The X Factor – Series 11 Episode 10

Five definitely-won’t-be-caught-up-in-time-for-live-shows-but-hang-in-there-and-just-believe-in-me things about the second round of Boot Camp.

1. Melanie Brown Is Slaying Your Favos, Or She Would Be If We Had Ever Seen Half Of These People Before: As a welcome contrast to Cheryl’s self-important dithering throughout her Six Chair Challenge, Mel B – like all of the best people on reality television – was not here to make friends. “What a waste of time that was,” she moaned after dismissing boring Joe Slater from Liverpool. “Why should you get a seat when you lost everyone?” she demanded of the improbably-named Bre Musiq. Best of all, she decreed that Ben Quinlan’s rendition of ‘9 To 5’ (in which he actually sang “nine till five”, because he hadn’t even learnt THE GODDAMNED TITLE properly) was such an affront to nature that she cut it short in its prime. Now that is how you judge at Boot Camp, ladies and gentlemen. If Mel’s even half this minty when the live shows come around, I’ll be more than happy.

2. And Here Are The People We’re Actually Meant To Care About: Of course, it was easy to dismiss all of those people because we’ve spent very little time on their narrative. The regular faces, by and large, were given more time and more leeway. Jake Quickenden’s rendition of ‘A Thousand Years’ was pretty weak, but Mel liked his “believability”, so he got a seat. Jordan Morris wasn’t up to his usual standards (whatever they are), but Mel has faith in him, so he got a seat too. Danny Dearden was fucking dreadful, but he was LOUD and that’s all anyone listens for, so he was the third one to get a seat. Geoff Mull (least popstar-like name since Eoghan Quigg, y/n?) also sang ‘A Thousand Years’ and got a seat because Mel thought he was a fighter. Charlie Martinez is still the sort of blandy bland blandness that’s more suited to a walk-on part in 90210 (RIP) than this show, but his cunning deployment of a Backstreet Boys classic instantly reverted the entire (mostly female) audience to the age of 13, so he got a seat. Charlie Brown sang some old Ed Sheeran-style shit and was unrelentlingly awful, but Mel liked his moxie, so: seat. Of course, some favourites had yet to perform, so we knew that at least a couple of these weren’t going to last the night. Jack Walton sang ‘Ain’t Nobody’ as though someone had their hand around his windpipe and was gradually applying more and more pressure to it, but Mel wanted to give him a seat anyway – Charlie Martinez’s seat, in fact. Never mind, Charlie. You’ve still got all that money from being the voice of Mario and Luigi to fall back on. Cheryl sat there throughout doing her patented Migraine Face, as though any of this has anything to do with her whatsoever. Hayden Leeman sang ‘I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll’ without gender-switching the lyrics, and Simon liked him because he’s “different”. How euphemistic! Mel gave him Charlie Brown’s seat, and I have absolutely no problem with that. Then obvious frontrunner Andrea Faustini appeared, somehow managed to sing ‘I Didn’t Know My Own Strength’ without summoning The Vengeful Ghost Of Whitney Houston (watch and learn, Daneeeeeeel) and was given Hayden’s seat. (Aww, I liked Hayden. Come back next year, Hayden!) Finally Paul Akister returned, remained comprehensively mediocre, got a tongue bath from the judges all the same, and took over Geoff Mull’s seat, presumably because Geoff Mull wasn’t that attractive or that good and no one was ever really going to vote for him. Sorry Geoff. I bet you’ve got a great folk album in you, though. And with that, bish bash bosh, Mel’s all done with time to spare.

3. Scarlett And Blackout: Meanwhile in Simon’s Overs, in possibly the most heartless piece of editing so far, some random girl was actually doing well enough to get a seat, but we saw almost nothing of her performance, and I’m not entirely sure we even saw her name, because instead we were spending all our time focusing on Scarlett Quinn And The Forgotten Lyrics. Scarlett was up next, you see, and hadn’t managed to learn the lyrics to ‘Ordinary World’. She had a minor freakout about it, followed by a major freakout, and Dermot sagely advised her to just not think about it. Scarlett’s inability to think about it, however, was probably the problem, and she ended up forgetting all of her words on stage and being sent home. I think this was probably for the best as, although Kitten And The Hip clearly wasn’t the right vehicle for Scarlett, she never looked entirely comfortable as a solo artist either. After her, Ben Haenow (O HAENOW!) sang ‘Hotel California’ in a way that made me think I probably wouldn’t enjoy his voice in that many contexts, but it’s still not without its charms, so I was fine with him getting a seat. Then The Endless Raign returned, and Cheryl woke up long enough just to remind us all that THIS ISN’T FOR HER OKAY, IT’S JUST NOT WHAT SHE LIKES, CHERYL IS NOT HERE FOR RAIGN, ARE WE ALL CLEAR ON THAT. Thanks Cheryl. Simon said that Raign is “what I call Marmite”. Wow, Simon turned into Miranda’s Mum so gradually I didn’t even notice.

4. Coming Soon To A Butlins Near You: Our long national nightmare that is Stevi Ritchie continued as he turned up wearing a short-sleeved shirt, because of course he did. To his credit, Stevi did express surprise that he’d managed to make it this far, as did Simon. Stevi demonstrated a pleasing level of genre-savviness by singing ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’, knowing that you will never go broke on a public vote by invoking Dirty Dancing in your performance somehow. What Stevi failed to realise is that Dirty Dancing in itself is sufficiently cheesy, so when you add Stevi’s inherent sense of cheddar on top of that, you’re really going to need to start monitoring your cholesterol levels very closely. He sang badly, danced atrociously and even dragged some poor girl out of the audience to dance with him, which she didn’t look entirely thrilled about. However, because he’s LIKEABLE SO LIKEABLE he got a seat, and perhaps my favourite part of this entire segment was Raign clearly wishing his seat didn’t have to be right next to hers. You could almost see her physically recoiling.

5. Someone’s Getting THE CHAIR: From there, Janet Grogan From Dublin (I think that is actually her full name) sang a slowed-down version of ‘Crazy In Love’ (and really, haven’t we had enough of those by now?) and got a seat. Sister Pattinson (no, not that one) sang ‘Wicked Game’, remained incredibly beige, and got a seat. With all of Simon’s seats spoken for, it was time for Jay James to turn up (STILL NOT WEARING ANY BASTARDING SOCKS) and wheeze his way through a tortured rendition of Snow-Patrol-via-Leona-Lewis’s ‘Run’ and get given a seat. BUT WHOSE? No, seriously, that was the cliffhanger. Bye, anonymous girl in the first chair!

Next time: Louis is all “pointless drama, Cheryl? I’LL SHOW YOU POINTLESS DRAMA!”

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