X Factor 2012: These Boots Were Made For Walking

The first instalment of boot camp provided us with little in the way of shock revelations. An opening montage did its best to flash up about eight of the rumoured finalists in a manner that left about as much to the imagination as one of Lorna Bliss’s fishnet body stockings.  I can’t be positive but I’m pretty sure the opening titles were intercut with subliminal frames of Louis Walsh grinding on a pole and a banana riding a roller-skate like a chariot across the stage. If anyone has one of those modern TVs that you can pause, I would appreciate confirmation of this.

We got a good gander at GMD3 ‘being lads’ before cutting to what I imagine was a painstakingly choreographed and re-shot ‘party’ scene involving all the finalists. We had a quick peep at the tragically underhyped Poisonous Twin and caught a flash of Amy Mottram (or Ketamine Adele as I like to call her in my head) before learning that – SHOCK HOROR! – there would be an initial cull before anyone even got to sing. Not only was this something of a bore after the show pulled the exact same trick last year, it also served to undermine the judges’ decision to let the relevant contestants through in the first place.

As was the case last year, none of the initial ejectees were particularly memorable from the audition stages of the show. The last name to be called also differed depending on what channel you were watching. The X Factor on ITV1 told us that Shakey Maloney was the last to make it through the first cull, whilst Xtra Factor on ITV2 claimed that it was Gaythan. The sister show also showed Nicola Marie’s panicked face in the crowd as the judges announced “the final name” meaning Nicola Marie would never have had the chance to perform her Lanzarote Beach Club rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Stronger’. From a punting point of view it’s probably reassuring to know that the show is willing to be this blatantly fallacious in its editing. 

An enormous and terrifying digital countdown clock then ushered in a Hunger Games style segment featuring tears, tantrums and Gaythan’s best gesticular impersonation of Darius Danesh/Adolf Hitler. Market favourite Jahmene (who looks increasingly like Davros) then totally fluffed his attempt at history’s eighth sleaziest pop song, ‘Moves Like Jagger’ but – SURPRISE! – made it through anyway (in perfect preparation for a few good ‘you just had to believe in yourself’ moments’ by the end of the weekend, I’m sure).

People’s champions (not) ‘The Lightbulb Thieves’  (seriously, who?) failed to make a dent in the bafflingly impenetrable facade of Bieber wannabes GHB3. And then all hell broke loose with the arrival of an artist (and I use that word in the truest sense) whose name was COLLAGEN WESTWOOD. Collagen was pretty dope and you can read her CV here if you so wish. Anyway, Collagen nearly sabotaged her singing partners by drinking a few glasses of ‘whisky and brandy’ (for my voice, darling) and scream-warbling her way through her performance.  It was truly quite sad when the judges sent her home, especially considering the fact that she could sing twice as well and was half as wankered as Frankie Cocozza last year.

Next up was an angry trio of James Arthur, Curtis Golden and some curly-haired pleb we were yet to meet. This was one of those many segments where one simply couldn’t tell if it was meant to be good or bad. I mean, it was blisteringly bad but you couldn’t tell if it was being pumped into your living room under the pretence of a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ moment. The thing ended and the judges’ lavish comments stood as proof that the last dregs of sanity have left the universe.

Rylan Clark’s then made his big entrance, showcasing both a t-shirt with his own face on it and some bizarre fashion epaulettes hewn from his own severed locks. He was accompanied by the fabulously named Ottavio Colombo and drama queen Gaythan, both of whom seemed to be trying to out-camp the Essex panto dame – a seemingly odd decision at first but one that could potentially prove beneficial to Rylan. Everybody needs at least a pinch of credibility, right? To know that there’s at least one novelty homosexual below them in the food chain, right?

So that was the point in the evening when one began to anticipate a lot more Ella pimping. However, after a quick snippet of Carolynne sailing through, we were left with Kye and Christopher as well as Adam Burridge, Jake Quickenden and apparently genuine tramp Robbie Hance. After fluffing his lines, Robbie quickly mouthed “I’m going home” which immediately brought too many pointlessly callous jokes to mind. I won’t share them here. But after Robbie walked and Gary made some horrifically patronising comments about commitment, the world continued to turn.

As it was, Ella was rather rashly montaged or brushed over at some point, which could well pave the way for what TimB calls “her ‘wow’ moment” tonight, if she is indeed producer plan A as we assume she is. Similarly, we are yet to catch a clearer glimpse of Starboy Nathan or see enough of Lucy Spraggan in order to gauge their trajectories in the final (if they even make it that far – Shoulders comments that “Starboy Nathan’s albums are back up on iTunes so I guess that means the end of him on X Factor”).

Karaoke Sauron notes, rather nicely, that “key player” Lucy has garnered over 11.5 million views on Youtube on top of her well-noted splash in the iTunes chart. Whilst the barely funny comedy shtick might not seem like winner’s stuff right now, Lucy’s natural appeal should not be sniffed at. Of course, tonight’s show may well tell us all we need to know about her abilities.

Boki notes the coverage at last, albeit brief, of Leanne Robinson, whose crisp vocals were a breath of fresh air amidst a lot of waffle and crap. Whether there’s really any point in paying her any attention at this stage is unclear. Producers haven’t invested any time in her so far but then they didn’t invest in Sophie Habibis until judges’ houses last year. Similarly, Jade Ellis slipped further under the radar than I would have hoped for. Will one of these two make it through to the finals as either our uphill-struggle Adedeji character or our unassuming Ferguson-style songbird?

The fact that odds shortened on both Jahmene and Ella, despite the former fucking up and the latter barely appearing, says a lot about how favoured they are at this stage. If this was the prom and the crowns were going out now, they would be our king and queen.  However, there’s still everything to play for and it is my own personal hunch that any sane producer would want to keep Jahmene as far away from the Brookstein-Ward-Jackson-McElderry-Cardle trajectory as possible. The last thing the show needs is another awkward, unmarketable housewives favourite on its hands. And as KaraokeSauron points out, Jahmene’s audition is currently lagging slightly in YouTube views behind the far more marketable (albeit despicable) James Arthur, who as an industry product makes a far more sensible Plan B in the Sheeran mould.

What are your thoughts? Is the show shaping up to follow a predictable narrative as it did with the four big players (Wett Flannel, Rebecca Ferguson, One Direction and Cher Lloyd ) in 2010? Or are we looking at something closer to last year’s competition where early favourites, most famously Janet Devlin, were slain to the advantage of late sprinters like Marcus and Little Mix? As ever, do get your oar in below.

17 comments to X Factor 2012: These Boots Were Made For Walking

  • Boki

    You forgot to mention favorable treatment of Melanie McCabe, why are they doing this to her? It’s going to be very cruel if she misses out again but there is still a empty slot in the girls and we don’t have a clue yet who is going to fill it. Rg boys it seems clear enough. Let’s wait for tonight…

    • Tim B

      Boki, as far as I’m concerned the girls through to lives are Ella Henderson, Lucy Spraggan and Jade Ellis. The contestants keep tweeting each other, which suggests to me they’ve probably made it through. Jade Ellis sent me a Direct Message hinting she is through.

    • Donald

      Melanie doesn’t get past tonight as far as I am aware Boki

  • Dug

    I did indeed Boki and she poses some interesting questions. I could go either way really – she has the talent to sing in the lives and her treatment does seem a little more favourable than that of John Wilding last year but my hunch would still be towards another heartbreak moment, at Tulisas gaff in Falaraki this time. She has seemed like something of an anomaly for the second year running. A hard one to call.

  • Boki

    Btw, does anyone remember if any of the rejectees from the past ever got to the lives the year after?

  • Ronnie

    Strange Boyles felt it necessary to cut Nathan from 14s to 12s today.

  • Simon "Le chat"

    Yes, ALexandra Burke I dont think Melanie McCabe is going anywhere except back over the sea. She isnt good enogh.

    • Boki

      That’s my impression also rg Melanie but also Carolynne. I read that Alexandra skipped 2 years before coming back so it’s a little different than this. My feeling that they don’t want anyone from last year and John Wilding was a message not to do it again (but some still try and that will be painfull to watch imo).

  • Tim B

    I would recommend downloading the X Factor app to anyone who has an iPhone or iPad. The BGT app was extremely useful in showing who was favoured by producers – an article precluding each semi final mentioned the name of one act who would go on to have the pimp slot in that live show. It also strongly hinted that The Mend would be the wildcard, which of course they were. I don’t know if it will reveal anything as useful for X Factor but worth checking regularly just in case.

  • shoulders

    So starboy makes Judges Houses, not bad considering 1 audition show and 2 boot camps his total screen time can’t top 45 seconds!!!!, I’ll be surpised if his Judges houses coverage gets the total past 1min 30!!!!!

    • He wasn’t the only surprise. I’ve watched every episode this series, and spend an inordinate time reading this great site and Digital Spy. Unless I was ‘doing a Spraggan’ (i.e, was drunk), suffered a temporary amnesia or will find out more when I get round to watching Saturday’s Boot Camp show, the first I had ever heard of Brad Shackleton (‘The Boss’) was when GB called his name out.

      What little I heard (from him) was poor. The same goes for several acts, with the clearly-scripted editorial from the judges often in direct opposition to the evidence of my senses. Kye Somes, for example, was off-key more than once in his short appearance in Sunday’s show, yet Barlow made a big thing of describing his vocal as ‘flawless’.

      Arthur’s rendition of ‘A Million Love Songs’ deserves to become a cult comedy classic. And in a truly just world, the revelation (given viewers of the Xtra Factor) that the swag man has a secret past as a ginger beer bed-wetter should decimate his fledging career immediately.

      Worse was to follow, however. Mahoney (described by regular offender Barlow as ‘a real person’) demonstrated awful, really awful phrasing in his version of ‘A Million’; and far from inspiring me with his ‘humanity’, his rawness – if that is what I’m meant to be feeling – I find his spasmodic nerviness acutely discomforting. I said it immediately after his original audition, and I will repeat it now: I can not abide Mahoney. Not only a poor singer, something about him smacks of bona fide oddness. I could overlook his 700-strong collection of dinky cars (you see what great shit you get on the Xtra Factor?) but what gay man in his right mind would want to snog Christina Aguilera over, say, a male celebrity?

      Of course, he’ll be put through to the lives.

      The trajectory of Starboy Nathan continues to befuddle… The GMD3/Triple J sing-off was patently pre-decided (and a not-so subtle form of pimping for the former); and Ella Henderson most definitely still is Plan A. Jahmene underwhelmed, which is a pity.

      And the Spraggan debate has been well and truly settled, but let’s leave that for another time.

  • Boki

    Since girls also seem decided, I’m curious which of the overs will miss out…

  • Chatterbox5200

    Did anyone else notice in tonight’s (Sunday) Boot Camp episode, when the judges are deliberating over who to put through, Tulisa says “That’s my star!” whilst as she has her hand on the card of one contestant? If you pause the recording, you will see, that her hand is on the card for… Lucy Spraggan.

    • Sorry, I forgot something else…

      So, Kye Sones – the chimney sweep, remember – met Michael Jackson in the toilet of a party thrown by the Sultan of Brunei? We also met his mother (on the Xtra Factor) who carried herself like a woman of considerable means. She also outdid Melanie Masson in the yummy mummy stakes by a very wide margin.

      Did anyone buy the chimney sweep story? The show gets worse and worse…

      Oh, and I think Dan is correct that Mahoney will suffer the agonising final rejection, in favour of Kye. I had underestimated how strongly pimped is the latter, simply because I can’t bring myself to rate him at all. Wholly average.

  • Chatterbox5200

    So Kye Soanes has “Never had a break”. It sounds like he’s had more opportunities than most according to this information from the BBC Music website:

    “Diagram of the Heart is euphoric electronic-pop duo Anthony Gorry and Kye Sones from London, England. The group’s first single ‘Dead Famous’ set dance floors on fire, leading Q Magazine to brand them one of the “Hottest New Bands” this year, as well as Pop Justice and Clash (magazine) naming the single “Song of the Day”. Diagram of the Heart’s debut album is still yet to be released on Sony Records and the band’s second single ‘Did I?’ was released on 17 October 2010. Throughout September and October Diagram of the Heart accompanied BBC Radio 1 DJ, Jo Whiley, on her freshers tour, throughout which they previewed a cover of British band The XX’s Islands.
    Diagram of the Heart played the 2010 iTunes festival at Camden’s Roundhouse on 29 July as well as playing Ibiza Rocks with Calvin Harris and supporting The Scissor Sisters in Manchester.
    They also played the following festivals in 2010; V, Wireless, T in the Park, T4 on the Beach and Bestival”

    I would say that was quite a few breaks! Would Syco/Sony want to re-sign an artist they previous let go?

  • KaraokeSauron

    Very interesting point… The crucial thing, I think, is not that Kye is being pimped for alpha Over (i.e, the person who SyCo – or is it GaBo this year; he seems to be exerting much more obvious influence this time round – intends to sign) but for a supporting role to the main category hope: Carolynne Poole. Her level of pimping has been high – second only to Ella. (Or perhaps third, after Jahmene.)

    Indeed, I predict a showmance/faux-mance may be on the cards. I notice Carolynne leapt chivalrously to Kye’s defence in a Twitter spat with somebody from TOWIE. And The Sun’s report on the matter (I’ll link to it later) emphasised that ‘stunning Carolynne’ and ‘handsome Kye’ are both newly single.

    One of the contributors on a later thread was asking what changes the show might need to adopt in order to remain of interest and ‘relevant’ in future; and perhaps the ever-increasing injection of these soap opera elements might be part of producers’ master plan. Certainly, it is appearing more staged than ever before this year (in large part, I suspect, due to the relative absence of the dark genius that is Cowell).

    So: Carolynne as alpha Over; Kye in show-mancing supporting role; and very probably Melanie as Over #3.

    Just as an aside to the above, any showmance will certainly be just that. Evidence has come to light today casting grave doubts (would you believe it?) on Carolynne’s sob story as a recently separated wife. Would seem she is still with the gentleman in question – something jettisoned presumably for commercial reasons.

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