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]

No comments: