This weekend saw the end of room auditions and the start of Boot Camp. Before the farce that is Boot Camp began we get to see eight or nine more acts, thankfully mostly decent ones too.
Soheila Clifford tells us almost straight away that her parents have remortgaged their house twice now to support her through stage school. I'm not so sure that will endear her to anyone watching. Her singing is average and, whilst she can perform and has some confidence, I don't think she'll be very likeable and disappointment will be ahead for her, despite deserving to get through.
4 Of Diamonds is a girl group with nice harmonies. They look good, modern and likeable. Nicole says they're her 'favourite girl group' which can't be a bad sign for them! Nice tone and they'll move on easily.
Nate Simpson sings A Change Is Going To Come. A nice copy version. Good voice. Is he current, though? He deserves to move on as he is far better than many others who have. There are not many like him so far in this year's pack and this is the last day of the auditions so he is a definite for Boot Camp.
Christopher Peyton is from Virginia and his dad's a preacher. He works in dance music and at 46 is one of the older competitors. However, he has an original sound, good whispering sort of voice that makes him interesting. Again, I'm not sure whether he's current or how well he'd sell in the charts but it was a super audition and he is through to Boot Camp.
Some woman in an electric buggy appears. She's dreadful but does give Simon the chance to say that 'Louis likes a cockatoo' which raises a good laugh.
Will Rush is a good looking actor fellow. An average singer but he writes his own material and has some talent for sure. I suspect he has been 'selected' and asked to join the contestants from YouTube videos or similar. I'm not sure how far he'll go but easily makes Boot Camp.
Samantha Atkinson is a sort of Adele look-a-like and she sings like her too. She made Judges Houses last year. A very good, confident singer and she'll go a long way.
We get a glimpse of someone called Premonition, I think, but then we skip to Kirsty Murphy for some reason. An odd entry, strong singer but a bit desperate. She gets a break but I don't think we'll see much more of her. No idea what happened to the group.
Some really bad acts follow and then we get Gary Greig. He seems like another that may have been pulled in by producers. He does Stevie Wonders' Signed Sealed And Delivered really well. Great range and confidence but I don't know whether he's a current pop star. Obviously gets through but after that I don't know. Well, I do but your not supposed to know yet!
The last one is Mike Hough who apparently was runner up to Adele for a MOBO award. That sounds a bit strange to me so I may have misheard that bit. Another that could have been pulled in to make up the numbers of good auditions. An excellent audition. One to watch. Perhaps.
That's it. That's all the auditions. We now move on to Boot Camp and there's a new idea. At least someone is trying to improve this crazy time. Three copies of each song available are placed in various places along a 'wall'. Contestants rush to choose and take their favourite from those available and then are expected to perform with the two other acts with the same card. There is some trading of songs but, apart from one or two who seem to have failed to get anything they like, it works a lot better than the previous system that had people wandering around looking for a 'group' which was so tough on those who were not naturally outgoing or easy to fit in. This is a lot better and, as far as I can tell, worked generally a lot better. We used to get mothers trying to influence groups too which has, mercifully, not happened this time and there was only one case shown of someone not wanting to perform. Before most of the programme was taken up watching some bad tempered and rude girl refusing to do this or that with her colleagues.
There's not much point listing all the performances as we on;y get a glimpse of most of them and it seems that all we see get through anyway. So all the reasonably good contestants survive this round.
A few were notably good. Caitlyn, Chris Peyton (who Simon calls Peyton), Sada the doll girl, Gifty, Christian, a group called Sk3rl3t or something like that, Ivy and a great version of I Only Want To Be With You by Rebbekah, James and Samantha. These stood out for me. Simon says that the group Sk3rl3t would be 'a nightmare to manage' but they do seem pretty good from the briefest glimpse we get.
There were some notable acts missing from those shown but I expect we'll catch up with them in due course. Like The Brooks. I may just missed them but we know they get through anyway!
At the end, the judges are assigned to their categories. Simon gets the Girls, Nicole the Boys, Sharon the Overs and Louis the Groups. Everyone seems happy with the choices. I do fear for who gets through with the Groups, though, knowing how Louis tends to choose acts which are entertaining rather than necessarily competent. Otherwise I am expecting a decent competition to develop with some excellent acts in the Live Shows in at least three categories.