X Factor 2011: Audition Show 6

Audition show 6 was something of an anti-climax. The main event from a punting point of view was the long-awaited appearance of the much-vaunted Melanie McCabe, who had been backed right down towards the head of the betting over the past few weeks on the basis of media buzz conveniently collated on Melanie’s own promotional website. Yet when it came, Melanie’s audition took up less than a minute of screentime as part of a montage.

According to Judge’s spoilers, Melanie is one of two well-backed girls who could yet prove to have filled the one remaining slot in the girls category for which Judge doesn’t yet have information. And the underwhelming edit does not necessarily suggest that Melanie misses the lives – after all, James Michael got similarly little screentime in audition show 5 and Judge has him making the final four boys. So what are we to make of Melanie?

Melanie clearly has a decent voice, as can be verified on youtube. She looks the part. And being from Dublin, she would have a strong regional base (and Louis shamelessly shilling for votes for her) if she made the lives. As with James Michael, we can only assume there must be a lot more of Melanie to be shown in next weekend’s bootcamp episodes.

And yet, if Melanie were an act producers were planning to invest heavily in with an eye to a post-show career, wouldn’t she have been given a more memorable introduction? Even if she makes the lives, we expect producers will be keener to push Janet Devlin – and a choice would have to be made at some point, as with Janet being an Ulster lass, it would likely become a case of “this regional vote ain’t big enough for the both of us”.

Bootcamp can always change things, of course, but as it stands we still reckon Janet is most likely to be the last one standing of the girls currently dominating the top of the market.

Onto the boys now, and we would have been a lot more interested in last night’s offerings if we weren’t inclined to trust Judge’s list of the final four, which doesn’t feature either of the acts who garnered screentime and praise – the two Johns, Adams and Wilding.

John Wilding, rejected at judges’ houses last year, suffers the same fate once again according to Judge. After garnering a four-judge standing ovation, the poor chap must be wondering what more he has to do to make the lives. (Get a tattoo on his bum?)

Still, we can understand why, if the spoilers are right, he may have been passed over. He has a voice, but does not in any other ways appear to be tremendously interesting. If he popped up in the lives, we expect he’d probably be looking at a respectable mid-table finish as a springboard to musical theatre. It’s not the most compelling case for inclusion.

John Adams is another kettle of fish. If we were either ignorant or mistrustful of the spoilers, we’d currently be scrambling to mop up the best-priced 20/1 after what seemed to us to be the best audition in the boys category so far. The 23 year old Welsh teacher looked like he had potential to be shaped into a real contender – cute, unassuming, a sympathetic profession, a strong regional base, and a distinctive and mellifluous voice that it would be easy to imagine in a recording studio.

Judge tells us that John Adams doesn’t even make judges’ houses, which on the face of it is mystifying. Perhaps producers didn’t want to risk a nice middle-class boy winning for a second year in a row? Or perhaps they are saving him up for next year, when he’d be in the overs and could give that traditionally underpowered category a real shot? Whatever the explanation, it will be interesting to see how his anticipated bootcamp exit will be spun.

The overs category will certainly need some rehabilitating next year if Judge’s spoilers are right – Louis is allegedly going into battle with not one but two putative Wagners in drag queen Johnny Robinson and vomiting tai chi instructor Goldie Cheung, along with Katie Waissel 2.0 in the shape of Kitty Brucknell. One place remains to be filled in Judge’s list, and on the basis of what we’ve seen so far one would have to suspect it is likely to go to last week’s bubbly barmaid Sami Brookes. She would provide only the merest figleaf of vocal credibility.

There is always the possibility that tonight’s final audition show will give us a credible over. Even with that caveat, in the “first manager to lose all acts” market Louis’s current best price of 7/4 with bwin looks very fair indeed.

We are, in fact, wondering if we might see one credible over in tonight’s show, as Marlon McKenzie has not yet been reintroduced to the X Factor audience. He would not be Louis’s cavalry, however, as Judge tells us that Marlon ends up in a manufactured boyband – one which we have wildly speculated could be in line for producer favour. Time will tell.

Tulisa certainly isn’t looking spoilt for choice among the already-formed groups. Judge tells us that last night’s Essex girl twosome 2 Shoes make it to the lives. Here was a classic case of expectation management, as the girls’ passable voices sounded so much better after an introductory VT that led us to anticipate the worst.

It has been reported that producers hoped to apply lessons in this year’s live shows learned from the success of The Only Way Is Essex, and if that’s the case then they do appear to be taking a rather literal-minded approach to it.

Punters wondering if this year’s lives might feature another apparent joke act that survives long enough to spark a Wagneresque market plunge now have to add 2 Shoes to the mix at a best price of 100/1. But we suspect they’re probably more likely to suffer a fate similar to the act from last year they most resemble, Diva Fever.

Tonight we are given the final pieces of the audition puzzle. They will no doubt be shaken up at bootcamp, but how are you currently seeing those pieces fit together?

38 comments to X Factor 2011: Audition Show 6

  • Just to let you know, Estrella
    The Keys, manufactured boyband with Marlon McKenzie & Derry Mensah and Girl V Boy are all out at Judges Houses.

    • Andrew

      Thanks, Judge! How tantalising to find out who doesn’t make it but not yet who does! 🙂

      Does this maybe open up the possibility that Lascel Woods and John Adams are in a group together? You couldn’t very easily imagine John Adams in a band with Derry and Marlon (our initial speculation for Lascel), but you could potentially imagine him and Lascel together with other bandmates…

      The question of the moment would now appear to be: Who is this Stefan Ramos character? By process of elimination from your info, Judge, we assume he is through in a group. But have we seen him yet? A search of the ITV site yields nothing, nor does a search of youtube. Google throws up this rather cryptic Twitter feed
      http://twitter.com/#!/stefan_ramos

      We shall see. Interesting times! 🙂

    • Just heard that Marlons group do make lives but without him in it. He gets replaced at Judges Houses.

      • Daniel

        Thanks Judge, with The Risk cherry-picking its members and what we’ve learnt about 2Shoes, suddenly Tulisa’s category is looking stronger than we assumed a few days ago. Once again, Louis seems likely to be the one losing all his acts first.

  • Ron

    I think you’re quite correct Andrew in assuming that Janet Devlin is the producer’s star turn this year, and that they see the other girls as bit part players.

    My gut feeling is that Melanie has made the live finals. Not a word from her in the Irish press despite there being a lot of media attention and it’s interesting that she has her own website. If the spoilers are correct about the first three girls, the obvious casualty would be Jade if it is Melanie who has gotten through to the live shows.

    • Andrew

      You may well be right, Ron. I’d actually wondered the opposite about Melanie’s website – it’s interesting that other acts don’t seem to have them, it’s such an obvious thing to do. (Well, not that I’m aware of, anyway – maybe some other acts do). Presumably XF must have contractual clauses about this sort of stuff, what you can say on Facebook and Twitter etc. But then, Melanie’s FB page doesn’t exactly give anything away.

      • Ron

        Then again, Melanie’s website could be a fansite for all we know. I’m curious why a website would be set up for a contestant who fails at the judges’ house phase, and by whom, seeing as her audition hadn’t even aired when the website was set up.

        Am I right in thinking only four girls got the full ten minute slot at the auditions phase ie. Janet, Misha, Amelia and Jade? The question then would be whether the show would be so obvious as to put those four straight through to the live shows, or will we have a last minute casualty done for dramatic effect? If so, then it would be Jade in the firing line as the other three are seemingly through. There could of course be a double bluff going on and maybe they *are* the four finalists.

        • Boki

          Looking at the boys James Michael also got far less attention than others and he’s on the list so we can assume same can happen for girls (if Judge’s list is correct, too many assuptions made on that one).

        • Andrew

          I think you’re right about those four, Ron. Either scenario – the dramatic effect elimination, the double bluff – seems quite plausible.

          Re Melanie, could indeed be a fansite. I could imagine a contestant who fails at judges’ houses wanting to capitalise on publicity while they can (hoping to get local gigs, etc) – obviously, no idea if that’s the story here.

  • Justin

    Is it possible that Melanie is put into the manufactured girl band?

    • Andrew

      Hi Justin – I’m guessing not, if we can assume that Judge’s info is right that Melanie is at judges’ houses as a soloist. Hard to see how they would be able to work her into a group after that, but you never know with this show.

  • mark

    7-4 mr walsh 2 be first jugde out is a gift he shud be odds on also kelly rowland is still 7-4 with unibet to be winning judge all the girls look strong this year it reminds me ov the year alexandra burke won it lump on these two markets i am good luck

  • tpfkar

    thanks again for such good coverage. I’ve seen all but one of the auditions and the stand out act for me was Sami Brookes.

    If Judge’s breakdown is correct, I’m going all in on the girls providing the winner – there are so many oddballs and unlikeables in the other categories.

    • Andrew

      Cheers tpfkar. Certainly nothing last night to suggest Sami shouldn’t get the one remaning spot in the overs if Judge is right about the other three. But I still don’t reckon she’ll be able to save Louis from being first to lose all acts – assuming of course that Tulisa will have at least one credible act to work with, an assumption which I admit is starting to look a little shaky (they must give her something, surely?)

  • annie

    I thought spoilers suggested the 4 overs were Goldie, Kitty, Johny and Jonjo (the soldier)… Or is that not confirmed yet by reliable sources? I think it’s really making a joke out of the category, seeing there were many good acts to choose from. It will surely discourage serious people from auditioning next year.

  • Steve

    Hi the fact that Melanie has recently created a website is a negative. X factor create individual websites for all the finalists, in the days before Judges spoilers it was the best method of finding out who was in or out. From memory they were created at some stage in the week before the live shows.

  • geoff

    after watching all the auditions so far
    i think the winner will probably be either janet or amelia but both have big pluses and minuses
    janet looks the perfect contender personality wise she has the shy angel face demeanour but could her quirky singing style wear thin and make every song sound the same

    amelia is extremely strong vocally and the winner does tend to come from the strongest singers
    but she does look a bit too polished and already the full package which could stop people liking her as much.

    my personal favourite so far was the 35 yr old beverley who i thought had an amazing voice but with little airtime and not being in the spoilers for the overs would be risky bet

    • Andrew

      Yep, I agree about those minuses. In theory, Janet’s ought to be more remediable – with the help of a vocal coach it should be easier for her to learn at least one song in a different style (think Cher and Stay) than it would be for Amelia to come up with a personal journey. You never know, though.

      Amelia also probably has the weaker regional base (although I don’t recall the Teesside vote ever really being tested).

  • Dug

    I will not be so surprised if John Adams misses out on a place at judges houses. Whilst his audition was solid and he had looks on his side, vocally he might as well have mimed to the original. Damien rice may have a fantastically distinctive voice but he would be hard pushed to sing a real belter. John wilding presented the polar opposite – amazing vocals without the ‘quirky’ (and those inverted commas are emphatic) vocal style. It is, I fear, for this reason that he seems to drop out before the lives.

    The thing that makes me question the trajectory of hotly-tipped acts is originality. As a quality, originality is lauded in the early rounds but if the veneer of authenticity doesn’t hold up then the results can be disastrous. Cher Lloyd started out last year as a clear favourite and yet the producers practically used a battering ram to get her to fourth place. The soulful Paije was moulded into a miniature cee lo green and neglected by voters despite his vocal talent. Waissel was despised for her ‘quirkiness’.

    The contestant that I question most then is Janet devlin. Her audition was remarkably similar to the recent Ellie goulding version but the evidence of her YouTube account doesn’t bear a vocal ability on a level with Melanie McCabe – although it would be hard to see how her tiny screen slot in auditions would indicate a winning position. It may just be gut feeling that I’m trying to make logical but I don’t see her going as far as the bookies do…

    • Daniel

      Hi Dug, I think you make some really interesting points. Clearly a little bit of originality is good – Matt Cardle’s falsetto, Rebecca Ferguson’s smoky vocals – but become too original and it would seem you limit your appeal in later rounds, as you mentioned.

    • Andrew

      Some great points here Dug. Though I would say it probably wasn’t so much the lack of quirkiness in John Wilding’s vocals that will have done for him as the lack of apparent quirkiness in his personality. If he had Craig Colton’s line in repartee or Frankie Cocozza’s line in womanising, I suspect he might have sailed through above either of them.

      Also suspect it was more personality issues than vocal ones that did for Cher and Waissel, and I don’t think there’s currently any reason to think that Janet Devlin will rub as many people up the wrong way as either of those two did. You may be right to fear for her vocally, though – she will no doubt have to demonstrate at some point that she can do more than the style she’s showcased so far, and it remains to be seen whether she’s capable of it.

      • Dug

        I’m still struggling on the whole to articulate myself here but I’m also failing to see Janet succeeding where, say, Diana Vickers failed. I really don’t see ‘the quirky girl’ winning. It doesn’t fall in to line with patterns in the past. We now have seven (admittedly differing) cycles of the show to go on and I don’t see Janet fitting the bill. The regional advantage will of course be an enormous boost for her but if it weren’t for that I would follow my instinct and bet my life savings on her not winning. Even the most crowd-pleasing, working class, bubbly, blonde Geordie lass would struggle up against *MALE* or *BLACK GIRL WITH AMAZING VOICE*. I see Janet as a little too left of centre to please the masses. Music buyers are such a different demographic to TV voters and whilst girls are dominating the pop market at the moment (and thus viewers like to see them doing well on the shows because it appears to reflect ‘the music industry’) I still see the nation voting with their typical gender biases and propelling another male to the top. Pushing against this suspicion is the obvious fact that the girls category looks a lot stronger in terms of talent. But that hasn’t stopped the boys winning in the vast majority of seasons.

      • Dug

        And I would argue that ‘quirkiness’ often starts with the vocals (Aiden Grimshaw – possibly the dullest human alive? Would he have been put in the finals all quiffed and straitjacketed without the tortured, mouth-corner rendition of Golddigger?)

        • Andrew

          I do know what you mean – I’ve also wondered about the Diana Vickers comparison. On the other hand, Diana did get to fourth not only without as much of a regional vote but also without much of the self-confidence journey (and despite the perceived unfairness when she skipped a week with laryngitis). I think Diana was arguably more selfconsciously quirky, too, in the sense that Janet’s vocal style seems a more natural extension of her character – I think there was a bit of a backlash against Diana in a way there hasn’t been against Janet. Yet, anyway – there is time…

          And there’s the competition, as you say. None of the boys this year really seem to fit the usual template, and the black girl with big voice is Misha, who does not appeat to be in Leona or Alexandra’s league at present. I suppose that’s why I thought 6/1-ish looked short for Janet after the first audition show, but pretty decent once we’d seen who she was up against.

          Point taken on Aiden, indeed.

          • Dug

            Diana was also a firm bookies’ favourite to win for a large part of the competition- as was Cher early on last year. Both came fourth. If I were to put money on anything it would be on Janet having throat problems and coming fourth!

            obviously I’m joking but it would be rather tidy if that did happen.

            and in regard to misha, she’s a Rachel adedeji type. I’d quite like to write an essay on the black female finalists of x factor. They always fall into one of two categories in the public eye- there’s rarely an in between, regardless of talent.

  • alan

    I loved 2 shoes, I think alot more to come on those 2, the blonde one Charley Bird by all accounts has a fantastic voice , seen her on you tube singing Jesse James and her version has a huge hit in america with the yankies loving her voice and saying its better than Cher. I think more songs will show their true talent and the essexy thing just eway they are , not from money just like a giggle. I also really liked Sammie and it would be so injust if she was not through. I think Janets vocals wont be as strong as we thought and I think also John Wildings vocals were good but he hasnt got that star quality when talking. you got to have a bit of oomph. loved some of the auditions this year

    • Andrew

      Thanks for the pointer, Alan – you have persuaded me to have a cheeky nibble at 2 Shoes at 100/1. They surely won’t be that price going into the lives if Judge’s list is confirmed. Charley Bird’s website is worth a look – it gives a whole lot more professional an image than the ditzy Essex VT would have you expect
      http://www.charleybird.co.uk/home.html

  • Ceri Parker

    John Adams is not middle class, he grew up in Aberdare, which is very under priviliged. Proud to be his best mate!

    • Andrew

      Thanks for posting, Ceri, and apologies for leaping to conclusions about John – it wasn’t meant in a derogatory way. He will need his mates around him after that disappointment… do pass on our commiserations, we thought he could have gone a long way.

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