The adverts and opening montage on the newest series of The X-Factor focus on how it can change lives citing Alexandra Burke, Olly Murs and One Direction as well as Leona, JLS and last year’s winners Little Mix who to be fair have done little in the last nine months. Looking at this list the only other two winners are Leona and Alexandra so what this proved is that you don’t really need to win the show as long as you make an impact then you’ll at least sustain a career for a couple of years, especially if you really catch on like Jedward, however this series we are promised more big characters as well as some explosive moments though I feel that this opening episode was a step down on last year.
We kicked off with an introduction to our judges everybody’s favourite Gary Barlow, the judge whose been here for nine years but has only won once in Louis Walsh and Tulisa the girl that everybody’s talking about however not always for the right reasons. Nicole Scherzinger is introduced as the new judge, however she only jumped on board at the later stages of the auditions, and she’s looking for a worldwide star despite the fact that her initial quest on the American version of the show ended after one series. But at least Nicole’s search for a star started with the offer of free chicken from 17 year old Nando’s waiter Sheyi Omatoayo who tried to guess their favourite sauces before starting his rendition of Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World.’
Traditionally though the opening performance of The X-Factor may not be perfect it often sees the contestant get through to the next round however not this time as Sheyi seemed to be doing an impression of The Cookie Monster as he sung. Thinking this was just a rouse the judges let him have a second song and it was at this moment that I felt that his first turn was just a joke but then the comedy voice came out again during Will Young’s Leave Right Now so there was no way this guy was going through. However I think there’s hope for young Sheyi at least as the face of Nandos, which felt like the product being pushed here, as he may get his fifteen minutes of fame using his unique voice to deliver performances of classic songs.
Sheyi wasn’t the only one who worked in an average job though as we saw florists, hairdressers and erm.. firemen all going through to boot camp. However more brand names were thrust into the limelight with Jahmene Douglas who monitors the reduced to clear section at the nearest branch of Asda. As is always the way with these contestants Jahmene has never sung in public before, which I personally think is utter tosh, but when you hear that you know that you’re going to get a brilliant performance.
Indeed Jahmene blasted out a top-notch a falsetto during his rendition of Etta James’ ‘At Last’ a song that is overdone on shows like this but one that is rarely used by male contestants. Jahmene also gets the accolade of the first person this series to get a standing ovation from all four of the judges and of course a unanimous pass to the next round and I’m guessing the live finals.
Next up we had a parade of look-a-likes including a very convincing Rod Stewart and Tulisa’s mini-me which bought on Pink tribute act Zoe Alexander. In her preamble Zoe claimed that she wanted to get away from playing somebody else every night before choosing to sing a Pink so in the rather aggressive ‘So What’ which includes the soon to be relevant line ‘I’m gonna start a fight’. After a few lines, Gary Barlow raised the hand of doom and Louis suggested a song change with Zoe going into an average performance of Emeli Sande’s ‘Close to Me’ which had some flourishes of competence but didn’t warrant a place in the next round. The judges were fairly constructive saying that she needed to come back, like most of the acts on The X-Factor seem to, however suddenly she got the hump started attacking the judges before running off.
It didn’t stop there though as her dad dragged her back on stage for some unknown reason and the pair started swearing before security dragged them off but she then started kicking cameras down and destroying the set. Conspicuous by his absence was host Dermot O’Leary who was briefly seen cowering in the background but the cynic in me feels that this entire stunt was orchestrated in order to create controversy and headlines in tomorrow’s papers.
Talking of semi-psychotic females Mel B was the guest judge at the Manchester auditions getting off to a splendid start by advising a pretty eighteen year old girl that she should give up singing now and telling another young lad that his performance was the worst thing she’s ever heard ever. Loveable pensioner Louis, not Louis Walsh, came on to sing ‘Make You Feel My Love’ and while not all the words were present in the song he still came across as charming however once again Scary hit out saying that she’d almost fallen asleep. Then there was nerdy Curtis from Buxton who told a rather creepy story about having a picture of Mel from when he was younger but still delivered a lovely easy listening version of ‘Candy Man’ which one universal praise from all the judges bar her who told him that she thought he was a bit too much luckily the others put him through. As veteran X-Factor fans probably guessed though Scary’s heart would eventually be melted by a truly great singer which turned out to be sixteen year old Lincolnshire lass Ella who sung a song she’d penned about her late grandfather, there’s got to be a dead relative story somewhere, and as you can imagine she was great. Though Mel B didn’t stand up she complemented Ella on both her writing and singing saying that she was truly moved by her words and thankfully she’ll be truly moved from the judging chair over the next few weeks.
If you look at last year’s opening show we had memorable characters like Kitty Brucknell, Goldie Cheung and Frankie Cocozza as well as the incredibly popular Janet Devlin. The highlights tonight though came from one of the guest judges and two singers who didn’t make it through to the next stage of the contest. While Ella and Jahmene will most likely make it through to the live shows, and Curtis may get to Judges’ Houses, none of them gave a show-stopping performance that will stick in the mind throughout the next couple of weeks. I do feel though that things will get better as the series progresses and will reserve my judgment on how good the show will be until we pass the audition stage however I have to admit I’m feeling a little underwhelmed at this early stage.
What did you think of tonight’s X-Factor? What were your standout moments? Leave Your Comments Below.