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?