Sunday, September 02, 2012

Going for Bloke

Auditions show three: 1 September 2012 

It’s September 1st 2012! It’s one of the most exciting days of TV this year! Whoop! Paralympics gold-rush! Whoop! New Doctor Who with every Dalek ever*! Meanwhile, over on ITV, we have the telly equivalent of someone tapping a microphone and going ‘Hello? Is this thing on? Can you hear us? Anybody?’

Yes, it’s the third episode of this year’s X Factor, and like the rest of the country I can barely control my excitement… about the cycling and table-tennis finals later. So whilst the sport’s having a Sunday afternoon lull, I’m going to whizz through the episode. My PVR then decided to cut off the beginning, so I’ve had to resort to watching some of this via the “magic” of ITVPlayer, as if I wasn’t already feeling aggrieved enough about the whole process. Fortunately, ITVPlayer tells me it’s only 48 minutes long. *Thinks of the prospect of the three-hour live shows and cries*.

And some of those 48 minutes are being taken up with filler of people we barely remember from the last few shows: there’s Sheffield girl, worst sob story ever bloke, and some others I fail to even care about. The show then tries to make out that anyone is talking about it by showing a handful of filler columns from the inside of the papers and a bit of Eamonn Holmes discussing one of the contestants on whatever programme he does these days. I can’t help but thinking this strategy is a misfire and only serves to emphasise how little coverage this series is getting. Seriously, I have never seen an X Factor series discussed less, whether on Facebook or Twitter or in mainstream media. And that’s going to be a big problem for them – they can’t even bank on the ‘X Factor in RATINGS CRISIS ZOMG’ storyline to give them publicity as that one ran last year. I expect publicity will pick up come live shows, but right now, even Celebrity Big Brother, which seems to be the least popular incarnation since Channel 5 brought it back, is attracting more interest.

The terrible sub-ITV2 montages of contestants’ real lives continue – we see people having breakfast! Walking through skate parks! Sitting in bus-shelters! Taking the tram! As TV highights of the week go, it’s hardly Jody Cundy losing his shit at being denied a re-start, Steven Moffat’s super-sneaky surprise last night, or Brendan going all grumpy in this week’s Great British Bake-Off. It’s not even Julie Goodyear fellating a banana. We then get more sub-TOWIE rubbish where one of the contestants discusses her dietary and bowel habits. This is going to be the most boring episode ever, isn’t it? It’s like this show can’t even be bothered with hyping up its own fake drama any more, the Pink-girl episode being their last gasp at bothering.

Bowel movement girl is called Nicola-Marie and she tries to make out that she’s a character, but honestly, if you’d put her in Big Brother 4, she’d have been the most boring one. And this bit goes on for about FIVE MINUTES before she even gets on the stage. We’re in Manchester again with Mardy Mel, the only person who’s been getting any sort of publicity out of this show (except perhaps Sheffield girl). Nicola Marie says she’s 35, nearly 36 and almost immediately fishes for a ‘but I don’t look it right’ comment from Gary, who dully obliges. He also appears to be wearing a blue dressing gown over his clothes today because ITV haven’t paid the heating bill. TOUGH! ECONOMIC! TIMES! Also – I’m 32 and I would say she definitely looks a good two or three years older than I am, so if I’d had to guess her age it would have been around the 34/35 mark. Sorry, Nicola Marie. Also also: get the fuck on with it.

Louis Walsh says she reminds him of Davina McCall. No, Louis, she reminds you of someone who got rejected at BB auditions, although she does have the same whiff of desperation to be loved that Davina has, so maybe he has a point. She babbles about having performed at Janice Battersby’s birthday as Amy Winehouse. OMG STAR-FUCKING RINGER ALERT.

She’s going to sing ‘Tell it to My Heart’ over a Hi-NRG beat in a desperate attempt to be gay-mazing. But she’s just too forced. Everything about he performance is what you’d expect – sub-sub-sub-Cher vocals (and outfit), she doesn’t have the breath for this song AT ALL, over-exaggerated moves (although she does the splits, so credit to her for being able to do that) and huge faces like one of those women who thinks it’s OMG SO WACKY to go out to Canal Street on a hen party FOR A LAUGH WITH THE GAYS. I bet doing Alannah Myles (badly) at karaoke night down the local is one of her hobbies. She just seems that type (and this is coming from someone who has been known to do Alannah Myles on Singstar in a friend’s living room but that’s a whole heap of different, honestly).

Anyway, Gary hates it, Tulisa liked the bit where she did the splits. Mardy Mel loves it because secretly if she hadn’t got the fame and the millions she’d probably be the same type as Nicola Marie if you chucked a couple of Malibu and Diet Cokes at her. Louis loves her because, obviously [I thought she was precisely that kind of mid thirties crazy eyed cruiseship diva that Louis seems to love. No bad thing - Helen] [I quite liked her. I'm clearly the Louis of this blog. Again, no bad thing. - Steve]. Gary says she’s dated and annoying. Mel and Louis give her yeses, Tulisa umms and ahs but the cheerful disco version of ‘One Night Only’ has already started on the backing track so she says yes. They really are scraping the barrel this year, even though they've surely scraped the barrel so much that all that's left of it is sawdust by now.

Mel says she couldn’t take her eyes off the stage. Gary wants to strip all the ‘fun’ away at Bootcamp because, well, he can’t lose his Funsponge reputation. He blames Mardy Mel for lumbering them with ‘that’ at boot camp and Mel gives the most evil laugh ever. Heh. That bit made me laugh at least. [Mardy Mel's really growing on me, I must admit. - Steve]

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Even more TOWIE-esque bits now. Did they just nick an ITV2 production team for this series? Lots of mums are sitting outside a greasy refreshments truck with their auditioning offspring telling them to enjoy it. It looks very cold. Lifeguard Jake, 23, from Scunthorpe has brown Aiden Grimshaw hair and an Olly Murs shirt and as an ex-South Humbersidian myself, I’m team Jake [My overriding thought is that he didn't put the 'Thorpe' in Scunthorpe - Helen]. I’ll forgive him the shirt. We pretty much have the same accent although mine is tinged wi’ Sheffield nah. He even calls Coronation Street ‘Corra’ although I seem to remember it was also called ‘Corro’ in that neck of the woods. Never ‘Corrie’ though. His surname is Quickenden, which will sound ace in the voiceover if they don’t chicken out and call him Jake. Jake Q would be OK, if only for the possibility he could be styled as one of the Q. Ah, Star Trek on TV, how I miss thee.

He’s doing that annoying X-Factor slowed-down piano take on ‘Use Somebody’. It’s not entirely spectacular but it’s workable and makes him a decent contender for this year’s inevitable bland but attractive brunette white male winner, which is still my dream, just because it would be hilarious. Anyway, four yeses. 

He does a little skip thing as he leaves the stage. Taylor Breslin, who looks like that bloke out of Supernatural and has the name of a Hollywood starlet, does a workmanlike ‘Last Request’ and is also through to the bland white brunette blokes’ Boot Camp of destiny. Gary says he’s ‘tapped into my own personal choice’ – yup, bland, slow, boring. Oh Gary, you’ll never ever change, will you? [He'll never forget where he's come here from, etc - Helen]

17-year old Jessica Beckett does a somewhat wobbly ‘Just the Way You Are’ (the new ‘Beautiful’?) but her family whoop a lot backstage, and her mum traps Dermot in a hug which is at least the X Factor as we know it. Boring but pretty brunette white bloke Matt Defreitas does the Marcus Collins-esque (/that bloke he pinched it from-esque) version of ‘Seven Nation Army’ and gets through. We’re very spoiled for bland brunette anoni-white blokes this year. Excellent. [WHAT A DEPARTURE - Helen]

‘Young at Heart’ plays as we meet ‘wacky’ mum Alison and her fourteen-year old son who gives amazing OTT eye-rolls at his mum bigging herself up to the camera. She’s here because she loves singing and wants to make a better life for her kids. Fair enough. She says her two teenage kids (fourteen and sixteen) are backstage and will love her performance. Cut to the kids doing typical teenage head-shaking but with massive smirks on their faces. Heh. This is so clearly set up but at least they all seem to be in on it (I hope), so I don’t mind too much. Louis asks her who her favourite judge is. She says she likes everyone, but obviously Gary, because she’s a mam, so duh.

She’s going to do ‘Edge of Glory’. Dermot clarifies with the teenagers that they’re embarrassed. She’s out of tune and time and not quite wacky enough. Backstage the teenagers pull their best pained faces and the judges get a moment to do their practised grimaces. I like Alison fine, she seems nice enough, but this is a poor level of ‘wackiness’, even by this show’s standards. At least she doesn’t actually seem mentally ill or super-vulnerable though, so that’s a big improvement. The judges try to go through their rote lines: ‘you’re on the edge of something…’, ‘a bit like somebody drunk at a wedding’ etc but their hearts aren’t in it. Three noes and Gary gives a yes because he doesn’t want to lose the mams' vote. [He is so patronising and full of shit. I really cannot understand why people like him. - Steve] The judges try and say it was fun but behind their eyes it’s all ‘kill us. Kill us now.’ Alison laughs it all off but, well, that was all a bit pointless and ‘we’d-better-get-a-bad-audition-in-because-this-is-what-we-have-to-do’, wasn’t it? And you thought last week’s episode of this show was bad.

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More terrible staged backstage nonsense but at least there’s a cute child involved, four-year old Kian, whose favourite song is ‘Moos Like Jagger’. His dad is auditioning and tells us that he and Kian’s mum have split up. Oh well, in a few years’ time Kian will be able to use that as his sob story, so every cloud and that. Lots of girls in the audience whoop at the dad when he arrives onstage because he’s a bland but attractive white brunette bloke. Hooray! He says his name, Joseph Whelan, but it sounds like Josephine, which is what he will be from now on. Josephine is doing ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and keeping it up-tempo and rocky. You can just see the disappointment in Gary’s face. His vocal is OK-ish - by this show’s standards, I mean. He’d never in a million years have a career as a rock singer.

Kian claps a lot, FOR THE OVARY VOTE. The women in the audience scream. Tulisa says Gary will be jealous because all the mams will love him instead of Gary. Louis lies that he has an authentic rock voice. Gary lies that he really enjoyed it. Mardy Mel says he smashed it. I think they used all Mel’s good bits up in the first week, folks. Dermot bonds with Kian backstage, which is also very cute, even if it’s shameless ovary-manipulation. Four yeses, and ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing’ plays because this show’s stack of backing music still hasn’t changed over the years, and because this episode is so X-Factor-by-rote it's untrue.

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We’re noo in Glasgae in Bonny Scotland och aye the noo, tartan and bagpipes, wee Jimmy Krankie. Oh, X Factor.  Anastasia is the guest judge because apparently she still exists, who knew? She hopes the contestants will be good and she won’t have to be mean. Louis boasts that he’s in his ninth ‘season’ and is the only original judge LIKE THAT’S A THING TO BE PROUD OF.

A pretty decent sounding remix of ‘Wings’ by BixMix plays, damn its deceptively-catchy-for-a-sanitary-protection-ad-soundtrack heart, as we cue up some comedy auditions from the overs category. Alan works in ‘a supermarket’ and does ‘Shine’ by Take That badly. Not sure whether he works for Morrisons and is trying to promote them, or for a rival and is trying to TAKE THEM DAHN via the medium of a rubbish-mid series audition episode of X Factor that no-one cares about. Louis declares it better than the original. Loretta, 57, comes dressed as Sinitta circa-Toy Boy but misses a trick and does a screechy ‘Power of Love’ (Jennifer Rush version) instead. I bet she also did ‘So Macho’ but had that audition clip cut when Simon Cowell allegedly got the hump about Sinitta using Twitter or whatever happened (speaking of Twitter – has this show finally stopped flashing up stupid hashtags or did I just blank them out this week?) [There weren't as many, but there were still a few. - Steve]. Anastasia is all ‘did you even hear yourself?’ although that’s only really a series one level of burn. Louis says there’s no talent in Glasgow. A Samantha Brick lookalike in horns (Hesther, 44), does a growly ‘Wild Thing’ and declares herself ‘terrible’. Dermot asks what she’ll do now. Hesther: ‘I dunno. Get drunk?’. Hee. [There was a marvelous moment where one of her bangles flew off. It was the only time I was entertained this episode - Helen]

Next up, Melanie Massey, who dresses like Janet Devlin and has exactly the same hair. She has two cute children, both of whom have lots of hair, and one of whom looks a bit like the girl out of Brave, and I’m surprised the show hasn’t made more of this. She tells us she runs an under-fives music club called, ‘Flutterbyes little Rockabyes’. I don’t even know what that means, although it’s the kind of thing she could probably get Duncan Bannatyne to invest in on Dragon’s Den. We see her at home prancing about in a tiara and fairy wings to dress as ‘Fairy Flutterbye’ because, yes folks, she is a class A KOOK in big red letters. [She's a fairy odd mother! OHGODIMSOFUNNY - Helen]

She’s going to sing Janis Joplin’s ‘Cry Baby’. I spoke too soon – the dreaded nonsense hashtags are back. Still, a Joplin song on this show is a nicely different choice. The performance itself is a hot fried mess – some bits are in tune, some bits really, really aren’t. A few bits have impressive reach, many bits are a screechy caterwaul. But then Melanie looks like a hot fried mess kind of person all over, so it seems fair enough that that’s how she performs. Louis says ‘where did that voice come from, and where has it been’ – I’m sure there’s a joke here, but I can’t reach for it, just like Melanie couldn’t reach for all of those notes. Anyway, clichés abound – Tulisa just chucks them out like flashcard words: ‘fire, diva, soul’ and she’s through. Anastasia struggles to string a sentence together when the judges discuss her: ‘two kids, forty-four, a fairy’. Enlightening. And we’re done.

That may have been a short episode but it felt about a year long, and not one person featured had their heart in it. And there were NO GROUP AUDITIONS AT ALL tonight. For fuck’s sake, show. [So much for all those pre-series claims that there were lots of strong groups this year. We'll see them all being formed at boot camp, no doubt. - Steve]

‘Coming soon’ (not next week?): Four judges. (which is a lie, because we see at least eight different judges in the preview clips). One Chance. One Decision. Wand Erection? Some sweary people. Some purple hair. And Geri Halliwell turns up and trolls Gary purely for kicks it seems. Join us then!

 *Or some of them, anyway.  Where was crazy ol' Dalek Caan, eh, Moffat, EH?


xtoast said...

You missed the #EdgeOfSomething hashtag then... Genius..

Rad said...

I must have been typing when that one came on. Suffice to say, I'm not rewinding to find it...

Anonymous said...

Just a few random comments:

Maybe the hashtags will disappear after the celeb Twitter campaign to trend #PissoffXFactor

There was a group on - the bland brunette white boyband, they just got to audition seperately. I'm calling them.

Mentioning Alannah Myles made me shoot over to YT to watch Black Velvet and Alannah seems to spend her time these days replying to all the comments.

StuckInABook said...

If 'dully' was a deliberate play on 'duly' and GB being dull, then that's my favourite thing ever. :)

StuckInABook said...

(er, Gary Barlow, not Great Britain)