Audition Show 3 - 1st September 2007
Clearly I have displeased someone very important. Joel's pleading technical difficulties, Steve has a Very Important Job (or, y'know, geekfests to go to) (yeah, sorry about that. I was too busy dancing in a basement in King's Cross and then stalking Adrian Pasdar. I'll make sure you're suitably rewarded, don't worry.-Steve) (Forgive me! Computer death. And it's also taken me about 20 minutes to log in to blogger. Maybe the universe doesn't want me watching X Factor anymore.-Joel) (Yeah, you wish. - Carrie) and I'm left with the job of recapping, and not a drop of alcohol has passed my lips.
Scary deep-voiced male voiceover declares: "It's the most talked about show on television!" Montage of screaming, cheering, swearing and very little singing.
"Who will rise?" Snigger. "Who will fall?" Oh holy fuck, someone is going to sing Puff the Magic Dragon. "It's time to face the music!" If only this show was anything to do with music, then I might be able to understand it more.
Lulu's playing in the background (not Louis Walsh, obviously, it's Shout). Dermot's in the same light-blue shirt he wore last week, but apparently now he's in Glasgow. You can tell because there are bagpipers. We're reminded that the rules have been changed this year, with two groups of young people, one group of old people, and one group for groups.
Speaking of rule changes, we're also reminded that we have four judges, who are soaking up the atmosphere in what I assume is the town centre. Simon is doing this by sitting on what looks like a throne and looking physically pained at the sound of bagpipes. He dons a Bay City Rollers scarf, and apologises for the McDonald Brothers. Not to them - for them. "I want to formally apologise for the McDonald Brothers representing you last year," he quips, and is booed for his trouble. Dannii is smirking. Don't tell me she watched this shite last year.
Colin is 43, and is a gas services engineer, I think. I'm not too hot on the Scottish accent. He has put money on himself to win the competition. (Only £1, though. I think he really ought to have wagered more than that if he wanted people to be impressed by his confidence.-Steve) Louis is heading up the panel today and asking all the tricky questions, like "Are you good enough to win the competition?" Colin takes his shoes off, ready to "sing and perform". He does this by destroying the Sweet's Blockbuster in fearsome style. Naturally, Louis begins laughing. Everyone votes no. Colin tries to leave the room, but chooses the wrong door. Simon looks like he might cry. (Just to let you know, "other door" is something that they lifted from the most recent season of American Idol. It was funnier the first time; less so now.-Steve)
Michael describes himself in one word as "good". He's blinged up and sings a tuneless The Wonder Of You. He also tries to leave the room through the wrong door. The next one is a Wham! wannabe, complete with white tailored jacket, vamping up The Edge of Heaven, and Dannii, with glacier-like poise, tells him: "I found everything about that audition very annoying." He looks heartbroken. And also tries to leave the room through the wrong door.
A montage of rejections. And people leaving the room through the wrong door.
Alan's dream is to have his "name up in headlights." Or he may have said "headlines", but "headlights" is funnier. (He definitely said 'headlights', the loon.-Steve) "Frank Sinatra, Elvis, me." Louis' jaw drops, in entirely unrehearsed fashion. Alan's choice of repertoire is somewhat peculiar for someone who wants to emulate the greats and emit star quality - That's My Goal. It's a no. And an attempted exit through the wrong door.
Melancholy piano music introduces Dermot's chat with 18-year-old shop assistant Leon, who wants to make his single-parent mum proud. That won't cut it on this show, Leon! Yes, of course you love your mum and she's done a magnificent job with you, you seem a lovely lad with an interestingly fashionable haircut, but this series of the X-Factor wants hideous sob stories of tragic lives. (He had horrible heroin chic red eyes, surely he could have been like 'my me, WHO IS A HEROIN ADDICT'.-Joel)(Seriously. My mum WHO IS SINGLE? That's a pathetic attempt to gain sympathy. Even the Plinky Piano of World-Weariness was wondering why it had suddenly been cued.-Steve) He sings Home by Michael Buble, which Louis welcomes with the words, "Great! We love that song." Can't say I'd ever heard it before, Louis, but whatevs. Leon is cute, he has a nice quality to his voice, but his pitching is iffy. (And his phrasing was poor too.-Steve) The judges rhapsodise, and the original Buble track plays in the background, approaching a key change, so you know it's going to be four yeses. Indeed it is, and Leon bursts into tears. Sharon asks him who he came to the audition with, and fusses over him when he replies he's by himself. He leaves the room (through the right door), but there's no Dermot hug waiting for him. Travesty. Instead, he rings his mum on the speakerphone to break the news, and she screams very loudly, possibly at the horror that is going to befall her son as he sells his soul to the devil throughout this audition process and the live shows, should he progress.
Still to come - lots of crying. Marvellous.
Welcome back, and we're on the road to Cardiff. Weren't we here last week? Sharon's late, so Dannii, Louis and Simon begin the auditions by themselves. Primary-school teacher Beverley is from Luton, so why she's auditioning in Cardiff is beyond me. And as we've already seen cheering kiddies in the montages, I'm guessing she'll go through. She seems like a nice lady, who sometimes sings the register with her pupils. Simon patronises her with a "Good for you" when she tells him what she does for a living. She churns out a decentish R-E-S-P-E-C-T, which would wow any karaoke night, but I can't help comparing her to (the also Luton-dwelling) Brenda. Dannii loves her; Louis thinks she's a backing singer; Simon says: "The one in the middle doesn't have a clue what he's talking about." With Simon proclaiming her to be the best audition this season, she gets three yeses in the end, and she's through. Shocker. Bring on the screaming kiddies! (If that was the best audition this season, we're in serious trouble. I liked Beverley and wanted her to get through, but she was far too yelly for my tastes.-Steve)(Stop shouting, Beverley.-Joel)
Sharon finally turns up, and there's a montage of people being put through and clapping themselves and leaping about. 14-year-old Matthew sings Nessun Dorma. Bloody hell. He's really good - a gorgeous tenor voice that deserves better than this programme. (He was so sweet. Little sparkly opera gay.-Joel) An Italian chap with horrendous cod vibrato wants to sing the "loveliest sweet song in the world", It's Now or Never, and for some reason he gets four yeses. Sigh.
49-year-old smily Julie is from South Wales and loves singing. She keeps scrunching up her nose and drawing stars in the air, which probably explains why they're playing the theme tune to Bewitched as her background music. She gives a quick example of what she does for a living - demonstrating products at the supermarket (Oh! I tuned out for a second and came back to see her naming all the flavours of Pringles. It makes sense now.-Joel) - and then breaks into a version of Let There Be Love. Louis claims she murdered the song, which isn't true. It was tuneful, but strange. Simon is right when he says it is somewhat robotic. Julie tries to sing another snippet, but she's stopped, and she takes the utter rejection gracefully, smiling on her way out. (This was a very odd scene - they kept cutting to stock footage of the judges with their jaws dropping, when Julie wasn't really that bad. Certainly no worse than some other people they've put through. It bothers me when they try to make average auditions look like they were worse than they actually were; if we're lacking any standouts good or bad this year, the live shows are going to su-huuuuck.-Steve)(She was fine. Weird rictus grin, but vocally okay. Stupid fucking show.-Joel)
Oh, did you know that the bottom age limit has been lowered now? Yes, of course you did, but just in case you're a fool with no short-term memory, this show will remind you again. Little Vivian wants to be like Shirley Bassey. Goodness. She's slathered in shiny eyeshadow. This is a fag-hag in the making, I think. The judges beam at her as she skips in and does a little dance of excitement on the X-spot, and tells them of her ambition to be like La Bassey. The editing here sucks, seriously. She sings Diamonds Are Forever - which is a hell of a song for anyone to sing, let alone a 14-year-old - and Sharon looks like she's going to cry with faux-maternal pride. "You're a funny little thing, aren't you?" says Simon. Sharon tells her that she doesn't think she's ready for the X-Factor, and Vivian bursts into tears. Excellent. THIS is why they shouldn't let children into this competition. Dannii and Louis both tell her she's not ready, and Simon says that she has a nice voice but little control at the moment. Vivian begs the judges to put her through. Sharon says yes; Dannii says no; Louis says yes; Simon says no. I think that had Louis said no, Simon would have said yes, but this kid is just a child and the competition will destroy her, if her reaction to even slightly negative comments is anything to go by. She wails to her family, "They were so mean!" Which they weren't. But if you're 14, you're bound to take rejection like that. And Simon concurs with this totally obvious point: "This is when I think we've made the wrong decision to lower the age range." Duh. (Her voice was MUCH better than I expected, but her Welsh accent was too strong when she sang. At least the judges were nice enough not to say 'you're too fat and ugly to win this show', which was the basic fact of the matter.-Joel) (*cough* McManus *cough*. - Carrie)
Still to come - suggestive comments, skipping and sobbing.
WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? Dermot in the same light-blue shirt, but now he reckons he's in Birmingham. Continuity - que? (I swear that shot is blue-screened. Dermot looks like he's about six miles away from the "crowd" "behind" him.-Steve)
We recap all the terrible auditions we've seen so far, including the RUDEST AUDITIONEE IN THE WHOLE WORLD EVAH!!!!111one!!11!
Japanese Toshko has travelled all the way to the UK to meet Simon. She is a dinky little thing who cannot speak much English (Sharon can't even understand what her name is), but she tells Cowell where she's from, and then adds: "And I like you. Very much. And I came to here to meet you and I'm glad to meet you." Oh, bless her. Simon smiles uncertainly. Sharon asks: "Is Simon well known in Tokyo?" Toshko says that he is, and Sharon invites her to walk up to the panel to meet him. Louis makes stupid comments about them making a nice couple and there being chemistry, which Simon wisely ignores. Instead, he gives her a chivalrous peck on the cheek, gives her a hug and tells her that she is very pretty. (Awwww.-Steve) Then it is time for the audition, a version of My Way, and of course it's abysmal - feeble and with the language barrier preventing any kind of diction. (She sings like Cartman. Heee!-Steve) Simon does, at least, try to hide his smile; Louis doesn't bother; and Dannii beams supportively. They allow her to sing an entire verse without interruption, she ends by thanking them for listening, they applaud and thank her, and I guess she's got all she travelled for. Simon tells her that she has a sweet voice and is very cute, and that he might have to take her home with him. There's much laughter all round, and the poor girl blushes. Louis says yes, Dannii says yes, Simon says no because she was too quiet, and Sharon says no because she thinks that she and Simon should be kept apart. They all thank her again, and Simon escorts her out with an arm round her shoulder, and kisses her goodbye. She's delighted, and that's a lovely little interlude, if rather pointless. (I think she was taking the piss. She was like a Japanese girl I vaguely know who plays up to 'I..er..no speak very good English' and then cackles and chats away to you in perfect English like a native Londoner.-Joel)
Montage of shit auditions, including the galloping man who sings Puff the Magic Dragon, but as it's only a snippet and we've already seen it in an earlier montage, it's rather redundant. I am rather taken with Danny who I suspect has a great and abiding love for N*Sync (who doesn't?-Steve), and so it proves with his somewhat camped-up version of Pop!, but he's still not very good.
Sharon reckons the show has the capability to change people's lives for the better, and that it has done, and will continue to do so. In that case, I'm predicting the next auditionee, shop assistant Richard, will be going through. He has the customary chat with Dermot (now in navy blue shirt and tie), describing how he has hated all his previous jobs. Join the club, sonny. He is quite cute, albeit with silly fluffy facial hair. He sings Ain't No Sunshine, and it's a fair stab at it - rather breathy, no power to speak of, but it's tuneful, at least. Simon says that Richard reminds him of when he first met Will Young - that wasn't an obvious comparison to make at all, was it? Louis interrupts with, "But he's more sincere, Simon. He's better looking and he's more sincere." (No on both counts. Shut up, Louis.-Steve) Dannii criticises his singing technique and suggests he gets some lessons. Sharon says that his voice is rather breathy (for fuck's sake, now I'm thinking the same thoughts as Sharon Osbourne?) and likens it to a dirty phone call. Richard asks: "But is it a good dirty phone call?" She replies: "All dirty phone calls are good." Ew. Simon asks for the judges' votes, and S Club's Never Had A Dream Come True starts up in the background. Hmm, wonder what way this will go, then. Sharon says no, Dannii says yes, Louis says yes, and Simon says it's an easy decision - yes. Richard runs out to hug his mum. Aw. Dermot labours the point conveyed by the music - "Richard's dream of becoming a singer is starting to come true." (Best eye-candy so far. Voice? Meh.-Joel)
Montage of other people talking about their dreams coming true, none of whom we have seen singing. Richard thinks his life will change now.
Still to come - a crying woman with much anger directed at Simon.
Dermot welcomes us back, and he's now in a denimy-blue shirt with epaulettes. No idea where he is now, and he doesn't tell us. Instead, we're looking at footage of truly awful groups. Simon wants to find the next Spice Girls, and Dermot (now in white shirt and yellow tie) thinks he might have done already, in the shape of Fallen Angels. Incidentally, Dermot's whispering voice as he stands outside the audition room is really quite sexy. He holds the door open for this four-piece girl group, who are all hair extensions and quirky neon pink accessories, and they bounce in and begin their audition en route to the stage - part pseudo-rap, and then breaking into harmonies, shouting about how they are a New Girl Group and Great and so on. (Best entrance since Addictiv Ladies.-Steve) The panel look bemused, but in a good way. Simon applauds, then Louis asks them to sing properly. They turn in a version of McFly's Obviously, which is OK, but I don't think a great deal of the originality of the harmonies, which seem to be a third apart all the time, nor with the intermittent whooping. Still, nit-picking - I'm sure the MD on the live shows will come up with a host of truly terrific arrangements with many exciting key changes, because they're bound to go through. Dannii thinks their harmonies are great. ("Yurrr hurrrmonies are graysh. Would you like a thruuugh furr yurr caaarch?"-Steve) What? Everyone says yes, and there is screaming and jumping on Dermot, who sustains a knee in the groin and collapses. (Any volunteers to kiss it better form an orderly queue behind me.-Steve)
Oh, we're still in Birmingham. More good auditions, one with a boy who sings with his eyes closed. Dannii says yes, Louis says yes, and Simon tells him, "You're through with three yeses", with his intonation suggesting that's the full sweep. So is Sharon not there, then? Come on, people, get with the continuity. A little girl called China sings Songbird, and she's got a really nice voice. Not a great deal of stage presence, due to the fact that she's a gangly awkward child, but she's through none the less.
Dermot voiceovers that as the day in Birmingham draws to a close, Sharon has to leave early for work commitments in Los Angeles. So that'll be where she was when eyes-closed boy was singing, then. Except Dermot is maintaining that Simon, Louis and Dannii are alone only for the final audition. *stabs self in ears with frustration* The last audition of the day is with It's About Time, a "modern-day Abba", made up of two sisters and their husbands. They're looking forward to winning the X-Factor and changing their lives by buying their mum a house next door to Marti Pellow, and they reckon they formed the group purely for this show. They sing We Built This City On Rock'n'Roll in bizarre belty voices, albeit in harmony. Simon stops them, and advises them to stick to carol singing. The older sister tells him they just need the right direction, setting Cowell up admirably for the riposte: "It's over there - the door. It was all wrong, the image, the lack of charisma, it was boring." The older sister gets all tearful and stroppy, saying: "We've actually sung on the NEC stage, and they loved us." Quite rightly, Simon replies: "So what? They're not sitting here." The whole group begin shouting about "all the rubbish that have gone through", and that they're good enough to win the whole show, with one of the husbands saying entirely seriously, "We are [good enough to win the whole show]. I'll buy you a drink if we don't." Simon rolls his eyes, Louis chuckles like the moronic leprechaun he is. The older sister continues her teary tirade: "I can't walk out that door and tell everyone we didn't get through." Um, why exactly? This is worse than little Vivian earlier. And these are grown-ups. Dannii has her head in her hands, hoping the whole horrible scene will disappear. Simon tells them his answer is no. The older sister sobs some more, whining "Please" like some recalcitrant toddler demanding sweets in Tesco. Louis says yes, because he's an easily-manipulated idiot. It's down to Dannii, and, because she has ears and a brain between those ears and must surely realise that these people would be nightmares to work with, she says no. (Also, that's the first time I've heard a judge say "the standard is so high this year" and actually agreed. W4 and Fallen Angels would wipe the floor with this lot, to name two off the top of my head.-Steve) The older sister snivels: "Simon, I used to think you were such a wonderful man. I've watched you, and I've admired you, and I've wanted you to tell me the truth." Impressively patiently, he mellows his tone to respond: "I did tell you the truth, sweetheart, it's a no." She staggers forward to weep over the judges and the judging desk. Simon walks out; Dannii is admirably nice to them. I'm bored of these people now.
Coming soon - dramatic lighting, Simon evicting Louis and Sharon from the judging panel (presumably and unfortunately not for ever), strange falsettos, a man telling Louis, "You're talking stupid." Looking forward to that? I know I am.