X Factor 2017 Auditions Week 4: The Cup Runneth Overs

The penultimate audition show on Saturday managed to fit in six of the apparent judges’ houses participants, while Sunday’s programme delivered just one. As Amy Beth pointed out in the Sofabet comments, that’s an odd decision considering the Saturday shows have been receiving weaker ratings so far – embarrassingly more so after Strictly’s return last weekend.

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That leaves only three acts at judges’ houses we haven’t seen perform yet. One of them is reportedly a fivepiece sixpiece girlband made out of rejected soloists. Then there’s Jack Mason in the boys category. And finally a fivepiece girlband called Lemonade. The latter have made occasional appearances without being named, such as their blink-and-you’d-miss-it promise to sing Ed Sheeran during the first show montage about everyone doing his numbers.

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It means we’re able to fully assess the field only in the girls and overs categories. Three of the apparent six overs at judges’ houses were featured last weekend. Arguably the most positive audition came from Berget Lewis, 45, from Amsterdam. Berget admitted she’d had some successful projects in The Netherlands, but said the market there was small and the UK is her gateway to the world. Her rendition of ‘Purple Rain’ was powerful and utterly professional.

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Simon exclaimed: “I’m going to say what we’re all thinking, if you were 18-20 years old and had never done anything before I’d be jumping over this desk right now.” Berget would be a reliably impressive foreigner for the category if put in the lives, much like Saara Aalto last year. (Coincidentally, she’s also tried and failed to represent her home country at Eurovision.) But likeable though Berget seemed, she’s yet to show the kookiness that became a big part of Aalto’s appeal.

Montenegro’s Slavko was portrayed – like Aalto at this stage – as comically naif. But he was treated rather more dismissively than Berget, with a surprising amount of innuendo regarding his encounter with Louis at this year’s Eurovision, as the Irishman admitted he encouraged the performer to come audition. The choice of background music, Moldova’s Dragostea Din Tei, reinforced Slavko’s explanation that he comes from a small village, far away in the east (in a little-known country beginning with M). It didn’t look encouraging for his prospects that he was credited as an “actor” rather than a singer.

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Slavko’s Beyoncé impression, whipping his hair braid repeatedly, left Simon rolling his eyes and Louis giggling. Simon said: “I’ve never seen or heard anything like that.” Louis stressed: “you’re not the best singer in the world, but you’re one of the best performers.” Some flirting with Nicole ensued after she called him “savage”. It was a play on the annoy-Simon trope, but this storyline is increasingly difficult to develop, having been played so many times before.

Matt Linnen, 28, a plasterer from Southend, had the looks and profile of a ginger Matt Cardle. His build-up repeatedly referenced his single status and had women in the audience calling him dishy. Nicole’s face was a picture too, as he explained he’d been working hard in various bands, and grabbed an acoustic guitar for ‘Trouble’.

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He showed a gravelly if undistinctive voice, and Simon picked up on that. “We’ve had so many singers like you over the years… you’re a good singer but if you’re not writing your own material, it’s really tough.” Both Nicole and Sharon had praise but asked him to connect more in the way he performs. There were echoes of last year’s nervous, lonesome hunk James Wilson, whom producers ultimately decided not to risk letting loose on the nation’s female voters.

Alpha over status currently looks wide open, with both Matt and Frenchman Kevin Davy White currently trading in the mid-20s.

Moving onto the girls category, Grace remains the apparent alpha, but beta and gamma status appear up for grabs. Rai-Elle, 16, from Croydon was wide-eyed and innocent, as audience cutaways reinforced: “bless her little heart”, “I just wanna give her a cuddle”. She talked about family and school before starting to perform, where she was transformed. She showed lots of spunk and attitude for her rendition of Awolnation’s ‘Sail’.

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There was an interesting mixture of confidence and callowness about her, which the judges picked up on. Nicole felt she was “fearless… very young, not sure if you’re ready.” Simon said: “very professional, got attitude… reminds me of having a little canary that bites your hand off, I wasn’t expecting that… amazing confidence, personality.” She has longer-term potential, but of the two youngest in this category, 15-year-old Holly Tandy looks a little more ready for the live shows.

Alisah Bonaobra, 22, from Manila, was Saturday’s heartwarming pimp slot performer. That was thanks to a supportive crowd of Filipinos, who had clubbed together to buy her and her mum their ticket over. She’s from humble origins, singing at weddings to support the family, who sell food on the sidewalk. Her song choice, ‘Listen’, was rather more predictable than Rai-Elle’s, and she was a more old-fashioned belter too.

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Simon said afterwards: “it’s not the best version of this song I’ve heard, but something about you I really like, great energy.” Louis repeated the “something about you” line. This felt more about creating a feel-good audition moment than priming her for the lives, but if not, they may have warned the Filipino embassy to expect a visit in mid-November.

Finally, there were two to weigh up in the boys category, starting with Spencer Sutherland, 24, from Ohio. He explained he was now sleeping on couches trying to make it in LA, and more implausibly claimed to have come here because the British X Factor is his favourite show. He got called “really cute” by Lemonade in the auditionee room, before launching into ‘Let’s Get It On’.

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Simon felt that: “you’ve picked up a lot of corny habits.” Spencer made his pitch by explaining he’s never been out of his country, and his family, who have also never been out of the country, will come over if he gets through. They have appeared with him on American television though. Maybe the storyline will be having some gentle fun with parochial Ohioans.

Leon James, 22, also appeared, though with his brother Alex in the group ITG. “In The Genetics” referenced their singing mum and Nan, though surely Genes would have been better advised all round. They sing Cliff Richard to pensioners at a hotel in Yarmouth, but their audition here was rather hampered by younger brother Alex’s nerves. Louis said: “bad habits, could be great.” Simon advised: “I don’t think you know where you should be going.” A storyline of sowing fraternal discord looks like it ensues, with Alex dropped at some point.

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It turns out Leon got to bootcamp with boyband Fifth Street in 2014. Before that, his younger brother was already appearing as a cameo in his music videos. Currently, he’s part of a band called Remedy, but is hoping for even better things here.

With the live shows slated to start at the end of October, that leaves us four weeks to fit in bootcamp, the six chair challenge and judges houses. We’re guessing producers will spin out the 6CC over two weekends, with one episode per category: in 2015, working around the Rugby World Cup, they dished up six hours worth of 6CCs, so there’s a precedent. As ever, let us know your continued thoughts below.

Photos via ©ITV / @ThePixelFactor

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56 comments to X Factor 2017 Auditions Week 4: The Cup Runneth Overs

  • Uzair

    I’m looking forward to a longer six chair apparently nicoles six chair started at 6:30pm and ended at 2am. Simons only took 3 hours unsure about the other 2. Boot camp will be very interesting which of the 3 potential alpha group will they push. The most talented (cutkelvins) the most likely to win (Sean and Connor) and the most marketable (raksu) but Alisha’s apparent break down will be i tester in general as well as breaking up descendant and ITG. Overs seem the most neglected catergory probs will be out first

  • Alan

    Rai-Elle was a finalist on CBBC’s Got What It Takes (coincidentally presented by former XF contestant Lauren Platt fact fans) so has some form in these competitions.

  • Alan

    Six hours of 6CCs?!? Anyone who makes it through that deserves a medal. I’ll stick to just reading the articles on here thanks.

  • Stoney

    Wake me up for the lives.

  • Uzair

    Also the girlband of rejected soloists is a 6 piece

  • Uzair

    Turns out we have 3 episodes of boot camp so 5 hours since saturdays is a 2 hour special and then another 3 episodes of six chair that means the first episode will play all of one judge and 1/3 of another then 2/3 of the 2nd judge and 2/3 of the third and then in the 3rd episode the 3rd judge will finish of their catergory with the 4th judge finishing their six chair all in one episode but there will probs be a 2 hour on one of the six chair challenges.

  • According to Wikipedia (I know but it’s the best we’ve got):

    30/9: Boot Camp 1 – 90 minutes (now 120)
    01/10: Boot Camp 2 – 90 minutes
    07/10: Boot Camp 3 – 90 minutes
    08/10: Six Chair Challenge 1 – 120 minutes
    14/10: Six Chair Challenge 2 – 120 minutes
    15/10: Six Chair Challenge 3 – 90 minutes
    21/10: Judge’s Houses 1 – 110 minutes
    22/10: Judge’s Houses 2 – 105 minutes
    28/10: Live Saturday Show 1 – 165 minutes
    29/10: Live Sunday Show 1 – 155 minutes

    IF right… the length of the live shows suggest all acts will perform both nights. Nearly three hours is going to be a lot to take in though, especially for an ailing show.

    • Score

      Those running times for anything beyond the 6CC will just be made up, we won’t know them for certain until ITV confirm them. They’ve even got the already confirmed ones wrong, it’s actually 6CC part 1 that’s 90 minutes with part 3 running for 120.

  • Uzair

    In the girlband NQ who performed alongside Rebeca and deannu the short girl with long hair is ash a member of the six piece girlband she joined them at the six chair challenge

  • Daz

    I can’t see them putting Matt Linnen through to the live show because he would clear up the votes he is Matt Cardle and Ben haenow rolled into one

  • Stoney

    I’m now even more convinced the twins have no chance in winning this.

  • Ah the lesser spotted Jack Mason has appeared. They’d have to Andrea Faustini him if he got through the lives (without the embassy trip); they’ll never be overly interested in him as he isn’t really got a commercial prospect.

    I still wonder whether they’re giving the Price’s a journey. I think we need to see how the treat the Cut Kelvins and Rak Su inparticular over the next couple of episodes.

  • Stoney

    Jack Mason would be the type of contestant they would be looking to put in if they are going to avoid the typical vote magnets.
    I can’t see him in any odds though.

  • So supposedly Sam Black is brought back to replace Ant Russell when he didn’t even make the Six Chair Challenge? Unless there’s an about face later in the Bootcap stage which wouldn’t overly surprise me.

  • Uzair

    Both holly and cutkelvins come across as sub alphas for grace Davies and the price brothers. Interesting to see if they r both pushed at six chair over their alphas.

  • Martin

    There’s something quite mesmerising about Holly, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen from her so far. Georgina has featured a decent amount too, and is coming across quite positive, I think. I don’t think this is Grace’s to lose at the moment – wasn’t impressed with her on Saturday at all, she isn’t neautral enough to attract votes en masse.

    Severely underwhelmed by The Price Brothers again – sure, the show can push them but quite simply, they aren’t that good. I missed Rak Su on Saturday, and Cutkelvins featured both days but not heavily. The groups is still a bit of a head scratcher for me.

    Come to think of it, the whole show is this year so far. Maybe it’s just my personal preferences getting in the way, after all Grace did get the pimp slot on Saturday, with a few other familiar faces and a strong song choice.

    • David Cook

      I thought the Cutkelvins, as well as the Price Brothers, were seriously underwhelming at the weekend. In the group song Georgina really outshone them. With the live audience the performance just seemed a bit flat. At the moment they seem to be less than the sum of the parts. It’s also clear that Shereen is way better than the two boy. Unless they’ve found a way of sorting it out, I can’t see them as serious contenders.

      • Uzair

        I mean in six chair they only performed once to every other group who made judges houses performing twice. And they were much better at six chair both them and raksu could excite a crowd. But I can’t see cutkelvins as alpha unless they really pimp them as judges house and six chair. They have the potential too but ATM everything points to the price brothers as alpha even though they were underwhelming this weekend. Raksu aren’t very good they can’t sing . They did get the crowd going at six chair but majority of that wasn’t the singing but more mustafa dancing and one of them was taking of his shirt. Interesting to see which group they continue to pimp

        • Sean

          Most likely top 3 and winner anyone? I too am wondering which group they will make their priority. Grace, Georgina look good too. Not sure if they want a boy to win again this year and for the overs I don’t think there is anyone that has a ‘winner’ or top 3 vibe at the moment. Comments welcome!

          • Gage Loverne

            Having a hard time figuring out what the producers intentions are. But i think they might try to drag grace to a win, but might not get her over the edge and push someone else at the final. Maybe Grace is 2nd. Drag Sam Black to 3rd as an easy disposal at 3rd. And push Sean and Conor to an easy win over Grace bc they can pull more votes.

          • David Cook

            Maybe not a winner, but Berget looks nailed on for the live shows. If they give her a fair shot at it then she could potentially Hoover up a lot of votes. She’s not exactly my cup of tea, but she’s got a really strong vocal, probably the most professional in the show this year, and it appears she’s a decent performer too. Based on YouTube she could be singing songs that really appeal to a section of the audience.

          • Sean

            Berget is very good no doubt. I don’t think the producers would want her to win. I want to hear top 12 spoilers!

  • 360

    Hello all! Haven’t caught much of this series yet in person so just going by the character casting and archetypes so far…

    One thing I don’t think I’ve seen voiced yet, is it possible these two brothers are a second run at what they tried to do last year with the ill-fated Brooks twins? The similarity between the two throws up a flag for me that this might be an archetype they want on their books and so one to watch out for to go far enough to be launched.

    Also an easy vote hoover if no or few telegenic cute young males are put through this year. The exact kind of demo that needs least to actually be able to do more than hold a tune, strum a few chords and stand in appropriately-conservative clothes with winning smiles.

    • Plinkiplonk

      Precisely my thinking – I bet they have a ready-made script that can just be recycled, complete with song choices and story arc…

  • what’s going on with Benji Matthews? He’s not down as a qualifier from the 6cc but was given a great edit in Sunday’s show, and there is a steady drip of cash backing him on the machine.

    I thought the first wave of people backing him were just casual bettors watching the show, but it hasn’t stopped. I remember there was similar betting on Vanbeck last year when there were rumours she was going to be the benefactor of another act being removed, but it was quickly scotched. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more of him, somehow…

  • Huge drift on Grace in the market tonight, based largely on this tweet: https://twitter.com/seanmcginty/status/914900738433744897

  • Stoney

    Ouch imagine having lumped on Grace and now panicking to get your money back at a loss. Then it turns out to be false information. Either way thats a big blow to Grace backers.

  • Stoney

    Many were calling Grace plan A. And her treatment backed this theory up. Have the producers decided to really mix things up this year and make it way less predictable for us all. Sending the clear favourite home at judges house would be one of the biggest shocks in the X factor pre live show history. Still at least she can have a good slag off x factor session with her flat mate over a bottle of wine.

    • Uzair

      Even Sean and Connor have got a bit of backlash for their boot camp performance a lot saying it was a fix and the guys weren’t that good. Someone even called them a c**** . It’s a very unpredictable year could they try pushing holly but she’s just too bland. Raksu can’t sing and the cutkelvins haven’t been pushed. None of the top 5 seem like winners at this point

  • Oh dear. I was a Grace backer.

  • Martin

    This has put a cat amongst the pigeons. Could be an anomaly but she’s retweeted it, can’t imagine that being approved if she’s still involved. harks back to Caitlyn Vanbeck from last year, but Grace’s treatment has been even more positive than hers.

  • Phil smith

    This surely emphasises even more a potential group win this year! They might have choose to ditch grace at JH to make an easier path for their choosen group! I’m still not convinced the price brothers make it to the lives , shock number two could be on the way!

  • I’m Feelin’ You

    Craig David + Rak-Su duet in the final… 7 Days, with a bit a of Rak-Su freestyle twist

  • Stoney

    Grace back into 5/1
    Strange

  • Ben Cook

    from Twitter

    @MettySwinge The Overs and the Groups perform on Saturday with “special guests”. The Boys and Girls perform on Sunday.

    Don’t know what the source is, but it does seem unlikely that they’d be able to fit all 12+ acts in on both nights. Perhaps she agreed to do it ages ago and TPTB are letting her still go because it’s for charity.

  • The Cutkelvins and The Shelbies. What are the chances of either of them doing swimmingly well? Not high I’d say.
    What are the chances of both of them doing well? Very low surely.

    Autotune is available to assist of course. It will be needed for all the groups we’ve seen so far.

  • Uzair

    I think group judges house has started filming om instagram raksu the cutkelvins and sean and connor are all catching flights

  • Berget and her Ladies Of Soul colleagues fill arenas in the Netherlands. They had a bestselling concert DVD just a couple of years ago. She shouldn’t go on XF UK, though I can understand the desire to. If even Glennis Grace can’t break out as an international star (and neither Jade Ewen nor Misha B became stars in the UK despite their tremendous talents, though at least Jade has a good stage career now) it doesn’t exactly augur well for her prospects. At least her audition/bootcamp videos might raise her international profile and create some new opportunities for her, but I don’t think she should enter the fray of the live shows. Someone of her experience, maturity and talent deserves better than to have to stand on stage accepting criticism from Louis Walsh and be used as a character in a reality show.

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