Audition Show 4 - September 9th
We start with a recap of what happened last week. Fittingly, they neglect to show any of the talented people who got through, subjecting us instead to that stupid wailing woman and her ugly family, the Japanese girl who loved Simon, and that fat Welsh girl with the newsboy cap and the crying.
This week, it apparently gets tougher, scarier, and angrier than EVER before. Whatevs, O’Leary. Dermot goes on to tell us that it’s time to face the music – and, well, you’re stretching the word to breaking point there, dear. Dermot is actually in the crowd this week, rather than superimposed in front.
We are told there are four categories and four judges. Dannii is too fierce for this show. Louis looks like a twunt. We’re in Belfast so of course Louis is looking for some great Irish talent from Ireland where talent is from, which is Ireland, where talented Irish people who are Irish and talented and Irish come from. [To be sure. - Steve] The judges are greeted by some scary children riverdancing but in neon colour outfits rather than subdued blues and greens. It’s like if Sparkle Motion took up Irish dance. Without the Patrick Swayze as a paedo implications, I suppose. The mayor of Belfast (or just some dude in a big necklace who wandered in) calls Louis Louise and neglects to even mention Dannii. If I were Dannii, this is where I would cut a bitch. [I think he might have mentioned Dannii afterwards, as he was "welcoming Simon, Sharon and Louise back", rather than welcoming Dannii for her first visit, but of course we don't get to see that, because that would make sense. - Carrie.]
We get a parade of ‘my job, WHICH IS SHIT’ tales of woe – a plasterer, a sales assistant, and a café owner. This is by way of introduction to twins Michelle and Julie. They are 44, and look quite good for their age, but only because they’re so weird looking any crows feet they might have would be the last thing you’d notice. They’ve got this awful haircut – both of them, dyed a really harsh and unflattering black, heavy fringe, chin-length. It’s like they were going for sleek, Kym Ryder nee Marsh bobs but ended up with Ken Dodd. They sing at funerals. The undertakers have told them to go for the X Factor.
Simon is appalled. Dannii asks them, ‘what gives you the [growl and kitty claw motion]?’ They reply that they do graveside singing. The foley team have fun. Bells toll. A crow caws. They sing Sarah McLachlan’s ‘Angels’ and against all odds aren’t actually bad. They harmonise and make it into a folk song. Simon says he wants to go in the coffin and calls it ‘depressing’. Sharon says they have ‘mortuary face’. They all say no. Sharon wants to prebook them for her own funeral because she at least ‘know[s] what I’ll get’. Fair enough, I suppose. Leave it to the family and Kelly will be too busy taking crack with Amy Winehouse, Jack will be halfway up a rockface somewhere and Ozzy will get turned around and lock himself in the linen closet again. The Pomeranians would eat her corpse before Aimee got in from work. [By far the weirdest bit of this sequence was how Dannii kept saying "guys" and Simon kept correcting her: "girls", as though somehow he's the self-appointed guardian of gender-biased nouns. If that's the case, I hope he's finally grasped the use of adverbs this year, because if I hear him saying to anyone "you did brilliant", I may have a small homicidal rampage. - Steve]
Montage of shit people. Dannii makes a tongue out vomit face. A funny fatty with curly hair sings ‘Under the Bridge’ and then in the Booth Of Bitterness he says ‘I just don’t have the rock in me’. I lol.
A couple of rubbish boys called ‘East to West’ purport to be like Abba. One’s okay and one’s awful. When asked why he chose the awful one, the okay one says ‘because it’s a challenge’, which is funny but a) harsh on your friend and b) rather missing the point.
Montage of twatty dancing. A very fat woman will be as famous as Whitney. She screws up ‘Love Can Build a Bridge’ and then tells the Booth OF Bitterness that ‘they don’t like Whitney’. No dear. They don’t like you. Because you’re shit.
Simon is ‘depressed and fed up’ and Dermot tells us it was a disastrous day, and the judges want to go somewhere else. Louis says it was the worst day ever.
Dermot says ‘everyone is hoping to dance their way to the top’ and that hoping to ‘dance herself into the next round is 30-year-old dance teacher Shelley’ [30? That woman is 40 if she's a day. The face! - Carrie.] who says, ‘I’m a dancer and want to see if I’ve got anything else to offer’. I wonder if someone missed a memo about this being a singing competition. In fact, given what’s about to happen, I wonder if everyone missed a memo about this being a singing competition. Shelley comes in and greets the judges. She sings ‘Just A Little’ by Liberty X and dances about a chair while wearing a velour tracksuit. She can’t sing and she can’t particularly dance either, to be honest. [God alone knows what she teaches in her 'dance classes'. - Carrie.] She’s flexible, but so are lots of people. Popping your minky in my face in time to the music isn’t going to make me buy your records. It didn’t work for the Pussycat Dolls and it won’t work for you. After garnering the inevitable Pussycat Dolls comparison – i.e. as singers, they’re good dancers; and as dancers, they’re mediocre [and they all look at least 40 too - Steve] – Shelley is asked if she does topless dancing. She tells Sharon that indeed she does. ‘Good for you!’ cries Sharon. Then Simon says ‘now?’ and Shelley says ‘oh, no, not now.’ [And Louis says to Simon, 'I'm surprised you haven't met her.' - Carrie.] So I’m confused. And then she gets four yeses and I’m REALLY confused. She was terrible. She was very sweet. I liked her as a person. But she was shit. And not even in a Chico sort of way where some misguided morons will say ‘but it’s entertaining!’ She was just shit. [My notes for pretty much the entire first half of this episode consisted of "WTF?" over and over again. - Steve]
Of course, the yeses make everyone happy and suddenly there are lots of yeses. This is such bullshit editing. There are lots of awful people and then one good person turns it all around and it’s talent a-go-go. Either they’re simply lying with the editing or the producers drip-feed it shit shit shit shit good good good good. Either way, please don’t try and make me think that it’s the vagaries of fate playing with poor Simon and co, ITV. I’m not that stupid.
3 girls called Aphrodisiac go through, continuing the strain of surprisingly unshit girl groups. A chubby 14-year-old gay in a sparkly waistcoat and voice like Michael Ball goes through, continuing the strain of surprisingly good 14-year-old chubby gays in sparkly clothing. A mum-dad-and-daughter group called Trinity go through, for what I can only presume is the weirdness factor cos from what we saw they weren’t great. A Manchester girl called Kimberley sings ‘Ain’t No Mountain Enough’ pleasantly enough and goes through. I’d forgotten who she was while she was still on screen.
‘Thank You For Being A Friend,’ the Golden Girls theme plays. 70-year old shop worker Maria has been writing songs for 7 years. She looks bloody fantastic for 70. [She looks about the same age as Shelley. - Carrie.] She brings the lyrics to her song on a big sheet of paper attached to an A-frame, with a handle on the top like a mangle so she can wind them up and down. A sort of makeshit autocue. I did actually intend makeshift there, but the Freudian slip of ‘makeshit’ was too good to correct. The song is called ‘Wild and Sexy’ and involves Maria telling us that, ‘I feel wild and sexy when I sing a song’. She hasn’t strictly speaking sold any CDs but lots of people have them, because she gives them away. Louis says no, Sharon yes, Dannii yes – earning ‘Dannii, you are professional!’ from Maria, and Simon no. Simon is notably peturbed by all this. He seems to think it’s not appropriate for a 70-year-old to say ‘sexy’ and seems to be a bit worried about her mental state. Which, given the poor shuffling trolls with actual visible mental health problems they parade for the visit-to-Bedlam amusement of the country each week, seems a bit odd, as Maria is clearly quite together and just there for a bit of a laugh. Simon and Louis give her a hand outwith her lyrics thing. Simon says, ‘don’t steal the lyrics, Louis’. [Maria to write the winner's single, please. - Steve]
20 year old Sam is from Newcastle. [And you know he's going to go through, because the plinky piano music starts up as he gazes into the distance. Stupid formulaic show. - Carrie.] He says ‘performing takes the weight off my shoulders’ and I’m already thoroughly bored of him. Get a new motivation, boy, that one’s been done. He sings ‘Handbags and Gladrags’ and, much to my chagrin, can actually sing. Little bit of a rasp going on, hits the notes, all perfectly all right. Dannii goes a bit mental. She loves him a lot. He goes through and Simon says that Sam is just a ‘good, old-fashioned, good singer.’ Watch how quickly ‘old-fashioned’ will become a criticism when Simon doesn’t get the Young Boys group.
The competition has tickets to the X–factor live show. I actually shuddered at the concept.
Some girls sing ‘they can’t take away my dignity’, to which Scott and I respond in perfect sync, ‘You do that yourself!’
Housewife Alison has had vocal coaching for three years, lost a stone, had a makeover. etc, all in pursuit of the X-Factor. We see her doing warm-up exercises in the bathroom and so on and she seems a bit musical theatre perhaps but not that awful. Her vocal coach is with her. When asked why she’s there, she says she’s practised and worked and now wants to try for real. There’s no Sharon. She’ll have been off in America filming ‘America’s Got Talent’ because they fired Brandy because Brandy rear-ended someone on the freeway and killed them. I don’t think the show actually told us that though. Anyway. Alison sings ‘Beautiful’ by James Fucking Blunt. It’s…bizarre. She’s clapping her thighs to get the beat, but she’s singing much much too fast, and has lost her way completely. It’s like she’s in a competition to see who can sing the song the fastest. She’s also not hitting the notes. Simon tells the vocal coach ‘I think the word refund comes to mind!’ She tells the judges, ‘you’ve absolutely broken me’. It’s a little bit sad. After she’s gone, Simon says, ‘THAT was uncomfortable’. [It was sad. Her warm-up was good. Maybe she should just sing scales, not songs. - Carrie.]
There’s then a girl band – a girl band who are shit for once, after all the deceitful good girl bands. I couldn’t even tell what they sang, though I knew it. I finally worked out it was ‘I’ll Stand By You’ but that was only from the lyrics. The tune was...not good.
Simon says that ‘Birmingham hasn’t delivered so far’. 18-year-old shop boy Matthew thinks they need ‘an entertainer’ and ‘a showman’. I already hate him. [Me too! - Carrie.] [Me three! - Steve]He says that, ‘no disrespect’ but Shayne and Leona have ‘no charisma’. He does little impressions of them singing, which I would say actually is a bit disrespectful. He says he’s doing ‘a little collaboration’ and Simon’s like ‘it’s called a medley, you fucking moron’. He sings ‘I Want It That Way’ then ‘Lean On Me’ and then ‘Something Inside So Strong’. He stamps his foot with emotion on the last, so great an entertainer is he. His voice isn’t awful, but it’s not remotely noteworthy. Simon says, ‘you could either be great or you could be in Butlins, I haven’t decided’. HA! Dannii says that Matthew is like a one-man band with the cymbals on his knees and a drum on his back. Matthew says, ‘Yes!’ and Simon is like, ‘that wasn’t a compliment, you slack-jawed nincompoop’. Louis veritably screams, ‘NO!’ when asked if he wants to put Matthew through but Dannii and Simon say yes. Louis says that Matthew is basically arrogant and a bit shit. He’s right, but that’s normally right up Louis’s alley, so who knows what’s going on. [I hope Louis gets him at boot camp. - Steve]
We meet 23-year-old mother of three, Kelly. She says, ‘I’ll show Simon who’s the biggest and who’s the best and I will win this!’ and claims that she’s like Celine, Whitney and Mariah, giving herself 10/10 for vocals. She says that she may not have the looks but she has the voice. My sympathy, momentarily piqued by her ‘I’m well ugly, me’ shtick, will soon disappear. She sings ‘I Will Always Love You’ and at first she’s not awful – going for volume instead of quality but that’s hardly new in these shows. [But she's started at least a fifth too high, and as soon as she sings the first note I predict that she'll fuck up the chorus because she won't have the range... - Carrie.] Then she goes for the high note at ‘And Iiiiiiiii’ and it falls apart really badly. Really, really badly. She kind of chokes on the note. And then all the subsequent notes as well. She does at least realise that she was sucking. Simon says it sounded like a dog at the end and gives 2.5/10. [That was harsh. I think there's a decent voice in there somewhere, but she doesn't have any kind of ear. - Carrie.] She gets three polite noes, Simong being like, ‘thanks sweetheart, no. Bye bye’.
Outside, Kelly gets proper mardy. She claims that Simon isn’t giving anyone a chance, because he just wants to go home and go to the pub. She brings her dad in. He’s like ‘have you got a heart?’ and Simon’s all ‘yeah, but I’ve also got a brain, and my brain is telling me your daughter sucks badgers.’ So the dad also chimes in with ‘you just want go home!’ ‘You’re not giving anyone a chance!’ And again I have to explain to these beefwitted cretins that they have HAD a chance. Their AUDITION is their chance. And besides which, if Simon just wanted to go home he would have put your caterwauling sprog-dropping daughter through, thereby saving himself valuable minutes of backtalk from the pair of you, you dunderheaded lackwit. They finally fuck off. In the Booth Of Bitterness, she’s all ‘when I’m famous, Simon could have been earning a share of money from me. Think on that, Simon. Think on. Mmmhmm. Think on.’ And...just...no. Simon Cowell does not need a share of your future millions you ridiculous buffoon because a) there won’t be any because you have a shit voice and a worse attitude and b) he has enough money to set up his own dictatorship on a small island off the cost of Nicaragua with a private army and Paula Abdul as his very own Eva Peron.
We’re still in Birmingham. Apparently this is the first year 14 and 15-year-olds have been allowed to audition. That is brand new information! [Thank fuck they told me. - Carrie.] 15-year-old Dominic has about 17,000 family members. He will be singing ‘Mack the Knife’. Hate. HATE. He has a good voice though. Sharon does the normal thing of ‘ZOMG! No-one under the age of 60 has even HEARD of swing music! You’re incredible!’ They try and build tension except he’s so obviously through it doesn’t work. Stupid show. [Loved him. He was cute and had a lovely voice. And I didn't want to punch him while he was singing, like I would've if it had been Ray. - Carrie.]
Dermot says that ‘Dominic’s yes is the first of many’ – ‘that we’re barely going to show you!’ Scott chimes in. It’s true, of course. We see a couple of people sing a word or two, and lots just jump up and down in the Booth Of Joy. Of course, we could have seen them, but obviously people would rather see mardy cows shout at Simon than actual singers in a singing contest. [Anyone noticed the total lack of Dermot chatting to victims, sorry, auditionees this week? Could it be that he WASN'T FUCKING THERE? - Carrie.]
Finally, there is Natasha, a single mother who has no-one to look after her daughter Jasmine, so Jasmine has to come into the audition. What? Surely there’s someone she knows? [Given that she claimed lots of people told her to audition, you'd think one of them would have offered themselves up for childminding services. - Steve] And I’m fairly certain a runner could sit with the girl for the four minutes it would take for her to see the judges. But anyhoo, as we shall see, Jasmine is integral to the audition. Asked why she’s auditioning, she says she has been through a lot and put her daughter through a lot, and wants Jasmine to see her mum achieve something. [At this point, the boy and I began to place bets on her tale of woe. I went for the domestic violence forcing her to become a SINGLE MOTHER OMGZ. - Carrie.]
She left a violent relationship – in which a weapon was used that could have cost her her life. [Yay! - Carrie.] She finally got out and moved away from home and family to start afresh. Which, yes, that’s brilliant. To have the strength to get out of a situation like that is admirable, as is trying to do something for your daughter. But this show is so fucking by-numbers now, it just comes across as, ‘my relationship, WHICH WAS VIOLENT’, and that’s pretty shitty. That twat last week was all, ‘my mum, WHO IS SINGLE’ and this beats that, but I’m afraid it doesn’t beat ‘I almost died’ or ‘my dad, WHO IS DEAD’. I wonder if there’s a statute of limitations on these things? I find it all so fucking distasteful. I mean, my dad’s dead. He died when I was 14. I hate the fact that I never really got to know him as an adult. It’s totally unfair that he died so young. But I don’t try and use it as motivation to make people vote for me on reality shows. And I blame the producers more than the contestants, because they’re so desperately afraid that people will see through the shower of shit that is the X-Factor that they have to find some peg to hang people’s sympathy on. Even if it is ‘my mum, WHO IS SINGLE’. Gross and inappropriate and the absolute worst aspect of this show and indeed all shows of its ilk, now.
Anyway! Natasha sings ‘Unbreak My Heart’ and isn’t actually that good. She hits the notes but they’re not the right ones. I swear that wasn’t the right melody. [Also, I swear that all the vibrato made it sound like she was singing "uncry these terriers" at one point. She must get massive hairballs in her tearducts. - Steve] She does actually have quite an expressive voice though, and puts some emotion into it and god knows that’s preferable to whatsherface from Manchester up the page who was about as memorable as a supermarket carrot cake. Quite nice and you’ll enjoy it when it’s there, but you don’t remember it and there’s another 40 exactly the same where it came from. Sharon says Natasha has a lot of passion but isn’t the best the judges have seen.
Dannii wants her to sing something happy. Louis says she has a good voice, better than she thinks. Cutely, Jasmine, who has been waiting behind the table with the judges, gets asked her opinion. She says yes. [I really like Simon at this point. I don't think he's a naturally paternal type, but he tries to be nice to the little girl. - Carrie.] Sharon says yes because Natasha hasn’t had many breaks in life. Simon says ‘it’s five yeses’ and Natasha is through.
Still to come next week, various shit. Including, once again, Simon being unsure they made the right decision about something. They’re doing that so often now. ‘My decision, WHICH WAS WRONG’. It’s so over.