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14 September, 2014 8:05 PM
Published by Kevin Mc Stravock
After just two week of room auditions, we're moving onto the arenas. It was a bit underwhelming seeing just four episodes of room auditions but hopefully the arena auditions will deliver lots more talent as we see how those who made it through the rooms cope in front of a live Wembley audience.
Up first is Bradley Denholm who has a crow to pluck with Simon after the music mogul described him as a 'hamster trying to be a wolf' but as he performs 'Let Me Entertain You' by Robbie Williams, it becomes apparent that Simon was spot on. Bradley is unsurprisingly heading home.
Also failing to impress second time around is Babalola Ehidiamen (good luck Peter Dickson trying to say that name!), who was told in the rooms that he needed to show more personality. Which is why it makes zero sense for him to sing 'It Will Rain' by Bruno Murs, another ballad! After failing to impress either the judges or the audience, a 'bored' Simon sends him on his way.
So with the lads failing to impress, it's not looking good for James Graham who is next up. The 17-year-old impressed the four judges in the initial auditions with his rendition of 'You Give Me Something' by James Morrison. With his mother insuring that his gigantic hair stays in one place, he is up in front of the judges. He's singing the Adele arrangement of Bonnie Raitt's 'I Can't Make You Love Me'. Surprisingly, he was a lot better than I expected him to be, he can most certainly sing and has a really soulful tone. He also connects with the lyrics of the song, very strong arena audition, James could do pretty well. He gets a full house of yeses from the judges.
Hoping to continue the success is Jale Antor who you may remember from her first audition as being the one who dressed up like Cheryl Cole in the 'Fight For This Love' video. She's back and singing yet another Cheryl song. Of course the other judges wind Cheryl up saying that the resemblance between them is uncanny. She performs 'Crazy Stupid Love' by Cheryl, extremely badly and out of time. Cheryl says that she has great taste in music and says 'yes' but the other two (thankfully) say 'no' meaning Cheryl's doppelganger is surprisingly not through to bootcamp.
As if the craziness hasn't reached its' peak, The Courtesans are up next who Simon described as being 'fantastically nuts' in their first audition. The duo, who are boyfriend and girlfriend sang their own song in the first audition but they're performing 'Delilah' by Tom Jones in front of the audience. Despite the craziness, Eileen, the main singer is actually quite a good singer, she has a very strange, eery look but quite a nice voice. The guy just sort of pretends to play guitar and contributes one or two vocals but despite it all being a bit odd, it's actually really entertaining and memorable. The audience love it and Louis, Mel B and Simon all seem impressed, in fact it's only Cheryl who says no to them. I actually really like this group, the groups are always too safe and middle of the road, we never really have any alternative genre groups aside from the odd exception (G4) so it would be nice to think that someone a bit different could make lives.
Welsh teenager Rebecca Jones is up next, like the group above, she was shown on Xtra Factor but not the main show. She works in New Look, the best thing about working there is the staff discount she says. She impressed Simon in particular in the rooms with her acoustic arrangement of 'Jolene' by Dolly Parton but will the same be true of her arena audition as she sings 'Moon River' by Audrey Hepburn? Sadly not, whether it's nerves or the fact that this song is just really really dull, she doesn't impress Simon who says that she's not as good as the other acts in her category. Mel and Louis are willing to give her a chance but Cheryl sides with Simon, saying that she's not quite ready yet.
Charlie Brown seems like he's going to follow a similar fate to Rebecca with his cover of 'All I Do' by Stevie Wonder not really impressing the judges or the audience. He was great in the first audition but this performance was incredibly boring. Weirdly though, despite being of similar quality to Rebecca, Simon throws him a lifeline and puts him through with only Cheryl being brave enough to say No.
Teenager Stevie Tennet impressed the judges in the first audition, even managing to turn Cheryl around after she announced that she was against the age being changed from 16 to 14. However, to be frank, his second audition is a mess. The choice of song, 'Feeling Good' by Nina Simon/Michael Bublé is so unbelievably boring and oversung and he delivers it pretty poorly. He's out of time and out of tune and I genuinely don't think that he's good enough at this stage, he's still too inexperienced. Despite this, Simon, Mel and Louis all say Yes. Once again, I feel the judges are voting with their eyes rather than their ears, he's a young teenage boy who the girls will like so he gets through despite a sub-par performance. Another likely candidate for a manufactured boyband.
Returnee Paul Akister is next, he was the cause of a lot of grief for Louis in the first audition after Simon told him off for rejecting Paul at last year's Judges Houses. And Louis gets booed by the audience when Simon asks Paul to tell them his story, and rightly so as Paul would have been ready for lives last year but didn't fit the mould Louis had created for the Boys category. Anyway, his rendition of Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On' is fantastic, much better than the James Arthur version a few years ago. He has a brilliant voice and I actually think his confidence has improved a lot this year, perhaps being sent home by Louis Walsh wasn't such a bad thing, aside from the obvious fact of not having to contend with having Louis as a mentor. Mel B and Cheryl dance around Simon during the performance. This is easily the best arena audition so far, he gets a fantastic reaction and four yeses.
Lauren Platt is up next, she was a standout for Cheryl in the first auditions with the Geordie calling Lauren her 'favourite 16-year-old so far'. She shares with us the story of her parents seperating about six years ago but reveals that they recently got back together and are here together for her audition today. She's taking on (presumably) the Sam Smith ballad version of Whitney's 'How Will I Know'. I'm a bit bored by now of people taking an upbeat song and slowing it down but there's no denying that she has a fantastic, soulful voice, it's kind of Ella Henderson esque actually with its' maturity although she reminds me a bit of alternative R & B singer Jetta. The emotion isn't quite there, perhaps because the song is probably not likely to relate to a sixteen year old but Lauren is really good, she gets four yeses.
A montage of unsuccessful auditionees now, Indiana Ifill's rendition of 'I'm Going Down' doesn't impress Mel B who says she 'ruined one of my favourite songs'. Harsh but in fairness, it wasn't brilliant. Lou Bou raps 'Pretty Hurts' by Beyoncé, weirdly and is told by Simon that she would be more suited to becoming a 'stripper' to the shock of the girls who can't believe he said it. And Kieron Winters sings 'Let Her Go' by Passenger terribly and doesn't make it through despite pleading with the judges.
So that's setting things up for the last auditionee of the day, Amy Connolly to come in and wow the judges right? She previously auditioned for the show in 2008, Cheryl's first year, making it all the way to Judges' Houses where Cheryl sent her home. In the room auditions, she shared an emotional moment with Cheryl after wowing the judges again, with her rendition of 'With You' from the Ghost musical. Since she was last on the show, she has had two kids who are there supporting her today along with her fiancé and her dad as well as some other friends and family. She sings 'The Greatest Love Of All' by Whitney Houston, a pretty dull choice of song to be honest. Vocally, it's fine, a little wobbly but pretty good overall but it's only Cheryl who seems impressed by Amy. Mel says that it was just nice and nice isn't good enough whilst Louis says that it was karaoke despite putting through worse acts earlier on. Simon says that he thinks Cheryl made the right call rejecting her back in 2008 and says that she's not as strong as other acts in her category. I wasn't expecting to be rooting for Cheryl much but I'm with her in this one, she says that they have said yes to people who sang worse than Amy in the arenas and she's right, we saw some earlier who got through despite a relatively poor arena audition. Amy should get through. Cheryl says Yes but the other judges don't think she's good enough and reject Amy. Cheryl's as gutted as Amy is and hugs her. Another uncomfortable audition to air at the very end of an audition show and a decision which I can't really agree with, it wasn't the best performance but I definitely think Amy was good enough to make bootcamp.