So this week we moved from auditions to bootcamp. A welcome change, I think most reviewers would agree, but did it refresh our enthusiasm for the show?
Sam Burnett — aka, The One Who Thinks He's Simon Cowell
I genuinely thought that the show would get better once the hit and miss audition stage was out of the way, but boy was I wrong. The producers seem to have aimed this latest series squarely at Big Brother, with shots of contestants in bikinis cavorting in hot tubs and suchlike. The palpable glee with which the show pokes, prods and makes its contestants cry is starting to become uncomfortable.
It genuinely made me a little queasy, and I don't mind telling you I miss the malevolent hand of Simon Cowell - I mean, what's he even doing piddling about in America anyway? It's like when the Spice Girls tried to conquer America, those bitches were soon back cap in hand. But I thought Cheryl Cole did pretty well in X Factor USA, so what do I know? I do know this - daddy needs to come home.
Carole Jones — aka, The Mum
Saturday: I was looking forward to the first night of boot camp until I realised that they were going to get rid of 40 contestants before they had the opportunity to sing a note! How on earth could they be sure that they've sent home the right people? People who might not have been at their best at the initial audition may have improved between then and boot camp.
Once they had put the contestants in groups and given them songs to perform, we had warring contestants, people who were being held up as being good but who even I could tell were as flat as a pancake and a lot of people who had given reasonable initial performances being really crap this time, which proves my initial point.
There were a few decent performances but I feel they kept the best group for last. There was Joe who sang like Aiden from last year (he did look as if he was having a twitching fit at one point), Jade who sounded a bit like Amy Winehouse and Nicole who performed really well.
How the hell did they choose who went and who stayed? Stick a pin in a piece of paper? They put through people who forgot their words and sent other people home for the same reason. Madness, total madness. I definitely wasn't impressed with a large proportion of the programme. A lot of it appeared to be unnecessarily cruel.
For me the best performance of the night was from Sammy but I'd advise her not to worry about her size but to ditch the ridiculous turban thing and get herself a decent multiway bra.
Sunday: Tonight the remaining 61contestants were fighting for one of the 32 places at judges houses. There were representatives from each of the four groups although it was very obvious that the weakest section was the groups because they had to mix and match the solo contestants just to get enough.
We saw some of the girls first, who all gave credible performances. Then after the break they brought on the oddball contestants. David, Chrissie, Francis, Kendro. Then to top them all there was Kitty Brucknell with her eyelashes that looked like they were a pair of butterflies and with her 2000 pound flashing outfit. She didn't impress Gary, but she sure made Louis eyes light up.
For the delight of the girls in the audience there was Frankie, James, Joe and Marcus — definitely intended to be eye candy. The next three contestants were Terry Winstanley who reminds me of a club singer, but tonight he blew it by forgetting his words. Sami must have read my review from last night because she definitely looked better today
After a bit of very unrealistic debate the contestants for each group were chosen and announced. With Gary taking the boys to LA, Louis taking the over 25s to Barcelona (which makes a change from Dublin) Kelly taking the girls to Miami and Tulisa taking the groups to Greece, hopefully the programmes will improve. But somehow I'm not convinced.
Garry Pinches — aka, The Professional Musician (and the one who really doesn't like Frankie)
Saturday: The question on the lips of everyone sad enough to watch the X Factor is, will tonight’s show be better than the frankly terrible audition shows that have preceded it? For added excitement, rather than paper files on each contestant the judges get to play with an interactive whiteboard while we the audience get treated to cut scenes of morons like Frankie trying to get his end away in a hot tub full of loose women.
I did like something about tonights show though..... don’t get too excited, I won’t remain positive for long. I liked the way they gave the groups four hours to rehearse something before having to go and perform it, a common occurrence for session musicians and a true test of pressure. Do try and remember, though, session musicians have years of practice, experience and a musical education rather than pretty hair, an attitude problem and a sob story, or (in the case of Frankie) crabs and tuning issues.
What really pissed me off about tonights show is Frankie, he was truly terrible. He was flat the entire performance and all four judges did nothing but sing his praises. When another blokey was sharp they told him how disappointed they were, so why Frankie? Don’t tell me he oozes charisma, that’s bollocks! Judge it properly or not at all — otherwise it looks fixed. (I think it is! — Ed)
As a side note about tonight's show, my question is just how much money does this shit cost? Putting all of the contestants in a hotel, throwing them a party, hiring separate luxury chauffeured cars for each of the judges, booking Wembley stadium, Gary Barlow’s man hulk of a bouncer and Louis' wig budget....
Sunday: Tonight we finally got to see some real talent. No sarcasm from this reviewer tonight people, we genuinely got to see a wonderful musician with pure ability and not only that but he’s a bloody nice fellow to boot. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr David Tench (@DavidTench)
Amy Jones — aka, The Reluctant Obsessive
Saturday: I longed for this. I genuinely did. Boot camp is traditionally where the serious arse licking begins. The auditions are for humiliation, the entire rest of the show is dedicated to saying how fantastic the singers are. That way the audience are tricked into thinking that even completely average singers like Matt Cardle are God’s Gift to music.
But this was possibly even more horrible than the auditions. Hey, let’s invite all the contestants to a hotel, letting them get all excited and prepared, letting them pack for a week and practise their singing, then throw them a massive party with a hot tub to make them feel all special, then ceremoniously dump some of them on the basis of what we originally said was good enough to get them through! Then instead of just splitting off the ones who are going back home and saying “Sorry, you’re not through” we’ll split them into four groups and tell each group in turn! Yeah!
This also gave ample opportunity for them to get shots of girls in bikinis to further use the contestants as fodder for people to porn scorn on and/or perve on. But hey, at least Becky who didn’t make it through the first boot camp audition will still manage to be famous as that one who boffed Frankie. I'm sure that's exactly what she wanted from this show. Good to see this show cares about the dignity of the people who they don't like.
And the auditions? Pah. Garry and Carole have said it better than I ever could. Ridiculous show.
Sunday: Kitty: Your outfit showed your vulva. Any outfit that shows your vulva is not a good one. Trust me.
Frankie: I wanted to name my daughter Iris. Now I can't, as every time I thought about her I would also think about your MURDERING that song.
Goldie: I love you. Never change.
Judges: You put Kitty through? You put Frankie through? You are insane. But thank you for putting Goldie through. Please don't treat her as a joke. She is awesome. The only one so far I'd pay money to see.
And finally, Nick Bryan — aka, Mister Sensible
I’m torn on this week’s X Factor. On the one hand, the big twist at the beginning was more full of crap than a septic tank during a cholera outbreak. So you really needed to drag them all the way to London to send them home? And keep all the entertainingly crap ones, just send home the boring ones?
Oh, and because we’d been carefully conditioned to only recognise the contestants who will be major players later, the poor sods who had their hearts dumped on were just a bunch of anonymous faces. We didn’t care, no matter how hard they played that mournful music, and the few recognisable ones who “failed” were then recalled to form One Direction 2.0 anyway.
But still, at least something finally happened. After weeks of being bored into a coma by the shapeless banality of the audition shows, the prospect of seeing faces recur and the “plot” progress was enough to keep me curious. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll finally see some faces we know get screwed.
And if that sounds like a horrible sentiment, well, it is, but surely that’s what keeps us watching?