The penultimate audition show proved a rather frustrating experience for punters and viewers alike. There were a few reasonably promising vocalists on display, but we started with expletive-loving Buddy Holly fan Nick Buss, and plenty of screentime was given over to Bianca Gascoigne’s latest shot at fame. Both were red meat to the show’s critics.
Those auditions that we were supposed to take seriously felt a little undercooked in terms of their treatment – until we got to Jade Collins in the pimp slot. That was intriguingly overcooked. The 17-year-old from Belfast was not impressive vocally. She ducked out of a few early notes on ‘Sweet Dreams’. As she wobbled further in the second half, she was drowned out by the incidental music in a way I have never encountered on the show before.
Gary admitted that there were some notes missed, but he and the rest of the panel seemed keen to sell us Jade’s “spark”, “passion” and “raw emotion”. She wore her heart on her sleeve regarding her father’s various stints in prison. The emotion it generated was the kind of stuff the show thrives on. Perhaps that was what merited the pimp slot and the noise about her. Bookmakers weren’t overly impressed, going a best-priced 33-1.
Jade Ellis’s audition felt much more low-key. The 25-year-old from Greenwich provided plenty of the X Factor sob story cliches – a young single mum, life in a tower block, thwarted ambition – but her treatment hardly suggests that producers want us to invest in her as they did in, say, a similarly-placed Rebecca Ferguson. Her backstory was played remarkably lightly and pretty quickly, which may have partly reflected Jade’s sunny outlook.
She showed a distinctive voice singing ‘Something Good’, and she was far more technically proficient than the other Jade. She looked reasonably confident on stage too. As I watched, I liked what I saw but I kept wondering why producers hadn’t given her more screentime, hadn’t put her at the beginning or end of the show, hadn’t given her daughter as much attention as Joe Whelan’s son.
It’s not promising when you’re not even the most heavily-featured singer called Jade in your particular audition show. Interestingly, bookmakers were generally more impressed with Ms Ellis, their prices ranging from 8-1 to 14-1. But as Tim B pointed out, neither Jade was given the Olly Murs treatment on Xtra Factor either. That honour went to James Arthur, featured weeks ago, who got to duet with Murs. This is good news for anyone who has taken his current best price of 33-1.
Some of tonight’s other serious performers would’ve been happy with Jade Ellis’s medium-sized edit. Leanne Dlamini was even more short-changed on her single-mum storyline and 17-year-old Lauren Smith’s take on ‘American Boy’ with guitar in hand was overshadowed by a tiff between Tulisa and Louis. Wedding singer Salena Mastroianni may have got four yeses for her rendition of ‘Lady Marmalade’ but her lack of screentime was hardly a vote of confidence. The same could be said for Madeleine Wilson.
33-year-old Tammy Cartwright was treated far more generously, sharing some funny repartee with her gran, though she only got to explain a complicated-sounding life on stage. Her rendition of ‘One Night Only’ was straight out of the Sami Brookes school. With more promising options in the Overs lot, I don’t currently see Tammy Cruiseship getting a place in the live shows.
A better audition within the same category came from 36-year-old Hayley Evetts doing another karaoke classic in Whitney Houston’s ‘All The Man That I Need’. However, her appearance on Xtra Factor suggests that not much will come of what she called her “last chance” in the industry.
Let us know below what you made of tonight’s show and the treatment of the two Jades in particular.