Week 3: Broadcast September 3 2011
Previously: A load of old rubbish, and, surprisingly, the odd OK-ish singer.
Tonight! I’m on the rota so it’ll be back to being terrible, I’m afraid! All the judges have lost their surnames! Olly Murs is at Number One! In the same week Waterstone’s cancelled 3-for-2s and E4 axed Friends! We’re all doomed!
The show goes on to remind us that as well as Olly FUCKING Murs, Cher Lloyd and JLS have had number ones this year. So the moral of the story is… don’t win this show?
Coming up! Lots of rubbish and Kelly and Louis cry. Oh boy.
I’m not sure I’m ready to face the music, but here we go anyway.
Terrible new gimmick of the week: home video diaries of contestants preparing to come to the auditions and being waved off by their families. Give me strength. At least the show’s not even bothering to pretend showing up to auditions is a spontaneous thing. [I'd swear one of the "at home" videos was done in the toilets at The O2. - Steve]
Someone puts on make-up in a tent. So much for the silly make-up room (which seems to be absent this week. Small mercies.)
Kelly wants to find a Destiny’s Child ‘times ten’. So a band of 40 members who somewhere along the way become a band of 30? OK. Tulisa wants an ‘urban’ act. Gary wants the hairs to go up on his neck. Louis wants to find some talent, and someone that wants to be a popstar. I like that their ambitions aren’t all that high.
First up, David Wilder, who looks like the lovechild of Steven Tyler and Martina Navratilova. He has been seeking this dream ‘for a while’ – for which, read since at least 1973, given the lines on his face. Louis asks why he’s here. To sing, apparently. Good start. He’s “42” and wants to be a rock legend. He’s in a purple jacket and purple shades and they’ve given him a purple background to match. He’s going to sing ‘Life on Mars’. Louis says ‘OK, Bowie’, to prove that he’s got musical knowledge and suchlike. The close ups on the faders are back, like we missed them. Oh yeah, he’s unemployed as well. Of course. He’s not particularly good, but he’s reasonably in tune for the most part and just about gets some of the high notes (although not the ‘Mars’). He runs around the audience and up the stairs in the stalls and is about 10,000 percent better than that lad who showed his arse a fortnight ago. He gives a rock star pose ending, and the audience give him a standing ovation. Kelly thinks we all need to be a bit like David Wilder for reasons I hope she keeps to herself. Louis makes a ‘freakiest show’ joke. Gary offers some ‘constructive criticism’ and says ‘bad tuning, bad timing, bad diction, no connection to the song, but I absolutely loved it’. Earning his place on the panel, right there. They all give him yeses, and I’d say he could well be this year’s Storm Lee. Heaven help us. To be fair, he was OK, in a ‘your dad’s mate’s band’ kind of way, but I hate to think what he’ll be when they’ve worked their “magic” on him for the live shows.
Ads. Jonathan Ross’s new set looks fucking horrible.
Dermot reminds us this show is open to people aged 16 or over. And always has been, there has never been anyone aged 14 or 15 on this show, ever. We have always been at war with Eastasia. The camera then shows us a small child for reasons unknown (also: I kind of want to see the US version of this show for the Scherzinger/Abdul factor, but 12 year olds? There’s a reason I don’t watch Britain’s Got Talent. Actually there are many reasons, such as performing dogs, mental old people and all the judges. But singing children are right up there).
Lots of 16 year olds want to be here, apparently, and they’ve all been waiting until they were old enough to audition. There’s something very, very sad about this. Also, you know who had that storyline last year? Cher Lloyd. And look how that turned out. Lem: 16, big hair, tuneless honk, too much warbling, four yeses. Max: looks like a 3rd rate Harry Styles, weird vocal tone although could be OK with training, four yeses. Lizzie: looks like a junior Kim Gee (from Pop Idol 2 and my Performing Arts class at college fame), cute as a button but utterly terrible, four yeses. 16 year olds are not all that. [Dear 16-year-olds: please at least get normal singing right before attempting to do melisma. That'd really help. - Steve]
Next 16 year old is Luke Lucas. Dermot rightly points out the awesomeness of the name. He apparently loves Tulisa. He seems a little square for that, but hey. He also has pink earphones and is wearing a white top in a Gareth Gates style. He wants to ‘bring happiness to people’. He comes on stage and says ‘Hello Gary’, and then ‘Hi Tulisa’ and tells her she’s beautiful. Louis and Kelly, apparently, do not matter. She lets him kiss her cheek. He looks a lot younger than 16 and is singing ‘Who’s Loving You’ by Michael Jackson. I already fear we have a new Eoghan Quigg on our hands. His voice hasn’t broken yet, which means there could be a lot of fun come later stages of the show. He’s not bad, albeit a bit squeaky, but let’s face it, all the entertainment is going to come from the weeks where his voice is a bit inbetween. Maybe they can capitalise on the inevitable squeaky/booming issue and give him songs like ‘Barbie Girl’. Tulisa thinks he’s ‘so cute’ and does a pinching baby’s cheeks motion. Oh, Tulisa, teenage boys are very rarely cute, especially when they’re at that awkward stage before someone’s thrust anti-perspirant at them.
Ads. Elliott from Hollyoaks and the sinister flirting Bird’s Eye polar bear. He’s doing well for himself these days then.
We return to hear that lots of girls want to be Britney Spears, Lady GaGa or Rihanna (yawn). This is our cue to welcome back Michael Lewis, who did a bad Michael Jackson impression last year. Apparently, that taught him a valuable lesson. Was that valuable lesson to go home, get a job, find a boyfriend/girlfriend, take up knitting or do something otherwise vaguely useful with his life, perchance? Why no, of course not. It was to ‘be himself’ and come back and audition without the sequins. He’s wearing leather now, and looks a bit like a make-up free Adam Lambert. He says he has a new attitude and new positivity in the most downbeat way imaginable.
You know what else is odd about this show? Its decision that young boys idolising Michael Jackson = "perfect pop stars". Men idolising him = creepy and strange. I'm not sure I want to get into the weird psychology here.
Louis reads his crib notes to pretend he remembers him from last year. I need not tell you what Michael does for a living. He flings off his jacket – so it’s unclear if the jacket was part of the real him or not. Maybe he’s been taking ‘real me’ tips off Katie Waissell and the music to Geri Halliwell's 'Look At Me' starts up. If I wasn’t on recapping duty, I would so be fast-forwarding this. It’s incredibly tedious and goes on a lot longer than it needs, of course. I’m intrigued by the grotty brown boots he’s wearing, which don’t seem to go with the look. He ends by shouting about how there’s ‘so much positivity in this room’. Last time someone with ‘issues’ tried to be ‘up’, the show goaded them into calling Tulisa a chav, so I don’t feel this is going to end well. He starts to argue with Gary and Louis. He sits on the stage and sulks as they all say no and looks like he’s about to cry, because he’s clearly not mentally well enough to be on telly. He then lies down and says ‘this is my stage, I belong on this stage, what part of that don’t you understand’ and starts shouting at them for turning on him and being two-faced, and essentially starts having a full-on breakdown, and no-one does anything, just lets him crack up. This fucking show.
Eventually Gary gets up, shakes his hand, says it was nice to meet him and he goes. This show has no duty of care ethos whatsoever, does it? Like that’s any surprise. [I can't believe what a colossal step backwards this show was after last week's. - Steve]
Anamelia, nightclub hostess, sings something that clearly should have a ‘fuck’ in it and they all whine at her about being arrogant because she wants to win. Yet they lapped up arse boy from the first show. Women, know your limits. Mitchell Webb – brilliant name, if you like certain comedic double acts – “26” (at some point many decades ago, and he just stopped counting), has an argument with Gary saying ‘bit too much like Robbie is it? Threatened?’ In the way that you’re clearly mental, yes, very much like Robbie. Jade, 21, attempts a bad mash-up of ‘Empire State of Mind’ and ‘Do it Like a Dude’ and gets told off for rapping rather than singing because that’s so 2010 and anyway, she’s not a spoilt little white girl, and it’s only subversive and edgy when they do it. She says ‘I thought rapping was a form of singing’ and gives a sarcastic ‘it’s your opinion’ which is a rubbish retort when she could have just gone ‘I hear Jerusalem bells A RING A DING A DINGING’. Contestants: know how to give good burn. Carina, cleaner, 32, squeaks through ‘Telephone’ and some Rihanna lookalike does a talk to the hand motion to the camera.
The world’s chavviest girl band, Angel, start with ‘Get my Swag On’. Oh no they di’nt. They then mash it into ‘Whip My Hair’ but don’t really get much hair whipping in. Kelly wants to think what Tulisa thinks, because they clearly want to be her. She says they can’t sing, which is true. One says ‘that’s a bit rich, coming from you’, the other two pull ‘shocked’ faces and they get booed. Kelly does the Karren Brady ‘women don’t be bitches’ line and Gary shakes his head like a disappointed dad. Everyone says no. Tulisa loses her cool and mangles ‘if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen’ into ‘get out of the kitchen if you can’t handle the heat’ but she’s still more literate than Simon, even when clearly upset.
The queen bitch from Angel snits to Dermot that 'Tulisa was being bitchy, miss' and gives the camera an epic bitch face in the booth of bitterness while her bandmates say they need to bite their tongues. She is actually kind of scary.
Ads. The Beatles ‘1’ in a remastered version. It didn’t even come out that long ago, did it? Also: Hooray, only 15 minutes left! I love these short audition shows this year.
The fortunate thing about this year is that I’ve managed not to be in on any Saturdays so far, so I’ve been watching this show several days later. This does mean, however, that by the time I see it, I know who the alleged ‘buzz’ is about each evening. I’m sensing a very stong pull towards a young female winner this year (i.e. there's been no pull whatsoever to anyone in any of the other categories).
I’m also sensing that the massive lack of groups in all three episodes so far is entirely deliberate to prove that groups of failed soloists are entirely the future, even though, they’re not really.
This is the girl who this week’s buzz is about, Jade. She’s brought her gran with her, which always goes down well with us Telly Bitchers. The sad thing is, she looks so entirely normal, with her tracksuit top and bandana and unkempt black hair, and you know this show will try and either slick her up so she looks weird, or do a Michelle McManus on her, emphasise her weight and stick her in smocks to do a ‘look, large girls can win’ spiel. (Hey, it was 8 years ago right? We’ve all forgotten that contrived situation now, haven’t we? Anyway, Jade has her nose pierced and a tattoo, which is an EDGY TWIST on the theme.) As if to hammer home the point about larger ladies, it’s ‘Someone Like You’. God, bloody Adele. I don’t even hate her that much, unlike Steve [that's because I hate her enough for both of us - Steve], and I’m already dreading how much more of her there is to go this series. It's so obvious that this year the producers went 'Let's find the new Adele. Only with a bit of a twist, like'. You just know that's also the line Andrew Lloyd Webber would be using were he doing a show at the moment. I miss the Lloyd Webber searches. *Sigh*. This show could learn much from the exit songs and colour coding of those shows.
Her lower register isn’t as good as she thinks it is, but in places she’s not got a bad voice – unfortunately, she’s doing an exact Adele impression, rather than putting her own personality into things. Also unfortunately, she gets a lot, lot worse as she goes along, losing the tune in places, and you know she wouldn’t get the attention if she didn’t look like a ‘different’ contestant. [Also, she doesn't even attempt to go into a higher register at the point Adele does, which doesn't exactly scream "massive vocal range". - Steve] She then cries and blushes a bit. I quite like her as a person, but I already hate what this show will do to her, and to 'us' as it tries to make us root for her.
Kelly cries in a slightly fake way and says she ‘had a dream’ about this song all week. No Kelly, it’s just stuck on your internal jukebox like it is for the rest of us because it’s never off the telly/radio/instore stereo. Backstage, her grandma cries and gets some Dermot hand-holding. Tulisa and Gary love her and Louis cries as well.
Leona Lewis plays to remind us that girls are the bestest X Factor winners (although her new song is just plain weird, isn't it?), and everyone cries and hugs Dermot.
Next week: a double bill. Oh fuck, and just when I was enjoying the shorter shows.