When you hear the words ‘boot camp’ you envisage bloodied, muddied, exhausted bodies staggering to a finish line. Something at the very least to stretch you. Back in the halcyon days of X Factor, when Simon still had passing acquaintance with a razor and Sharon looked older than she does now, I seem to remember they did about three challenges; numbers being whittled down painfully and agonisingly before the weary survivors learned their fate on a grand stage reminiscent of A Chorus Line. Now they had a right royal knees-up on Friday night on Cowell’s dollar, then the next day performed one song that they chose from a wide selection.
Correction – they ran at a wall, engaged in an unholy scrum to rip a song title off it, then wandered round dolefully trying to find their mates in a reverse version of Farmyard Donkey, before desperately doing swapsies of their crumpled papers as if they were at the Stock Exchange. I rather liked the wall, which was new this year– the healthy disregard to ‘elf and safety’ of having roughly 150 people, some of whom had partied extremely hard the night before, charging full tilt at a flimsy metal structure. I would have liked to have seen acrobatic vaulting and slo-mo replays as some of them were crushed in the stampede. As it was, no-one even suffered a stubbed toe.
They were stubbed egos aplenty though. In their trios, they caterwauled in front of the other competitors and judges. Most ‘went through to the next day’, but an unlucky few faced the ignominy of being dismissed immediately. However as no one actually sung more than once, it was neither here nor there when the dismissal took place.
There was also the usual extraordinary parade of interesting types for us to gawp at. I understand we need to have a bit of light relief (ahhh Wagner!) as the weeks roll interminably by, but there appears to be more than the fair share currently in. I think the man whose idea of singing was chanting ‘Friday night’ over and over AND OVER was dismissed, but we still have the real life marionette aka Living Doll, the exceedingly camp bickering duo who fell out over some undercooked chicken and the rapper Honey G who has walked straight out of a Sacha Baron Cohen skit for our delectation.
Louis has the Groups. Naturally. When he has he EVER not had the Groups? Still, with his re-entry to the panel, alongside Sharon (who must be about 471 by now) and His Grey Beardness of Cowell, ‘Schermay’-Scherzinger is the baby of the bunch. Even she is nearly forty. It makes their collective slavering over the earnest sixteen year olds even more creepy than usual. Thank God for Dermot, back to his rightful place after Murs & Flack were about as successful at presenting as Mick Fleetwood and Sam Fox. His manly hugs and genuine manner are probably the only thing worth tuning in for. Mind you, I wonder if they’ll put spikes on those six chairs…..?