Category Archives: X Factor

The X Factor: Xtinct-Factor boot camp

by Maggie Gordon-Walker

x-factorWhen 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.  Continue reading

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The X Factor: We did it

*High Five* we did it. We got to the end of the series. A feat made all the more amazing given that the producers make it as hard as possible for us to finally crown a bleedin’ winner. Personally I felt like I spent my whole weekend watching X Factor.

This year’s final was a struggle, wasn’t it? I mean the production was all very nice but, when push comes to shove, Marcus was just singing on a bad reproduction of the Pan Am set. So far, so zeitgeisty and Amelia was just marching around some sort of deranged princess in super-unflattering pink Doc Martens.

The Saturday song choices were quite strange as well. I have no idea why Marcus was encouraged to sing Hey Ya. It’s really fast, has lots of words in each phrase and it was pitched really weirdly. He sounded terrible in the choruses. It’s like someone wanted him to lose.

Little Mix became the millionth people to sing You Got The Love on TV and made me a bit sad inside as I hate any remix of this amazing classic. Well, that’s not entirely true. I hate the Florence version but I don’t mind the version they sang. Though to be honest what they were singing was irrelevant as it was overshadowed by The Furbys outfit. Ripped jeans? Really? Jesus actually wept. Who on earth thought that would be flattering?

Amelia Lily got to stomp and shout during Aint No Other Man so she must have been in her element. This was an ok song choice but odd staging. I got the feeling that the X Factor producers got overexcited, booked Wembley and then had to just fill the space anyway they could. More often than not they went with tons of dancers.

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The X Factor: And now, the end is near

Last week we were treated to another double themed spectacular. It was ‘Songs To Get You To The Final’ and ‘Motown.’  One does wonder what Frankie would have sang if he’d survived this long. Something hideous no doubt.  It’s actually not worth thinking about.

Now I know lots of people didn’t like Misha’s performance, but I think she smacked that song upside its head. Her staging was good, as was her vocal. Bravo, girl! Misha is also the only contestant who actually wears a stage costume. I like a girl that puts some effort in and creates a show.

Amelia Lily got the big song. You know, the one that everyone knows and likes. ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ is a tune! I have no idea why Misha didn’t fight for this, as she would have killed it. Amelia did her usual shouting thing, but pulled it off this week. Just. I really do worry for her – well, her throat actually. Amelia is clearly straining to sing and that can’t be good for her.   Continue reading

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The X Factor: Guilty pleasures and musical heroes

Ohh that Tulisa. She’s a right cheeky one. Doing her arm salute thing without a thought given to Ofcom. Aside from her daring act of rebellion, this week was hard because the acts had to sing two whole songs. Well, not two songs really. More like one and a half – the songs are highly edited after all.

Little Mix opened the guilty pleasures-themed show with a “Baby” mash up. We had Beiber AND Diana Ross. It was more like their performances of a few weeks ago in that the vocals were a bit patchy at the start but they got better towards the end. Somewhere in the band there’s a weak link on the fast numbers. I’m going to make it my duty to work out which one it is.

Oooh, I feel a bit sick

Not entirely sure what Janet was doing with MmmBop. I kinda presumed the acts would like and KNOW the guilty pleasure song they chose. Forgetting the words was not ideal. The only way she could have saved that performance was if she really had thrown up on stage. Her hair looked nice though and some bits of the song were okay.

I have no idea why Misha B was dressed as a Yardie but I do know untold girls will be trying to rock the boobs-out sportswear look at next year’s Notting Hill Carnival. I think Girls Just Wanna Have Fun was a good song choice for her. She looked happy and it bizarrely suited her voice. I thought it might be a bit of a mess to be honest.

Marcus has got weak yo’. It’s like his voice only sounds good if he’s singing at full pelt and even then it’s sometimes a bit shaky. His first performance was good as he obviously likes all the running around and dancing and this time he did it without the weird Little Richard vibe.

Ohh hark at Amelia Lily – her hair isn’t pink any more. She seems to have replaced her hair dying time with fake tanning. Girl is orange. To her credit she did a proper guilty pleasure song and she did it fairly well. She’s good at belting out a note, but I don’t know how strong her voice is. It sounds a bit strained at times.   Continue reading

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The X Factor: Movie Week

Ohhh, Movie Week. In lots of ways, X Factor is kinda like a film. Maybe Ben Hur or summat. One of those super-long films you start watching and half way through you start looking for the exits and sizing up the risk of death if you were to jump out the window. This season is dragging, right? It’s not just me. At least in Movie Week the rules are pretty simple and the theme can’t really be put through some sort of “artistic” interpretation by the judges.

The British Buble

I’m sorry, did Craig HACTUALLY film a faux dream sequence with a straight face? The clips before the singing are getting weirder and weirder. A bus stop dream sequence – really?? Craig did his usual thing and sang well, but was a bit boring.  I think we all need to come to terms with the fact that he’s going to be the British Buble and leave it at that. He managed to sing Licence To Thrill and thrilled no one. Awks. This is probably why he got the boot after a painful sing-off with Amelia. The judges took it to deadlock but he must have known he was going, as he was pretty much crying from the moment it was announced he wasn’t going straight through to next week.

Janet took a risk and performed with five trees on stage and yes, every single one of them had more charisma than her. This whole, “I’m so different, it’s so hard for me to be pop” thing is getting on my last nerve. She isn’t that different. I could go on a quick walk down Camden high street and trip over at least 13 girls who want to be breathy, singer-songwriter types. This week she sang Kiss Me and did okay. I wasn’t moved at all. It sounded pretty much like the original to me.

Amelia Lily, the comeback kid, the people’s champion, the underdog. Well, she’s behaving like a wronged woman, isn’t she?  Saturday’s performance was all “look at me now, bitch!” and she was a little bit brilliant. I’m not sure she’s always in tune, but she just comes across really well and always banks a good performance. Tulisa said she’d never heard her song. Yeah, a judge on a music show said she’d never heard a massively popular song by Ms Aretha. God give me strength. I can allow her to piss about with themes, but saying she’s never heard Think? Good grief.   Continue reading

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The X Factor: The theme we didn’t know we wanted – Queen v Lady Gaga

Queen v Lady Gaga. Wow, the theme that we all wanted only we didn’t know it. If the theme wasn’t exciting enough, we had the drama of Funtime Frankie being replaced by Amelia Lilly for being a lazy wastrel who couldn’t sing and having no discernible talent. What? He wasn’t kicked off for that? It was something to do with breaking a golden rule? *kisses teeth*

Ker-razy Kitty opened the show with a big old Queen number. She was in a massive huff in her VT because Misha was getting to sing ‘Born This Way’ and apparently that’s her song and she gets emotional if anyone else sings it. What a freak. So instead of that she sang ‘Don’t Stop me Now’ in her typical over the top style. As if to make up for having to sing her second choice song and to avoid her wrath she had been given a huge production budget. She had people pretending to be horses and all sorts. As ever I wasn’t that impressed with her vocal. She was sounding strainy again.

Craig sang ‘Papa-papa-ratzy.’ He sang it at full pelt and at its normal speed. Did he f^ck? He squeezed all the vibe out of it and turned it into a Craig special, and by that I mean he slowed it down, over emphasised a lot of the vowels and had dubious phrasing. It seems the only songs he can sing without dicking with them are Adele ones. The judges loved it but I thought it was a little boring and a bit of a cop out. We know Craig can sing. We need to see him bring the flavour.   Continue reading

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The X Factor: Murder on the dance floor

We all know the X Factor likes playing fast and loose with the theme, but this week they took the piss. “Dance floor classics” could have been more accurately renamed “Songs that people have danced to at some point over the last 50 years.” It was a double eviction week and we know how exciting those are. Personally I get all a-flutter. The only thing better than seeing one set of dreams dashed is seeing two sets of dreams dashed.

Johnny busted out a Madonna number and, compared to the average vocals of the divine Ms M, he wasn’t actually that bad. Then just to swish it up a bit more, he seamlessly segued into ‘You Spin Me Right Round.’ The comments he received were a bit ridiculous. Tulisa said he was predictable. Well, durr – Johnny always sings big camp numbers with dancers and a large slice of production values. As for Gary’s whinging? Whateves. His Mr Nasty stuff is wearing thin. I’m well bored of him telling people how happy they are or questioning if they liked their song.

‘I Want You Back’ was a freaking bizarre choice of song for The Devlin. Janet is hardly known for bringing the lolz. I don’t think the song suited her voice and it jarred with her awkward personality. I’m not even going to mention the dancing. Her hair looked good, though.   Continue reading

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The X Factor: The worst kind of theme show

This week we were treated to the worst kind of theme show. Not one that’s around a genre or artist, but a sort of made up holiday thing. Halloween songs? Really? Oh, ok then. Yes, all the obvious songs were sung.

The Risk opened the show with what might just be their 18th line-up change. Or it could be their 3rd. I’m not sure, as I lost interest a long time ago. They were lucky to survive really, as they had the death spot, a new line-up and had the audacity to sing a bizarre arrangement of Thriller. I was hoping Thriller would be saved for the Sunday group song. Can you imagine the horror of them miming to that? Yeah, that would truly evoke the Halloween spirit.

Johnny singing a song that mentions the devil was a bit of a cop out, but we did get a glimpse of his future employment. I’m pretty sure he’ll while away his post X Factor years lounging on a piano and singing the classics. It was nice to hear him sing properly. It’s been all too easy to forget that he can actually carry a tune.   Continue reading

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The X Factor: Musical murderer week

So this week the judges upped the ante and were at war. Or they were trying to create drama in a desperate attempt to gain viewers. It’s a sad state of affairs when a doddery old man at death’s door and a giant in an ill-fitting dress is beating X Factor in the ratings. It was Rock Week, so we had songs by Ke$ha and ballads. Ballad versions of songs that used to rock. In short, X Factor took famous songs and ripped the heart out of them like some kind of musical murderer.

The boys

Ahh, Marcus was in a super cute outfit, sorta like rock by numbers. A ripped tee and some jeans. Grr. He did put on a show for once and his performance was well received. I liked it but I wasn’t overly impressed, he seemed to get a bit screechy at points. Considering he’s more John Legend than John Lydon he still delivered in a week when the theme really wasn’t suited to him.

Craig has got some lungs on him. I really liked his performance but I question whether slowing down a rock song should have counted. I was surprised by his choice of song, but it really did suit him. I fear that if he doesn’t start doing stuff to stand out people might not vote for him and he could slip to the bottom of the results table as the viewers presume he’ll be safe.

Why the hell was Frankie’s VT just about him being a disgusting filth bag and going to low rent celeb clubs. Mahiki isn’t all that. Even I’ve been there, had a treasure chest and been sick on the C2 on the way home. Frankie is so gross he makes my crotch itch just looking at him. That boy must be riddled with disease and what was his entrance about? I get it was supposed to be cool, but it just looked like one of those O2 ads from a while back. Then once on stage the talentless goon tried and failed to sing again. He really, really, doesn’t deserve to be on the show. His song fit the theme but he was just not very good. He has definitely started to believe his own hype and needs to back off.   Continue reading

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The X Factor: Hate some, like two, feel sorry for the rest

(Week 2) Its official: this is the worst X Factor year ever. What? It’s not official? Well, it ought to be. This year’s crop of wannabes needs to up their game if they hope to hold our attention till Christmas. I think the problem is that it feels like we haven’t had a chance to emotionally invest in the acts.  So many of the faces at judges’ houses were new to me that I didn’t give a toss if they got to the lives or not, and then there’s the bands that have been  stitched together like some sort of five headed Frankenstein’s monster. They barely know or care about each other, so why should we care about them?

Usually at this stage in the game I’m indifferent about most of the contestants and love one or two. This year I hate some of them, feel sorry for the others and only like two.

The Groups

Wowzers, I wasn’t expecting Rhythmix to rock out the bashment/Notting  Hill Carnival version of I’m Like A Bird. As an ethnic, usually I only get to hear these versions in black hairdressers or takeaways. The girls did it justice and managed to sing well enough to distract us from their hideous styling. It was like a graffiti fight had taken place in H&M and the girls had to wear the outcome. I still don’t know any of their names but I think they’ll do well this year, as the other groups feel a bit dated.  Their vocals aren’t even that strong but as they seem like nice girls, I hope they survive for a while.

NuVibe.  Poor babies. They sang as if they knew they didn’t deserve to be there. Their version of With Or Without You was kinda off. I think there were about four notes that didn’t sound horrendous. The boys should have known they were on borrowed time as they had the death spot and even Louis didn’t like them.

The Risk had moments where they sounded half decent and then others where they really didn’t. Luckily for them there’s no value in Syco splitting the boy band vote AND NuVibe were rubbish, so The Risk lived to sing another day. Regardless of their voices, their performance upset me for two reasons. One: they sang Bruno Mars and I feel like that man is plaguing my life. He is everywhere. Two: They were perched on chairs and didn’t do the stand up at the key change thing we’ve all come to expect. Proper shoddy work.   Continue reading


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