Monday, 28 September 2015

List of Top 64 contestants

TellyMix have the complete list of the last sixty or so. Sixty four, I think. These will be the acts vying to get one of the six seats available for Judges' Houses in each category. So 40 of these names will have to go.

To be honest, I thought some had already been rejected but obviously I misinterpreted the panel's comments.

I think that Mason Noise, Seann Miley Moore and 4th Power will take some beating but there are some names I really don't recall seeing in amongst the others so it may be that we still get some surprises. There are plenty of 'good' performers as well as those I've mentioned but none have really made me say That's a possible winner each time. Kiera Weathers, for instance ws great but faded in her last audition.

I also thought there were two Group categories, from the captions on some publicity items, but perhaps that isn't the case, unless there's to be a surprise five categories and an extra panel person for the shows. No. That's doesn't make much sense.

GIRLS (Rita Ora)


BOYS (Nick Grimshaw)


OVERS (Simon Cowell)


GROUPS (Cheryl Fernandez-Versini)


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Boot Camp Pt 2

Competition from a Rugby match meant the X Factor decided against coming a poor second or third on Saturday evening and just put on a Sunday show.

Olly and Caroline get the Sunday evening show off to a good start by doing the introduction to the contestants getting ready for the Choose a song and sing it section. They are a good pair but woefully under-utilised so far.

Silvertone is the older girl gospel style group. They are all over the place with the harmonies and even timing. I won't say anything about the dancing. No matter how 'disappointed' Simon may say he is, there are plenty more good acts to make the Live Shows.

Lauren seems to have poured herself into her jeans, or eaten a great deal since putting them on. She was a bit average in her solo performance compared to the big impression she'd made before.

Brodie Kelly is the good-looking young chap who also did very well before but this time was very nervous and hardly managed to get through Diamonds, the Rihanna song. A less attractive guy, Simon Lynch, did better but looked like he might join the queue of 'could do betters'. However, he turned The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face into something memorably much better which ought to hep him through.

Josh Daniel was average. He's one of the best in this category says Cheryl. Really? replies Simon.

Seann Miley Moore is a definite star for this year. He is brilliant in many ways with a cool personality and really is trying hard. Simon says Think like a winner. I think many of us see him as a winner already. After a few uncertain acts, the last two set the standard that others in the Boys category will need to match. I am assuming that Seann will be on the Boys category. That is by no means certain.

Anton is the backing singer who is well-used to being on the stage and his first audition was excellent. He should make it through on th basis of his ability and experience and he would be a lovable candidate on the Live Shows. But much depends on his choice of songs and this one was not a good one. If it was in tune ten I can only assume it was in one of several tunes. It lost me, although he was clearly trying terribly hard to get across the message in his song. He might have managed - in a weird way.

Alien get tagged with Groups 17-24 so that must be one category which implies there might be a Group Overs. They're sort of OK and I have a feeling they're the sort of fun group that the panel will want to put through. There may be several others, though, so it's too early to be sure. We know they'll be up against The Four Filipinos anyway.

Tonatha is like a young Sunitta. She ought to get through. Nice lady and a good performer.

Joseph McCaul doesn't strike me as a winner of this competition, despite being a good singer but his stage stance is odd. I don't see anyone joining his fan club.

Monica Michael is back after not making Judges' Houses last year. She sounds strong and can certainly sing but I feel she's a bit old fashioned and 'last year'. She may get through to Judges' Houses this year but I am not sure how much further she'll go. She did do a superb version of Ain't No Sunshine this time. The earrings out me off big time, though.

Crazy times again with Papasidero and his wings. OK but he should forget the fancy performance and the silly high notes.

Gem is soome old bloke who shouldn't have been allowed to get this far. Awful.

Andre Batchelor can dance well but his singing leaves a huge amount to be desired. Just amusing now.

Che Chesterman delays a lot and just goes silent which I think is an attention thing. He sings pretty well but isn't someone I can see a record company wanting to support, however good his voice is. God singer but odd personality.

Havva messes up. Jamie the Olly look-a-like too. Ebru stopped halfway though, or seemed to.

Mason Noise is a bit over-confident and self-aggrandising but is actually very good.

Bupsi is one of the older ones. She put on a mad performance before but this time does Rvery Time You Go Away quite well. She's an average singer but has quite a bit of appeal.

Ben Clark has a good voice, a bit like Che, and neither is what we'd really want to see on an album cover but, of the two, he has more appeal.

4th Power are so professional, delivering a mad version of Titanium with bags of power. Very co-ordinated and they can work together so well. They'll be through and still loo like winners to me.

The First Kings got great crowd support on the first audition. They're tagged Groups 21-28, They do some harmony stuff this time. Not bad. Not something I would rush to hear again but a decent job done. A bit dated, Simon and Chryl say.

Holly Johnson is nice and can sing well.

Ankhush Khanna shoudn't be there. He's OK but that's all and he is a bit painful to listen to.

A big girl with a big voice. I didn't like that. Someone who I did like is Kiera Wethers. A super audition, one of the better ones.

Louisa Johnson is a talent to be reckoned with. She looks good and performs well. I am not a big fan of her voice but she does look good. A definite contender for the Live Shows.

Essex girl Chloe, blonde No. 2, is very similar so there won't be room for both. I feel she may lose out to Louisa.

Gifty is another sort of blonde. No idea how old she is but she is one of the most accurate singers of the whole Boot Camp thing. Very good.

Charli Beard has an excellent voice too. Not as good as Gifty but a nice personality and a sort of happy girl.

Decision time. 24 acts for Judges' Houses. First they cut down to about 60 acts, 15 in each category.

Next week the 6 Chair Challenge will provide plenty of drama as the panel try to choose the six acts they prefer. Now they really should know which they want but it always seems to be a problem making decisions on the night. No doubt that will be the case again.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Boot Camp Pt 1

Yes, it's Boot Camp, when 180 or so acts get whittled down to a much lower number. They get housed at a pretty huge pile somewhere in the country and told to sort themselves into groups of five acts. They have to be a mix of categories too, just to make an already awkward and frustrating thing even worse. They show some idiot getting drunk for quite a while which is tedious but fortunately he doesn't get through or affect others' chances. Not a pleasant start to the show and the sort of stuff that we don't need to see. Far better would be some interesting co-operation between some acts or simply do away with the whole 'group' idea as I have been suggesting for years and years.

They say that it is a vital part of being in 'the business', to be able to get on with people but it is rare that they would need to form relationships in a short space of time with those under such pressure as here. Later, once a few acts have been established and have to do something like perform a song together in a 'sing-a-long' slot on a Live Show or on tour then, fair enough, some will have to sing stuff they may dislike or with others they need to pretend to get on with. they will, however, be established at that point, with a salary and all that tends to make it a lot easier to get along and give up a few personal preferences.

I would seriously recommend that they are put into groups and that silly business of wandering around trying to get with others is abandoned for good. It's not particularly good TV and even the actual performances are likely to be pretty average after just one day.

What we get are many repeats of bits of previous performances too, which is a bit annoying unless, I suppose, you missed them before.

There were some excellent individual efforts and some disasters but nothing worth picking out in particular from this crazy round. Next weekend it should be a lot better as they get to choose a song and perform by themselves again and then the real cuts start.

I'd say that there are few boys who stand out, just one male 'Over' whereas there are many girls and older girls who come across very well and also some excellent groups. I can't imagine they'll need to put together a manufactured group this year.

That's it for now. I never really know what to say at this point.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

X Factor really is almost getting cool but can't compete with Dr Who.

The last of the auditions this weekend. Up against Dr Who for the first half hour I suspect most people will be watching this time-shifted. If they didn't record it then they're missed some very good acts - people who may or may not have been encouraged to audition but, whatever the case, have some experience and several could well already have a decent on-line following I suspect.

A nice start with Megan Dallas who gigs when she's not being an accountant. She is another of a kind that we haven't seen so many of in previous years, a sort of semi-professional talent who just hasn't been 'recognised' yet. Megan is great, very cool and with a totally original style that is unlike anything I've heard before. The crowd love her and she sails through to Boot Camp. I reckon she must already have a pile of You Tube videos.

Kerrie-Anne has been teaching and singing in Dubai. Another well practised talent. You can tell these sort of entrants are on a completely different level, acts who would have avoided X Factor in previous years. It is almost as if X Factor has become cool.

Lucy comes from Essex. She works at Boots and played in a duo in Hull (why Hull if she's from Essex?) and Nick remembered here from a gig he'd broadcast from. She's on her own now. She has a big voice and, although her audition was better than a lot I've seen them put through, I wasn't that impressed at first but her performance a capella at Simon's request (but pre-ordained by the producers I'm sure) was brilliant. That transformed her in my opinion and, yes, of course she's through to Boot Camp.

So that's three really competent acts who probably have a good occasional gig life and plenty of support on-line but need that extra push that this programme and, especially, Syco, can give them. It is an interesting development from the last ten years or so and probably too late to have much impact on viewing figures which is a shame as the show deserves good reviews if this standard is maintained and the idiot contestants are left out of the Live Show stages. Before it has been largely an entertainment show with a few candidates for a record contract and, most years, someone has made the big time in a deserving way, often not by winning but just by being recognised and getting backed somehow.

Next we have an Ahh moment with a married couple doing the Olly / Demi Up. They're a good-looking couple for sure. The girl's lovely. It was a little naff but they were good (and Olly sang along in the background). It could have been embarrassing but they deserve to move forward and reminded me (and Simon, I think) of the pair who won American Idol a couple of years ago. This pair are called Kay and Nigel I think. I can't remember the Idol pair's name now. That's terrible. Ah, I remember: Alex & Sierra. I wonder what happened to them?

Next we have another pair, Lou and Elle. i didn't like them as much but they were, none the less, in tune and could do well with some guidance.

Another married couple: two guys this time. The Shores weren't that good, I'm afraid.

Andy Taylor is an ice cream man and, ridiculously, brings on 99s for the judges. They amuse the crowd immensely by messing around with them which is a nice change from the moody years that we'll remember. He is an old bald chap with a big black beard but can perform on stage well. I don't see him getting too much further though.

Anton is 21 and comes from Tipperary. He also sings in pubs ('only been singing for three years'!) and is a likeable sort. He has a cheerful attitude, doing George Ezra's Budapest. Not an easy song but he is good. I like this fellow. He could easily fit in the Live Shows and they need young guys badly. Nice audition. One to watch.

D Tour are six lads who have a fair bit of audience support. They don't sound right, all over the place really. The panel are not very impressed. Some woman comes on and asks that they get a chance and they get another shot. I was expecting it to be one of those times when suddenly they sound superb but they didn't.

Chase Mystery tries to do a dance thing but he's not much good.

Olly said he nearly had a deal but it fell through. He tried a Wham number. Not much good but they do give him a second chance. I didn't think he would get that but there you go.

An old bloke. No, he's only 27. Ooops. Joe is from Ireland and is ginger. He says he has auditioned a few times and seems to have made it to Boot Camp at least once. This year he does a nice version of the soul song but whilst he sings well he moves pretty badly and the white trousers don't help him. Unusually, Simon says he'd like to give him a try and asked him to go off and come back with a new number. He tries the Whitney number I Want To Dance With Somebody. It was OK. I reckon he could be worth a second go at Boot Camp and the panel give him the chance.

Tori is no good and the judges say they're bored. Must have been a poor run and a miserable girl group don't help. Men On Point are a duo from Ghana and say they had some success there. Interesting. Turn It Up is an original number and I bet that was one of their hit singles from before. A good number, up to date and Rita adores them. She is only 24, after all, and that was ideal for her. They all like them and fly through. they could be entertaining in future shows.

So far, most programmes end with a star. Sherllynn is in the Overs category and says she sang around pubs and clubs from 13 to 30. She stopped when she had to care for her husband for 10 years so there's plenty of gooey back story and you just know that with all that past expertise in her armament she will be really good. She just has to be, doesn't she? All good emotional stuff. I'm not sure she'll get that far but she will definitely get a chance at Boot Camp.

Looks like it's Boot Camp starting tomorrow. Not my favourite part from past years but maybe they'll find some way to improve it.

It's worth looking back and seeing just who the show has found that have done pretty well (other than just after the show that Christmas) from each year.

2004 G4
2005 Shayne Ward and Chico
2006 Leona Lewis
2007 was a bad year although Rhyddian Roberts may have found a career in theatre.
2008 Alexandra Burke, JLS and Ruth Lorenzo, Diana Vickers
2009 Olly Murs, Stacey Solomon and Jedward
2010 One Direction, Rebecca Ferguson, Matt Cardle, Cher Lloyd
2011 Little Mix, Amelia Lily
2012 Ella Henderson, Union J, Rylan Clark
2013 another bad year
2014 Only The Young may make it. Ignore a couple of Big Brother people (Stevi / Chloe)

So you can see why the pressure has been on for 2015!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Here come some girls, and a few boys. And one more for the Live Shows?

Havva Rebke makes you smile just listening to that accent! She got through to Boot Camp three years ago and will do that again.Whether she gets further depends on how much the judge responsible likes her style. She's modern.

PYT were mostly Amanda Holden's Golden Buzzer choice on BGT earlier this year so just fly through. They didn't seem much diffrent to many others but are pretty professional sounding.

Calypso is French and 21. Now she is a bit different, with a strong but slightly forced voice. Easily through, a pretty damn good singer but I don't know how much public support she's get.

Another girl, Katie Coleman has a lot of peroxide blonde hair and a good spray tan which makes her seem less real than should be the case as she is an excellent singer and has a genuine, mature attitude. A good audition and I would expect her to make Judges' Houses.

I wonder if there'll be any men on this edition?

An odd older woman who teaches yoga is on next. Even if she sings well, I don't think she's someone we'll want to see on the Live Shows. As it happens this is one of the 'let's laugh at a crap contestant' moments and the sooner someone puts her out of her misery the better.

Naneth Lyons is another possible let down. She's very nervous. She looks a bit Filipino or Burmese or something like that and few like her can actually sing in most shows. This girl's different, though, and is quite good. A bit slow and serious with the old-style Somewhere There's A Place For Us. Possibly the best voice of the night for that sort of song. Good audition. I don't know how the Overs are looking but she ought to go a fair way with that talent.

Now some lads. Brodie Kelly is a good looking young one at 18. Nick likes him already. Plays a guitar and sings quite gently which is quite appealing but he'll need to do more than that. he'll be safely through to Boot Camp and, so far, we haven't seen many boys.

Ben Clark has a Beatles hair cut and a strong Bruce Springstein type of voice. Another guy easily through but, again, I'm not sure if he'll get that far.

Three 24 year-olds next in a band. Not brilliant but they're through.

Jo Waller sings his own song Stay. He's OK too. Not that much more really.

All a bit average so far from the boys. Rita does fancy all of them, it seems.

Back to the girls and have the producers kept a special audition for the end of the Sunday show? Lots of weepy back story make me think there must be something to make all the extra material worthwhile. let's see. Kiera Weathers sings We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off. Nice performance. She knows what she's doing and is very confident for an 18 year old. Sounds like the girl who got voted out wat too early in the year that James Arthur won. Lovely personality and she'll be around for a long time. She seems genuinely surprised at all the compliments. Nice.

That's it for this week. Another one for the Live Shows, I reckon.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Full marks to the producers this week! A bit rehearsed but no rubbish acts. One potential winner.

Papsidero starts us off this weekend with a pair of odd-looking wings. Simon gives away how long ago this was recorded by mentioning that we here in the UK have a seagull problem at the moment! He didn't make it on Italy's X Factor so is trying his luck here where we seem to have a habit of sticking nutters in wings on the show.

He's mostly in tune, as it happens. But he'd be better not screaming so much and losing the wings.

Alex Boye was on America's Got Talent and certainly has a good voice and plenty of energy. He's a safe bet for another programme but I am not sure he fits a Live Show line-up.

Janessa would suit a Burlesque show. She can dance well but the voice isn't going to sell any records.

An extremely odd pair come on next and they don't seem to be able to communicate very well.  They're called Rock & Rose and I wonder if that weird intro had been rehearsed. Anyway, the girsl is a fabulous singer, along Florence & The Machine lines. A really good performance. The guy played the guitar OK. It was an Emile Sande track, apparently. They seemed to stay very serious throughout, though. The guy stayed completely emotionless. very, very strange. I can only guess that someone in the production team told them to behave like that for the first audition just to make the show more interesting. She is the sort of act that I'f be happy to see winning this and she could definitely sell albums and do stadium concerts. The guy can just hang around.

Ellis Lacy is one of the few 'hunks' on the show so far, a navy weapons engineer, but he doesn't get through. We didn't hear much of what he had to offer.

Jade MacGuire next. She's 30 and had a record deal ten years ago. She was in a band called Pop! and says they had three UK hit singles. They were two Top 20 numbers and another made 26 but it looks like they didn't get the right promotion breaks from there. So this is a bit like The Voice which was famous for its old stars reappearing. It's not a good start but once she gets going it improves and she sort of gets the right notes. I'd expected better. She is a nice sort of person, though, who'll be cmpeting with that farm girl from Gloucestershire in someone's Judge's Houses in a few weeks' time. The audience like her.

Some slightly mature big girls do gospel. Called Silver Tone they ruin Rather Be and I hope Clean Bandit weren't watching the show. Not good. In another bit of what looked rehearsed they get told to come back with a gospel number. Some gospel guys are watching and urging them to do better next time. So we just know that the guys will be really good and, of course, so too, will be the girls.

They have a good, clean, look although the jeans on one look crazy. Anyway, Bekln do a pretty good job of Hold Back The River once they get past the first couple of lines. Lots of church runs and stuff like that but not the usual wailing you get from these choir people. Nice job. We should see quite a bit more of them.

Sure enough, the gospel girls reappear with a messy version of Still Waters Run Deep and a smattering of Bridge Over Troubled Water. Everybody thinks they're great but I wasn't very impressed. I am pretty sure that was all put together, as well as the filming of the guys watching them. That had to be prepared. Anyway, that's better than some of the real crappy acts that we've seen before. I hope Simon doesn't fancy putting a Big Gospel Choir together.

A young person at last. Charlie is 17, nice girl. A Change Is Gonna Come is a big number and she does it justice. Well done. She'll be around for a while. Performance of the night. (I'll add a video when one is available).

Vicki Nash next. She's a professional singer already and does a competent job but lacks something compared to a couple of acts tonight.

Back after not quite making Judges' Houses is Rumour Has It, three young girls who have plenty of confidence and come across as very modern and very well-rehearsed. Good job, they'll get through a round or two, no problem.

Monica is another act that got to the 6 chair challenge before Judges' Houses. That was a very good audition indeed. A good night for potential Judges' Houses acts. Monica will probably get there this time although how far after that I'm not so sure. We'll see.

Another well-planned ending!

Monday, 7 September 2015

As well as Overs X Factor needs an Odds category

A large young girl with red hair starts off the second audition for Week 2. She's OK but the makeover team will have their work cut out for them if she makes the later stages. Jasmine Leigh is reasonably in tune but really nothing exceptional and is followed by a few more contenders who all seem to be a little odd in some way.

Now there's nothing wrong in being a little odd. Indeed, it can even be a useful marketing tool for the record companies but I just don't see any of these people getting that far. Max Stone plays a guitar. He looks about 45 but is in his twenties. Add the fact that he's singing Bob Marley and that's different if nothing else. Quite a good performance overall and obviously through to Boot Camp with Jasmine.

Joining them is Ebru who describes herself as a freelance singer. She does seem to know what she's doing and her strained sort of voice sort of works. She'd look good on an album sleeve too,

So too would Sharon Rose who has a Diana Ross look about her but actually performs in much more soulful a way and comes across as quite naturally talented and a pleasant sort but still not someone I'd expect to make the Live Shows.

This year's really odd ball, and the sort to make a Live Show if the producers were going for the 'we need a weird entrant' route to improve TV ratings, could be Joselito, a 51 year old hairdresser who may be good at hairdressing but is rubbish at singing. He ruined Copa Cabana and took his time doing it too. How on Earth he got through I do not know.

If you were hoping that things might now start settling down and some normally pretty impressive acts would be coming on stage you'd have been disappointed as next come two dreadful acts I won't even bother name-checking.

A chap called Che Chesterman comes from Essex. Does everyone come from Essex this year? Apart from the Filipino band, that is. He's got a baseball cap on back to front and looks a bit strange but he puts in a strong audition and is in with a chance of a Live Show place f only because there are very few decent blokes so far. He needs some work, appearance-wise, but that may be feasible.

Karen is one of the big gospel girls. We haven't had many of them this year. She belts out a track fairly well but has a tinny sound. A bit forgettable.

Laura is getting on and comes from Ireland. She looks like she has just grabbed the first clothes she had lying around and wandered on to the stage. Almost zero presence but she does sing very well and in tune too which is nice. she might surprise us but I doubt it.

Jordan is possibly the first good-looking young chap to make a reasonable audition this year and we'll be seeing more of him I'm sure. Not a winner but he might get dragged into a composite group if there's one needed again this year.

Tonatha has a name that takes a bit of getting your tongue around but certainly has a nice red dress and moves exceptionally well in it. A cheerful girl who is actually a teacher and comes across as very confident with some disco-soul type track. Nice enough but that's all really.

As the evening drags to a close we've seen a good number of auditions but they are all pretty average really when you look back at them and, whilst many get through to Boot Camp and one or two might even get further, I simply don't see anyone who straightaway makes you think that they're a Live Show contender. That is, after all, what all this about. Make the Top 12 or whatever it will be this year and you have the chance of a lifetime, performing with lots of support and good advice, made up, hopefully, to look your best (although that hasn't always been the case!) and out there to win a few more votes than whoever gets the lowest and thus get a further week on our screens.

Perhaps one who might make at least the Top 24 is Hannah Marie, the last up tonight. She makes a good job of Freddie Mercury's Somebody To Love and provides the panel with that long-awaited Wow! moment. She shows signs of lots of classical training and seems very strong, with an impressive audition. On listening again, though, I am not so sure she made as good a job of hitting the notes as well as I thought she did when watching the programme on TV. She's 30 so would be a good candidate for the Overs category and I reckon she will be in the running for a position there. With her Gloucestershire Farm Girl background and nice personality she definitely comes across well on the screen.

Switching over to The Xtra Factor, there was another Overs act worth mentioning. A really very good performance by Anton Stephens (or maybe Stephans?) should see him safely through to the same group as Hannah-Marie, and both seem TV-friendly too. Anton has the slight advantage of experience, having been a backing singer with several famous names in the past and you can see he is comfortable on stage and also why he got that job in the first place. Now he may be a little past his best and there is a certain panic in his eyes but that may settle as he gets restored faith in himself.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Basically, ITV don't even try to compete for ratings this week.

If the producers were hoping to make a strong showing against BBC's Strictly Come Dancing then this didn't work. I can only assume that they reckoned on everyone watching BBC as it is the first of that series and so put on their poorest auditions and didn't bother to battle this week, maybe bringing out the stronger stuff when viewers, unimpressed with the Strictly line-up, give the X Factor a try again.

This was an eminently missable show indeed. It started with an Olly look-alike called Jamie and that's all he was good for, really. Nice fellow and his second song was a bit better but still very average.

A pair of blondes called Flaxen were useless, even with some flames at the end.

A scary looking group called Alien provided the only glimpse of real talent. Modern and commercial, they were excellent and we'll see a lot more of them. A good Live Show contender.

Zen Blythe came on with a hairband and looked and sounded a bit weird. he got through and may surprise us but I doubt it.

Danny Charles was out of tune and boring. Simon Lynch was a bit more serious and came from the Isle of Man and, yes, he can sing well but I still don't see him getting very far.

A couple of girls claiming to have lots of experience and let-downs in the past appear. Shianne is pretty useless and very off key. The other one is Stephanie who is better and does an  good version of Summertime. Not very memorable, though.

An old-style rocker in dreadful grey trousers can sing and perform well but is dated. He's also called Stevie.

Last up is Bupsi who is in her late 30s, from Yorkshire and can do Tina Turner numbers reasonably well. She's a full-time singer at weddings, bars and, as she says, anywhere that'll have her. Honest, if nothing else. She makes a good impression on the panel but they have to forgive some off key stuff and she cannot be expected to perform like that every time she gets on stage.

So, apart from one act, Alien. This was a very poor night indeed. I don't expect many will have sen it anyway.