Final auditions: 6th October, 2007
First of all, I've got flu, so it's likely my judgement is marginally impaired this week, due to the nausea and vomiting and runny nose and constant sneezing. However, I'm sure my critical faculty still functions better than Louis Walsh's does, so we'll crash on.
Last week! The judges found out who they'd be mentoring! Louis acted like an over-tired toddler (I typed 'tosser' then. Either would work)!
This week! It's an X-Factor weekend! The contestants are about to start a journey (drink!) that will change their lives forever! People will cry! People will scream! Dermot will hug boys!
Dermot is standing by the HOLLYWOOD sign. This week we will find out who our X-Factor final twelve will be. I know I can't contain my excitement. The contestants are about to fly out to see their mentors. Happy incest twins look uncharacteristically serious. The girls are off to see Sharon in LA; the boys are off to see Dannii in Ibiza; the old people are going to Dublin, which is in Ireland, with Louis, who is from Ireland; the groups are going to Spain with Simon.
We're starting with the boys. Dannii is excited because she thinks they are amazing, and is confident that one of them could win. Weepy child Luke looks ludicrously young and ought to be at home doing his GCSE coursework.
The groups are screechy and irritating. The chess club boys look amazed at the glamour of Simon's lifestyle. Cowell has his "I'm a bit tired of this" look on already. Happy incest twins are wide-eyed and bouncy.
Louis didn't want the over-25 category. O RLY? Why did he not mention this previously?
Sharon is also excited, and the little girls are skipping around her swimming pool. Sharon is adamant that she must win this year. Because she hasn't done before. Because she's shit.
Fucking hell, we're going to a break already. That's been less than FIVE MINUTES, and we're going to a break.
We're back (and if anyone's keeping track, that ad break lasted longer than part one of the show). The music in the background is Robert Miles's Children, I believe, so I'm guessing we're in Ibiza. Oh yes, we are, look at how pretty the beach is. Dermot's in Dannii's house, resplendent in cream chinos and navy polo shirt. C'mon, Dermot, it's hot, do you not want to make the most of the sunshine? Why so wrapped up? Dannii is wearing some weird kaftan thing that makes her look vaguely pregnant. Luke wipes his eyes as she welcomes the boys to her home. Is he crying AGAIN, or is it hayfever? Dannii's lovely assistant as she chooses her finalists is music writer Terry Ronald, who's worked with her for years. [He's also one of the people responsible for that hideous bastardisation of Rent we saw last week, which means he is officially ON MY LIST. - Steve]
Each contestant has been given a song, "handpicked by their judge" (I'm not quite sure how that works, though I do love the idea of a "pick-your-own-pop-song" farm), to best showcase their vocals. Asbestos Andy is the first to sing. He explains to us that his job is VERY DANGEROUS, and he would love to sing for a living. Yawn. Anyway, he sings Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, accompanied by a girl on a clavinova who's been shunted on to the end of Dannii's patio. Andy starts crying because he doesn't want to go home. [He's got fitter, I think. - Joel]
Next one is Dominic, the nice little boy who sang Mack The Knife. He loves his family, who are very supportive. He thinks he was born to sing. He performs I'll Be There, and does that annoying diva-ish hand-wiggling. He thinks he has done enough to progress.
18-year-old Leon lives on A Council Estate. He has a mum, Who Is Single. He wants to "reward her for all her hard work all these years". He starts crying, but I'm not sure why. [Did you not HEAR about his single mother? - Joel] He sings I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, accompanied by a man on a guitar who's been shunted on to the end of Dannii's patio. [He was fucking dreadful, as well. He looked like he was going to have a heart attack. - Steve] Dannii clutches her head, explaining that he is nervous and so on, but she still loves his voice.
Charlie, the one with the funny spiky hair, forgot his words in the audition, which as we know is no barrier to progress in this competition. He wants to Live The Dream and Be Somebody. He sings Patience. To my mind, he's the weakest auditionee so far - just going through the motions. [I actually really like Charlie. More so than any other of the Young Boys anyway. - Joel] Dermot hugs him.
Scary Phantom music kicks in, which means it's time for "Rid". Yayz! Dermot says it is a "stepping stone"; cue footage of "Rid" walking barefoot across some rocks, and posing with hands on hips. He wants to use his God-given talent, and also be knighted. Dannii said no to him in the first round, so he is planning to be brave and step up to the plate. (Incidentally, we find out that his name is spelt "Rhydian".) He sings Somebody To Love; Dannii looks vaguely pained. "Rid" tells Dermot that it was awful. Terry asks Dannii whether or not "Rid" comes across "as slightly pompous". Dannii replies: "If there's one person that we know is going to be able to deliver, that's your guy."
Baby Luke is last up. He says he's a really emotional person. Shocker. He starts crying again. He sings Mandy. I'm sort of worried that if he gets through, his voice will break in the middle of the live shows. Dermot hugs him. [Goddammit. Where the hell is my manly embrace from Dermot O'Leary? - Joel]
Dannii and Terry do their deliberating with the aid of Polaroids and an inexplicable bowl of fruit. The boys all say how much they want it. Andy cries. Luke cries. Probably the other ones do as well, but they don't show us that. Apparently Dannii wants more time to choose between two of her contestants, so she decides she'll leave it to the morning, and heads out clubbing. Probably.
Ad break. That second part of the show lasted 11 minutes. Still to come, Louis being a wanker.
Dermot welcomes us back. We're with the idiot Walsh and the over-25s. Most of them want to prove him wrong by being good: Niki doesn't want to let him down. Why? What's he done to inspire loyalty? Louis has Kian from Westlife to help him do judging.
Niki used to be fat, but she isn't now. Her world collapsed when her dad died. Her dad died? Why did she not mention this earlier? She sings One Moment In Time. She says she doesn't normally think about her dad when she is singing, but will today, because she wants the extra strength. Louis snipes about her "cabaret" performance. Kian looks at him blankly and says, "But she has an amazing voice." [And, probably, off-camera, 'And a Dad, Who Is DEAD.' - Joel]
Fuck, now it's Icaro, whom I hate more than anyone else in this show. Any other contestant, that is, obviously. I'm glad that cocky wanker teenage boy didn't get through. What was his name? The one with his group of homosexual friends waiting to hug him afterwards? Anyway. Icaro is pissed off because Louis told him last week that he wouldn't win this. He performs Radiohead's Creep in a musical theatre style. Srsly. Kian looks appalled, as am I. "He's in his own little world," muses Kian. "He's obviously got a screw loose." [Icaro was bitching to various media outlets after the show aired that Louis deliberately picked that song to make him look stupid. I don't particularly think Icaro needs any help with that, but if it's true: nice one, Louis. We may yet be friends. - Steve]
Zyta wants to make her voice heard. The X-Factor means the world to her, and there is no way for her to go home without winning. She sings Amazing Grace, and again her pronunciation is a bit off. Cue plinky piano music from Love Actually. Louis tells Kian that Zyta's future is in their hands. [She was a lot better than I remembered but still will get ripped apart for her accent, should she get to the live shows. - Joel]
Primary-school teacher Beverley has had A Hard Life, because she was Adopted at the age of Ten Days, when her Teenage Mother Gave Her Up. Fucking, fucking hell. Is there no dignity at all in this programme? Beverley looks far into the distance, complete with pensive expression. She's never felt that anyone truly believed in her until her first X-Factor audition, when Simon was nice to her. [That's pathetic. Also, your mother gave you up because she felt she couldn't provide you with the chances you deserved, according to Dermot's voiceover. How is that not believing in you, eh? - Steve] She cries. She sings When You Tell Me That You Love Me. Kian has pretty eyes. When Beverley finishes her song, Louis asks - entirely unprompted, of course - what it would mean to her to get through to the next stage of the show. She gets all flustered, and gets all choked up again.
Daniel M, the one with the hats, likes being a carpenter, but he would prefer to do music. He sings Father and Son, fucks it up and has to start again. [And...it's still rubbish. - Steve] Kian keeps shaking his head. Louis says that Daniel is different. Oh, OK.
Daniel D, the one who is a "proud single dad", had his life saved by his three-year-old boy. Both his parents Are Dead. The plinky piano music starts up again, possibly in sadness for Daniel's son, whose name is Theron, and which is tattooed across Daniel's neck. He sings Cannonball by Damian Rice, and that's the end of the grown-ups' auditions.
Niki talks about her dad Who Is Dead, and cries. Icaro gets stroppy and says that if he gets knocked out, he'll come back next year. Louis thinks he has a winner. That's a change of tune.
We're off to Spain with the slutty group, the earnest urban group, the chess club, the happy incest twins, the ones with a shit name, and another mob. Simon is joined by Sinitta, who's resplendent in scarlet chiffon, a bikini made of two fans (seriously) [That made my fucking weekend. I just kept saying 'Sinitta is wearing fans! Sinitta is WEARING fans!' I thought she couldn't beat the enormous hat and gold bikini, but she got the parasol. I thought she couldn't beat the parasol and she wore fans. I cannot wait til next year. - Joel] and matching fan for her hand.
Happy incest twins, aka Same Difference, are first on. They want to be big superstars. The girl cries. They walk on hand-in-hand. They sing Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now. Simon watches with mouth slightly ajar. Sinitta beams at them. "The first time they walked in the audition room, I couldn't bear them," confesses Simon. "But I'm starting to really like these two." Sinitta looks confused, and asks: "But what are they doing here?"
The token earnest urban group are next. They're officially called Ghostt. They are all young dads and want a better future for themselves and their families. I'm sure Joel will have some useful careers advice for them. [I...just...I can't. - Joel] They live in an area where there are gangs and guns and violence and drugs. Gosh. They start singing Have You Ever, fuck up, and start again. Simon and Sinitta agree that they need confidence.
Future Proof (who are actually Futureproof, which is shit) are the random boys who didn't get through the solo boot camp. They claim to have bonded well. They sing Nobody Knows It But Me, with a weird descant solo. "When they overcomplicate it, they bore me," says Simon, as Futureproof wander off in their vests as if to audition for Rent: Remixed.
Oh, it's W4, who hail from all corners of the UK. They are wearing long gowns, and sing Wishing On A Star, with some odd interpretations, but it's all fairly tuneful. The girl playing the clavinova is the same girl who was on Dannii's patio a little while ago. Simon asks the girls if he can be honest with them, and proceeds to tell them they are like Stepford Wives. Ouch. [I like W4, but I actually saw Simon's point here. They had a pause at one point, and it was so unspontaneous that it was cringeworthy to watch. It was so We've Been Told We Should Pause For A Beat Here, and they were all clenching their jaws. Although I did think they were good other than that. - Steve]
The chess club boys, who are called Isette Cantate, are the next group on. They say they have never felt like they fitted in anywhere, and throughout school felt like they were on the outskirts of all the popular people. You don't say. Anyway, didn't every teenager feel like that? They sing California Girls, and I think I like them, but I'm not sure.
The slutty girls are the last ones to audition, and I loathe them. Charlie is doing this for her five-year-old son. She cries. They sing Umbrella (ella, ella, ella). They're so going to get through, because Simon loves ruthless-sexy-ambitious Raquel, and they're fairly decent. [They were SO miuch better than I remembered. Though I had quite a lot of Pimm's by that point. - Joel] Sinitta cries, because their song moved her. [That was hilarious. Maybe 'Umbrella' means a lot to Sinitta because of her long history with parasols? - Steve] Simon is worried the girls will bicker and break up. Everyone cries. For fuck's sake, fuck off.
Everyone would be upset if they didn't get through to the live shows. Hold the phone. Ad break.
It's off to Hollywood for the girls to audition in front of Sharon and Pussycat Slut Nicole and all the Osbournes' neighbours. Komedy Kimberley is first to sing, and what the hell will Hollywood make of her? She sings I'll Stand By You, with a nauseating over-vibrato that may stem from nerves, but she hits the notes. Nicole admires her voice; Sharon is worried that she will irritate people.
15-year-old Victoria sings Time After Time, and sounds a bit like a mouse. An in-tune mouse, but a mouse none the less. Nicole and Sharon think she is too laidback. [Victoria is totally Manda Rin from Bis, circa 1997. I knew I recognised her from somewhere. - Steve]
Kim's dream is to sing. Well, that's unusual. She sings Eternal Flame and does the diva hand-wobbling and eye-closing. Sharon says, "For somebody so young, her presentation is very old."
Alisha is 23 and the Oldest In The Category. She sings Chains, which really doesn't suit her voice at all. Nicole loves her. Sharon thinks she is Old. Alisha cries. [Alisha is the fierce one that I love. At least I know her name now. - Steve]
Stephanie is 14 and therefore the youngest in the competition. She cries. She sings When You're Gone. [And is fucking shit. HAAAAAATE. - Joel]
ZombiEmily has a newfound determination to fulfil her dream. She believes that everyone is put on earth for a purpose, and it wasn't her time to die. She sings Beautiful about a fifth lower than the original. Nicole admires her soul and emotion. ZombiEmily cries. She doesn't want to sing at school any more, nor does she want to be a normal girl. [Well, she's not, she's The Living Dead. They could so make a comic about that. 'Life is hard enough being a teenage girl, with exams, boyfriends and an annoying little brother. But ZombiEmily has to worry about sticking her face on with plastic cement and her arms falling off in gym class!'. - Joel]
Sharon and Nicole do their deliberation. They say that one of them has no Oomph Factor. Surely they must be referring to Victoria? Kimberley claims that Sharon is holding her life. ZombiEmily draws a weird analogy with a jewellery box. Victoria cries. Alisha cries. Steph cries.
So the judges have made their decisions, but we won't find out until tomorrow, because they're milking the fuck out of this series. Joel will walk you through the results show. I'm off to lie down.