 She’s doing well and there’s no hint of forgotten words or nerves. The more suspicious amongst you might wonder if last night’s waterworks were a little bit too convenient. We know how much Simon loves a good Reality TV narrative.

19:32 Piers: “You looked like a little star.” Amanda: “I absolutely loved that.” Oh, Amanda says it’s a song from Phantom Of The Opera. Earlier on Hollie said she was doing something from Les Mis on the North West local news. Hence the confusion.

Simon is praising her to the hills. “You handled it brilliantly. You handled the big notes brilliantly. You put yourself back in the competition not by pity but by a good performance.”

I think SuBo may have her work cut out for her now. The cute kid’s story might just beat the beatification of Boyle. Over exposure could do for her. The tears are more fresh in the public’s heads.

19:35 It’s Stavros Flatley. They’re so endearing.

“I can’t believe we’re in the final, two little podgy fellas.”

This is the feel good act.

19:36 There appear to be leather trousers involved. And the pair of them are dressed as your actual Michael Flatley impersonators.

The shirts are off and the manboobs are in motion.

Dancing to Lord Of The Dance, they’ve got a battalion of real Irish dancing ladies behind them.

It’s really shoddy but incredibly good fun. Dimitri’s checking that his wife pressed record on the video.

19:39 “I’m fit to burst” says Amanda. TMI love. She’s asking people to vote for Stavros Flatley.

Simon says “It’s genius. I’d rather watch you two instead of Michael Flatley any day…It’s about how people make you feel. And you two make people feel good.”

19:41 Piers has declared that he’ll appear with them if they win.

Dimitri tells Piers he’s a diamond, tells Amanda he loves her and says Simon must have some Greek in him – “No one’s that cool and not Greek.” I see the confusion, it’s all the Grecian 2000 Simon’s been sticking in his hair.

19:43 Ad break and they’re hawking Paul Potts’ second album. Apparently, it’s “stunning”. I find it’s stunning that he’s made it to a second album.

19:46 Sean Smith’s up next. He’s your standard generic X-Factor/Idol/Popstars/BGT type singer. You could essentially make him from spare parts left over from Shane Ward, Gareth Gates and Will Young. Bland. Bland. Bland.

19:48 And as if to prove that point he’s singing Ain’t No Sunshine. Whenever reality TV performers do this kind of material they make it sound like they’re singing a shopping list. This is a soul so plastic it could be made by Tupperware. No disrespect to the lad (said in my best football pundit voice) but he’s just OK.

19:51 Simon loved it – here’s another one who’s certain of a contract.

Piers says he’s got a lot of competition.

For Amanda, he ticked every box. “You’re sexy, you’re cool…” She’s gone a little cougarish there.

19:53 It’s Susan Boyle. Will she manage it after all the terrible newspaper coverage in the past few days. “It’s the accumulation of 40 years of dreaming. A life long ambition.” That could be the sentence that wins it for her.

19:54 She’s gone back to her original song – I Dreamed A Dream from Les Mis.

She’s been put in a silver dress and has picked up a new head shake move.

Going back to this song will please the BGT montage makers if she wins. Footage of her unstoppable rise, the song soaring in the background. But does this just make her seem like she’s got a range of two songs she can do?

19:56 She speaks well and thanks everyone for their support. “I really feel at home on stage. Of course I do. I’m among friends am I not.”

Piers once again is on his soapbox: “You’ve been boiling over, cracking up…but you did it. That was the greatest performance I’ve seen in Britain’s Got Talent History.” Susan looks pleased but there are boos from the audience.

Amanda backs Piers comments. “You did it girl, you did it for Scotland and you did it for Great Britain.” And the universe…

19:58 Simon: “You had every right to walk away from this. You could have had a lot of stuff coming your way in America. A lot of people said you were not equipped to deal with it. For what? To sit alone at home with your cat…you came, faced your critic and you beat them. I’ve got to know the real Susan Boyle, who’s not the person portrayed in the media…I absolutely adore you.” The Susan Boyle narrative takes the turn you’d expect it to – it’s redemption time!

20:01 Great spot by Mof Gimmers – Sue Boyle = Mickey Dolenz http://bit.ly/21SCrZ

20:02 SuBo’s performance was arguably better than her initial audition but the cynic in me says a lot of the stories about her “cracking up and boiling over” came from the show’s own PRs. Where would the excitement be if she won this thing easily?

20:04 They’re trailing America’s Got Talent. I really don’t think I’d be able to hack that.

20:05 Here come Diversity. It’s the second half of the street dance beat down. Will they floor Flawless?

“Diversity are an amazing group of boys,” says Amanda. Calm down.

20:06 Simon wonders if they can match their stellar choreography in earlier shows.

20:07 Yep. They can. It’s a robotic style dance with the group forming up into robot shapes before the appearance of BGT’s littlest Superman.

20:08 There’s a portion of the choreography that mimics the judge’s panel and the big red crosses. This is creative and frankly brilliant. They could well have the potential to steal a win.

20:10 Amanda thinks they’ve “blown Flawless out of the water”. She’s right.

“I don’t think there should be any assumptions about who’s going to win the show.” – Amanda.

“This would be the only performance I’d give a 10 to.” – Simon.

“I thought Flawless just edged it.” – Piers.

Piers is being deliberately contrary while Amanda and Simon are trying to keep the sense of drama going. Boy I’d love to hear the instructions from the producers in their earpieces.

20:12 Finally, it’s Julian the sax player. He’s a nice bloke but he lacks that killer reality TV story. His selling points appears to be – hey, I’m an ordinary guy with a wife and kids. How can he possibly compete against Tear Girl, SuBo, Shaheen or the world-beating robots of Diversity? Solo saxophone playing really only belongs in 80s films and soft-porn.

20:15 “Another fantastic response from the audience there,” says Ant unconvincingly.

20:17 He’s as bland as his music. Great comments from the judges but *yawn*.

20:18 Voting info and suchlike is here.

I don’t want to try and influence your vote at all. In fact, I Stavros Flatley refuse to do that kind of thing.

20:22 They’re already taking applications for next year’s show. It really is the show that never ends. You can hop over to ITV2’s Britain’s Got More Talent but I’m off for some more wine and a handful of sedatives. I’ll be back in an hour for the results. Try not to get too excited in the meantime.

THE RESULTS

21:29 Here they come. Is it a foregone conclusion or is SuBo cruising for a major upset?

21:32 You can tell it’s important because they’ve pulled out the Exorcist style portentous music – this isn’t them subtly telling us that Aidan is actually Damien in disguise is it?

21:35 Surely most of the acts must know a) that they’ve not go a snowball’s chance in hell of winning and b) that they’ll earn a nice wedge on the Britain’s Got Talent Live Tour. Can you imagine a less appetising proposition than that? At least Piers won’t be there I suppose.

21:37 Piers: “Loads of people have been texting me to book the acts. Freddy Flintoff wants to book Stavros Flatley for his birthday.” Translation: “I’ve got loads of mates. Loads of famous mates. I’m POPULAR I am. Honest.”

21:38 It’s the montage time – all of the weird ones, the farting guy, the Ferrero Roche eater (beaten by Ant), squeaky voiced man (“Brilliant,” said Piers.), the complaining mother-in-law, the exposed boobs lady.

Thankfully we’ve switched to clips of the finalists. Unfortunately it’s backed with Land Of Hope And Glory which does make it seem almost like a slightly more entertaining BNP party political broadcast.

21:42 The break: The Virgin trains ad “Platform 4 to Becky’s boyfriend’s flat” is pretty much the televisual equivalent of that couple kissing in the pub when you’ve just been chucked. Or that could just be me being sensitive.

21:46 We’re back. The phone lines are now closed. Please don’t call in and throw your cash away. Time to hear from the finalists one last time to hear what performing for the Queen would mean to them. This is both filling time and missing the point, there is £100,000 on the table too.

Hollie’s speech sounds like it was written for a little robot: “I would. Like. To. Perform. In. Front Of. The Queen. So I Could. Make. Her. Heart. Melt. Error. Error.”

Heather Mills is backing Susan Boyle. She just replied on Twitter to say: “she is talented and has been built up and torn down, people lose courage for no reason and think what’s the point in trying.”

21:50 Time for the public’s top 3 acts (in no particular order):

Susan Boyle – she looks incredibly spooked. Bless her.

Julian Smith – seriously? seriously? Oh lord, the country’s bad taste elements have been at work.

Diversity – that’s a good result.

Surely it has to be between Susan and Diversity. Julian is a total wildcard.

21:52 In third place – Julian Smith. He really punched above his weight. “I’m just happy to have taken part.” His final words are as bland as his performance.

21:53 Between Susan and Diversity. She looks so worried. I think this is almost too much for her.

The winner is…Diversity.

Wow.

Susan looks relieved. “The best people won,” she says. “They’re very entertaining. Lads, I wish you all the best.”

She’s doing her odd hip wiggle again and has shown a bit of leg. That was slightly unsettling.

21:56 Diversity – deserving winners and clearly suprised to have won it.

They’re performin again and seeing the routine again it is genuinely impressive. I do wonder what Simon will be able to do with them. They’re not exactly the kind of cash cow a singer would have been. But then the Susan Boyle story is unlikely to end tonight. The album is inevitable and the thousands of column inches on her “loss” are going to fill tomorrow’s papers.

If you’re a real glutton for punishment, Britain’s Got More talent is on ITV2 now. I think I need a lie down. Or if you’re really masochistic – call up and register for Britain’s Got Talent 2010. Lines are open again now.

“Diversity were sheer and utter perfection,” says the continuity announcer. I think she’s a little bit in love.

That’s good night from me and good night from my fellow BGT liveblogger, the incomparable Lola Darling.

 


After last week when big baby Ben got the boot after much pratting about with prams, today the contestants are off to the shopping channel to attempt to shift all sorts of tat to some of the least discerning viewers known to man. I suspect they’ll still struggle. Debra is bound to be in the firing line after her clashes with Sir Alan. 

21:03 Lorraine slumps down to the phone – it’s not a pretty sight. The teams must meet him at Alexandra Palace. 

“I think Sir Alan sees me in the final,” confides Howard. I think he sees you in his vampire themed nightmares Howard but well done for being optimistic. 

Home shopping is worth £1bn a year. The teams need to select products and flog them to the viewers at home. 

21:06 Howard is leading Ignite. “I think we should chose products that suit our personalities,” says Lorraine. So…something wet then. An aquarium. 

21:07 After an hour in the car, Yasmina, James and Debra have been arguing about who should be project manager the whole time. “Be project manager if you want,” says Debra snarling like a dog with its tail stuck in a mangle. Yasmina gets the role but the displeasure is all over Debra’s substantial face. 

21:09 Yasmina decides her team need to go for low-price products. She’s split the team – she’s off with James while Debra’s off on her own – the lunatic lone wolf. 

21:11 “You can get polyester that’s man made?” James illustrates his brilliant general knowledge once again. 

Lorraine is in the studio practicing. She’s gabbling like a maniac. Demonstrating a GPS device she manages to say all the wrong things: “Don’t have a crash. If you’re speeding it’s got a safety camera.” 

“She can’t scare them”” bellows one of the channel’s producers. I think that might be a given. 

21:13 Howard has to decide which member of his team should present alone. Kate stumbles nearly as much as Lorraine. Meanwhile Howard, prince of the night, with his cheeky redcoat manner is made for the job. 

Expect to see him presenting a late night quiz show any time now. 

The fur starts to fly with Kate and Lorraine. “She’s giving me daggers,” says Lorraine. “I am not, ” says Kate, giving Lorraine daggers. 

Howard opts to go with Kate presenting alone meaning he has to work with 

21:15 Yasmina: “I would employ Debra to work in my organisation but in a job where you didn’t have to work with anyone else.” The compliments are really flying. 

Debra will be presenting alone while Yasmina and James have put together an incredibly awkward pretend couple double act. 

21:16 Howard and Lorraine are searching for products –  an air guitar device and a frightening foot scraper that looks like a torture device. 

Kate’s flying solo – she’s seen a super-expensive chip fryer and a silver leather coat that looks like it broke free from Sir Elton John’s cupboards. 

21:17 Howard and Lorraine are being shown Pleo the dinosaur. Lorraine loves him but Howard doesn’t – you could get a Wii for that price, he points out reasonably. “Howard doesn’t take risks,” says Lorraine. He may well be right this time though. 

21:18 Team members can’t sell their own selections. Lorraine and Debra have to try and shift the super-expensive Liberracci alike jacket and the ridiculously pricey chip fryer. 

Yasmina and James have lumbered Debra with the Grab-o-saurus (£24.99), a leaf picking device, and the Polo Panchp neckwarmer which looks like something you might wear to cover an embarassing rash. 

Debra’s gone for elasticated hair clips. “I wouldn’t wear these,” she grumbles “but…” the missing words? The bunch of numpties at home probably would. 

21:20 Kate is lumbered with some hideous craft cats that you cover with sequins and the toy air guitar. She’s a dab hand with the latter  but slightly bemused by the dodgy dogs.

21:23 Yasmina and James are first up to present. At home, Sir Alan is watching. 

Their first product is the remote control car. Yasmina is rabbiting on. In the control room, Debra wants her to talk about the price. She’s not. Debra is getting ready to smash the control panel. Yasmina is now mentioning the price. 

They move over to the next product – the hair grips. They announce the price as £9.99 repeatedly. They’re actually £17.99. At home, Sir Alan is incredibly irritated. He was going to buy some scrunchies for his salt and pepper do but he’s put off now. What a shame, he won’t get to look like “a Bond girl.” 

21:26 The producer tells James and Yasmina that their sales figures were poor – £400 in the hour. Much less than they would ordinarily make.. 

Debra’s trying to shift the odd scarf/hat hybrid. She’s emphasising the style but she looks like a character from the Star Wars cantina. 

The Garden Grip is similarly low-priced and Sir Alan is not happy. “Cheap, that’s the problem.” He knows they need to shift real volume to make enough money to win. And with their pathetic pitches, they won;t. 

21:29 “I just hope Lorraine doesn’t start gabbling,” says Howard. Uh-oh. 

The first product – the jackets as seen in a mid-80s Michael Jackson video. 

“I’m going to wear this to my next party,” say Lorraine. 

“I’d be proud to be seen with you,” says Howard.. Liar. 

21:30 Next up, the deep fat fryer. “A killer product,” says Sir Alan, who really knows something about shifting tat. “You just have to sell one of those and they’ve won.” But he’s not happy that the pair aren’t pushing the website, price and phone number. 

Lorraine keeps slipping into her weird Irish accent. They told everyone how great the product was but not how to get hold of it.

21:32 Kate’s trying to sell the sequin cat craft kit. “Dodgy product,” mutters Sir Alan. If anyone knows what a dodgy product is, it’s the creator of the Amstrad Emailer. 

Now Kate’s on to showing the Infrared Air Guitar. She’s really going for it. So much that the camera men are in stitches. Either that’s brilliant or totally mad. Margaret looks amused, which is always a good sign. 

21:35 Time for the boardroom. “I don’t have to rely on Nick and Margaret this time, I was watching you.” says Sir Alan in his best big brother style. 

Kate and Lorraine sing Howard’s praises. Lorraine is expressing her love for the fryer. “You spent too much time explaining the product and not enough ramming home the way to buy it. The target audience may not be hedge fund traders but they’re not brain deads.” 

Sir Alan badges the jackets “Benedorm specials” but does note that the high price products were a good bet. 

21:37 He’s not so taken with Yasmina’s cautious approach. “Going for high ticket items was the right approach.” Sir Alan is talking to James as if he was his half-witted cousin. He’s reading an email from a viewer that brands Yasmina and James’s attempt at presenting as “the comedy hour”. 

21:38 Yasmina’s team has won and Debra managed to sell nearly as many ponchos as they would have expected a professional to. She’s saved herself this week and set herself up with a good fall back for the future – obscure digital channels your next star is born. 

They’re off for a private flying lesson while the other team are off to the most depressing cafe in Britain to crash and burn. “You picked the best product,” says Sir Alan, “But you didn’t blahdy sell it.” 

21:40 Nick comes to a simple conclusion: “It was bad salesmanship.” 

21:41 At the flying lesson, James makes the overalls look like a rompersuit. The three of them are clearly out of their usual habitat in what could be their only chance to ever to be real high flyers. 

21:43 At the catastrope cafe, Lorraine’s face has fallen further than I thought was physically possible. She says she won’t talk about anyone else’s performance: “If I go, I’m going to go with some style and grace.” I suspect she’ll go mental once she’s in there. 

21:44 “I know very little about the market,” says Howard defending the sequinned cat. Well, there’s logic. 

“If you don’t like them and you think no one else will like ’em, you shouldn’t try and sell ’em” says Sir Alan. 

The air guitar sold less than 10% of what the channel would have expected to shift. Kate says she gave it her all – based on the response of the studio team that seems right. 

21:45 Lorraine says they should have gone for the dinosaur. “I did like the product but I did go for the guitar,” she says honestly. There’s no room for that kind of honesty here you know. 

21:47 Kate’s choices (the spangly jacket and the fryer) were the channel’s two biggest sellers. Sir Alan wants to know why Lorraine and Howard struggled to sell them. 

Kate sold about £200 worth of goods vs devilish Debra brought in £900. Still Kate and Howard are teaming up to take down Lorraine. 

“When the chips were down, I stood up to the mark,” she unintentionally puns. Sir Alan frowns – he does the funnies in this boardroom.

21:50 Margaret defends Howard. Nick thinks Sir Alan is underestimating Lorraine. Meanwhile, former golden girl Kate is coming out of it this well: “I think she thinks she’s better than she is,” says Sir Alan pulling out one of his trademark circuitous sentences. 

21:51 Sir Alan thinks Howard is risk adverse – I think the main one is being frightened of sunlight, mirrors and sharpened wooden stakes. 

Howard is defending himself well. “I think you’re not a brave warrior,” says Nick turning suddenly into an old shaolin kung-fu master. 

Lorraine says she’s got natural business accumen. “What do you want to work for me for?” say Sir Alan. That’s the question we’ve all been asking for the whole series. It’s hardly the Bullseye speedboat. 

21:53 Kate is “not a one trick pony”. Ah there’s that old nag of a cliche. 

21:54 Sir Alan is “going to have to make a decision”. He says this, as always, like it comes as a suprise to him. Does he never watch the tapes back? 

Howard is “a steady eddie.” Lorraine “speaks a good game” but Sir Alan brings up her own words from a few weeks back “a slow-burner in the thought process”. All three have come along way says Sir Alan  – out to Brentford in fact – but it’s Howard who’s off back to his crypt. 

“I haven’t got time for just ordinary people,” says Sir Alan. 

21:56 Howard takes his loss very well. He’s going to take on Sir Alan’s advice and be “more of a maverick in the future”. If he holds up a Securicor van, I am going to hold Sir Alan personally responsible. 
21:57 As Lorraine and Kate slope back into the penthouse, everyone tries to pull their faces into grimaces of suprise.
21:59 Tune in next week, it’ll be a humdinger as the candidates are put through a series of interviews with Sir Alan’s buddies, a bunch of slavering business bulldogs who will rip their lie laden CVs to pieces. 
“Have you ever told someone at work to f-off?” “Yes” says Debra looking shocked that anyone might think that was a little bit out of order. 
See you next time for a series of sackings. 

After last week’s muddled attempts to rebrand the bucolic beaches of Margate, this time the teams are set to descend on a baby show. The previews showing James lolling about in a birthing pool fill me with dread. According to Margaret’s ever reliable preview we can expect stilettos designed for infants and Debra riding an expensive rocking horse. It seems Margaret wasn’t too suprised by this occurence as “she’s spent much of the series riding one hobby-horse or another…maybe it’s the whip that’s the attraction.” Couple that vision with the lingerie shots of Debra that popped up in the News Of The World this week and you’ve got the recipe for some pretty vivid nightmares. My prediction for tonight: Ben will throw his toys out of the pram throughout. 

Join me here from nine for all the tears and tantrums as well as to find out who Sir Alan sends permanently to the naughty step. 

21:00 “First prize, you get to work for me…” Second prize is a goldfish in a plastic bag. Oh no, sorry I forgot, “there ain’t one.” 

Clip of Philip singing the Pantsman jingle in the round-up. Where is he now? Preparing for panto you suspect. 

21:02 Recap of last week including Mona’s truly cringe-inducing tranny inquistion. And we see the arguments between Lorraine and Yasmin and Debra’s screw-ups, you suspect this is a bit of foreshadowing for this week’s tussles. 

21:04 Six am and Debra emerges with a towel on her head to take the phone call. 

“I’m probably skating on thin ice,” says James. He’s talking sense for once. 

Sir Alan is meeting them at a hospital. Debra wonders if the task is to resusitate people. Her banter is about as tasteful as her wardrobe. 

21:05 Sir Alan meets them at the maternity ward. Let’s hope none of the little darlings have spotted him, they’ll be in tears for weeks. 

This week’s task: choose products from a range of suppliers and then flog them at the Baby Show at Earl’s Court. 

Sir Alan picks James and Lorraine to lead the teams because they’re parents. The logic here appears to be that having functioning genitals qualifies you to lead. 

21:07 Good news, Lorraine has been to the show before. She ended making impulses purchases. She thinks they should opt for a high end product and a more affordable one. 

21:08 Minutes into the challenge and Ben is already disagreeing with James’s decisions. Here comes this week’s conflict. 

21:09 “The mother needs to be happy…” James is explaining breast feeding. “If she’s not the tap in there turns off.” Not only is he business brain beyond compare, he’s also an expert anatomist. 

21:10 James is already in the bathing pool. He’s pretending to be a pregnant woman. Margaret is looking on quite indulgently. I think she wishes James was her son. Albeit a son that would probably end up living in the shed at the end of her garden. 

The bathing pool sellers have sold at the Baby Show before. They claim they’ve sold loads. Yasmina and James think they scent a winner. 

21:11 James and Debra are looking at a baby crash helmet. Ben has the adult version for rugby and yet he still acts like someone who’s taken a few knocks to the head. “I’d want my kid to get some cuts and bruises,” he says caringly. I suspect Ben’s obnoxiousness might make this a problem he never has to worry about. 

Jame’s classic swearing returns as he dubs the helmet “Cod shit”. That’s what his tie-in doll is going to say. 

21:13 Lorraine takes a look at a really snazzy buggy and negotiates the price down. She may have a face that only a mother could love but her negotiation skills seem to have been pretty sharp in this task. 

21:14 Heel-arious…it’s those stilettos for babies. Kate and Howard aren’t impressed. I’m suprised. Based on their track record you’d have thought they’d have gone for a job lot. 

21:15 Debra and Be go to look at high-end rocking horses. “I’m so going to want one,” says Debra. Does she see a family resemblence? 

The horses sell for £1500. Apparently they’re the makers of the “best rocking horses in the world” and sell them to kings and queens. Debra and Ben are taken with them. 

21:16 Lorraine’s in the birthing pool. “What you’re doing, is opening this place here…” says the saleswoman pointing to a model of a pelvis. On the sofa, this house’s resident grump points his head towards the sick bowl. 

 

21:17 Kate loves the child safety helmet. “It’s all about the guilt factor” she says revealing her sales strategy. She’s all heart. 

21:18 Lorraine opts for the buggy and lets Kate and Howard persuade her to get the ThumpGuard (the baby helmet), this is a bad move. Lorraine thinks it will be ok: “We’re brilliant sales people.” What evidence is this based on. 

Ben and Debra betting on the horse, Yasmina and James want to go with the birthing pool as their second choice (only 2.2% of women give birth at home). Yasmina thinks that a particularly stupid move. She’d rather they went for the buggy… 

21:21 Meanwhile back at the penthouse Lorraine is wrestling with said pram and she can’t work out how it’s super-easy folding mechanism works. 

In the next room, James’s team are looking at the rocking horse. It is beautiful. 

21:22 On the way to the exhibition, Lorraine is looking worried: “They got that £2000 rocking horse, if they sell one of those we’re fucked.” 

21:23 And they really are. They’ve just discovered that another seller with a massive stand is selling the same buggy as them. Plus she can’t negotiate the price and they can. Oh and she doesn’t know how it works. 

21:24 Howard vs a baby. He wants it to wear the helmet, it would wants him to leave it alone. 

21:25 Lorraine is battling with the buggy. She can’t demonstate it. Customers are running from her. 

“Done properly, it’s the easiest thing in the world,” says Nick sardonically. 

The customer has shown Howard and Lorraine how to assemble the buggy. Huge fail. 

21:26 The price on the rocking horse is putting customers off. Debra takes it off. 

21:27 The birthing pool is selling well although James’s rather indepth knowledge of women’s anatomy is well…a bit icky. 

21:28 People actually like the baby helmet. Point proved: people will buy any old shit. 

21:29 “Hi there,” says Ben “Can I interest you in our rocking horses.” A littl boy looks at him like he’s a fool. Children are very perceptive. 

21:30 Howard annd Kate are shifting buggies. 

21:31 Ben is not doing well with the rocking horse. 

Debra trying to shift one: “They are quite expensive…” This house’s resident sales pro has a good point. Talk about value, don’t say they’re expensive. 

Customers are now realising that the pram is selling for less elsewhere. Lorraine’s team has lost a cluster of potential sales. Oh dear. 

21:32 Debra has a customer interested in buying the rocking horse. He wants a £200 discount. She can’t give him that but she’s offering herself to him to work for a week. This wouldn’t be worth 50p. Her aggressive nature is coming out again. 

“I feel like I’ve backed a horse and it’s died.” says James. I don’t think he’ll win the show but he’s got a future in clowning ahead of him. Current prediction: James to go. 

 

21:34 In the boardroom, Sir Alan is recapping everything he told them to do earlier. Why does he do this? Does he forget? 

How was your team leader asks Sir Alan. “If I’m being honest,” says Ben, “He wasn’t any good.” Atta boy, you really are a team player. 

21:35 Sir Alan wonders why they chose the rocking horse. He’s not impressed. He wonders why they didn’t opt for the buggy. James gives a well reasoned defence of why he didn’t go for it. 

21:36 Avoiding the buggy could have been the smart move. “Did you think the pram market was a bit…full?” Sir Alan asks Lorraine incredulously. I’d say her face fell but it really doens’t have very far to go. 

21:38 Nonetheless, James’s team have lost. Lucky old Lorraine survives again. She and her team are off to the National Portrait Gallery to meet Gerald Scarfe and have caricatures done. They don’t look that impressed, in fact Kate looks bemused. 

Scarfe creates a sketch of Lorraine looking like a member of the Bash Street Kids. It’s hardly a caricature, in fact it’s incredibly lifelike. “That’s your signature look,” says Kate. 

Meanwhile at the misery cafe the bloodletting has begun. “A 100% of people in their needed a buggy,” says Ben, the king of hindsight. Debra’s suddenly forgotten how much she loved 

 

 

21:42 Sir Alan and Nick attack the choice not to opt for the buggy. James makes a good swerve though. “We could have won if people weren’t distracted by the rocking horse.” 

Debra’s in the firing line. And as usual she’s acting like a high school girl who’s been told off for not doing her homework. 

21:43 Yasmina and Debra go at each other while Sir Alan looks on unimpressed. 

 

21:44 Sir Alan picks up that Debra could have sold a horse if she could have offered a price reduction. Why did Ben and James negotiate some wiggle room? They blankly claim they couldn’t get anything out him. As usual, sneaky squirrel Sir Alan has had a work with the rocking horse makers. They would have given them a slight discount. 

21:45 Debra’s getting agressive with Sir Alan. Why do they think this is a wise strategy this year? 

21:46 James is taking Ben and Debra into the boardroom. “To be honest Sir Alan, if I could, I’d take Debra in twice.” 

21:47 Sir Alan: “Ben thinks a lot more of himself than he actually is.” But Margaret is defending him slightly: “I have a lot more sympathy for him than I do for Debra.” That might be because Debra’s jutted her jaw at Margaret, Nick and Sir Alan across the weeks. 

21:48 “You shouldn’t fire me Sir Alan because I’ve shown you I’ve got raw business talent.” says Ben. 

“Those are just words,” says Sir Alan. Ben has another go: “I’m a grafter. I’m creative.” Um…Ben, those are just words again. 

He can “compete on a world class level” and yep, here it comes, “I got a scholarship to Sandhurst.” Sir Alan has finally had enough: “I was the Jewish Lad’s Brigade: Stamford Division, trainee bugler. That don’t mean nothing.” I am now picturing Sir Alan in a little Scout’s uniform but with his adult sized head. Yet another nightmare to add to the Lorraine-in-a-birthing-pool image. 

“If you put Debra in the business, you’d have half the company on strike,” says James. He’s presenting himself as a nice guy. Sir Alan doesn’t like that. “There’s no room in these tough economic for a kissy, kissy Mr Nice Guy.” 

21:52 Sir Alan is picking at Debra’s abbrasive attitude. He points to Margaret – “Not your biggest fan.” 

“I want to go from a piece of coal to the diamond that you want.” says Debra. 

“Well, you’re a zircon at the moment.” snaps Sir Alan. I think he means a zirconia but maybe he does mean a zircon, that may actually be the alien race that Debra hails from. 

21:53 Sir Alan’s into the summary: “Ben, you over hype yourself…but I see a bright light at the end of the tunnel.” Isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel usually a train?

“Debra – you’re ruthless. Nick and Margaret aren’t your greatest fans. I’m not your greatest fan at the moment.”

“James – your a nice guy and we’ve had some fun in this boardroom but being a nice fella in the cold hard world of business might not be enough. This is tough decision for me but…” Oh no. Not James… 

It’s the old bait and switch. It isn’t James… it’s Ben: “The light at the end of the tunnel’s gone out. You’re fired.” Sir Alan makes the right decision for once. The producers won’t be happy. 

21:55 And Ben’s taking it well by…punching the sofa in reception. 

Debra’s stayed in because of her “sheer bloody beligerence” but surely she’s just hanging on by her talon-like fingernails. 

21:56 In the cab, Ben looks like a kid whose had his toys swiped. Maybe he actually should bugger off to Sandhurst. 

Back at the house the speculation is focused on James or Debra. Ben doesn’t get a mention. 

21:57 In the cab Ben’s about to cry. Awww diddums. 

21:58 One job…now six numpties remain. 

21:59 Next time, it’s the TV shopping channel challenge. “The camera likes you,” says Lorraine. Meanwhile, they’ve running away from her enmass. 

 

 

Graham Norton’s in the hotseat for tonight’s rundown of the 25 cheesiest songs Europe can muster. It’s the first Eurovision since the ’70s without the familiar world-weary bile soaked observations from Terry Wogan but I hope to counteract some of Graham’s campy commentary. 

Expect terrible lyrics, unpleasantly skimpy outfits, knee slides, national costumes and enough fake tan to keep Jodie Marsh glowing for years. Will Jade Ewen (with her Andrew Lloyd Webber penned song) be able to outfox the combined voting power of the East? Wogan quit after his paranoia over block voting got too much for him. Will the new scoring system – a strange hybrid of public voting and a mysterious jury – help the UK to avoid the dreaded “nul poit”? 

20:00 And we’re off with an exciting montage of Moscow and a voiceover from Graham Norton: “I miss Terry too.” At least you realise Graham. 

The Russians have apparently spared no expense. This seems to mean giving us a bizarre fable about last year’s winner performed by Cirque Du Soleil. 

Tonight is the launch of Cirque Du Soleil in Russia even though 40% of their performers are Russian (well done Graham, you’ve been doing your homework). 

20:02 Much running, skipping and jumping. And now a midget (Jeannette Krankie, according to Graham) is flying through the air attached to a parachute.

And now last year’s winner Dima Bilan is being lowered onto the stage dressed like Tony Hancock. 

He’s ditched that to reveal some rather fetching white jeans. And he’s running through a wall. Oh and bunch of the most attractive looking paparazzi I’ve ever seen are now harassing him. And there’s some more walls to run through before he’s lowered into the crowd with an angel hanging somewhat listlessly above him. 

20:07 The song – which I have never heard before – is like something by the Backstreet Boys or N-Sync in the mid-90s. Only, it’s one of the shit ballady ones they used for album tracks. Baby Bye Bye it’s not. 

Still good for Dima, he’s putting his all into it. 

And now we get a replay of him running through the walls – in case you missed the dramatic scenes just moments before. 

20:09 Already having to use white wine as a crude anaesthetic. 

Here come the presenters – the woman Alsou (a Russian singer) and Ivan (an actor). Alsou is wearing a dress that looks like she’s slaughtered Big Bird. Ivan’s suit is super-shiny. He looks like Vernon Kaye if he’d been struck repeatedly with a spade. 

They’re pointing out that Moscow is actually pretty warm today. They don’t mention the fact that the police brutally put down a gay rights protest earlier. I expect that’d spoil the mood. 

20:11 Graham says we’ll be impressed by the show. I’m reserving judgement. 

There’s little segment in between featuring Miss World. They’re bizarre and each end up with her wearing an odd country themed wig. 

20:13 Sasha Son from Lithuania is up first. He’s opted for the time honoured approach of singing in English and has come dressed as an anaemic version of that bloke from Orson. Fedoras seems to have just become trendy in Lithuania. 

The song is a piano ballad which includes the word love repeated approximately 7000 times. Oh he’s switched into Lithuanian. Covering all the bases is old Sasha. Nice one…um…Son. 

20:16 Israel’s song is a political duet between a Jew and an Arab. It’s called It Must Be Another Way. Here you go Tony Blair, stop wasting your time with all that envoy business just get some well scrubbed ladies to sing a ballad power ballad. One of them (it might be Noa) has also opted to protest for piece while wearing a dress with frankly eye popping cleavage. 

“There must be another way,” apparently. If it could possibly avoid this ’80s production and sub-Lesley Garratt style vocal gymanists, I’d be really greatful. 

Extra points though for their joint drumming mid-song. Multi-tasking! 

Patricia Kass is next up representing France. She’s a massive star there and has sold 16m albums in Russia. 

20:21 The song is a pretty standard French chanteuse type guff almost like a playmobil version of Edith Piaf. Patricia is a similarly birdlike blonde. The song lyrics are a little worrying though. “If I had to I would stop the Earth/put out the light to let you sleep.” It sounds like it’s been penned by a lovelorn evil scientist. 

20:24 Malena Ernmann for Sweden now for Sweden with La Voix. It’s a pop opera thing. Starts with a bit of wailing and then its straight into a Euro-dance beat. Malena wants to know if we can keep a secret. Given that she looks like a scrum half in a wig and has distinctly unhinged looking eyes, I’m not sure I want to know what the secret is in the first place. 

20:27 She is properly terrifying says Graham. He’s not wrong. 

20:28 Ignor Cukrov featuring Andrea step up for Croatia. He’s wearing slightly militaristic boots and looks like a Zac Efron a few years down the line if he decides to go down the hookers and hard drugs route. 

The song is a baffling little ballad. The object of his affections can apparently “turn water into wine”. Does Ignor fancy Jesus? 

Andrea, so generic they decided to ditch the surname, contributes dress wafting and wailing to the party. Meanwhile Ignor’s backing dancers are all dressed in Bride Of Dracula style outfits. 

20:31 Portugal’s up next represented by Flor-de-lis. Despite traditional dress and an accordion, Graham has just confessed that he likes this tune. 

The guitarist looks a little constipated. 

Excellent lyric: “You’re the paint and I’m the canvas.” Best metaphor so far. 
Actually quite tuneful accordion playing and a tune makes this one actually pretty tolerable. 
20:33 Flor-de-lis’s singer (to continue the unnecessary comparisons with real celebrities) looks like Adele if she decided to lose the giner barnet and lay off the fags and vodka and cokes for a while. 
There’s a man with a ukulele! Portugal are my new favourites. 

20:35 Yohanna for cash-strapped Iceland is on now with “Is It True.” It’s true she’s slavered on enough lipgloss to stun a badger. It’s also true that her dress would, as Graham just mentioned, have looked on trend at a wedding in about 1986. 

20:37 Yohanna has nailed that generic American accent required of blonde starlette singers. The song is a mid-tempo pop ballad with some strings bolted on for a bit of gravitas. The fact that the camera men are swooping around helps no end. Graham tells us Yohanna is one of the favourites. Iceland with no cash are probably hoping she doesn’t win. 

20:39 Sakis Rouvas, the Greek Entry, has released 20 albums and used to be a gymnast. He’s in a tight white outfit that would have made Chico stop for thought. He’s the first example of the Eurovision nuclear tan tonight. 

He has eyes that scream: hey baby, come back to my bungalow. I make a mean martini. He is also disconcertingly well waxed. 

He’s now on some kind of moving platform which allows him to do a kind of moonwalk without actually making any effort. Points deducted for that. 

And he’s doing a bit of a PJ Proby now (look it up pop history lovers), deliberately ripping his top to reveal his pecs. 

“If he wins, there’ll be a keep fit video by Christmas,” quips Graham. 

20:43 Armenia represented by sisters, Inga and Anshush. 

They’re dressed in outfits nicked from Miranda Richardson’s cupboard of costumes from back when she played Morgan Le Fey in Merlin. They’re like the Cheeky Girls if they opted to cover themselves up a bit, learn to hold a tune and avoided any irritating Liberal Democrat MPs. 

 

20:46 Anastasia Prikhodko for Russia singing a song called Mamo. Her dad’s an oligarch which may or may not have had some influence on her selection. She’s got the whole hog, five massive screen behind her.

She cannot sing and to quote Half Man Half Biscuit “that’s a shit arm and a bad tattoo.” 

The lyrics make it seem like a slowed down Papa Don’t Preach style ode to youthful mistakes: “Mum, I didn’t know where trouble lay/ Mum, love is trouble.” 

There’s some exciting Sinead O’Connor style crying in the video that plays behind her with her face subtly ageing. Full marks for the visuals. Shame they weren’t a silent film though. 

20:51 Aysal and Arash for Azerbijan. Arash is apparently a huge recording star in the Balkans. He was born in Iran (it says here) and wrote the song himself. It’s pretty catchy. 

Arash has now got hold of some kind of tiny guitar – traditional instrument alert! 

The wind machine is back again giving us a quick flash of Aysal’s pants. It’s clear she’s on the ticket because of everything but her singing. 

20:54 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Regina are there representatives. They’ve been together for years and once supported The Rolling Stones. Taking a look at them you realise why: Mick doesn’t want to be upstaged. Their outfits are a cross between Les Miserables and those irritating human statues that clutter up the high street. 

The song is starting pretty slow but the lead singer is giving it some pulling the legs akimbo, fist-in-the-air stance. 

20:58 Graham keep encouraging us to sing along. I’d really rather not. 

We’re now getting a little interlude while the rest of Europe watch ads. 

The sketch is of the police trying to stop her filming. As Graham notes, it’s a bit ironic as the real police spent their day breaking up protests. 

21:00 Nelly Ciobunu for Macedonia. She looks like Esmerelda from the Hunchback Of Notre Dame (if we’re being charitable). The song is a traditional Macedonian style song perked up with some beats and some male dancers seemingly choreographed to look like they’re bursting for a piss. 

21:04 Chiara singing for Malta. “She’s never met a Malteser she didn’t like,” says Graham before the screen fills up with Chiara. She’s a big woman who’d have been well advised to give the sequins a miss. 

Oh she just winked at the camera. Cheeky. 

The song is another big ballad with superbly generic lyrics: “What if we could be free? Throw the dice. Unravel our lies. And learn how to be…who determines your destiny?” Imagine if Blowin’ In The Wind has been rewritten by Celine Dion while she was taking strong painkillers. 

21:07 Urban Symphony are competing for Estonia. It’s song number 15 and my fingers are already starting to seize up. 

Lots of strings in this one and a lead singer with a very severe fringe. Did they skimp on the styling? Your mother and a pudding bowl is now the answer. 

She’s clutching a violin so I predict Vanessa Mae style antics any time now. 

21:11 Brinck is representing Denmark. He sounds like Ronan Keating because Ronan Keating wrote the song. His performance is also a carbon copy of Ronan’s trademark blandage. 

“I’ve never had a picture of an end.” Brilliantly, Ronan, a man who’s native language is English has still managed to write utterly baffling lyrics. 

The guitarists would rather be in Nickleback. 

21:15 Germany, have only one once in 51 years. They’re act is Alex Swings Oscar Sings. They’re secret weapon is an appearance from Dita Von Teese. 

Oscar looks like Chuckie-Doll turned Cabaret kid Ray Quinn. Meanwhile the pony-tailed prat on the piano (I assume that’s Alex) should have stayed in the hotel foyer. Dita is removing her clothes but the camera is not really dwelling on her.

Nope, she’s to the fore now. She’s wearing an unfeasibly tight to corset and has picked up a riding crop. Prepare to do some explaining if you’re watching with kids. 

Oscar has got in on the act, opening his shirt to reveal his abs. 

21:19 “That’s the low point over,” promises Graham. Oh how I wish I could believe you. 

Turkey’s taking the stage. Hadise singing Dum Tek Tek.  She’s also apparently a big star. Her performance is pretty polished. And the song is catchy. The wind machine is on full blast again to send her skirts flying. More unneccessary knickers. 

21:22 Albania up next. Graham predicts that this will be a surpise. 

The subtitler for BBC One has gone crazy and stopped writing what Graham is saying. 

A man in a sequinned gimp mask and a pair of twin dwarves dancing with a 17-year-old in a tutu. This is not a Eurovision song, it’s an outtake from a David Lynch film.

The dwarves are now break-dancing. 

21:26 Now, Fairytale by Alexander Rybok for Norway. Graham tells us he’d quite like to give him a slap. And I can see why – he’s a gurning creature that could well be a badly designed Pinnoccio puppet. 

“Years ago, when I was younger, I kind of liked a girl I knew…I’m in love with a fairytale.” 

Once again there is gratuitous violin playing. Someone needs to institute a quota. Is this some secret plan to sort out the EU Violin mountain? 

21:28 Graham predicts Alexander may well win. Oh come on please no. 

21:30 The Russian presenters are back. The woman is wearing a dress made of left over Christmas ribbon. Chummy is still in the fire hazard suit. 

21:31 Representing the Ukraine, Svetlana Loboda has morgaged her flat to pay for the set. Which appears to have been bought from a futuristic pole fancing club. Svetlana herself would benefit from that kind of low light. 

“Because I’m crazy BOM!” Yes, Svetlana, you clearly are. 

Her dancers are dressed as centurion strippers. She’s certainly got a vision. 

21:34 “I’m your anti-crisis girl.” I do actually love it. In fact, I’m crazy BOM for it. 

21:35 Romania: The Balkan Girls “sung” by Elena. Graham suggests that the woman in the blue dress to the far right of the stage to actually sing the hard bits. It seems like Elena and her disconcerting bosoms is just another bit of the stage decoration. Still Romania are sticking to the rules. There is someone on stage singing the live vocal. She’s just hidden behind a rock now. 

“My hips are ready to glow.” Steady on love. 

21:39 It’s Jade’s turn representing the UK. She’s been on a propaganda campaign to win Europe over and is on the cover of Russian OK. The down side is that she’s got living gargoyle Andrew Lloyd Webber on piano for her. 

He is very popular in Russian but let’s be honest it’s not that long since they were greatful for a pair of Levi’s and a potato each. 

21:41 Jade is doing a good “Leona Lewis”. The girl can sing. But the song is just bland. On the plus side she’s actually wearing quite a nice dress. Whether the sequin encrusted mic was neccessary…well, I’ll let you be the judge. 

A good performance but may not be enough to outdo general European emnity towards the UK. 

21:46 Finland’s most successful dance act Waldo’s People jump into the fray. “Welcome back to the 1980s” cringes Graham. He’s spot on. Here comes that ill-advised rapping we’d all been dreading. All those years of idolising Vanilla Ice have obviously paid off for this guy while the rest of the band seemed to be three vat grown blondes. 

“Like Peter Piper I take Control…thats how I role…I’m a man who’s out of control.” Yes, we can tell from your backwards baseball cap. 

21:49 The final song – Soraya for Spain with a song written by a bunch of treacherous Swedish songwriters for hire. She’s a dead ringer for Sarah Harding and wearing  a hankerchief covered in sequins. “Come on and take me, come on and shake me,” she demands. I would but I find you slightly intimidating. 

Oh there’s been a bit of magic. She’s disappeared and popped up on the opposite side of the stage. “Apparently there are no taboos” and she wants to “nail you to my cross.” 

21:51 The presenters are doing comedy, in English in front of a crowd that doesn’t speak it. As Graham points out that’s a bit tricky. 

They presenters are encouraging us to vote nicely. 

The International Space Station astronauts are giving the signal to start the voting. Seriously? Are they not a bit busy? 

21:53 Right, they’re recapping the songs. Sweden was frigthening but Albania, well Albania probably deserves some kind of sympathy vote. She will need therapy after the midgets and mirrorball gimp routine. 

I say go for Portugal. They were nice weren’t they. And if someone could actually put Waldo’s People down, I think that would be best for us all. 

Special mention for S

vetlana of the Ukraine. She really

was crazy bom! 

22:01

Another hilarious skit: “Lots of people think Russia is controlled by KGB types.” Based on today’s events that’s rather ironic. Well done to Graham for bringing that up whenever he can. 

22:02 We’re in the green room with another irritating presenter. Graham tells us the guy who was doing it before got the boot for being dreadful. 

22:07 Ivan, the Russian Vernon Kaye just stole an audience member’s phone, well he had to do something to fill the last minute of screen time before voting finished. 

22:08 Now the interval acts. Rapidly chugging wine to make this less painful. 

They’re Argentinia acrobats suspended in pools of water high above the arena. It’s very impressive but Graham tells us they must have been up their for hours as they can’t have been set during the show. 

Two larger pools have joined the smaller ones. They’re all going to be lowered down so the crowd can touch them. One has also been lowered over the Green Room. They are seriously massive. 

Graham has a good point: “It’s like you went to a giant fair and won a girl in a plastic bag.” 

The crowd clapping beneath the pools look like cultists awaiting the arrival of their alien overlords. 

22:15 Andrew Lloyd Webber is being interviewed, he looks like an animatronic toad. He’s claiming Jade is Britain’s best artist. The man is delusional. 

22:17 “She gave a fantastic performance…she couldn’t have done any better.” I think Andrew is hedging his bets there. Time for the juries. 

22:18 Spain: “It’s the BEST Eurovision ever.” They award 8 points to Portugal and 10 points to the UK. 12 points for Norway. Not that berk. 

22:19 Maureen from Belgium: 10 points for Norway. 12 points for Turkey. None for us. After all we’ve done for you Belgium. Hadise from Turkey looks very pleased. 

22:20 Belarus – displaying a frightening cleavage. UK gets 3 points. She’s going very slowly. Not suprisingly their big points go to Russia, Azerbaijan and…Norway. His caterpillar eyebrows are dancing with joy. 

22:21 Valetta from Malta is going on a bit. Tell us the votes love. There’s a night club in the background. UK – 10 points. We’re currently at Number 3. We’ll let you off for the waffling. 

22:22 Now Thomas from Germany: he looks like a battered up version of Alec Baldwin. 8 points for the UK. We’re still at Number 2 but Norwat are streaking ahead (54 to 31). 

22:23 Czech Republic. Petra’s made an affort. Bit of brown nosing about the show. UK – 6 points. Good but come on Petra, that’s not enough. 8 points to Russia. 10 to Azerbaijan (in  fifth place). 

 

22:24 Sarah from Sweden: “Good evening Europe…” She’s a bit pleased with herself. Azerbaijan gets 8 points and Sarah gives us a little bit from the song. Does the same thing for Iceland. And for Norway who get the 12 points. 

22:25 Recap: Norway at 1, UK at 2 and Turkey at 3. Long way to go. 

22:26 Dora from Iceland. They award some points to Finland. Waldo’s People? Loyalty should only go so far. Top points go to Norway again. 

22:27 Jan from Paris in front of the Eiffel Tower, cliched. Norway pick up some more points. UK get 4 but we’ve dropped to Number 3. 

22:28 Shalom! Israel (who shouldn’t really count). Oh, I’ll take that back we got 4 points off them. That was nice. Armenia jump up to third though and we’re down to 4th. 

The “legendary” 12 points fo to Norway. His lead is solid. 

22:29 Inga Borga for Russia. Well, she’s sweet. UK – 6 points. Norway pick up 12. They’ve now got double the points we have. 

22:30 Latvia. “Dear God, does he know he’s on television?” asks Graham. The representative is the definition of swarthy and stingy too. We get 2 points but are back in 3rd. Iceland are ahead of by 1 point and Norway get 12 points AGAIN. 

 

22:31 The slightly vampiric representative of Montenegro. “That’s either natual dress or a horrible dress,” mutters Graham. His quips are improving as the night goes on. 10 more points for Norway. She is stringing her part out a bit. Their 12 points go to Bosnia Hertzegovina. Local voting. 

22:22 We’ve dropped out of the top 3. Graham is still encouraging us to press the red button and read messages from other viewers. 

22:32 Four points from Andorra for the UK. 10 points for Norway. 12 points save Spain from nil poit! 

22:33 Jerry in Finland is wearing a slightly unwise plaid shirt. 12 points go to Estonia. More points for Norway. Nowt for dear old Jade. 

22:34 We’re competing for a runners-up place now. Norway are now on 161 points. UK = 57. Graham’s now forced to note that we’re still in the Top 10. 

22:35 Very happy woman from Bulgaria. 7 points for the UK. 2 for Norway. 8 points for Azerbaijan. 10 points for Turkey. 12 points for Greece giving the former favourite a welcome boost. 

22:37 Lithuania, Villnus – European Capital Of Culture 2009 and giver of 3 points. We’re still in a 5. 12 points for Norway and the man from Lithuania goes a little bit mad ruffling his own hair. 

22:38 Our representative is…Duncan James from Blue. Is that the best we could do? 8 points for Iceland. 10 points for Norway. 12 points to Turkey. Seems that Twitter’s love of Molodova and the Ukraine didn’t translate to phone votes.

22:39 Macedonia give the UK 6 points. We’re still in 5th place. Norway could be still be beaten but they’ll have to stop getting 12s. 

22:41 Another hilarious skit from Elena in place of the ad break the rest of Europe are getting. It’s a folk rendition of “Not Going To Get Us” by Tatu. Tatty-hilarious. 

22:42 The presenters take a moment to try and flog the official DVD. 

22:43 Slovakia: 7 points for the UK. 6 for Iceland. 8 for Bosnia. 10 points to Norway. 12 to Estonia – keeping it in the Eastern European family. 

22:44 “One of the oldest things in Athens,” says Graham, “It’s Alexis…” from Greece. 10 points for Norway again. 12 points to the UK! 

22:45 Bosnia has offered up a drug casualty to present their votes. UK does get 4 points which is helpful. 

22:46 Ukraine: dressed like Raquel Welch as a cavewoman and offering up 6 points to the UK. Current score 102. 12 points for Norway. UK =5th with Azerbaijan. 

22:47 Turkey is taking her time. 8 points to Bosnia. 10 points to Albania…really? The mirrorball gimp. Azerbaijan get 12 points. UK now in 6th. Norway now has 238 votes. 

22:49 8 points for UK from Albania. Greece get 12 points which eases his embarassment slightly. 

22:50 Jervana from Belgrade is talking about something “unforgettable” then she’s slung 8 points to the UK. Back in the Top 5. 

22:51 7 points from Cyprus. UK now on its highest score since 1998. 12 points for Greece (“A bit of a pity party from Greece,” says Graham). 

22:52 Poland’s representative is singing. He won’t be representing them next year. UK gets 4 points. 10 points for the Ukraine who although very “cool Bom!” is in at 10. Norway score the 12 points. Getting close to a record. 

22:53 Netherlands give UK 3 points. Turkey overtake picking up 8 points. They’re now 1 ahead of us. The 12 points go to “someone I fell in love with tonight” says the Dutch rep before awarding them to Norway. 

22:54 Estonia award their 12 points to Norway. Graham tells us it’s the most popular song ever. No points for the UK 

22:55 4 points from Croatia keep us in the top 5. Norway pick up points again. They’re now on 309 points. It’s now 2am in Russia. 

22:57 Portugal award the UK 10 points. We’re back in the top 4. 

22:57 Romania give 10 points to Iceland and 12 points to Moldova. That’s a baffling choice. 

22:58 Ireland’s turn. He’s really going on but awards the UK 10 points so we’ll let him off. 12 points go to Iceland which moves into Number 2. 

22:59 Felix Schmitt for Denmark looks like Brad Pitt playing Boris Johnson. 3 points for the UK, still 4th. Norway move up to 339. “That boy is going to be unbearable,” says Graham. Yep, no doubt. Perhaps we can send Lordi to gore him. 

23:00 Andre in Moldova looks like he’s going to fall alsleep. Only 1 point for the UK. “I’m proud I was tiny part of the show,” he simpers. Azerbaijan gain points catching up on Iceland. 

23:01 Peter from Slovenia asks for one minute of silence. Very awkward. Norwat get the 12 points. In the Green Room they are about to explode with joy. 

23:02 Armenia’s representative looks like an animated shop doll. UK picks up 7 points. Still 4th. 

23:04 Hungrary. UK 1 point. Norway have won but can we stay in the Top 4? 12 points go to Norway. “They must be building the set in Oslo already,” chuckles Graham. 

23:05 Azerbaijan penultimate country. “They haven’t got through a single rehearsal without technical difficulties,” says Graham. And they don’t tonight. The picture disappears and the ladies hair is clearly malfunctioning. Turkey get 12 points. There’s now 1 point stopping them from equalling or overtaking the UK. 

23:06 Norway – the final. “Thank you so much Russia, thank you so much Moscow, thank you so much Europe…” next he’ll thank his mother. 

Norway win with 387. 

“We can feel very proud indeed,” says Graham. It’s our best result for years. In the Top 5. He’s brown nosing Andrew Lloyd Webber again. 

“It’s an extraordinary year where music came back to the forefront of the Eurovision song contest.” claims Graham. But also fake tan, false boobs, burlesque dancers and terrible rapping. Truly all forms of bad taste music have been here. 

And now Alexander (soon to be played by Zac Efron in a cash-in biopic) takes to the stage. Lis Asia and last year’s winner are presenting the award to him. He’s man handling poor old Mrs Asia. 

23:12 Norway’s entry is being reprised. It’s a fairytale victory (oh come on, it was begging to be said). But unlike the Daz Sampson embarassment in 2006, Scooch’s Flying The Flag and Andy Abraham’s disasterous performance, the UK managed a good showing. 

Goodnight everyone. I’m off to soak my fingers in a bowl of ice. 

 

 

After last week’s firing in which the removal of human rod of pure rage Philip, seducer of Kate and creator of Pantsman, led to spontaneous street parties across the nation, this week’s episode has a lot to live up to. Thankfully the contestants face a task that can only lead to abject and total failure – trying to rebrand Margate as a must visit modern holiday destination. 

I’m sure the seaside town has a lot going for it (besides being the former home of Brit Art’s ex-enfant terrible and bedmaking refusenik Tracy Emin) but everyone’s favourite suited suckers are unlikely to discover what that might be. Expect sandcastles, stand-offs and an ill-advised attempt to turn the traditional seaside resort into a fantabulous gay mecca to rival Brighton. 

Follow the carnage here from 21.00. Fingers crossed once again that Ben “son of Sandhurst” Clarke gets the boot this week. 

21:00 Announcer: “Now, after Philip’s shock exit…” Was he not watching the previous episodes. Perhaps he has a good book with him in his little booth. 

The montage of boardroom bollockings now includes Sir Alan telling Debra to shut her mouth which is truly a beautiful sight to behold. Meanwhile a glance at the sofa reveals my house’s resident grump is already getting irritated. 

21:03 5am – the call instructs the contestants to meet Sir Alan at the O2 Arena and bring an overnight bag.  They’ll expect glamour, not Margate. 

“Here we are at what was once known as the Millenium Dome.” Ah, Sir Alan’s on about the Dome’s transformation from great white elephant to great white hope. “You’re task is to help the town of Margate. It’s become a little tired, it needs livening up.” In that respect, a little bit like Sir Alan’s beard. 

21:05 The team’s have two days to give Margate a makeover. Howard aka Nosferatu Prince Of The Night wants to be project manager but Debra brow beats him into letting her lead the team. 

Meanwhile Yasmina takes on the PM (that never sounds very pleasant does it?) role again for the other team. 

On Debra’s team, Mona feels they should target the family market. James reckons the pink pound’s a better bet. Mona’s not comfortable. “I don’t think it’s suitable for Kent.” Gay people of Kent, Mona wants you to move out immediately. 

Yasmina’s team is going with the family market because of “the economic downturn”. 

Lorraine: “We need to show that it’s good value for money.” 

21:09 Mona and James are off to research Margate, presumably the town’s hidden gay haunts. 

Meanwhile back in London, Howard is having a whole heap of fun casting male models for the team’s poster campaign. It’s like a kid playing inappropriately with Ken dolls. 

21:11 Ben and Lorraine are strolling along Margate seafront. “This isn’t my idea of a holiday destination,” smarms Ben, “I’m much more used to St Tropez.” The nearest he’s got to that in reality is a bottle of the stuff.

James and Mona are asking the locals about their view on introducing the town to the gay market. “There is a bit of a gay scene,” says a cool looking young woman. 

An older guy seems pretty chilled out about the town’s recent gay pride march. Mona desperately wants him to say something bigoted: “Don’t people have misconceptions about the whole…gay..thing.” He doesn’t think so: “They might have in the olden days.”

21:12 Kate and Yasmina are auditioning models for their campaign. Margaret sits in the corner looking shocked like an aunt who’s walked in to find her nephew experimenting with the Freeman’s catalogue.  

21:13 Ben is seemingly convinced that he’s David Bailey. He keeps framing shots with his hands.  

21:14 Now he’s devising slogans. His first suggestion: “Shell-abrate family fun.” Puntastic. 

21:15 Mona and James are in the local gay bar interviewing a transexual. “Are you a boy or a girl?” asks Mona with the sensitivity of a woman walking through a minefield in iron boots.

21:16 Howard’s latched onto a slogan: Things are changing. How boring? Why not Get Bent In Kent or Margate: Homos Are Where The Heart Is? 

21:17 The next day: As Ben and Lorraine prepare to shoot the photos, fog falls over Margate. That’s going to look summery isn’t it? 

21:18 Mona and James are trying to “gay up” their models. Mona asks them to dance “sexily” with in a voice that sounds like she’s just been force fed cod liver oil. Then she decides that actually they’d better just stand still. The scene looks less like a gay club and more like a bad wedding reception (as long as you discounted the slightly incongrous stripper’s pole just out of shot). 

 “From what I can see says,” Nick with his customary understatement, “There’s not a lot of direction going on.” 

21:19 Yasmina and Kate are laying out their leaflet. They’ve not seen Margate and have opted for Lorraine’s slightly loopy slogan: “See Margate through a child’s eyes.” 

22:20 Howard wants to simplify the poster down to four words. This seems sensible but Debra, wild eyed and drunk with words is stuffing them in like an evil version of Nigella Lawson attacking a goose. 

It’s lucky Howard wasn’t sent up to Margate to shoot the publicity, it’s now sunny. The undead don’t do so well in those conditions. 

James has given his male models icecreams: “Not too much suggestive licking please guys we’re not shooting a porno.” 

21:21 Ben aka The Maestro is still framing shots with his fingers and trying to create his beautiful vision. The shots are static and dull. Lorraine suggest adding some movement. Perhaps they could change the slogan: See Margate…through Ben’s pudgy little fingers. It’s very nearly as catchy. 

21:22 Back in London, Kate and Yasmina are not happy with the shots: “There’s not enough space for text.” Lorraine cannot understand what this means (that’ll be that slowness she talked about last week): “I’ll have to see it to get what you’re on about.” 

21:23 Debra and Howard’s new approach: “Thought you knew Margate?” Um…no. “Think again.” Alright, if you say so. 

21:24 Yasmina asks Lorraine what she thinks of the posters. She isn’t keen. Yasmina immediately flies at her. “We can have this discussion when the deadline’s gone.” Yasmina doesn’t seem to realise that a deadline means you can’t make anymore changes. 

“Can you stop shouting at me,” shouts Yasmina branding Lorraine – who once again is talking sense – as a crazy person. While Lorraine is actually right, week-in-week out she gets ignored because she has the communication skills of a nun forced to stare at a wall for forty years. 

21:26 Debra and Mona are confusing the poor graphic designer and while simultaneously making their leaflet look like an explosion in Clipart hell have left part of the design unfinished.

“What’s that hole there?” asks Nick.

“That would be a white space.” says Debra. 

I’m suddenly getting a flashback of the Pantsman cereal which included absolutely no nutritional information.  

21:28 Kate is presenting her team’s campaign to the tourism experts. She has no idea what she’s talking about. “We’re saying don’t let the weather spoil your fun.” Decoded – it rains here all the time but, you know, don’t let that make you think it’s a shithole. 

One of the panel asks if the logo was removed, would the campaign still be uniquely Margate? “Well there’s the blue,” says Lorraine.

“That’s the sky isn’t it?” says the expert. 

21:29 Howard’s opening question to the experts: “Do you know Margate?!” 

“Yes,” they mutter hoping he’s not hungry for blood. 

“Looking on the inside you’ll see there’s some white spaces, we want to offer members of the business community to advertise.” Howard’s spinning those half finished ads rather poorly there. 

“It just looks not finished to me.” says one of the panel. 

“I would call it work in progress,” says Mona. 

“Yes. Not finished.” The expert replies. 

21:31 Now selling to the locals, including local grandees like the mayor, Kate is muttering some old guff about seeing Margate through children’s eyes. The camera swings round to Lorraine. Probably best not to let your children see her, they’ll have nightmares.

An audience member asks why the campaign doesn’t have a different slant. Another says it looks far too solid and safe. He’s right. I’m suprised he can supress his yawns. 

21:34 Howard is telling the audience that the town’s “tired…dull…full of old people.” An guy at the back of the crowd looks distinctly unimpressed with Howard’s presentation which could be entitled Gay People: What Are They All About Then?. 

They crowd hate the team’s advertising material. A local grandee asks about the mass market, Howard mumbles on about a long term strategy. Since Howard seems like the kind of bloke who struggles to what pants to put on in the morning, you wonder if he even knows how to spell the word strategy. 

21:36  In the boardroom. Sir Alan starts with Ignite. “The poster says see Margate through a child’s eyes but I can’t see a child on it.” Ah ha, the campaign’s not so hidden flaw. 

21:37 Sir Alan is confused by the other team’s promotional materials – why the blanks? Sir Alan wonders why James was off buying icecreams. 

21:39 The campaigns will be scored by Margate’s officials and residents and the branding experts. Ignite get 7/10 from both. Empire get 4/10. Look’s like the ever vampiric Howard is in for a nightmare. Ben avoids the chop once again. 

21:41 Yasmina’s team speed off to the race track for their treat. Ben’s ego visibly swells while Kate asks “Anyone fancy a ride?” Somewhere Philip is fuming. 

21:42 In Britain’s most depressing greasy spoon, the bloodbath gets started. Debra eyes have narrowed down to two black pin pricks. She is gearing up to go mental. 

James brands their leaflets “cod shit”. That’s a new one. 

21:43 Back in the boardroom and Sir Alan is starting off kindly. “You made a brave statement,” says Sir Alan “But you whispered the message. I don’t think the residents objected to the theme, I just think they thought there was no message at all.” 

21:44 He says Debra and Howard’s higgledy-piggedly posters as confusing. The marketing experts suggested their should have only been 10 words on a poster. Unfortunately, as an the long lost daughter of an evil alien overlord and a vampire, the pair are unfamiliar with modern human poster design. 

21:45 Sir Alan turns his attention to Mona. She lives in Kent. Why didn’t she give them any advice? “But I went to look for a gay person in Margate,” she wails. 

Mona is at the centre of the feeding frenzy, the rest of the team scent blood. 

21:46 Sir Alan is taking the team to task for their attempt to explain away the white space. “The experts said they didn’t like being lied to” says Margaret. “We didn’t,” claims Debra before basically saying: we just tried to deliberately hide our mistakes from them with things that weren’t really true. Oh well, that’s alright then. 

21:48 Debra is bringing Mona and James back into the room. Howard gets some praise from Sir Alan. “I think he’s done quite a lot on this.” Quite a lot of what? 

21:29 Sir Alan’s so confused about who’s the worst that he’s having to have a little chat with Nick and Margaret. 

“What we’ll do is, I’m going to call them in and I’ll decide which one is going to go.” says Sir Alan. So…the same as every week then. Has no one told him that there’s a format?  

21:50 They’re back. James brands Debra “a bulldog” but she’s consistent, so a consistent bulldog. In practice, I think this probably means you’re consistently afraid she’s going to cut off your head and shrink it to make an novelty keychain but hey, who doesn’t like consistency? 

Debra accuses Mona of not being behind the gay theme. “If I wasn’t then why did I go to Margate and speak to a gay person!” screams Mona. Oh well done Mona, you spoke to someone. How brave. Incidentally, said Transexual was wearing a nicer outfit than most of the Apprentices have managed this series. Appart from Our Lady Kate Of The Unholy Blondness. 

21:52 Debra’s mouth is mesmerising, it’s so big it looks like a blackhole ringed with lipgloss. Sir Alan deploys his prepared quip about the contestants fighting like Punch And Judy. 

Mona is claiming Nick and Margaret didn’t notice the great things she did. “One of my great skills is listening.” By listening she means standing around and doing nothing. 

21:53 Debra’s turned her ire towards James. Sir Alan wonders if James is just a berk. “I’m not some knucklehhead who’s going to gawp and nod his head everytime you open your mouth, ” claims James nodding his head and gawping. If he doesn’t win I think he may have a career as a Tommy Cooper impersonator. One second hand Fez and a pack of cards and he’s set. 

Sir Alan again attacks Debra’s big mouth, suggests James is a “court jester” and expresses his worries about Mona’s lack of creativity. 

“It looks to me that you might be right at the end of the pier…” he says, setting up this week’s tenuous metaphor “Mona. With regret. You’re fired!” The regret means Sir Alan sort of likes you. Not enough to spend any longer looking at your face but enough that he isn’t wishing he’d had the trapdoor installed. 

21:56 In the cab Mona is steely: “He was wrong to fire me. This is not the end of me.” Expect to see Mona on an obscure digital channel any time now. It’ll be a show about property or antiques. It will be shit. 

21:57 At the house, Ben, Machievelli in braces, reveals his thoughts: “For the weakest to come back is best for me.” Smooth. Did they teach you that at Sandhurst? 

Next week: selling kit at the baby show. Good lord, wasn’t Pantsman a big enough scourge to inflict on the country’s innocents? 

20:56 Last week task saw the tossers trying to tell treasure from tat, this week they’re in my neck of the woods (Manchester) for a selling task. In previous years it would have been Marrakesh but hey, times are tough. Fingers crossed that Bolshy “Sandhurst Scholarship” Ben or Phil – the Incredible Hulk filtered through the body of a berk from Durham go this week. 

21:02 Howard (somehow getting paler every week – he may be translucent if he makes it for too much longer) runs like mad for the phone. They need to pack their bags. Immediately the Apprentices suspect their going somewhere hot. “London Gateway,” says Ben, “Suggesting a gateway to somewhere nice”. Yes Ben, London Gateway Services which is nice if you like rain, concrete and over priced sandwiches. 

“You’re going North,” says Sir Alan greeting them in the car park. Like all multi-millionaires he likes the finer things in life, like loitering at service stations. He’s laid on 12 companies. They’ll pitch their products and the Apprentices will choose some to sell. “Every one needs to do some selling,” he says. This is one of those moments that will be important later – take heed Apprentices, you actually need to do some work this week. Yes, even you James. 

Sir Alan’s changing the teams up. Mona the moaner and whey-faced Howard are moved. Ben and Phil are now on the same team. Oh dear, looks like we’ll be stuck with one of them at the end day. 

21:06 “We know Kate’s strong on sales,” says Ben screwing his face into an expression which, for his species, indicates lust. “I’d buy anything off her,” says Phil. Behind the scenes, you sense a bunk-up has been occuring between fiesty Phil and the poor man’s Heather Mills. 

21:07 Lorraine, resembling a poorly done caricature of droopy, she of the prophetic visions last week gets Phil’s support as PM, well I say support, I mean grumpy resignation. 

“I’m a little bit of a slow burner in terms of my thought process,” she says. The cogs inside her skull are almost audible.  

21:08 It’s 10am at the glamorous Manchester Hilton. Inside, a dozen up and coming designers ponder their lot in life as they face two panels of prize prats. The Apprentices watch the pitches as if they’ve suddenly been elevated to the Dragon’s Den panel. 

21:09 Lorraine loves a coat rack made of plumbing parts. No one else does.

21:10 Yasmina gets manhandled by a mad man, the creator of the lover’s lead – a two handled dog lead. It’s been endorsed by Battersea Dog’s Home, that’s fitting as the team that chooses it will have been sold a pup. 

21:11 Lorraine’s team like the cat’s playhouse – a novelty cat house available as a fire engine, a car or a tank. Just £4.50 for this hour on QVC! It’s basically a tarted up cardboard box. 

21:12 Mona’s team is pitched the Lippi Selkbag – it’s a sleeping bag with arms and legs. I’ve worn one before. They’re great. Mona’s team makes the decision to go with it. It’s a good product. Lover’s Lead really isn’t. But…neither of them suits the retailers they’re going to. As usual Margaret is not impressed. 

21:13 Yasmina and Lorraine are pitching their cat house and POD, a carrying device for bikes to…a hardware store. The owner is unimpressed by the POD – “If you don’t balance the weight out you’ll fall over.” 

Lorraine pitches an order of 5000 to 6000 thousand. “I believe you’re a big enough store to sell that.” The owners disagree. 

“That was the worst presentation I’ve done in 20 years.” says Lorraine. Well at least she’s being realistic. 

21:16 Howard and Debra are in with the hardware shop owners. The buyers hate the lead. They hate the sleeping bag. “How much do sleeping bags usually cost?” Debra and Howard have no idea.

“Do you sell tents? Do you have a gift department?” asks Howard. No. Well done for doing your research. 

21:17 At the Manchester Branch of the Heals – they’re all about style. Debra and Howard present them with the Selkbag, a giant yellow sleeping bag. To be fair, if you were a Power Ranger, it would be stylish. 

21:18 Yasmina is presenting the Pod to Heals. “Both products could have a place,” says the lady with the loud glasses. She’s just being nice. 

21:19 Ben and Phil are trying to put the cat house together and are destroying it in the process. It’s essentially a visual metaphor for their lives. 

21:20 Lorraine to the intrepid team of Ben, Philip and Kate: “How many meetings have you got for tomorrow?”

“One,” says Ben. You don’t get the feeling he’s tried very hard. Philip suggests going to the pub – there’s that great work ethic of his. 

21:20 Mona and James pitch the Selkbag to a camping store. The guy’s willing to buy but Mona hits him with a minimum order. She essentially bullies him into buying them. Still she gets the sale. 

21:21 Lorraine is putting in calls to get appointments. Even on the phone, you get the feeling the people can tell how long her face is. 

21:22 Ben’s got Lorraine an appointment at a major pet superstore. Yasmin wants to contribute to the pitch. Lorraine would rather do it alone. That she is barely able to speak when she presents doesn’t seem to worry her. They are scrapping like cats that have somehow learned how to apply mascara badly. 

21:24 Debra is presenting the lover’s lead: “It’s aimed at the 17m dogs and the people that own them.” The superstore buys three for each of its 50 stores in the North-West. Wow, having a camera in the room helps. Nothing better than encouraging pity purchases. 

21:25 Philip is trying to pitch the bag carrier to a bike shop owner. “It’s going to interfere with pedalling,” the owner suggests in the hope that this will get them out of his shop. Philip hops on a bike to demonstrate. Sadly he doesn’t ride off into the sunset. 

21:26 Yasmina and Lorraine decide to try for an order of 20,000 cat pet houses from the major pet retailer. She talks to them as if they are five year olds. “Who are you targeting the product at?” they ask. “That’s a very good question,” she simpers, “And one I will answer.” 

“How many are you going to order?” she asks. About 50 comes the reply. A little bit short of the 20,000 there. Still, shoot for the moon, end up on your arse in the gutter. 

21:28 Ben rolls his eyes at Lorraine’s sale. Meanwhile his little team – Ben, Kate (doing such a Millsian mope you can already imagine her bemoaning her lot on GMTV Breakfast) and Phil who is still loudly declaring that Lorraine is mental – have sold nothing. 

21:30 Mona and James are clocking up sales. Debra and Howard are squabbling. Howard hasn’t been allowed to make a sale. “Line up other appointments. I’m not stopping you.” says Debra. She’s rapidly becoming the Lady Macbeth of Apprentice World. 

21:31 Pet shop owner on the cat house: “At the end of the day, it’s a cardboard box. I’m not trying to negotiate, I’m just not interested.” With all due respect to him, he calls a spade a spade or rather a piece of shoddingly constructed piece of cardboard crap. 

Yasmina suddenly becomes an expert in economics: “The wages are a lot lower up here.” I think she suspects the production team may have dropped her in Soviet Russia rather than the North West. 

Nick on Ben, Philip and Kate’s failure to sell: “Returning to London with no sales is like the three of them popping into that cat plane and entering the Battle Of Britain.” Give this man his own one man show. 

21:34 A short challenge, so here comes a big old bollocking. 

Mona, good team leader? Blank faces all round. 

“What products did you choose?” says Sir Alan, his eyebrows arching in a way that I would previously have thought physically impossible.

Mona is trying to explain why she chose products that didn’t suit the appointments he’d made. She fails. Both stores bought nothing. 

“I laid on two places. You should have looked at the products and looked at the places. You should have chosen something that was a good bet. You weren’t going to sell a sleeping bag in a hardware store were you?” Sir Alan is the dad that’s not angry but disappointed. 

21:36 Over to Ignite. Lorraine is dressed in an outfit nicked from Ruth Madoc circa Hi-de-Hi. The team actually got some orders for the cat playhouses and bike pods. 

21:38 Mona’s team shifted £4,400. Ignite raked in less than a quarter of that. Ben and Philip are on the losing team. Sir Alan has already noted that Ben, Kate and Phil – this week played by the Three Stooges – sold nothing. 

21:39 Mona’s team are off on a helicopter ride, responding like kids who’ve had too much sugar. Still, it beats the yoga and truffle based treats from previous weeks which seemed like bad jokes concocted by a malevolent member of the production team. 

21:40 Meanwhile, in the most miserable greasy spoon in Britain, the blood shed is about to begin. 

“Sir Alan is going to fire Lorraine…Mystic Meg is going back into the crystal ball.” Philip should have spent more time selling and less time penning his snarky quips. But on the plus side, that Panto job he’s been auditioning for looks safe. 

21:41 They’re going in. I’d put a large bet on Ben saying “Let me finish” at least fifty times. 

“What the hell went wrong here? I blahdy told you, you’d all need to sell.” Sir Alan can’t tell why the Stooges failed to sell. Philip is claiming he just kept his mouth shut so he didn’t disagree with Lorraine. He’s trying to sell himself as a super-salesman. Once again he’s working with a poor product. 

21:43 Kate says they just couldn’t get through the door. Margaret isn’t impressed – “That’s part of selling.” 

21:44 Sir Alan got his people to phone six stores and they got appointments with all of them. Kate’s excuses are making the trio of self-described super-sellers look decidedly silly.

Side issue: Kate is wearing a terrible tie.

Ben has just bigged himself up. 

21:45 Sir Alan’s on quantities now: why did Lorraine try and pitch 5000 units to one of the stores?

“What did you instinct tell you?” spits Philip, really getting his acid tongue working. “You could have put a chimp in dungarees in there and it would have sold more than 50 units. I would have sold more than fifty units” At zoos around the country chimps are howling in protest at the comparison – there biggest gripe is that they would never wear a suit that shiny. 

21:46 “How do you know you would have done better?” asks Magaret. “I just know,” says Phil. It’s business equivalent of “Because I said so.” 

Nick is irritated that Kate is cricicising the long established Liverpudlian superstore: “It’s a big shop and it’s been there for a 100 years. I don’t want to hear you slagging it off.” They’ve been good to him that store. He probably went there as a boy. 

21:47 Phil just interrupted Sir Alan. He’s having a meltdown. It’s a total bully boy act, just wildly wheeling around to attack any one in his sights from his nemesis Lorraine to the big man himself.

Sir Alan is the definition of unimpressed. “I don’t care if one, two or even three of you go today.” In an ideal world, this would be the cue for Magaret, Nick and Sir Alan to break into a rendition of the Jackson 5’s ABC. 

21:48 Lorraine is bringing Kate and Philip back to face the final grilling. Oh dear, the golden couple of Kate and Philip could be split up. Boo hoo. Sadly Ben has managed to slip under the RADAR today. 

21:49 “I think there’s a pincer movement going on.” Nick’s certain that Kate and Philip have had it in for Lorraine from the start. 

21:50 Sir Alan reads out Philip’s worst qualities: arrogance is in at number one. “I can’t do anything right,” he says, once agan attacking Sir Alan. It’s like watching a scrappy but brainless terrier go for a rottweiller. Sir Alan is going to be picking bits of Philip’s carcass out of his teeth for a week. 

Nick’s brought up Pantsman. Even Philip can’t muster a defense of the worst thing to happen to children since rickets. 

21:51 Kate’s being reasonable – “I fully expected to be here. I made no sales, I got no orders.” Humility and common sense, a good strategy when you’re sandwiched between shouty and sulky. 

Sir Alan is analysing Lorraine’s earlier comment, yes, the one about being a “slow burner on the thought process”. Like the rest of us he’s realised that means “thick”. 

21:52 “Outside of the boardroom there’s a close frienship going on here.” Lorraine reveals the Heat style love of Kate and Philip. Kate backtracks faster than a politician faced with the steely glare of Paxman – “I’ve got no loyalties here. It wasn’t Philip’s strongest task.” 

21:53 Sir Alan sums up: “Kate you’ve performed well in the past…Philip you’re a fiery person…Lorraine, you alienate people. Some of your own words – slow burner in thought process? Do I need one of those?”

 

21:55 Philip’s kamikaze attack on Sir Alan did not work out: “Philip…you’re fired!” A great result, for once the right person has got the boot. 

Lorraine and Philip share a hug as he leaves. It’s the most awkward thing I’ve seen since I tried to teach Gordon Brown how to smile. 

21:56 “Don’t underestimate me!” crows Lorraine. “You did bring up the Kate and Phil card,” sneers Kate. She wiill be gunning for Lorraine even more from now on. 

21:57 Philip in the cab: “They’ll remember me. They’ll remember the Bodyrocker.” That’s right, he’s not just a tosser from Durham, he’s the Kubla Khan of Reality TV. 

21:58 Next week…rebranding Margate. What have those poor people done to deserve that? 

20:17 Last week’s episode pulled in 13.2m viewers, the series’s highest ratings this year. No doubt that’s on the back of the super-cute kids – Hollie Steel in last week’s installment and Shaheen (and his oh-so-convenient spare Michael Jackson tape) – and our saviour Susan Boyle. Does this week’s episode hold any super-talents to save us from the recession? 

20:22 It’s the montage of the judges – slimy (Piers Morgan), teary (Amanda Holden) and grumpy (Simon Cowell). Plus it looks like we’ve got some knitting grannies to look forward to. 

20:23 This week it’s Birmingham. The excuse for Dec to pull out his frankly pitiful Brummie accent. 

20:24 First act – 2 Alike, a father daughter duo. Michael (41) is singing, while poor little Gemma (11 and trussed up in an outfit that makes her look like an underage Big Bird impersonator). And they’re off. Michael’s pub-singer version of Could It Be Magic has already been buzzed while Gemma’s interpretative dance is…spririted. 

“It’s not really gelling,” says Ant. 

“That takes an awful lot of courage,” says Amanda pulling out another gem from her big bucket of platitudes. Meanwhile Simon is already showing his sternest scowl. 

20:27 An aunt and her nephew tries some rock covers, twin acrobats come over like the kids from the Shining all grown up and on the variety circuit. 

20:29 Next up Sue Son and Janine (both 23), a classical act playing Janine’s composition Chance. “Here’s your chance,” chuckles Piers. 

Simon is not impressed with the indulgent violin opus and the buzzers go off in quick succession. 

“You’re both talented musicians,” says Simon…but and there must be a but “the song was dreary and it didn’t gel.” 

20:31 Hold on though – here comes the twist. Cue the portentous music and the black and white excerpts. The judges are bringing Sue Son, the violinist back onstage. The programme notes ask: “Will she betray her friend?” It’s hardly stealing her boyfriend is it? She does and we get some ambiguous footage of the two friends looking pretty cheesed off with each other. 

20:39 The auditions move to London and we’ve introduced to 15 year-old Brian Dragon who’s keeping his instrument secret. He’s onstage and parping out the National Anthem with his nose. The buzzers go off in about a quarter of a second. “Make sure you wash your hands,” cringes Amanda in her mimsiest voice. 

20:40 Precocious child alert: Callum Francis, aged 12, dressed as the Artful Dodger, ready to sing consider yourself and boasting a pair of stage parents backstage. 

And he’s off with the full braces twanging, all-singing, all dancing performances. It’s so saccarine, my teeth are hurting. But he’s good and the audience are loving it. Nothing special but he’s 12 and the cuteness factor will win out for him. 

“You have the cheekiest grin we’ve ever had on Britian’s Got Talent,” say Piers, practising his audience pleasing routine. 

“I’ve seen that audition a million times, ” sighs Simon, introducing a slight bit of realism into the show for once. Nonetheless, it’s three yes votes and the cue for S Club 7’s Reach (the all purpose dreams fulfilled soundtrack). 

20:44 A group of cheerleaders get put through. “American shite,” comes the grumble from this house’s resident cynical sofa dweller. The montage continuesv with synchronised footballers (“The Anty and Deccy of football juggling,” says Simon), a bunch of clowns and a screechy group of school kids. 

20:45 “The judges are loving every second,” say Ant and Dec, foreshadowing something terrible coming up. But first, here’s Sue Son, back for a second chance having “betrayed her friend” (as the drama storyline would have it). 

Has she made the right decision, ponders Ant in his most doleful Geordie way. 

20:47 “Are you still friends?” asks Simon. “Of course,” says Sue. “Really,” says Simon, obviously disappointed. 

She’s playing Storm by Vanessa May. It’s a virtuoso performance and she gets a standing ovation from the crowd – deserved, though I can’t help but think the production team have some signs to prompt those mass audience responses. 

20:49 Piers is offering some tips on performance as if he’s the king of classical impressarios rather than a man with a face like a scrubbed toad. Simon puts him in his place and Sue is through to the next round. 

20:55 Back from the break and we’re in Glasgow. Here come’s this week’s novelty act – the performance knitters. Knit And Natter. They’re three old dears and they’re going to demonstrate how to fingerknit. Now I know ITV has been a bit desperate for prime time shows (they let Tarrant make the Colour Of Money after all) but messy about with yarn is probably not the answer. 
20:56 “That’s entertainment in my eyes,” mutters Ant. 
20:57 The audience is whooping. Ant is playing along backstage. Simon can’t watch and they hold off with the buzzers out of sympathy. 
20:58 They’ve gone off. “Difficult to get it across isn’t it?” says the lead lady. 
Simon has burst out laughing. 
Piers, revealling a hidden love for knitwear, says yes. He’s obviously trying to broaden his geriatric fan base – well someone has got to like him. 
20:59 Montage of terrible acts – line dancers, walking stick players and a Marilyn Monroe impersonator from the wrong side of the tracks who lapdances Simon – it’s a real peer through your fingers moment. 
21:02 Simon asked for a truly original act earlier this year. He might regret that as Kay Oresanya (a 31-year-old MBA student) shows the judges his act…playing the saxophone with his natural voice. Um…whateve that means? 
21:04 Imagine Orville the duck was singing in the shower. He squeaks along to I’ll Be There and Amanda…well…Amanda looks impressed. The audience like it too. Simon face screams: “I am getting too old for this shit.”
21:05 Piers loves it. Simon doesn’t. “That was a baby crying over a Michael Jackson song,” he grinches. Piers is reaching for his man of the people act again: “On behalf of everyone in Scotland, I’m going to say yes.” There you are then, Piers Morgan – self-appointed emperor of Scotland. Amanda backs him up and Kay is through. 
21:07 Commercial break and time for the T-Mobile flashmob commercial – a few thousand strangers butchering Hey Jude. Flashmobs as a cultural meme are dead as of…now. It was even trailed by the ITV continuity man. 
Well done ad creatives, you spoil EVERYTHING. 
21:11 And we’re back. Montage of frightened contestants ending with Jamie Pew, van driver and pizza man – the most nervous contestant of all time. He’s clearly been poked into saying that his stage fright is crippling. CRIPPLING. He’s just a simple bloke from the Valleys. The sad piano chords pound away in the background. 
“My biggest worry is that I get on the stage and totally freeze.” He won’t will he. He’ll be…oh, I don’t know…suprisingly ace. 
21:13 Another week, another song from Les Mis – this time it’s Bring Him Home. 
“Out of interest,” says Simon, “Have you ever sung on a stage on your own before?” He hasn’t. And the producer just told you that Simon. 
21:14 The Welshman has a cracking voice. Really deep and rich. His partner is crying in the crowd and Amanda, whose tearducts are spring loaded is well on her way. If only he were Elephant Man style ugly or had a more miserable back story, he might have a chance against “Hairy Angel” (tradmark The Daily Mail) Susan Boyle. 
21:16 But good on him, he was clearly petrified and he did brilliantly. It’s a clean sweep with the judges. 
Amanda: “How does that make you feel? That was amazing.” 
Piers: “I wasn’t expecting that kind of performance from you. You deliver pizzas at night for god’s sake.” There you go again Piers, patronising the proles, one of your many skills. 
Simon: “I think I know how important the reaction was for you. We like to find special, special talents and we may have just found one.” That’s more like it. Simon is genuinely complimentary and Jamie is in tears. Cue the strings. 

And he’s through! This year’s Paul Potts? 

21:19 “Just for this brief moment, I feel complete,” says Jamie. Good on him. 

Next week: angry mother-in-laws, scary contortionists and fat women. Oh dear. 

 

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