We’re back. I’m back. Nicole’s back. Sharon’s back. AAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
First up on Sunday’s arena malarkey and fresh from seeing ‘durble durble’ in Saturday’s room auditions was this year’s eccentric foreigner / token cultural stereotype, Souli Roots. It’s hard to resist Souli’s infectious joie de vivre and she combines something of the madness of Wagner with the gracious self-awareness of Rylan Clark.
However, the presumably reliable Digital Spy spoilers don’t see a spot for Souli at judges house – an indicator perhaps of X Factor’s desire for a return to credibility. Still, it’s hard to imagine a live show without at least one novelty act. It’s like imagining a cherry bakewell without the cherry or a Taylor Swift song without a veiled reference to one of her many press-engineered ‘ex-boyfriends.’
Next up in the arena and through to bootcamp was Cher Lloyd cum Jesy Little Mix firecracker, Lydia Lucy, singing a Michael Jackson song in the style of that bird lady everyone thought would win The Voice this year. After commenting on Saturday that Lydia would fit well into a group, judges praised her independence and artistry on the arena stage.
It would seem a tad odd to reverse this sentiment by bundling Lydia into a band at this point but the rumours point to her exclusion from judges’ houses so we can only wonder if she’s been Frankensteined or jettisoned altogether. Let us not forget that Liam Payne was the surprise candidate in One Direction, having wowed with his rendition of Cry Me A River in the auditions.
Jeannette Akua won me over with her sassiness but I fear the curse of the confident black woman is what will keep her from making the important stages of the competition. In the sad world of tokenism and typecasting I can’t imagine her competing with the younger, prettier, more malleable and dare I say more British Tamera Foster.
I think Rough Copy have great shtick and I was sad to see them unable to make the lives last year. At odds as long as 25 the trio would be the most interesting semi-outsider at this early stage but for rumours picked up by Gavster that visa issues once again scupper their judges’ houses progress. [Update: Thanks to tpfkar for the Digital Spy forum spoiler information that Rough Copy do go to judges’ houses, but as a duo.]
A male group are yet to win the show and Rough Copy have almost limitless commercial viability. That said, despite the crooning and swooning, the band is probably just too ‘street’ for middle England and seems more like the kind of act producers would have pushed towards the finals in the hope of launching a career from third or fourth place.
Stephanie Woods fulfilled the necessary ‘you picked the wrong song’ segment performing I Drove All Night ‘by’ Celine Dion. In her higher register Stephanie has lovely control but her style overall just reeks of Club Med and her pained expression when singing is not a face designed for big productions on the live stage. She’s trading anywhere between 14 and 50 and I don’t see her as a threat. Neither do the DS spoilers.
And then to Kingsland, the acid-trip hipster quintet of doom: bad voices, cheesy moves and atrocious styling. And do you know what? (Adopts best Louis Walsh voice) I liked it. I mean I really did.
The one that seems to be the lead singer could do to learn a few more consonants to fill out all those faux-soulful vowel sounds he seems to vomit into the air whilst reaching for an invisible dagger, the glare of Macbeth alive in his piggy eyes. And someone should really explain to the band that harmonising entails a little more complexity than five people all singing different notes at roughly the same time. Also, there’s a definite need for a stylist to harness the slapdash Dalston pandemonium in which the boys are dressed.
With all that considered, I actually like Kingsland for the moment. They’re different from their category predecessors and have something of ‘N sync about them. The public never seem to respond too well to over-synchronising groups who dance but Kingsland have a bit more individual charm than say, series 7’s F.Y.D. and it would be worth watching out for VTs that set out their individual personalities as a sign of producer favour.
Stu has heard rumours that Kingsland make the live shows, alongside BrickCity, who were given the gamma edit of being seen on Saturday but not Sunday (when there was no space for charming Giles Potter either). He reckons the other group through, StopLookListen, are comprised of three rejected black female soloists. [Update: tpfkar informs us that the girlband may not be given that name but include Rielle Carrington from week 1 and Jeanette Akua, discussed above.]
According to Gavster, there is no room even at judges’ houses for super creepy Next Of Kin, my first nemesis(/es?) of the series, whose performances make me feel like I’ve been violated by frisky aliens in my sleep and am only just remembering it. At nasty single figure odds with some firms, Next of Kin are battling Kingsland for the top band odds and I for one hope it’s true they lose that battle.
And finally, God bless little Nicholas McDonald the dark horse from Scotland. Rounding off an episode that brought a few more males to prominence, Nicholas is now the bookies’ top boy, odds as short as 6. Nicholas feels a little like a blast from the past. Part Leon Jackson (an analogy also made by Guildo Horn Forever), part early Pop Idol auditionee, the worry is that Nicholas isn’t enough of a viable commercial product. Where his crisp and pleasant croonings really belong is on the theatre stage – in fact I can clearly picture him playing opposite Melanie McCabe in a school musical.
However, if producers put him in the live shows despite his regional and demographic advantages as highlighted by Gavster and Stoney, that would indicate that they’re prepared to see him go relatively far in the competition. Stoney thinks that he’s one to consider on that basis. However, JScouser is down on the way the boys category has been treated so far whilst Mark felt that he doesn’t stand out enough.
Next week, tedious everyman Joe Whelan is back with a bang and Nicole is all about men singing their balls off. Do you think week 3 set any cats among the pigeons or are the top 3 of Abi, Tamera and Melanie holding on strong? The floor is open.