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Gary: [to Duplex] “You really are one and the same person – you both can’t sing.”
Nicole: “I’m all about men singing their balls off.”
Louis: [to Sharon] “Do you and Kelly ever sing together?”
Sharon: [to Louis] *Snorts* “Shut the fuck up”.
Emeli Sandé Alarms: 2
Best Contestant: Andrea Magee
Worst Contestant: Green Boots/Giles Potter
Saturday – The Room
Initiating the final week of auditions were nauseating Essex duo ‘Duplex’, who claimed to be “literally one person cut in half”. One could argue that one person cut in half would not technically be a ‘duo’, but there you go. They announced that they were singing ‘Call My Name’, at which point Gary’s head sank into his hands. They performed dreadfully, blamed it on nerves, and Gary said “it’s not nerves. You just can’t sing” to which they replied “we’ll take that as a positive”. Well done everyone.
Maths student Justin Timberlake Bieber Peng shocked the judges with a strangely brilliant performance of ‘I Look To You’ by Whitney Houston. Normally contestants who say things like “my favourite maths is to do with numbers” and give flowers to Nicole are complete balls, but Justin is an oddity in that respect (and many others) – the boy can sing. It wasn’t perfect, but he did some pretty decent vocal runs that we’ve not seen from other male contestants yet, so he’s got a good niche. He got through.
Sam Callahan (bar worker and my future husband) is another one of those under-25 contestants playing an acoustic guitar. How original. He did a not completely awful cover of the completely awful ‘You’re Beautiful’ by James Blunt. Louis said “I think he’s got something. Honestly”. (It was probably the ability to give Louis an erection.) He struggled through with three yeses. Professional DILF Joseph Whelan returned from last year, once again using his child as his sob story. After his child was forced into The Room (probably by a bystanding producer), Joseph performed a bit of a shouty version of ‘Always’ by Bon Jovi. He was comparably good to the hoard of shit contestants that have amassed this year though, so he went through.
‘Green Boots’ were the most vomit-inducing, infuriating, rancid act to grace the X Factor stage since… Well, since Euphoria Girls a few weeks ago. They were a bit like two awkward librarians who made the most of the fact that X Factor wanted to show them making out on TV. They claimed to be ‘madly in love’ and that ‘true love doesn’t just exist in fairytales’. The female in the duo (who bore a strange resemblance to Gretchen from Recess) said her other half made her “melt like chocolate in the microwave”. Let’s have no more said about that, please. Anyway, they mumbled through a particularly awful version of ‘A Whole New World’ (probably still better than that version Peter Andre did with Katie Price, though) and were sent home.
The Daisy Chains auditioned next, after banging on Duplex-style about having “such a great chemistry” and that “they don’t work if one of the links is broken”. Naturally the judges decided to split them up. They performed what I thought was a fairly alright version of ‘Stop In The Name Of Love’ (well, the harmonies weren’t bad), but frontwoman Hannah Sheares decided to pull a Beyoncé (with some encouragement from the judges) and left the group behind to achieve better things. That’s showbiz!
Pineapple haired Jayson Newland has the most incredible speaking voice. It was smooth. It melted me like chocolate in the microwave. His singing voice was quite good too. He sang ‘Never Too Much’ by Luther Vandross, which was a great song choice after a lot of the crap one hears repeatedly on X Factor. Singer-songwriter (unemployed) Andrea Magee sang one of her own compositions, which I thought sounded like it had a lot of potential. It was very Bo Bruce (from The Voice) meets Diana Vickers. She’s got my vote already. She got through.
Student Lorna Simpson sang a quite good ‘I Have Nothing’, and although she seemed a bit over-confident (bloody arrogant) pre-audition, she seemed quite humbled when she got four yeses and got through. Fresh, young talent The Nostalgics auditioned next with the classic pop banger ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ by Sylvie Dee. One of the pensioners whipped out their massive organ to accompany the audition, which Louis in particular seemed to rather enjoy. These are future pop stars, I’m telling you. I would predict they’d reach the live shows, but chances are half of them won’t actually be alive to perform. They got through though.
Sunday – The Arena
First up was bin-juice enthusiast Ryan Mathie from last week, singing what I thought was a bit of a shit version of ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk. He whacked out an acoustic guitar (*sigh*) and spoke his way through most of the song. But he got through. Male rock vocal group ‘The Tenors of Rock’ belted out a fairly good version of ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’, the only downside of which was that it made Louis start headbanging (a movement he probably isn’t used to. Outside of the bedroom, at least.) They got through.
Bandmate ditcher Hannah Sheares returned (with two new friends backstage) to sing ‘Skyscraper’ by Demi Lovato. She was quite good, but I can’t see her making it past Judges Houses. Her former backstabbery evidently paid off though, as she flew through with four yeses.
A menagerie of quite good groups came next, including Code 4, Xyra, Brick City and Dynamix, singing ‘Like I Love You’, ‘Earthquake’, ‘No More Pain’ and ‘Let’s Get It Started’, respectively. Code 4 were a bit like JLS, but with some Diversity-esque dancing, so that wasn’t bad. Xyra, in my opinion, are definitely in line to be a new and improved Little Mix. Their harmonies were consistent, they weren’t afraid to do a little bit of rapping, and they could all sing. It was quite something. The judges had an issue with Dynamix, as did I. The frontwoman Cece (who looks suspiciously like Gamu if you ask me…) has a powerhouse voice, but her male bandmates were just awful rappers, with awkward stage presence and average vocals. Although the judges strongly suggested Cece continue solo, she did not pull a Hannah Sheares, and managed to bring her bandmates through with her to Boot Camp. That’s nice of her isn’t it.
Noted Adonis and drool-inducer Joseph Whelan came back to (groan-worthily) sing ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. Come on Joseph, we’ve had enough of hearing about your bloody child. Just take your shirt off already. If only the X Factor Youtube account would upload a video of Joseph taking his shirt off, or something for a dare… Anyway. He probably got through. I was too busy staring at his arms. Wedding singer Crissie Rhodes sang a really very good cover of ‘Young Hearts Run Free’, but avoided ‘Wedding-singer-itis’ (you know, where they walk up to the microphone and just start BELTING out a song.) She was very well controlled, and I’m quite glad she got through.
It is beyond me, and beyond my comprehension as to why Giles Potter is in the competition at all. The boy cannot sing. I would go as far to say that he is talentless. He’s 16, has no idea what he’s doing on a stage, and can’t fucking sing. He sang vocally regurgitated what I think was meant to be ‘Reet Petite’ by Jackie Wilson. He forgot the words halfway through, he wasn’t in tune, it wasn’t entertaining, and let’s face it – the whole thing was just bollocks. He, along with Green Boots and Euphoria Girls would be banished to the X Factor dungeons if I were in charge. Alas, the judges saw potential (money) in him, and put him through.
Last up was Paul Akister, who was criticised for his nervous performance on Saturday, but praised for his soulful voice. I’m very much on Paul’s side in the way that he doesn’t look like your typical popstar, but does have a very good voice. I was dubious about his ability to perform in front of an audience, but he bloody killed it in the Arena – he sang his own version of ‘A Song For You’ called ‘A Song To You’ (did that annoy anybody else?) Either way, it was vocally very good, and Nicole pulled that face like she was being cunnilingued under the desk, so you know it was good. He got through.