Women have gained the vote in Saudi Arabia, Mike Tindall has got himself in hot water for motorboating some girl and Mad Men has won another dozen Emmys. These are all things that have happened since X Factor 2011 began. But after nearly two months of auditions, boot camps and all the rest of it, we are finally ready to start the competition properly. Hurrah / Thank god..
Last night we found out which budding divas would be delighting and annoying us on a weekly basis this autumn and as usual there was no shortage of controversy as 32 acts were whittled down to 16 for the live finals. But where to begin?
There’s always some sort of X Factor-related outrage occurring on the web on a Monday morning as the winter draws in and this morning, fans were directing their ire at the judges who booted out John (who was rejected again after reaching the same stage a couple of years back) “There are lads in my top four who can’t sing as well as you, but I believed them more..” said Gary Barlow. Terry Winstanley, the lovable over-25 was also ditched and described mentor Louis Walsh as ‘useless’ this morning. Jade Richards, was knocked out despite being the favourite to win the competition at one stage and Luke Lucas seemed to crack under the pressure in front of Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams at his audition.
The Take That duo have spoken of how they thought that putting so much expectation on a 16 year-old was unfair, but we’ll surely be seeing young Luke again. After all, Alexandra Burke was booted out at a similar stage before going on to win a couple of years later.
“Luke is too young. It was too much for him, no wonder he cracked,” Gary told The Sun. “Sixteen is just too young to be in a competition with this kind of pressure.”
“If it was my son or my daughter I don’t think I’d be pushing them that early,” continued Robbie, despite being just 16 years old when he joined Take That.” Eighteen or 19 maybe. You’ve found yourself, you’ve left school, hung out with mates, earned some money. You’ve been anonymous and done your fun things. At 16 it takes your b******* off. I do think 16 is a bit young. But when you get an opportunity you just grab it.”
Frank Cocozza, Craig Cotton, James Michael and Marcus Collins eventually secured the four places in what looks like a strong boys section for Barlow. He left his decision over Cocozza (who famously has the names of seven girls tattooed on his backside) to the last minute and told him that although he didn’t have the best voice he just couldn’t leave him behind.
Elsewhere, Kelly Rowland picked Janet Devlinas her first choice for the girls section. Devlin was installed as an early favourite with bookies last night although many have suggested that the popular Irish lass might struggle to in the weeks that don’t suit her melodic style. Amelia Lily – who looks every inch the finished article, Sophie Habibas and Misha Bryan completed another strong section, but the biggest surprise was the omission of Jade Richards, who blew the judges away at her Glasgow audition. However with talk of a ‘twist’ in next week’s first live show, many are speculating that she could be making an appearance as a wildcard, along with some other acts..
Meanwhile, Louis was getting up to his old tricks in the over-25s category. In the face of being dealt the weakest hand, he decided to choose ridiculous acts rather than sublime once again. It seems to be his job to push the series’ ‘joke act’ these days, but he was robbed of the quirky-yet-talentless Goldie after she dropped out at the insistence of her husband. Walsh will have to fall back on the clearly quite mental Kitty Bruckner (we could write a thesis on the girl!), the warm-hearted Johnny Robinson, distinctly average army dude Jonjo Kerr and Goldie’s replacement Sami Brookes. How Brookes and Terry weren’t in the original four is a mystery and it seems to confirm that the over-25 section is now more about providing jester acts than singers (as with Wagner last year) or in the case of Jonjo, people who are assured public popularity.
It was also all going on in the group section as Tulisa broke up about fifteen acts and created some Frankenstein-like boy and girl bands. Rhythmix, a girl band comprised of single acts made it through (although history suggests they will be leaving early on) as did 2 Shoes, the only act in Tulisa’s group not to have been created by the X Factor machine. Then we had The Risk, who were generated after boot camp, but stole the lead singer (the one who could actually sing) from Chasing Keys in an “X Factor first”. The rest of Chasing Keys were duly told to go away. We just wish Kendro were still with us..