Sunday, September 13, 2009

The good, the bad, and the Olly

Audition show 4
TX date: 12th September 2009

Previously on The X Factor: the auditions moved into a bigger venue! The producers began to doubt themselves! Tonight: the auditions continue, and the judges pull no punches! Or so they would have us believe, anyway. I remain unconvinced. It is time to face the music, just in case you weren't aware of that by now. Cue titles!

The trucks are rollin', and to begin with, we're in Glasgow. "It seems the whole of Glasgow has turned up for the auditions," says Dermot, displaying once again his inadequate knowledge of the populations of the UK's major cities. Back to school with you, O'Leary! It is busy, though, I'll grant you that. And of the thousands of people gathered, I'm guessing we'll maybe see about ten of them on screen? If we're lucky, of course. Hope it was worth those hours out in the cold, Glasgow!

Louis complains that it is raining. Sigh. I hate to bitch him out so early in the episode, but you have just been driven to the venue, and now you must be exposed to the elements for about 30 seconds, after which you will remain indoors for a considerable period of time. The weather should really not be your concern right now. Idiot. Apparently the judges have a really long walk once they're inside the venue to get to the stage, and somebody thought this would make for entertaining television. It doesn't. This is why you don't see Coronation Street being moved out of the schedule to make way for the International Long Distance Walking Championships. It's very dull. Eventually they get there, and the crowd cheer.

The first auditionee is Diana Watson, 59, a nursing assistant. She says that she and her singing partner are up there with the great Jews. Oh, sorry: duos. Her singing partner is - wait for it - her dog Jazz. See, shit like this is why you will never catch me watching Britain's Got Talent. Together they're called All That Jazz. Dermot asks what kind of music Jazz likes, and apparently her tastes are extensives. Diana says that you don't see many duets involving a dog. And I'm sure we're about to see why. As they wait backstage, Jazz snaps at Dermot. I know he's turned into a bit of a toady, Jazz, but that's a slight overreaction.

There follows the obligatory bit where Simon and Cheryl pretend they haven't been briefed extensively as a result of the three or four auditions Diana and Jazz would've had with the production team, and so we're subject to the tedious "does the song sing?" / "no, of course not" / "yes, she does" / "fucking hell, the dog sings?!" exchange. It gets even more hilarious (your mileage may vary, mine certainly did) when Simon asks how long they've been a duo, and Diana answers that Jazz is seven, and Simon's all no, how long have you been singing together, and Diana is all, very firmly, seven years. The dog has been singing since she was born. Oh God, why am I even recapping this bit? I feel like God is looking down on me right now and saying "if you really can't find something more constructive to do with those fingers, you really should look into masturbation."

Let's cut to the chase. They are singing 'I Will Survive', except Jazz appears to be camera-shy, because she just looks a bit bemused while Diana fumbles her way through the lyrics. Oh dear. "Your dog doesn't sing, does it?" asks Simon. Diana insists she does. Louis said he'd be happy if the dog even barked. Well, that explains why he was so fond of Niki, I guess. It's four nos from the judges (incidentally, Dannii is looking stunning tonight) and Diana leaves, finally.

Oh God, there are more of them. 22-year-old student John Cassidy is about four octaves too low for 'My Life Would Suck Without You', and can't even sing those notes right anyway. Dannii pronounces it "diabolical". John agrees he needs singing lessons. Gisela Lee (18, student) manages to make 'If I Ain't Got You' sound even worse than when Alicia Keys sings it. Dannii is full-on headdesking at this point, by the way. Hee. Gisela attempts to explain her woeful performance by saying that she's "got a jetlag". Oh dear. Gordon Rush (31, support worker, dressed in terrifying shiny blue and gold romper suit) sings 'Achy Breaky Heart', gets on telly just like he wanted, and gets a "resounding never" from Simon. Incidentally, these auditions are all intercut with shots of Diana out in the corridor trying to get Jazz to sing. No, stop! My sides! I cannot take all this hilarity!

Adverts, and not a moment too soon.

Dermot welcomes us back by reminding us of all the deranged people who went before. Next auditionee Carla Schettini walks onstage clutching a carrier bag, and Cheryl ask how old she is. "36" is the reply, but it sounds a bit like "76", prompting Cheryl to ask her to repeat herself, and then to explain exactly what she thought she'd said, which does kind of sound a bit rude. She doesn't look "76", so y'know, a polite person might have worked out what she'd actually said in their own heads and left the matter at that. [OH! I actually thought she was 76. Even when she repeated it. This programme is making me stupider. - Carrie] In the bag is a present for Louis, because Carla works in a kilt shop, so she's brought Louis a tie that goes with his clan, apparently. She'd like to be as big as Madonna, and explains this while Dannii puts the tie on Louis. Her singing of 'If You Don't Know Me By Now' is tuneless. Is this week's editor new or something? Surely the formula for this show is that the "everyone's been shit so far" voiceover is followed by someone good, who then triggers, as if by magic, a sudden run of good auditions. I feel like my entire world has been shaken by this turn of events. Meanwhile, in the time it has taken me to type all of that, Carla is STILL SINGING. That's what's wrong with this format, right there. By all means show some terrible auditions and laugh at people (I don't enjoy it, but I'm aware I'm in the minority there), but for the love of God, don't devote the entire show to it. Carla is STILL SINGING, by the way. Cheryl looks suicidal. I know how she feels. The crowd bursts out laughing when she adds her own backing vocals into the chorus (you know, the whole "IF you don't know me" bit), and Simon asks her how she thought it went, and Carla replies that the crowd seemed to be liking it, which is entirely true (even if they were liking it for slightly uncharitable reasons), and another reason why this format change is a dreadful, dreadful, idiotic idea, because it completely destroys the audition dynamic. Anyway, Carla is finally dismissed. Louis votes no even though she gave him a tie, which now means I respect him more than I respect Cheryl, and that makes me taste sick in my mouth a little bit.

Sad piano! What does this mean? Our next auditionee is 21-year-old Rikki Loney, a full-time singer who does the clubs and that, but wants to be on a bigger stage. Dermot's voiceover reminds us that we first met Rikki last year, at which point I go "oh yeah", because I'd completely forgotten about him. [Did we hate him last year? I seem to hate him and I'm not sure why - Rad] He was also a "can this person be the one to change the sucky auditions into good ones?" contestant last year, by the way. His sob story was that his parents didn't support him and that he kept cocking up his auditions, and then he got cut at boot camp, as you do. Rikki says it took him three or four months to recover from last time, but he wants it so much. Oh, well, that's all right then. He hasn't even told his mum, WHO IS UNSUPPORTIVE, that he is here today. That's how nervous he is, folks. Oh, and he's still wearing stupid hats, in case anyone was wondering. On stage, Rikki tells the judges that he's grown in confidence, and he wants to prove he can go the whole way this time. Oh, apparently his mum is in the audience, [with a camera on her - Carrie] but didn't know he was auditioning? Oh, what a load of old shit. Anyway, Simon wishes him luck. Rikki sings 'These Arms Of Mine' by Otis Redding (thanks, Google!), and has quite a nice voice, but really needs to work on what he does with himself on stage, because that strange marching-on-the-spot thing is just weird. His pitch is a little ropey too, though he does seem to be able to get himself back on fairly quickly when he goes off. 'Chasing Cars' cues up on the soundtrack, so I think we all know how this is going to end up. Louis loves his determination, Dannii thinks his mum is going to be really proud, Cheryl thinks he's brave to come back, Simon thinks they made a mistake turning him away last year, but still thinks he can perform better than he did in this audition. It's four yeses. I'm surprised we haven't had more of a resurgence of "returners" this year, actually, given what happened with Alexandra. Rikki is reunited with his mum [on stage, but she didn't know he was auditioning, right - Carrie], and it is intended to be heartwarming, I understand.

After the break, we're "back" in London. Dannii does a little dance as she gets out of the car. The "first" in to see the judges is someone who's been holding onto his dream for longer than most - which normally I would dispute, but since this guy is 82, maybe Dermot actually has a point this time. William Hooper is very excited about meeting the judges. He tells the cameras that winning the competition would be the answer to his prayers. Hey, Vera Lynn's number one in the album charts this week - anything can happen, right? William tells Simon that he's here because it's his last chance. That feels awfully morbid, suddenly. In the second of tonight's outbursts of totally unwarranted rudeness, Simon asks William "where will you be in seven - no, actually, I'll shorten that" and gets booed by the audience, rightly so. William will be singing 'Come Fly With Me'. He sings in that old-person way which is lovely if they sing at a family reunion, but it's not really chart-quality, if I'm honest. Louis calls him "a born entertainer", and hopes he looks like him when he's 82. There's a good chance, Louis - you look quite like him now. Dannii thinks he's got the X factor. Cheryl enjoyed his audition. Simon likes William, but wasn't crazy about his singing voice. [If he'd sung 'Mack The Knife', he'd have been straight through. - Carrie] [Heh. I was thinking exactly the same thing - Rad] "Simon, he's 82!" Louis thepoorboysblinds. Simon correctly asserts that this is immaterial. They vote - yeses from everyone except Simon, so the lovely old man is through to boot camp. Simon calls the other judges soppy. He is correct. [But also: every single bloody year there's an old person everyone except Simon puts through. In fact every single moment of this episode was X-Factor by numbers - Rad]

17-year-old Lydia Kabasele sings 'Saving All My Love For You', sounding kind of scratchy in places, but definitely has potential. She's through. [Although I didn't get the 'ZOMG! You're only 17 and you're singing Whitney' thing. Wasn't Whitney really young at that stage in her career anyway? - Rad] Also 17 years old, Alistair Nwachukwu sings 'The Way You Make Me Feel' acapella and gets through. Girl group The Secrets sings 'Black And Gold', sounding okay. They're through too! [I can only remember seeing girl groups - mostly girl trios - getting through this series - Rad] Heshima Thompson (22, musician) wants to represent for the boys because the girls have been dominating, and sings 'Breakeven' by The Script. Guess what? Yep, he's through.

Next up is 18-year-old Shanna Goodhead (hee). The judges have all changed their outfits by the way, continuity fans. She wants to sing to help her family. Drink! Leona's cover of 'Run' starts playing, and here comes the sob story: she lives in a council house and shares a room with two of her four sisters. Yeah, but do you share a bed with one of them? Otherwise, no dice. She wants to escape this lifestyle and give her little sister something better. Now we're back to the present, and she's singing Eva Cassidy's cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'Songbird'. I don't really like all the melisma she puts into it, because her voice isn't really powerful enough to get away with it, and it just seems to be hiding the fact that she's not really up to this song. Either way, she's going through, of course, and the crowd are going nuts. Dannii wants her to know how good she is, and Louis thinks she has amazing potential. Cheryl thinks she's a natural raw talent, and Simon is concerned about her self-belief, for which he gets inexplicably booed. Four yeses for Shanna and the tracks of her tears, and then some adverts. [Gah. I am as sick of the young black/mixed race girl who lives in a council house trope as I am of the comedy foreigner, token pensioner and dead relative ones. Every series. - Rad]

Afterwards, we're in Birmingham. 16-year-old Amordeep Ghataura likes guinea pigs, and then eviscerates Britney's cover of 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll'. She doesn't go through. David Francis (45, classroom assistant, should know better) fails at the only decent Katy Perry song. Hey, at least the seats in Birmingham look comfortable. Michael Pottenger (34, part-time therapist) sings 'If I Could Turn Back Time' and is rubbish, but still doesn't manage to kill my burning desire for there to be a Cher week on this show. The only amusing part of this is how pained Cheryl looks throughout. Abraham Akpoyibo (25, student) says that singing is his lifelong ambition. It will have to stay that way, sadly.

17-year-old student Demi Cullen is next, and has been singing since she was four. She's very excitable. She doesn't want to do a nine-to-five job, she wants to sing. This programme means the whole world to her. I worry about where this is going. She's really sweet when she talks to Cheryl on stage, and will be singing 'Saving All My Love For You'. Simon wishes her good luck, and Cheryl gives her an encouraging smile. She sings, and I still can't tell if this is a good audition or not. Her phrasing is weird and some of the notes are iffy, but she does appear to be able to sing to some extent. Dannii tells her that she's very cute. Demi says, "I don't want to get through because I'm cute, I want you to tell me that I'm good as well." Hahaha! [This made me uncomfortable simply because Demi was obviously expecting to go through at this stage. - Carrie] Louis says if it were a personality contest, she'd get through, but her voice isn't good enough. Simon agrees. Demi says, "Okay", and then cries. God, this show is EVIL, sometimes. Louis keeps harping on about her great personality, like that's going to be any comfort to her, but then National Treasure Cheryl Cole gets up to give her a hug, of course. Whatever - they've put through people far worse than Demi before. "I thought you were good," Cheryl tells her. Demi doesn't go through, and collapses backstage. I bet you anything she comes back next year, though. Seriously, I don't think there's any wrong with her voice that a decent singing teacher couldn't fix. [I thought she was Boot Camp worthy, but maybe it was kinder to kick her out now as she'd never get past Boot Camp. She at least took it reasonably well, rather than having a big strop - Rad]

Adverts. I have something in my eye.

Apparently the yeses just keep coming at this point, which is a rather tasteless segue considering how we just left Demi. A girl group called Yellow Brick Road sing an excruciatingly harmonised rendition of 'Poker Face' and get through, somehow. Eliotte Williams-N'Dure (22, unemployed) sings 'How Come You Don't Call Me' and gets through. Jaide Green (23, part-time singer) sings 'Street Life', is also through. Wow, I'm so pleased we spent all that time on the terrible auditions at the top of the episode.

25-year-old Olly Murs from Essex is the last audition of the day. He sounds like Jeff Brazier (speaking, at least). We're supposed to think he's some kind of wideboy, I think. The judges have changed outfits once more, just to let you know. He sings 'Superstition', and is pretty good, I guess. Again, there's potential there, certainly. The dancing leaves a fair bit to be desired, mind. The crowd love it, at least. Cheryl loved everything about it, Dannii thinks he has the whole package, Simon really likes him and thinks he's very cool, and Louis calls him a natural performer. A clean sweep for Olly, including the easiest yes Simon's ever given (hasn't he said that about a hundred times by now?). Backstage, Olly is floored by the response from the judges, and some audience members talk to the camera about how much they liked him.

Next weekend: a double bill! Dear God, that's going to take some effort.


gummygobbler said...

It's not the same this year with the live audience - Simon (et al) constantly turn around to watch the reaction before they pass judgment.
What is it about women (of a certain age and mental capacity) that make them have a soft spot for Louis Walsh? Does he remind them of the nuns that used to teach them in school?
Simon might have said something (mildly) bitchy to the 82 year-old but he is definitely pussyfooting around everyone else this year who seems in anyway naive or vulnerable "I like you but you're not right for this, but I like you" etc, etc, etc . .
Cheryl, as always, looks beautiful (especially in that rather fetching outfit comprising the gray slacks and the matching vest top with red swirly flowery things on it) but I can't help feeling that, as we much as we love to hate the character of Michelle Connor, Kym Marsh just might scrape a win as the better actress. Maybe ITV2 could do a reality show of an 'act-off' between these reality queens.
Next week the auditions will be over (dispatched in a double bill thanks to Brucie & Co) and then we move onto Bootcamp before we get to the serious business of watching Danii and Cheryl, sprawling on white couches, trying to convincingly cry as they dismiss some of the loonies and no-hopers that they had previously put through.

Paul said...

Oh thank god you are back and making my wrap ups of the show look like a pile of puke :)

Hating the live audition format, very Britain's Got The X Factor. I quite liked Olly, though I got really REALLY irritated when the camera cut to Cheryl going "wow" at his Gary Barlow-esque dancing. It was not that good luv. Clearly she is much more easily impressed than she used to be.

Anonymous said...

Olly really isnt that great! The best performance by far came from Heshima who was only shown quickly as he sang the scripts song!
im not too impressed with this years x factor so far!
I came accross Mali Mccallas(from last years x factor) music page,theres a song called we've got eachother which is great!
Have a listen

Rad said...

Talking of Mali from last year, wasn't his AMAZING DAD meant to have been on this year? Did I blink and miss it?

Anonymous said...

Reading over these X Factor blogs from ages ago, and I find it funny how successful Olly Murs has become today, a platinum debut album he has achieved through good management and promotion, none of this "take our contestants away for a year and hope the public will remember them" strategy, this has proved fatal to Joe McElderry's career.

Gisela Lee, who returned to The X Factor as the trio "Jham", ok, not much improvement on her voice but she still got to the X Factor final as the "deluded auditionees" group reunited from that series.

and minor observation regarding 22 year old student John Cassidy, ok, he did not hit the right notes but if you noticed he did actually SPRINT across the stage the way he did, that's bound to mess up your singing voice that's for sure, he looked as though he just got caught up in the madness of it all !!

Oh, and Rikki Loney, though voted off the second week of the live finals, is now doing a national UK tour as one of the acts in "Gleemania", did any of us see this coming ???