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06 October, 2014 6:48 PM
Published by Kevin Mc Stravock
With the auditions over, it's time for bootcamp and the dreaded six chair challenge! Get ready for more drama than you can take ... This is the X Factor!
First off, the judges minus Mel B hear the acts singing with other people from their category and choose who to send through to the second day of bootcamp. No major shocks here although a few acts who we saw in auditions such as Tom Mann and James Graham are cut.
Now the acts are finding out who their mentors will be, the groups seem decidedly muted when they find out that Louis is going to be their mentor whilst the girls go crazy to see Cheryl Cole standing in front of them. Wait until one of them is sent home in favour of someone less talented *cough* Katie Waissel *cough*. Anyway, Dermot is preparing them for the six chair challenge, Cheryl and Mel B don't seem like they're looking forward to it.
Fishmonger Lola Saunders is the first of the girls to face the six-chair challenge. She's singing 'Finally' by Cece Peniston, a song that just reminds me of the time that girl from Shakespeare's Sister went on The Voice and got shouted at by Elesha Moses and that other girl with the hat. Anyway, Lola is doing the exact same as the aforementioned unfortunately, she's screaming the song rather than singing normally and it doesn't sound nice to be quite honest. The judges seem disappointed although Cheryl says that she didn't show her full potential and states that she knows what Lola is capable of. Lola gets the first seat.
Up next is Chloe Jasmine who impressed the judges previously with her throwback voice. She's not singing a jazz song this time (probably because there looks to be a quite limited list of songs for the contestants to choose from and I'm guessing there weren't any jazz tracks on said list). Unfortunately, it shows as this performance is terrible, there's literally no part of the song that feels like we're listening to the same artist at all. She totally loses it and Mel B and Cheryl in particular look disappointed at her rendition of 'I Want It That Way' by The Backstreet Boys. Mel whispers to Cheryl 'Why doesn't she sing a jazz song?'. Cheryl again tells her that she knows what she is capable of and gives her a seat. Chloe J gets the second seat.
25-year-old singer-songwriter and Leona Lewis lookalike Shanay Holmes is next and she impresses the panel with a controlled and soulful cover of 'Read All About It (Pt. III) by Emeli Sandé. She has a beautiful voice, she probably isn't that unique but she has a great range and it's a very controlled performance, in fact parts of her voice remind me a little of Leona's voice. The fact that she's only being shown now (very briefly) suggests to me that I doubt we'll be seeing much more of her. Shanay gets the third seat.
Stephanie Nala who people will remember as being one quarter of The Luminites in Britain's Got Talent a few years ago also impresses with an amazing reggae inspired cover of 'Wicked Game' by Chris Isaak. It's refreshing to see a girl finally changing things up and doing it well and I hope we see lots more of Steph because it would be interesting to see a bit of a reggae vibe in the live shows, the closest we've had to that before is when people have covered Lauryn Hill songs. Stephanie gets the fourth seat.
Another little seen act now, I think Orla Keogh was shown briefly on Xtra Factor but we haven't seen her on the main show yet. She sings 'Just Be Good To Me' extremely well, I like her voice, it has a distinctly quirky quality to it which could be very interesting if it's used right. Unfortunately, Simon clearly isn't a fan telling her that it was good not great. Cheryl however knows what she's capable of, can this phrase be trademarked alongside 'I don't know what to do'? Orla gets the fifth seat.
Just one seat left, of course Cheryl wouldn't possibly reject the next act, Monica Michael surely? There's no way she would consider sending home the girl who made her cry at her first audition with her song about her little sister. Editors, you subtle geniuses. Monica sings 'Troublemaker' by Olly Murs, the song choice raises a few eyebrows but she does a pretty decent job of it, definitely enough to get a seat considering that Lola and Chloe got seats for worse. But lo and behold, Cheryl can't give her a seat for some reason leading to the audience going mad and booing her endlessly. Monica doesn't get a seat.
Nervous Kayleigh Manners is hoping to be able to conquer her nerves and despite a really strong rendition of 'Ho Hey' it's not enough to convince Cheryl to give her the final seat. Kayleigh doesn't get a seat.
Also getting rejected is Ten Senah who sings 'Love On Top' by Beyoncé attracting criticism from Mel B who tells her that only Beyoncé can sing that song. To be honest, it was better than her arena audition and probably better than Lola or Chloe Jasmine but then Ten doesn't have a major quirk like being posh or being a Geordie fishmonger. Ten doesn't get a seat.
Before the next auditionee approaches the stage, the producers brief Cheryl on the rules, because Emily Middlemass is 15, if Cheryl chooses to give her a seat, she cannot be swapped out. What a stupid rule, just because someone is under 16 doesn't mean they should get preferential treatment, someone who is in their 20's could react just as badly as a 15-year-old. However, despite this silly rule, she actually does a great job of singing 'Anything Could Happen' by Ellie Goulding. I hadn't rated Emily much until now but she has a surprisingly great voice and a lot of stage presence. Emily gets the final seat.
17-year-old Chloe O'Gorman hopes to follow in Emily's footsteps with her rendition of 'I Didn't Know My Own Strength' by Whitney Houston. I think the song choice was a bit ambitious, she has a good voice but I haven't heard anyone really do that song justice apart from Whitney herself, both Jahmene and Danyl butchered it by oversinging and Chloe's version seems a bit half-hearted. However, Cheryl decides that she's worth the risk and gives her a seat, meaning we have our first chair swap. Who will be the first act to be given the heave-ho from the chairs? Chloe O takes Chloe Jasmine's seat.
Plucky teenager Lauren Platt is also vying to get a seat with her cover of 'Man In The Mirror' by Michael Jackson. She has a fantastic voice, as acknowledge by Cheryl when she tells Lauren that she caused a fight between the judges for the girls category. This isn't my favourite performance of Lauren's but it's still bloody good and unsurprisingly, Cheryl decides to give her a seat. Lauren takes Chloe O'Gorman's seat.
The final auditionee from the Girls category is Kerrianne Covell who so far has blown most of the other girls out of the water with a strong room audition backed up by an awesome arena performance. She is hoping to give Cheryl that 'wow' moment once again as she tackles 'Gravity' by Sara Bareilles. This is an amazing tune but somehow despite how hard it is to do justice, Kerrianne manages it again. Faultless vocals once again, a very heartfelt and sultry performance, she is through to the next round after that surely? Kerrianne takes Shanay's seat.
So with her six seats filled and all the girls having sung, Cheryl is finished. Oh no wait, she's not. She has made a huge mistake AKA the producers have had a word in her ear and they're not happy with who she has chosen. So lo and behold, Cheryl calls Chloe Jasmine back on stage and tells her that she wants versatility in her top six and as a result, she wants her back in her top six, Irish songstress Orla Keogh is the collateral damage. Another decision that does not go down well with the audience once again, or with Mel B who speaks to Orla telling her 'I told Cheryl she was making a mistake letting you go.'
Hopefully showing a little bit more decisiveness is Scary Spice herself, Mel B as she picks her top six boys. Up first vying for a place in Judge's Houses is randomer Joe Slater who you probably won't recognize from the previous rounds (as we haven't seen him) but may recognize as being Lenny in the rather lame recent series of 'Waterloo Road' (which has been axed which is probably why he's here). He's singing 'Desperado' by The Eagles which is probably an appropriate song to describe many of the contestants on the show. It's not washing with Mel B who tells Cheryl 'I really want to stop it' about ten seconds in, calls the performance boring and sends Joe packing. I love how Mel just doesn't give a toss. Joe doesn't get a seat.
Also failing to get past Mel B is Ben Quinlan, how he got past the room audition never mind to the final stage of bootcamp I don't know. He sings '9 To 5' by Dolly Parton and dances badly, Mel basically tells him there's no way he's getting a seat and laughs. The mob are booing her, oh come on, if you're going to boo the judges at least wait until they reject someone who has talent not somebody who is basically a troll act who got here because he danced with Cheryl in the room auditions. Ben begs Mel B to reconsider, she tells him to get off the stage. Brilliant. Ben doesn't get a seat.
Hopefully the next act, Jake Quickenden will have better luck getting on the right side of Mel as he sings 'A Thousand Years' by Christina Perri. Add that song to my ever growing list of songs I'm bored of hearing. In fairness to Jake he has a good voice, I just feel that he's still a little generic and middle of the road, I'm not getting any wow moments listening to him. It's obviously he'll make Judges' Houses and probably live shows though. Jake gets the first seat.
Someone fairly forgettable called Jordan Morris is up next. His rendition of 'Be My Baby' by The Ronnettes is blink and you'll miss it and he has a very thin voice. I really don't think he's anything special, Mel B tells him that it was a bit all over the place but then gives him a seat anyway. Short on talent? Jordan gets the second seat.
Joiner Danny Dearden has also had about two and a half seconds airtime up to this point, if even. He has a very big range but he has absolutely no stage presence or control over his voice, or so it seems based on the tiny snippet of the performance that we hear. Despite this, he also gets a seat. Danny gets the third seat.
Electrician Geoff Mull also impresses Mel B, singing 'A Thousand Years'. Again a good vocal but the boys category really isn't exciting me this year, every act seems to blend together, Geoff is another one with zero individuality unfortunately. Geoff gets the fourth seat.
US Military guy Charlie Martinez-Hernandez joins the growing number of boys in the seats after an average rendition of 'I Want It That Way' by The Backstreet Boys after the audience urge Mel B to give him a seat. Let's be honest, he could have probably sung 4'33 by John Cage and the audience would still be urging Mel to give him a seat. Charlie M gets the fifth seat.
Charlie Brown, (insert Snoopy the dog joke here) is lucky to be here after messing up in the arena auditions but hopefully he'll make up for it with his bootcamp performance, a cover of 'Give Me Love' by Ed Sheeran. He doesn't get off to a good start with Mel and Cheryl questioning if his guitar is out of tune and his vocals don't really seem up to scratch either. Mel tells him that she sees a lot of potential in him but seems unsure after his lackluster performance. Charlie B gets the final seat.
Guitar player Jack Walton is the first act to go up after Mel's seats were filled, will he be able to contest one of the seats. His cover of 'Ain't Nobody' by Chaka Khan isn't that dissimilar to most acoustic covers of that song but I like his voice and he's the first act to get a seat who shows some sort of individuality or stage presence so he deservedly gets through. Jack takes Charlie Martinez's seat.
Hayden Leeman, a friend of Charlie Brown is up next, he says that he hopes to get through but would find it hard if he was chosen to take Charlie's seat. His rendition of 'I Love Rock And Roll' is pretty good although I think Jack performing before him has kind of taken the shine off Hayden. And lo and behold, who does he get told he's being swapped for, Charlie! Hayden takes Charlie Brown's seat.
Andrea Faustini, the pug mad Italian is up next and hoping to impress with a Whitney Houston cover, the same song we heard Chloe O'Gorman sing earlier. He does a decent job of it, I'm still finding a few small faults with his voice but he has a pretty good range and he's likeable. It's fairly obvious what is going to happen here, he's one of the most popular acts in his category so obviously Mel will choose him. Andrea takes Hayden Leeman's seat.
Last up is Paul Akister, the main returnee this year, we've already heard him speak about how he felt when Louis rejected him at Judges' Houses last year and unlike most of the other contestants, he has already experienced the six chair challenge before so hopefully that will help him now. He's singing 'These Arms Of Mine' by Otis Redding, a fantastic choice as he just absolutely nails it. Paul has a great voice and he knows the songs to showcase it, hopefully he will be able to perform some more modern material if he makes the live shows as we know he can do these classic tracks, it's just a case of making him more current. Paul is the frontrunner by a country mile in his category. Paul takes Geoff Mull's seat.
As is the recurring theme with the six chair challenge, we're introduced to an act we haven't seen at all up until this point, fundraiser Kisela Berice was previously described by the judges as being a better performer than she was a singer. She's taking on 'Man In The Mirror' by Michael Jackson. I like Kisela's voice, she's a good singer, not a great vocalist but good enough and Simon is right, she's a really vibrant performer. She seems pretty well liked by the public anyway. Kisela gets the first seat.
Scarlett Quinn who people will remember as 'Kitten' from the group 'Kitten And The Hip' who auditioned in the rooms before Scarlett was encouraged to break solo. She is really nervous and determined to show her best hand at the bootcamp stage but as she begins to sing 'Ordinary World' by Duran Duran, her nerves get the better of her and she ends up cracking up on stage and forgetting her words. She fails to impress the judges with Cheryl feeling sorry for her but Louis quite bluntly telling her that she blew it. Scarlett doesn't get a seat.
Van driver Ben Haenow who wowed the judges with his performance of 'Wild Horses' at the arena auditions is up next, singing 'Hotel California' by The Eagles. I'm not a big fan of this song so perhaps I'm slightly biased but I just find the performance quite good, it's better vocally than his last performance in that he doesn't oversing but I don't think that it's the best he has performed in terms of emotion. Ben gets the second seat.
Singer-songwriter Raign divided the judges and the audience with her quirky personality in the previous stages but there's no denying that she has talent, in fact she's one of my favourite singers in the competition. Before she has even started singing, Cheryl and Mel B are rolling their eyes, I personally find Cheryl so unprofessional towards Raign. She's singing 'Wicked Games' by Chris Isaak, I really like her voice a lot actually and this sounds pretty strong. Raign has a nice depth to her voice and some aspects of her vocals remind me of Florence Welch. I hope she gets a seat as she's the best over so far. Raign gets the third seat.
All-round entertainer Stevi Ritchie is singing 'I've Had The Time Of My Life' from Dirty Dancing for a seat but the song definitely doesn't summarize my feelings when I hear him sing. He's a nice guy and he has a likeable personality but his voice isn't good and considering how strong the Overs category is this year, it would be a travesty if he made Judges' Houses over a genuinely decent singer. He's not strange enough to be a novelty act, he's just a fairly poor singer who dances to make up for his lack of singing. Stevi gets the fourth seat.
26-year-old singer Janet Grogan was one of the highlights of the arena auditions for Mel B and it's Simon who she hopes to wow tonight, singing 'Crazy In Love' by Beyoncé. I'm impressed, I love the slight husk to her voice and despite expecting this performance to be a bit of a disaster, it actually works surprisingly well. Janet has a brilliant voice and she's really likeable, she probably has a way to go in delivering more confidence on stage but she definitely has the talent to work with. Janet gets the fifth seat.
Robert Pattinson's older sister Lizzy Pattinson is up next, she impressed the judges with her distinctive jazzy vocals in the room auditions although apparently her song choice was criticized in the arenas (we didn't see that audition). She delivers a decent performance of 'Wicked Game' although if she does make Judge's Houses, I'm not sure that I see her making live shows as her voice isn't as strong as some of the others in the category. Lizzy gets the final seat.
One of the most featured overs of the series so far, Jay James is up next singing 'Run' by Leona Lewis. He's a brilliant performer in terms of the emotional connection that he forms with the song, making him a very believable performer but tonight's performance doesn't really have the same magic as his last two performances. The song choice probably isn't just as exciting as the previous performances. That said, again, he's one of the stronger performers of the night. His vocals need a little work but Jay seems like a shoo-in for the lives. Jay takes Kisela's seat.
Fleur East has experienced every stage of the competition previously, although that time she was part of a girlband who went onto be eliminated from the competition in the first live show. She's singing 'Paper Planes' by M.I.A, probably my favourite song choice of the entire night as this track is just complete genius and Fleur really impresses me on it. She has a killer urban tone and I would love it if she went down this route for the rest of the competition, the sort of grime-inspired urban artist, she reminds me a little of Janet Jackson also. The Overs is shaping up to be the best category this year, if Simon can pick genuine current artists like Fleur, Jay and Raign for the live shows, he could be onto a winner. Simon gives her a seat telling her that it's the best he has heard her sing, but who does he choose to swap her with? Cheryl is soon in his ear and lo and behold, it's the end of Raign. It's a bit of a joke that she got booted basically due to Cheryl not liking her especially as Stevi is still in his seat. Fleur takes Raign's seat.
Helen Fulthorpe has previously shared her story with the audience, revealing that she's quite a shy person in real life but she can't let her nerves hold her back for this performance. Being the last to perform also means that she seriously needs to stand out for Simon to consider giving her a seat. Her vocals are really good once again, she's probably not the best performer in her category but she has a very good voice and she really connects with the emotion of the song, 'Nobody Knows' by Pink. A great performance, once again Simon struggles to choose who to oust from their seat, it really should be a no brainer, Stevi should go. However, he eventually chooses to send Janet home, which is a bit of a joke. Helen takes Janet's seat.
Twin brothers The Brooks kick things off for their category. Their rendition of 'Without You' by David Guetta feat. Usher is quite dull and basic but they sing it in tune. I'm not particularly excited by these guys however, there's nothing different about them and personally, I think they would probably bore me to tears in the live shows. The Brooks get the first seat.
The next group, the Manufactured Boyband were put together after the first stage of bootcamp from soloists who were rejected, something which has been done pretty much every year since Series 4. This group, however, is different because it is made up of eight people, some of whom we saw before like Tom Mann and James Graham. Their first performance, a cover of 'Run' by Snow Patrol, considering that they have only been together a few days is actually really impressive. They do a good job, although it takes way too long into the song for them to harmonize, for the first three quarters or so of the song it does feel like eight soloists. The judges rave about them and Simon calls them the best group he has seen, or something similarly hyperbolic. I wouldn't get that excited, I think they need a lot of work and I'm not sure how likely the public are to take to a group with so many members but they could do very well. Manufactured Boyband get the second seat.
The next group to perform tonight are sisters Jazzy and Ruby who divided opinion in their first audition with their grating personalities but impressed Louis with their energy on stage. They give a spirited cover of 'I Love Rock And Roll'. It's fairly obvious that these girls are this year's novelty act, following in the footsteps of Jedward, Wagner etc. Vocally, they're probably better than the aforementioned but it's their personalities that take precedence. I'll be surprised if Louis doesn't choose them for the live shows as we all know he loves a good novelty act. Blonde Electric get the third seat.
As if one massive band wasn't enough, the next group up, girlband The Pow Pow Girls have almost the same number of members as the boyband, seven. Hopefully seven is a lucky number and they get through then? They sing 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough', harmonies are alright, there are some strong individual vocals, overall it's a fairly decent but not spectacular performance. Louis initially doesn't give them a seat but the audience boo him until Simon urges him to change his mind and he brings them back on stage to tell them to take a seat. The Pow Pow Girls get the fourth seat.
Overload impressed the judges in the arena auditions with their own song but how well will they do with a cover of Dolly Parton's '9 To 5'. Vocally, it's okay but once again they have the same problems as before, they have a very generic sound and I would genuinely struggle to tell them apart from countless other boybands if they got through. Aside from the screaming girls, which, let's face it happens for every young boyband who audition, I don't think they have great stage presence but the standard of the groups isn't awfully high this year so they'll probably make it. Overload get the fifth seat.
With every manufactured boyband comes a Manufactured Girlband and this series is no different with a five-piece group made up of a number of acts we were shown briefly in previous stages. Just like the boyband, these girls probably sound better vocally than most of the groups who have been together for ages. Their cover of the Lily Allen version of 'Somewhere Only We Know' is pretty great, I like their harmonies and if they work out which of them is going to be lead singer, there's some serious potential there. Manufactured Girlband get the final seat.
With all the seats filled, boyband Concept are going to have to seriously pull out all the stops to impress Louis enough to give them a seat. Their cover of 'Run' sounds exactly like every other boyband cover of 'Run' we're likely to hear but apart from the manufactured groups, they're probably sounding the best of all the groups we've heard so far and I loved their first audition so I'm glad that Concept get a seat. Louis struggles to decide on which group to eliminate, first swapping them with Blonde Electric then saying that he has made a mistake and choosing the new girl group instead. He gets majorly booed by the audience for this decision. Concept take Manufactured Girlband's seat.
Four piece mixed group Only The Young are the final act to compete for a seat. They're also singing '9 To 5', very well I must admit. Of all the groups, they're the one I see doing the best because although they're a little cheesy, they're probably the most unique group because we don't have many mixed bands in the UK. They do a really good audition and unsurprisingly get a seat however Louis' choice to boot doesn't go down well with the audience. Only The Young take Overload's seat.
Overload aren't pleased at being eliminated and say they're 'not leaving without a fight'. Where is Mel B to tell them to get off the stage? Louis being Louis decides to have a sing-off between them and the Pow Pow Girls for the last seat however Cheryl tells him if he's being fair, why not let the new girlband compete as well? Finally Cheryl actually talks sense for once. Anyway, Overload sing 'Pompeii', Pow Pow Girls sing 'Roar' and the new girls reprise their previous performance and sound the best of the three so unsurprisingly Louis chooses to give the final seat to the manufactured girlband. Manufactured Girlband take The Pow Pow Girls' seat.
So after a lot of seat swapping and last minute sing-offs, we finally have the top twenty four. Next week they will jet off across the world and sing in front of their mentors for one of three spots in their category for the live shows. The hot favourites as it stands are probably the likes of Jay, Paul, Lola and Only The Young but expect at least one or two 'shocking' judges' decisions especially with Cheryl and Louis at the helm.