X Factor 2014 kicked off on Saturday with the week one room auditions in London. It’s gonna be another season of screamers and screechers, y’all. What’s new? Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole are back, as is the audition room, and Mel B (aka Scary Spice) is on board. The showed opens with the hosts in leather riding motorcycles. They point out that the UK makes up less than 1% of the world’s population, but that it’s produced some major superstars. Why? Because of the Spice Girls, obvs. Anyway, here’s our X Factor recap.
British dad, German mom, and a whole lot of blonde hair. These American-sounding sisters say they have lived in 35 countries. They run into the room shrieking and saying they are “awesome!” So much for countering stereotypes. When Simon asks if they have boyfriends they say they are “single Pringles” and Mel B gives a look that says “WTF?”
Taking on Jessie J’s “Do It Like a Dude”, they sound like they sucked on some helium before their auditions. They have swagger, peroxide hair, and some surpirsingly sultry moves. Simon compares the sound to eight people scratching nails on a blackboard, but says he is fascinated.
Simon: “It’s like you’ve been invented by Louis on a computer to create the most irritating girl group in the world.” YES
Louis: “I think you’re a little bit loopey, but all pop stars are.” YES
Mel B: “If you’re that annoying, you must be pretty good.” YES.
Cheryl: “I think that you’re very very nice people, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.” NO
Fifteen and cute as a button, Reese wants to win X Factor for his 16th birthday. His dad, who appears to have had his son when he was only 15, asks Reese to get him Cheryl’s number. It’s good to see he is so supportive. His rendition of Disclosure’s Latch is soulful, smooth and self-assured.
Simon: “I have just heard a thousand guitars today…but I loved the choice of song. I loved the version.” YES
Louis: “The word for you is potential.” YES
Mel B: “Man I loved it. I ought to stand up and applaud…it’s young, it’s current, it’s fresh. I loved it and I love everything you are.” YES
Cheryl: “I love your passion and I think your voice is incredible.” YES
Reece isn’t the only teenager turning heads in the audition room. Charlie Jones, who is 14 going on 40, has the voice. And Mel B and Cheryl certainly think he has the look. They are getting so excited we think they might slip off their chairs. Chloe O’Gorman needs to wax her eyebrows, but the judges look past that. Simon says she has “natural soul” and that “we’ve just scratched the surface with you.” Not sure what they heard, as she sounds off to us at home. Lauren Platt wears crucifix earrings, an edgy bandana, and a mesh top, and matches a stylish look with a seriously sultry-soulful voice. Simon thinks she’s special and we agree.
Dressed as a gent in black suspenders, Ben presents Cheryl with a green rose. He tells us he loves life, animals and Cheryl Cole. He says she’s “better than an angel singing with the loudest voice in heaven.” Hmmm. Let’s hope that angel uses as much Auto Tune!
His cheese rendition of “That’s My Goal” involves him grabbing Cheryl’s hands, and it all screams STALKER. We hope she takes out a restraining order because dude is creepy.
Simon: “You’ve got four yeses.” YES
Cheryl: “Beautiful. I’m saying yes.” YES
Mel B: “For Cheyrl I’m saying yes.” YES
This section was obviously designed to keep Cheryl on board, as producers show us, like 12 guys and gals saying that Cheryl is “sick”, “beautiful”, “amazing” and more. Jale Antor, a 42-year-old hairdresser missing a few screws, sings “Fight for this Love”…dressed in Cheryl’s famed red and black toy soldier outfit.
Amy, a 25-year-old betting shop assistant, auditioned back in 2008. She looked like a blonde angel, and broke down after telling the judges that her mother had passed away. Cheryl gave her a hug, chose her for judges houses, and then sent her home with the parting message, “I hope that you come back.” Well she did! Amy remembers it all. As she tells us before walking in: “For [Cheryl] to believe in me would be brilliant.”
During Amy’s actual audition, Cheryl instantly recognises her (we wonder if producers reminded her beforehand?) and we learn that Amy now has a husband and a fiance. Simon is all, like, why now? And she adds to Cheryl hysteria by saying she knows that now is her time because of Cheryl’s comeback. So sweet. I just contracted diabetes.
Cheryl, in tears: “That was really beautiful. It was captivating. It honestly…this is like a flashback to me. We just have a connection. I am so proud of you. The fact that you came back. You stood there with confidance and poise…” YES
Louis: “I love the fact that you’ve come back.”
Mel B: “Your voice is outstanding. You can just hear and feel the emotion.”
Simon: “I kind of wrote you off before you started singing, but you got to me with that song. I believed every word. I think you have a really nice voice.” YES
It can’t all be yes, yes, yes…let the trainwrecks begin…
A pasta decorater from East London, Shayden performs an original song. “It’s about a woman who uses a man and leaves him,” he says. Apparently it’s a personal story. It features lyrics like, “You hurt me…you hurt me..and now my, my pain is not gone….a woman can break a man apart.” It’s appaling, and you can’t help but think he’s 1) crazy and 2) homeless. Dude needs to scrub up, work on the vocals, and lose the beanie.
Simon: “Seriously, this has got to stop.”
Louis: “Shayden, we’ve got other people to see.”
Cheryl: “I need the bathroom.”
We meet a Chinese woman whose mother serves the judges fried rice. Simon requests sweet ‘n sour chicken. Then there’s a 63-year-old named Carol Travaterman with a bad wig and a dodgy striptease. Yes, we see panties while she sings “Simply the Best.” Angelina Robinson sings “dream, dream, dream,” but it’s a nightmare because she’s tone deaf and wearing a cheetah print headpiece. Steve Callegari, who lists his profession as a pop singer, tackles Coldplay’s “Clocks”…and instantly throws into question his profession.
Chloe Jasmine, a 22 year old from Sussex, is super posh, loves Henley and gallery launches. She says she doesn’t listen to herself sing. “If I do sing at the next round in Wembley it’d be great to say at a dinner party,” she says. “[My dream] is to be happy every day for the rest of my life.”
When the trumpets of “Black Coffee” start, she takes on the role of strumpet. Her voice is dark and sexy, and you start to think she’s hiding about 20 1920s soul singers up her skirt. How does a skinny posh chick sing like that?
Simon: I really like you. You’r eunusualy, cookey. You’ve got an authentic throw back bluesy voice.” YES
Cheryl: “I felt like I was in the 40s in a jazz bar. You’re mesmerizing.” YE
Mel B: “I would like to talk like you one day.” YES
Louis: “Absolutely a million per cent yes.” YES
A former warfare specialist with the navy, Jay operated radars and war guns. After getting sent home on sick leave he took up the guitar, but chose to focus on his voice. You know he’s going to be amazing when the producers start showing his nine-month old daughter and nervous wife. Simon has a baby too, so you, like, know they’re going to bond over that. The piano starts and Jay gets rul, rul emotional singing “Say Something.” We know he’s going to get through because it’s 9:20 and the last act always goes through, but it’s still sweet.
Simon: “Amazing. That is how you do it.” YES
Cheryl: “The passion was oozing from you. To make Mel cry is serious…” YES
Mel B: “The passion and the emotion was just ridiculously good. I cannot even tell you. I hate you because you made me cry.” YES
Louis: “It was a brilliant song choice and you just reeled us in and had us in your hands with every single word.” YES