It was a case of more questions than answers after last night’s first bootcamp episode. Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the night was the question of who gets the remaining slot in the lives among the girls (if we assume Judge’s spoliers are right that Janet, Amelia Lily and Misha fill three of the four places).
From the editing of the auditions, Jade Richards would be the most obvious choice. But there has been persistent hype about Melanie McCabe, given which the paucity of screentime alloted her in audition show 6 came as something of a surprise. Last night, it was the same story. Melanie’s name flashed up briefly during a snippet of performance, while Jade got plenty of VT time.
And yet, if you were reading the comments to our last post, you would have seen Ronnie sharing a link to the Irish press reporting that it is Melanie who makes the lives. Clearly some punters were reading Irish newspapers while others were watching ITV1 as both acts are now shorter than they were before the start of the show.
[Update: The Scottish press are now reporting Jade back at college. Hat-tip to Ron in the comments below].
The other act who has been interesting punters despite a lack of audition show screentime is, of course, James Michael. We at least got a brief VT from him in the first bootcamp episode alongside the clip of him performing, but nowhere near enough to make up the gap with the extended audition show segments enjoyed by the other boys reported by Judge to have made the lives.
Still, this didn’t put off punters. The comments to our last post suggest a groundswell of interest in the dark horse, and at the time of writing his best price had shrunk further after the show to 10/1.
Elsewhere in the boys category, Frankie Cocozza garnered a good deal of screentime as producers had fun hinting that he might have notched up another reason to visit the tattooist. Way back in our review of the first audition show, and pre-spoilers, this is what we wrote:
Despite the averageness of his rendition of ‘Valerie’, it’s well worth bearing in mind that X Factor has been reported as planning to offer us more Big Brother-style voyeurism of the contestants’ living arrangements this year. And Frankie would be ideal for that, so he may well make the live shows. But if he does, it seems likely that producers will be more interested in hoping he will work his way through some of the female acts than in planning a post-show career for him, so he makes no appeal in the win market at his current price of 33/1.
Frankie’s best price is now 14/1, but last night’s edit and performance seemed only to confirm our opinion that he is there to provide tabloid interest as a ladies’ man rather than as an intended finalist. While supporters of the Brighton bum-barer will take comfort in Judge’s observation in the comments that he is attracting plenty of interest on Twitter, we reckon too many viewers will agree with Boki’s comment during the show – “I’m really sick of this Frankie and the way they push him tonight” – for him to overcome his vocal limitations to the same extent as other boys have managed in previous series.
We will have to wait for tonight to get answers to the other questions we wanted answering at bootcamp. The fate of Lascel Woods and John Adams remains unclear – was John even sighted in this first show? Nor did we see much of 2 Shoes, whose price has shortened since news broke (thanks to HenryVIII for alerting us) that one of them, Charley Bird, is pregnant – an intriguing development which may restrict how many dance moves they can pull off, but should guarantee them plenty of goodwill and column inches.
The composition of the remaining groups remains unclear. In the comments to the last post, tpfkar takes issue with our interest in The Risk, rightly noting that “we’ve always said that one of the most important facets of a successful X Factor group is that they look like they get on and like each other” and raising the concern that, with Charlie from The Keys reportedly replacing Marlon at judges’ houses, this is “a group not only manufactured, but re-manufactured. The casual audience will likely be confused about who is performing with who.”
These are all good points. Our high hopes for The Risk have always been based on the conviction that Tulisa would surely be given something to work with, and it was at least encouraging to see decent screentime for both Derry and The Keys last night. But we were a little disappointed that producers didn’t come up with some kind of imaginative twist on the tired old routine of calling back the rejects. Tonight’s show will give us a lot more hints about the likely trajectories of the manufactured groups.
Elsewhere, we learned little new about the two favourites – Janet Devlin and Amelia Lily – and while Sami Brookes got plenty of screentime, suggesting she may be the one to fill the slot in the overs on which Judge doesn’t yet have information, she didn’t make us revise our opinion of her as sub-Mary Byrne.
The three overs who Judge’s spoilers tell us are through also garnered plenty of screentime, with Kitty Brucknell being set up as a hard-nosed diva, and both Johnny Robinson and Goldie Cheung being given space to develop their schtick. Goldie in particular came over as a lot of fun and has clear potential to be this year’s Wagneresque cult figure. [Update: The Mail are reporting Goldie quitting the show; see debate in the comments below].
What are you making of bootcamp? As ever, do let us know in the comments box below.