Sunday, September 28, 2008


Boot Camp: round 2
September 28, 2008.

Welcome back to the X Factor! Yesterday, lots of people sang for us. The ones we'd seen before all went through! Some randoms went home! Today, we see who goes through to the next stage! The judges find out their categories! Cheryl is very excited about hers! Are you ready to face the music? I can’t contain myself.

We are welcomed back to a bunker in the O2 Arena for the next round of Boot Camp. Apparently they have had a list of 25 songs to choose from today. What’s the betting we see a maximum of ten of those performed?

First up is Austin, who babbles a lot about not taking his dream away and acts all entitled and petulant. Look, I know a lot of you like him, but it’s all so desperate. And just a reminder of how hungry he is for fame:

Anyway, he sings Something About the Way You Look Tonight and Simon agrees with me that he is way too desperate. Cheryl is working bad hair – it’s in a ponytail, but crimped and it looks like she went out the night before and didn’t have time to wash it. Dannii looks fierce and the men just look the same as ever.

Onwards. And for once (and the only time ever) on this show, it all goes at a ridiculously fast pace.

Bat For, I mean, Bad Lashes do a serviceable version of Back to Black and Dead Wife Danny sings Without You, which is all a bit maudlin considering his circumstances. An unknown schoolgirl called Rachel does Back to Black, but I sense we shouldn’t get too attached. Someone called James Williams, who is apparently a former pro golfer and is Welsh sings When You Believe. He could so play Rhys’ brother in Torchwood.

JML Direct, sorry, JLS, are next. One of them has unnervingly wonky hair. They sit on stools (sadly we don’t see them stand up for a key change, but let’s assume it happens) and sing Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word. It’s perfectly fine, but I don’t know what separates them from every other boy soul band this show’s ever featured, apart from not having a 4 in their name. Still, Simon says they are 'so on it', so I could be wrong.

Laura is up next and I do wish she would brush her hair. She KNEELS to do Back to Black and skats over the intro, wobbles all over the place in the song itself, constantly goes out of time and is rather screechy. She has some talent, but only about 10% of the talent she thinks she has and she’s getting on my nerves. Shut up now, kthnxbai. The judges were disappointed in her performance. Cheryl says she was doing an Amy Winehouse impression, only it was Amy when she was drunk. Heh.

Still to come, someone losing their rag, and one of 4instinct walking off.

Cyril is up next (according to last night’s edition, there was another old bloke who got through to this stage, but I guess he wasn’t as telly as Cyril. I also call we won’t see that bloke tonight either). He’s never going to get past Boot Camp but good on him for trying. He sings Amazing Grace. It’s not amazing.

Eoghan is up next and he sings ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ and it’s so utterly, utterly mediocre. Simon and Louis love him, though. Simon says he seems younger than 16 and maybe he’d be better next year.

Rachel’s back, and we see footage of yesterday where she completely lost the plot and Simon called it. She sings Amazing Grace, which is a good choice, as it avoids the obviousness of something like Amy Winehouse, although it is a bit of a standard for 'reformed characters'. She does have a very nice tone in places, but she’s also incredibly rough in places. She could be great, but needs a lot of work. Simon says she is incredibe and she could have done more, like a key change, because he is clearly playing the drinking game and isn’t merry enough yet. [I laughed a lot at this. "What's Amazing Grace missing? I know, a key change!" I still haven't recovered from Paul Potts's Ave Maria plus key change. - Carrie] [It was just so telling about Simon's attitude to music that I laughed until I cried. Tears of anger. - Steve]

Hannah looks washed out and wears an odd outfit, but doesn’t have the bad hair she had in her first audition. She oversings You’ve Got a Friend, and has pretty much cemented her place as the second one out in live shows week. [But she's not a black vocal harmony group! - Steve] I do like her, but she won’t win.

Desire squeak Push the Button and it’s pretty nasty. [Seriously. All of you singing at slightly different levels of squeakiness does not a harmony make. - Steve] Anastazia does an ok job of Something About The Way You Look Tonight.

Mali sings If You Don’t Know Me By Now and it’s good for a 15 year old, and he seems sweet, but unremarkable. By rights, this is not the boys’ year, but then year 2 was the over 25s’ year and Shayne won that, and last year was anyone but Leon’s year and look what happened there.

So here’s something new. Apparently four boys auditioned and made into a band like FutureProof last year, even though we have seen nothing of this at all up to this point. Guess they realised we’d only seen girl groups and r’n’b bands and thought they should show us a boy band eventually. We then see them ‘yesterday’ and it actually looks like they made two bands of solo people and then joined two from each up to form this boyband who are on now but we never saw any of this before, and it’s really confusing, to be honest. Anyway, they are Priority, and warble Amazing Grace. It could be good, but they are overharmonising and losing the tune.

4 Instinct are next and they enter, all in white, like tiny angels. They sing Walk on By. Or at least attempt to. The backing singers are out of tune, and the girl doing lead misses some words out. She bails. The piano keeps playing for no reason, even though it’s all fallen apart. The judges are shocked. They have another go and they all lose it and it’s a complete shambles. It’s sad, because they are only 15-18 and, yes, they’re terrible, but they are cute and it’s hard not to feel very sorry for them. Simon has apparently never seen a meltdown like that in his life, Cheryl is devastated, but Simon likes them. Now there’s no way they should go through after that, but a) we’ve seen a lot of their journey so far and not a lot of many other groups, and b) being an R’n’B/soul band with ‘4’ in the name is the next best thing after having a sob story to guarantee getting to the live shows.

Ashley Cole mark 2 sings like he’s possessed and gets it all wrong. Cheryl puts her head in her hands, for she knows there will now be no Sharon Osbourne style lusting over him in the live shows.

Stance – who? A 3 piece girl group, drop their words and walk out, and we’ll never see them again. Joelle goes mega out of tune on How Do I Live, and we have Alexandra and Anastazia to fulfil the black girl quota, so pretty as she is, she’s surely going home.

Everyone is feeling the pressure, but nobody feels pressure more than Jeffrey Paterson an anonymous 45 year old man who’s clearly been thrown in so we can see someone we ‘know’ get kicked out at the end of today’s episode. He blahs some clichés about having a family to feed, this is the last time, chasing the dream, blah. He sings If You Don’t Know Me By Now, and, oh, the irony.

The liar boy is up next and apparently he was the least confident person auditioning (although he was clearly confident that his made-up sob story would get him far). Remember how he was all doing this to show his family he wasn’t worthless? Well, one tabloid exposure later, and he’s now not doing this for anyone else. He then goes on to say that Simon’s been like a father figure, as he’s never had a father figure giving him advice, which clearly shows this was filmed before the world discovered his lies. He sings something that apparently is Desperado, the Journey South tribute song, and it’s all so whatever, and he wouldn’t have got this far without his tapestry of lies to support him.

Diana’s up next, and she also needs hairbrush, and some dark lipstick wouldn’t go amiss, either. She sings Hallelujah. She could be OK, but she’s so affected and belongs to the Laura school of overhype and she also looks like Peaches Geldof on a pyjama day. This performance is all a bit Amy Winehouse, but apparently Amy impressions are in and the judges love her. I quite liked her first audition, and if she behaved herself with some proper coaching, her voice would sound great, but I’m beginning to hate her now.

Liam is next and I don’t remember him, then they show us his audition and I remember that he was a fucking swing boy and DO NOT WANT. He does Your Song, thankfully not swing style, and he’s ok, serviceable enough for a 17 year old. Not remarkable, but not terrible. I’d quite like them to give him some indie to sing, but apart from perhaps Snow Patrol, that’s never going to happen.

Girlband do an OK version of I’ll Stand By You. Suzie, who was apparently in The 411, but as with Austin, her musical past shall not be mentioned, does a nice When You Believe and is quite possibly this year’s Maria. Pontins boy, sorry, ex-Pontins boy, does Hallelujah and sounds better than usual, but I still don’t care much about him. Louise, 48, does a mediocre Walk on By. She cliché pieces to camera about how she is going to do it. No other choice, I will succeed. Yawn.

Alexandra does Hero and is great and clearly going to make the top five, but is a bit warbly and really needs to contain that. Still would rather her over Laura though. Spanish Ruth has brushed and straightened her hair. Thank fuck someone was listening to me about the importance of a brush. She sings Sorry Seems… in Spanish. Then she sings in English. I blame Simon. That’s the kind of trick that would do down well on American Idol, because, you know, a lot of people over there speak Spanish. In this country, where we’re too lazy to speak anyone else’s language? Notsomuch. She’s OK, and Simon loves her. She seems nice enough but I can’t see her getting many votes.

Dead mum girl Amy is next and I wish they’d stop bringing up her sob story because she’s lovely and I don’t want to hate her. Sings Christina Aguilera’s ‘Hurt’ and Simon says there are far better singers, for which, read, ‘dead wife trumps dead parent in the sob story stakes’.

Laura says if she doesn’t get through today it will be it for her. What, she’s going to top herself? I don’t like her very much, but that’s a bit extreme, isn’t it?

Still to come, Cheryl likes her category.

It’s decision time. Joelle and a whole bunch of anons are off. Diana, Austin, Eoghan, Alexandra and Suzie are all on stage and are so clearly through. Rule the World plays, earning Gary Barlow another million or so. Adante, that bloke from earlier, and several more anons are out. The tension on this show is so… non-existent. Cyril and Rikki are up, and they are onstage with a load of anons, so bye, gents.

JLS and one of the girl bands, possibly Girlband, I can’t tell, there are so many of them, are through. More anons are off and so is Liam … but wait a minute! What is this? Simon’s having second thoughts. The last time this happened, he gave bloody Ray a reprieve, so I’m not sure I trust Simon’s second thoughts. Anyway, Liam is back, and don’t tell me this wasn’t set up, because they only have six places for judges’ house round, so either they told someone they got through and then changed their mind and told them they weren’t through at all, or they planned this all along. Stupid show.

Spanish Ruth and Dead Wife Danny are in as are the made-up boy band and Bad Lashes.

They then say ‘this all went on your performance’ and we see 4 Instinct, Laura and Rhys’ brother, whose performances were all shit, but they all go through anyway. 48-year old Louise, another girl group and a boy are unanimously through, and when the judges said their decision was unanimous, I had horror flashbacks to that time Sharon Osbourne told some people they were unanimously going home. The next people were not unanimous choices, although I don’t believe them: Rachel, Alan the liar, Amy and Anastazia are all through, as if there was any doubt.

So, your roll call of those who are through… the boys: Lee, Austin, Lewis, Alan the Liar, Mali and Eoghan. Not much to care about there. The girls: Anastazia, Laura, Diana, Hannah, Alexandra and Amy. Strongest category, surely? The ‘overs’: Danny, Ruth, Louise, Suzie, Rachel and James, which has three good people, two weak people and one strong sob story. I think we all know which four in this category are going to make the live shows, don’t we? The groups: JML, Desire, Girlband, Bad Lashes, 4 Instinct and Priority. So much for ‘the groups are amazing this year’ – clearly not.

The judges talk about which groups they want. Simon pervs that he wants the young girls (who all say on The Xtra Factor that they want Simon) and says he doesn’t want the boys because they’re all too young, which doesn’t make sense, as Austin and Alan the liar aren’t that young, and also, you put them through, so cram it. Louis wants the groups or boys cos he’s scared of girls and old people. Cheryl wants the girls and thinks it’s all over for her if she doesn’t get them. Danniii doesn’t get a say.

One of the evil producers phones them from behind a blind. Simon is on a landline and clearly didn’t get the memo that the show is sponsored by the Carphone Warehouse has the boys. He pulls a bitch face and says he’s thrilled for THEM. Ouch. Dannii gets the over 25s. She’s allegedly excited. She has a Blackberry. Louis’ mobile is a huge Nokia, because he hasn’t realised the sponsor changed a couple of years ago (and this moment is the first time all series I properly miss Sharon, just because I used to like the fact that her phone wasn’t a Nokia). Fake waiting. He has the groups, and is alleggedly happy. Whatever. You’re going to lose, Walsh. Again. [I feel a bit sad for Louis in his big empty flat with a Westlife poster on the wall. - Carrie] Mwahahahaha. Cheryl therefore has the girls, because this show loves her this year. She lets out big screams. Louis gets his bitchface back on and says Dannii’s not going to win. And neither is he.

Next week! Another double bill! We go to exotic locations! Barbados! Cannes! St Tropez! IRELAND!!111!!! ZOMG!!! The boys take their tops off! Emma Bunton and Dannii form a team of awesome! Sinitta and her parasol! Kimberley Walsh! Er, Kian from Westlife! Oh, and the final 12 are revealed, and your Bitch Factor team draw straws to avoid getting the first, eight hour long (approximately) live show! Join us then!

This bootcamp's made

Bootcamp: episode 1
27 September 2008

Previously on the X Factor, we had the worst auditions ever. Seriously. With very few exceptions they were totally unmemorable, made all the worse by Disingenuous Dermot towing the party line (or toeing? I’ve never known - I can make either make sense in my head) and telling us they were amazing, their stories were heart-rending, the borderline mentally ill people being exposed for our ‘amusement’ were funny, and that all 182,000 auditioning people were seen face to face by Simon and co.

The continuity lady says that ‘fame costs and this is where they start paying’. Nice one, continuity lady. The shouty X Factor man tells us this is the first instalment of a double bill. (He doesn’t mention that it’s a bloody hour and a half long, though.) I love how they try and make things sound good that are actually awful. Lots of people singing and crying and frigging Carmina Burana playing.. Stop trying to make ‘it’s time to face the music’ happen. (Whatever. I'm getting cheese fries. - Steve) In the coming-ups, Rachel cries that singing is the only thing she’s good at, which is so obviously meant to make us think she’s going and she is therefore so obviously staying. Dermot says the best of the auditions got through to boot camp. Hmm, ‘best’ is such a difficult word.

182,000 down to 150 acts! Those poor producers. Although I still think they’re arseholes for putting through the talentless and mentally ill to see the judges and therefore giving them a glimmer of hope because no-one’s going to think they’re going through to be one of the ‘comedy’ auditions, are they? There are four people standing in the way of them and their dream. As though the judges actually are actively there to stop them. The numberplates of their cars are X1, X2, X3, and X4. I saw a plumber’s van with numberplate DRAIN last night. That was better. With much excitement, we are told that bootcamp takes place at the 02 Arena! Although given the size of the room they find themselves in, I really think it’s actually the Indig0 mini-arena. They get to sing one song, the judges decide straight after. No pressure! Cheryl says she’s done it before. Dannii says one of them is going to win. Acts come on in fives. They all perform in front of their judges and their rivals. The judges deliberate while they stand there. Harsh. Katy Perry instrumental. For some reason. [It's all a bit swishy, with the stage and everything. I think I prefer the theatres, hotels and recording studios of yore - Rad]

We see Joelle, Shelley (who?) and Irish schoolboy Eoghan. We see Joelle audition with Whitney and then sing Fly Me To The Moon and makes it her own. Kinda jazzy. Simon says thank you and she says ‘please, let me finish if this is my only chance’ and then belts it bet like a bitch and probably goes too far. She’s a bit scary for 17 though. Louis says great. Cheryl says fantastic. Dannii liked when she started again and Simon likes that she carried on so they got to see her at her best. Shelley, 29, sings Mercy not very well and man she looks about 40. We cut away from Shelley to see Eoghan talking to the camera so we know Shelley’s not going through anyway. Poor cow. Eoghan, 16, sings Chasing Cars and is horrible and sings it like a Disney Song. Nasal little runt. Joelle is just one year older and kicks his ass. But they’re going to use his age again and again and again as a reason for him being supposedly good. Here we go, Cheryl says he’s adorable. We don’t even see Shelley’s comment. Simon likes it. Lisa WHO WAS FAT is next. She’s still got fucked up eye make-up on, like she confused the pot of glitter for stye medication. She sings Apologise and really isn’t very good, bless her. Dannii tells her off for not coming in fighting. Simon says she’s out of her depth but they liked her when they first saw her. Nathan is a forklift driver and sings Ain’t No Mountain High Enough in a weird fake Will Young voice and moves his mouth about too much.

Joelle, Eoghan and Shelley get yeses. Nathan no. Oh, poor Shelley. She’s going through and still gets no airtime. This damn show. Lisa no. She gets a bit of bitchface on but it turns into sadface. Lisa’s dream is SHATTERED. Stop saying that Dermot. Especially with such pleasure in your voice.

Lots of people crying. Austin is here. Again, he gets a chat to camera with Dermot. They don’t even try to pretend do they? He’s someone you’ve seen loads of, and now you’re seeing more of him. Think he’s going through? Austin says you never know if Simon is going to be catty or not and loses all my respect. Simon likes you when you’re good and doesn’t like you when you’re bad. [Unless you're Ray - Rad] He claims he sings cos he loves it and not for fame. Then sing in pubs you twat. You want fame and money and don’t try and pretend otherwise [His desperation is slightly scary. He'll always be 'that one from Boys Will Be Girls to me anyway. I must find the YouTube clip of that later - Rad] . We only see Austin from his whole group of five. He sings Valerie and my god I hate this song so much. It’s so overdone. It’s Bridge Over Troubled Water for 2007 onwards. Although it becomes very apparent as time goes by that the contestants have a very limited list to choose from. But I still hate Valerie. He gets the crowd going. It’s lovely recapping this show – each bit goes on so long I can write as I watch, basically. Yay. He’s got pretty eyes, has Austin. Simon said it was magic. When they deliberate Simon doesn’t let go of the pictures or notes he’s holding, so Louis has to stand up. They try and put strings of tension on but given that Austin is in the group there is NO tension at all because it couldn’t be more obvious he was going through. He then gets Dermot to touch him, lucky bitch.

Some child we’ve never seen called Carla sings The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and is really, really lovely [Really? I thought she was really annoying - Rad]. Cheryl tells her to loosen up. 80-year-old Cyril gets a Dermot interview as well. He’s a retired saw doctor. He wanders about the stage and is kind of entertaining. The words are wrong but that might just be the show doing it and making them sing mini-songs. He gets CHEERS. It’s all because he’s old and not because he’s good. Simon asks if he’s there to win or for the chicks? Cyril says he can win. Dermot says Christina is 14. And the next second, the caption says 15. Never mind Dermot. Daniel, whose wife IS DEAD, is next. He kinda looks like Ricky Gervais. We hear about his wife again. Some more. He also sings The First Time… and is not as good as Carla. I mean, it’s pleasant enough, but it’s just meh. Cheryl has dead wife tears in her eyes. Simon brings out the hotel bars comment, and rightly so. Cheryl likes him, but she means she likes his dead wife. Bianca is 19 and sings Mercy. She’s fine. Not in any way exciting. Daniel says it would make a difference and be a turnaround after a bad couple of years and bitch please, you did NOT just claim that getting through to the second round of boot camp would make up for your wife dying in childbirth. I now officially hate you.

Carla, Bianca, and Christina are separated from the guys. (The intro to Aerosmith’s Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing plays, for some reason.) Daniel and Cyril are through. Cyril, WHO IS EIGHTY, is happy. It’s a no to all the girls. Which is bullshit. Carla was the best of that group by about a million yards. She says they’re clearly looking for something and if you don’t have it, you don’t. Yes dear, you have no dead relatives and not enough decades.

R’n’B boyband JLS were loved by judges. They’re wearing coordinated cardigans. Not. Good. They sing Ain’t No Mountain. They’re good. Cheryl’s a bit moist. Louis says they’re early Motown and for once this is actually a sensible comment and not just a ‘oh, you’re black, I’m going to spin the wheel of blackness in my head and mention the first artist that appears’ comment, although mainly for the song and not for the singers. Simon says he didn’t hear one standout great vocal and he’s right. They’re good but they weren’t mindblowing. JLS are through. Again, we’re supposed to be surprised or tense. This damn show. Hannah Bradbeer (who?) goes through. 14-year-old Liam goes through. He’s good. And a little cutie. Unlike Eoghan who munts and is rubbish, but there’s only room for one schoolboy in this show, and Eoghan is clearly the chosen one. Three-girls-and-a-boy band 4 Instinct do Ain’t No Mountain and they look awesome in their matching outfits but sound like ass. They go through. Suzie Furlonger (who?) (she was in The 411! Yeah, I know - "who?" - Steve] does The First Time and has a lovely warm voice. Goes through. Laura White, 20, had a sore throat in Manchester. Also does The First Time. She’s got a bit of a jazzy catch to her voice. She actually is distinctive, which is nice. Shame about the hair. And the outfit. And the old-face. Sweet girl. She actually sounds a bit more Eartha Kitt than she does Winehouse but watch them bring out the Winehouse comparisons. Audience goes crazy. Cheryl says ‘I was getting goosebumps at times’, bless her. Like they kept coming and going. Simon says Laura says she doesn’t know how good she is [I call lies. She knows she's good - in fact, she thinks she's better than she is - Carrie]. Dermot goes ‘so the decision is….’ And again she’s through and shut up Dermot you damn moron of course she’s through. He even SAYS to her ‘that was never in doubt’ when he sees her outside the audition room. No Winehouse comments though, astonishingly.

In the coming-ups, we see Alexandra and Rachel crying, but I still reckon it’s a red herring. It had better be. We get a bit of a blah about people dressing nicely. Pontin’s Bluecoat Scott has been told to drag himself into 2008 and we see his audition where he’s got a black waistcoat, a white shirt, and black trousers. He’s shaved his head and looks a lot better. But his whole new wardrobe seems to involve buying some jeans, basically. (I thought his new look was ludicrous and reeked of desperation. - Steve) He quit Pontins to come to the auditions. Dermot’s like seriously, you quit, ZOMfuckingG? He sings….something I don’t know? He’s got a nice enough voice. He’s a bit mushy though. Enunciate, boy. Cheryl says he looks good. Dannii says nice voice but the songs needs more personality. Simon says he doesn’t take risks, which is fair. Scott is told to step forward. Unfortunately …you’re going to have to do this all over again. He hollers and yells like an uncouth brat. Simon says ‘listen to what I said!’ Adante are the two Welsh ladies in their 30s. They’re kinda fun. At their auditions, they were told their outfits looked cheap. One says, ‘Cheap? 50 pound shoes! Cheap?!’ I love them a bit. Adante have toned down a bit. They sing Mercy well enough and strut about the stage. Louis says he enjoyed it. ‘You’re a hero; a hero, I call you!’ Okay, they’re awesome. Dannii really liked them. Simon says they’re normal girls and people will like them but they’re not that good. Trevor, Geoffrey, Sasha (single mum – sorry love, we’ve got Rachel for that) and Duane audition. Whole lotta who? right there. Athlete’s Wires plays. Which is about his premature baby. And not entirely appropriate. Sasha and Duane are going home. Told you, love. Rachel is the designated single mum of this competition. She’s got ex-junkie, ex-con bonus points. The other three are through. Trevor’s kind of hot (and, hilariously, is wearing the EXACT outfit that Scott was told off for wearing when he auditioned – open black waistcoat, white shirt, black trousers. This show is so dumb.)

Girlband sing Apologise. They’re really good. They’re through. I love Girlband, but it’s still mainly for the name. Annastasia the waitress is through. Alan Turner, the lying liar who lies about growing up in foster care and family proudness is through. (And his family are not mentioned at all, because this show was caught out and thinks if they keep quiet we’ll forget. Sorry, show.)

Diana Vickers has old face, is 17, and seems to be singing something about a camel toe. Oh, god, it’s Chasing Cars. She definitely said camel toe. She’s mauling it. (She should've sung this. - Steve) She’s through, but we only see this from her excited reaction and not the judges saying it. Dermot seems surprised that people from bootcamp are getting yeses. It’s like, yes, Dermot, that’s kind of the point. Various people say they are scared from watching other people go through.

We see Alexandra back in 2005 not going through. She’s more nervous. She says the girls are really strong and she’s nervous. It’s the best category, (she’s right, I think). She thinks she stands no chance. The show has grown. She really wants to do well but doesn’t feel like she will. She sings The First Time. She’s great. She still hasn’t got out of the habit of warbling about the notes, but she’s got the voice for it to go strolling through the grace notes if she wants to. I just wish she wouldn’t. She sounds about 40. In a good way. Her top register isn’t quite as good as her low one, but is by no means bad. Louis tells ‘Alexander’ (seriously, he calls her Alexander) that it was faultless. Cheryl says ‘my body was covered in head to toes in goosebumps’. Not so much with the sentences, our Cheryl. Simon says incredibly mature and that we still haven’t heard the best of her. Please don’t even try and make this tense you morons. They didn’t! She’s through.

Bat for Lashes, sorry, Bad Lashes, are doing Chasing Cars. They’re okay but it all sounds, and in fact looks, a bit Nolans. And Bad Lashes makes it sound really dirty. Louis and Simon both say it was improvement. Not the best singers in the contest but have potential. Hahaha!! Shirley’s here! She’s the one who loves Louis. She’s singing Britney’s ‘Not yet a woman’. Because she thinks Britney’s had some bad press lately. That’s so awesome. She sings ‘warm in between’ instead of ‘when I’m in between’. Marlon, a househusband; Ruth, the Spanish girl, (Simon: we should have heard more of your Spanish side), Nicole (17, sings Valerie). Ruth and Nicole are through. Simon tells Shirley she has likeability but it’s bad news. Damn, Marlon was hot. He could be my househusband. Bad Lashes are through. I actually want to hear them do Prscilla by Bat For Lashes now. [I'd love Bat For Lashes being studio guests one week instead of Westlife - Rad]

Oh, tiny wee Ricky from Glasgow whose sob story was ‘I’m shit and keep failing at auditions!’ has now evolved his sob story into ‘my parents, who are UNSUPPORTIVE’. That’s actually much better. You’ll go far. Hah! His parents think he should ‘end it’, which I presume means stop singing, not kill yourself. (Although "my parents, who THINK I SHOULD BE DEAD" would be an amazing sob story. - Steve) Ricky says he’s going to sing The First Time and it won’t be the last time they hear it. Heh. Oh, sorry, Rikki. Rikki Loney. I think I actually quite like him. Cute wee gay. He’s very sweet, very keen and a lovely little lad. Rikki claims nerves and Simon says he doesn’t get why you’d be nervous at this stage, you should get over it. Cheryl says it is nervewracking actually, thank you, Simon, and I should know. We rattle through the others in his group without even hearing them singing while Rikki talks over the top. All five are through, but we still don’t get to hear them singing. Bodes well for ones who aren’t Rikki, don’t it? Rikki says, basically, that this is one step closer to proving to his parents that he’s a worthwhile human being deserving of their love. Some people shouldn’t be allowed children.

A girlband called Desire do Umbrella, but are not anywhere near as good as Hope doing it last year. They’re through. Louise, 48, who looks like Sheila Ferguson from The Three Degrees, is through. James, a former pro golfer is through. Some people who don’t even get names are through. A girlband. Amy, 19, is through.

We finally get to see Rachel. We hear about her being an ex-junkie ex-con with kids in care. Dermot says it must be nice to look back and say ‘I’m not that person’ she agrees. She thinks it’s a lifeline from the judges. She really has a great voice, I think, though on occasion she does verge on just honking rather than singing. [She will be awesome with some coaching, assuming she actually lets anyone coach her - Rad] [I just don't like her voice, it leaves me entirely cold. But then I don't really like Amy Winehouse's voice, just her songs. - Carrie] She asks the pianist to slow down. Oh dear. Don’t do that. It just doesn’t sound like Chasing Cars, but in a good way. She sounds like Billie Holiday, a bit, in that she does some little high note trills. Cheryl says Rachel was one of the contestants she talked to her family about and who she has been really keen to see her again. Rachel cries straight away. Bring back the confidence, says Cheryl. Dannii says she would have gained a lot of fans in that performance. Simon says one of the best singers he’s heard in this country for ten years, but this performance was not going to work on the show, because this show is brutal and you have to nail the song and the arrangement. He’s right. [I had no problem with her arrangement, but then as far as I'm concerned any changes made to 'Chasing Cars' are an automatic improvement. - Steve.) Rachel tries to stand up for herself and says it’s easy for the judges to sit there and bitch, please, do not even go to that well cos it is DRY. Simon interrupts her and basically says ‘listen, missy, don’t make me hate you, because you’re amazing, but this show is watched by idiots who like bland shit so being too interesting or unusual will get you killed, as will being an entitled bitch with an attitude problem because in a world where Leona Lewis can get called an arrogant cow for having the audacity to be pretty and talented while actually being very sweet, if a little dull, you had better believe that your hamfisted attempts at self-aggrandisement, even though they are so obviously bluster to cover up a sucking void of absence of self-confidence and a real hatred of yourself and the life you’ve lead, will get you the Who Does She Think She Is label faster than you can blink and send you crashing out of this show like a comet, so listen when I tell you’. She finally gets the picture and shuts up.

Rachel is asked to step forward alone. The back row are through to the next round. Rachel looks all ‘zomg?’ and the ‘don’t act like an entitled bitch’ speech obviously didn’t have much of an impact after all. They try to give tension but Simon says ‘Rachel, so are you!’. When You Believe plays and, awesomely, it’s the Mariah and Whitney version. Even the show has forgotten Leon exists. Rachel to-cameras about how she wants to stop being a dick and Simon to-cameras about how she should stop being a dick.


All the first-round yeses are gathered together on stage. Dermot whispers that he doesn’t know what’s going on which is such bullshit I cannot even express. First, it’s obvious that some more are going home right now and second, Dermot, you are not The Voice Of The Audience. Good news, one of you is going to win. Bad news, in the next hour, one third of you … (Big Pause) … are going to leave the competition. I love how they tried to make tension from that, as if Simon was going to say, in the next hour, one third of you are going to….DIE. Amy is shocked. Dead Wife Daniel is shocked. Fake Family Alan is shocked. 90 went through and only 50 places are available. 50 isn’t divisible by 4…

The judges stand around looking at Polaroids of the contestants. Louis says, ‘but she can’t sing’ about someone. Cheryl says, ‘I don’t like him!’. Louis says, ‘this is a great category’. Simon says, ‘this girl is the one to beat’. Simon says, ‘let’s just agree on one we hate’. Dannii says, ‘HE is a fantastic singer. This one CAN’T SING!’. Someone in dungarees says he thinks highly of himself but sounds like he says ‘Kylie’. We see a producer call Scott and Rikki’s names.

It’s split into three rooms, like in American Idol. Some nasty breeze blocked shit hole without any chairs in. It’s awesome. Go and stand in this completely unfurnished room in the bowels of a concert venue and await your fate.

Room 1 contains Eoghan and Rachel and JLS and Laura and Rikki and Joelle and are OBVIOUSLY going through. Simon says they’ve tried to find someone different. Oh, and if we were in any doubt that this room was going through, we also see Scott. And Alexandra. And Annastasia. I mean, come on guys. This show can’t build tension. Room 1 is through.

Room 2 have people called Kirsty and Ryan and Pure Elements and are clearly going home because we haven’t seen any of them anywhere in the entire show. And this is so dumb because how am I supposed to care about these people. Oh, the comforting Dermot hug. That would make everything okay. I’d so grab his arse, though.

Room 3 are clearly through as well. Spanish Ruth. Lying Alan Who Lies. Bad Lashes. Cyril. Louis says it has been the highest standard ever and frankly any year of X Factor that doesn’t contain Leona Lewis is going to struggle pretty hard to lay claim to that title. There’s some awesome hot girl with a Rihanna haircut who we’ve never seen but she’s hot as. Adante are in there. It’s good news in again no surprise to anyone.

Next time – MORE DECISIONS! They actually say that. So dumb. We also find out who gets which category.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What a wonderful world

Auditions: Episode 6
20th September 2008

The end of the auditions is in sight. According to the Sky EPG, 182,000 people fancied themselves as X-Factor contestants this year. It feels like we've seen every single one of those hopefuls. And only four of them could sing in tune. The voiceover man thinks it's been "an incredible ride". Snigger. "But it's not over yet!" BUT IT NEARLY IS. Let's keep clinging to that.

Off we go then. Titles!

Green-screen Dermot explains the concept of the audition process, and claims that today's auditions take the judges on a whistlestop tour of the country. O RLY, O LRY?

Yvonne is 18 and studying to become a lawyer. Or alternatively she's taking a law degree. She would give up law for singing, of course. She sings something vaguely resembling Over The Rainbow as performed by a cat with a broken leg as she staggers about and wails. The judges laugh. "I'm trying to be original!" she says. "It's my dream, it's my passion! I want it, I really really want it!" Oh, Yvonne. Didn't your mother ever tell you "I want never gets"?

Montage of terrible acts. The Wannabes want to be as big as The Beatles, and they diss Cheryl with asking "Where have you ever got?" She kills them stone-dead, and the next auditionee has to step over their mangled carcasses. While she's wiping the blood from her hands, student Rebecca likens herself to Amy Winehouse, and dances like a deranged Reynolds Girl. It's four noes, and Cheryl excels herself with "Don't give up the dancing." When Simon enquires, "For what reason?", she replies, "For a hobby." Girl duo TL attempt to sing About You Now and liken themselves to Girls Aloud. Simon agrees. Cheryl kills him too.

23-year-old Duane is friends with Leona. Well, they've done shows together. This is your backstory? Seriously? He sings Lately, complete with Leona-esque hand-wiggling and over-emoting. Cheryl loves it, obviously, ditto Louis, ditto Dannii. Simon takes the ball of vaguely racist 1970s references from the leprechaun and likens Duane to Stevie Wonder (duh) and Marvin Gaye.

Court usher Betty gets background music of The Liberty Bell either because ALL people over 50 warrant brass bands as they're so very old (ignoring the fact that at 66, Betty is the same age as Paul McCartney and would've been a teenager during the rock'n'roll boom. In fact, she's only ten years older than Louis) [Louis is only 56? Serious old-face issues - Rad] or because old people are comic and therefore deserve the Monty Python theme tune. Knowing this show but also knowing what's coming next I wouldn't rule out either possibility. She has brought a packed lunch. Dermot eats some sandwiches. She goes in and she sings the Having A Gang Bang song. Everyone looks appalled. Louis, Dannii and Cheryl think she's funny and put her through. Simon is the sole voice of reason. [Maybe the producers engineered this, on the grounds that they could slash the boot camp catering budget by 50% if Betty was there. - Steve]

One yes triggers a billion others, au naturellement. Michael's weedy version of Ain't No Sunshine puts him through. 17-year-old Lauren has a bigger voice than her teeny little frame suggests, and she hurls herself at Simon when he tells her she's through to boot camp. 19-year-old Katie does "opera" and looks anorexic, but she gets "a 100 per cent yes". Duranee comes in clutching a flower [with another one in her hair - it's Jasmine Trias! - Steve] and says her ambition is to make Simon smile. She sings adorably and does a curtsey at the end. Simon calls her "enchanting" and she's through. [I loved her. Her singing was OK, but she was great - Rad] Someone who appears to be a teacher has brought her entire class with her and they all invade the hall and hug Simon. Don't get too excited, kids; if she progresses any further she'll abandon you like the fame-hungry television whore she is.

Louise wants to make her children proud. She is 48. "No!" exclaim Cheryl and Dannii. Simon is bored of this female bonding and tells her to sing. He thinks she performs in an old-fashioned way, but they all put her through anyway. "I'm 48!" she tells Dermot, like he doesn't already know.

Plinky-plonky synth strings of doom. Amy is 18, from Watford, and she wants her dreams to come true for her dad. He used to be in a band, and now he's going to live vicariously through his teenage daughter. Cheryl asks her who's with her today, and is endearingly impressed that it's her dad. "Your dad brought you? That's good of him," she says. "My dad would've told us to get the bus." Amy explains that he's done a lot for her and she wants to do this for him. Pressed for more detail by Simon, who doesn't know ANY of Amy's back-story, remember, she tells us that her mum IS DEAD. [Finally! About frickin' time. - Steve] There we go, kids! She sings Faith Hill's There You'll Be, and has a very grown-up voice for someone who looks like she's wandered out of Guide camp. Cheryl cries. Amy cries. They hug. Even Louis, who isn't even human, looks a bit emotional, and Dannii, who can't move her face, looks genuinely moved. Four yeses, like it could have been anything else. [I'm torn here. I'm sort of relieved we got to the dead parent in the end, but also sort of gutted we didn't have a year without one. And whilst I want to remain healthily cynical about sob story people, I really liked this girl, dammit - Rad]

59-year-old school caretaker Terry loves his job, and smiles all the time. He does a REALLY inappropriate impression of Louis Armstrong. The judges laugh. He can only sing as Louis Armstrong, and Simon says, "It's not going to work in Abba week. I can't hear Louis Armstrong doing Dancing Queen." Terry bursts into the chorus, and fair do's, it's very funny. Four noes.

Montage of shitness. We're not going to see these people again, and they're not even interestingly bad, so I'm not going to recap it.

23-year-old Lisa has been working "harder than most" to get to The X-Factor. She has lost 18-and-a-half stone and now she is ready to chase her dream. Again, Louis hasn't been prompted to ask at all, and spontaneously enquires what she has done to prepare for the audition. She shares her weight-loss story, complete with photos, and the judges all congratulate her. She sings Songbird with some TERRIBLE breathing. They all criticise her singing, but Dannii and Louis say yes. She begs Simon to change his mind from his initial no, and he does, because she has a good sob story.

Jay is 15 and comes from Pontypridd, the HOME OF TOM JONES. He is not nervous. His family are. He looks much younger than 15. Cheryl agrees with me. I fear BirthCertGate if he progresses. He sings Valerie in a bizarre mannered way, but it's melodic. Louis and Dannii say yes. Cheryl fears for his youngness and says no. Simon likens him to a song-and-dance man, "it's a sing, a smile, and a wink" - you never kicked out RAY FUCKING QUINN, though, did you, so you won't turn Jay down? [And as irritating as this kid has the potential to be, he's still a million billion trillion percent more likeable than Ray - Rad] [True, but syphilis is a million billion trillion percent more likeable than Ray. Hell, Heidi Montag is a million billion trillion percent more likeable than Ray. - Steve] Of course he's through.

More good people - girl band Desire are from Newcastle (cue much hilarity); Ruth belts out Natural Woman, and Louis likens her to a tiger; 4 Instinct [A '4' name at last! Hurrah! - Rad] sing a close-harmony Isn't She Lovely. Dermot tells us it's been an incredible journey so far (drink!) and now the hopes and dreams of a whole nation lie with one man in London - 43-year-old Alan, a pizza-delivery man. All he has ever dreamed about is being a singer, and he thinks he can win. He puts on his Michael Jackson costume - dark glasses and a white glove - and sings and dances Black Or White. The judges laugh, and this is possibly the nadir of the auditions, because this poor man is NOT WELL. Their comments are kind, but that's a bit late seeing as they've sat there and chortled for the past five minutes.

So that's it. Louis says he's glad it's over. So are we. Oh, except it isn't. Boot camp next, then the live shows.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

If at first you don't succeed, fail and fail again

Auditions, Round Five: 13th September 2008

Previously on The X Factor: Lots of deluded people! Judges pulling funny faces! Two good people! Cheryl getting moist! More deluded people! Tonight, more of the same… ‘It’s time to face the music' (and seriously, are they really trying to sell that as a strapline? Because: no. It's even worse than Tycoons of Tomorrow)

Tonight: we’re in Cardiff, in Wales. Or Beautiful Cardiff, as the tourist board advert that is Torchwood would have us believe. I wish I was watching that show. Except actually I don’t, because they killed Tosh. The bastards.

Thousands of people are here, allegedly (it looks like a queue of about two hundred to me, but whatever), including, hilariously, a man in an England shellsuit. Tom Jones plays, because we are in Wales, home of the Welsh (to be fair, I wouldn’t mind so much if they also played some Manics or Catatonia, but that would all be a bit contemporary for this show, what with it being music that’s only about 12 years old).

The judges find ways of saying ‘Wales are shit at this show’ that sound vaguely complimentary: Simon ‘I’m always cautiously optimistic when I come to Wales’, Dannii: ‘we haven’t had a winner from Wales’, Cheryl ‘I’m excited, we need to find some really good people now’ (which could have been Cheryl taking about ANY city) and Louis: 'I really believe there’s another Leonashayne out there. There must be a young Shirley Bassey in Cardiff’ (Louis makes an old popstar reference AND a nationalistic one? Double drink!). Simon says that they don’t want a new Shirley Bassey, they didn’t even want the original. Rhydian silently weeps.

Anyway, we begin with an old friend... CERI! Erm, OK. At first I don’t actually recognise the lady they show us – she’s fifty something, a little plump but not severely overweight, with straight dyed blonde hair, and wearing purplypink chiffon. Who is she? Why thank heavens for the recapping gods of the X Factor, who are about to tell us in a slightly sepia-toned way. She is Ceri (not Kerry, thanks name captions!) who auditioned in 2005, when she had curly black hair, was rather skinny and didn’t have any teeth. Apparently she also auditioned in 2006 but I don’t remember that. It was probably on The Xtra Factor and not the main show. More on that particular grumble coming up (well, if endless teasers are good enough for the show, they should be good enough for this blog).

Ceri wants it to be her third time lucky. Well, let’s see how that pans out, shall we? enters and it takes Simon a moment to register who she is – either because she’s changed so much, or because the producers told him to fake surprise. Dannii and Cheryl look bemused as Simon chats to Ceri.

She sings ‘How Do I Live’ and it’s really, really bad, all tiny and squeaky. Simon says she looks better, but her voice is worse, she sounds like a two year old when she sings and it’s impossible for her to win a show like this. Louis and Dannii give sympathetic noes, Cheryl says she doesn’t understand a word [this from a woman who's been in a band with Nuhdeen for the past five years, so you know it's got to be serious - Steve], Simon tries to be nice to her by saying he wants her to get batter, he wants her to be happy, he likes her, but it’s a no. Despite Simon actually being quite gracious here, the producers play lightning sound effects in between each of his comments. Ceri has a moan about Simon for no real reason, considering he was quite gentle, and shuffles out dejectedly. She doesn’t even milk her hug with Dermot time, for goodness sake!

Whilst I’m not a big fan of Ceri, and think her attitude sucks, I fail to see the point in the producers letting her through again. They could have shown her makeover in Reveal magazine or something instead, where her self-esteem could have been boosted. She’s clearly made an effort with her appearance, but can’t sing and is, I think, on the vulnerable side of deluded and thus too fragile for humiliation on this show. Still, we don’t have time to dwell on the wellbeing of Ceri, when we have more humiliation to be getting on with, do we?

A ‘bar attendant and dancer’, Rachel Roberts, bellows out a strange version of Jet’s ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’. Simon says she sounds like she’s being strangled and Louis says she sounds like the girl from the Exorcist. Funnily, it’s a ‘no’. She winks at Simon and he pretends he isn’t totally into it, the man-ho. Unemployed Susan Keech, 51, screeches ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ (all to the backing of Charlotte Church’s ‘Crazy Chick’ so maybe I will get some Manics/Catatonia action later). Hilariously, a Lisa turns up, who’s supposed to be in a duet with a partner called Stephanie Frayn, who hasn’t shown up. Simon gets the wrong end of the stick and thinks she says it’s a ‘celebrity friend’ she’s waiting for. She gives a ropey performance of ‘I Will Always Love You’ and it’s a million billion trillion percent no.

Whilst Cardiff is packed with millions of hopefuls, somewhere in Wales feels like a ghost town. I am assuming they are not referring to the place they used for a non- sob story in episode one, but I wouldn’t put it past this show to be that tasteless… Cut to a bus emptying ‘the whole village’ onto the streets to support pub duo Adante at the auditions. They are real women ‘size 12s’ (my over-size-12 self sobs), who are covered in fake tan so could be anything from 25-45. Oh, 36 and ‘14’ apparently. They sing ‘Hey Big Spender’ and it’s all rather cheesy but generally in tune. Simon tells them they are a bit cheap (BURN!) and no-one will take them seriously – and I can’t see what they’d do with them past boot camp, but it never stopped 2ToGo, did it? Louis likes them and says yes. Cheryl says they have the fun factor and says yes. They beg incoherently at Dannii who says she doesn’t think she’s allowed to say no. [Check your contract, Dannii luv, I'm fairly sure you are. - Steve] They won’t get past Boot Camp. Simon does a not at all staged 3-2-1 and the ‘village’ explodes in cheers.

Adverts, which seem to have taken a long time to get here, for the first time all series. Oh joy, Fearne Cotton is presenting something terrible next. I’ll be watching Casualty, thanks.

We’re back in London, blah blah blah, deluded people talking about how great they are, blah blah blah.

MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This’ plays as we meet 22-year old personal trainer Ryan, who wants to own his own record label someday and is shown posing in the mirror. He also wears a baseball cap that makes him look as if he’s come straight out of 1991. Dermot asks who he’s going to impress in there and he says ‘the ladies’. Ryan Cummings is, er, coming, apparently.

He enters, singing ‘I’m going to be a superstar, I don’t think you heard me, I’m gonna be a superstar’. Simon says ‘we heard you’ and looks a bit narked. Cheryl is all beaming, the hussy, and Louis looks a bit befuddled, although it doesn’t take much. He says he wants to be as good as Usher, and Louis is all like, Really? Usher’s good? Which, fair point, LouLou, cos he really isn’t my cup of tea, but Cheryl says that Usher’s good, he’s the one, and she's more 'hip' than either of us will ever be, so I'll take her word for it.

Ryan sings ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and it’s all breathy and showy and a bit too high for him, but I’ve heard worse.

Dannii and Cheryl are all frothing at the gash about him, Simon ‘doesn’t get him’ because he’s a substandard wannabe, Louis is on the fence. It pains me to say it, but I’m with Louis on this one (come to think of it, is it just me or has Louis been much less objectionable than usual this series? I trust that will all change when it comes to the live shows which is usually when he’s at his most ridiculous) – the guy’s very cocky, a bit affected in his delivery, nowhere near as good as he thinks he is, but probably has enough about him to at least get him to boot camp. I think Simon was a little harsh, but Dannii and Cheryl really do need to get their hormones in check. Anyway, it’s a hundred per cent yes from Dannii, a million percent yes from Cheryl, a no from Simon, and a… yes from Louis. I’d be happy to see him fall on his arse at boot camp, it only seems right and proper. Ryan goes on about being the one and only Ryan C in the booth. I have a friend called Ryan whose surname begins with C who is older than this punk, so I would dispute his claim. [Please say it's Ryan Carnes. - Steve]

Cue Frankie’s ‘Two Tribes’ and a random montage of Cheryl and Simon disagreeing: First up, a blonde, cute 14 year old called Melanie, singing ‘Beautiful’. Cheryl says she’s too young, Simon disagrees and says we have to give her a shot – because we all know how well letting 14 year olds onto the show has gone so far. Cheryl’s all like ‘I don’t have to let her on just because you say so’ but fails to back up her fierceness by letting her through anyway.

A slightly ropey girl band called Pure Elements sing ‘Love Machine’. Louis says their singing wasn’t perfect, but that doesn’t always matter in girl bands and shoots Cheryl a look. Cheryl and Louis bitch a bit about Louis buggering off five minutes after ‘managing’ Girls Aloud, but anyway, they’re through.

‘29’ year old Shelley sings ‘Take a Little Piece of My Heart’ and is so-so. Simon says no and she’s pub singerish, and Cheryl says if she was in a pub, she’d finish her drink. Cheryl says yes, Simon says no and presumably Dannii and Louis say yes, because she’s through, but their opinion is redundant for the next few people, OK. A man whines through ‘When You Believe’. It’s dreadful, but still better than Leon. Cheryl says yes for no reason. They disagree on a one second clip of a man and have a fake argument about Cheryl not wanting to do this any more. Someone called Aderito sings an unknown song and everyone says no except Cheryl, who thinks he’s sweet and has been channelling too much Osbourne lately. Some more randoms who Cheryl and Simon disagree on, WHO WE DON’T EVEN HEAR SING. This bit is so overlong. [And made me dislike Cheryl a little bit, which is the most heinous crime of all. - Steve]

The next contestant is apparently not hoping to heal the rift between the judges, but also heal the whole world. Cure Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal the World’ because the scripting is subtle like that. And I think we can see where this is going, can’t we? Student Ashiq talks some nonsense to the judges about healing the world and his passion and sings ‘Rule the World’ by Take That in a very slow, breathy and flat way, with his eyes closed, and it’s bad, but probably no worse than his lookalike, Sanjaya Malakar from American Idol. Anyway, noes all round and the ‘ah-ah-aaaah’ bit from the chorus plays.


Whitney’s ‘So Emotional’ plays as we’re back in London. 15 year old Marley sings ‘The Harder They Come’ by Jimmy Cliff, and he reminds me very much of Sideshow Bob Ashley from the other year in that you can’t tell if he’s really good or just annoying, he has that slightly nasal tone to his voice. Simon thinks he’s really talented and Dannii loves him, he’s through.

And wouldn’t you know it? He’s ushered in some good people! Shocker! 19 year old called Anastazia was a waitress in Nobu (Cheryl: "Oh God, that’s a swanky restaurant") until she had a baby. She sings ‘Valerie’, Amy Winehouse stylee and is pretty great, but has bad hair. Easily through. She kisses her very cute baby in the booth and makes me melt like a gurl. Stacey Phipps, who is 33 and looks amazing for it, sings ‘The Greatest Love Of All’ well and is through.

Because she sang a Whitney song, we are treated to a few clips of randoms in the audition room saying which pop star they want to be like. Cue accountant Adebola, who wants to be Celine Dion. She has the look, the voice, the stage presence, the talent, the vibes. O RLY? Can you predict the outcome here, viewers? At least she thinks she ‘has’ the X Factor rather than she ‘is’ it. She sings ‘Where Do Broken Hearts Go’ badly, and as we all know, unless you are properly good, Whitney is a bad, bad choice for this show.

Guess what? A bunch of failures, including a tuneless Shayne Ward lookalike, a fugly boy band called Walderwood, named after the two places they come from (hey, two of your Bitch Factor team come from Grimsby and Luton: Grimton? Score), some bloke who thinks he can be Bryan Adams, and a three-piece boyband who compare themselves to the Jackson Five and are called From Us 2 You. Sometimes these things speak for themselves. They don’t even open their mouths when they sing, singing through their teeth like a bunch of boys embarrassed to be singing in school assembly.

Hannah works in an office. Yes, folks, welcome back to fallback sob story 'my job, WHICH IS SHIT'! She looks a little like Shirley Manson crossed with an actress who I can’t quite place, only with bad hair - I can’t decide if it’s greasy, has too much product in, or if she just took it out of a ponytail and it hasn’t recovered its shape yet.

She sings Duffy’s ‘Mercy’ and she’s quite good, a little unusual, in the way that Susanne from Pop Idol 2 was unusual (although her voice and style aren’t the same as Susanne’s, I just mean she stands out from the usual type of X Factor contestant). She’s a bit all over the place, and there are a few rusty notes, but nothing some vocal coaching couldn’t sort out. Simon is utterly taken with her and whilst I don’t think she’s as amazing as he does I can at least see that with a bit of refinement, and a proper hairstyle, she could be interesting.

I honestly thought she was the last contestant, but apparently not, because we’ve got some ads.

We’re back in London, sans Dannii, and I really don’t need to point out the continuity errors with this show to veterans of this blog, do I?

Next up, it’s girl group Bad Lashes (a name which is surely too similar to Bat For Lashes?), singing Gnarls Barclay’s ‘Crazy’. They seem lovely, are very pretty and they have great personalities, and at least two of them sing well, but they are a bit OTT and all over the place with their harmonies. They need to settle themselves down and have some co-ordination. Simon agrees with me for possibly the first time this show. Anyway, they’re through, which is no surprise, although Louis says no, as he has to a lot of girl groups this series. They’re one of the best (potential) groups I’ve seen so far… and yet, they’re still not all that. I know in the pre-publicity the judges have made this big thing about all wanting the groups, because, as we all know, it’s the category overdue a win, but seriously, I haven’t seen anything that great to get worked up about. Mind you, you could say the same about any of the categories, it’s hardly vintage this year, is it?

Apparently everyone wants a yes from Simon, because the other judges don’t count, EVEN THOUGH IF SIMON SAID NO AND THEY SAID YES, SOMEONE WOULD GO THROUGH.

We’re back with a familiar face, who wants to impress Simon most of all. Anthony auditioned back in 2005 and has spent three years trying to improve himself. He arrives in a white suit and black shirt, which is just what he wore last time, REMEMBER? Actually I don’t. But anyhow. Apparently he was one of those cocky people who accosts Simon outside the room to tell him he’ll be sorry. Great.

Anthony has changed a lot. He’s lost four stone and had voice coaching and wants to prove to the judges that you can improve if you want something bad enough.

He goes into the judges room to the sounds of overly dramatic music and reminds them who he was. He tells Simon he was ‘shocked to bits’ about his previous appearance, then proceeds to remove the suit to show he’s changed, right? And underneath is a T-shirt and chain that I’m sure is meant to make him look trendy, but just seems to make him look like a thug, and I’m actually quite afraid of him. (Louis half laughs, half cowers)

He sings ‘When You Believe’, which goes so well with his thug image, and isn’t great, but isn’t terrible. Basically, he’s the kind of person that wouldn’t get past the producers unless he had a gimmick or story of some sort – and this is one of the main things that bugs me about this show. Mediocre people like DeadWife man from last week can get past them because they have a great sob story and can then get through, and people like this guy and Nikk from Phixx (although we’re not supposed to mention Phixx, are we?) only get through because it’s their ‘last chance’ and then they get humiliated on telly instead of being quietly let down away from the cameras, which would surely be kinder. Bite me, X Factor.

Louis and Cheryl talk a lot about his changes, skirting over the singing. Simon says he has changed, but his singing is still average. Simon says that if you love music, buy a record player, which is the kind of random outdated schtick I’d expect Louis to come out with. Don’t make me come down there, Cowell.

Louis gives him a chance. Simon says, categorically, no. Cheryl says she has to be true to herself and doesn’t want to patronise him. Anthony starts sobbing to her, clearly seeing her as the Sharon Osbourne of the show (well she does have a weeing dog). She says they’ve seen thousands (really? Dozens, perhaps) of boys that are stronger and it wouldn’t be fair on him to put him through when he wouldn’t get past the next stage. Anyway, it’s a no and that ‘no hope, no love no glory, no happy ending’ song plays. DOWNER.

I do feel for Anthony. I mean, I didn’t think he was all that good, but he seems clearly upset and I’m not sure putting him back through to the judges was the kindest thing to do. Also, I’m a bit scared of him and I’m not sure he’ll handle rejection too well.

So we’re opening AND closing tonight’s episode with vulnerable contestants who are trying again and failing again? Seriously feel good Saturday night telly, there…

So, to sum up this week. None of the ‘good’ people were all that good, none of the ‘bad’ people were all that bad, no-one had a proper sob story, there weren’t any cheesy comedy moments, and it was all a bit ‘so what?’ You could say that it was because they didn’t get that many good/bad/mad/funny people auditioning, but I call lies. You see, I have watched The Xtra Factor the past three weeks, and they show some properly good people in that, and some properly rubbish ones, and there are some really funny moments – and there’s more of Dermot in that than there is in the main show! Why can’t they put some of that stuff in the main show and some of the mediocre bits in the spin-off, hmmm? What will we get during live show weeks? 12 mediocre people battling it out on the main show, followed by 12 actual good people battling on the ITV2 one? Whatever, producers, whatever.

Next week: The last of the auditions! Joel will be happy! About a million people ‘sing’ for your pleasure, including the ‘we’re having a gang bang’ lady who’s been trailed a lot already and some children.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A matter of wife and death

Auditions - Round 4: 6th September 2008

Previously on The X Factor: a bunch of crazy bitches. Tonight! The X Factor hits Scotland, home of Scottish people who are Scottish and doing it for Scotland. Also home of last year's winner Leon, not that you'd know it because he kept it very quiet. Coming up, snogging, the splits, and 'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep'. And Cheryl crying, again, some more. Formulaic? This show? Never!

We're in Glasgow, and a non-green-screened Dermot has deigned to show up in honour of the homeland of Leon Jackson. A group of Scottish people lie that Leon was fantastic and did Scotland proud [There was a very funny bit about this on The Xtra Factor, when they showed the minutest clip of Leon possible - Rad]. There are judges: Dannii reminds us that Glasgow has got a lot to live up to because Leon is now "a pop star" making his new album. I love that that's all they can say about him: not a "megastar", not a "superstar", just a "pop star". I'm assuming that's the only adjective that got cleared by the lawyers. They're obviously being very careful in the wake of FosterGate. The "prince of pop", Louis Walsh. Bollocks: he's the pauper of pop, disguised as the real prince! New girl Cheryl, who thinks Glasgow is "always up for it", hee. And Simon, who says that Leon's victory last year does not guarantee another Scottish success story. I've got nothing opposed to a Scottish contestant winning again, I'd just like them to not blow quite so hard this time, if that's allowed.

There follows an irrelevant bit of footage involving Simon making a fuss of Cheryl's dog. Why? Who can say? I wonder if the dog has a compelling sob story. 29-year-old Suzanne Gay (snerk), who looks a little washed out, wants to be more popular than Whitney Houston. Anyone want to bet she'll struggle to be more popular than Whitney Port? She says she'll be singing 'I Have Nothing', and then proceeds to sing the chorus of 'One Moment In Time', complete with record-scratching effects on the soundtrack which had already cued up the music for the former, just in case we weren't aware this was going to be a lolaudition. Suzanne apologises, and then sings the beginning of 'One Moment In Time', only to be stopped by Simon and Cheryl again. They attempt to cue her in with the first word ("Share"), which I heard as "Cher", which would only confuse me even more if I were Suzanne. Sadly she does not break into 'Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves' as a result, but once Simon gives her the whole line ("Share my life"), she actually starts to sing the correct song. Poorly. With her eyes closed. And fucks up all the lyrics in the bridge. The chorus is just a squeaky mess, and she ends with a deeply ill-advised attempt at melisma. Suzanne thinks she "started off wrong", and Simon tells her that was the least of her problems. Four nos for Suzanne, who will sadly not be having a Gay old time. She vows to return, nonetheless.

In a completely unprecedented move for this series, the poor quality of the first audition has led to - wait for it - loads of really awful people! I nearly fell off my chair, let me tell you. 64-year-old Glen goes by "Stirling Sonata", because there are lots of Glens out there already. Heh. He then proceeds to turn his back on the judges and has to be redirected by Simon. He sings 'What Do You Want To Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For' in a mumbley doo-bee-doo voice which is pretty much exactly what Leon did for at least the first three live shows last year, except this time we're not supposed to think it's acceptable. Simon thinks he has a Jimmy Savile voice, and it's a collective no for Stirling. 28-year-old duo 3's A Crowd, who I don't think have quite grasped this whole number-of-members-in-your-group-title thing, sing 'Everytime We Touch' by Cascada, while wearing tartan hats because they are Scottish and from Scotland. Dannii calls it "one of the weirdest things I've ever seen". Simon pulls out the whole "I'm part-Scottish" thing again, only this time he claims to be 5% Scottish rather than 25% like last time. 20-year-old Jamie Roberts says he has the "entertainment factor" (WARNING KLAXON) and the X factor, then proceeds to sing Pink's 'Trouble' with a frankly baffling attempt at breakdancing. Simon calls it "hideous", and "nowhere near what we would be looking for". No fake sob story, for starters.

Next is 81-year-old Peter Lee from Kilmarnock, who says his act can get the crowd going, and would be extremely honoured to appear at the Royal Variety Show. Wah-wah-waaaaaah. We're supposed to believe that he's queued for hours and sat in an X Factor-branded waiting room since time immemorial when he thinks he's auditioning for Britain's Got Talent, because he is old, and old people are stupid! And of course we're supposed to forget the twenty gazillion production staff he probably encountered on his way here, whose job it ought to be to solve misunderstandings of this nature, if they hadn't actually contracted their souls to Satan by working on this show to exploit the good citizens of this nation and make them look like morons in front of nine million viewers. It's not even like he's just mixed the formats of the two shows up, because he actually says he wants to win Britain's Got Talent. Ugh, this whole sequence is so offensive. He goes through the doors with the giant X Factor labels on them and is directed to stand on the X by Louis, and you see where I'm going with that, right? When asked by Louis which artist he aspires to be like, he says Gene Kelly, and proceeds to play the spoons (which is a noise that sets Simon on edge, just in case that's handy for future reference) and warble 'Singin' In The Rain'. Peter then explains the misunderstanding, saying that he thought it was Britain's Got Talent, and here's the crucial part, WHEN HE TURNED UP. He neglects to mention the part where a producer told him to stick around anyway for the "comedy" "value", and Simon says that he'll be back auditioning for that show in three or four months, and he'll see Peter then. Holy cow, that might be the most pathetic thing I've ever seen, and I'm in no way referring to Peter's actual audition. For shame, The X Factor. God, there's even a post-audition bit where hateful Disingenuous Dermot is all "look at the doors, look!", like he didn't know exactly what was going on all along.[This offended me in so many ways. He's old, and got a bit confused. You say sorry love, wrong show, and send him home. You do NOT put him through to national television to be laughed at. More deluded asshats with attitude problems, please, I can laugh at them. The near-senile? Not so much.-Joel]

The judges break for lunch, and there's the obligatory sequence in which Dermot asks them how it's been just so they can all go "awful! No talent in Scotland!". Dermot asks them why they think it's been so bad, but they're contractually forbidden from saying "because that's how the production staff who manned the initial auditions which don't make it into the show planned it". And then Cheryl's dog wees on the floor. Cheryl? I love you, but HOUSETRAIN YOUR PET, please. [Or at least train him to piss on Louis. - Carrie] [Someone has to bring in the naughty doggie now Sharon's gone, no? It's tradition - Rad]

Back from the ads, and some Scottish cowboys (I don't know) remind us that Glasgow's got the X factor, despite what we saw in the first thirteen minutes of the show. Dermot says it will take a miracle to cheer the judges up. 20-year-old Rikki might be that miracle, though. He looks kind of cute at first when we see him not wearing the stupid pigeon-fancier's cap, but then he puts it on and it all goes horribly wrong, appearance-wise. Seriously, so few people can pull off hat-wearing, so I don't know why so many people attempt it. Rikki chats about his family, revealing that both of his parents are alive and thereby reducing his chances of progressing to boot camp by around 64%. He wants a job he can be passionate about, and says he always auditions for bands and variety shows and things, but always "just miss(es) out", which is a euphemism for "always fails". He goes in, and Dannii begs him to tell them he's good because they've not been having a good day, and everybody knows that as soon as you get one good auditionee, it's the catalyst for everyone else utterly coincidentally being really good as well! Rikki relates his many audition-related failures, and Simon asks if he ever feels like giving up. Rikki says if he doesn't get through today, he probably will. [I was going to say that I didn't understand this segment at all - why would you talk about all the dozens of times you've failed when you want to convince people that you're good? - but then I mentally hit myself on the head for being an idiot and missing the point entirely. - Carrie] He's going to sing 'Black And Gold' by Sam Sparro [A surprise, as everyone I was watchng with was going 'oh no, he's going to sing swing!' - Rad]. His voice is okay, his affected style of delivery is not to my taste at all. [Word. He was cute, and had a good voice, but I can't believe none of them smacked him down with a 'Stop trying so hard'.-Joel]Dannii really likes it, Cheryl thinks he did well. Dannii thinks he will work hard, and votes yes. Cheryl agrees. Louis thinks there are better people in the category and says no. 'Sexy! No No No...' cues up on the soundtrack, which is normally the prompt for Loser Audition Montage, but I'm not falling for that - this guy is SO getting through. Simon says he's going to vote based on whether he thinks Rikki should carry on or give up, and votes yes. Rikki is ecstatic, and the soundtrack changes to some godawful acoustic guitar version of 'For Once In My Life'.

Would you Adam and Eve it? That's opened the floodgates for the good auditions! 17-year-old Andrew Merry dreams of selling records - I assume not of the "working in HMV" variety. He sings 'Lately', I think, and gets through. Primary school teacher Carol, 25, sings 'Smile' and gets through so she can abandon all those impressionable and emotionally dependent young minds just like that heartless bitch Beverley did last year. Ooh, it's a girlband! High Voltage want to be like Girls Aloud, and sing Duffy's 'Mercy', and get four yeses. Simon tells them they look "too groomed and not cool", and need to change the look. After they've gone, Simon tells Cheryl that no girls would like them because they're too sophisticated, and that's why she (and by extension the rest of Girls Aloud, I assume) works. "That's why you work as well," Cheryl retorts. Lame. You can do better than that, Cheryl.

Up next are three sisters (except one is a sister-in-law, they quickly reveal) who think that this benefits them vocally because it's easy to tell each other they suck. We'll see how that works out for them. Disingenuous Dermot says "I know what I like and I like what I see - you look like three confident girls". They're all 40 if they're a day, and he's a patronising git. Simon asks what they have that other girl groups don't have. I guess HRT [miaow! - Carrie], and one of them does actually say "age", but that's the best they can come up with. They're called Mums On The Run and aged 39-44, so I wasn't far off, and they're the ones singing 'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep'. Simon looks like this is the single most appalling thing he has seen in his entire life - and he's seen Icaro, remember. Louis asks them if they have another song, and Simon's all "NOOOOO!" Dannii asks them if they really believe this is what the charts are missing, and Mums On The Run are all "ya rly" and Simon calls them the worst group they've had in Scotland. They go outside, and Disingenuous Dermot patronises them a little bit more.

Next up is Kirsty Doherty, who's a prison officer, and surprisingly smiley considering her line of work. She looks after long-term offenders. Incidentally, you can clearly see spoons-playing Peter sat behind her during this interview - continuity, be damned! She enjoys the freedom of singing in comparison to the rules and regulations of her day job. I kind of like her, actually - she's not acting like her job is beneath her or anything, she actually admits to liking it, but says that she feels like she's meant to be a singer without sounding like an entitled bitch *cough*Niki*cough*. The music that accompanies her walking into the audition room is 'I Want To Break Free', which does actually make me laugh. The judges are predictably surprised by Kirsty's profession, and on learning that it's a men's jail she works at, Simon's all "bet the inmates all love you, wurrrrrrrgh!" That's not appropriate, now, is it? Kirsty, for her part, laughs it off. [I thought she was awesome with this bit - "yeah, no, they really don't. BECAUSE I LOCK THEM IN CELLS." - Carrie] She sings Christina Aguilera's 'Hurt' and is perhaps a little bit flat, but has a nice voice, generally. [She was good, but she was trying to show what she could do to a nonsensical degree, and just came across as desperate. - Carrie] Simon thinks she has very little control over her voice and thinks she rushed it. Cheryl says she has a great range. Dannii doesn't think she needs to push it as much, and it's beautiful when she holds back. It's a hundred million percent yes from Dannii, and a regular yeses from the other three. Kirsty's entourage is MASSIVE. Her work colleagues are all sitting around waiting to hear the news, presumably while the inmates have all pulled their Rita Hayworth posters aside and started digging like billy-o through to the outside world. Kirsty apparently goes home and changes into her work uniform before all of this. They are all very happy about this. [She wasn't the greatest singer, but she was still fab - Rad]

The judges prepare to leave Glasgow. Simon thinks it was all three of good, okay, and horrific. Adverts!

They've upped sticks and headed back to London, apparently. What follows is in no way taken from the same session as the last time we were in London, right? Glad we've got that settled. People are doing vocal warm-ups, and 17-year-old Joelle Moses, who trained herself using a vocal training CD because she couldn't afford lessons. She sings every day, all the time. She wants to show her mum, WHO IS ALIVE, that dreams can come true. Dermot looks nice in a dazzlingly white polo shirt, by the way. Joelle is a sales assistant, she tells Simon. She's singing 'I Have Nothing' by Whitney Houston. She sings well, but Cheryl waves at her mid-audition and raises her eyebrow (seriously, it's brilliant) and asks Joelle to look at the judges and not at the floor, please. Her diction is fucked, and she really struggles with the high notes, but the bare bones of something very workable are there. Simon claps her at the end. Cheryl says she's "amazing", and Simon says she's potentially very good. She tells the judges that her family is TOO POOR for singing lessons and she taught herself with a CD. Louis asks if they're going to vote, and Simon goes, "uh, yes?", like Louis is a complete moron. Which he is. Hooray! Everybody votes Joelle through, and Simon has a good feeling about her. Joelle asks for a hug. Bless.

Oh, this is the one I've been waiting for: husband-and-wife duo Hard Wearin'. HARD WEARIN'. Seriously. Oh God, I'm laughing so hard already that I can't even type this. But I mustn't get ahead of myself. Still: HARD WEARIN'. Ha ha ha ha ha ha wheeeeee! Oh, dear. Sorry. Husband Lee says that they are lovers and best friends. He's been a professional singer for nine years, and they've decided to embark on it together, and that it comes naturally to them. He says that you don't get that many married couples working together in the entertainment industry, but I've slightly tuned out at this point because someone behind them is wearing this amazing red-and-white-striped hoodie. I think it's actually a woman wearing it, but I still kind of want it. Anyway, Lee and wife Lindsay make kissyface a few more times and then go in to audition. They sing 'It's All Coming Back To Me Now' in a very stagey manner. I find it hard to believe he's actually a professional singer, because he's the weaker of the two of them, and that's not to say that she is good, because she's not especially. They kiss as part of the routine, and Simon calls it "steamy". The judges decline to pass them through to boot camp, but this is apparently the cue for lots more sexiness. 19-year-old model Rochelle Muirhead, whose "legs go on forever", per Cheryl, sings Liberty X's 'Just A Little' and does the splits and basically acts as whorish as possible. "She's going to be in so much trouble when her mum watches that," says Simon afterwards. Then there are lots of people whose names we do not learn and whose singing we do not hear, because it's not like this is a singing contest or anything. Then we get 55-year-old landlady (domestic or pub? We aren't told) Jaz Gibbs, who sings 'Man! I Feel Like A Woman' to no great acclaim. Simon openly perves on the body of the next contestant, and I really don't like him when he gets like this. 22-year-old Joseph Chukukukere gets Cheryl similarly hot under the collar (not that I blame her - woof!) [he looks like her husband. If her husband wasn't evil - Carrie] and sings 'Ain't No Sunshine'. Cheryl practically has an orgasm on the spot, and Joseph gets four yeses from the judges. [And then Dannii fans her skirt at Cheryl, which is very funny - Rad]

No one is more confident, says Dermot, than 23-year-old shop assistant Ashwin. I AM GOING TO KEEP ASKING FOR EVIDENCE UNTIL YOU GIVE IT TO ME, DERMOT. Stop making these unsubstantiated claims. Ashwin wants people to see him as one of the greatest singers that has ever sung. He tells Dermot that he has his own unique sound, but sees Mark Owen as his mentor. Mark Owen's singing voice is piss-weak, though. That's my comment, obviously, not his. Ashwin thinks the only difference between them is that he is unshined. At least, I think that's what he said. Ashwin perves on Cheryl and Dannii and then sings 'King Of The Road'. Louis pronounces him "average". Ashwin asks what his definition of average is. Can you guess what's coming next? That's right: "you" say Louis and Simon in unison. Louis tells him he hasn't got the X factor; Ashwin admits that he doesn't, but he has everything else which is bigger. Simon points out that that is the name of the show, though. Ashwin was actually not especially worse than a lot of people who get praised and put through to boot camp, weirdly. This show can be very arbitrary in terms of what it will and will not accept. Anyway, Ashwin does not get through and is all "I'll be HUGE! You'll be SORRY!" as he leaves. He exits the audition room swearing and Disingenuous Dermot patronisingly tries to calm him down. He says that one day Simon Cowell will come begging to him for a job. I'm fairly certain Simon Cowell never needs to work again if he doesn't want to, but okay. Ashwin says he is the best singer in the universe. Yeah, not so much.

After the ads, Green Screen Dermot pretends to have been present for the crowds in London, and we get a montage of good auditionees to round us off. Girl group EFX like Girls Aloud and sing 'Something Kinda Ooooh', while Cheryl bops in her chair. Cheryl compliments them on their song choice and they're through. Yingjung Lui, 47, thinks he could be as big as Barbra Streisand, and sings 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' and gets through. [LOVED him. - Carrie] Three-piece girlgroup Stance sing what I think is 'Summertime', and it sounds like a hot mess to me, and Louis thinks they sound like church singers, but they're through anyway.

Final contestant of the day alert! 38-year-old father of three Daniel Evans, who is here with his mum and his youngest child. He's a pool cleaner, and says that his being on the show is a wish that his wife always had. Note the "had". I'm thinking we have a WIFE WHO IS DEAD on our hands? Oh, and he's also doing it for his family, just to check another box. In with the judges, he says he's had the forms for the past three years and never auditioned, and then his wife passed away last year after giving birth to his daughter, so he's learnt some harsh lessons and wants to give it a go. Louis asks him what the dream is. I would think a wife WHO IS NOT DEAD might be an excellent option here, but no, he says the dream is to win this show. Sigh. He mentions his daughter, who kept him going even when he didn't think he could, and who he wants to give a better life to. He sings 'Sometimes When We Touch', and is, to be honest, utterly unremarkable. Passable, sure, but I'm guessing if his wife were still alive he would not be on our screens right now. I'm just saying. Cheryl and Dannii well up, as much as Dannii is capable of doing that post-surgery, obviously. Simon says he sang well. Cheryl draws everyone's attention to the posthumous surge of pride currently being experienced by Daniel's wife, WHO IS DEAD. It's a yes from Louis, a silent but tearful yes from Cheryl, a yes from Dannii and a yes from Simon. Daniel goes to thank the judges, and apologises to Cheryl for upsetting her, which is kind of sweet. [Cheryl was adorable here. As soon as he mentioned that his wife was dead, she looked around in abject horror, as if she was seeking a grown-up to reassure her or tell her it wasn't true. - Carrie] Outside, his mum and daughter are jubilant. Cheryl says she feels like he was singing it to his wife, WHO IS DEAD. Daniel says he feels like his wife (WHO IS DEAD, don't forget) was in there with him, and that she was proud of him, WHILE BEING DEAD. [He seemed a nice bloke, his singing was meh, but he is guaranteed top five, isn't he? He was the FRONT PAGE STORY of one of the Sunday red tops as well this week. For having a wife who is dead and going on this show. Sigh. - Rad]

Coming soon: "having a gang bang" woman, man in red tracksuit, people crying, someone who is all wrong, and people begging. Well, I can't wait. [Can we have bootcamp now please? Please?-Joel]