More Gary Barlow, more bad singers, more sob stories, more of The X Factor. Let's do this.
Rebecca Brodeur — aka, The One Who Is Usually Asleep
My first time watching the auditions — I don’t normally pay this stage too much attention. The awful acts, like Kendro and the strange-dancing-man, serve as the aperitifs, giving us a sense of how tedious it really must be to act as a judge on the show. I did like the new panel line-up, losing Cheryl and Simon has been a big improvement for me.
Sami, the self-professed ‘thick’ barmaid came just as we needed to see someone sing well - but I just keep seeing the tropes in X Factor these days – she’s the not-gorgeous-but-very-talented-with-a-great-personality girl. Then a return to rubbish acts before the ‘drama’ of Kelly splitting up a group to appeal to the talented singer of the group. It made sense, but seemed so laboured and scripted. I’m sure in Boot Camp we’ll see them create a group again, because the groups haven’t seemed very inspiring at all so far.
Lascel was obviously going to be good, his story was good, they followed him further and he was good. But it just made me want to skip to the stage where more of the dross is weeded out.
Wait. This is happening again, tomorrow. Roll on Boot Camp!
Garry Pinches — aka, The Professional Musician
Saturday: If you’re a regular reader of the Digital Fix’s X Factor reviews you’ll know by now that I’m the cheery, up-beat, light-hearted reviewer (ahem) but I’m starting this weeks review in a grump. Not only did my editor inform me that there are TWO episodes this weekend, but I was also informed my plan to watch tonights show on mute was not allowed!
Tonight to keep things brief I shall dispense with names and get straight to the point with my professional musical opinion.
Camp double act who make Jedward look as butch as the Mitchell brothers having a fist fight with a giant alligator? Shit. Shiny jiggly imbecile? Danced for a singing competition, so shit. Mouthy girl wearing more leopard print than an entire family of leopards at a leopard convention for very leopardy leopards? Strong vocals, poor intonation in her upper register but nothing that couldn’t be improved easily with help. Not as brilliant as they all made out.
Generic girl group? Rough harmonies but ok, nothing special. Geordie burlesque girls? Told they weren’t a group but rather a solo act with three backing singers CoughBeyonceCough. Girl from the above group given a chance without her talentless friends? ...meh. 80’s haircut sob story boy? Has a voice that can seemingly making an audience cry and a falsetto that forces people to their feet. A bloody decent voice to be honest, but long term I think tuning will be an issue.
In summary, the show’s still rubbish and still in its mocking-the-mentally-infirm stage. What I really can’t stand are cheap plays to manipulate the emotions of the viewer with half-arsed sob stories, cameras switching to over sensitive audience members and contrived musical swells at every opportunity. Is anyone really fooled by production this lazy?
Sunday: I joined this evenings show a few minutes late as I was writing orchestral arrangements for real musicians, and that got me thinking. Why don’t we replace the judges with vocal tutors from the finest music colleges around the world? Not only would we find some truly brilliant singers, the entire series would be over and done with in a month.
The show started with camp hairdresser stereotype guy who quite honestly had the best voice of anyone so far this series, I’d go as far as saying the only voice I could see coping with singing professionally.
Apart from a 16-year-old girl with enough make-up to age her 10 years and the decidedly average soldier boy who the producers popped in to play emotions of the troop-loving public, the rest of the episode was an absolute fucking train wreck. Tonight regressed to week one again with nothing but delusional morons for us all to point and laugh at. The bad news is it’s another double X-Factor next weekend. I’m going to stock up on hard liquor beforehand.
Amy Jones — aka, The Reluctant Obsessive
Saturday:I don’t really have anything to say about this week’s episode. Not because it wasn’t ridiculous — it was — and not because it wasn’t packed full of people with notable voices, bizarre outfits and strange personalities — it’s The X Factor, of course it was — but because it was just dull.
We were going to have another contributor to this weekly review. He was going to be The Man Who Doesn’t Watch The X Factor. It was going to be him saying what he thought about The X Factor based on what everyone else he knew said about it. And we can’t do it, because no-one is talking about it.
Formulaic, no-one particularly standing out, dull dull dull. After so many years, they can’t show us anything we’ve not seen before in another singer from another year. I’m bored. I’m bored of the show, I’m bored of the formula, and I’m really annoyed that I have to watch this crap again tomorrow.
Sunday: Two episodes of X Factor in one weekend is too much. My mind keeps wandering off. I spent half the episode on Google looking for an attractive camera bag.
What happened this week? Urm, there were some people who could sing. Then there was a man called Graham who was the most boring man in the world who quite clearly could not sing, and who the judges treated like he should be ashamed for even daring to stand in front of them and have the dream of singing, even though he'd been through several rounds of auditions before. Then there were some people who were silly for wanted to be as famous as Britney Spears, Beyonce or Michael Jackson, then some nervous people, then some more people who could sing. When are the auditions over, again?
Sam Burnett — aka, The One Who Thinks He's Simon Cowell
Saturday: I tell you what would have made the latest episode of The X Factor that much better - a four-piece girlband arrives in a pink Mini (terrible legroom in there, I'm not sure how they even fit in), but they leave as three rejects and a boot camper. Awkward. I wouldn't have minded seeing what life was like on that journey home.
I could also do with less of that sinister lipstick mirror and a lot less of the sledgehammer backstory (sad mum! orphan! fat! sees dead people!) - but, X Factor fans, we are getting there. The more Sunday evening audition shows we can squeeze in the quicker the live finals can kick off - but one thing worries me...have there even been 12 people good enough for the live finals yet?
Sunday: Whatever they gained with swapping the auditions to these live format big arena things has been lost - I'm not sure I need to hear all of the cheering and hollering from the basically ignorant audience. That's supposed to be my reaction at home, but I've been reduced to passive spectator. I prefer the intimacy of the anonymous audition room, lunatics ushered in to a room mere spitting distance from the judges.
Clearly there's a heavy filter on who gets through to the stage, so why even pretend that the massive crowds outside are going to get even close to walking in front of the panel? We don't need Dermot at this stage, we could do without the sob stories and we could certainly do without that sodding lipstick cam. I feel like this series is starting to get away from us while Old Man Cowell has his eye off the ball. At least there's Spooks next week.
And finally, Sarah Hill — aka, The Wannabe Auditionee
First up: Kendro. A cross between ken dolls and Mr J from ANMT. They can’t sing, but they have charisma, and they can dance which means they’ll probably end up going through. It comes down to Kelly Rowland since Gary rightly tells them to jog on but oh look, through they go. Christ on a stick, I wish they’d stop doing this. It’s a SINGING COMPETITION, someone pass the memo around please?
Insert obligatory older lady who also cannot sing but loves our Gary, a bland student who again, cannot sing, and what seems to be a contortionist. Off you go, loves. Wake me up when someone who can sing arrives?
Next up is leopard print clad Sami who confesses to having a crush on Louis. As if. She’s not bad, although a bit formulaic perhaps and her look is shocking so presumably if she goes through she’ll get some sort of makeover. Phew.
A random girl group goes through, then they showcase a lot of terrible groups, to make more people feel bad. Snooze. Then come Twisted. They look better because the other groups were so awful, but they’ve got a cute setup, and their styling is sweet. I actually quite liked them, but it seems I’m the only one because the judges don’t put them through. Except! Wait! Kelly pulls out the one good one, she re-auditions on her own and goes through. It all feels so horribly staged tho - did that really happen or did they set it up to make for ‘good TV’?
The last bloke was good. I could have bet money on it, because he had a sob story and came at the end of the show. Of course he was going to be good. I think X Factor is turning me into a hardcore cynic. Oh dear.