Five (six, actually) things about the second round of auditions.
1. Sync Or Swim: The pop machine marches mercilessly onward, and while we’re still processing the news that One Direction are planning a year-long hiatus/permanent split so that Resentful Direction can prove those losers were holding him back all along (especially you, Hairy), The X Factor is already lining up potential new boybands to replace them in our hearts and minds. The scene was set for a clash of the titans as New Wave and The First Kings went head-to-head. (The show wanted us to believe that they were milling around backstage at the same time, with The First Kings hovering backstage waiting to see the outcome of New Wave’s audition, and hoping that we wouldn’t notice the judges wearing entirely different outfits by the time The First Kings came on stage.) Unfortunately, New Wave were a false dawn: citing N*SYNC as their main influence, they launched into a rendition of ‘Bye Bye Bye’ that aped the original choreography move for move (but without any of the original slickness) and boasted embarrassingly lacklustre vocals. With New Wave having set the bar so low that even the Borrowers could’ve comfortably leapt over it, The First Kings took to the stage and made everyone else look thoroughly underprepared by not only bringing along backing dancers for their performance of ‘Uptown Funk’ but also their own intro video, like the kind you’d get at an actual concert. Some people have complained that this isn’t fair, that not everyone can afford to do this, that the audition rounds should be free of bells and whistles. To this I say: these people are communists, and you shouldn’t let your children play with them. The First Kings are amazing, and if they don’t make the live rounds, I’m leaving.
2. Bindi There, Done That: From the sublime to the ridiculous, we then moved on to market trader Chloe Paige. Chloe brought along her enormous family, none of whom were apparently savvy enough to inform her that, as a blonde white girl, maybe appearing on national television wearing a bindi wasn’t the best idea she’d ever had. Her rendition of Katy B’s ‘Crying For No Reason’ was actually pretty good, but I’m not actually sure anyone on my Twitter feed even registered it because they were too busy asking if she was, in fact, for real with that shit. (The show, of course, did not address it in any way.)
3. Promotional Consideration Provided By The United Kingdom Independent Party: After the minor shitstorm brought about by the presence of 4th Power on last night’s episode, this one sought to redress the balance by pointing out that sometimes forrins come over here trying to be on our X Factors, only to turn out to be Comedy Forrins who pose no threat whatsoever in terms of taking jobs in the music industry away from hard-working British strivers. In fact we got a full montage as Adriana Deco (originally from Poland), a strange Paloma Faith-alike, Zaiga Melke (Latvia), who does not need to have a job because she is a “very beautiful woman”, and Impulse (Netherlands) all turned out to be inept in various ways, providing us with such lols before we all headed off to Folkestone en masse to seal up the Channel Tunnel once and for all to keep the immigants out.
4. He’s Just Being Seann Miley: The counterpoint to all of this was the appearance of the excellently-named Seann Miley Moore, who turned up dressed in softcore bondagewear and prompted Rita to ask if he’d been raiding her wardrobe. While Seann’s outfit was certainly risqué, he was nevertheless fully-clothed, so this claim was easily refuted. Seann has recently arrived here from Australia, and has an appropriately muddled accent to prove it. (It’s not quite as peculiar as the one Austin Armacost is currently sporting on Celebrity Big Brother, but it’s not far off.) As becomes clear from his flamboyant presentation, Seann is a huge fan of Freddie Mercury, and demonstrated this further with an elaborate cover of ‘The Show Must Go On’. It was pretty good, but not a patch on Paris Bennett’s from season five of American Idol.
(Incidentally, if you haven’t yet seen Queen Night from that season, I strongly recommend you check out Katharine McPhee’s ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ and particularly Kellie Pickler’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Both of them are masterclasses in how to provide the perfect hair, make-up and lighting for a rock song.)
5. Everything There Is To Know About The Crying Game: Our final audition of the night was mechanic Josh Daniel, who talked about singing all the time at work, and also made some reference to having been in a production of High School Musical when he was 15, which he found embarrassing for reasons I can’t quite ascertain. Isn’t stuff like that the entire point of being 15 in the first place? Anyway, Josh sang ‘Jealous’ by Labrinth, which he dedicated to the loss of his best friend two years ago, and the entire panel was in bits by the end of it. Cheryl, in fact, was so moved that she felt compelled to go up on stage and hug him, showing her investment in his situation by telling him “I’m sorry for whatever it was you went through.” He told you fewer than 10 minutes ago, Cheryl. Pay attention.
SPECIAL BONUS NUMBER 6. BopHeads: Can we not?