Sunday, September 28, 2008

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.

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