‘The X Factor’ – Episode 9.2

After news of falling ratings last week, The X Factor soldiered on last night into the second episode of its ninth series.

I THINK THERE’S BEEN A MIX-UP…

Just before I get onto this week’s auditionees, I’d like to take a quick census. Who dislikes the audition process being mixed up when broadcast on TV? Last week, we saw Nicole Scherzinger and then guest judge Mel B, then this week we met guest Rita Ora, then Mel again, and then back to Nicole! What’s wrong with showing one city’s auditions in one episode, then another city’s in the next, and so on? Add to this the fact that when they are showing a particular city’s auditions – take Newcastle for example – they mix up the days! One minute, you’re seeing Day One in Newcastle, then Day Two, and then we’re back to the first Day again! The hair changes, the wardrobe changes…it’s just so annoying. Well, for me at least.

PREDICTABLE PANEL?

Anyway, now that I’ve jumped off of my soapbox and ended my rant, I can get back to reviewing this week’s X Factor action. Having already been introduced to Mel B and Nicole Scherzinger last week, the new guest judge this week was ‘RIP’ and ‘How We Do’ singer Rita Ora. She was quite an entertaining judge, I found – I was quite surprised.

However, earlier this week I watched a repeat of The Talent Show Story on ITV1, during which the issue of the modern trend for ‘celebrities’ as opposed to ‘behind-the-scenes experts’ as judges was brought up. For example, on Pop Idol, the panel was made up of; PR expert and manager Nicki Chapman; Stock and Aitken’s partner Pete Waterman; DJ Neil Fox and, of course, then relatively unknown music producer Simon Cowell. Therefore, perhaps bar Foxy, the judges weren’t pre-established ‘celebrities’. They worked behind-the-scenes in the industry so knew what a star was made-up of. All I’m saying is, perhaps we need more of this on modern talent shows. I’m not for one minute saying that Nicole and Tulisa, Rita and all of those people aren’t qualified judges and don’t have the credentials to fulfil their roles but look at Louis Walsh – manager of Westlife and Boyzone but only came to prominence as a judge on Popstars: he was an industry expert, too. I enjoy watching the ‘celebrity’ and ‘pop star’ judges but maybe it’s time to put a new music producer into the limelight…

Anyhow, the judges aren’t – and shouldn’t be – the main focus of The X Factor. That title goes to the contestants. ‘The Good, The Bad and The Angry’, as Peter Dickson put it this week, are the ones who really make this show and this week there was quite a few of them successful.

Rylan Clark

Let’s begin with Rylan, eh? He started off in his VTs by portraying himself as quite narcissistic and vain – it got me thinking that maybe he could be the male equivalent of Amy Childs? As well as having something of the David Guetta about him (well, in my eyes, anyway), he brought something quite different to The X Factor: an Ibiza party atmosphere. It would have been quite easy for him to take to the stage poorly equipped vocally and just jump, wave his arms and scream. He didn’t do that, though. Instead, he was reasonably equipped and had some attributes such as likeability: the judges immediately warmed to him…except Gary, who didn’t think he was very good at singing at all. I can sort of see where Mr. Barlow was coming from but I genuinely believe that if Rylan takes up the singing lessons which Rita suggested, he could be a good performer. A finalist, though? I doubt it.

Kye Sones

This cockney chimney sweep was surprising! I didn’t think he would be up to much but he actually had brilliant vocals, singing a version of guest judge Rita’s hit ‘RIP’. I really could picture him on an album cover, I can imagine hearing him on the radio, I can see him as just what Rita dubbed him: “a superstar”. She’s right – the judges will be fighting to mentor him.

Lucy Spraggan

I became really worried when Lucy Spraggan revealed backstage that she was going to perform a comedy song. Comedians seldom succeed on Britain’s Got Talent so how was one going to work on The X Factor – a show exclusively for singers, and not used to comedy? The answer to that question: very well. I saw her as Victoria Wood without the piano but couldn’t help thinking she would in fact be more suited to a show like BGT. Clearly, however, I was wrong as Lucy’s amusing self-penned song about waking up on a Sunday morning, following a previous night’s heavy drinking, earned her a standing-ovation from the arena audience. This overwhelming reaction led to another of those bloody irritating hashtags popping up in the bottom right-hand corner of my screen – the title of Lucy’s song: ‘Beer Fear’. I didn’t mind, though, because #BeerFear was the only one of the many X Factor hashtags which I have actually wanted to tweet.

NEWCASTLE DIVIDED

The auditions then rolled into Newcastle. Now, I’m from Sunderland so for me it was great to see The X Factor, after six long years, return to the North East of England (or the North West, according to Louis). I’m just gutted I didn’t get to go and am envious of a friend who did…and met Gary!

With the Newcastle auditions came an hilarious representation of us North Eastern folk. Yes, we’re eccentric and talk gobbledygook a lot of the time but don’t let that put you off – we mean no harm, I assure you!

Billy Moore

Oh, Billy! What on earth happened? You may not have been able to get past the first note but we enjoyed your appearance, nevertheless – it entertained us. Oh, and thanks for providing my Tulisa Joke of the Week when you said this:

“Me sister, she made us some chicken sandwiches. Eeh, they were lovely, mind: went down a treat.”

Thanks, mate.

Sophie Stokle

Turning up with her mam, dad and an auntie who looked like Dorien from Birds of a Feather, Sophie was full of confidence but didn’t quite impress the judges with her over-the-top rendition of Jennifer Hudson’s ‘Love You I Do’. Am I the only one who saw potential, though? I wholeheartedly believe that if she calms down a little, she could do well. I hope she’ll be back next year, wiser.

James Arthur

J. Arthur. His parents didn’t really think it through, did they? Nevertheless, James didn’t live up to what his name suggests and was actually quite good. I thought the judges went a little to town on their comments (I wasn’t quite as impressed as they were) but then again, they are the experts. Reuniting his parents, James’s audition did have an element of Surprise, Surprise! to it but never mind – if we look beyond that, I’m sure we’ll all agree that he has talent.

And isn’t that the main thing?

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer
Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

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