X Factor 2012 Bootcamp Part 2: Girl Power

Back in August, we started the arena auditions with Jahmene Douglas’s ‘At Last’. Having sat through the following six weeks, I feel the same way. The second part of boot camp was ruthlessly efficient in clearing the fog.

Producers have thrown punters a curveball in the shape of Lucy Spraggan. First on tonight, she’s the antithesis of a typical X Factor contestant, with her heartfelt own material and acoustic guitar. I much preferred ‘Tea and Toast’ to her previous audition hit ‘Last Night’. And she’s clearly an endearing character, which is a big part of her appeal.

As Andrew suggested in our bootcamp preview, I see no reason for producers not to run with this, injecting quirkiness and variety to the live shows should she get there, which looks highly probable. It just remains to be seen if she performs her own material week after week. When we’ve seen her cover someone else’s song – a completely unsuitable one, admittedly – it’s been a disaster.

Rylan Clark is more obvious live show fodder. He’s this year’s Jonny Robinson / Diva Fever, though closer in talent to the latter than the former based on what we’ve seen so far. He looks likely to provide the camp frivolity that winds up the alpha judge. Gary duly commented, “He’s going to haunt me though this competition” just to make it obvious.

We then had a montage of overly confident types: Gathan Cheema, Nathan Fagan-Gayle, Eddie String and Rough Copy. It turned out all of them were a preface to Humble Nervous Jahmene, whose panic attack overshadowed the MK1 audition it was intercut with.

Producers believe in Jahmene. Even Zayn Malik only got one judge (Simon) giving him a backstage pep talk. Jahmene got two: Louis and Nicole (his category’s mentor). Louis provided the night’s most obvious line: “We believe in you,” before Jahmene did his nasally gospelly thing for ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’. Nicole’s comment, “Is it going to be too much for him?” set up the script for the live shows.

The overs segment came next. It featured four of them. If there is no twist this year, one of them is being set up for a fall. Melanie Masson had the first part of her short audition overdubbed with a VT interview. Shaky Maloney was deeply average for ‘A Million Love Songs’ but his nerves are good TV at this stage. Carolynne Poole is physically morphing into Shania Twain. Kye ‘I just need a break’ Sones got more time than the others, setting him up to be the alpha over or for the biggest fall. Louis gave us the “he’s become the one to watch” line.

If I had to put money on who won’t make it, it would be Maloney as the agonising final rejection, but that might just be wishful thinking.

Turning on the waterworks was a big help at this moment in proceedings, so the fact that Jade Ellis managed it twice clearly worked in her favour despite fluffing her lines. In VTing about how she was missing her daughter she once again came across as genuine and likeable, having done humble and cheery as endearingly as Marcus Collins in her first audition.

Having not enjoyed James Arthur’s original audition, he wins this year’s Craig Colton award for proving me wrong in the meantime. His second night of kind coverage and rendition of ‘A Million Love Songs’ means he looks set for a place in the lives, possibly as the alpha boy, if and when Jahmene goes to pieces.

A lack of coverage suggests that Nathan Fagan-Gayle, Adam Burridge and Jake Quickenden currently look like fallers at the next hurdle in the boys category.

We saw nothing to make us change our provisional view that Ella is the overall Plan A at this stage, after she was given the pimp slot for a highly competent rendition of ‘Believe’ that had Nicole doing her ‘O’ face before dissolving into tears.

The girl joining Ella and Lucy in the lives could well be Jade Ellis based on coverage tonight, although Leanne Robinson will feel short-changed if that’s the case after showing excellent vocals for ‘I Have Nothing’. Ominously for their chances, Amy Mottram and Jade Collins didn’t feature at all.

Of the groups, GMD3 conveniently got plenty of screentime near the end for their sing-off with Triple J. The latter had tighter vocals, but their time was up as soon as they sung first, according to the time-honoured X Factor sing-off script. With the suggestion that Rough Copy are not allowed to travel for judges’ houses due to visa issues, there may be one more chance for the losing duellists.

The other groups have generally suffered from a lack of screentime. MK1 have done best of the rest, but they’ve hardly been showered in hype. Unfortunately, we didn’t see anything of Poisonous Twin, but the female version of Jedward are through to judges’ houses. If they are to make it to the lives, it’s been well camouflaged.

The allocation of categories left no doubt that Tulisa is the alpha female judge, and she was clearly delighted to get arguably the strongest set of contenders. Her long scream in celebration was repeated for Xtra Factor. She further suggested Jade Ellis was in mind for the lives by calling her an “artist” with a “recording voice”. Amy Mottram did get an Olly Murs visit, but that may have been an Essex thing.

Do you agree on these suggestions of the live show likelies? Who are you perceiving to be the alphas in each of the categories? And can we really be heading for a simple final 12 without any kind of last-minute twist? Do let us know below.

27 comments to X Factor 2012 Bootcamp Part 2: Girl Power

  • Simon "Le chat"

    Hi Daniel
    Excellent assessment. It seems that Triple J do come back if the betting is anything to go by. ALso two of the lads are connected (allegedly) to a top racing stable and there was something in the sporting press recently about them being in the live shows!
    YOu didn’t manetion my tip “Duke” who are excellent live. It may be the lack of money for them in the markets means it ends in tears- could easily happen as Louis Walsh has the groups and he couldn’t see any further than the Weslife type good looking boyband. I hope Duke make the liveshows because theya re superb performers.
    I thought Ella’s version of believe was more than competent, it was superb. The only thing that took it down was Nicola Shartgergywhateverhername is going over the top with the artificial crying. FFS woman! Lucy Spraggon will not last the distance, Jehmaine has the potential and likeability vut lets see who gets through first and then lay the money down.

  • Nugg

    PLAN A = Ella , no question, totally agree with pretty much all this artcle. its not a great year though and Ella is the standout candidate.
    Jahmene simply will not cope with the lives for 8 weeks, its a really tough schedule, a lot of pressure and backstabbing, coping with press attentions, digging up past, friends selling stories, he is just not cut out for it. My own two bets however definately are, Ella is from a stage school background and will already have had coaching on handling media etc, ditto Kye is already pretty established with Sony and has plenty of experience.
    Rylan, is pure fame hungary essex camp lad, who will serve his purpose in generating headlines and annoyance for the first 4 live shows then will be unceramoniously dumped.
    Lucy will get a following, sell records and tours and do moderately well out of this, but the producers will NOT let her win, she may get as far as final 4 or 5 though.
    James Arthur could also get into final 4 or 5 but cannot see him as a winner.
    Starboy Nathan (too well known already), was in my opinion just thrown in the mix and hyped up to create a smoke screen amongst the digital spy crowd, doubt he makes the lives and if he does can see an early exit.
    The rest, to me are now just making up the numbers, and I dint think the producers will be too concerned who leaves when, with the provisio theat no mentor loses all their acts too early.
    Digital spy rumours are pissing me off a bit, I dont trust that place now, rumours of Kye and Ella not making the final 12 caused me to reduce my bets (ok so they may still be proved to be right , but I am not convinced), glad I ignored though and bet anyway while the odds were good.
    These are my thoughts, looking forward to the lives now.

  • Tim B

    A journalist on twitter said that Triple J are now a 4 piece called Union J or something. Ella was absolutely brilliant in her pimp slot performance of Believe. I bet on her a couple of weeks back at 8.0 so very happy with that price. I also see Kye as the alpha over, and backed him today at 13.0 E/W as soon as I read he impressed at Boot Camp. Gary will not be without an act in the final, and I think Kye will probably be the one to make it there. I also have a bet on Lucy Spraggan which I intend on trading.
    If the three groups are MK1, GMD3 and Union J, the two boybands cancel each other out and MK1 might be pushed as the credible ‘urban’ act, but ultimately won’t win or get to the final as the voting public don’t take to rapping on this show. Therefore I think Louis Walsh to be first manager out is a good shot at 2.1 with Paddy Power.

    For me the biggest question is what happens to Shaky Maloney? I can see him going through as a wildcard but the market suggests he’s probably out.

  • Nugg

    Everyone needs to remember there is a LOT more to this show than voices and talent. It is primarily a weekend entertainment show and SYCO cash cow. Those that make it through and progress MUST be flexable enough to do whatever the producers demand, they must be able to be choreographed to entertain on a weekly basis, able to perform in weekly group numbers, adaptable to different styles and strong enough to cope with the immense pressure and gruelling work schedule that Xfactor brings with it. Having attended many live shows I can tell you that contestants are not treated terribly well and the life they lead for the next 3 months is hard and not as glamarous as the show makes out.
    This is why the likes of Jahmene, and to a certain extent some of the others in the show with little industry/performance experience are likely to struggle. Any contestant who has entered this show based on the way it is presented on TV is in for a big and nasty shock. You have got to be tough and thick skinned to see this out to the final.

    • Andrew

      This is a really great point, Nugg. The behind-the-scenes profiles that pop up occasionally certainly paint an unglamorous picture of the contestants’ lives on the live shows.

      From what we’ve been shown of Jahmene, it makes me sceptical of his longevity, too. Unless there’s a twist that introduces extra contestants, they can’t afford a walkout this year if they want at least three acts in the final.

  • Greetings all. I’d think more long term. What’s the plan for ITV, for Talkback Thames, for Syco? How can they keep this cash cow alive for another three + years? What’s the headline they really need December 9th or 16th…?

    They’ve already ballsed up with Nicole S as a judge (USA’s scraps), the ratings are already nosediving (in my view as a direct result of last year’s shambolic weekly format changes) so the best way to save the show is….


    I think I’ve an idea of what the end of that sentence is, but I’ll wait until at least one live show to test the theory.

    I think in all the analysis (because after all we want to name the winner or people who will at least hit the Top 5 for hedging etc) we need to think about ratings and longevity. Both are in jeopardy. The latter actually more important than the former.

    • Andrew

      Welcome back, Richard!

      Do tell, do tell. There’s never any need on Sofabet to actually wait to test a theory before speculating wildly about it 🙂

      It really is a tough one for them. Now they’ve started mucking about with the format, it’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle. Maybe the best bet is to ride out this year, see if Fox cancels USXF, and if so come back in 2013 with back-to-basics reboot and a Cowell-Cheryl-Danii-Louis lineup again? Ultimately, it just isn’t the same show without Cowell.

  • The un-asked question here is.

    Why was Ella not featured at all on Saturdays bootcamp show?

    She was pretty much the only act that wasnt shown at all.

    I believe this is because she sung a high tempo song. May have appeared very average. If this is the case and it wasnt shown, it shows she is PLAN A. Purely because the producers didnt show it because they didnt want to take anything away from her WOW moment tonight.

    • Nugg

      I guess there are two theories to this, either Ella was really good in the Saturday performance, but better still in the Sunday show and the producers did not want to heavilly feature her on two shows in a row for fear of making it look unfair and like a one horse race OR she was average on the Saturday show and the producers thought it best to edit it out and leave the coverage for a stealing the show moment on Sunday, Either way, it looks good for Ellla IMHO

  • Highlighted

    Lucy was awesome, but will struggle with the lives. The weakest looking category this year is the boys, but 1 always makes the finals. Unless Kye indeed takes this place despite being an over.

  • Bob

    11/4 Ella top price now. She does look head and shoulders above the rest, but can anyone make a case for her being a bet at that price?

    And am I the only person that liked Adam Burridge? Do we have to assume he doesn’t make it, being chalked up as big as 80/1.

  • Tim B

    According to Radio Times the first live show is 2 hours and 20 minutes. Does this mean we can expect wildcards? How long was the equivalent show last year?

  • Bob

    Fwiw, I’ve just wasted half an hour of life on twitter in order to find out which three girls make it through (two of the three were pretty obvious anyway). I’ll try and do the same for the other categories, unless someone can point me towards a fellow loser on digital spy who has already done so?

  • Pointing out that the only reason Jahmene hasnt drifted after his weaknesses were highlighted this weekend is down to the fact that bookies have layed him already heavily after the first show.

  • Dug

    Sunday’s show was indeed a fog-clearer. Thank heavens for an episode that actually focused on the acts PERFORMING!

    I think that I fell into the annual trap of thinking ‘this is the worst year ever’ simply because the quality of audition episodes (particularly editing) gets worse each year.

    Lucy, who grated at first, won this cynic over with her latest original composition. I can imagine TPTB getting their balls in a twist over the fact that they can’t immediately release the Nizlopi-esque ‘Tea & Toast’ as it would doubtless rocket up the iTunes chart.

    I do worry about ASDA-vros. At least he doesn’t have a regional base to laser him to the top but nonetheless I would be wary of letting him anywhere near the final. At least he will probably prove an easier beast to slay than Janet Devlin.

    Who stays between Shaky Maloney and Kite Stones isn’t yet clear – is there any particular reason we’re not expecting a final 16 (as was the case in the past 2 years)?

    Jadedeji Ellis is my favourite this year which sets her up to be the first girl home from the lives. However, she’s less middle class and less drama school than Rachel so perhaps she’s in with a shot as a reliable plan C/D/E. Her lyric fluffing last night felt less like a ‘you’re going home’ moment and more like a Jahmene/Spraggan set up for a comeback of sorts at JH.

    It concerns me that James Arthur has improved with each audition and I certainly expect to see him in the later stages of the lives as alpha male. He’s 10x as marketable as Jahmene and capable of more cringey ‘goosebump moments’ in the lives.

    Ella is likeable but I’m just not convinced the world needs another Adele/Leona ‘singing candle’ (I miss Simon SO much). Of the show’s female winners, Leona was a one-off (as Gary described Lucy last night) and Alexandra was very versatile (her popularity only really took off after ‘Candyman’). I like Ella but she’s bloody boring.

    The Triple-J/GMD3 sing-off was a shambles. I particularly loved Tulisa’s comment that she HAD to judge it on the performance that touched her emotionally. So, a ten second snippet of a dance track originally by a woman beater? Or a verse and chorus of a lovely ballad? Hmm.

    At this stage I’m expecting a final showdown between GHB3, Stroppy James and whichever female TPTB decide to push for the long haul (either Ella, Lucy or Jade – in that order of probability). There’s a small chance Kite Stones could squeeze in as alpha boy but I think he’s less marketable post-show.

    If I were pulling strings, I’d have my eyes on Lucy Spraggan. That wouldn’t necessarily mean ensuring she won but at least getting her as close to the final as possible. Here’s a clip of her doing a pop medley, which is quite nice if you ignore the bellend shouting over it.


    Also, it’s a pity we haven’t seen more of Eddie String. I guess the show doesn’t want to repeat the Cocozza shambles of last year but String was actually funny and watchable. I particularly liked when Gary asked if he was going to sing and he replied “Yes, Gary, that is the premise of the show”.

    • Dan

      Jadedeji Ellis is my favourite this year which sets her up to be the first girl home from the lives. However, she’s less middle class and less drama school than Rachel so perhaps she’s in with a shot as a reliable plan C/D/E. Her lyric fluffing last night felt less like a ‘you’re going home’ moment and more like a Jahmene/Spraggan set up for a comeback of sorts at JH.

      I think she could be set to “go on a journey” during the lives assuming the rumours are true about making it. Ella’s too obvious a winner and we’ve yet to have any surprises…

  • Bob

    I really didn’t like Tea & Toast. I don’t know if it’s the Sheffield connection but it reminded me of what the Arctic Monkeys might sound like Lucy replaced the lead singer and they went off in a new twee direction.

    I don’t know if I can figure out the groups but it looks to me like the initial three in each of the other categories are going to be:

    James Arthur
    Rylan Clark

    Lucy Spraggan
    Jade Ellis

    Carolynne Poole
    Shakey Maloney
    Brad Shackleton

    (MK1, Union J?, GMD3?)

    The others appear to be going through the motions, you can sense the disappointment/desperation but presumably they’ve been told they might be in for a wildcard shot like last year.

  • Simon "le chat"

    Lucy Spraggon is the musical PAm Ayres, she will sell many records but is more suited to BGT than XF. She has a good live act and can memorise her words and a tricky meter but can she do the same for the themed weeks? Perhaps but I wouldnt back her at any price. Kye Stones might make a fight of it, and possibly Jehmaine although if Ella keeps a steady course and doesn’t kick off aong the way she will win this. HOwever I expect to see her at better than 5/2 before the finals. It is the act that finishes strongly that tends to win this show and the PTB will no doubt dig one up from somewhere to keep the public interest.
    I just watched Ellas performance of “Believe” again on YT. Astonishing.

  • Bob

    Should add, the reason I think Kye hasn’t made it, is purely the tone of his recent tweets. On the other hand, the other two guys appear to have been told to get on twitter after judges houses.

    Shakey is like a man possessed, and Brad keeps re-tweeting people who talk about him being a good 100/1 shot. Which suggests to me he’s in agreement, but obviously can’t properly let on.

  • KaraokeSauron

    Interesting comment, Bob. I agree with you entirely re: Maloney… There’s something not entirely right there.

    I’m not generally one to bleat (except when I have something worth bleating about) but I would like to harvest some Sofabet kudos for suggesting early doors that Joseph Whelan might have had a few skeletons in his closet. I’m at work now and unable to take the time to reprint the relevant quotes, etc, but just Google ‘Joseph Whelan + John Anslow’ to get the drift.

    I think this can explain his ejection from the show (despite very favourable editing and ostensibly good performances.) I guess the question would be why producers ran with him in the first place, assuming he would have been subject to a thorough background check well before his first audition.

    About the Overs… As Kye has been so comprehensively pimped I imagine Dan may well be correct to predict an agonising exit for JH for Maloney. But if Shackleford/Templeman/Pendleton (whatever his name is) is through, this would be a shock. It could only be at the expense of Melanie, because Carolynne is a dead cert as Barlow’s BFF.

    • Andrew

      Hi KS, not sure there’s anything there, really – from the reports, he took money in good faith to fund a charity single from somebody who was later arrested. Doesn’t seem at all disqualifying to me.

      I reckon there’s a much simpler reason why Joseph Whelan didn’t make it through – he might well have become unstoppable. Take the XF voting public’s demonstrated fondness for good looking male soloists, add in some musical credibility, a cage-fighting man’s man who also blubs like a softie over his little lad… he’d have been irresistible, wouldn’t he? I’m betting they saw a straight choice between culling him before the lives or accepting him as their likely winner, and they chose the former.

  • Bob

    It’s very much guesswork on the overs, I wouldn’t be putting much cash on me being correct there, whereas the boys and girls categories look pretty much locked down.

    I guess Maloney/Shackleton could have easily been persuaded to start using twitter, whether they had got through or not. Suppose they will be necessary in any case, in order to beg for wildcard votes. Not to mention as a method of securing some lucrative future gigs, turning on Christmas lights that sort of thing.

  • Ben Cook

    I’d be looking out for clues on Carolynne pimping since we’ve already seen Gary saying “Carolynne Poole remember that name” and Tulisa saying that this year she’s a real contender. And Gary as good as confirmed he was going to pick her for the lives in his chat with Caroline! Kye is another dead cert so between Melanie and Christopher for the third.

    I think the spoilers on the boys and girls seem bang on judging by the editing, but the groups will be an interesting one. GMD3 seem like the safest bet, but I’d be surprised if both Union J and Times Red were rejected considering the twist.

  • Highlighted

    Jade Ellis drifted to 22 and Leanne Robinson in to 40 today.

    Something said on twitter with Jade Ellis tweeting Leanne calling her the one to watch, making me think Leanne has either got through or could be a Wild Card.

  • Carolynne Poole ‏@CarolynnePoole

    Moooorning!! Can not tell ya how exited I am to be spending the day with my family today! Lots of family time at “the Goodies HQ”

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