While fluffed performances and crushed dreams lend the audition episodes a tantalising taste of schadenfreude, the live shows are always far more exciting because of the off chance that Dermot O'Leary might call someone a c***.
Pop goes the Waissel.
We kick off with the obligatory epileptic seizure to remind us all of what's happened so far because the British public can't remember who the prime minister is let alone what happened 136 days ago.
I think this guy is in Gary's category?
The only vaguely interesting development is that the stupidly named GMD3 have now been given the equally stupid name of District 3.
District 3's main industry is technology and they were one of the richest districts in Panem before the rebellion. The bread from this district is bite-sized square-shaped rolls.
It seems the producers are still insisting on Dermot's idiotic opening routine and this series we get bonus humiliation as he is forced to to dance in front of millions to 'Gangnam Style'.
I find myself feeling sorry for Dermot O'Leary for the first time since he had to share the stage with these two awful people:
And these equally awful people:
Actually I feel sorry for Dermot O'Leary quite a lot of the time.
The judges enter to the Star Wars theme FOR SOME REASON:
Did you know that Gary Barlow is an anagram of Aw Ya Brr Log. Which is his name on his home planet.
Everyone looks sort of nice actually, except for Nicole and her weird pocket-boob.
The Wild Cards are brought back for their second round of soul-crushing disappointment.
Or third round if you count Times Red, who have now been kicked off, brought back, kicked off and brought back again only to be kicked off as... Overly emotional guy goes through!
Because what this show needs is MORE CRYING.
We're told that voting lines are open already before anyone's even sung a single note. Good job this isn't a singing competition, eh!?
The theme of the show is 'Jumping on the Olympic bandwagon', or 'Heroes' as Dermot more succinctly describes it.
The tributes from District 3 are first to enter the arena. Having been left bruised and traumatised after fighting their way out of Louis' dressing room, they will be using their special skill for breathy choirboy whining to slaughter 'Simply The Best' by Tina Turner.
I personally preferred the name Wrong Direction but what do I know.
I thought they were simply the worst but the judges are vaguely positive because screaming girls = ££££
Talking of which, it's another mediocre boy band:
They mumble a bit about whatever then amble off. Swoon.
Next up it's incorrectly labelled 'X Factor totty' James Arthur who can smile now because he has a telephone in his toilet. His rendition of Kelly Clarkson's 'Stronger' is so boring he can't even keep his own mentor awake.
Gary thinks the performance could have been edgier. Apparently he did not notice the awkward demon rap.
What doesn't kill you makes you LUCIFER.
"Oh SHIT, I thought I was getting a pep talk from Cheryl Cole."
She steps on stage still dressed like a patron of The Leaky Cauldron...
... and sings 'With A Little Help From My Friends' by the Beatles, a song which seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with Olympic heroes unless the 'friends' in question are performance-enhancing steroids.
Louis is reminded of that time he went to Woodstock because he thinks that seeing something in a movie is the same thing as doing it in real life. In that case Louis, this performance reminds me of that time I battled a gigantic shark and got by with a little help from my friend Richard Dreyfuss.
Melanie is also surprised to see her children in the audience instead of backstage where she thought they'd be. She must be unaware of the 'Undesirables' clause in her contract whereby boring family members are slowly and subtly erased from your life.
Spraggers time! She will be the first performer in the show's history to sing her own song because originality and the X Factor go together like Simon Cowell and not cashing in on everything ever.
Tulisa's favourite part of Lucy's new guitar is 'the sparkly bit'.
Lucy says 'That's fine' when what she really means is 'ACCURSED TALENTLESS INFIDEL'.
The song sounds to me like Coldplay meets Kate Nash. Louis Walsh says pretty much the same thing and I am ashamed.
MK1 are having lots of fun, mostly involving pillow fights.
Because that's how all the best rappers spend their free time, init bruv.
They're singing a weird medley of Chipmunk's 'Champion' and Hot Chocolate's 'Everyone's a Winner'.
Louis thinks they could be the new N-Dubz. Tulisa vehemently disagrees and there's a really awkward moment where it seems like she announces that N-Dubz are getting back together (they split up?) but everyone ignores her like no one gives a shit. Probably because no one gives a shit.
Pictured: that old guy in the background not giving a shit about N-Dubz.
Next up Christopher Baloney gets emotional about his emotions while I try and decide which is worse; that all the Wild Cards had to film these "I'm so glad I'm through" segments despite the fact that most of them wouldn't get through or whether Christopher Maloney just has one ready because his getting through was a fix.
I am forced to come to the conclusion that I don't care as I have forgotten who most of the Wild Cards were anyway.
Mr Baloney does a pretty good performance of 'Hero' by Mariah Carey but all the judges seem to focus on is his tan.
Nanny Baloney is happy though and that's all that matters to me.
It's Union J's turn and they're really happy about new band member George even though his name completely defeats the object of their moniker. One of them claims that he 'can't remember Triple J at all' which he should get used to because after their dreadful rendition of 'Don't Stop Me Now' I'm thinking soon no one will remember Union J either.
Incidentally, this song is rumoured to be about one night Freddie Mercury spent with 80 rent boys so it's a fairly fitting choice for Louis and his boy band.
Jade Ellis has a mum-off with Melanie Masson...
In case you didn't feel sorry for them already, this is her daughter's reaction when she tells her they might be able to get a carpet.
... before taking to the stage with her version of Enrique Iglesias' 'Hero' in which she alarmingly begins to ooze slow motion pigeons.
Next up, Rylan is forced to read all the horrible things people are saying about him on Twitter, something I believe should become a regular feature for all the contestants in case they start thinking that anyone actually likes them.
They didn't use ANY of my tweets. Bastards.
Nicole tells him he shouldn't read any of the horrible things written on the internet which is wrong because everyone should read my blog. Anyway, his performance of 'Gold' is an insult to both Spandau Ballet and ancient Egyptians.
Awright guv'nor it's time for chimney sweep Kye Sones.
He eschews my preferred song choice - 'Chim Chim Cher-ee' from Mary Poppins - in favour of Michael Jackson's 'Man in the Mirror'. Gary calls out the production team for spending more money on Rylan's performance but I'm pretty sure Kye is relieved to have avoided gold spandex thus far in the competition.
Ella Henderson gets a pep talk from Tulisa who says that she still gets nervous before performing (blowjobs) and has always been hands on (someone's penis).
There, there Tulisa. Blissful anonymity is surely on its way.
Gary's head nearly explodes with smug as Ella sings Take That's 'Rule The World'.
But at least has the decency to admit she sang it ten times better than he did.
Carolynne Poole is introduced with the fatal question: "Okay everybody, ready for some country?"
The correct answer to that question is "No. Go away."
Yep, Carolynne is given the unfortunate task of singing a country version of 'Starships' by Nicki Minaj e.g. a combination of two of the worst things to happen to music ever.
Closing the show is Jahmene and even Nicole can only talk to him from the safety of another continent.
He's singing 'Imagine' from the foot of a colossal candle mountain.
All I can imagine is a variety of scenarios involving Jahmene and a giant fire hazard.
Dermot does the only thing any reasonable person would do when confronted with Jahmene and smacks him on the back of the head as he walks off stage.
"Take that Giggly McNervousLaugh!"
Do we really need a recap of Saturday's show? It was ONE NIGHT ago.
Anyway, this week's group performance is 'Read All About It' by Emeli Sandé - apparently the only song released in 2012.
I would like to read all about an inquest into why this song is never out of earshot for more than five seconds these days.
Another recap (who are these for?? Has the X Factor been suddenly made aware of a large demographic of Alzheimer's sufferers?) and then it's time to trot out ye olde Leona Lewis for some filler.
She is kind of boring but it was a bit mean of whoever TP'd her set before she went on.
Finally it's time for the actual results.
Leaving Carolynne and Rylan to battle it out in the final showdown.
Rylan's up first singing a version of 'One Night Only' that's very nearly in tune.
The only trouble is, I really don't have the time to listen to this rubbish so let's skip ahead to Carolynne shall we?
Here she is with an infinitely better attempt at Faith Hill's 'There You'll Be'
Easy choice? You'd think so. However, this being X Factor and X Factor being everything's that's wrong with modern music: Carolynne is going home!
Gary walks off!
Rylan adds injury to insult with a little personal space invasion!
And it's goodbye from a very pissed off looking Carolynne.
Which just goes to show the old saying is right: if at first you don't succeed, the next time you'll be bested by a vocally-challenged lycra-clad camp-as-Christmas Tutankhamun.
See you next week!