Monday, September 30, 2013

The Others

BOOT CAMP!!! Part 2 – 29th September 2013

LAST NIGHT! Rad saw you through the first part of bootcamp, which was all about the ladies. The girls. The females and a little bit of the overs.  Tonight is presumably going to be about the remaining overs, groups and the boys but the way things are going recently, it could be about anything. Something tells me that Funsponge Ruxpin is not going to let this show be about the boys with five minutes of groups tacked on to the end. We’ll see.

We begin, as always, with a montage. Nobody is safe until everyone has sung. Dermot welcomes us to BRAND NEW BOOTCAMP which is just like old bootcamp except they’ve been up the road to Ikea and bought some chairs. Not ones to be outdone by gimmicky reality TV shows like The Voice, the X Factor have put their own “spin” on Chair Based singing contests by having six chairs lined up on stage that can be given and taken away at the whims of the judges.  They were used as a means of creating drama and for Nicole to pick her final six girls. How much must the others love her taking up so much screen time? She must be as popular as Sinitta at the Cowell baby shower.

We’re beginning with Shelley. She’s the non Meaty Minge style woman with the booming voice and interesting facial expressions. Because she’s no cliché she loves singing more than anything else and she felt at home on stage for her audition etc etc etc zzzzzzzz. The reaction was beyond anything she thought. She also has a cute kid to win hearts with who has told her not to dare come home with a no. She’s looking forward to being on stage and being accepted for who she is, chubby cheeks and everything, would be her ultimate dream. Oh would you ever just shut up? Your singing voice has got nothing to do with you as a person! People only accept your batshit craziness if your some kind of established creative genius, not because your mates tell you you do a good Whitney after seven Woo Woos in Yates’. She’s on.  She strides on stage and calls Sharon darling. She then drags out her poor kid before murdering Respect by Aretha Franklin. She ballids it to within an inch of its life then she kicks it to death by adding an acoustic guitar backing. NOT COOL SHELLEY. They bloody lap it up though. She’s got a kid! She drives a van! She’s the anti Broken Britain! Funsponge admires that she can sing both high and low notes. Louis thinks she’s special. She thinks he’s special too. LOL DISABILITY JOKES. Sharon asks her to lay off her man. Nicole’s opinion isn’t important. She gets a stool. She mouths ‘thank you’ at the judges before they drag her poor daughter on to the stage to make a lovely television moment.

Dermot justifies his presence by counting the seats for us. Four are taken and there’s two to go. OH MY GOD WILL THERE BE TENSION? SURELY THESE CHAIRS ARE NOT JUST A DRAMATIC PROP?! Next up is Katie Markham who is a tribute artist. We don’t get to know who for. It looks like Effing Lulu though. They love her. She gets a seat. She’s never been on before so I’m assuming she’s a bit of a redshirt. Dermot points out that there’s only one seat to go but that means NOTHING DERMOT because anyone can get chucked out at any time. Next up is some busker cannon fodder who is called Andrea McGee who’s singing River Deep, Mountain High and drumming at the same time. She also gets a seat. Funsponge thinks she’s different. Dermot then talks about chairs and numbers but I think it’s safe to say we all get it.

It’s now the turn of someone else we’ve never seen. 26 year old student Lorna Simpson. Sharon’s death mask tells her that all the seats have gone but Lorna doesn’t care. She’s here to take a seat. She wheels out the Whitney too. She’s also ballided it. Let’s just all pretend the 80s didn’t happen, shall we? There was no disco soul. These songs cannot be sung like that ever again. She breaks into some serious vocal acrobatics and everyone loves it, including the six sitting on the chairs, who are seemingly not aware that if she gets a seat one of them loses theirs. Funsponge calls it the surprise performance of the night. Nicole compares it to a boxing match and Louis thinks she nailed it. He wonders what Mrs O is going to do. She’s made her decision, she wants her in the top six, but she has to boot someone out. New Meaty Minge doesn’t like this at all, but it doesn’t mean anything because it’s Sabrina that loses her seat. Sabrina leaves the stage with her head held high as Louis tells Sharon she did the right thing. Sabrina interviews how shocked she is whilst Lorna says she didn’t want to do that. Are you watching, other five? Cos that’s what graciousness looks like.


Zoe Devlin is last up. She’s last up and she’s doing it for her little girl. She got a little bit in the last Arena auditions show so she’s probably going to be good. She looks like Katie Waissel’s evil twin from the 50s. She’s singing the best song about Negging ever, You Are So Beautiful (To Me). [I refuse to believe that the best negging song ever isn't a One Direction song. The odds are so heavily in their favour. - SteveShe immediately annoys me because she gives it all “I really want this” eyes and “I’m so humble” head bobs. Sharon tells her that she’s very different and she wants her to have a seat. However, this means that she has to chuck one off and she’s not sure who. She takes it to the other judges. Funsponge wants to chuck Joseph off on vocals. Joseph immediately starts having a tantrum because someone forgot he HAS A SON and they CAN’T DO THIS TO HIM. He has to be told to sit down. Oh Joseph. The tiny, tiny glimmer of respect I had for you has now left the building. It’s not him though. She goes with Louis’ suggestion of Katie. She starts crying, as does Joseph because he’s an utter twat. [SMH - although if he continues to act like Brookstein I am intrigued as to how Sharon will handle it - Rad] Katie tells Dermot she had more to give as the final six overs congratulate each other. Meatier Minge phones her kids who scream at her.

We move on to the groups. This year we have not escaped the curse of the frankenband as “Gary” “put together” some leftover girls and Cici that wouldn’t abandon her group and two girls that got a no.  Cici says it’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a 24 hours because she didn’t want to leave her boys but she’s got a KID and a BRAIN so she’s going to give it a go. They’re given an office to rehearse in.  He pops in to see them and tolerates them jumping for joy all over him.  He thinks they look amazing together and thinks that they have a real opportunity to do well, not that he’s going to favour the band he put together personally over the others!

First up are Brick City, featuring the most ill advised jump suit since Rowland Rivron put on Anneka Rice’s one on Celebrity Come Dine With Me. They sing Like a Prayer. Nicole thinks they work well together. Louis thinks they’re a ready made pop group. They’re stool material all right. Hurr. Stool Material. That’s like poo. They haven’t thought this through.

Next up are Rough Copy. They call Funsponge backstage.  Apparently one of them is still having Visa issues and won’t be able to go to Judges Houses if they did get through so he’s bowing out and they’re going through as a duo. They make the one without a visa watch to see what he’s done because there’s a Tory in the room. They do the impossible though, which is ballid a song which is already a ballid, Stop Crying Your Heart Out by Oasis. It’s taken into new dimensions of turgid.  Nicole would deffo give them a stool. Sharon uses the word Rough to describe their experience because HAHAHA that’s their name. Funsponge hasn’t thought about them as a duo but he thinks for a second and perches them on one of his chairs.

Oh the sweet mercy of advertising. Like any kid is going to Google glossophobia.

Next up are NVS that are like two lots of H and Claire singing the hits from Glee through their noses. They don’t get through. After them is the abomination that is the hipster boyband, Kingsland. Seriously. I’ve been off sick in the week and I watched all of Nathan Barley in one snotty, wheezy sitting and it did nothing to give me any anti-hipster antibodies against this lot. They, like everyone else, can’t believe they got this far and there’s no room for mistakes. Aside from the mistakes of their individual and collective births. They’re singing For Once in My Life from off of Motown wearing your mum’s wardrobe from the 80s and ironically dancing in unison. To say it is an abomination is an insult to Damien and his Omen. It couldn’t be any more portentous of a terrible tragedy if it was the Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding under some ladders with black cats chasing single magpies zigzagging across their paths. OF COURSE they’re going to get through.  Nicole loves that they’re prepared and cute. Sharon thinks they have potential. Funsponge thinks their shit individually but good together and they have the potential to be a great boyband. They are, of course, stool worthy.

Next up is Xyra, who were the ones I made the awesome Bixmix joke about Last week.  Louis loves that they can all sing. Funsponge was looking forward to them least but he gives them a seat. They’re followed by Tenors of Rock who are basically the cast of a suburban production of We Will Rock You. Funsponge thinks it was a great performance but because it was a bit too much fun for him he has to question the relevance. He gives them a seat to chuck them off later.  Code 4 are next. They do good leg dancing for the Mams and a back flip which causes Nicole to get out of her seat. Funsponge admires their ambition and gives them a seat.

He’s already thinking about who to chuck off as his frankenband arrive to perform. They’re feeling the pressure because they’ve only been together a day. Cici has been feeling the ups and downs of being in one band yesterday and being in another today but she’s feeling blessed. They’re going to give it their all and try and steal a seat from someone. Cici immediately starts crying because she’s been given a second chance. They’re singing Love in a Hovis Face but it’s been ballided a bit. The harmonies need practice, in that they need some practice as opposed to none. Funsponge immediately looks supremely pleased with himself. The other judges pretend that they’re good too. Nicole can’t resist and points out that they’ve only been together a few hours but they shine bright as a three piece. The other groups know that one of them is for it.  Gary bangs on about how big a decision it is before deciding to punt someone else. Nicole thinks they deserve it. Nobody knows on what merit this is. He gets rid of...

Oh let’s find out after the adverts. Ooh, that’s where my last speck of respect for Natalie Portman went!

We’re back and Dermot explains the chairs thing AGAIN. As does Funsponge. He boots out the Tenors of Rock and wishes them luck. They interview that they’ve sacrificed everything so they’re really disappointed. Never mind! Next up its Next Of Kin, who are not so much 911 as 999 with Michael Beurk. Next of Kin are the ones that were supposed to be the British Hanson but were shit so they didn’t make it. They’re singing Rule The World which is a brave move because even Funsponge admits that he doesn’t like being outdone. They Cardle it to shit and everyone loves it. Louis trolls that it was better than the original. Sharon thinks it was a bit old fashioned. Gary says that he loved their original audition but he hasn’t loved the rest of the performances so they’re off. BYE THEN.  Sharon thinks that they couldn’t be worked with any more and his final six are complete.

So finally, it’s Louis’ boys. I’m going to try to get through this section without making a cheap joke at the expense of Louis’ sexuality because I’m a bit bored of it to be honest. I saw Denise Bloody Welch make a dig at him on live television about preferring to give his attention to boy bands and I’m a bit sick of all the nudging and raised eyebrows. We at Bitch Factor don’t agree on lots of things but we have all agreed on the awesomeness of Louis Walsh in the last couple of series and to be honest I think that he got this category so cheap jokes could be made on the Xtra Factor by people who are not BLOODY MATT EDMONDSON. Sorry, but I think we’re way past the stage where it’s acceptable to make jokes about men not being around younger men because of their sexuality. (Time of the month dear? YES WHAT OF IT). [Here, have a promotion. You've earned it. - Steve]

First up is 19 year old Sam Callahan. He thinks this could be monumental and he’s going to work his balls off. He can’t go back to being a normal kid cos he isn’t one. No. He’s a sub Olly Murs twatface chopping away at a cheap guitar. Louis wants to know if he’s ready. He’s as ready as he’ll ever be. He sings Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls and he’s doing this weird thing where he sings one line quiet and one line LOUD. Sharon thinks he won her and the crowd over. Funsponge thinks the vocals weren’t great but he’s likeable. Louis likes his passion and the fact that he came out fighting. Louis wonders if he’d win the competition for him. Sam thinks he will. Louis isn’t so sure. The other judges are indignant. He’s stool material.

Next up is 24 year old Paul Akister. Remember him? He’s the generic brunette white bloke that likes to sing songs about his struggles as a black man in segregated America. He sings I Would Rather Go Blind with an acoustic guitar backing that in a just world would only get him through to the next circle of hell. He lives up to his job title of Pub singer. He is cute though. Very cute. Sharon loves his hot chocolate soulful tone. Funsponge thinks his voice is fantastic. Louis isn’t sure if he’s *looking* at  someone who’s going to sell records. He gets a seat though.

Here’s he hilarity section, its Barclay Beals the yodeller. He thinks yodelling again might be a massive risk but nobody got to Louis’ house by playing it safe. He starts singing Respect and it’s fine, if a bit generic. Then he just sticks a bit of yodelling in the middle. FUCKSAKE. Sharon demands to know what it’s all about. Funsponge thinks someone has changed the channel on the radio. Louis thinks it was brave but doesn’t put him through, stating that not even he could do it. Ah well, fair dos. [It all just screams Britain's Got Talent to me - Rad]

Adverts! Oh Dani from Hollyoaks. It was never going to go anywhere other than yoghurt.

It’s Alejandro’s turn! Remember him? He sang in Spanish and made Nicole come over all unnecessary. He’s back to win over the ladies. He’s doing that by singing the Wand Erection song about how it doesn’t matter that you’re fugly because they’re never going to tell you about it in case you think they’re mental.  It’s boring. Sharon likes the song choice. Nicole misses the Spanish. Louis thinks he’s good and the girls like him. Talk about damming with faint praise. He’s through anyway. He can’t believe it.

Backstage, the boys see three seats and five of them. First of the last five is Bin Juice Ryan Mathie. He’s singing a song in the club style. I don’t know it. Sharon thinks it was a good performance and Louis gives him the last seat. Nicole thinks he’s as sweet as pie. Next up is Luke Friend who has picked up an awful lot of annoying  habits and affectations for a 17 year old. He sings Alone by Heart with an acoustic guitar. It’s fawful. Sharon doesn’t think it was his best performance. Louis is worried by it but gives him a seat anyway, presumably to boot him out of it.

That leaves one seat and three boys. First up is Giles Potter who made a car crash out of Reet Petite last week. He’s stepped up his game since the arena audition. He’ll be devastated to get a no. He arrives on stage and tells the judges he’s been preparing. He starts singing I Won’t Give Up  by Jason Mraz. Apparently it’s his best audition to date and he’s ONLY SIXTEEN so Louis is obviously worried about him in the live shows. He’s STOOL MATERIAL (I’m not tired of that joke yet so you’re not). He breaks down.

All the seats have gone but nobody is safe! Yes, we get it. It’s the 19 year old football coach Tom Mann up next.  He arrives on stage and says he’s ready. I’m not ready for what happens next. He basically channels the ghost of Janet Devlin and starts burping his way through Girls Just Wanna Have fun and like Rachael’s trifle, IT DID NOT TASTE GOOD. Funsponge pretends to like his voice and thinks it’s distinctive. Nicole didn’t like the song choice. Louis can’t in his heart of hearts say he’s better than any of the other six. He’s going home. He’s upset not to be good enough.

Final Ad break! Oh this is only an hour and a half and it’s felt like forever. The next recap I do will be a live one and they’re three days long.

Who’s last? It’s wee Scottish Nicholas who’ll have to give the performance of his life to oust someone from their stool. He interviews that everyone deserves their place in the final six but to go home with a no would be devastating. He’s wee, cute and wearing a t shirt with ‘jock’ on it. They ask him how he is and he says he’s feeling the pressure now all the spaces have gone. He’s doing the same song as Giles Potter. He not only shows Giles how it should be sung, but endears himself to everyone too. He shows Giles up to such a degree that I have to wonder if Giles’ parents are owed a massive favour somewhere because I can see no other reason why he’s through. The boys on the chairs look various degrees of DOOMED as Nicholas gives a proper performance. The audience are on their feet. The other boys daren’t shift an inch. Louis wants to know if he’s happy. He is. Sharon thinks he sung it well and should be proud of himself. Funsponge thinks Louis needs to give him a seat. Nicole would definitely put him through. Back to Louis and he’s putting Nicholas in his top six but someone needs to go. Giles surely. It has to be. Come ON. Giles is still crying as ALEJANDRO is booted out to make way for Nicholas. Alejandro is very gracious about the whole thing though, thank goodness. [Oh, Alejandro. I will miss your eyebrows. Please come back next year. - Steve]  Giles cries some more and the final six boys settle down into their seats. Alejandro is gutted and Louis claims he went with his heart.

So that’s it! 24 acts now remain and their one step closer to their dream. Next week is Judges houses which mercifully for the first time in my Bitch Factor history I’m not recapping. YAY! Join Steve then Rad next week to find out how that goes.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Girl hour-and-a-bit (plus ten minutes of overs)

Boot camp part one, Saturday 28 September 2011

Last week!  The auditions came to an end!  This week!  They’ve made Bootcamp all different againm and it’s something to do with having six seats and waiting until everyone has sung. 

Oh, Giant X, come and save me from this brave new world!  What’s this?  They’ve truncated you?  Is nothing safe anymore?

Dermot welcomes us to Wembley Arena by standing in front of Wembley Stadium and telling us that the favourite 100 acts (what a convenient number) are going to be whittled down to 50.  The show also suggests people use the hashtag #bootcamp instead of #xfactor which is about as stupid as the official Doctor Who 50th hashtag being #savetheday and not #doctorwho or #dw50 or #moffatmustgo etc.

Prior to the show we have the annual bit where the evil producers mastermind who gets which category.  You remember how, in days of yore, this bit used to go on forever, with Simon moaning how he didn’t want the groups/overs/etc?  Well this year they kind of spunk this whole thing up the wall very quickly and move on apart from evil producer Richard in his colourful evil producer scarf hamming up his part for all he can and the obligatory shot of a handy and functional Samsung tablet (confession: I now own one of these.  I wanted a tablet and it suited my purposes best but I nearly didn’t get one purely because of this show, and now that I do own one and see it on telly, I feel kind of grubby.  I promise it doesn’t have the fifth judge app installed on it).  Louis very vaguely tries to milk some drama by saying he ‘hopes it’s not the girls’, because we all know how good he is with young women, but no, he gets the boys, Sharon (whose dog Bella looks just like a cuddly toy) the overs and Gary the groups.  Nicole gets the best edit here, whilst the others are walking about or in cars, she’s lounging in a dressing gown eating bagels and when she is told she has the girls, she says they’re very lucky to have her, because she’s the reigning champion.  Heh.

The judges arrive in limos at Wembley to their waiting categories who all get excited to see their mentors, even Gary and Sharon’s categories who obviously haven’t got the memo about them being the worst mentors ever.  Louis’ category remember that he won with the boys before. [I did wonder why they were so excited to see him, given his track record since then, but I suppose that is a fair point. - Steve]

The contestants begin with a mass vocal warm-up in the foyer before they go onto ‘challenge 1’ – this is the challenge where they’re reducing 100 acts to 50 and what follows is a segment only rivalled in its half-arsery than those times they send half the acts home before they even sing.  Basically, the gist is that the soloists sing in groups of three, then the groups in pairs and 50 acts get sent home.  They spend longer explaining this than they do showing it, as all we see are people getting saved or sent home, not them actually singing or anything.  Basically, the people we know get saved (apart from poor, sweet Justin Peng, a few girls who had brief segments of airtime and Dynamix who taught us that no good can come of standing by your friends – and their singer CeeCee seems to be called Cherise this week although this may be Gary getting it wrong), and the people we don’t get sent home.  And then to try and put in some ZOMG!  SHOCK!  BOOT! DRAMA! we see one sing-off only – between Amy from last year, Melanie from every year and Stephanie who Sharon sent home when she was 14.  They do ‘Fighter’ which is a bit patchy – Amy comes off best and Stephanie worst and Sharon tries to emotionally blackmail Nicole into keeping Stephanie, but she doesn’t, and Stephanie is sent home.  Sharon makes it all about her again by telling Nicole to change her mind, then crying and giving Stephanie a massive hug.

Ads!  Not one person ever has tweeted ‘Loving the #fifthjudge app’ who wasn’t a marketing stooge (Dave Gorman did a brilliant bit about marketing stooges on social media the other week on his Dave TV show by the way, which was worth checking out, especially if you watched The Apprentice in its earlier series when they used em@iler phones and made all the winners work for Amscreen).  Give it up, show.

If you were in any doubt as to where the favoured category is this year (and it’s hard to think that you would be after the first two audition shows) it’s worth noting that out of a 90-minute show, one category dominates about 75 minutes of the airtime, meaning the other three categories are going to get about half an hour each, total. [I like to think they're favouring the mentor rather than the category. Nicole makes the best TV, so she gets the lion's share of screen time. - Steve]

Having dispensed with 50 acts in as short a time as possible, we’re onto the new challenge – basically, each judge gets six seats where their chosen six sit and watch the auditions. If the six seats fill up and the judges want to put someone else through, then they have to chuck someone off a seat, which doesn’t sound at all humiliating.  No word on what will happen if the spaces don’t all get filled up but my prediction is that this will only happen with the groups and the other spaces will be taken up by Frankenbands, because that’s how this show works usually.

The girls are the first category up and we see a bunch of them waiting backstage – about 17 or 18 of them by my count.  Nicole implores the audience to show the contestants some love and to help them out.  If there’s one thing I can guarantee about the X Factor audience is that they won’t be any help whatsoever, Nicole.

First up is Karen Hardy Karen Harding Cannon Fodder, model, 21.  She apparently auditioned with ‘Love on Top’ and I don’t even remember if we saw it or not.  She hopes this is her moment.  She does a slowed-down and trilled-up version of ‘We are Young’ and it’s not particularly good, but she looks great and props to her for not gender-switching the lyrics.  Louis likes her and her voice but doesn’t know if Nicole will pick her.  Thanks Louis!  Sharon and Gary like her too.  Dermot reminds us of what we have just watched and says the category judge gets the final vote.  Nicole says she has a nice tone to her voice but wasn’t sure about the song choice.  The braying mob shout ‘seat, seat, seat’ and Nicole puts her in the top six.  Backstage Tamera says she earned her seat.  Dermot reminds us she’s not safe until everyone has sung.

Next up is Lydia Lucy who was pretty affected and screechy in her earlier auditions but has at least realised her gimmick is to wear the same white dress and trainers all the time to help people remember her, which is somewhat savvy.  Her ‘For Once in My Life’ has no real depth or soul and is full of sub-Cher Lloyd affectations but the audience lap it up like the fools they are and give her a standing ovation.  These people are very easily pleased.  Gary loves her ambition and says she oversung a bit but she was courageous anyway.  Nicole says she has a distinct, bright voice but wonders if she is different enough and to more muted shouts of ‘seat’, she is told to put her ‘sweet little cheeks’ on a seat.  Who new the Scherz was a bum woman?  Sharon says she’s like a Disney kid.

Next up!  It’s Hannah who learned that you need to fall out with your friends in order to progress in this life!  But this will all work out well for her, won’t it?  Lydia and Karen discuss whether or not she can sing.  She does a very average ‘River Deep, Mountain High’, which she can’t really reach.  Gary stops the performance early too boos from the audience.  Surely only the category mentor would be able to do that.  Gary says her voice is getting out of control and she needs to control it.  Nicole says the song choice was wrong as she doesn’t have enough soul for it.  She doesn’t think Hannah is ready and sends her home.  So basically, you keep your friends, you go home; you dump your friends, you go home.  I’m not sure what the moral of this story is.  I’d say something about singing, but this IS the X Factor.  She comes off stage and melodramas that she has lost everything and gets a big Dermot hug.  I know contestants coming on this show should have an idea what’s in store but it does feel a tad mean to be putting a 17 year old in such emotionally difficult positions.

Ads!  Myleene Klass has no idea how to dress appropriately for a night at the funfair.

A freakishly large moon welcomes us back to bootcamp.  Siana Schofield gets sent home for not being strong enough vocally or having an interesting enough story.  Wedding singer Crissie, who is now 25, which sheds an interesting light on the age thing – I always thought the cut-off point would be to be 24 when lives started but it must be from first audition.  Anyway, she goes home.  Sharon wants to know where the fight is and Nicole wonders what’s going on with her girls.  Some oompa-loompa girl we’ve never seen before called Jade (who is not THAT Jade) says ‘if it’s a no then it’s a no, but if it’s a yeah, then fantastic’ which is a big fat uh-uh on this show.  You can’t be philosophical about things, your life needs to depend on this, Jade. [Unless you're Stacey Solomon. Ahh, for the days when you could get away with saying "there's always Asda". - Steve] It’s the only way to make your dead relative happy and to escape your crappy job.  Read the script, missus.  Her ‘Alone’ sounds like your aunt on the karaoke and she’s dispatched for having no fight.  Nicole is pissed off and has to kick some BEEP.  She goes backstage and tells the others she was BEEPed off by the last audition so they need to have more passion, kick some butt and grow some balls.


Tamera is next, looking a lot older and savvier than last time we saw her.  She reminds us that she also ditched a friend to get through, then forgot her lyrics.  Other Hannah gives her a hug and says she loves her.  Tamera worries about forgetting her ‘lines’ again.  She’s singing Rihanna’s ‘Stay’ which is perhaps not the most obvious choice but  she makes a decent fist at it, if a bit too ‘trilly’ and with a few bum notes, particularly as she gets more into the emotion and forgets about her technique.  The chorus is a bit too screechy but she does have potential.  Lous says it was her best performance and she ticks every box.  Nicole says she got it together today but she’s still very young and she doesn’t know if she’s ready, but she’s through anyway.

Dermot snarks ‘finally another seat’ but he’s about as much use here as Holly and Reggie are on The Voice.  Relley C of the two-tone hair is through after her version of ‘Respect’, and the judges declare her adorable.  Jade Richards of multiple auditions is next up, and isn’t especially brilliant, but Sharon whoops the audience up to stand on their feet and Gary trolls ‘seat, seat, seat’ and Nicole puts her through and snaps ‘thanks guys, now I only have one seat left.’

Sheena McHugh who I don’t remember says she really wants it in the most deadpan voice ever.  She does a miserable and screechy ‘The One That Got Away’.  Sharon says she doesn’t have star power, Gary thinks she’s a real artist and Nicole says it’s hard to choose because the bar is so high in the girls’ category.  Gary says ‘don’t regret losing her’ and Nicole starts to cry and says she doesn’t know if this show is right for her and she’s sending her home.  The audience boo like the fools they are and Sheena whines that she really wants it, and the producers tell Nicole that she needs more CRASH! DRAMA! so she changes her mind and sends her through for being the ‘only one’ that made her cry.  Please.  I love the Scherz, but she’d cry if there was an onion within a five mile radius of the venue.

Ads.  Pretty good to see a sports ad from Nike that’s about women being tough and swimming away from sharks and stuff.  I approve.

Only three girls are left now, and wouldn’t you know it?  It’s three who’ve been featured heavily throughout, Hannah of the tragic backstory, Abi who looks like Andrea from The Voice (I know that sounds a bit ‘all those brunette curly white girls with glasses look the same to me’ but without the bleach, straighteners and contact lenses, I’d a be a brunette curly white girl with glasses myself) and ZombieMelanie who keeps coming back from the metaphorical dead.

Hannah is first and Nicole is crying again as she does ‘I Would Rather Go Blind’, also crying.  She isn’t perfect and has a rather uncomfortable idea about stage posture, but I think she is probably my favourite in this category.  The audience whoop and Dermot beams that ‘Nicole’s in a lot of trouble’, except the two obvious fodderbots and either Lydia or Relley who will both no doubt go out at judges’ houses.  This is the problem with the show, I get that they retro-edit it so we can root for the finalists all the way through but then we all know who will get through because they’ve been shown so heavily whilst everyone else is such clear fodder.  Therefore, this whole six seat twist, contrived purely for DRAMAZ has no edge, because there are people we don’t care about whom we know will be going home. [Also, boot camp doesn't feel any different from the audition rounds any more. It doesn't need a live audience, for starters. I miss the group performances, and the staying-up-all-night, and the evil vocal coaches and whatnot. - Steve] Still, the script calls for drama and Nicole is nothing but a drama queen (see also: Osborne, Sharon and Walsh, Louis).  Sheena is dispatched swiftly as we all knew she would be, which really means Nicole should have stuck to her guns and sent her home rather than put her through further humiliation.

Abi is next and because we always need a kooky Diana Vickers/Janet Devlin type these days, she’ll be going through, but she finds it hard to know that if she goes through, someone else will go home.  If her kookiness wasn’t kooky enough, she’s in a white frock and wearing flowers on her hat (I thought at first it was a daisy chain which would have been an epic burn on Hannah and her broken-up-band The Daisy Chains).  And to add insult to injury, she’s doing a piano, slowed-down version of ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’.  I can feel Steve’s teeth itching from here.  Her voice is actually quite nice but it’s not something we haven’t seen on this show a million times before, except now with added spectacles. Gary and Louis love her.  Nicole says it’s not the song she would have chosen.  The audience start shouting ‘swap swap swap’ and ‘seat seat seat’ which means someone else they were shouting ‘seat’ for now has to be deposed.  So fickle, this baying mob.  Nicole begs the other judges for their help.  Gary says Abi has got something and he doesn’t know.  So helpful.  Anyway, she’s through, and this time it’s at the expense of Lydia.  The audience boo this DESPITE SHOUTING FOR IT TO HAPPEN.  Jeez I fucking hate the X Factor audience so fucking much.  Abi cries on the other girls and then Lydia cries as a camera is shoved in her face and this all feels rather uneccessary.

Ads!  Oh yay Sharon is giving an interview in the Sun on Sunday.  I can’t wait.  Other papers are available (including the Observer in which this tellyblogger is used as a talking head this week, fact fans) (/ self-promotion)

We’re back with the girls AGAIN which means either tomorrow’s show will be super-long or the other categories are getting short shrift.  ZombiMelanie mentions how she’s been on this show before and cries some more and then does a very wobbly ‘The One That Got Away’ which is better than Sheena’s version but that wouldn’t have been difficult.  I genuinely think Melanie was better that year that Evil Kelly Rowland sent her home from judges’ houses (in that ten-second clip we saw of her that year) than this year.  Too many bad habits and way too desperate.  The audience love it and it makes Louis cry because she’s IRISH but the song apparently means something to her personally and Louis says she’s the one that got away.  Speaking of ones that got away, I saw the Wand Erection film the other week for research purposes (man was it LONG) and I was disappointed that Resentful wasn’t resentful enough for the most part nor was the Zaynwreck bad enough.  However, my favourite moment was classic Resentful when he said that he’d auditioned before and been turned down and only went back on the show because he was pissed off and wanted to show them.  And then there was a bit where they mentioned how he used to hate the others.  Love it.

Nicole says she wasn’t sure if she believed it in Melanie’s past performances but she had her in this one.  She’s in the top six and it’s no surprise that Karen Fodder is out.  Melanie reacts very cheerily to being put through whilst the other six wear faces of thunder.  Read the room, McCabe, at least give some crocodile tears.  The audience shout ‘seat’ and then boo Nicole as she says she has to lose someone and then cheer when it’s Karen who they wanted to have a seat.  SMH.

So the six girls going through after that epic dramarama are: Tamera, Jade, Melanie, Abi, Relley and Hannah and we all shrug.

As an afterthought, the Overs are next, but this will be easier as there are only about eight of them (six of whom are women because this is the year of the vagina.  See also: Dancing, Strictly Come) and only about three of those are people we’ve seen much of, so there’s little drama here.  Sharon still whines that it will be hard.

First up is prison officer Sam who started well and then became a Meaty Minge wannabe.  She’s doing Emily Sunday’s ‘Clown’ and it’s alright for the most part – not as good as her first audition but a bit more subtle than her second one – then she goes full on VOLUME=GOOD because that’s what this show does best.  It seems to be even slower than the original, though, and I wasn’t sure such a thing was possible.  I hated this on first viewing, by the way, but second viewing and seeing how bad some of the girls’ category are has softened my ire.  Sharon gets the audience to whoop as if there was any doubt who’d be going through.  Sharon cries that in ‘all her years’ she’s dreamed of a contestant like Sam.  Somewhere, Brenda, Maria and Dionne are wondering precisely what was meant by that statement and hoping Sharon just meant ‘prison officer’ than something a little more uncomfortable.  Sam’s through, obviously.  Backstage it looks like “fit” dad Joseph has put talc in his hair to try and be a silver fox but as it goes away later, it's probably just the lighting.

Ads!  I’m pretty sure the only ‘ALL!  NEW!’ thing about the lottery is it doubling in price.

We’re back with Souli Roots whose wig is blonde this week and she has a mask with her.  Sharon asks if she is Lady Gaga and she says not tonight.  Her Man in the Mirror is full-on bonkers, less tuneful than she’s been in the past and ends in an undignified forward roll that makes Susanna Reid’s falling over on the sofa on Strictly look elegant.  Sharon lies that this is a singing contest and sends our one hope at a comedy contestant home.  Somewhere, Brian Friedman is rocking and weeping.

Next up is some bloke called Jason who I don’t recognise but who has given up his crappy job in a call centre to do this, which seems premature.  Sharon calls him ‘bubsy’ and he does a slightly unexciting ‘Higher Love’ and Sharon thinks it was a sold performance but he is sent packing to boos from the audience.  If there really were eight overs left and we’ve just seen two go home, that kind of spoils the drama somewhat, no?  I’m not commenting on the fact that the two dispatched were both black.  Except I just did.  One of the other contestants goes ‘no no no, not Jason’.  Gary says he wasn’t expecting that.  Sharon says she didn’t think the audience liked him that much. [Jason was about the only person whose audition I can remember vividly and who I really liked, so...well, there goes my interest in the show this year. - Steve] A couple more overs appear to have been dug up from somewhere backstage to increase the fake drama.  Next up is Sabrina, who I don’t remember, so presumably won’t see at boot camp.  She has an awesome red weave and does a decent ‘I Would Rather Go Blind’ – I’m assuming they were given a limited number of songs to choose from – however, we only see a tiny snatch of it and although she is sent through, expect her to be dispatched again pretty soon.

Next up is Joseph Whelan whose WORLD GOT DESTROYED at boot camp last year and who has a cute son he may have mentioned this.  Sharon asks him to convince her why he should go through.  I presume she meant through performance, but he does a classic Apprentice-boardroom-beg-style ‘I’ll give you everything’.  It was just missing the 110%.  Shelley and some fodder woman debate how ‘dreamy’ he is backstage.  His ‘Iris’ is croaky and affected and he’s not even good enough to be Brookstein, but given their similarities in personality, style and entitlement, I look forward to seeing how his relationship with Sharon will pan out.  Gary says his lower range needs work but his upper range is good, Louis says he would put him through.  Sharon says she doesn’t need wimps, at which the audience boo and she retorts ‘don’t you dare!’ because she’s come to her ‘own’ decision, which is to give a fake-out I’m sorry and send him through to a soundtrack of MOAR EMILY SUNDAY.

Sharon only has three seats left, which is not very tough given how few overs are left to sing for them.  Tomorrow, see who goes through and what happens to the boys and the groups.  Join us for that!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Wedding Singer

Arena Auditions week 4 – 22nd September 2013

Yes. I’m back on the bloody Arena auditions. This is the eighth recap of the series. There’s three Tellybitchers. I have had three recaps to do so far and they’re ALL BLOODY ARENA AUDITIONS. I can’t even complain because Steven says I’m STILL on probation despite this being my third year on The Bitch Factor and my fourth year as a Tellybitch. It’s unfair I tell you. We haven’t even got a union I can go to. Does anyone know of a union for unpaid bloggers who want to moan? Does anyone want to just listen to me? [Shut up and finish cleaning my shoes. - Steve]

Anyway, to business. Last night Steve walked you through the last of the room auditions. Tonight we are having more arena auditions but first we’re having a recap of warbling. Apparently FROM THE ROOM TO THE ARENA LIVES WERE CHANGED. TONIGHT is ONE LAST CHANCE TO SHINE. I’ll be the judge of that thank you very much. Oh! So will Funsponge because he’s just called someone a car crash.

Mind your heads! Here comes the giant X!

Durrbot welcomes us, and we’re actually using Wembley and not Brent Council offices. Much is made about it being the last day. Funsponge wants someone who will light up the whole arena. I’m assuming that he doesn’t mean Strangles Maloney is coming back with some matches, petrol and a beef. Backstage, the clock is ticking as the contestants ‘fight’ for the last places at boot camp.

Who’s up first? Well, it’s Ryan Mathie who is 18 and looks very like my little brother. I know most of you don’t even know what I look like, let alone what my brother looks like but you’re all just going to have to take my word for it. Ryan is the bin juice man. He’s the one that maintains bin lorries, remember him? He goes on about how unclean they are and they don’t smell nice.  He likes his job but he’s wanted to be a singer since he was a Bambino. He also says that he loves Karaoke and his favourite song is Rock DJ by Robbie Williams. He has his own dance routines and everything. Correct me if I’m wrong but Rock DJ isn’t as much a song to be sung as to be bellowed by someone off their face on ‘coffee’ without really ever needing to think about a tune. You may have to re-evaluate that one, Ryan.  Ryan’s family are behind him as he contemplates the immense magnitude of the audition. It’s what he wants to do.

Ryan arrives on the stage like the ghost of Peter Kay’s former career. He’s going to do the dance in a minute. Either that or exclaim “GARLIC BREAD” over and over for 10 minutes. He tells us his bin juice story again.  Nicole asks him how he’s feeling and he says he just feel lucky to be playing to everyone.  He gets his guitar out and starts to James Arthur the SHIT out of Get Lucky. Of course, everyone laps it up. Ryan sees it’s going down well and starts to pull some very interesting faces as he bellows louder, clearly making the X Factor rookie mistake of mixing up ‘intense’ and ‘loud’. All the way through we’re treated to Ryan’s dad getting more and more excited.

When he finally finishes, Nicole shouts that that was how it’s done. Louis thinks his voice is everything apart from rubbish. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE. Sharon thought it was sensational. Funsponge thinks it was a great song choice, the crowd loved it and it was a great audition. Nicole wants to squeeze his cheeks so he’s summoned to the judges table like a trained chubby monkey and she does so. Four yeses.  No more bin juice for him. The judges bang on about how lovely he is whilst he hugs his family.

Next up is a group that have to impress Sharon. I don’t remember who they are, but one is wearing a CASUAL KILT.  I don’t remember them from Room auditions. They are Tenors of ROCK. The lead singer explains that they are a six piece without a lead singer. We go back to their room audition where apparently they sung their balls off according to Nicole but Sharon didn’t get it. They say that they’re like One Direction only they’re Wrong Direction. Apparently they want to Rock Out Wembley and list some of the people they’ve seen there, like Alice Cooper, Queen, Stevie Wonder and, er... Boyzone. They look like more of a gang of bank tellers on dress up day than a band if I’m honest, but we’ll see. They’re not important enough to have warranted a room audition so I’m not holding out much hope.

Louis instructs them to rock on before they start. They’re doing Livin’ on a Prayer and it begins quite promisingly.  Six part rock harmonies? No wonder Sharon was confused. I’m frankly bewildered. They bring the proverbial house down quicker than Brookstein given free access to Miley’s wrecking ball. Funsponge declares it the way to do an audition. Nicole thinks they both rocked and brought down the house. Louis liked the way they started out quiet and got louder and thinks they look like rockstars. Sharon fakes them out by saying it wasn’t good, it was BRILLIANT and they were electric. It’s a big yes. They hug each other backstage as the judges discuss how much they loved it. [Truly they were the Dad-Rock Princes and Rogues - Rad]

Adverts! Surely a KFC bucket for one is a useless invention? It’s not even going to be a proper bucket.

When we return, Dermot is making a big deal about girl groups having each other. This is mainly to introduce Hannah from Birmingham who ditched her best mates quicker than Paloma Faith at the bingo when there’s a meat tray on offer. She sits next to a girl group just to really emphasise the fact she’s on her own and terrified.

She arrives on stage and Louis psyches her out a bit by saying it’s her first time singing alone. He wonders if she thinks she’s made the right decision. She’s not sure as she hasn’t spoken to them since. Oops!  She sings and she’s clearly nervous. I have no idea who sings the song that she’s singing because I’m not down with the kids in the slightest but it’s about a skyscraper. [It's called 'Skyscraper', and it's by Demi Lovato. You're welcome! - Steve] Her mum cries backstage as the crowd lap it up.  Funsponge thinks she’s better on her own and she needs confidence to move forward. Nicole thinks she’s made the right decision. Sharon is a yes provided she works on her confidence, a yes from Funsponge, Nicole thinks she’s got work to do but it’s a yes. Louis makes it four yeses and she’s through to boot camp.

We’re moving on to a group montage. We start with Code 4, who are named after an urban dictionary entry.  I feel that this is a very dodgy way to name your band. I don’t want a band named after a dubious sexual practice doing a 3 minute slot on the lottery show thank you very much. Anyway, Code 4 can moonwalk and through the microphones about so obviously they are the best thing ever. They get 4 yeses. Next up are Xyra who look like someone put water on Bixmix and fed them after midnight. They’re a breath of fresh air and get four yeses. Next are Brick City and they think they’re the Black Eyed Peas but they’re clearly more baked beans. They get four yeses because of their tight vocals.

But as the judges wonder how they’re going to choose between the groups, another group are clunkily doing a piece to camera about themselves and how they need the crowd to be on their feet. They are Kyle, Ceecee and Luke and they are Dynamix. They’re going out there to show the judges what they’ve got. Ceecee has got her adorable child with her, who is apparently Dynamix’ number one (only) fan. She says that she loves her mum singing. Apparently the whole group has a fire but DC’s is especially bright because of her daughter who likes her mummy singing better than she likes  Peppa Pig. High praise indeed.

They arrive on stage and Louis asks them what they’ve come to do. Instead of saying ‘DUH SING’ like I would, they say that they’re there to show their energy.  They do this by pretending to answer a mobile phone and bellowing.  Ceecee bellows anyway, whilst the other two rap terribly. I mean, they make the forgotten member of MK1 look like Eminem. What do the judges think? Well Nicole only likes Ceecee. Louis thinks it’s good because every band has a front man. Funsponge levels with them and says that they’re not going to make the final 12 as a group. Sharon thinks the group is lacking chemistry. Funsponge then tears the group apart and asks Ceecee if she would like to go in the girls category. She replies that although she needs it for her daughter, she has to say no. Louis gives them a yes, Nicole a no, Funsponge can see potential so it’s a yes. It’s all down to Sharon, who is admittedly on the fence. They say they’re going to work hard so she gives them a yes. What the bloody hell was that all about? Sharon and Louis admire her for sticking with the group. Backstage Ceecee says that she has to stick with her friends.

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When we come back we’re treated to another montage of contestants, which culminates in Chad Nelson the Cowboy arriving onstage with his tambourine. He treats us to an off key version of Rhinestone Cowboy. He was obviously put through at an earlier stage to wind up Funsponge and now that particular comedy pigeon is coming home to roost. He claims that he’s having mic problems. Funsponge suggests that the problem with his microphone is that he’s singing into it, which so help me Robbie I chuckled at. He gets four nos.

Next up is Sam Callahan who is Olly Murs with boys thighs and Beiber hair. He comes onstage with a guitar that he doesn’t use. He gets through because Louis likes his attitude and the girls will love him.  Next up is Zoe Devin who I’m not entirely sure isn’t Katie Waissel in disguise. Funsponge acts shocked. She’s singing God Bless The Child in that horrible affected way which seems to be the trend at the moment. She’s through because she made a retro song current.  It’s Joseph Whelan’s turn. He doesn’t have his mascot child with him this time but does a serviceable rendition of Sweet Child O’Mine. Funsponge says it’s all about standing out, which is of course what a man with brown hair does on this show. He’s through because he put on a show. Sharon cannot believe the calibre of talent. Well, the fact you’ve already creamed off the best ones should mean that this is the case for the arena auditions. [The logic of this show... - Rad]

But there’s someone coming up next who has earned their moment on camera. It’s Chrissy Rhodes, she’s 25 and she’s a wedding singer. She’s been doing it for a couple of years and she loves singing the bride down the aisle. We see her initial audition which we either haven’t seen before or is so memorable I’ve completely forgotten it. She’s worried about going from four judges to singing in front of thousands. She’s not sure how to prepare. She explains that when she’s singing at a wedding, the attention is on the bride but today it’s going to be on her. This is her one chance to get through, apart from the other one.

She arrives on stage and Louis asks her what it would mean to get through. She gives the stock answer – everything - and then the hand switches on the music.  She starts singing a song that is familiar by the lyrics but she’s singing it to the wrong tune. I recognise it when it gets to the chorus. It’s Young Hearts Run Free. If she was singing at my wedding I’d stop my ascent up the aisle to tell her JUST TO BLOODY SING IT. The thing is edited like I’m supposed to be feeling something so my stone heart decides to try and feel something for her. I can’t. Sharon loves it though. She says that it’s clear she’s honed her craft singing at all those weddings and her voice is clear and beautiful. Her mum is proud backstage.  Funsponge things her voice is lovely to listen to and she made a good song choice. Nicole thought it was effortless and beautiful and she liked the fact that everyone was quiet. Perhaps they were just trying to figure out the songs. She gets four yeses in what is perhaps the most useless cliffhanger in reality television history. Of course she can’t believe it and does some whooping and hollering in the white room.

Adverts! Please let’s hope these are the final ones.

So as this is the last 15 minutes or so of the programme, the pressure is on for bootcamp apparently. First to up in this segment is Giles Potter from Worcester, who is wearing skinny jeans so tight they make him mess up his lyrics. He makes a car crash of Reet Petite. Funsponge tells him that he needs to take things more seriously. Sharon puts him through on the strength that he’s pretty got potential. Funsponge takes him backstage and said that he only pointed out that he was crap so that he’d do well.  He says that most people have 90% voice and 10% charisma (he’s definitely referring to himself here) but he’s got too much charisma and not enough voice. He’s got to listen, but Sharon reminds us all he’s through by a fingernail. Apparently this all means that the boys can’t handle the pressure.  We get a montage of shaking heads with directional hair. [Aww, I was hoping when he screwed up that they'd send him home, just because he was too sweet for this show - Rad]

Jack Jacob can’t. He seems resigned as soon as he opens his mouth. He gets four nos. Sascha Neersoo is singing How to Save a Life and I imagine him giving me mouth to mouth. HURRRRRRR. Funsponge wonders aloud how he would do if he came out and sang looking at the floor whilst stroking his top. It’s a no. Backstage someone remembers that they have to impress Sharon. His name is Paul Akister and he was the white man singing about his struggles with the segregation movement in America in the room auditions. He’s worried because he’s shy and his confidence has always been an issue. He’s normally the guy in the background. At this point it hits me that he looks like an adult baby version of Robbie Williams. Do you know what I mean? I know what I mean. Sort of like a taller, shaved, pre weight loss Adam Richman. He tells Dermot he’s been working on his stage presence. He’s been trying to show his feelings but he can’t. Apart from when he’s singing. He’s not shy then. He’s hoping his shyness won’t let him down today.

He bounds on to stage and introducing himself. He tells Sharon he’s been working on his stage presence. He’s not been working on song choices  though cos he’s still going for soul stuff. I don’t know what song it is. His idea of stage presence seems to be wandering around the stage with his eyes closed though, which can only be a recipe for future hilarity. He’s so bloody cute despite all of this that I can’t even stand it. Nicole is proud because he came to take it. Funsponge loves the fact that he’s a quiet guy that comes alive with music. *COUGH* MARTY SUE *COUGH*. Sharon thought it was fantastic and Louis thinks he’s full of old school soul and this is his moment. Four yeses. Because he’s worth it. KEY CHANGE.  Nicole is happy to have a boy come out singing. Dermot loves that he’s quiet and now he’s loud.

That’s it for the Arena auditions, bring on Boot Camp!

This year, boot camp is BRAND NEW. It’s got something to do with stools. Westlife stools, not poo. Join Rad next week to see how the first of those pans out. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's not 'show friends', it's 'show business'

Room Auditions: Week Four - 21st September 2013

The show starts with an oddly contemplative tone this week, reminding us that this season has been all about The Room. "You're tearing me APAHT, Lisa!" "Oh, hi Mark." Actually, I think I would've preferred to watch that version. We see very old footage of JLS, Alexandra BURKE and Leona all making their tentative first (/second, in Alexandra's case) steps into the audition room, just to remind us that this is the place where big stars are made. Well, by this show's standards, anyway. We're shown some examples of THE GOOD from this year, or at least we're shown what's supposed to be good, but is in fact just clips of Abi, Luke and Sam, all sounding alarmingly off-key out of context. We're also shown THE BAD, which as always should probably be titled THE HILARIOUSLY MENTALLY ILL, and I for one am quite pleased that the auditions are nearly over so we can get behind this always unsavoury part of the show, at least until they all get invited back for a "hilarious" group performance in the final. There's even a special section for THE UNFORGETTABLE, which includes Sylvia And The Youngs (who I agree are unforgettable, but not in a good way), Souli Roots, and Rock Fil [Who? Do you see what I did there? Ahahaha! - Helen]. Tonight it's the last batch of Room Auditions for this year before we move on to Boot Camp next week and things actually start to get interesting. I hope. [To be fair, as pointless as the live auditions have been, I very much approve of four weeks and one-hour shows.  I only hope the lives will be shorter as well this year (fat chance, I know) - Rad]


We start out in London, where Nicole is greeted by a pearly king and queen who invite her to have a cup of Rosy Lee, which Nicole doesn't understand at all, and which will probably be the theme of an entire "Nicole learns about British things" pre-performance VT if she has any charming cockneys in her category for the live shows. Gary says that he hopes all the talent is going to gravitate to London, it being the capital and everything. That's no way for a northerner to talk, is it? 

We eavesdrop on a few conversations in the queue, which are of course totally spontaneous and only happen to be flawlessly filmed and wired for sound by sheer coincidence, the last of which takes place been Duplex, aka 20-year-old friends Cathy and Katrina. Cathy explains that they got their name because they're "literally a duplicate of one another". Well, first of all, that's not what duplex means, and second of all, one of you is blonde and one of you is brunette, so you could probably try a little harder with the whole "we're practically twins!" thing. They both love singing, and it was Katrina's grandfather who suggested they sing together, so at least we all know who to blame if this turns out as badly as I'm anticipating. They're the sort of exhausting people who say everything really breathily and punctuate the end of every sentence with "AHAHAHAHAHAHA!" In between gigglefits, they talk about "the dream" of selling out arenas and breaking America. They've already broken me, so they're off to a good start, I guess.

Poor Dermot attempts to interview them, and they talk over each other, incomprehensibly quickly, giggling all the while. I almost want them to make live shows now just for the fun of the post-performance chit-chats. They scamper into The Room, and within seconds Gary Barlow looks like he's going to need at least three more cups of coffee before he can deal with these women. For once, Gary Barlow is on my wavelength. Nicole makes the mistake of asking if they're related, and gets an extremely lengthy version of "no" featuring a lot of "oh my god"s. Nicole then asks how long they've known each other, and it turns out that the answer is "ten months". Terrifying, isn't it? They talk about how they want to "sing and stuff", and Gary admits that he hasn't heard a word they're saying. Duplex sing 'Call My Name' in a slightly slowed-down arrangement, and there are occasional moments where the vocals are actually quite crisp and interesting, but most of it is a mess. 

They're too busy looking at each other to notice the "STOP, NOW" signal at first, and when their attention has been captured, Gary tells them that they're both part of the same person who can't sing. Ouch. Sharon tells them that they look fantastic, but they're "like two Vicky Pollards". It's four nos for Duplex. After they leave, Gary says that they're attractive girls, but they became less attractive when they started singing, and whinges (in a rant that more than likely happened at an entirely different time but is no less ridiculous for it) that "it's like a shortcut to fame". Dude, you signed up to be a judge on The X Factor. Precisely what were you expecting? In the White Room of Regret, Duplex sullenly have a little bitch about Gary. I can't really criticise that, can I? [Ah, little remembered 90s indie show the White Room.  I loved that thing - Rad]

So, will the next auditionee be able to turn things around? Shozod Zikiryaev (who is 24 and a butler, and I'm going to assume that's the "in the buff" variety, because LOOK AT HIM) squeals his way through 'Down' by Jay Sean, and I mean, not to belittle the craft of singing or anything, but can't we just autotune him and keep him, because he's really fit? It's not like this is The Voice or anything. Louis laughs, Gary whines, and it's a no for Shozod. Krysztof Misiewicz continues the trend of people whose names I have to pause the show in order to spell properly, sings 'Always On My Mind', is terrible, has a belt with a spinning disc on it, does not get through. Gary whinges that "we only need one [superstar]". Well, for the purposes of the live shows you kind of need at least 12, Gary. 58-year-old chartered accountant Peter Duboff squeaks alarmingly, and Gary leads the judges in a synchronised "no", because he's classy like that. 

This leads us into the audition of Justin Peng (18), whose rather muddled introduction leaves me no clearer as to whether he is or is not Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake as well. His family all still live in China, but he now lives in Leicester and studies maths. He bobs his head and snaps his fingers a lot, and is looking forward to seeing Nicole, for whom he has brought a flower. Nicole gives him a hug, and Gary makes a classic old-man crack about "young love". Justin sings 'I Look To You' by Whitney Houston in a crisp, clear voice that we all totally knew was there, because this show has tried the Susan Boylesque misdirection trick once too often. Gary tells him that he "wasn't expecting that". Louis is pleased that he "hit all the notes". Nicole was "quite impressed". Justin asks if he's "jamazing", and Nicole tells him that he is. [ I didn't get this bit. Were we supposed to think he was rubbish because he had a flower for Nicole or because he was forrin? Either way it was a bit rum - Helen] It's a yes from Nicole, a yes from Gary, a no from Sharon (ostensibly because she thinks he'll have a hard time in the live shows, but she's said yes to far worse in the past) and a yes from Louis. So Justin's through, and Nicole kisses him in celebration, much to his delight.

Adverts. I just can't relate to those TalkTalk homes in the sponsorship bumpers because they're so tidy. They make me feel inadequate.

When we return, the next auditionee is Sam Callahan, who's 19, a bartender and from Essex. "Like my Rylan!" exclaims Nicole. [I can't believe Rylan has only been in our lives a year.  But then I watch a lot of Channel 5 and so have gone from liking him a lot to... notsomuch - Rad] Sam doesn't seem 100 per cent thrilled by that comparison but laughs it off. He whips out a guitar and sings 'You're Beautiful' in a less whiny version than the original. Louis thinks he's young and cheeky and that girls will like him. Sharon thinks it was a very nice audition. Gary thinks it was nothing special, so Sam challenges him to put him on a stage. Gary whinges that he should be doing that ALREADY, HERE because this is an AUDITION, this DRIVES HIM CRAZY, with these KIDS ON HIS LAWN ALL THE TIME. It's a yes from everyone except Gary, so Sam scrapes through. He's followed by shy-looking 24-year-old pub singer Paul Akister, who deploys one of my least-favourite talent show tropes (white person singing 'A Change Is Gonna Come') [UGH - Helen], but the judges love the tone of his voice even though his performance skills need a bit of work, and he gets four yeses.

Next up is a familiar face: Joe Whelan from last year, who's brought his kid with him again since he knows his audience. He reminds us that he didn't make it to Judges' Houses last year, and says that he always felt like he could've given more, so that's why he's back. Also, he needs to fit these auditions in while Kian's still young and adorable, because let's face it, that's his biggest selling point. Gary's very pleased to see Joe, which tells you everything you need to know about him. Nicole asks if Kian can come in and watch Joe's audition, and Joe talks about how Kian is his very reason for being etc etc. Nicole invites Kian to come and sit on her lap, and I'd imagine there are a lot of auditionees feeling pretty disgruntled right now that this particular invitation was not extended to them. Joe then ticks the "I'm doing this to make my family's life better" box and FOR FUCK'S SAKE JUST SING SOMETHING ALREADY. He gets his guitar out and MORs his way through 'Always'. Sorry, but Ruth Lorenzo or GTFO. Obviously, Gary loves it because it's so very pedestrian. Sharon enjoys his conviction. Louis thinks he's what the show is all about. Four yeses for Joe. Oh god, he's going to make live shows this year, isn't he? [Brunette white bloke win 7/10 here we come, with an edge of bitterness a la Brookstein, Cardle, Arthur?  Truly this show has a niche (albeit the same niche shared by American Idol and the American version of this from what I hear) - Rad] Nicole tries to keep Kian, but Joe knows that Kian is the source of all his powers, so he's having none of it. Just in case there was anyone curled up in the corner of the room who didn't quite get the message, Louis declares that the public are going to like Joe because "he's real and he's honest". So that's us told. (Also, he certainly is honest, yes.)

After more ads, we're treated to some X Factor-style comedy about all the love in the air at the auditions, which is our lead-in to the next act: Patricia and Dean, alias Green Boots. Oh my god, a couple! You get so few of those auditioning these days. Maybe they just realised that none of them could ever live up to the glory of "sing 'em a song, Della!" [My surname is Deller and not one person has ever shouted that to me in the street.  Sheffield people are Philistines when it comes to failed boy/girl duos - Rad] Dean and Patricia have been together for a year and a half, and the show thinks it's hilarious that they love each other, because they're both a bit shy and unassuming, so we get an extensive soft-toned montage of their declarations of love, including lots of shots of them kissing. Honestly, isn't this show just the absolute worst sometimes? Dean thinks that if they won, it would show that love doesn't just exist in fairytales. They've brought along their friend Keith, whose role in tonight's show is to be the ever-embarrassed third party during all of the schmoopy moments, and also to confess to Dermot that he's never actually heard them sing before. So I think we all know how this one is going to go. The judges go "awww" over their love a bit, and coax them into saying more shamefully romantic stuff. Eventually they sing 'A Whole New World' nasally at each other [although I thought Patricia wasn't really much worse than half the rubbish they've put through - Rad], and poor Keith looks very embarrassed as he waits outside with Dermot. The judges make fun of them a bit more, and Gary is mean, and it's four nos "but we like you as a couple" for Green Boots. Dean doesn't give a shit, "because we'll always have each other." Quite right too.

This segues into another batch of groups who are related by more than just their singing: first up are sisters Joanna and Alexandra, who make quite an entrance when Joanna trips on her way in. They sing 'Girl On Fire', and they're a little sharp but no more so than half the people the show's shot its load over this series, but apparently we're not actually supposed to think these two are any good, so they get Both Barrels Barlow telling them they're awful. Next up are pastel-clad twins The Rives Brothers, who are dressed like ice-cream salesmen and sing 'Kiss You' by One Direction, and should I be reading something into the fact that most of the "terrible" auditions we've been expected to laugh at tonight have been from people with noticeable foreign accents? Gary calls them "drab", as if he has any grounds to level that accusation at anyone. Nicole wonders why all these siblings haven't been stopped by their parents. Next up are mother-daughter group (that's a new one, surely?) [Were Voices With Soul a mother/daughter/aunt or am I misremembering? - Rad] Exaggerate, who sing 'Written In The Stars' by Tinie Tempah, and the whole thing sounds like childbirth. Louis asks Sharon if she ever sings with Kelly. Hee, but also please never remind me that this is a thing that exists and also somehow got to number one.

Our next group are three-piece The Daisy Chains, consisting of 21-year-old Carrie, 17-year-old Hannah, and 19-year-old Laura. They're not sisters, "but we might as well be". Are there really so few narratives left in reality television at this point that we have to reuse Duplex's already? They've been "playing live together" for five years, and reckon that they've got good chemistry together from all that experience. They head into The Room, and Sharon asks what inspired the name, and they explain that "like a chain, if one of the links is broken, we don't work." Sounds ominous. They sing an acapella rendition of 'Stop! In The Name Of Love', and they oversing it a little bit but there are three decent-ish voices at work here and frankly after the state of nearly all the other acts I've had to endure in this episode, that'll do for me. Gary disagrees, and tells Hannah that she should be a soloist. Nicole agrees that Hannah is "carrying the group". And, of course, Hannah has to decide right here, right now, if she wants to go ahead without Carrie and Laura. Hannah says that she's torn, and Gary's all "well, you can have friends, but this is a career that could last for the rest of your life". Yeah! Ditch your friends, Hannah! Then you might have the long-term success of Alexandra Burke, who just released her latest material in conjunction with Daily Mail Online! Gary continues to stir the pot by saying that if they really are good friends, then Carrie and Laura will totally forgive her for shanking them on national television. Louis suggests they go outside to discuss it, which officially makes him the most reasonable person in the room. What a terrifying thought. 

The Daisy Chains go outside to fight it out, and for some reason the show decides to subtitle their conversation without a capital letter in sight. Basically, Hannah wants the other two to tell her to ditch them, and Carrie and Laura aren't exactly not telling her to go ahead, but they're not going to make it easy for her either. Hannah asks them to promise her "that you won't lose me" (interesting choice of words), and Carrie's all "well, I can't promise you." Meanwhile, I hum this to myself and wish that it had been their audition song. Back in The Room, Gary says that you won't get anywhere in this game without a cut-throat attitude. Wow, The X Factor turned into Survivor so gradually that I didn't even notice. Although it would be sort of amazing if the winner was decided by an eight-person jury comprised entirely of former contestants. Imagine if James Arthur, Jahméne Douglas and Christopher Maloney had to make speeches to convince Rylan, Ella and Kyesones why they should be awarded a record contract. Now that would be compelling television. Anyway, eventually Hannah returns alone and says that "we" have made the decision that she should continue alone. She says she feels terrible about it, but she has to do it "for myself, and my family, and for my dream". Gary tells her that she still has a lot of awful decisions ahead of her, and he's not just talking about picking what to sing for Big Band Week. Anyway, Hannah's through to Wembley, but now she has no friends. C'est la vie.

Competition and adverts. Martine McCutcheon encourages us to read all about her complete humiliation. Oh sweetheart, you're too late. I read The Mistress years ago. (Also, the fact that The Sun On Sunday's slogan is "the new book of revelations" is so sacrilicious I can't even.) 

Back from the break, and as this year's Room Auditions come to a close, there's a collection of waiting auditionees complaining about what a long day it's been, and how tired they are. Yeah, try recapping this shit, then see how tired you feel. Up next is 25-year-old Jason Newland, who is hoping to redeem the reputation of call centre workers everywhere after Christopher Maloney's impact last year. He's just come straight from the night shift, so he at least has a pretty good reason to be tired. He vows to give his audition all he's got, because he doesn't want to work in a call centre for the rest of his life. Jason heads into The Room and sings 'Never Too Much', and has a lovely voice. Hooray! Gary says that Jason has a few bad habits, but he's going to sound amazing both live and on record. Sharon enjoyed his sincerity. Louis thinks he should be singing to people rather than talking to them. It's four yeses (well, three yeses and a "yes, baby, yes" from Nicole) for Jason, so he'll be back for Wembley tomorrow. Nicole's amazed that he was so good despite coming straight from a night shift and having no sleep.

With that performance, Jason has (of course) opened the floodgates for a mass of successful Overs (doesn't that sound like a contradiction in terms?), including 28-year-old music teacher Andrea Magee (who responds to the instruction to "tell us something interesting about yourself" by saying that she's a singer-songwriter who gigs three nights a week, so I think her gauge of what's interesting might be a little broken), who sings an original composition and gets a unanimous yes. She's followed by 26-year-old student Lorna Simpson, whose very loud rendition of 'I Have Nothing' impresses the judges, and the show decides to close the Room Auditions out in HEARTWARMING fashion with The Nostalgics, a 14-strong group of senior citizens from Coventry, of which the eldest is 94 and the youngest is 68. One of them is reading Olly Murs' autobiography, so I can only assume that senility has its claws into her already. They file into The Room, and when Louis asks them who they want to be as big as, one bright spark responds that the artists they want to be as big as are all dead. They have to wait for their keyboard player to arrive before they can start their audition, which is (eventually) 'Bring Me Sunshine'. Despite the warped effects being deployed by the keyboard, they sound passable - they've clearly picked the wrong show because they'd go down far better on Britain's Got Talent, but it's not as if there's particularly fearsome competition in the groups category this year, or indeed any other year. Afterwards, that wag Gary suggests that Louis should join the group, and makes him go and stand with them, only to declare afterwards that Louis's too grey for the group. (Yes, it was definitely "grey" and nothing anything else that rhymes with that - trust me, I went back to check.) Gary thinks it was a great audition, although he thinks a bit more rehearsal was needed. It's a yes from all the judges, although Nicole has a caveat that they only get a yes "if Bill takes me out dancin'." I hope it looks something like this.

The Nostalgics leave The Room to cheers, and that's it for the Room Auditions. There's just one more batch of Wembley performances before we get to Boot Camp, and once again it's Helen's joy and privilege to recap it for you. She's ever so lucky.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A copy of a copy of a copy

Arena Auditions Week 3 - 15th September 2013

Hello! Yes, Rad does owe me a humungous favour swapping lastnight’s recapping duties because YET AGAIN I find myself having to recap the arena auditions. They’re so bloody boring that they’re having to introduce some CRASH!DRAMA at every available opportunity. There are several opportunities because this is so BLOODY BORING that I’ve resorted to RANDOM caps LOCK to at least try and make this recap interesting.

The pre credits sequence begins with the judges arriving and the acts looking nervous. We’re told that THE ARENA AWAITS and the judges will be saying yes or no. AND THIS TIME, THE AUDIENCE FIGHT BACK. Not in a (spoiler) proper way or anything. Nobody goes feral. At least not that we see. Great shame. GIANT X.

Because they really don’t have a programme here, there’s a bit about the shortest heatwave ever. Funsponge hopes the talent is as hot as the weather, mainly because he hasn’t had an original thought in his entire life and that’s what passes for a joke when you’re a fun phobic, stuffy BORELOW with questionable political affiliations. People are hot and sweaty alongside being the usual nervous and wanting to do stuff for their dead nans.

Durrbot warns us that someone wants to set the arena on metaphorical fire.  It’s Souli Roots who has come with gigantic hair and ripped leggings.  Also bongos. My brain didn’t want to take those in at first but they’re definitely there. [I miss Wagner. - SteveShe is 34 and from South London via Jamaica. She’s gone all out on makeup and hair because Wembley. She reminds us that all the way ago yesterday she sang a song about the recession and everyone liked it but she wants to win over Funsponge who rightly said her vocals weren’t up to scratch. She’s putting her hands up to that, but she’s going to bang her drum.  She promises it’s “On” and tells Funsponge to brace himself”

He needs to, because she arrives on stage playing the bongo and twerking. You can’t get much more topical than that. Funsponge laughs because he’s told that’s what people do when they’re enjoying themselves. Souli greets everyone whilst Durrbot does a double facepalm. She wants to know if the audience want to have a good time. Of course they do, they’re not a judge. Sharon interrupts and asks her to tell the audience a little bit about herself. She introduces herself and tries to get the crowd to say they’re irie. She’s offering peace and harmony but Sharon don’t got time for that and urges her to start singing. She’s doing Two Little Birds by Bob Marley. She’s actually not terrible and manages to engage the audience. Sharon makes Funsponge dance. The audition is probably one of the most engaging I’ve seen so far.

Funsponge says that the music sounded “Damn fine”, clearly in some kind of effort to sound Street. However, the singing was just alright. Souli takes this as a compliment and actually says hallelujah. Nicole says that she went off on a tangent but it was a good job. Louis thinks she’s a great performer and they need some (more) reggae on X factor. Sharon admires her positivity but it is a singing contest. I’m not getting into that. If it was a singing contest it would be the Voice and not the X Factor. [Also if it was an actual singing contest then you would certainly not get the general public to decide who wins. - SteveLouis loves her and he’s saying yes. It’s also a yes from Sharon. Funsponge has had a great time but the vocals weren’t good enough. It’s down to Nicole who decides that getting her up on her feet was enough so it’s a yes from her too. Funsponge thinks that the heat is affecting the judge’s ears. They disagree. She’s going to boot camp.

Competition adverts, blah.

We’re back at Wembley where everyone is remembering what the judges said to them yesterday. Louis and Sharon have a little chat about people learning from their feedback, and shouty Lydia from last night says that she’s used her feedback to help her improve. Lydia Lucy reintroduces herself and says she’s FROM ESSEX but doesn’t use fake tan, she’s just naturally orange. She’s WELL NERVOUS because the judges think she should be in a girl band but she’s hoping she’s got what it takes to go solo.

She arrives on stage and gets a bit nervous about all the people. They want to know what she’s been doing since the last audition. She says she’s been thinking about what the judges said and practicing, which is of course what they want to hear. She does a performance of “The Way You Make Me Feel” which has so many superfluous notes it’s like the Post-it Factory Shop. The audience lap it up though and the judges seem to too. SAKE.

Nicole wonders where she comes from. She replies “Essex”. Oh girls! Be stupid on television. It’s ADORABLE. She thinks she owned it. Louis thinks that she walked out and owned the stage. Sharon thought it was better than her first audition as she was more confident. Funsponge liked the audition and the song choice. Four yeses. YAWN.  Sharon doesn’t think that she needs to be in a girl group any more. She’s very happy and goes off with her parents.

She’s not the only one looking for a chance to shine apparently. This is illustrated by someone I don’t remember chasing some people away from the mirror with hairspray.  Her name is Jeanette Akua and she’s from South Africa. Apparently she sang Bad Romance and got four yeses. I don’t remember her at all but I’m happy to be corrected if wrong. [I have no recollection of her either. - Steve] She talks a little bit about her tribe in South Africa and how her native language is the clicking one. She speaks a bit and gets a cheer. A cheer, for having a native language. She sings a song I don’t know. Louis thinks she has star quality and Sharon thinks she’s a vision. Four yeses.

Backstage, we have Rough Copy who are a three part group. Twitter was alight with how they were a Rough Copy of JLS but they seem a bit edgier than that to me. Like the boys who took JLS’ dinner money. One of them has even got a crazy mother who’s in love with Dermot. She terrifies him in a spectacularly hilarious fashion, even touching his face. They’re excited to do the audition in the arena because they’ve got something special. They might be a gamble but apparently, like Cheryl, they’re worth it.  They arrive from the back of the room like they’re Finn (RIP) and Rachel or something and do some awful crowd baiting to the Eye of the Tiger. When they arrive on stage, Sharon pretends to remember them and does that thing that you do when you forget someone’s name and ask them to introduce themselves. They are Rough Copy and they’re sweet but street. Dermot laughs out loud at this. I don’t even care enough to hate them for it.

They’re singing that god-awful Wand Erection song that was written by Ed Sheerhan about how it doesn’t matter that you’re bosseyed or a bit chubby because they don’t care. It’s got a few “one time” bits in it and they come down off the stage and stand on the judges desk. It’s all a bit contrived for my liking. Funsponge says well done and clearly the audience love them. They have great synergy and good socks. That, friends, is a masterclass in complimenting someone without actually complimenting them on anything. Is there a word for that? Sharon says they’re very smooth which is a bit the same but she doesn’t want them to get cocky. Louis thinks that they know how to work the room. Nicole thinks that’s how it’s done. They get four predictable yeses and they’re off to boot camp.

MOAR ADVERTS. Fifth judge nonsense. BLAH

When we return, we seem to be back at Wembley. Three guys tell a cute child that they hope the cheers get louder for them. I don’t recognise them.  Funsponge asks the crowd not to boo the acts but they can boo the other judges. THANKS.

But to business proper, we have James McDonald who is a 25 year old bus driver from Nottingham. His nickname is the Singing Bus Driver, which in imagination terms is up there with Big Fat Goalie. He’s been a bus driver for 5 years which is handy, because he loves to sing. I don’t get how the two are related. Last night he sang Lately by Stevie Wonder. He does a bit about how he was driving a bus yesterday and now he’s singing to an arena. All he needs is a yes. UH OH FORESHADOWING. He’s brought his F and f’s with him and some passengers from his bus.

He sings a perfectly serviceable version of Red by Daniel Meriwether, which he manages not to make sound like the passive aggressive whinefest that the original is. He’s powerful and subtle in the right places. It’s good to my ears. But uh oh, Funsponge is looking down his nose and he cuts it short. Nicole thinks he has a good voice if not the best of the day. Funsponge says that if he was being honest, he was a bit disappointed and he had more to bring and his voice was a bit generic. Like his isn’t. Sharon says that as judges they’re looking for someone to win the contest for them and he’s not up to that level. It’s a no from Funsponge, a yes from Nicole. It goes to Sharon. James begs her for a chance and she tells him not to do that. How else is he going to prove he wants it? It’s also a no from her. It’s a no from Louis too. If only he’d been a bit thinner or had a dead Nan. Nicole says that she wishes he’d got through as he’s lovely but Funsponge thinks that he’s not as good as the others.

Montage time! Today’s montage is about the crowd disagreeing with the judges. A generic boyband get a no but the crowd disagree. Lucy McGuire misses lots of notes and the crowd love her and want her to get another song.  She stomps off crying. Sharon keeps telling the crowd to behave. Emily Felix sings locked out of heaven and the crowd like her too but the judges disagree to more groans.

That bit’s over now thank goodness, and Stephanie is back. Stephanie is the one that made judges houses when she was 14 and now she’s back. She explains that it was emotional seeing Sharon and she wants to show her what she can do now compared to then. She’s working in a hotel as entertainment crew but she’d much rather be on X Factor. She’s going to sing I Drove All Night by Celine Dion. It’s not by Celine petal, it’s by Roy Orbison. I’d let you away with a Cyndi Lauper, but not bloody Celine. It’s a shocking song choice though, and the judges agree.  Even Funsponge thinks it’s old fashioned. Stephanie just loves singing it.  The crowd bray for one more song but because she’s got a sob story she’s allowed another go. What does Stephanie do with this opportunity to show the judges that she can be modern and hip and with the kids? She sings Fleetwood Mac. Seriously. Fleetwood bloody Mac. This pleases Funsponge who has no capacity for irony. Dermot and her family hope she’s turned it around. Nicole thinks it was sincere. Louis says yes because she has a great voice. She gets a biased yes from Sharon. Funsponge thinks that she needs to modernise her act herself before they start telling her what to sing every week. She’s got four yeses. See what I said about manufactured drama? Oh god, that was so obvious. Much is made of her nearly not making it. YAWN.


There’s a montage of people getting ready and talking about how much they’ve sacrificed. This includes one girl talking about how she’s had to take out all her facial piercings and hoping they don’t mind her nose ring. WTF? What has that got to do with anything? I thought this programme was pretending to be about artistry and individuality? Someone was just knocked back for being generic and now they’re showing people being worried about not being generic enough? This bloody programme, I tell you.

But never mind! Kingsland are back! Presumably named after Dalston Kingsland station because they’re just so bloody hipster it hurts. Seriously, one of them needs a moustache and they’d be a pop up shop. They’ve remembered the feedback that they got and they’re trying not to do too much pelvis.  Today, their manifesto is to get everyone on their feet. That’s a crap manifesto because you can also achieve that by getting them to leave.

When they arrive on stage, Funsponge asks them what they’ve been doing since last night. Apparently they’ve been rehearsing and three of them have lost their jobs due to the hectic schedule. Two of them are paying the rent. They sing a song I don’t know and their dancing is severely affected by the tightness of their trousers. They’ve got a little dance routine and everything. They’ve definitely improved but I can see them annoying the SHIT out of me.

Nicole thinks they need to work on the vocals but she liked it because she can see the hard work. Sharon loved it and Louis thinks they remind him of a little Take That. Funsponge can see the improvement since the last audition and wonders what they’ll be like given more time. Four yeses. YAWN.

Sharon thinks they look like a group. Louis has had a good day and Nicole erases all of my previous goodwill towards her by saying “hashtag boss”. NEXT.

Next up are Next Of Kin, who look like three photocopies of Howard Donald. They believe it’s their time and it seems it is, because they sing “Amazed” and the judges lap it up. Louis thinks it’s great to hear brothers with perfect harmonies, unlike his twin band who have no natural synchronicity despite having shared a womb and a life. Funsponge thinks the vocals were seamless and they get four yeses. Louis thinks there’s a market for them. Sharon thinks that the groups category is looking good but CLANG FORESHADOWING the boys are looking weak.

BUT WHAT’S THIS!? It’s wee Nicholas McDonald from last night. They remember that he’s precious and they’re all rooting for him.  His CRASH!DRAMA is that Funsponge didn’t think he was ready. We’ll see how he gets on tonight. His favourite bit from his first audition was getting a kiss from Nicole and he goes on to say how much his mum and dad have supported him. He’s a bit worried because he thinks he doesn’t look like a popstar, just a wee Scottish guy. He’s going to try to be a popstar though.

He arrives on stage and says how nervous he is and how he’s been practicing since the room auditions. Nicholas is singing “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. It’s faultless. The judges all get major chubbies for it, as well they should. He gets a standing ovation and looks genuinely shocked by it. Even Sharon manages to contort her face into something resembling a smile. Nicole thinks he has a gorgeous voice. Sharon thinks he owned the audition. Louis thinks he nailed it and gives him ten out of ten. Funsponge thinks he knocked it out the park. 

OF COURSE, we’re ending on four yeses and Joe McElderry playing in the background. They all love how unassuming he is. I’m taking that as a euphemism for short. We all are in Scotland. Apart from me, but I was driven out. Nicole thinks he was effortless. His family think it’s just the beginning. Aww.

There’s a preview of next week where we’re told that it’s the LAST CHANCE for auditions as it’s the final week of them. Thank GOODNESS for that. Join Steve for Saturday and if my calculations are correct, I’ll have ANOTHER week of bloody arena auditions. If I get the final 12 show again I’m going to go postal. See you next week!