Arena Auditions Week 1 – 2nd September 2013
Hello and welcome to what is my first recap of the tenth series of the X Factor. Ten series! It’s like turning around and noticing that programme that you remember being a baby is about to go to big school. Steven gave you his thoughts on the judging panel yesterday and at the risk of getting fired, I have to say that I approve of the return of Sharon. I think we need a mother figure to calm down Funsponge’s bossy father-ness and I love her dynamic with Louis. We’ll see who’s proved right in the end. [I ended up not hating Sharon quite as much as I expected to. I still think her return was largely unnecessary, but maybe there's still hope for us. - Steve] [She was fine in auditions, but wait until lives when she becomes utterly unbearable. Just saying. - Rad]
This year as discussed we’re having a format change and this episode marks the beginning of the hotel function room/arena splits. This would work in an immediate split as we can see the singers in a one on one situation and then see how they react with an audience. It also stops the deluded and mentally ill from being humiliated by thousands of people who are in their face. However it does mean that you constantly have to remember people from the day before having their big moment and it kind of ruins the surprise of whether they’re going to be good or not, which promises to make for an hour of uninspiring television. We’ll see.
We begin proper with an announcement that THIS YEAR IT’S CHANGE with DOUBLE AUDITIONS. TO PLAY THE ARENA THEY FIRST HAVE TO WIN THE ROOM which sounds like a challenge on The Cube which isn’t really a Cube *Harry Hill sideways glance to camera*. TONIGHT IT’S TIME TO FACE THE AUDIENCE which I’m sure includes facing the MUSIC but it’s not expressly implied. GIANT X.
First auditionee having the fully filmed background check is Sam Bailey who was the prison officer lady from last night. She’s written “Mummy has the X Factor” on her fridge with magnets because she wants to pretend that her kids did it. She tells her children to hurry up because this is her LAST CHANCE and they’ve ruined her chances at a singing career already and she won’t tolerate their shit because they want to eat their Cheerios. Her arena audition is all she’s been able to think about. Second up is Fill the mullet Muppet who has been rehearsing every day and he’s going to give the judges everything and they’re going to take it. Then we see half of the duo that was split up last night leaving her house saying that this is going to be the performance of her life. She’s followed by Homeless Hannah on the train from Croydon looking all sad. SHE’S SAD BECAUSE SHE LIVES IN CROYDON. EVERYONE LOOKS SAD THERE. Sam Bailey’s cute kids ask her if she’s going to win from the back of the car. I don’t think it’s too big a spoiler to say that she won’t. Alejandro gets on a bus and says he’s been practicing because he’s singing in front of people, innit.
The judges arrive at Wembley, which kind of destroys the point of having a window over the O2 yesterday but logic has never been a friend of this show. To further confuse us all, the show is no doubt being filmed inside Wembley Arena but the judges are getting out of their cars outside the new Brent Council offices. Presumably because they’re the nicest building in the whole complex and you can kind of sort of see the arena from there. Nicole thinks it’s about being a true entertainer. Funsponge wants to see someone have a big moment with a standing ovation and everything. Yes, that would be great for the crowd that are in the actual arena at the time but it’s going to be no big surprise for us when someone turns out to be good, is it?
Backstage montage. Sam’s adorable kids say she has the X Factor again. Someone with a bitch resting face does her hair as two people talk about how great the crowd is. It’s Sam’s audition first. Sam’s son, Tommy says hello to Dermot and my ovaries punch me from inside just to remind me that my time is running out and will I either just sort my life out or give up and get a cat. Just make a bloody decision one way or another. Sorry, got sidetracked there. What are we here for again? Oh yes. Sam Bailey. Prison officer. Funsponge recognises her. Nicole is less convincing but introduces her and asks her to tell the audience a bit about herself. The most important thing about Sam is that she’s 36 and a prison officer. We go back through the mists of time to see her audition last night whilst Sam interviews about how emotional it was to do the room audition and get a standing ovation. She found it weird going back to work because it felt like the whole audition didn’t happen but she’s back and finally doing things for herself for the first time in ages. She even bought herself some new clothes. She’s doing this so her kids will be proud of her and to show them that she can do it. The judges ask how she’s feeling. She still can’t believe it, and things like this don’t happen to her. I think you’ll find that most people don’t end up singing at Wembley Arena in talent competitions so I don’t think that not buying yourself clothes has a lot to do with it. Nicole urges her to sing her heart out. She does. She belts out “Who’s Loving You” whilst pulling some faces that can only be described as ‘interesting’. Her husband cries. Her children sleep. Louis pretends to have a sense of rhythm whilst he tries to remember who she reminds him of. [What little hope I had for Sam after last night promptly vanished with that performance, which was straight-up Meaty Minge. All bellowing, no feeling. - Steve] [I liked her last night and everything. Tonight: HAYL NO. - Rad]
Everyone is moved. Nicole grabs her heart as she gets a standing ovation. Nicole shouts “great job baby”! as Sam complains of shaking. We are urged to remember her name and she’s reminded that this is her time. Funsponge thinks she’s phenomenal and wonders where she’s been. She’s been BEING A MUM you dork. Her kids come first. Louis tells her she hit every single note and it was powerful and effortless and she deserves a recording contract. Sharon thinks she felt ever word. She gets a massive, huge and a from the heart yes. Nicole manages to squeeze out a tear as her family invade the stage. Sharon and Nicole argue whether she sings from the heart or the gut. Backstage, Durrbot interviews Sam who says that in 20 years of singing nobody has ever told her that she’s special but she knows she is now. Her husband cries for reportedly the first time and her daughter tells her she did a good job. ADVERTS.
When we return, Funsponge is ‘checking his twitter’ in the corridor and is disgusted to find that there’s a fifth judge that nobody has told him about. It’s US! There’s an app where you can vote and predict. DULL.
We’re back at Wembley where the reality of performing in front of the audience is hitting home. We have Homeless Hannah again and she’s nervous. She found the room audition overwhelming but today is going to be the biggest performance of her life and she wants to do her best. Nicole urges her to sing her heart out. She’s singing One Night Only. Nicole mouths that she loves her. Sharon thinks that it was good for a 17 year old sausage roll seller. Funsponge also likes it. Nicole calls her a little Nina Simone and Louis probably kicks her under the table. Four predictable yeses.
Luke from Essex is back for his Arena audition. He remarks on how different it is auditioning in person from watching it on television. NO SHIT SHERLOCK. Wow, with brains like that you really need to get through because you will be excellent fun to recap. We go all the way back in time to see him singing his godawful song about positivity. He’s very nervous for his performance today as he’s never sung for this many people and he doesn’t want his nerves to get the better of him or to have any regrets. He arrives on stage and says he’s nervous. Sharon urges him to give it his best. He really, really doesn’t. He’s singing Get Lucky in a sub James Arthur style which will give a handle on just how shit awful this performance is. It moves Funsponge to pull a face. Even his family backstage look resigned. That’s how terrible it is. Sharon says that she loves his personality but the performance and the range was limited. Nicole also ponders his range and says it felt like he was straining. Funsponge thinks the vocals weren’t good and he should come back next year. Nicole thinks that his other performance should be taken into account and it’s a yes. Louis wants to give him a chance so it’s a yes. It’s a no from Sharon but she also urges him to come back after some practice. So now we know what happens in a 50:50 vote split, huh. [I think Louis said that Sharon is technically head judge this year, but he might just have been bullshitting. We'll find out in the live shows, I guess. - Steve] [I have read interviews where they said no-one was. Maybe the fifth judge is head judge. Which would mean FUCKING DEADLOCK every week - Rad] After he leaves Sharon remarks at how the audience were flat and Luke interviews that the nerves got the better of him.
We’re on to Alejandro and he’s most worried about Funsponge. He thinks that his first audition was ok because Funsponge thought he was a bit musical theatre which for once wasn’t used as a euphemism. He wants his grandparents to be proud of him today. His gran asks him if he’s wearing clean pants. Oh you AMATEUR. They’ve either got to be dead or cute. They can’t be funny. What is this shit? Alejandro hopes that all his hard work pays off and the yes that he would get would mean everything. He arrives onstage and introduces himself. Louis wonders who he has with him. He says that he’s got the United Nations with him. I don’t think he knows what the United Nations is. He also introduces his grandparents as his biggest fans. They get a cheer. He’s singing Hero by Enrique Iglesias. It goes well; until he starts singing in Spanish and the whole thing just feels a bit... well, arrogant. [Remember when singing in Spanish was meant to be Ruth Lorenzo's USP? Oh, Simon. - Steve] He’s never going to go down well with the public. He gets off the stage and comes down to the judges. Of course, they lap it up, as do the audience. He gets a big standing ovation. Nicole reads from what she’s been given about what she said about him last time, which was she couldn’t wait to see the girls screaming over him in the arena. She then speaks in Spanish and translates it as hot. Sharon calls it an unbelievable performance. Louis doesn’t think he’s the best singer but he’s got charisma and the girls will love him. Funsponge just repeats what Louis says, and then repeats what Nicole says. Three yeses and a si.
Backstage, he can’t believe it. Then a big flashing sign with EXPOSITION comes down and Nicole says that this is the reason that the split auditions are so important, to show what people are like with an audience. They agree he set the crowd alight.
MOAR ADVERTS. When we return the split duo are nervous and the football coach can’t prepare himself to step into the situation. Funsponge remarks that the step from room to arena is huge and if they’re wise they’ll listen to the advice they have been given and use it. This can only mean one thing. Fil.
Fil is ready to rock. He has illustrated this by dressing in black. He says that he went a bit mental in his audition and we go back through the mists of time again to yesterday where he went so mental Funsponge threw a cup at his general direction, but not too near, we don’t want anyone losing an eye. He was told he needed more of an edge so that’s what he’s giving them. He wonders if he can take it. Oh, they can. He feels that he’s got the hair and the body to be a rockstar, and he’s even drawn himself on some tattoos. His mum grasses him up that they’re not real and says that he’s still “experimenting”, even though he’s clearly older than 14. Drawing on your tattoos is apparently the “rock and roll way” and he’ll soon be selling out stadiums with Bon Jovi. I thought that this split in auditions was supposed to stop the not very well humiliating themselves? Fil arrives on stage and says hello to Wembley. Funsponge remembers his audition for all the wrong reasons. He says that he wanted him to be badder and wonders if Fil has been working on that. He indicates that he has by growling. Oh dear. Funsponge pretends to be excited as Fil walks off the stage to make a grander entrance. Grand it is. He’s taken his top off and is walking through the crowds playing his guitar. He’s playing what seems to be an original song that his dad is mouthing along to. What I don’t understand is that he’s playing a guitar that doesn’t seem to be plugged in to anything. He then jumps up on to the judges desk and breaks a cup. How very rock. Nicole treats the whole spectacle with the contempt it deserves. Funsponge joins in, but ruins it by saying that it wasn’t as bad as he remembered, it was worse. Louis doesn’t think he’s a rockstar. Nicole thinks they’ve created a monster but he gives good hair. Sharon calls the performance “A pile of shit”. Charming. Four nos. Poor man. Sharon thinks he should stick to singing at home. Nicole gives his hair a yes, which is a plus point. Poor Fil. He did what they wanted and they chucked him out anyway. [This doesn't reflect brilliantly on the quality of the feedback that the judges are offering, does it? - Steve] Funsponge wants to clean the mess up. [My take on Fil is that it was Tim Wheeler from Ash in a comedy wig, trolling for the lols. He looked exactly like him except the hair - Rad]
Backstage, Durrbot asks Fil’s mum if he’s like that at home. She says that he’s not. As Fil walks away we see “I love Gary” written on his back. He thinks he might be too rock for the X Factor. You’re too something, Fil. I’m just not sure what.
Back with the duo that were split up whose name was something to do with silver; they’re debating who it was that split them up. They agree on Funsponge and they said that they were shocked to hear it. The younger half of the duo is Tamera Foster who is ONLY SIXTEEN and from Gravesend. She’s wearing some giant Illuminati earrings, which is bound to get us some hits. The older half is Gerrie Dilar and she’s from London. The fact that they were once a duo is explained again and now they said that they’re nervous to be competing against each other as they’ve never performed on their own. Actually, Gerrie seems to be nervous, Tamera clearly couldn’t give less of a shit about it. Gerrie is up first and she tells Dermot that she’s nervous and excited. Sharon hopes that she doesn’t let them down. Gerrie gets on stage and she’s forgotten her trousers. She says she’s been practicing non stop for her audition. She sings Love in a Hovis Face and adds in a few bonus notes before running out of words. It’s a bit rubbish. Nicole agrees that last time it was stronger. Louis expected more, Sharon thought it was in the wrong key and it’s not a good day for her. Funsponge thought she was shouting so it’s a no from him. Nicole gives her a yes, as does Louis. It’s a no from Sharon so it’s a no overall. When she’s gone, Sharon decides to feel bad but Dermot thanks her for auditioning.
Let’s see how Tamera gets on. She’s doing breathing exercises backstage and says that she’s nervous. She’s brought her gran with her who is neither dead nor cute which is again starting to vex me. NO POINTLESS GRANDPARENTS PLEASE. She says she’s more nervous than Tamera. Tamera is worried because the only performance she’s done is school assemblies. That’s still a fairly big performance.
For some reason, someone else’s audition is stuck in the middle. His name is Elliot and they’re not too happy with him and he needs more time to hone his craft. Louis reminds us that she’s only 16 as she says how scared she is about being judged on her own. She arrives on stage and says it’s surreal. Sharon wonders what she’s been doing to get ready. Tamera says that she’s been rehearsing nonstop and there’s lots to take in. Sharon wonders how she’s feeling about performing alone. She’s nervous but she’s ready. She’s going to be doing a Whitney number, I Have Nothing.
But what’s this?! The crowd cheer as she starts singing and she forgets the words. At least, that’s what it looks like, but her look of shock doesn’t seem 100% genuine to me. She asks for two seconds as her little sister starts crying backstage. ADVERTS OH I CAN’T TAKE THE DRAMA.
When we return we see the exact same clip of her leaving the stage again. She goes backstage and asks Dermot for the words. He knows them. Bless. She goes back and tries again. Sharon asks if she’s ok and Nicole wants her to DO IT. The audience crane their necks at a potential second car crash. She goes again, and stumbles on the words again but manages to recover. Funsponge mouths them at her. She then seems to find her feet and starts belting everything out. Nicole squeezes out a tear and Funsponge mouths “wow” as she goes on to get a standing ovation from the crowd.
Funsponge tells her that her performance wasn’t perfect but she’s got potential beyond belief. Sharon reminds us all that she’s ONLY SIXTEEN. Even though she’s ONLY SIXTEEN she coped with a Whitney song. Nicole liked it even though some of it was out of control and she’s got a gift and a talent and another star. Louis thinks that she’s got potential beyond Alexandra Burke and Leona Lewis and she’s incredible. Four inevitable yeses, provided she doesn’t forget her lyrics at bootcamp. The judges are speechless and Tamera explains that she forgot the lyrics because her brain was full of other stuff. Bless. [I thought she was DREADFUL. Forgetting the words was bad enough, but even when she remembered them she was off-key. She should count herself very lucky that she's ONLY SIXTEEN. - Steve]
So that’s it for the first week of arena auditions. Join Rad next week for the next instalment. It’s good to be back!