First of DOUBLE BILL!
Tx: 18th September 2010
So far on the X-Factor! The judges have seen it all! That's if "it all" means "men dressed as tigers" and "girls punching each other" and not "people who can sing"! They have been to places and people have auditioned. BUT! Behind the scenes, all was not well - cue montage of Cheryl saying, "I don't feel well," and people saying to her, "Are you ill?", all cut across with tabloid front pages about her MALARIA HORROR OMGZ.
This weekend it's a double-bill as Cheryl is AWAY WITH MALARIA O NOEZ and Nicole Scherzinger is hauled in as the fluffy girly judge. Oh yes, it's time. To face. The MUSIC!
Dermot promises us "more talent" and "more drama" as he welcomes us to a tickertape-strewn Manchester. Simon and Louis arrive, sign autographs, and generally bask in their own self-perceived wonderfulness. Dermot wonders who will join them on the panel. Welll, it'll be Nicole Scherzinger. because we saw that pre-titles. Anyway, a bit of blurb about her. She claims to be excited to be here and she's looking for the x-factor, which is apparently star quality. I fear she will prove disappointed. I like that she is planning to represent FOR THE GIRLS, though. She arrives and looks impossibly thin with huge breasts. The boys air-kiss her. She looks horribly uncomfortable. Then she proclaims, "I'm ready to see ALL THE TALENT in Manchester!" Oh, Nicole. I almost feel sorry for how your illusions are about to be dashed.
Our first auditionee of the day is Rachel. Her inspiration is Lady Gaga for her originality. Rachel smiles a lot and is very sweet. She has her friends and a cute baby waiting for her. Dermot says to the friends, "Is she good?" The friends look a bit reluctant and say, "Um - very powerful." Oh, this isn't going to go well. She reveals that she is 44. She does NOT look that old. [I was floored. I thought she was in her twenties at the most. - Steve] She sings Saving All My Love For You. Predictably, it's awful. She misses the first note and the first beat. Seriously, why do I sit here singing along in a vain attempt to help the really bad auditionees? Simon tells her it's a million per cent not for her and that her singing ought to be done behind her walls. She looks a bit like she's going to cry. I hope she doesn't cry. Nicole says that Rachel and music were not in the same room. Louis says, "We like you, we just don't like your singing." Rude. Three no-way-not-evers. And brilliantly, Nicole asks in an aside: "Do you...find a lot of stars here?" Oh Nicole. You had no idea what you were signing up for, did you?
Jon has just left Doncaster University with a degree in performing arts. He has a moderately decent falsetto, but performs Mika's Relax, Take It Easy in a weird bowed-over stance. It's a no. John has a "unique difference in [his] voice". Yes. Yes he does. No to him too. Divided are attempting four-part harmony. They fail. Nicole declares Manchester "a freaky town". It's a CITY, bitch. Candy Rose sing the Pussycat Dolls' When I Grow Up very badly. Nicole suggests they record themselves performing and listen back to it. Reflecting on the day so far, Louis says, "There is something missing. What is missing?" Any number of things, Louis. Melody? Talent? Helpful judging? Dannii? But no, Simon opts for "star quality".
Time for a break.
Ooh. Mancunian trams. I love Manchester. We're reminded of what happened three minutes ago and that Nicole is on the panel, and then we're introduced to adorable little gay Aiden, who is wearing a scarf and tells us about his primary school triumph in Grease. Seriously. Inappropriate choice for a school show much? [That's nothing. My primary school final year production was The Little Mermaid. Ten-year-old girls wandering around the stage in seashell bikini tops. - Steve] He tells Simon about his preparation - some gigs, some weddings and "stuff like that". And then he announces that his "sang" is Kanye's Gold-digger. As performed by Mr Schue [I haaaaaate Mr Schue - Rad] on Glee. It's...really not that good. And it's without a backing track. And I'm unconvinced he has any performing chops based on this rather static karaoke. [It was absolutely the whitest thing I've ever seen. - Steve] Louis admires his "swagger"; Nicole loves his voice and "soul" (and Aiden rather subtly fanboys her, which she acknowledges with a gracious incline of the head); and Simon concludes: "That's what I call a pop star. You're one of the best we've had." Though, of course, as we know, that is not saying much. Three yeses.
The Huhas come on stage and I am never not going to laugh at their name. They are two girls and a boy, found via Facebook. Louis says there is something fresh about them - "not overrehearsed". So...a bit shit then? Three yeses, including Simon explaining that it's "one of the easiest yeses [I've] given today". Ade sings Never Too Much with an out-of-control vibrato. Three yeses. A little boy that looks like a mashed-up Ray FUCKING QUINN sings Leona's version of Run and sounds more like her than she does (despite Louis claiming that he is "different"). His vibrato is even more out-of-control.
And back in Manchester again. Well, at least the continuity is improving. 69-year-old Hazel Jackson is clad in leopardskin, and as everyone on Twitter pointed out, she has a passing resemblance to an older Sharon Osbourne/Sharon Osbourne on drugs/Sharon Osbourne before the cosmetic surgery [I genuinely can't believe the show didn't make a joke about this - Rad]. She, distressingly, is adopting the patented Win-Back-Your-Errant-Husband-By-Humiliating-Yourself-On-A-National-Scale Plan, for her man done left her last September. Still, she might meet someone new. Like Louis, is the implication. Seriously, show? You're still trying to sell me the idea that Louis is a lady-magnet? Anyway, Hazel dances round her handbag (literally) while singing The Best. Louis, of course, thinks it was very entertaining. Hazel replies: "Thanks, Louis. I can be more entertaining." EEEEEEEEEEEW. Nicole proclaims herself Hazel's biggest fan. Simon breaks the news to Hazel that nobody is going to buy an album of her singing. No from him, no from Louis, yes from Nicole. Sap. Hazel says to Dermot that the judges have made a mistake. Nicole sighs, "I love her."
Savannah is 18 and is a student with hobbies like bell-ringing, which is apparently the most hilarious thing Simon and Louis have ever heard. Louis, in fact, snorts like a pig, making him even more odious than usual. She warbles Angels in hideous off-key fashion. Nicole did not even recognise the song, "God bless her". [So much for Robbie cracking America, then. - Steve] Valerie has long white hair and goes into great detail about her extra work in movies. She actually has quite a sweet, bell-like soprano voice, but clearly that's deserving of laughter. Simon tells her she should be outside, naked, hugging a tree. She seems quite happy with that. Stephanie sings Top Of The World in a key far too high for her, but even if it was lower it would still be terrible. Nicole suggests some work on her vocals might be helpful. Stephanie looks crushed as Louis continues to cackle, the cock.
Ads. And then back to Manchester, where they are trying to convince us still that Louis is a heterosexual man who wants to have sex with Nicole Scherzinger. Our next auditionee is 32-year-old Yuli, who is originally from THE NETHERLANDS (hooray!) but came here because England is best. She has a big belty voice, of course, because that's what larger, older, black women do on this show. Nicole LOVES her and stands up and whoops and does the whole girl-power-thing at her. Simon enthuses that people like Yuli are the reason there is no upper age-limit on the show (yes, the OLD DECREPIT COW) because he LOVES finding older singers who've not had the right break (yes, JUST LIKE STEVE BROOKSTEIN). Yuli gets yeses and tells Dermot that she had a lot of fun.
But! Can Manchester's run of success continue? Amy Louise has an adequate karaoke voice but gets three yeses, mostly due to the fact that she is very pretty, I think. Connor and Gabriel sing Heard It Through The Grapevine in a rather flat way but still get three yeses. John Connolly is a schoolteacher and has his pupils in cheerleading outfits backstage while he sings Haven't Met You Yet in subpar Mickey Bubbles stylee, complete with egregious "C'mon!" to the audience. Three yeses and his students run on to the stage to hug him in entirely unrehearsed fashion. Is that kind of physical contact allowed in schools these days? I think not. [I can't wait for him to abandon them all for the Butlins circuit, just like Bellowing Beverly. - Steve] To Nicole's credit, she manages to look surprised at this hideous piece of predictable scripting.
And our next contestant - 19-year-old Chloe. Not wishing to spoil any of the future tabloid revelations for you, but here's her website. I'm sure her child is very proud that SHE'LL DO ALMOST ANYTHING and has 32 sex tapes available for download. I particularly like the pictures where she's posing in what seems to be her child's nursery. She doesn't want to be a person who lives and dies and isn't remembered. That's...really sad. Her hobby is partying. She admires Beyonce, Shakira and Tupac, but has had no singing experience. "Don't laugh at me!" she beseeches the audience. She then sings two lines of a vamped-up acapella Summertime, which is relatively OK, if technically weak. Has she copied that from someone? When she's asked to sing something else, she struggles to think of anything, and when she begins to sing Shakira's Underneath My Clothes, it is increasingly evident that she has no ear or pitch - she can't work with the backing track. She's all mouthy and wails: "I don't want to make excuses but I've just split up with my boyfriend!" She then sings acapella again, and that's all very well but YOU HAVE NO EAR. Nicole says: "I'd like to see a little bit more you underneath all this." Just go to her website, Scherzinger, you can see as much of her as you like there. Louis says no, anyway, possibly the only sensible thing he's said all evening; Simon tells her to shut up and listen to them; Nicole looks pained but is convinced to put her through; and Simon finishes by telling her she's screwed everything up for herself but he thinks there is something there. So two yeses, and she screeches and thanks them. Louis is, of course, hideously uncharitable and the crowd boo her off. Lovely. She weeps at Dermot that she has totally embarrassed herself. Well, yes, dear, but what did you expect when you came on this show? Still, she gets the payoff of Dermot escorting her off the stage holding her hand, so she wins for that, I guess.
Ads, then back to Manchester for a strangely-coloured montage of what we've already seen in this episode. We have 23-year-old Rebecca, whom Dermot flatters outrageously. She has two small children. Do we think she might be doing this for them? She cries as she tells her life story and being told that she wouldn't be able to do anything once she had a baby. Don't cry, Rebecca, you'll ruin your perfect make-up! And it's not like there's a professional make-up team on hand to ensure you look lovely on stage to fit in with your sob-story narrative! Eh? Oh. She sings A Change Is Gonna Come, and really, this is the point at which I give up on this show. Because this is warbly, weak, affected, caricatured, insular and rarely in tune. But of course, Rebecca is going to go through, so they turn up the backing track and zoom in on the judges' faces looking joyful and transported to another dimension, and they tell the sheep in the crowd to cheer, and Nicole says her voice moves her, and Simon tugs on the heartstrings (or the pubic hair in the pocket) one more time by telling her he wants to restore her confidence and her voice is on the money. Three yeses. Though by rights it should have been none. [Yes, she was awful. THIS FUCKING SHOW. - Steve] There are tears backstage as we go all soft-focus and fade out.
But fear not, bitches! Because tomorrow we'll have more screaming queens! People who can't sing! People who mistake volume for in-tuneness! And the lovely Ruth will take you through it minute by minute! [Will the auditions be over then? Please let them be over then - Rad] Bye!