Saturday, August 23, 2008

The X Factor: mending broken families since 2008

Season 5
Auditions episode 2
23 August 2008

I have a confession. I didn’t hate last week’s episode of X Factor. There were some genuinely talented people, there were no relatives WHO ARE DEAD, and the laugh-at-bad contestants were just stupid or there to take the piss and not actually borderline mentally ill. I’d like to think that ITV have readdressed the way the put this programme forward, but it’s more likely they just haven’t hit their stride yet.

The new ad bumpers are quite funny.

LAST WEEK!! CHERYL COLE! This week: a woman with a big mouth. A shaky boy. A woman who loves Louis. Poor deluded cow. It’s time! To face! The music! Music is in the broadest possible sense of the word!

Trucks and helicopters. Entire stadia of people are auditioning. I really really pity the producers who have to sift through them, sometimes. Introducing judges. Simon says it was ‘literally jumping in at the deep end’. No, Simon, it wasn’t. You know I love you, but your departure from proper English, and your unwillingness to understand what an adverb is for, do test me sometimes. Dannii says they need to find one amazing act. Well, not even one, really. Leon. Brookstein. Ward. It’s kind of a last man standing thing, really.

We ‘are’ ‘now’ ‘in’ ‘Birmingham’. Dermot’s CGI in front of them again [I feel I need to point out that throughout this episode I was begging Dermot to cut his hair. It was too long and curly and not pretty enough - Rad] . The queue is 2 miles long. 2 MILES. Deluded morons say deluded things. Dannii is away filming in Australia. We meet Sapphire and Jade, trainee beauticians, who call themselvese So Precious. They’re super confident. They will suck. I know this show so well that I can tell before they even sing. Cheryl really does do good appalled face. They destroy ‘Emotion’. They get the words wrong. And the tune. Simon said ‘you sounded like someone stepping on two cats. For, like, a minute’. They said the nerves got to them. It’s their passion and they’ve been practising for years &c &c. Why are people so deluded? It’s so sad. I mean, I know I can’t sing worth a damn. Doesn’t stop me singing when I’m at home, but to think you can make a career of it just because you like it? It’s horrible. It’s noes for So Precious.

They persist with the lie that the massive queues are being seen by the judges. Cut from the huge thousands of people to the judges’ room. We know that this is not the case. Dannii said in Radio Times that the producers see the thousands of people, then the judges see about 40 a day a few weeks later. Obviously everything about the audition shows is a carefully edited mishmash of lies, but man, it’s so blatant.

A utility worker called Cheryl sings ‘Sailing’. Is shit. Kernow (Cornish for Cornwall), two old guys, sing Bye Bye Love. Are shit. ‘Baby give it up’ plays. Cheryl says she wanted the groups until now. A girl called Alex sings. Is shit. Simon is all oh noes. A guy called John Bates claims it is the biggest stage in the world. He sings in a strange falsetto. Dermot says it’s a disaster, no after no. Then don’t put shit people through to the judges. Man I would love if these auditions were nothing but quite good people and really good people and you’d have some actual investment in whether people were good enough, rather than the good and the laughed out of the room. [I had to explain the whole 'everyone sees the producers and only the good/bad/sad see the judges' thing to my mum last night and she was like 'well, why don't they only put the good people through then?' My mum is too sensible for this show. She watches Strictly. - Rad]

Phil, a supply teacher, wants to be multi platinum album selling. Or, you know, an actual sentence. Oh sorry, Phill. (Loving the captions. Thanks ITV!) He sings Gold. His voice isn’t that bad. But then he holds the note for ages for no reason at all. It sounds horrible. It starts to drill into your head. There’s a brilliant edit to Dermot outside, to the waiting room, to outside the building, with the note holding. Does it again with Your Song. The judges are all laughing at him. Cheryl doesn’t like him. Louis says yes. Because he’s a moron. And says ‘at least you finished on a high note’ when Cheryl and Simon say no. God, I laughed at a Louis Walsh joke. Kill me.

Still Birmingham. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Cyndi Lauper would wipe the fucking floor with these jokers. Like Cheryl’s girlband, there are some girlbands. One girlband is called Girlband. I think that’s genius. Or it might be fail. But I think I think it’s genius. They seem quite nice. One is called Phoebe. I wonder if she’ll do all the singing, like Hope’s Phoebe. Oh, they haven’t decided on a name yet. Sigh. Girlband is just a placeholder. [Boo! This is how disappointed I felt when Hear'Say called themselves Hear'Say instead of Popstars. - Steve] They like Girls Aloud. Singing Sam Brown’s Stop. I brace myself for Steve. Oh! They’re good. Like actually good. With a really interesting arrangement, actually taking advantage of the fact they have several voices to use. Cheryl says it’s the best chemistry and best harmonies they’ve seen. Simon says it’s overdressed, a bit too much. They should have turned up in jeans. Cheryl’s like, no, shut up, cos if they hadn’t made an effort, he’d have complained. Simon’s like ‘nuh-uh’ but it’s totally true. Cheryl says they’re the best girl group so far. Simon says it’s not a compliment. Cheryl, with an awesome fixed grin, says ‘take it as one’. Cheryl really is proving to be an awesome judge. Louis says no, for some reason. [Because he's a twat? - Carrie] [That was so weird - I was expecting a qualifying statement and none came - Rad] [Oh, Rad. You really must learn to stop expecting sense from Louis this show. - Steve] Cheryl and Simon say yes. Girlband are through.

Shirley is here to meet Louis Walsh. She shudders and shakes when she thinks of him. She thinks there will be chemistry when they meet. Oh, Shirley. Louis’s love is not for you. She has a rose for Louis. She says she loves Louis. Simon says ‘Why?!’ in a really truly baffled way. She’s going to sing Hero. Simon and Cheryl move away so she can sing directly to Louis. Shirley is single, she says. She’s then billed as a housewife. So, what? She lied to get to Louis? Or ITV just assume that any woman is a ‘housewife’ unless proven otherwise. How mildly offensive. [Maybe she got married, had kids, got divorced, but is still a 'homemaker', which I believe is the correct 21st century term. - Carrie] She cannot sing. At all. Cheryl says yes because she’s a stirring cow. Simon says absolutely no. Louis says yes. Ahaha. For once I don’t object to the stupid sending the shit person to bootcamp. Give the crazy old bint a bit more time with Louis. It’ll make her happy. [And scare the hell out of him. - Carrie]

A girl called Marika sings Amazing Grace and doesn’t oversing too much. Simon calls her ‘Eureka’ and tells her she’s through to bootcamp. Jade from South Shields is 15. Cheryl loves her. She sings Where Do Broken Hearts Go. Simon calls her a funny little thing. Three yeses. She’s quite good and is indeed a funny little thing. Blue eyeshadow if I remember rightly.

14 year old schoolboy Liam thinks about singing and doesn’t do work at school because he just thinks about singing. He’s a good looking boy. And here we have our swing-singing teenager! He’s got a very good voice though and doesn’t seem so insufferably smug as Ray Quinn or as completely devoid of stage presence as Leon. [He was cute and a nice singer but they have to get the swing out of him and give him some pop/rock/ballads/hip-hop/anything else, because I completely DO NOT WANT another swing boy- Rad]

23 year old call centre worker Alan is from Barnsley. He’s nervous and shaking and stuff. Dermot wishes him luck. He’s SO nervous. He wants to prove to his real family he’s not a waste of space and make his foster mum proud. I hear a sob story! He says, ‘A lot of people, if they’re honest, just want to make their parents proud’. He hopes they’ll get in touch and say they want to see him. God this is so sad. But not for the reason X Factor want it to be. The fact that he thinks this is the way to get his family is awful. X Factor want me to think ‘oh woes, but he will be reunited by the power of the X Factor!’, but what I actually think is that it’s so sad that this poor guy thinks the only way he could get back to his biological family is via the X Factor. Not to mention the fact that if you’re put into foster care when you’re a kid, there is probably a good reason. He says he doesn’t want pity. Simon says he never takes that sort of thing into account. Ahem, Simon. A-hem. Alan has a decent voice. A bit Westlifey. A bit American-sounding. But decent enough. Cheryl tells him he’s gorgeous. He can’t take a compliment at all and gets all bashful. Simon says there were tuning issues but he has a good voice and his foster parents did a great job. Three yeses and Alan is through. He cries. Simon says ‘This is about you now. Practice practice practice and start believing in yourself.’ Oh this poor guy. I can’t believe an X Factor sob story is drawing me in. He clearly has no belief in himself, at all, and feels totally wounded by being put into care. And he thinks the X Factor will fix that. It’s horrible. Let’s wait for a few weeks and wait for the red-tops to dig up his biological parents, who will be crack addicts, or paedophiles, or immigrants or something equally horrific. [Call me heartless, but that entire sequence had me banging my head on the arm of the sofa in horror. DO NOT WANT Foster Boy and his sob story, and I DO NOT WANT bloody Leon Redux from earlier either. THIS FUCKING SHOW. - Steve]

We ‘are’ ‘in’ ‘London’ ‘now’! Dermot appears to be actually there, cos it’s a storm, and his umbrella is blowing out and stuff. People have waited in the rain all night long. Sad pathetic bastards. Someone in my building is cooking food that smells really good. Sorry, but that’s a more relevant thought to me than this filler.

Dannii is back from Oz. 23 year old holiday camp singer Holly wants people to hear her sing. She says that her voice is big and powerful and she doesn’t look like she’d have that voice. She’s a little...intense shall we say? Dannii asks who she aspires to be. She says ‘I aspire to be ME.’ She does jobs she doesn’t like just so she can sing for a living. She’s really weird. Her voice is...yes, large. But it’s kinda doughy. It’s very odd. She sounds like she’s putting it on. I can’t explain it at all. It’s very deep and completely mannered, but you can tell how if you were inside her head hearing it, you might think it was good. Her mouth is big and mobile. Simon says she’s horrible. She asks why she’d get employed if she couldn’t sing. She says she wants a chance. She needs this. Dannii says it was verging on funny. Simon tells her to take up sales because she’s a great speaker. Louis says ‘yes, telesales,’ because he’s a moron. Simon says motivational speaking, saving it slightly. Holly is super distraught and doesn’t believe that everyone who heard her, and her agent, can be wrong. ‘I’m NOT wrong!’ Cripes. Poor girl has been broken in two by the X Factor. I mean, she will never have a recording career and maybe it’s good for her to learn that but at that moment she was just broken.

Montage o’ noes. Old man. Young girl. Two fat boys called JJ compare themselves to Nickelback and Take That, then sing TLC’s Waterfalls. Well, speak it. Cheryl says there’s just nothing there. Which is true. Times Two are a husband and wife duo. Times 2. Sorry. Loving the captions. They’re not good. She is Eastern European. Nothing else to say.

Owen [Eoghan! - Carrie] [My mum was all 'how can immigrants learn English when we have stupid spellings like that?' There was a fatal flaw in her logic - Rad] is 15. He is IRISH and from IRELAND. He can’t see himself doing anything except singing. It’s his life. He appears to know that you can’t get more than 100%, which is nice. He sings Home by X Factor favourite Michael Buble. He sounds like a girl. Simon tells him he rushes and gets him to do his second song, which is Tears In Heaven. He slows down a bit and sounds better. Dannii and Cheryl Lap. It. Up. Louis likes him. Simon says he’s terrific. ‘Whatever ‘it’ is, you’ve got it.’ Girls and mums will love him. Yeses all round. His whole fucking school are waiting to find out and mob him with delight when he tells them he's through. What a joke. [Since when do Year 10 students get to sit in a gym all day waiting for their classmate to come back from That England and an audition? Fucking stupid show. - Carrie]

Imani is 17. She has 48 people with her. She has a pretty little voice. Very clear. She goes through. Michael Dumoulin plays for Harlow Town football club. He sings Moondance. Swing swing swing. Bleurgh. He goes through. RTI are a girl band who want to be a British Destiny’s Child. They sing in very closer harmony. 4 yeses.

Dermot waffles on bollocksly about ‘stuff that you JUST saw but now in washed out tones’ because this wouldn’t be this show without filler.

Alexandra is BACK! You remember Alexandra? She appeared years ago, and was great, and talked about Jesus a bit too much and then Louis was a retard and sent her home [Because she was a GIRL. So we got Philip instead. Treat. - Rad] [Well, technically we got Chin Eye instead, because there was only ever one spot for a girl, because Louis - well, I'll leave that to your imagination. - Steve]. We see her being devastated and stuff. She’s 19 now. Louis recognises her, which is nice, I suppose. Alexandra says she’s grown up and stuff. She sings Saving All My Love For You. She really is very good and her closing notes are especially nice. Cheryl pulls a face at Louis in a ‘you said no to this?!’ sort of way. Louis says she’s world class and is a diva now. Alex cries and stuff. Cheryl’s close to tears and has goosebumps and says ‘you were born to sing’. Simon tells Alex Louis is stupid. Yup! So fire him. They try to build some tension with the yeses as if it were in any way in doubt. Simon says he can’t believe they nearly lost a talent like Alexandra and ‘thank God she’s come back’. She’s through.

Next week, they do seem to feature some mentally ill people, capering for your amusement. Good-o!


Anonymous said...

N/OutofFashion said...

I laughed at the Louis 'end on a high' joke too.

We are bad people.

gummygobbler said...

Is Cheryl Tweedy the best gay icon ever? I refuse to call her 'Cole' It doesnt matter how much he pays her a week to pretend