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02 September, 2014 12:17 AM
Published by Kevin Mc Stravock
It may not seem like a year since Sam Bailey was crowned winner of The X Factor, in fact technically speaking it isn't but let's not dwell on technicalities, indeed it's X Factor time again. And as if to say that 2011-2013 didn't really happen, head honcho Simon Cowell and his right hand woman Cheryl Cole are back. As is Louis Walsh, let's face it, there's no show without Punch. The fourth seat has been filled by Spice Girl and former X Factor Australia judge Mel B whose straight talking manner during a guest stint in 2012 obviously impressed Simon enough to offer her a full time role. So who will be this year's stand-outs as the room auditions begin?
Recap and videos after the JUMP...
If I didn't know better I'd swear I was watching The X Factor USA as sisters Blonde Electric get ready to audition in front of the judges. The sisters are actually half-British but have moved around a lot since they were children. After running into the audition room like two Cbeebies presents on acid, the duo proceed to bamboozle the judges with their excitable, and slightly, no, extremely irritating personalities. As they launch into an energetic but not at all bad rendition of Jessie J's 'Do It Like A Dude', it's clear that the show has found the female answer to Jedward. They're not amazing but they're a lot better than I expected them to be. Simon equates their personalities to 'eight people scraping their nails down a blackboard...ten times' but admits that they're entertaining. In fact, it's only Cheryl who is left unconvinced giving them their only No. Blonde Electric are through to the arenas with three yeses.
A montage of generic WGWG's (that's white guy with guitar for those who don't follow American Idol) follow leading to Simon announcing that he hates guitars before smashing an acoustic guitar up in a not at all staged scene.
And as if by total coincidence because this show is of course, totally natural and not at all manipulated, 15-year-old Reece Bibbey is up next...with an acoustic guitar. He tributes his father as the reason he is interested in music because he grew up listening to the likes of Pulp, The Stone Roses and Oasis. He even got the chance to sing Wonderwall to Noel Gallagher a few years ago. Will the teenager be able to convince Simon that guitars aren't the root of all evil with a rendition of 'Latch' by Disclosure? He actually has a really interesting tone, far more interesting than most standard WGWG's and I like his arrangement of the song. I'm usually against contestants any younger than 16 on X Factor but Reece has a great voice. He of course gets a full house, sailing through to the next round with four yeses.
14-year-old Charlie Jones is your standard generic teen male as he sings 'Little Things' by One Direction. Nothing interesting or different to see here, I fully expect to see him thrown into a boyband by the end of bootcamp. Charlie is through to the arenas.
17-year-old Chloe O'Gorman was on the show last year but was montaged so that isn't even mentioned. What is worth mentioning though is how much better she is this year, delivering a really impressive and passionate performance of 'Right To Be Wrong' by Joss Stone. Her soulful tone, reminds me a little bit of Paloma Faith and I would like to see her getting quite far, she also gets a full house.
Lauren Nicole Platt is another very impressive young auditionee, blowing Simon in particular away with her soulful and bluesy voice as she takes on Queen Latifah's 'I Know Where I Have Been'. I'm disappointed that she and Chloe were both montaged as it suggests they probably won't make live shows. Lauren has a interesting voice also, she is also through to the arena auditions.
The big talking point of this series is of course the return of Cheryl Cole (I refuse to type that exotic double-barrelled surname) and a lot of the hopefuls are excited to see Cheryl back on the panel with one girl telling Simon 'she's sick, she's just sick'. Someone call a doctor (I'll get my coat).
However, none are as excited by her return as the next auditionee, Ben Quinlan who is a little bit smitten with the former Girls Aloud member. He presents Cheryl with a green rose and sings Shayne Ward's 'That's My Goal' to her. It's a bizarre audition and he's an extremely average singer but of course he gets through to the arena auditions 'for Cheryl's sake'. I have a feeling this guy won't be going particularly far. Ben gets four yeses.
Also excited to see Cheryl is Jale Antor who enters the audition room, dressed as Cheryl in her 'Fight For This Love' video. Simon and Louis wind Cheryl up, saying that the resemblance is uncanny before Jale launches into an out of tune rendition of 'Fight For This Love'. Simon says that the vocals were spot on but the dancing might need a bit of work, prompting Cheryl to tell him to shut up. Jale sadly doesn't make the arena auditions.
A blast from the past now as Amy Connolly returns to the show. Amy first auditioned in 2008 where she made Cheryl cry by sharing her story of her mother passing away before singing 'There You'll Be'. Amy messed up at Judges' Houses leading Cheryl to have to send her home. She's back and reveals that the only reason she has reauditioned is because Cheryl is back, reasoning that the connection she formed last time she auditioned as why she feels so close to Cheryl. Cheryl is shocked to see Amy back but it's clear that the magic is still there when she performs 'With You' from Ghost: The Musical. Vocally, it's really refreshing, she still has that slight country twang to her voice but it's the emotional connection that wows me, she really forms a connection with the song and does a sterling job, making Cheryl cry AGAIN. All four of the judges are blown away and Amy sails through to the next stage.
Will the next auditionee Shayden Willis impress the judges enough to follow in Amy's footsteps? He brings his keyboard with him and announces that he is performing his own song which is about having his heart broken by a woman. I'm expecting him to be really good, he is in all reality absolutely pants and bangs on the keyboard like a keyboard cat before yelling about how someone broke his heart and this is why he's singing this song. The judges are all totally bemused, in particular Simon who tries to interrupt him unsuccessfully before Shayden begins to sing countless other 'own songs' all as bad as the first and all sounding almost identical to the first. Cheryl is first to leave the table to use the toilet before Mel B and Louis follow leaving Simon on his own. Eventually, enough is enough though and the music mogul tells Shayden that he has heard enough, unsurprisingly it's a No.
The day doesn't get any less bizarre however as the next hopeful, Angelina Robinson's audition is overshadowed by the addition of her mother who brings in a cake for the judges before entering again with chinese food which she proceeds to dish out whilst her daughter belts out an out of tune rendition of 'All I Have To Do Is Dream' by The Everley Brothers. This is easily one of the most laugh-out-loud yet bizarre auditions in years, seeing the lady handing out chinese food to a slightly confused bevy of judges whilst Angelina sang was hilarious but strange. Sadly, it's a no for Angelina but presumably a yes for her mother's chinese food.
As if to prove that they haven't seen anything yet, Carol Trefarthen enters, dressed exactly like Tina Turner complete with 80's style wig. She's, unsurprisingly not very good and belts 'Simply The Best' extremely badly before ripping off part of her dress to reveal a shorter skirt, to puzzled expressions and looks of horror from the judges. She's far from being 'simply the best' and gets four no's.
Steve Callegari is equally dismal, singing 'Clocks' by Coldplay abysmally, again there's no surprises when the judges say No.
Hopefully the next auditionee, posh Surrey girl Chloe Jasmine will be a little less out there. Well her kooky manner complete with posh accent suggests otherwise. She tells Mel B that she was educated in a boarding school before telling the judges that she comes 'from England'. Glad she cleared that up, I was thinking Costa Rica. She's singing Ella Fitzgerald's track 'Black Coffee', a really refreshing song choice as it has the same bluesy, throwback sound as other, more frequently performed songs like 'Summertime' and 'Feeling Good'. Chloe has a fantastic voice, I love her bluesy voice and she has such a captivating style when she performs, I can see myself really taking to her. I'm expecting her quirky personality to divide people, she's certainly shaping up to be the Kitty Brucknell or Katie Waissel of this series but we'll see. I'm very impressed, as are all four of the judges, telling her that she has a really authentic voice and giving her four yeses.
The next few hopefuls cause friction between Cheryl and Simon as the former tries to give constructive feedback to Naomi Goldblatt, Mila Falls and Jordan Pass whilst Simon winds her up asking her 'Is it a yes or a no?' provoking Cheryl to retort 'Shut Up'.
Will the final auditionee of the day, Jay James cause a divide between the warring pair? Jay is the closest to having a sob story tonight, revealing that he got into music when he was injured whilst serving for the British Navy but it's not anywhere near as bad as the sob stories of previous series. Jay might actually be familiar to some people, he was signed to Decca a few years ago and released an album under the name Jay James Picton. However, the album didn't do very well despite him being touted as the new Adele and he was dropped. This is my own knowledge by the way incase anyone thinks they missed something, not sure why they didn't bother mentioning that, perhaps they didn't want to turn it into a sob story? Jay's rendition of 'Say Something' by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera is certainly passionate, it starts off quite flat and to be honest, vocally it's very rough around the edges but there's no denying the passion Jay has in his voice. He pours emotion into the song and I'm blown away by just how much emotion he delivers. His husky tone reminds me a little of Paolo Nutini and with some vocal work, I think the 30-year-old father of one has a lot of potential. A fitting end to the show and Jay deservedly gets four yeses.