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.