Tonight something truly radical has finally occurred on The X Factor. Someone has dared to suggest that the mentors might actually have a role in whether their contestants thrive, survive or struggle.
What's more is it's one of the mentors, Ronan "Mr Crankypants" Keating who has pointed at the elephant with a microphone in the room and said Redfoo and Natalie Bassingthwaighte aren't helping their contestants.
It's almost like he's looked at one contestant teetering around on high heels that diminish her confidence with every inch of height and another group of contestants who have not progressed at all since they arrived and decided enough is enough.
It seems Ronan's taking The X Factor very seriously this year and in his Network moment, he's mad as hell (well a little bit miffed) and he's not going to take it anymore.
First though, let's set up Ronan's moment of honesty.
The elimination night begins as ever with the remaining contestants coming together to massacre a popular song.
Tonight's victim is Pompeii, by Bastille and in a visual nod to their role as targets, the singers are all dressed like toy soldiers, or perhaps this is a well disguised Martika tribute? Either way, Jiordan starts with a solo. Dami waits a minute before showing everyone else on stage what singing looks, sounds and feels like. And the rest of the ensemble make no discernible effort to even demonstrate they are qualified to be back up singers.
Luke Jacobz then takes the trademark three and a half hours to announce who is safe, and the bottom two consists of Ellie Lovegrove and JTR.
Ellie Lovegrove - I Feel Good, James Brown
This is a really weird song choice. Frankly Ellie sounds she is twelve years old. Yes, younger even than Jai. To listen to, you'd swear Mr Brown's iconic hit was about a the sensation that comes from eating a really juicy apple.
Walking in a decidedly funny manner in her way-too-high heels, Ellie seems physically uncomfortable and it is mirrored in her performance. She seems to be walking between pre-determined marks and singing melodiously, not strutting her stuff while blasting out her tonsils to save herself.
It ends with neither a bang nor a whimper but a perfectly nice note.
If that was giving her all she seems oddly relaxed and undrained at the end.
JTR - Waiting for the World to Change, John Mayer
JTR walk on stage to a wall of Big Girlie Screaming (TM) from the crowd.
As they start, the oldest of the three brothers still seems decidedly uncomfortable on stage.
There is also a significant amount of mouthing along being done by the brothers that aren't singing. Stop that, it looks like you're a lonely guy dancing by himself in a night club.
The boys have way more energy than Ellie though and this is a good performance.
There are some really nice harmonies and this is a much better song selection as they are putting more in than expected from a Mayer melody, rather than Ellie who was chasing the shadow of James Brown.
Foo: Luke goes to Foo first who is unlikely to have trouble deciding. He commends the boys for giving what we expected while he feels Ellie gave her best performance yet. He sells her hard saying she sang "perfectly, like an angel."
Dannii: Dannii saw two great pop acts tonight, which is true, they were the guests on the show. She recalls that Ellie couldn't walk in heels when she first arrived without actually saying she can walk in them now. She says nothing about her singing. She says JTR gave what was expected (which is a bad thing) but their vocals were hot. Ellie gets the vote for the reasons unspoken.
Nat: It's all about reading between the lines. Nat is happy to say Ellie showed she is a fighter before referring to her in the past tense. Again no reference to singing. Nat says JTR gave her favourite performance yet because its been rehearsed more than the week to week songs. She votes to save her own team of course. Foo moans in the background.
Ronan: The Crankypants judge says the mentors haven't been doing their jobs in this competition if both acts gave their best efforts in these performances.
"What's interesting is that both mentors said it was the best they had seen their acts perform," he begins.
"I think that, whoever goes home, the opposite mentor needs to take heed, maybe they haven't been mentoring them right.
"That shouldn't be happening."
A good point really, as you'd think the songs they work on with their mentors should be better than the ones they presumably prepare themselves. In fact at the final six Guy Sebastian said of JTR that they were a bit old school and needed to be updated to current boy band trends - where is that? Meanwhile Ellie Lovegrove knocked some serious competition out when she progressed from the final six, yet so far she's gained a new hair colour and an inability to move out of Foo's tuition.
Back to the elimination. Ronan felt JTR were predictable with the bit best their vocals. Ellie however was not hot in the vocals but dynamic. Ronan must have been watching a different performance. He throws it to deadlock because he can't decide.
That's probably fair given JTR gave the better performance but have been here before.
Australia: The act with the lowest number of votes and therefore going home is Ellie.
The people have spoken and much Like the ALP Ellie can't argue with that.
SUNDAY LIVE SHOW RECAP
Redfoo starts tonight with his song Let's Get Ridiculous on top of the iTunes and ARIA charts, and he comments that he had to dodge Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball to do so, well by the end of tonight he may wish that his girls, any of his girls, would give him a little more Miley Cyrus a little less wrecking ball.
I never thought I'd say it, but this X Factor may just need a littte twerking.
Nonetheless, to the show. Australia's attention disorder has reached the point where we need five minutes of recap at the top of the show that reminds us who the teams are this year, what X Factor is and how we need to breathe in and breathe out in a regular fashion.
Yes, it's the X Factor where no audience member is too dumb to be coddled and soon we learn from the X Voice that we should all be worried that "it" might be getting too much for Jai who is probably upset that Today Tonight haven't devoted an entire episode to him yet.
Luke Jacobz comes out to give what has to be the most ironic rock'n'roll pointer-finger-and-pinkie-finger-extension gesture ever, before telling us that this week is all about the "latest and greatest" which means any song on the radio at the moment. Given radio ranges from ABC Classic FM to SBS Portuguese Radio via Smooth FM ballads, ballads and more ballads that really means that once again the theme is "sing anything".
Dannii tells us that Twitter and Instagram got behind Barry last week after he was kicked off the show, which is to say people took pictures of him failing and shared them. What amazing support.
Ellie Lovegrove - Wings, Little Mix
Little Mix won the X Factor UK in 2012 we are reminded (read: informed) in the traditional pre-song video, oh and Nat is concerned that this is yet another new direction for Ellie.
Ellie is performing tonight with the doors. Not The Doors, rather a set of pink doors making up a mock hallway full of men. Frankly tonight the doors have more personality than she does. She's smiling, she's strutting, but it all feels very, well, staged.
As for the singing, well this is an ensemble song and the unseen backing singers are as loud in the mix as Ellie. She's hitting all the notes but she's not shining at all.
Rating: 7/10 – Ellie just became a very talented backing singer.
Ronan rates this Ellie's best performance as she was smiling (a low standard surely) while both he and Nat say the pitch was out. Nat says Ellie can be whoever she wants, which is another way of saying there's no distinct personality exhibited yet. Dannii didn't like the outfit which basically looks like five metres of silver shimmer cloth draped over her. Foo says he's proud because Ellie was fierce.
JTR – I Want You Back, Cher Lloyd
JTR - and this will shock you - were relieved when they weren't eliminated from the bottom two last week. As a reward they got five seconds to spend with their mother, at least that's all we see.
Nat wants more connection with the camera this week. She also makes a shameless plug for the fact that their song was recorded by another British X Factor contestant.
The trio appear on stage in a video game arcade set up which is very retro and very cool. The combination of the machines with some towering LED displays on either side of the stage and the lights within the floor work really, really well.
The boys try to look at the camera, but as if to sabotage the brothers the director has decided to go with as many long distance shots as possible with the crane on overdrive in an effort to really capture the great set.
Nonetheless, the boys work well with their dancers and own the stage in the middle of a big spectacle.
They are dropping lyrics. Their singing is good. The rapping is good. The lyrics all over the shop.
Rating: 7/10 – Would be an 8 but I forgot the digit like a forgotten lyric
Dannii loved it, saying it compares well to Cher Lloyd who she judged on the original X Factor (in case you missed that reference). Foo noticed the dropped lyrics but didn't care. Ronan's having none of it as he feels it is his role as "Mr Crankypants" to say it's unacceptable to forget the words, but otherwise it was amazing. Nat is proud that they've bounced back so well.
Taylor – Let Her Go, Passenger
Ronan says this song could have been written for Taylor, instead of being written for someone else, and Nat and Taylor both tell us that he's got his guitar back.
It seems Taylor found his guitar in a room full of lamps, or at least that's where we find him as the stage looks like a 1950s lighting store - any lampshade you like as long as it's beige.
The song begins incredibly intimately and for once the director has refrained from excessive use of the sweeping crane shot ... for thirty seconds.
There's a jilt as the band kick in behind him and not only does it sound like Taylor dropped a line really badly but it seemingly rocks his confidence as well.
His pitching goes a bit flat and he really looks like he feels like he'd rather play guitar and blend in with the band. He picks it up after a while though and perhaps unsurprisingly really recovers right at the end to be his best as it returns to just him and the guitar.
Rating: 7/10 – Recovered well from a stutter
The response in the room is massive. All four judges standing and the crowd cheering for an age.
Nat rates Taylor's performance as being as good as some of the show's guests and at this point Taylor mentions he couldn't hear himself for the first part of the performance which presumably explains the stutter. Dannii calls the guitar his teddy bear and asks Taylor to look up at the audience (not at Teddy). Foo feels this showed the fighting spirit in Taylor pointing to the thing that went wrong at the beginning and how well he recovered. Ronan points out that Taylor fluffed the lines at the start but is so good no one noticed (not true, it was just two of the professionals who missed it).
Joelle - True Love, P!nk
Foo overspent his phone credit last week having a good talk with Joelle and at the end of all that he gave her a song that plays into her vocal strength and style. Joelle's response to finding out is to be truly whelmed. It's just possible Joelle is never happy with a song, which makes this an odd career choice really.
It's Joelle's turn to sing from on top of a box this week, in a faux pop art styled stage that includes a glitter mid-riff top that literally screams "Pop!" The overall result is to seemingly restrain Joelle in the middle of excessive colour and visual noise.
In turn, whilst Joelle gets all the notes she seems quite disconnected from the song and the crowd. P!nk is big. The song is big. The set is big. Joelle is the smallest thing in the equation.
The crowd during the song stand in silent appreciation and honestly its what the performance deserves.
Rating: 6/10 – The singing was fine but, well, bland.
Ronan is struggling to find good things to say. Foo looks flabbergasted. Ronan said that song coasted even though he loved the tone in her voice. Nat points out that P!nk soars when she sings which is a tough contrast, but she thinks its important to give Joelle a break (which is all well and good if this weren't a competition). Dannii thought Joelle sounded good but noted the audience didn't engage. She asks, as did Ronan, if this is the "real Joelle." She then goes into a rather bizarre tangent, noting that this performance was different to her social media presence. Foo says he is "steaming" but has to smile, he thinks she was better than P!nk. The judges faux bicker for a while, and Foo goes to a high pitched voice place to demonstrate how upset he is.
Jai Waetford – It Will Rain, Bruno Mars
Cue the beat-up. We've had hints all night that Jai felt his comments were critical last week and promoting tears from a fourteen year old under extreme pressure as though that is a shocking turn of events.
That would be a dramatic turn of events except that the show has tried to make hay from this particular field a few too many times in only a month and a bit. Yes he cries. No it probably isn't the "worst moment of his life" as we were meant to think tonight, and last time, and the time before.
Jai is given an intimate staircase performance to work his magic and it works his little Year 8 P.E. socks off.
His voice is perfectly suited to this, putting just enough individual mark on the tune without turning it into a 14 year old's song recital. It builds in intensity too and when he gets to the big note he nails it.
Jai is calm and suave in the delivery and this is genuinely terrific.
Rating: 9/10 – Finally Jai proves to be worth his spot
Ronan runs up to hug Jai as the entire room stands and cheers. The judges all gush. Nuff said.
Jiordan Tolli – Burn, Ellie Goulding
Ellie gets a staircase too. A spiral staircase. And a rapidly spinning clock. And five dancers auditioning for the rhythmic gymnastics competition.
Yeah, it's a bit weird.
Her presence is enough to eclipse all that though, she's performing out of her skin.
Which is lucky, because her singing is all over the place, very pitchy on the high notes and dischordant with the backing singers.
Rating: 7/10 – Great show almost made up for barrels of bum notes
She gets a decent shout from the crowd. Ronan and Nat are both impressed with the new look and edgy feel for Jiordan. Both also mention the problematic high notes. Dannii defines the vital quality that Jiordan brought as presence – which is true – before once more noting her social media credibility. Dannii is clearly either under instruction to relentlessly refer to social media this week or just on a one woman mission to get Australia to join her on Instagram.
THIRD D3GREE – I Like The Way It Hurts, Eminem and Rihanna
Jordan is talking all about family before the song and yet starts on stage alone. Meanwhile Kelebek, the wisened old 19 year old in the group, is worried the performance will bring up memories of a bad relationship she had once long ... a short while ago. It's many layers of dark.
It is all kinds of pitchy as we start, which is starkly obvious as it's just Jordan singing with first one then the other of his "big sisters." Particularly obvious is the fact that Kelebek is very pitchy.
Once the song shifts a gear into more of a rap focus the energy changes completely as you would expect. Kelebek's rapping not only lifts the performance significantly, but oddly the pitching gets a lot better too with Kelebek and Jacinta having a lovely harmony at one point while Jordan beatboxes.
There's a lot of emotion in the song and that seems to push them to either very good or very bad in equal measure.
Rating: 7/10 – The more energy they poured into it the better it got, thank goodness
Dannii says the song was good, and bad, with the emotion getting in the way. Foo thinks the singing parts exposed the group and blames the song choice for the problems. Ronan says they should play to their strengths, he doesn't want Kelebek to sing because she's a rapper and should focus on that. Nat is very happy with having exposed the trio as she'd want variety in a concert. One wonders if Nat gets the whole competition element.
Omar Dean – Skyscraper, Demi Lovato
Ronan has made a curious decision this week to give Omar a song he is actually incapable of singing with high notes he can't hit in rehearsals. At least that's the message of the video.
The song starts with Omar standing upon a tower made of lights and his first action as the intro ends is to pull out his in-ear foldback from one ear. Technical problems all round tonight.
This is a very high pitched song and not every note is perfect but ... hot damn Omar is doing a good job of this!
As the song builds so does his confidence and unbelievably it goes even higher. Omar's in his head voice a lot here but it works.
Rating: 8/10 – A really tough song choice but he got it
Nat says the best thing about the song was watching Ronan which seems a bit of an empty compliment but she aslo says there were technical problems. Dannii notes just how hard the song choice was but thinks Omar got it. Foo loves Omar's jacket, also notes the technical problems but loves that he thought Omar was going to cry. Ronan couldn't hear the technical faults and tries to insult the other judges but instead just highlights the fact that they did not stand at the end of the performance.
Dami Im – Roar, Katy Perry
The producers know their stuff. They took Dami away from the end slot of the show once, and now she's back.
We learn from the video that last week Dami took the advice "break a leg" a little too seriously as she tried to fall off stage after the performance, this week it's her anniversary so she's dedicating her first ever fierce action to her husband. Lucky boy, but back to the song.
Dami starts out marching on the spot with shoulder pads about a foot high, enough eye make up to paint a house and a massive Cleopatra wig, the grand result of which seems to be to weigh her down.
To begin with it is frankly Dami's worst performance yet - though that's not much of a statement given how good she's been. It's a bit sedate and withdrawn.
Once she steps forward and smiles enough to smear lipstick all over her teeth though this starts to rock. Then she starts to move, she starts to get into it and once she gives the big "roooooooooar" of course it takes off.
Rating: 8/10 – Not her best, but still one of the best on the night
The crowd loved it. Foo loved it and particularly loved the roar. Ronan thanks her for being gracious enough to join them this week and hopes she enjoys her international tour which he hopes means she won't be here next week. Nat is obsessed with Ronan tonight and loves that Dami means he might not win, which Ronan in turn find amusing as it means Nat's pretty much given up already. Sorry groups! Dannii tells us that Dami had never been to a pop concert before. Dannii wants people to vote and surprisingly misses an opportunity to plug social media.
Sorry Foo but it could be any of your three, and quite possibly a battle of the J girls this week with Joelle and Jiordan candidates for the bottom two, while Ellie is far from a certainty to be safe. THIRD D3GREE should get by on popularity.