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Sharon: “Ooh! I love a good surgeon!”
Nicole: [to a contestant with a laptop] “Careful, don’t trip over your cord”.
Louis: “Singing should just be a hobby for you. And your cat.”
Emeli Sandé Alarms: 1
Best Contestant: Shelley Smith
Worst Contestant: The Euphoria Girls. (Yes, again)
Saturday – The Room
The X Factor kicked off in Manchester on week two. I found that week two, overall, was even less exciting than Gary Barlow’s voice. I’m beginning to worry that the majority of the exciting talent was used in week one, and even they weren’t Leona Lewis/Little Mix/Alexandra Burke standard.
The most notable contestant, I think we can all agree, was Barclay Beales. I mean, firstly, he’s called Barclay. Secondly, he’s 17 and quite attractive. Thirdly, he YODELLED. He fucking YODELLED. It was quite something. Yodelling is the new black. Nicole proceeded to start removing her clothes (as did I) for Barclay, and he got through with four yeses. Hooray for vocal diversity.
186 year old ‘part time DJ’ Thomas Feeley appeared to give us a brief (long) description of his daily journey to work, and to tell us all the features of his Dell Experium laptop. He donned his old man spectacles, played the backing track out of his laptop, and began to strain for his life, just so a few words would make it out of his body. Poor thing. He was not in tune, in time, and stopped after twenty seconds to say “There’s an instrumental there Gary. I thought you should know” to which Gary snorted and kept drinking his coffee. And that’s the cruelty of the X Factor that we all know and love.
Housekeeper Relley C was up next. She was the one who looked a bit like she fell sideways into a puddle of bleach. Her hair was a bit ‘Cruella De Vil-chic’, shall we say. She sang Don’t You Worry Child, which was surprisingly good. She sounded a bit like Misha B but without the aggression. She was good enough to make me forget the fact that she called Sharon ‘Shaz’. It’s a yes from DobleVision. And it was a yes from the judges.
White van woman Shelley Smith sang Carole King’s ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’. She won me over with her strong Bristolian accent, but sadly did nothing to deter the stereotype of the westcountry accent sounding uneducated. She was quite sweet and had a belter of a voice though. Ryan Mathie from ‘Ull’ (The ‘H’ is silent) sang You Don’t Know What Love Is Jolene. His voice was not awful, I found, but there was a country twang. And as we know, the UK just doesn’t have a strong country music scene. If he makes the live shows, I’ll eat my words.
Abi Alton seems to be a favourite so far, and I’d bet anything she’ll at least make the Judge’s Houses. She seems to like to wear flower crowns. She played the guitar herself which I suppose would be nice if every contestant under the age of 25 hadn’t done that so far, and her voice was a bit Diana Vickers meets Janet Devlin, which means a lot of people won’t like it. She sang a song about ‘soldiers coming home’ which The X Factor obviously liked, given their fondness for making charity singles for Help For Heroes. She got through.
Spawn-of-Wagner Colin Stacey entered with a framed photograph of his cat. If that’s not a serious contestant, I don’t know what is. He did in fact confirm that the cat enjoys his singing. So that’s good to know. He began to moan out ‘Someone Like You’. Unfortunately the only similarity between this gentleman and Adele is the fact that their singing seems to make every listener unutterably depressed. His timing was bizarrely out, and Nicole and Gary even joined in to help him find his place, which he ignored. At least he tried, eh?
Finally are the comeback kids, Jade Richards (the one that was a bit like Adele a couple of years ago), Amy Mottram (one of Tulisa’s previous rejects), and Melanie McCabe (she looks a bit like Brittany Snow.) They were obviously all relatively good, having gotten to Judges Houses in previous years. This is Melanie McCabe’s fourth year. Some people just can’t take the hint, can they? She did give a cracking quote though – “I think I’m more confident… This year… Maybe”.
Sunday – The Arena
Shelley Smith returned to sing ‘Feeling Good’. A typical audition choice, but DAMN did she nail it. This lady has guts, and the audience lapped it up. The best bit was when she started strutting in her heels. Who says life ends at 25? Jade Richards came back too, singing Back To Black. I’d be more impressed with Jade if she mixed up her style a bit, if I’m honest. It’s all about dreary pop women at the moment. If she jazzed up an older song like Ella Henderson did with ‘Believe’ by Cher last year, she might have a proper chance. As Gary said – “There’s no climax to it”. Which also, incidentally, describes a *lot* of the sex I’ve had.
Melanie McCabe was back (again…) and sang what I thought was (ironically) quite a weak version of Titanium. She’s got a very nice voice, but there’s no OOMPH, I find. No POW. No ‘X Factor’. She sounds a bit drama-schooly for my taste. But I did think the same about Joe McElderry, and his career is currently unstoppable, so what do I know?
Barclay Beales yodelled again. It was heavenly. Nicole was one yodel away from tearing off her orange PVC dress (again – as was I.) The judges realised this time that Barclay was nothing without a yodel, but the yodel is a wonderful gimmick, putting Barclay in the running to be the new Wagner/Jonny Robinson. Unwashed cabbage patch kid Luke Friend came back to whine out another guitar ballad, and got through. Next was Tom Mann. Tom is a bit of a male Diana Vickers. He has an interesting break in his voice which is going to be both loved and hated. Personally, I like it, but I don’t like the fact that he’s young, talented and handsome.
THE EUPHORIA GIRLS RETURNED. It was a nightmare. It was like seeing The Saturdays in ten years time when they’re tarted up and stripping for a living. It was like that fly in your bedroom that keeps bashing blindly into the windows but won’t LEAVE. They sang ‘I Love It (I Don’t Care)’ by Icona Pop. It’s a good thing they don’t care, because nobody loved it. They dressed like fluorescent circus whores, screamed out the song and performed yet another hideous choreography. They didn’t all sing in unison this time, which was interesting, because one of them can actually sing, and is being dangerously dragged down by the others.
Cruella De Vil channeller Relley C (Crurelley?) somehow sang terribly out of tune. I’m going to blame this on the song choice and the nerves, because she has a strong technical vocal, which she still managed to demonstrate. She has potential, and the judges saw this and sent her through. Abi Alton sang one of her own songs which is a big tick in the X Factor box, if we look at other X Factor/BGT successes like Ella Henderson and Ryan O’Shaughnessy. It was not terrible. We’ll be seeing more of this girl.