Tuesday, 25 September 2012

X Factor Boot Camp: the most important 72 hours of the contestants' lives apart from every time they have to sing from now until the end of the competition.

This weekend on X Factor it was time for bootcamp, which sounds like one of those places middle-aged women go to lose weight but in actual fact helps the contestants gain weight by making their heads even bigger than ever. 

After the epilepsy-inducing introduction whereby the entire program is shown to you in 60 seconds in case you don't have the attention span to watch the whole thing, we're off to Liverpool where everyone is invited to party in the blissful ignorance that the judges are already planning a huge cull (which, thankfully, no one is petitioning against. Good news X Factor contestants: people care less about you than they do about badgers).

The happy campers are treated to an impromptu performance from JLS who miserably whisper that they haven't actually really sung in a while despite having released four albums and ten singles -- a classic example of the modern music industry. 

Also Eddy String -- 'indie rocker' extraordinaire -- looks far too excited for JLS. 

"Omg JLS yaay! I totally liked these guys before anyone else had ever heard of them."

And then it's time to get rid of a whole bunch of people who don't have dads in prison or family members with cancer. 

Highlights and lowlights: 

 * The judges reveal a giant clock which looks better suited to counting down to the apocalypse than the end of bootcamp although, at this rate of horrible auditions, it's probably the same thing:

Alternatively it counts down how many more episodes of X Factor you get to watch before you die. 

* Rough Copy and Mitsotu go through, proving that all you really have to do to make it is jump around like an idiot: 

To be fair, it worked for S Club Seven, Five, Steps, B*Witched, Jedward -- the future's looking bright guys!

* A bunch of creepy guys sing 'How to Save a Life' while looking more like they should be singing about how to take one:

* Spraggers makes everyone cry singing about tea and toast, which is cheating because this is Britain and everyone loves tea and toast: 

* This tiny man gets numb hands then screams his way through to judges houses:

* Nicole starts crying and announces, probably quite truthfully, that she's 'done' after realising that Ella Henderson is infinitely more talented than she is: 

"Well, that's my career over."

* And finally... The really awkward moment when the guy who is homeless said this: 


That's that then. The final 24 have been chosen and will be shipped off to judges houses to either have their dreams crushed next weekend or after they win and realise how awful their contract is. 

Talking of judge's houses, that is clearly an arbitrary nickname these days because I'm pretty sure Louis doesn't live in Vegas:

That's right, Louis will be giving the groups an insight into their future careers by dragging them around Sin City with Sharon Osborne. Meanwhile, Tulisa takes the girls to a beach with Tinie Tempah, Captain Nicole takes the boys on some sort of yacht with first mate Ne-Yo and Cheryl Cole clearly has nothing better to do as she joins the over 28s and Gary in his creepy castle haunted by the ghost of Robbie Williams' career. 

All that remains is for Tulisa to whine in the preview that she doesn't know whether or not she's making the right decision about something or other. Well, Tulisa, your previous decisions have included joining N-Dubz and making a sex tape so the odds are not in your favour. 

See you next week!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Does X Factor have the X Factor?

Like horrific car crashes, gruesome injuries on A&E TV and Hollyoaks, the X Factor is one of those things you just can't help but stare at in spite of its sheer painfulness. It seems to rely on a mixture of curiosity, disbelief, apathy and Simon Cowell's lawyers. What Prince Phillip-esque racism will Louis Walsh come out with next? Will Tulisa end up stabbing someone? When is Gary Barlow's face going to unhinge behind the ear revealing the tiny alien underneath who just wants to protect the galaxy?

"When I said we could rule the world... I meant it."

In a bid to solve the eternal puzzle behind the success of this reality TV goliath, I have vowed to watch X Factor so you don't have to. I will study each miserable rendition of Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah, I will wince every time someone calls it Alexandra Burke's Hallelujah, I will boo everything Louis Walsh says and throw things at the screen every time Nicole Scherzinger does her stupid soft understanding face. 

"I'm just like you, except I'm made out of diamonds and kitten sneezes."

Essentially, I will carry on doing what I've been doing every Saturday night since 2004 (or sometimes Sunday morning on catchup with a hangover). 

Luckily I think I've managed to skip most of the initial auditions, which is good because those people need no help in ridiculing themselves. In actual fact, it's sort of disgusting because some of them seem to have real mental health problems. It's like taking someone out of psychiatric care, building up their confidence by putting them through the several rounds of auditions required before one comes face to face with the judges, and then actively encouraging an audience of thousands to boo and jeer them back into their padded cell. 

Anyway, let's take a look at what we've got coming up in the final auditions this weekend: 

This lady is bad

This guy gets upset

This guy is creepy

This guy falls over

This girl mentions Katie Waissel

Nicole notices the join behind Gary's ear

Old Greg!

All right X Factor, you win -- it's a reluctant yes from me.