Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Something old, nothing new, many things borrowed, I feel blue

Auditions: Week 5, part 2
Broadcast 18 September 2011

As usual this series, I wasn’t in when this episode was broadcast. But I checked Twitter, and I was sore afraid, for verily not one tweet about this show was good. And lo, I did quaff much wine and say my prayers.

But, hey, it’s the last audition show, so that kind of means this whole thing is halfway over, right? (Well, no, not really, but pretending that’s the case might help me for now).

Oh look! My DVR cut off the pre-credits recaps/previews. I’m sure they showed some crap singers, some crap singers they’re pretending are good and some mugging from the judges. [My God, it's like you're PSYCHIC. - Steve]

Onwards, and we’re back with the silly contestants at home, on the bus and in cars on the way to auditions nonsense. Oh these random new innovations that they only put in some episodes when they need EVEN MOAR FILLER are really spoiling us.

Dermot reminds us that lots of people have shared ‘one dream’. To be a star, apparently. We’re back in London, although geography became meaningless many, many moons ago.

First up, married couple Neil and Margaret. He’s 55, she’s 52 and looks bloody good for it. Could this be the boy/girl duo to finally end the boy/girl duo curse? I’m guessing not. They met online. Dermot asks the name of the band and they reveal a SHOCK! TWIST! that they’re not really a band, but soloists.

Margaret (a teaching assistant) is up first, doing ‘Superstar’ by The Carpenters. Do I need to mention how this goes? If I mention she has slightly unkempt hair, glasses and an unfashionable big pink jumper, would that help? Tulisa says it’s very sweet but not to the ears. Margaret says she’s nervous and her singing teacher told her she sings well so she won’t take that criticism. Kelly asks how the audition went. Margaret says there were some bum notes but she thought it was OK. Four noes, surprise.

Neil’s up next,in a no-way contrived moment. He’s a ‘credit controller’ whatever that is. He’s doing Crocodile Rock, it’s also not good but to be honest, this series has lost all perspective of what’s good and what isn’t (well, as much as this show ever had that perspective) so for all I know they could send him through. Gary says he always hated the song and now he detests it. Louis says they should just sing at home to each other and it’s not what they’re looking for in the show. Except of course it is, or you wouldn’t have given them ten minutes of airtime. Margaret looks really upset as they leave. I hate that the producers let people audition who are clearly going to be a bit damaged by it. This fucking show.

Ads. Lots of toothbrush/toothpaste ads for some reason.

Next up is Bradley, 16, whom Dermot tells us wants to turn his life around. Bradley hung around with ‘scallies’ and was expelled from three schools. Apparently this is his parents’ fault for getting divorced. Anyway, he’s allegedly been well behaved for a year and wants to show people he can turn his life around. [I think most of the people he offended in his previous life would've probably just settled for him to stop being a twat, to be honest. - Steve] He’d better hope he has no happy slapping videos kicking about, eh, ZombiEmily? He does Ed Sheeran’s ‘A Team’ which is at least vaguely contemporary [Ed Sheeran = Male Adele. Mark my words - Helen], but he can’t actually sing several of the notes and he goes very quiet in places as well. I mean, he can sing a little bit but that’s all. There is not one remarkable thing about this performance – it’s utterly, utterly average, and not even on the good side of average. Tulisa loved the song and now loves it even more (see what they did there Neil?). Kelly could ‘listen to that voice on an album from top to bottom’ whatever that means. Gary lies that it was distinctive. Dermot calls him a ‘hell of a guy’. It’s not entirely clear how he’s ‘turned his life around’ but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that one until the inevitable tabloid scandal. Still a rubbish singer though.

Next up is Matt Vickers (no word if he’s related to The Claw) who works as a squirrel at an amusement park. He does a terrible squeaky version of ‘Price Tag’ [so, probably a yes on "related to The Claw", then? - Steve] and gets four yeses because there is no rhyme or reason to this show. Tulisa wears a whole heap of weird outfits in this segment, including a Cleopatra thing and a Transformers thing. BT engineer Anthony does a version of Aloe Blac’s ‘Dollar’ that sounds just like the original. This series should really just admit it’s copying Stars in Their Eyes and have done with it [I knew there'd be HORRIBLE CONSEQUENCES for ending that show - Helen]. Joe from Essex gets ‘straighted’ by Tulisa forcing him to admit he likes girls. His audition sounds NO BLOODY DIFFERENT from the terrible auditions, yet they all love him. I do not understand this programme. Gary says ‘all of a sudden the boys’ category is becoming desirable’. I think you all know what kinds of jokes were filling my Twitter feed at this point.

Competition time! Win the ‘X Factor judge lifestyle’ which involves sitting in a draughty auditorium, trying to pretend terrible/average singers are the second coming and being picked to pieces by the tabloids…. Sorry, involves going shopping in New York. I’d say this was a bit tenuous, show. The guess the lyrics clip involves a really out-of-tune Cher Lloyd doing ‘Empire State of Mind’. Oh, the aspiration.

Ads. That Sunday Night Show will surely be dreadful, but guests include Margaret Mountford, Shaun Ryder and Catherine Tate. If it was on BBC Two I’d be all over that bitch.

Terry, 51 is next. He tells Dermot he’s a singer. Dermot asks, ‘what, for a living?’ No, he’s a scaffolder and looks like he could be in Auf Wiedersehen Pet. His speaking voice is rather weak and breathless and he’s got the whole ‘I used to sing, gave it up, my kids grew up, this is my last chance’ edit, although at least he seems pretty philosophical about the whole thing rather than desperate. Kelly asks why he gave up singing, he says he thought he was too old. He’s doing Michael Bolton’s version of ‘To Love Somebody’. Every karaoke bar has a Terry. I mean, he’s fine, he can hold a tune, and his high notes are actually quite good. He’s certainly fine for boot camp but he’s just a pub singer. I can see him making live shows though because he has that ‘everyman’ appeal. This show should be careful though – the last one of these they put through turned out to be Steve Brookstein [And we all know how that ended - Helen,]. In fact, if he goes through and 2Shoes don’t, we should all vote Terry to win just in case he really does turn out to be the new Steve. Although he seems nicer and I don’t see our very own Helen getting into Twitter wars with Terry as she does with Brookstein. [it still could happen. If he has a degree of Z-List fame I could end up in a battle with him - Helen]

Guess what folks? There’s a reason they have an ‘over categories’ (oh GARY), and it’s for… altogether now…. ‘People Like You’! (TM The X Factor 2004-the end of time). Surprisingly, he ushers in some more brilliant old people! Beverley, a very good looking 35, is a chef, does a good ‘Loving You’ but hasn’t got enough of a story for us to need to invest in her. Judges’ houses at a push. Joseph, 26, who won the British championships at wrestling, does an uneven ‘End of the Road’ – some bits good, some dreadful. They play Kylie’s ‘Wow’. Thank you DIY and Weight Watchers ads for ruining that song for me forever. Carolynne, 30, former Fame Academy contestant (is that sort of thing allowed?) sings ‘The Climb’. She was good then, is still quite good now, but has picked up a truckload of bad habits and a terrible hairdo since. Anyway, don’t get attached, she’s had minimal airtime. And she’s now an antique furniture restorer, which sounds pretty cool. Also: I miss Alex Parks. Remember the days when lesbians were allowed on singing competitions?

Deep is a big fan of Take That. The Kylie song ends so we know he’s not in the montage of good auditionees. He does a very squeaky ‘Back for Good’. Just like Gary Barlow then (badumtish). I saw worse in that boys’ category segment earlier. Gary says there were some notes in it he doesn’t remember writing. Kelly says Gary should put it in the show. Louis says he didn’t just copy the original ‘like some people’ and here, he very very nearly says ‘that have auditioned this year’ before some rabid producer screams ‘NO’ in his ear and we get a long overdue ‘you made it your own’. Louis says yes, because he’s an idiot, or because he, like me, has no idea how the quality control is working this year. The others all say no and all four of them start to sing ‘Back for Good’. Really tunelessly, given three of these people make a LIVING from singing.


We’re back in BEAUTIFUL CARDIFF and have lots of shots of buildings that used to be featured in Torchwood before it went all American and forgot to make things happen in half its episodes.

Dermot recaps a potted history of The X Factor so far because they don’t actually have enough material to fill an episode and he reminds us that faces have come and gone. Simon! Sharon! Cheryl! Dannii! Guest Judge Paula Abdul! The old auditions! I only miss half of these things. Alexandra Burke! Shayne Ward! Because we’ve remembered him again? Leona Lewis! No other winners because there have never been any other winners, ever. Then the auditions went to shit and they did them in an arena! Pyrotechnics! New judges! But, ‘one thing never changes’ – returning auditionee Ceri. Really? All that build up was for a contestant who’s been on the show a few times whom you keep taking the piss out of? Content, where art thou? She looks really odd, like Sharon’s loaned her her plastic surgeon for the day. Dermot says he’s pleased to see her again ‘after all this time’ – wouldn’t she have met Kate Thornton before? [Memo to Rad. Dermot has always been the presenter. The live auditions are marvellous. The age categories have always gone from 16 and we have always been at war with Eastasia. MattRebeccaOneDirection – Love, The X Factor]

She says she’s been three times before. I don't recall three, but apparently 2005, 2006 and 2008. Was Dermot the presenter in 2008? [Yeah, he took over in 2007, I think. Series four, whenever that was. - Steve] Maybe she did meet him then. She reckons Simon might have been the problem and brings some flowers for Louis as he’s now her favourite judge. Louis kind of forgets who she is and Tulisa looks at her prompt sheet and reminds him. He says she’s looking different: ‘have you had something done?’ She says her hair. You know what? I would actually love a SuBo moment here. Mainly because I can’t face this. She says she’s been to a singing tutor later and thinks she can be as big as any of them. Louis asks what songs (plural) she’s prepared, she says ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from ‘Lez Miserables’. I shouldn't have even mentioned the S B words earlier in this paragraph, should I? I have but myself to blame. The music starts and she doesn’t join in – to be fair, the backing track’s got the world’s longest intro. Gary patronises her and says ‘those Lez Miserables ones have got those big long intros’. She tried ‘I Will Always Love You’. Kelly has nail varnish with one finger painted differently from the others. I don’t know if that’s some really weird design statement or just appalling manicuring. This audition goes on and on and on. Because perish the thought we see any good singers. Or any groups whatsoever.

Gary says it’s maybe time she stopped auditioning. Tulisa loves her but not her voice. Louis says she’s a great woman but won’t be a recording artist. Ceri thinks the four noes are a bit unfair. She’s not sure whether or not she’ll come back next year. Depends if the producers ring her up because they’re desperate for people to be on the show or not like they clearly have done every other year except 2005.

And that’s it. Downer ending.

Also, this episode: Not one group. Not one 16-24 girl. Not one standout singer. Not even a decent sob story. This episode really was the dregs of the dregs.

And then we have TEN FUCKING MINUTES of the judges saying they’re looking for a star and recaps of the previous million audition shows. I am not recapping those. Seriously, there was NO POINT to this episode.

Anyway, thank fuck that’s all over. And nary a group in sight. This series is BLOODY WEIRD. Join us next week for Boot Camp. Er, hooray?


Kathryn said...

Oh man, what has become of Alex Parks? Her wikipedia entry gives me no clue. I miss her too.

This weekend was really rubbish wasn't it? Bring on boot camp...

Yvie said...

There has been a very suspicious lack of groups in the audition footage this year, hasn't there. It's probably safe to say we're due another group cobbled together from failed soloists.

Rad said...

Yvie - if rumours are to be believed, we're due MANY of those frankenbands. Joy.

Patrick said...

Thats essentially why many of the soloists apply now - they know they are actually allowed to be average and get onto the live shows...