A complete contrast for the Final, starting on the red carpet as the judges, Pitbull the rapper and One Direction arrive, as if to emphasise the spread of appeal that the show needs to keep its audience figures up. I like the way Simon Cowell chose a Rolls Royce. Without a script, Khloe struggles and comes out with some stupid questions which everyone answers politely but is anxious to get away from her. Mario is better but it's all a bit silly.
Tate arrives in an ugly 4 x 4 and sings on the red carpet. Carly Rose comes across far better and looks happy and relaxed. Fifth Harmony look fun, Lauren struggling to keep her very short dress decent. This was a cheery version of All You Need Is Love that the six girls totally took over but the producers let Tate do the last line in case we'd not noticed him.
So that got 20 minutes of a 2 hour schedule out of the way. I do hope they get rid of Khloe next year and get someone better to write the autocue or maybe even find someone who can do the commentary mostly naturally and off the cuff. For the money they can afford there are surely some candidates who would be entertaining to watch and add to the show rather than detract from its sparkle. Yes, and while they're at it, find a better Peter Dickson substitute for the big announcements. In fact, why not get Peter to do it?
Brilliant edit of LA Reid's movements and then we get Tate with a Christmas song. I guess we'll get one from each act. Will this affect the votes? Or have they closed? Sometimes, if it's close a last minute rush after a particularly great performance could make a difference but with what I guess will be in the region of 100 million votes coming in the chances of it being that tight must be unlikely,
It's OK, a bit nondescript but I'm sure lots of older folk would have loved it and sung along in front of their log fires. His promotion team are making a bit much of the family, giving up the job, being a good dad stuff, though, with no-one looking very happy and clearly going for the sympathy vote there. That was very contrived, even if the things people said were all well-intentioned, the 'package' was just too much of a 'package' and we could do without all that. Now I expect we'll get the videos of Carly Rose as a 2 year old and her mum and dad telling us how talented she is and that she's always wanted to do this. as they can hardly do all five of the Fifth Harmony girls I suppose we'll get shots from each mum and - simply because they haven't been around as long - none of the six girls stand a chance against the Tate package,
Simon appears to be growing a moustache.
Fifth Harmony next. Nice Santa outfits, really good song with everyone performing well, especially Dinah Jane, rivalling Mariah Carey's notes too. What a great group they've turned out to be. That's 2012 Christmas as it should be. Far more 'today' than old Tate.
Then we get their package. Actually a bit more interesting because we hadn't seen so much of the people in it before but it's all pretty much of a muchness and gets the girls all emotional. I am seriously getting muddled up with Allie and Camilla though and apologies, folks, if I've been giving one the personality props and raving about the other's voice. They're both great whatever. I'd check but I'm terrified of bumping into the result in a search so I'll add some definitive pics later with some performance videos too.
Britney's edit of the expresssions she'd been using!
Carly Rose. All I Want For Christmas can go on a bit. She sings it brilliantly but stays away from the high notes this time. Entertaining, competent - sort of on a par with Tate tonight. She gets the package too.
Khloe goes outside to chat to the crowd. Dumb question: w\ho are you supporting? Fifth Harmony. Did you like their Christmas Song? Duh!?
So now we get to know who comes 3rd. That's where One Direction came. This time it's Fifth Harmony. That's what we expected I suppose. Disappointing as I think they were the real winners but hopefully Simon will organise a deal for them and get them out there as he did with 1D so amazingly successfully.
Now it's down to how it's always been until last week's interruption by five girls - Carly Rose v Tate. I've always felt that Tate has had the bigger vote base in the land of Country music and, especially being the only one for their support throughout most the competition after Willie's early exit, Carly Rose has done so well just to match him. There's no doubt she's the more accomplished modern performer and has the best talent and range but has she really inspired enough to vote? Fifth Harmony fans would vote hundreds of times but I think Carly Rose will just get one vote per fan like Tate so it's down to simple numbers.
I want Carly Rose to win now but feel it'll be Tate.
Khloe goes back stage with even more really stupid, dumb questions. This is so annoying. I would rather watch adverts. How would it change Tate's mum's life? Christ, this woman has to go.
Pitbull looked old and out of place with the groovy young dancers. He seemed to be running out of breath as the stage exploded back to the 80s, one line, some girls shaking their hair and that was that. Odd. More Mario and Khloe's vintage I reckon. They seemed to enjoy that more than the crowd. I think he should stick to being the Ft act with others.
Still One Direction to come before we get the winner's announcement. Half an hour to go. How on earth will they fill that? Looked like the Top 12 were all dressed up for something so maybe they've got a sing-a-long in store. Not sure that's such a good idea.
With an enormous pair of bright red lips the 1D set reminded me of the Stones. It is very satisfying to see an X Factor UK act doing so well over there. Kiss You isn't the best of their numbers but it was good enough to get the crowds going and they did another good job.
Tate and Carly Rose perform The Climb which seems to be one of those tracks that these shows love to do. Carly Rose simply demolished Tate on this, it being closer to her style and also she's the more capable of finding and making some quite tricky notes that the song includes.
Idiot Khloe asks LA and Britney 'how proud they are of their acts' again. LA gets a decent answer out there. Britney does her usual one short sentence. Pointless. Especially at this point. 15 minutes to go, Break.
With all the repeated references to Tate not 'giving up on his dream' I am getting distinct pointers to his victory as all that doesn't quite work if he comes 2nd. He'll get his deal whatever happens but they're making a lot of that 'if at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again' stuff as if Tate is 67 rather than 37. Carly Rose hardly gets a mention in all that chatter. I wonder if each possible pair had to rehearse The Climb? No way all of Fifth Harmony could have climbed the stairs on that set. That tells me that the production team must have had the result already so all the autocue stuff will ahve been written with that in mind.
35 million votes. Hmmm. That's down on American Idol. Still a lot.
And the winner is...
Oh well. Competition for Scotty in the Country charts at least.