X Factor 2015 Auditions Week 1: Another Hero, Another Mindless Crime

The much-hyped fresh-faced reboot of the X Factor introduced itself with a Wagner joke and a Mission Impossible skit, and scored worryingly low ratings. This series will self-destruct in 5, 4, 3…

ep-01-intro-mission

To be fair, the opening weekend received generally positive reviews among Sofabet commenters. There’s clearly a concerted attempt to lighten things up, and even a willingness to poke a bit of fun at themselves: Grimmy observed that one proposed song choice was “a bit X Factor audition”, while Simon prefaced Josh Daniel’s audition by putting on a Dermot voice and mocking the well-worn “our last act has been waiting in the wings all day” cliché. Where will it end? “You’ve performed first while Strictly’s still on the other side, and we all know what that means”.

The bottle may have looked new, but it was largely the same old wine. It’s worth remembering that the show traditionally likes to frontload the opening audition episodes with acts it intends to be a long-term part of the series: on the form of recent series, it’s quite likely that we’ve already seen five or six or the final twelve and maybe even three or four of the final six. With that in mind, here are our impressions from the weekend.
ep-01-intro-wagner

It was presumably no coincidence that the Wagner cameo led us into in “Techno” Susan Pryce, twerking Blackpool pensioner, who seems lined up to be this year’s Wagner. Usually there’s some semi-embarrassed dissembling to get such acts into the lives over betters singers (“I think people will like you”), but in the apparent new spirit of self-awareness perhaps the judge concerned will simply say “the lives need a novelty act, and I’m casting you”.

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Also in the very first segment was dentist receptionist Lauren Murray, who confessed to pulling a sickie to attend auditions – a storyline which didn’t end happily for Kerianne Covell last year. It was a solid, promising audition, which had the judges coming over all “The Voice” and expressing hopes to be her mentor, ahead of the Twitter vote on this issue, with Simon contributing a “bloody fantastic” and “you don’t know how good you are”. However, the fact that she lost out to Louisa Johnson for the opening show pimp slot suggests that producers are currently thinking of her as first reserve at best.

Jennifer Phillips, the 49 year old gospel belter who Simon said “defined the word joy”, looks like archetypal cannon fodder for the overs category – a big-voiced mature lady who should be easy enough to ease out in the early-to-middle stages of the lives.

The next segment featured three boys, starting with “male Cheryl” wannabe Tom Davies, complete with backing dancers, and Mason Noise, who got Rita on her feet. These ultra-confident auditions were chosen to accentuate the nerves of Tom Bleasby, to whom we had been cutting backstage.

We’re used to the “nervous fat man can sing” trope, and we’re also used to the “fat man has amusingly tiny voice” comedy audition trope. This was an odd hybrid of the two: “big northern bloke sings like a girl and it’s really quite good, sort of, I think – hmm, now he’s bleating like a sheep”. Simon is surely correct that some will have loved it while others will have wondered what the hell was that. It seems a safe bet that producers intend Tom to feature heavily again, though whether they have currently pencilled into his script an ending of judges’ houses heartbreak or Paul Akister-like assassination in the live shows is open to question.

Brought over from the Philippines to audition and likely to be an enduring source of headlines for the show with their giggly tourist schtick, 4th Power look to have been lined up for the long haul. Their audition choreography was highly polished, as you might expect if they’ve been performing together since 2001; the vocals were arguably a bit shouty, but then this was a shouty song.

ep-01-4th-power

Quite how the show would feel about a winner scouted from abroad is open to question, although BGT embraced it with Attraction and Simon was at pains to tell us the show was “not just for British people” and say they were “very welcome”.

Dani Clay was through next, the brevity of her screentime and the indignity of a cut to backstage in the middle of her performance hardly suggesting that she’s on the priority list.

The closing slot in the opening show has traditionally been a heavy pointer to producers’ intentions, and this year’s beneficiary was 17-year-old Joss Stone-a-like Louisa Johnson. Simon anointed her “the one to beat” and said “I really want to mentor you” – just before Olly and Caroline explained the Twitter vote – reinforcing the sense from Lauren Murray’s earlier audition that we’re supposed to think the girls are where it’s at this year.

She clearly ticks a lot of boxes, including performing the same first audition song as last year’s breakout star Andrea. But there are also some concerns about the Essex lass. We’ll need to see how she is vocally with the volume turned down, and we’ll also be looking for more evidence of relatability – at the moment all we know about her is that she grew up watching the X Factor, her mum’s her best friend and she overuses the word “literally”. It calls to mind 2011’s teenage belter Amelia Lily, about whom the show never managed to manufacture much more of a backstory than that she had a supportive dad.

The opening show pimp slot marks her out as putative alpha girl and worthy favourite at this stage. However, one thing that may be worth bearing in mind with live judges’ houses is that – if we assume the performances are live on Saturday, and decisions live on Sunday – it gives producers the best part of 24 hours to do social media analysis of reactions to each of the acts and cast the final 12 accordingly. Maybe, just maybe, they might go into judges’ houses this year with more of an open mind than we assume they usually do.

First act through on Sunday were The First Kings, who have clearly learned that the key to success for groups on this show is a VT that introduces them all by name, given that they took the precaution of bringing their own. Producer goodwill was suggested by an edit that favourably contrasted them with another dancing boyband, and allowing them to reprise Fleur East’s series-defining performance from last year. That said, with a slick promo video and backing dancers in the first audition, where is the potential for a journey?

Next came another very solid audition from the girls category in the shape of Chloe Paige, a sweet and relatable 21 year old Brighton street trader with big family support and tearful mum. The lack of a judge standing ovation indicates that, like Lauren Murray, she’s not currently being thought of as an alpha, but she seems like a capable potential beta or backup should Louisa fail to catch fire.

A segment of comedy foreigners prepared the ground for Seann Miley Moore, a sort of Jon Snow meets Andrea Faustini meets Johnny Robinson (we mean this as a high compliment) who wowed with ‘The Show Must Go On’.

The likeable 24 year old comes from Australia but has UK connections and a hard-to-place accent, and the idea of him settling into the UK should provide plenty of VT fodder. Novelty acts who genuinely have something in terms of singing and performing, and who aren’t in the traditional novelty categories of overs and groups, are like gold dust for this show – as such, it would be a major surprise if he doesn’t make the lives. His trajectory from there will be very interesting indeed.

The opening weekend was closed by 21 year old Billingham car mechanic Josh Daniel, who delivered a tear-jerking performance dedicated to his deceased best friend, which the show crassly proceeded to make all about Simon’s and Cheryl’s reactions.

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Josh arguably could do with more vocal range, but he is cute and highly relatable. The nagging doubt about an act currently at single figures in the win market is whether he would have found himself anywhere near the second audition show pimp slot without the sob story and opportunity for the show to portray Simon’s human side – and the awareness that every year the show must make viewers emotionally invest in a quota of acts who are destined to be culled at bootcamp and judges’ houses. Exactly who they will be is, of course, the guessing game at this stage.

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Where do you think this journey is headed? As ever, do let us know below.

103 comments to X Factor 2015 Auditions Week 1: Another Hero, Another Mindless Crime

  • Dan

    I reckon that the following four are absolute shoo-ins for the lives:

    Fourth Power
    Louisa Johnson
    Jennifer Philips
    Seann Miley Moore

    There’s no way that FP and SMM would have been scouted out and brought over from abroad unless the producers had a purpose for them. LJ is a good, solid performer and JP will sit nicely in an expendable Overs category.

    By the way, I reckon JP’s odds will shorten drastically from the 40-ish she’s on at the moment. The six-seat challenge is being filmed tomorrow and the day after, so hopefully we’ll get some leaks from that.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I like the new mobile version and the edit window.

    • stoney

      I’m still using the old version as it was doing my head in having to keep scrolling down to the bottom of the comments.
      The edit function is a nice addition though. A like function would be good to. But could be fringing on copyrights i guess?

  • EM

    This has next to nothing to do with betting but the Mission Impossible opening was beyond cliched. It that is the best they can do with their imagination don’t expect too many big creative leaps later.

    One other note is that the 4 judges arriving together in a self driven car instead of helicopters and chauffeur driven limos suggests a much more down at heel show this year – less caviar and more austerity

    • Another thing that struck me about that opening (and which I may be overthinking) is the whole conceit was “go out and scout talent to bring to us”, i.e. dropping the time-honoured pretence of implying they simply advertise auditions and see who turns up.

      On a similar note, twice this weekend Cheryl looked at her notes and said “it says here one of your songs is…” rather than asking “what other songs have you got”. Did they always used to be this blasé about showing the judges having briefing notes?

      • Jessica Hamby

        These are really good points. They’re clearly aware that most people think the show is manipulated or even fixed. They want us to see behind the curtain (or at least think we’re seeing behind it). They want to restore the reputation (just my opinion, obv). That can only be a good thing. They’re mocking the clichés themselves (a bit) (although I did think Simon’s estuary / Essex accents were a bit unnecesary).

        It looks like it’s been noted that there’s an us v them feeling about the show and I get the impression they’re making genuine attempts to change that, or at least that perception. How deep public cynicism runs is another matter, as is whether / how / how much they support or sabotage an act to further their agenda.

      • EM

        Very much so Andrew. Did you notice the backstage area which is now done up like a studio rather than a scruffy backstage bit?

        And also they were asking acts which songS they’d prepared, definitely dropping a lot of the veneer and pretence. I’d say they dropping the overblown showbiz elements and gloss they are going for a more “genuine” and pared down feel – use that thought at your leisure.

        Finally a bit of reading http://startups.co.uk/my-dragons-den-experience-from-prank-call-to-being-on-the-telly/

        This guy tells his Dragon’s Den story – you can see how stage managed the whole thing is. No surprise there other than again there is so much going on with these shows and the contestants that we never see.

  • The juan

    I’m glad the show is back and more importantly… Sofa bet!

    Commented a little at the tail end of last year but I’m here for the long haul this time.

    Strange old start to the series and the new format (where has the blue screen audition room gone from last year)? Ollie and Caroline making a strange likeness to BGT with the side stage shots. An influx of foreign talent and a move from obviously awful acts to a more accepting humourous undertone.

    One thing that I take from this, is that things are going to be more obvious this year. Obvious and well… Obvious.

    Lauren,Louisa, 4th power and Sean miles Moore. All on the list so far. Lauren the one with the most scope for a journey… “Can you do anything other than Whitney?” By the end she will. Also, those black jeggings will take a backseat for a styled out outfit. My dark horse.

    As for imagery, Rita’s gold star earrings anyone? All had a flashy close up through 3 of these 4 acts and I’m on her for winning act with the girls.

    Let’s make a fortune this year.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I’m don’t. think you can call someone who got the first show pimp slot and a four judge standing ovation a dark horse, especially when only two shows have been broadcast. She was favourite by a margin when I looked yesterday.

    • EM

      I noted Lauren as a dark horse too – I have to be wary of my confirmation bias but she was everything I thought they’d want in a winner. Young girl, great singer, wasn’t taking it too seriously and seemed to have an ordinary “everyman” background.

      On the con side she wasn’t pimped to anything like the extent of some others.

      • Martin

        I think the problem with Lauren is a problem that a lot of the other girls have had previously. She seems nice, she’s got a decent voice but there’s no individuality there. With the boys, you can get away with it but unless you blow people away with an amazingly powerful voice (ala Sam Bailey, Leona Lewis), the girls need a bit of a quirk to get by. I think it’s where Lola Saunders, Lauren Platt, Laura White etc fell down, and I see Laura going the same way. Louisa has a Rebecca Ferguson tone to her voice, and a similar nervous story – I think that is their angle with her if they can nail her a solid back story to go with it.

        • EM

          Hi Martin – very valid points there and I should have been clear that I don’t particularly think Lauren will win but that she may be earmarked to “go far”

          • Martin

            Indeed – apologies if that came across abrupt! I think she is perfect mid-lives cannon fodder, particularly if the girls are as strong as we are being told.

        • fused

          I agree that the girls who have no individuality, or at least aren’t able or allowed to convey their personalities on the show for whatever reason, often end up as “shock” eliminations. (Lucie, Laura, Lola etc).

          It’s generally better for the girls to have a distinct personality. Diana Vickers and Cher Lloyd weren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there will be girls out there that can relate to them. It won’t just be teenage girls either. I remember when talking about The X Factor to people in day to day life, and a few young women in their early 20s mentioned Diana Vickers or Cher Lloyd as their favourite, in a “I was just like her when I was that age” way. Lauren Platt is another example, a guy I used to work with mentioned that she was his girlfriend’s favourite. I filed Lauren Platt in with the Lucie/Laura/Lola types initially, but given that she did better in the phone vote than expected, maybe there was something about her that a lot of us missed for some reason.

          Though one other thing Diana Vickers, Cher Lloyd, Lauren Platt have in common is they all finished 4th, so very much a “goes far, but doesn’t win” type.

          • Martin

            I think Lauren was very “Disney”, and although she didn’t have much of a “thing” in the way that Diana/Cher had, she was very much a little sister-type character that I think made her endearing to an older audience and relate able to the younger audience. I think they undermined that by bringing her little brother in a few times.

  • Stu

    So the 6 Chair Challenge is being filmed this week. Even though the contestants who were shown over the weekend are looking to be favoured (well some of them at least), I’m sure the audience at the 6CC will give a bigger reaction to the contestants they’ve already seen on the TV regardless of how they perform. Say, for example, Josh Daniel really underwhelms – his emotional segment on yesterday’s show will surely get the 6CC audience on his side and therefore may sway the judges’ vote.

    Also should we be finding out the judges’ categories tomorrow? That’s when the voting closes and the judges find out their categories before the 6CC. Once we find out which judge has what category, it’ll be a bit easier to predict storylines and outcomes (for example if Rita has the Boys – Seann Miley Moore will be a shoe-in for the lives).

  • Chatterbox5200

    I think, from reading the tweets from the @SimonCowell account, it’s rather clear which categories he does and doesn’t want to mentor….

    BOYS.
    “Great singers in this category, but I would be keen to see how another judge would do with the overs this year!”
    “I mentored the overs last year and had the winner and the runner up.”

    OVERS.
    “Love the boys category but I had three guys in my Overs last year, it would be more fun to mentor something different.”

    GIRLS.
    “The girls category needs an expert and that’s me! Vote for #SimonGirls”
    “@Cherylofficial had them last year but I’ve not mentored the girls since Leona, and look what happened! #SimonGirls”
    “I would love to mentor the girls this year.”

    GROUPS.
    “Have you voted for #SimonGroups yet? I do have the best track record with the groups after all…none of the others can do a better job.”

  • Natasha

    Great weekend. Sean miley Moore is the one I’m keeping a close eye on. Looking forward to seeing how it all pans out.

  • Martin

    It was an entertaining weekend – I’d be amazed if those ratings are true to life. I know I didn’t watch any of the shows as scheduled, it’d be interesting to see the figures plus on demand. Viewer habits have changed and I think ratings figures are outdated.

    I think the viewer vote for the categories is as manipulated as anything else on the show. We already know Rita wants the boys, Simon is on the campaign trail for the Girls and the Groups. What I’d say if I were producing is that Grimmy has been bought in as part of the package to appeal to a younger crowd – initially looking at it, it would be a waste to lumber him with the overs (particularly as our last two winners have been overs, I’d imagine they’d like a younger winner this year if possible). On the flip side, affiliating Grimmy with the overs could make them more accessible to the younger viewers they are chasing. I’d also question Simon’s statement that he has the best track record with groups. He could only manage to get 1D third, Cheryl has never had the groups and he had nothing to do with JLS or Little Mix. But that’s just me being picky.

    I’m holding out on placing an outright bet so far, but if I had to choose I’d go with Seann. LGBT is a massive thing right now, and I’d imagine the show would love to cash in on the equal rights movement that is going on. The X Factor Caitlyn Jenner, if you will. It’s a strong message that I’d expect people will get behind.

  • Is Lauren our Alpha girl this year? That backing track seemed VERY produced.

    This reminds me a bit of SVT’s production of Eurovision 2013. The whole thing was a bit “knowing” and willing to poke fun at itself.

  • Ben Cook

    Categories revealed
    https://twitter.com/TheXFactor/status/638760218290200576

    Although you’d have expected them to give the new judges the boys and the girls, it also feels like the complete opposite of how the shows were leading us to vote.

  • Alan

    Cant see Lauren being the alpha girl as she just doesnt look like a pop star. I never had Lola down as the alpha last year for the same reason. Pretty much all the producer favoured acts have looked the part. She will be favoured by the public though for the same reason. Chloe and Louisa much more up the producers street for me.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Six chair challenge sounds like a bit of a mess. They were meant to do girls and groups today, starting at 1pm. Started at 5, got half way through thr girls, stopped halfway to swap the audience for the evening session. Looks like only the girls will be done today and groups on another day.

    http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2098807

  • Donald

    Liking the new optimised site 🙂 Great job.

    If we have seen 3 or 4 of final six and half of final twelve which probably have, it is going to be a long haul. Nothing felt like a stand out winner. 4th Power if producer supported got a chance, no value on early prices though, same for LJ who though I had heard about not that tempting at current odds.

    With judges houses live and new producers tptb may have a different tact. My thought on reflection is that while as a constant we have seen some of the front runners we may not have seen the winner. It still takes something bit special to win this.

    That a bold statement really but none of them really did it for me as winner material initial except maybe 4th Power, they will need serious producer support and no value as said above so watching brief for the minute here

    • Alan

      Personally I cant see the public going for 4th Power but I am useless at predicting such things. They strike me as finalists maybe not winners with one novelty album before being dumped. Like Andrea.

      • R

        I don’t think the public will go for 4th Power either. If tptb wanted them to do well they would have done a better job at hiding the group’s history.

      • R

        I can’t see Cheryl being the one having a bonding session with 4th Power. It’s more likely to be Rita with one of the girls.

        Rita seems more likely to evoke an emotional reaction from viewers while Cheryl have become increasingly emotionless & distant. I can even envisage a week where one of the girls sings Beautiful while we’re given a close up of her crying.

        I won’t go into detail about why Little Mix were fluke winners but the original plan was for Janet & Niall Horan to date post show to get her maximum publicity (The producers tried to persuade Janet to dump her boyfriend for the fake relationship but she refused, hence her deramp).

        Janet/Niall was replaced by Zayn/ Perrie and the rest is history.

        The only alternative would have been Harry/Marcus Collins & I’m not sure Syco would have been ready to unleash that relationship on the world.

        • Stu

          Little Mix weren’t a fluke as such. They may not have been the Plan A but they managed to get the viewers on board. Even in the first live show (where public vote was included) they ranked 4th. It’s possible for a girl-group to do well in the future. A lot of LM’s success was down to them coming across as likeable and unthreatening – 4th Power are similar in that sense – they’re cute, not sexy.

          • Jessica Hamby

            A rumour is going around that Richard Betsfactor picked Little Mix at the start of the lives that year. What were the odds again? I can’t remember.

          • Jessica Hamby

            I was being tongue in cheek. It just wasn’t v funny I guess. Thanks anyways. Good to read the article with thoughts of fourth power. By the time the lives are underway there will be so many pro singers exposed that I doubt their history will matter.

            Looking forward to seeing the other girl group tonight who’ve had good feedback, Alien something. So far, given what we’ve been shown, I favour FP and Sean. I think they both have demo appeal. To my eyes the Alien girls look a bit too current for XF.

  • Now happy to put a bet on Rita as winning mentor.

  • Stu

    So Cheryl’s got the Groups! Surely The First Kings and 4th Power are looking to be 2 of the 3 finalists in the Groups category then. She was the judge who was the most impressed by TFK and 4th Power obviously received rave reviews from the judges. If these presumptions are correct, there’s only one slot left to fill – I wonder if any manufactured bands are formed this year?

    It’s also worth noting that Simon ALWAYS has had an act in the final: Steve in ’04, Journey South in ’05, Leona & Ray in ’06, Same Difference in ’07, Eoghan in ’08, Olly in ’09, 1D in ’10, Melanie in ’11 (US), Fifth Harmony in ’12 (US), Alex & Sierra in ’13 (US) and Ben & Fleur last year. Will he let his ego take a back seat this year in order to allow the more commercial acts to make the final, or will he try and push one of his acts to 3rd place? Maybe now that he knows he has the Overs again, he will ensure he puts through a Fleur type (i.e. current, commercial, young) and make them the Alpha Over. Sorry Jennifer.

  • Stu

    Also to add: Expect a Cheryl/4th Power bonding storyline to play out similar to Tulisa/Little Mix. Notice how the one year a girl-group not only did well in the lives but actually won the series was when the Groups mentor was female.

    Similarly, I wonder if the producers are lining up a bonding storyline between Nick and Seann Miley Moore due to their LGBTQ connection – “you’re doing this community so proud”, “your confidence is inspiring” etc.

  • Jessica Hamby

    This thread from DS contains info about who has got through to JH as well as links to youtube clips of them performing.

    Both Lauren and Louisa are through.

    http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2098807&page=8

  • Stu

    *SPOILERS*

    I think spoilers have been posted on this site before so these are the ones to look out for since they’ve all made judges houses (sources from DS):

    Boys:
    – Josh Daniel
    – Tom Bleasby
    – Seann Miley Moore
    – Che Chesterman
    – Simon
    – Messy hair (Frankie Cocozza-like hair) with tattoo arm

    Groups :
    – Alien (6 piece colorful hair girlgroup)
    – The First Kings
    – 4th Power
    – Mon Amie
    – 2 black guys duo
    – Gospel black guys boyband (Not Tribe)

    Girls
    1. Louisa Johnson
    2. Chloe Paige
    3. Havva Sonmez
    4. Monica Michael
    5. Lauren Murray
    6. Kiera Weathers

    Overs:

    Ebru
    Bupsi
    Anton
    Jennifer Phillips
    Kerrianne
    Max

    If spoilers aren’t allowed, then feel free to delete this!

    • Jessica Hamby

      The two piece group is called Menn On Poinnt

      Menn On Poinnt – World Class | GhanaMusic.com Vid…: http://youtu.be/dzJEcJkDKlI

      and

      Menn On Point [Bollie & Reggie Zippy] – Turn It Up: http://youtu.be/06hK48hOANc

      The gospel band is called Becklyn. Couldn’t find anything from them on youtube but the spelling may be wrong.

      • Martin

        Regarding the spoilers, another thing that has caught my eye seems to be there is a higher-than-usual amount of gospel acts. They were very heavy handed (in my opinion) with Jennifer Phillips and the gospel/religious references. Word from spoilers is that we have two gospel-influenced groups at judges houses. Seems remarkable considering we’ve only really had Jahmene Douglas finishing in that pool before, and gospel isn’t really a “thing” commercially at the moment. Granted, none of these acts are through to lives yet but if there is more than one of them, are they trying to flood that type of vote? Is there such a thing as a gospel vote?!

        • Jessica Hamby

          I don’t know if there’s a gospel vote but there is definitely a huge gospel market, and a lot of great singers have a gospel background, from Mahalia Jackson through Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight to Whitney Houston and beyond.

          They may just be really good singers and musicians who can turn their hand to any style.

          It’s similar with the country singers who turn up in American Idol. They may never hit the pop chart but there’s still a massive market for them and if they can cross over the rewards are immense. Ask that Taylor Swift.

          • Martin

            Fair point. The shows foray into country singers backfired with Carolynne Poole, it will be interesting to see how the manage these so called gospel acts (if there even are any, its massive guess work from me).

  • Martin

    There seems to be an article on DigitalSpy about the poor quality of the boys category and how bored and frustrated the judges and crowd were at the performances. Although since, Grimmy has tweeted that he loves his category so who knows. Seems odd that they’d allow an article to be published about the poor quality of talent.

    Apparently somebody called Ollie Marland has created some sort of Twitter revolt after he didn’t get one of the six chairs. From a quick Twitter snoop, he has close links with the show and is a close friend of the Loveable Rogues and Luke Friend and has already had singles out, with quite an established fanbase already. Although he hasn’t got a chair, so that may be irrelevant.

  • Curtis

    So Louisa Johnson is this year’s teenage girl early favourite then. It never ends well, just ask Abi Alton, Ella Henderson, Janet Devlin etc. etc. etc.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Apparently Fourth Power are changing their name for copyright reasons.

  • Boki

    With even lower ratings this year there are some crazy number of YT hits comparing to previous two. SamB had the most hits in 2014 (2.7 million measured one week after audition was aired) while second Tamera had 1.2mil. Last year no one came close to SamB numbers. But look at the numbers now!?
    It looks like the overall standard is higher this year, Louisa is doing solid but 4thP and especially Josh are killing it at the moment. I didn’t keep track of years before 2014 but these two are doing amazingly good, right?
    (I know that YT numbers are just small part of the equation and it’s only a first audition but I’m just saying it since the numbers are so high).

  • DannyCraig

    Hmmm…4 judge standing ovation for Alen…shame they can’t really sing as the show are bigging them up!

    • Jessica Hamby

      Vocal seemed quite low level but agree, the singing wasn’t all that, more potential than finished article. The rapping worked well though. Great image for an urban grrlband and obviously massive producer backing to get that vt.

      They’re at JH and I would expect them to be in the lives unless some really big skeletons fall out of the wardrobe.

  • DannyCraig

    Exactly Jessica. As a Londoner myself, they’re very relatable. We know they’ll get through to the lives – full name checks, great VT, so many great comments / reactions from the judges and Olly Murs (who may I add is playing the Dermot role to a tee!) Betfair sportsbook have gone 20/1.

  • DannyCraig

    Bupsi: how cringe…LOL. I hope this comment doesn’t come back to bite me in the arse in December, but there is no chance she can win…that’s the complete opposite of what the British public will be voting for. Old people trying to be sexy never goes down well unless it’s treated as a novelty act…

  • Nissl

    Alien: Reasonably entertaining and interesting but weak vocals and nobody really jumped out though the blonde was trying.

    Che: Vocally decent, but that’s about it. Likely JH cut.

    Zen: See Che, although he seems more interesting and could be a gamma character casting… but isn’t he too old for the boys? I see Kerrianne in the overs spoilers, suggesting the age limit hasn’t been raised, so suspect he is actually not the messy haired guy.

    Simon: Strong voice, good looking, likable. Nothing *too* interesting going on other than the song choice, but no clear weaknesses either. I’d have him making lives with Josh and Seann if I were calling the shots. As the sole really cute young guy, he’d likely be a vote sponge.

    Bupsi – Gee, that wasn’t scripted at all! Pretty strong voice, but the novelty aspect of the performance didn’t feel totally natural to me. We’ll see how that wears after a few more performances….

    • Jessica Hamby

      Alien started as dancers and it shows. They do need one strong vocalist though. I wonder what odds you can get on them doing a Pussycat Dolls song in the lives.

      The judges reaction shots seem particularly contrived this year. Grinshaw can’t do spontanaeous at all and Cheryl’s wide-eyes for anyone the producers have told her to approve of really get on my nerves. She’s my nomination for the Louis Walsh Memorial Insincerity Award.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Also, found the If I Were A Boy boy really dull, but given the nature of the audience there’s no reason why that should count against him. However the I sing girl’s songs I’m so sensitive schtick is pretty old now. I loathed Matt Cardle (which shows how little I know about the show). Given the way dullards like Haenow and Bailey led almost from start to finish this lad, if he makes the lives, is probably going to end up winning it.

    I shall avoid the obvious jokes about how someone needs to sit him down for a talk. We all thought it the minute he started to sing.

    On the bright side there don’t appear to be any WGsWGs this time around.

  • Chatterbox5200

    More audition manipulation revealed by a contestant’s mum in the response to this blog post by Kitty Brucknell contestant’s mum… http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/look-im-last-person-who-6390322

  • Stu

    Okay here are my thoughts:

    Jamie Benkert – he’s giving me flashbacks to the poor manipulated Pink impersonator a couple of years back – Zoe Alexander. His audition was obviously screened to promote new host Olly and to build this perception that Olly is such a massive star that others want to impersonate him. He’ll be out in the next round.

    Alien – they had an extremely favourable edit last night. Simon’s slight criticism of their vocal capabilities suggest they’re not the Alphas of the Groups. 4th Power had imperfect vocals during their audition yet nothing was mentioned. Alien are through to JH so it depends whether the producers would want two girl-groups in the live shows – will it hinder both groups’ chances? I guess what’s promising is that 4P and Alien have very different images and styles. “Battle of the Girl Groups” could be an original idea for XF haha.

    Zen Blythe has James Michael (2011) written all over him if his edit is anything to go by. I wonder if he is the messy haired tattoo guy through to JH? Monica Michael is apparently through to JH and she’s 25 or 26 now yet is in the Girls category? Has the age been raised again? Does that mean Zen is in the Boys category? I have no idea.

    Is it just me who thought Simon Lynch didn’t come across as that likeable in his audition segment? Anyway, if he makes it through to the live shows then I’d put money on him to win. There doesn’t seem to be that many “traditional XF winner material” contestants this year so if he makes it through to the public vote, I can see him doing a Matt Cardle – and let’s face it, that’s exactly the route he’s going to go down (singing songs originally performed by females and using his falsetto in every performance).

    With Stephanie I find it slightly odd she hasn’t even made it to JH. At the end of her segment, Simon said something along the lines of the people who rejected her in the past are absolute fools. Hmmm…

    Lastly, reading Kitty Brucknell’s piece in The Mirror, it made me realise who Bupsi reminds me of – Sinitta! Jokes aside, I’m sure she’ll very easily make it to the live shows but I think she’ll be swiftly heading for a Blonde Electra-style exit.

    The talent last night wasn’t as good as last week’s. If we’ve seen the winner already – the boring Simon aside, I think he/she/they were in last week’s shows.

  • Cath

    The m-site looks really smart, but could we please see posting times, as well as dates, for comments? Makes it easier to keep track of new comments, particularly on the longer threads, and getting context when reading/watching on catch-up.

  • Jessica Hamby

    Zen Blythe is not the messy hair / tattoos boy. He’s an over. He makes it to the 6 chair challenge and is given a seat and is swapped out. He doesn’t go to JH.

  • Martin

    Bit of a dull show, I thought. Now we’ve had a lot of the characters, I think a lot of the next few weeks will be filler. interesting to see the treatment of contestants though.

    Firstly Simon Lynch is three heart eye emoji’s for me – like a combination of Will Young and Robert Patterson. I do quite like the “sit down and have the chat” with him but he works front of house at a theatre and was singing Beyoncé, I’d say he was comfortable with being on my bus. I thought he came across quite well – endearingly shy, seemed friendly and had a joke with the judges about Rita not knowing the Isle of Mann. The worrying thing is that he is Matt Cardle but five years later, and the show won’t want him to get out of hand which is why I expect he was in the middle of the show and not pimp slotted, and also followed two average ‘yes’ boys too.

    Alien were a curious case. Nobody I’ve spoken to or seen on Twitter has many good words for them, and tptb will surely be aware of this going into JH. If they do go through (which would be expected, their vt wasn’t emotional enough for us to be gutted about them going home) id expect them to be used as an anti-4th Power and out in the first week unless they can produce a Nicole Scherzinger by then. And even then, I don’t think their whole bright hair sequindividuality is really going to pull in the votes.

    I have said that I don’t think we’d have a novelty act this series, but Bupsi seems to fill that slot. She’s like Sinitta meets Goldie, which is obviously the most perfect contestant imaginable and a wet dream of Simon’s. Whether they’d commit to Simon having the novelty act two years in a row is the only reason I’d suggest she may not make it through but that probably makes no difference in the scheme of things.

  • Stu

    There’s 4 acts shown tonight who are reportedly through to Judges’ Houses: Max Stone, Che Chestermen, Ebru and Anton Stephans. Max, Ebru and Anton are all in the Overs category so that means Kerrianne is the only Over yet to be shown after tonight. It’s weird how the Girls dominated the first episode, the Boys dominated the second and now tonight’s show will be dominated by the Overs. Can’t there be a balance?

  • stoney

    Last night was the return of former contestants night. First up Olly Murs and then Ben Haenow. Obviously the Ben Haenow guy has a realistic chance of winning this year. But surely Cowell wing allow it again

    • stoney

      Just rewatched this Simon dude again while sober and am seriously considering a lump on him. Them odds are only going to get shorter

      • Jessica Hamby

        Rewatching Alien I can’t help thinking the poor sods are completely dead in the water and have no idea. The mangled sound was bad enough. Even if they’re six Whitneys all we heard was Sarah Harding ordering a takeaway through a ball gag.

        Then we got the comments.

        Individual, different, individual, different, individual. Cheryl said she could go to a concert right now and she knows she wouldn’t be bored. Rita mangled syntax and semantics in a quite extraordinary manner to appear to say that every girl in the world would like them (I’m still not entirely sure what she did say). Grimmy grinned like a man pretending he wasn’t sitting on a drawing pin. Finally Scowell, who we know has never been averse to doing his own wet work, delivered the coup de grace with that most fateful phrase previously reserved for Baby Face Walsh. He called them “cool”.

        • Jessica Hamby

          Having said all that, apparently they’re really good at bootcamp. Can’t find video of any performances anywhere so very hard to call.

      • Jessica Hamby

        Agree that Simon is a contender. Cheryl somehow contrived to describe a man in an M&S jumper unpredictable. Rita somehow contrived to say “you’re first”.

        He’s relatively young. Does he have the experience, the stamina and know enough songs when they’re coming at him weekly? If he does he’s got to be in with a chance.

        In the mould of McElderry and Jackson as much as Cardle there’s been a lot of singers like him doing well on the show.

        How similar is he vocally to Sean? If all he does is falsetto ballads he’s going to get boring. If not, is he going to fish in the same pond as Sean?

        • Martin

          I think if it came between him and Sean, I’ve got a feeling Sean would be more ‘showy’ and entertaining and that’s the angle they’d go for. I think over on digitalspy somebody described Simon as ‘theatrical’ too, so maybe they would be finishing in similar pools – Maybe they’d put it down to performance skill and that’s how they’d put the brakes on Simon (if that’s what they wanted to do).

          Regarding the Alien boot camp performance being amazing – this time last year we were told how Steph Nala stole the show at bootcamp. Granted, Alien have already had more coverage in one show than poor Steph had throughout her entire run, but I’m always a bit wary of reports from boot camp before we’ve seen how it’s packaged.

  • Stu

    Interesting to note that for a show which has had a vast majority of white contestants in the past, there seems to be a lot of ethnic diversity this year. With Anton looking to get tonight’s pimp slot, that means three out of the four pimp slots so far this series has gone to a black/mixed-race contestant. Nice to finally some diversity at last.

  • stoney

    Think the essex boy che has produced the best vocal this series. Needs work on the image will be interesting to see if they get behind him

    • Martin

      I think Simons grilling of him and Cheryl’s hostility at the start was interesting. Obviously after he sang they did a u turn but he didn’t get a VT either. He’s good journey material though, reminds me a bit of Craig Colton. Bit similar to Tom Bleasby?

    • Jessica Hamby

      I didn’t like his audition much so I listened to it again before commenting. He has a nice timbre but it’s inconsistent, his tuning is a bit duff and he loses control of it. He needs to practice basic scales and vocal exercises imo and I think his flaws would become obvious in the live shows. Better for him not to get through and spend another year working on technique.

      The reason so many great soul singers come from gospel backgrounds is that the choirs practice scales and all sorts of drills for technique and basic vocal discipline. He doesn’t have that at the moment.

  • Jessica Hamby

    OFF TOPIC:

    It’s a weird watch when you know who’s going through. Seeing the treatment of Hannah is a bit uncomfortable when you know they’re using her obvious sweetness and she and we are being set up for a heartbreaking, tearful rejection.

    • stoney

      Wow she must choke big time at boot camp cos she was brilliant tonight

      • Jessica Hamby

        I thought she was good but not great. Incredibly likeable though and would get better with a few lessons and regular practice. All the basics are definitely there.

        I think age 30 might be more than they’re looking for and that also they want a finished product. Imo she’s not quite there.

        Also, they need you to “fall in love” with certain contestants to make the rejection more emotional. The Welsh girl, Jasmine(?), is in for similar treatment.

        And Jesus girl, get some decent shoes.

  • stoney

    So far This year’s winner comes from one of the following
    Louisa, simon, Anton

    From a neutral point of view id most like to see Anton win. I felt most affection for his performance and how much he deserved the plaudits he recieved

    • Jessica Hamby

      You don’t think Fourth Power or Seann are in with a shout?

      • stoney

        Forth power absolute no chance. Seann im ruling out because he isnt English and i think the novelty will wear off seeing him week after week

        • Jessica Hamby

          Why Fourth Power so easily dismissed? Head and shoulders the best group so far.

          • stoney

            Yeah the best of the groups,they were cute but kind of annoying at the same time. I think for a foreign act to win any of these types of programmes they have to be world class. Andrea would have won last year but he was technically miles ahead of the rest of the field. I wonder now if they regret putting the breaks on him so hard. He would have made a better winner than Ben

          • Jessica Hamby

            I think it’s a bit early to count them out. Remember, you’re not a typical x factor voter and there’s a long way to go. One thing you can be sure of is that they will be consistently high quality and professional.

            Can they make enough people fall in love with them?

            Never underestimate the appeal of a cute little oriental girl.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I think Anton’s was the best vocal performance so far and he’ll do that week in, week out and if anything get better. It was a bit musical theatre for me. I can see him on the west end stage more than in the charts but I think the x factor audience will love him. Producers are clearly fans too.

  • Fudd

    I’m not sure if this means anything but the acts who have full clips on YouTube are:
    4th Power
    Louisa Johnson
    Seann Miley Moore
    Josh Daniel
    Simon Lynch
    Bupsi Brown
    Che Chesterman
    Anton Stephans

    In relation to Judges Houses – I wonder how much will change with the format being live? The producers have a set template on who they want to put through from the off and a subsequent Plan A but a live Judges House stage takes away the opportunity to edit and manipulate it in the same way to create controversy, build some up and knock some down. If a favourite chokes live on air and an underdog comes through with a superb performance could it throw everything up in the air? They wouldn’t be able to edit it in the same way.

    Saying that they have no shame with the live shows so why would Judges Houses be any different?

    • R

      Don’t forget Cher Lloyd at Judges’ Houses.

      They’ll always be an excuse to put a favourite through:
      “Yes, you stood there & didn’t sing a word, but I know how good you are & I have faith in you. It would be unfair of me not to let the public show their support for you. You’re through to the lives!”

    • Martin

      Will we be seeing the contestants perform live at Judges houses? For some reason, I assumed that it was just the decisions as to who was through that would be going out live but I suppose that defeats the point of it being live?! I just assumed that the logistics of it, we usually get full segments of some contestants, others are paired up and overlapping each other. Are they really going to award 32 contestants a full song each?!

      • Jessica Hamby

        There are 24 at JH, not 32. Agree that by x factor standards 6 full songs would seem a lot. I doubt there’s more than 15 minutes of singing for each hour of show. Also a live decision after performance would give hardly any time for consideration by whoever makes that decision. I suspect that you’re right and only the announcement will be live.

        • Martin

          My poor maths skills showing there. For some reason i thought there were 8 acts through in each category.

          Am I right in thinking there’s only two judges houses shows being broadcast? Which means two categories per night, 12 full songs plus decisions seems a remarkable amount to fit into the two and a half hour shows that are scheduled.

          • Hi Martin, Saturday JH episode is 2.5 hours, Sunday is 1.5 hours. I would suspect it’s most likely they’ll want to have all performances on Saturday and all decisions on Sunday, don’t you think?

  • Nissl

    Che – Oops, already reviewed him yesterday on the preview clip.

    Ebru – Decent vocals, decent likability, not much really standing out. Add in the short audition and looks like an obvious JH cut.

    Anton – Strong technical ability and is likable. However, not really emotionally present in his voice. Still a bit of anxiety holding him back. Seems the most likely alpha over atm. But could be that category gets fairly neutral treatment as there are multiple solid entertainers who don’t really have a commercial future in pop but no doubt could use the career boost and will be willing to play along. I would expect him to receive a nuke pre-finals if he wins out in the category and looks like a threat. I doubt that he would stand out against Louisa/Simon/4P enough to overcome even modest manipulation.

    Tricky field shaping up imo. Simon ticks the most standard boxes but how interested can the show be? Louisa is a producer favorite and also checks most boxes but I’m worried that she’s not present in her voice and she’s not likable. Add in the strong technical ability and looks and you have a better prepared Tamera. How far will that get her?

  • Ben Cook

    Some decent voices, but not seen a single star yet. I don’t think we’ve seen the winner. But they often hold back the best for the last week.

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