The best part of the X Factor comes to an end. The auditions are over. No more freaks (for the most part). The latest episodes showed us more of what we can expect of the judges in the live shows, and gave us our final dose of 'comedy'.
So we come to episode 6, and the old plots continue. This episode was a bit of a throwback to seasons past. There were no surprises; those who looked like they would be good generally were, and those who looked shit lived up to expectations.
The show started with Natasha the flasher, essentially your standard misguided wannabe. Natasha enjoyed ‘sexy’ dancing, taking it to the next level with both a crotch shot and a nipple slip. Her awful audition did not go down well, and was followed by the typical montage of freaks.
We next had John Adams (not the dead president obvs) who, according to my mum, is pretty good-looking. John also teaches maths to kids. So what are the chances that the handsome, sensitive and intelligent auditionee can sing as well? Pretty good. John sang Damien Rice’s Cannonball. It was a good song choice which suited his style of singing and his Ed Sheeran type tone. He let himself down with the cringe-inducing walk down the steps towards the judges, but overall he was pretty good, and the fact that he’s a teacher and ‘down with the kids’ should take him pretty far.
This was followed by mother of four, Michelle Barrett, who obviously has the sob story that she has been too busy being a great mother to her kids to have a career before, meaning this is her last chance. She sung Whitney Houston’s All the Man I Need (surely a reference to her husband’s fertile potency?), and did an ok job. I personally thought it was the type of performance which should be confined to the kitchen and accompanied by washing up, considering she chose a song which was far to big for her, meaning she couldn’t handle the runs or sustain the high notes. However the judges lapped it up. This was also an opportunity for Tulisa to show her soppy side. Given how popular Kelly Rowland seems to be (not with me) on account of her emotional outbursts, ITV obviously thought that Tulisa needed to get in on the action. I found Tulisa’s tears less annoying than Kelly’s, maybe because she looked like she was trying to not cry, as opposed to Kelly who always seems like she is trying to force the tears out.
ITV next decided to plug another one of their shows, The Only Way is Essex, through the audition of 2 Shoes, a couple of Essex girls with the life goal of buying a micro pig. They did an ok version of All My Life, and got a yes from all but Kelly. The one thing I like about Kelly is that she’s tough on groups. I’ve always thought it’s so much easier for groups to impress. All they have to do is put in a couple of harmonies and they’re through, however this isn’t enough for Kelly, who actually looks at the blend, which is refreshing, despite the fact that she still gets outvoted.
The final auditionee was John Wilding. I remember John from last year, and I remember thinking that he had a good voice, if a little dramatic, but didn’t have the look. I concluded that he belonged in the West End. He came back post-makeover. The papers are reporting that he has spent £10,000 on his new look. This proves that with professional help, you can still look like an utter twat. John has lost a bunch of weight so that he can fit into girls’ jeans, brushed his teeth, and learned to cover his acne with makeup. What I was really interested in was the bowler hat. Aside from the fact that it looked ridiculous, John was, for some reason, shit-scared about it coming off. As he came down the stairs after the audition, he kept one hand on the hat to make sure it didn’t come off. When all his friends hugged him, instead of reciprocating the gesture, he kept his hand on the hat. But why? My theory is that John has alopecia. ‘Why wouldn’t he use that for his sob story?’ you may ask. Well John is playing a very wily game. He clearly realizes that people like me are fed up of these sob stories, so he is playing the role of the guy who has a great sob story, but doesn’t want to use it. Very clever John, but I’m onto you. As for the audition, he sung a pretty amazing version of a Jennifer Hudson song. However he embarrassed himself by slinking around the stage in an awkward manner rather than just singing. The highlight of his performance was actually Louis waving his hand in the air with his eyes closed as if he were an overweight black woman. As for John, unfortunately you can see the desperation seeping through his makeup which is rather off-putting, so I don’t think audiences will take to him. If he wins, I’ll eat my metaphorical (bowler) hat. My conclusion: try the West End.
So the show starts, and lo and behold, an unfamiliar storyline! A husband and wife who audition separately. Neil and Margaret were both properly shit, and the latter’s dress, adorned with the statement ‘Wishes come True’ made her look a bit like a special child (and also a few months pregnant).
We next had Bradley Johnson, the reformed rude boy. Having been told twice that he has been expelled from three schools, we finally heard him sing A-Team. The judges loved it, and I really don’t know why. He sung most of the song in the wrong key. A diamond in the rough I guess, and obviously everyone loves someone who turns there life around through singing, except me. There followed the montage of boys getting through, though no one was inspiring.
After this we had yet another guy who gave up singing to focus on his kids. Bored. Terry Winstanley sees his audition as his last chance, big surprise. To make it worse, he sung a Michael Bolton song, but to be fair, he did it pretty well. Once again, we were consequently given more old people getting through, but again, nothing stood out.
Our final auditionee was Ceri Rees, an old biddy who has auditioned three times before. She started by singing I Dreamed a Dream. She clearly had no intention of auditioning with the song, but was forced to by producers as they wanted to create a Susan Boyle moment with a 'humorous' bathetic ending. If Ceri was secretly amazing it would have been the most incredible tactical route to bootcamp ever. Obviously she wasn't, and was sent packing pretty quickly. I personally found the whole audition a little sad. Ceri is clearly not one of those who has come on as a joke/bet, but is actually deluded, so to deride her in the way they did was a little unkind in my opinion. I also find it strange that they chose to end with her, but I guess making someone with talent the final contestant in the final show would shove them into a very strong position at an early stage.
**Update: Several papers have been reporting that Ceri was coaxed into auditioning by the producers, the cruelty of which is quite horrifying. Paying a woman who is seemingly mentally ill to stand up in front of thousands to be laughed at really is vile. Fortunately the public are finally waking up to the lengths the show will go to. **
Overall, it was a really boring episode. No talent, no tears, no excitement. The whole audition process was as usual very contrived and repetitive, and this was probably the shittest episode of the lot.
The show concluded with a montage of this years 'highlights' (all set to Rule The World, obvs), along with Louis stating that this year's bootcamp will be the 'toughest' ever. As for favourites, I think it's pretty hard to tell this year. When Alexandra Burke auditioned, she was clearly going to win. These things are often decided at bootcamp (Matt Cardle singing Roberta Flack last year), so we'll wait and see next weekend.