Ah, judges’ houses. The moment when the ‘A Chorus Line’ absurdity of the audition process gets some added sunshine. Intensify the heartbreak for those falling at the last hurdle by breaking the news from a wicker chair on a palatial terrace. Show them a gateway to glamour before delivering the blow with the words, “I can’t take you through.”
As with the rest of the audition process, the edits were hardly subtle tonight. The most consistent way of doing a disservice to an unfavoured act was to intercut their performance with a VT interview so that we couldn’t properly appreciate it.
We started with the groups. Most pimped were GMD3 with the last slot and an uninterrupted performance. However, Union J were also reasonably favoured and continue to sound better to my ears than their boyband rivals. New member George Shelley seemed to fit in reasonably well, though I hope you enjoyed the irony of the lyrics to ‘Call Me Maybe’ (“Hey, I just met you / And this is crazy”).
It was especially notable on Xtra Factor that some kind of ‘battle of the boybands’ script is being formulated for the live shows. Based on tonight’s evidence, both seem through.
MK1 did find their audition intercut with VT, but were still more favoured than the others, whom were left pretty short-changed. This tallies with rumours that MK1 are into the lives. If the wildcard twist proves to be true, I couldn’t with certainty say who would get that slot in this category. That’s pretty damning for the hopes of any group winning the wildcard into the first live show.
The boys followed, and whilst Rylan was clearly the weakest vocalist of the six, he did provide the line of the night when asked by Nicole what he was wearing. “When in Doo-bye…” he replied, as if walking along the beaches in his hooded blouse wouldn’t get him arrested.
As Chatterbox has pointed out, the editing strongly suggested that the Essex boy will be joined by James (who put in another strong performance) and Jahmene as automatic qualifiers in the live finals. Nathan was blighted by VT over his performance. However, his lack of overall screentime may make him a safer wildcard-not-meant-to-progress than Jake, who has a terminally-ill brother, and cute Adam.
My speculative theory that Ella could be the shock wildcard is blown out of the water after tonight’s edit. She got the pimp slot, wowed the judges and was matched up against the virtually ignored Leanne in Tulisa’s musings. She looks likely to be joined by Jade Ellis and Lucy in the lives.
The latter undertook the daunting task of ‘I Will Always Love You’ which is too big a song for most in this situation. Lucy was no exception. This seemed a way of adding some suspense about whether she makes it or not. Leanne and Jade Collins lacked favour tonight, but Amy’s kind and long edit suggested she would be the wildcard in the girls category, if it comes to pass.
Based on the edit, Brad and Nicola have a mountain to climb to get one of the places in the overs category. Of the remaining four, I’m still expecting Melanie, Carolynne and Kye to go through automatically. I reckon that Kye’s missed note was a red herring, just like Lucy’s performance.
So what about Christopher’s pimp slot? Producers clearly feel he gives good VT. As a result, he may be set up for the agonising final rejection (possibly up against Kye) before being offered the lifeline of a wildcard. He will have had more overall screentime than the other likely candidates. On that basis, the programme may be angling for him to win the wildcard vote next week, if indeed the twist takes place.
What are your thoughts on these theories and the performances on tonight’s show? Let us know in the comments section below.