Week one: 20 August 2011
Welcome back. I have to say I’m feeling rather nervous, and wondering if replacing the entire Bitch Factor team would have been the way to go this year. I’m not sure any of our nerves can take this.
First things first, the puppets on the TalkTalk bumpers are creepy as fuck. They are going to give me nightmares if they carry on all series. But at least there’s no karaoke.
Time to meet our new judging panel then. Kelly ROWLAND. Tulisa CONTOSTAVLOS. Fuck you Peter Dickson and your inability to pronounce long names. All-new Louis WALSH, now with added swearing! Gary BARLOW!
Other than that, it appears to be business as normal – comedy mentals, people wanting it so much, bland girl bands, boys with identikit hair and O Fortuna. The crappy in-front-of-the-audience auditions are still here, and apparently the judges are still arguing. Joy. *Clutches Dannii autobiography which we were mentioned in tightly*.
Someone wants to be as big as Adele. Given I’m not exactly a skinny girl myself, I will stuff my fist in my mouth here.
Someone else wants to be as big as Usher – why not? Why not indeed? Someone else wants to be bigger than Pink. What is this, 2003?
Dermot welcomes us to London and introduces us to the judges again via the means of helicopter. We see lots of clips of Kelly’s hit records and she blabs that it is hard to ‘stay at the top’ as the male winners of this show weep silently. She lies that this show can find international stars, although I did hear that Jedward were now big in Germany, so, er, whoop?
Tulisa still doesn’t have a surname. Dermot tells us she’s the youngest X Factor judge ever, not like that old hag Cheryl Cole. They only play clips of that Never Ever Get Better N-Dubz song, because that’s probably the only one anyone knows. [I didn't even know that one. - Steve] Louis Walsh is soundtracked by Westlife and lots of Girls Aloud. Didn’t they fall out? [Well, as I understand it, it's a bit generous to say Louis "managed" Girls Aloud. According to Dreams That Glitter, he was their manager in name only for the first few months, and it ended up being Kimberley's job to ring up the record company every couple of days and find out what they were supposed to be doing, and then eventually Hilary Shaw took them on. I know, I need a hobby. - Steve] There are clips of the videos from last year’s mob. Whither Matt Cardle? He smugs about being the ‘last judge standing’ as if it had anything to do with his quality.
Gary tells us his mum will be proud of him being on this show. Oh, Gary’s mum. He wants to find a superstar. He’s looking rather slim, so I’m guessing it’s Robbie’s turn to eat the pies at the moment. [Never forget. - Steve]
Lots of filler as they tell us where they’ll be going for auditions. Liverpool instead of Manchester this year, apparently. If this means we get the sodding Beatles rammed down our throat that week, I won’t be happy.
At the Millennium Dome (I’m too retro to call it the O2), various old people snog and Frankie, a boy who looks like One Direction’s little brother who one day heard a Biffy Clyro album and now thinks he’s indie, reckons himself to be a ladies’ man and smugs about a bit. He’s wearing horrible grotty white sandshoes. He says he’s entered to get ‘lots of girls’ and the audience scream like the soulless shills they are. He’s an unemployed scrounger, which worked well for Matt Cardle, and says he has seven girls’ names tattooed on his bum. He moons to prove he does. Oh show, you are so classy. Tulisa and Kelly egg him on, like two little Sharon Osbournes.
People, this is the FIRST auditionee of the FIRST SHOW. And he’s a giant arse (badumtish).
Gary Barlow asks what his grandchildren will say about the tattoos. [I'm entirely unsurprised that Gary looks at matters from a grandfather's perspective. - Steve] Frankie replies that he doesn’t know why his grandchildren would be looking at his bum. I’ll give him that one. He sings ‘Valerie’. It’s rubbish, although the chorus is better than the verse. Ish. I suppose. It matters not because he’ll be through anyway. His surname, by the way? Cocozza. Like we’d ever get to hear that in the finals. This fucking lazy xenophobic show. Tulisa thinks all the girls will fancy him. Kelly says she likes the ‘bad boys’. Bad in terms of vocal? Because if so, you’re in for a real treat on this show. Gary enjoyed his ‘Rod Stewart’ vocal. Is Gary the new Louis? Louis, robbed of his ‘you remind me of a young…’ line just gets to call him a cheeky chappy. Four yeses. Le sigh. I’m already through my first drink. Louis then tries to reclaim his ctachphrases by telling Gary he’s like a ‘young Robbie’. Given how much Gary hated young Robbie, this can't be a flattering comparison. [Jesus Christ, what a way to start. His voice was even weaker than Lloyd Daniels', and he's such a COCK. Don't even get me started on Kelly offering to pay to be the next name tattooed on his rear. You have let me down, Rowland. - Steve]
Ads. The Inbetweeners Movie. I liked the first two series, wasn’t so keen on series three and am worried I might end up hating myself if I go to see this. Thoughts?
We’re welcomed back and “treated” to some sort of sketch of people in the never-before-seen make-up room pulling faces and arguing. This lasts longer than your average audition. I worry that this says something about the quality of the series, if we’re getting pointless filler like this already.
Oh well, time for our second auditionee. Kitty is the one who everyone’s comparing to Katie Waissel apparently. She’s “26” and says she’s been singing what sounds like ‘cage jobs’ since she was fifteen. That sounds like she’s at the mercy of some pervert, to be honest. She has created her own “brand” called Diva Glam Pop which she’d want to call her album. Girl, Dana International is shaking her head so hard at you right now. We see her putting make-up on in the audition lounge which already reveals the whole WE HAS MAKE UP ROOM NAO skit we just witnessed to be a total fucking sham. I hate this show. She apparently has a ‘team Kitty’ made up of ‘a couple of producers that I like recording with’ as well as make-up artists and choreographers, none of whom seem to be here to represent. FOR SHAME, TEAM KITTY. Oooh, the disembodied voice of a runner actually asks if her make-up artist is here. Breaking that fourth wall there show. So innovative that you can be like the Big Breakfast and all those wacky ‘posse’ radio shows we get thrust upon us first thing in the morning to make us feel terrible about the day ahead.
Her make-up, by the way? Unremarkable and too shiny. Kelly asks her what it’d mean to win the X Factor. Kitty says she’s had a lot of noes in her life and she’ll just give it her best shot. That’s a bit… flat. She said all her friends were working and couldn’t come, but she thinks they were just too scared. Or ‘going to the X Factor audition with someone I know’ isn’t a good enough reason to get the day off work. The caption calls her a ‘singer’. So – unemployed? She’s doing a slowed down version of ‘Edge of Glory’. I can feel Steve’s teeth itching already. She doesn’t pronounce the G in Glory. ['The Edge Of Laurie'. Kind of sounds like an indie film. An erotic indie film. - Steve] Her voice is so average, but she does very loud growly bits which this show always mistakes for emotion, so she’s presumably going to be adored. She really is no Katie – there’s not much personality, not much in the way of forced wackiness… it’s all just very beige.
Kelly psychobabbles about her needing not to lose the girl inside her. Tulisa reads the ‘we don’t really have a Katie Waissel this year but this is the best we have so make out like we do’ script she’s been given, calling her ‘quirky’ and saying she likes to talk a lot. Bugger off, she’s just some bored unemployed girl from Gloucester who thought rocking up to the audition with a ‘diva’ story would get her some camera time, but then couldn’t live up to it very well. [I actually quite liked her in a Weasel-lite sort of way. Her voice is horrible, but she has this excellent Alexandria-from-ANTM quality that could serve us well if she ends up being this year's designated villain. - Steve]
Louis looks a bit old. Has he stopped with the Botox? Gary gives a 100% yes. The others just give a yes. Oh show, if you’re not even going to play the game of ridiculous percentages then what is to be done with you?
Kelly lies that she saw ‘two different people’ in Kitty. You know what I saw? BEIGE. Gary says ‘some of the biggest acts in the world are the most complicated’. Kitty is about as complicated as the two times table.
Lots of footage of people being rubbish which we don’t see. Gary has this year’s grump on about it. It won’t be as fun as that time when Diva Fever made Louis Walsh’s grey life all colourful and gay. Oh help me, I’m almost beginning to defend the abomination that was last year’s shit shower of a show.
Time for our first comedy auditions. Sondesh wants to be like Jay-Z, Lady Gaga and Prince. He’s also unemployed. I’m torn – should I shout ‘get some fucking jobs’ at these auditionees, or blame the government for the unemployment figures meaning these people have nothing better to do with their lives than appear on this show? He does a version of ‘On the Floor’ with some comedy dancing. He leaves clutching a Sainsbury’s carrier bag. 47-year old ‘housewife’ (AKA unemployed) Ellen CHETCUTI squawks through ‘What a Feeling’ and dances badly. Gary says his wife was a dancer and he’s attracted to dancers, but he likes singers more. He’s not really succeeding at channelling Simon with the flirting yet. Lots of LULZ GARY SEZ NO montages. Wendy Davies, 30, ‘full-time-mum’ (AKA unemployed. I’m sensing a theme here) wants to be Britney Spears and screeches her way through that well-known Britney hit, ‘Wuthering Heights’. To be fair, that song can only be performed through the medium of screech so *shrug*.
There isn’t even a person who comes in and turns it all around. I guess they’re saving that for Birmingham or somewhere.
Ads. Creepy toadstool Coca-Cola nonsense. Advertisers are MESSING WITH MY MIND tonight. Guzzle Puzzle porny nonsense (also: lies. I had a packet of them the other day and notsomuch with the old ‘bubblegum’ and ‘cola’ flavourings). Also: ITV think it’s ‘ten years’ since Will Young won Pop Idol. Which is as much a lie as that stupid '1980s' classics ‘Back to Life’ and 'Buffalo Stance' are from the 1990s' lying advert of lies. People making up falsehoods about pop culture history makes me unspeakably angry.
Some mic-ed up runners over-egg their part by telling the judges the next auditionee is feeling sick and it’ll be a few minutes. Yuck, this really is going to be *that* type of show this year, isn’t it? I’m already fearing for the live shows, especially if NotLouis’ commitment to the American show means he won’t be choreographing. Man, I wish we were recapping that series instead. Especially because it hasn’t started yet.
We then see the next auditionee vomiting into a Morrison’s bag. So. Fucking. Classy. Show. Goldie is a Tai Chi instructor. I don’t know if that’s a proper job, but it’s the best we’ve got so far. She reckons she can be as big as Tina Turner. If she means 2010s Tina Turner who hasn’t done anything of note for about twenty years, then maybe. Gary asks if she’s ‘from the area’. This is, I think, meant to be a joke, because hur hur she looks foreign and has a funny accent hur hur. She says she’s from Hong Kong but is based in the North West now. Hmm. Based in the North West, Morrison’s carrier bag. I don’t think we’re in London any more.
Gary asks how old she is and she says ‘half century gone already’. Wow, she looks a good few years younger than 50, so good on her. She says she’s going to sing something called ‘Copper Bell’ and we get the fakeout ‘no-one knows this’ thing with the audience and Dermot backstage with her friends/family and wearing a hideous blue polo neck that makes his suits look good. If this turns out to be some racist ‘ho ho she has a funny accent, she ACTUALLY said ‘Poker Face’’ type joke, I might punch my telly. And seeing as my telly delivers me lovely things like Doctor Who and Only Connect, that would be a shame.
The caption says she is called Goldie Cheung (excellent name) but says she’s 48. So either she’s lying, the caption is lying, or she doesn’t know what a half-century is. She dances madly and already I can see her in the ‘overs’ group at Boot Camp. Her singing voice isn’t actually that bad. I mean, it’s not great, but it’s only The X Factor, she doesn’t need to be great. She sings a song in Chinese (I assume? I feel about as racist as the show for not knowing) and then bends over and waggles her arse. This whole show tonight is a bunch of arse. God, it’s even writing its own jokes now.
Louis pulls the first ‘do you have a second song?’ of the series. It’s ‘Proud Mary’. Louis sings along because hur hur gay anthem. It’s alright, I suppose. It's no Wagner. It's not even Icaro. She’s still the best person tonight. Kelly asks if you love ‘soul artists like Tina Turner, Chaka Khan?’ Not the first two names that I associate with soul, but anyway. Goldie says ‘I love all artists. All of you’. Bloody fence-sitter. At least throw in an ‘except for Cher Lloyd and Olly Murs’. Although to be fair, they would be stretching the term ‘artist’ a bit far. Tulisa thinks she’s original. Louis loves it. Gary feigns grumpiness because this is his appointed role, like all those times when everyone else puts a wacky over-25 through to Boot Camp and Simon says no. The judges, they may change, the script it stays the same. [Gary can fuck right off. What, he's suddenly developed standards since he put Frankie and Kitty through? - Steve]
Kelly racisterviews that ‘once you understand the words coming out of her mouth it could be quite nice’.
You remember in series one and two, you could win the ‘lifestyle’ of Simon or Sharon, but it petered out when it got to series three and no-one would want to win the lifestyle of Louis Walsh? Well it’s back. Only instead of winning the lifestyle of Kelly Rowland (because let’s face it, she’s the only one whose lifestyle might be worth winning), you can win the lifestyle of, erm, Britney Spears. OK? And this is sponsored by... M&S. Because the first place I associate with Britney Spears is that most British of shops. I can just see Britney rocking a slightly-too-loud blouse from Per Una like your auntie who thinks she can pull off the Susan Kennedy look, and eating olive tortillas dipped in Moroccan houmous rather than Dunkin' Donuts or whatever it is that heat magazine tells us she eats when they're having a 'LOL Britney is white trash' week. Sigh. Even this show’s competition misses Dannii. You can also go to Paris, that well-known Britney haunt. But you can watch a Britney show SO THAT’S THE SAME AS LIVING HER LIFE, RIGHT? The guess the missing word clip features some bloke with a guitar singing a girl’s song (‘Baby… One More Time’). I think he might have been on this show once. [Was it Tabby? - Steve]
Ads. Natalie Casey voicing Pizza Hut. Isn’t she due to be on Strictly Come Dancing by now?
Welcome back. They now have a sodding podium for people to dance on and Dermot snarks about them being show-offs, despite this show ACTIVELY ENCOURAGING THIS. I fear about how much rage I am using on this first show. We still have months and months of this ahead of us.
Various people want to be legends. Dermot tells us that some girl with big hair called Jenna (although apparently it’s Janet and he can’t pronounce for toffee) finds it hard to stand out in the crowd because she IS SO HUMBLE. She blahterviews about how LITTLE CONFIDENCE she has. She’s from Northern Ireland, from a SMALL TOWN in the COUNTRYSIDE like Lucie Jones who came from the middle of nowhere despite living on the outskirts of Cardiff. She is wearing a truly dreadful cardigan, but she’s incredibly pretty so it’s not exactly Susan Boyle we’ve got here. She’s doing ‘Your Song’ and is very Ellie Goulding. But we already have one of those, and she already did this song. Way to make yourself stand out, Janet. Her voice is OK in places, but then in other places she puts on a fake little girl voice, which is a tic I especially hate. She also exaggerates her accent a bit, but as someone who adored The Cranberries, I’d be a hypocrite to complain about that. I do wish she’d sung Promises instead. A pretty sixteen-year old going on about tying kids with heroin eyes to the bed and cleaning their heads would have been a bit more interesting.
The audience whoop like fools and Kelly blabs about how beautiful her voice is. Everyone loves her, obviously. She has nice eyes, I guess. She looks like she should be in Dorothy Farm or something though. The Moulin Rouge version of ‘Your Song’ plays. They choose the bit where Ewan McGregor goes really tuneless, presumably to make Janet’s version sound better. [Oh, this made me so very angry. It was practically a note-for-note cover of Ellie Goulding's version with a few Claw-esque affectations on top with absolutely nothing of substance to it, and already people are wetting themselves over her on Twitter. Then again, around this time last year everyone was all "have you seen Cher Lloyd? BEST AUDITION EVER, STAR OF THE FUTURE", which I was similarly baffled by and...well, look what happened there. - Steve]
Ads, because it has been so very long since we last had any of these. Marc Warren being an annoying twat. Spy Kids “4D”, which looks like the worst film of the summer – and I say this having seen the Horrid Henry trailer six times.
Roxy, from Essex, works in Domino’s. Someone with a job, hooray. She says, in the most uncomfortable way possible, that she ‘slaps’ the pizza. She’s not at all been made to say that by a producer so Gary can uncomfortably say ‘she’s from Essex and she’s a slapper’. This show, it demeans Roxy, it demeans Gary, it demeans me having to type that and you having to watch it. She warbles through something that I think might have been ‘Georgia on My Mind’ but was essentially just one annoying warble with little tune. Kelly says she and Tulisa will have to fight over her because Kelly has no idea how this show works. That, or they’ve changed the category assignment process.
The show is one hour and four minutes in… and we have a group. I guess that’s going to be the strongest category for the eighth year in a row then? *Double thumbs up*
SOSO Status blush that Destiny’s Child inspire them and they’re doing a slowed down (sigh) version of ‘Do it Like a Dude’. Their harmonies are pretty dodgy but there might be one or two of them that can sing and the others can just be their woo woo dolls. They look charmingly ramshackle and kind of cute. This show will slick all that out of them and make them a bland girlband who get sent home at judges’ houses, so I refuse to care.
Heshima, 24, “singer” (AKA unemployed) does a decent ‘OMG’, from the one line we hear of it. He dances a lot, which is apparently his “thing”. Gary says ‘he is off the chart. Can you imagine, just a nip and a tuck?’ Given he’s a lanky beanpole of a man, I don’t know what Gary’s thinking needs surgery. Louis says he needs a haircut, because he has an afro and that’s only cool and edgy on this show when it belongs to a white guy, which Heshima is not.
Dermot reminds us of a group called ‘Triple Trouble’ who were awful in 2009. I don’t remember a thing about them. George who was in that group says he was awful and now he can take criticism without getting angry. He’s grown up, matured and wants to do something with his life. Bet you anything he hasn’t got a job. That I can see exactly where this is going makes me want to weep. I'm half tempted to write this blog without even seeing the episode next time - I bet I'd get it spot on, other than the contestants' names, and I can just google those. His surname sounds exotic so he’s not getting through.
Tulisa unconvincingly reads off her script of lies that she knows him: ‘he’s the one that slammed the mic down and told Simon to shut up’. The audience boo, like they wouldn’t all dream of telling Simon to shut up. George blahs about how much he’s changed in that horrible faux Jamaican ‘street’ accent the young people of today adopt. /old /patronising. George’s surname is GERASIMOU. Bet you can’t guess what his occupation is.
He does a terrible version of something I don’t know that seems to be called ‘Give Me Everything’ and it goes on far too long to be comfortable for anyone. He goes into the audience and it takes forever for someone to stop the music. He whines about the music stopping and another runner over-eggs his part by pushing him back on the stage for the audience to shout ‘Off Off Off’. George says ‘don’t start’ although he’s not giving off half the angry vibe this show wants him to have. The judges all tell him he’s angry and aggressive and Gary sells he’s matured like an old curry. His level of arrogance and anger is so lame in comparison to previous contestants. He then says he’s going to speak and snits about Tulisa replacing Cheryl. He then calls her ‘some scumbag from the block’ (like Jenny?) and swears at her. Thing is, he’s an unpleasant little scrote but he wasn’t being like that until the show deliberately goaded him into it. He calls her a dog offstage and Dermot goes ‘don’t call girls that’, the chivalrous hero that he is. Dermot’s done next-to-nothing today. As have the groups. We’ve only seen one all show. [For what it's worth, my friend was at the auditions that day and she said they cut a lot of it out - apparently he was really going for Tulisa, and Kelly basically stood up and went mad at him. I wish we'd seen that. - Steve] [The producers clearly knew he'd kick off, then they goaded him. They shouldn't have put him on. But then we could say the same about everyone, I guess - Rad]
Coming up – a load of old toot and Louis crying. Next week I’ll be in a field getting pissed, but poor old Steve will be here suffering along with you. It’s going to be a long, long journey until Christmas, folks.