X Factor 2013 Week 2.2: A Yodelling Twat Can't Save Arena Auditions

The show's format change has removed all of the crazy people from half the audition process and with it, all of the fun...
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The show's format change has removed all of the crazy people from half the audition process and with it, all of the fun...

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Oh god, that's the X Factor I remember.

The 'magic' - a term that I'm using looser than Katie Price's sexual disposition - of the show's original format is that punters would trundle into a room and sing for four people and, usually, unless Pete Waterman blew a gasket, they'd have no idea how bad/good they were. Now we've got this. The programme's producers presumably deemed that perfectly adequate format arrangement to be a bit old hat - a bit like Katie Price jokes - so it was in need of a freshen up.

As superfluous freshen ups go, this one was a bad one. Worse than the toilet attendant throwing a cap full of imitation Armani Code all over your shirt in a Charing Cross Wetherspoon's, the change sucked all of the life out of the show. The good acts knew they were really good instantly and we couldn't even laugh at the shit ones because it all felt a little too mean.

When I heard they were going back to the old ways - like a talent-show Coke Classic, if you will - I was (relatively) thrilled. Finally, I thought. Finally I can laugh at deluded mentals without feeling like a bullying twat. But as always with Syco: with one hand giveth, the other taketh very much away.

While Saturday night's show was great switch-off-your-brain-and-turn-on-your-Twitter fun, Sunday's was a mess. The live shows are always the worst part but now they've managed to worsen them. They've managed to double-down on the worseness.

With the chaff already separated, we're left with middling/okay singers and good/great singers. Nobody wants to watch people who can sing sing songs that most people hate, not least the show's live audience. It completely ruins the whole thrill of the audition process, too. The second stage - the live-on-stage stage - is completely unnecessary as the judges already know who they want through because THEY ALREADY SENT THEM THROUGH once and we've already seen them on television once, only twenty-four hours previously.

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One such unnecessary performer was Abi Alton, who you may remember from the night previously as the show's obvious poster-girl. Shy, retiring and genuinely talented, Abi is quite clearly going to make it until AT LEAST Week 6's Disco theme so why bother showing her again? For the record: her performance was pretty good but I felt like I was slipping into a rift in the space-time continuum's apathy sector (that's science, folks) as I watched her perform an original song in real time that seemed to last for HOURS and yet I couldn't remember any of it and couldn't care less about it. I'm sure she's a lovely, sweet girl who will become the poster-child for nerdy indie-kids who aren't actually very nerdy or indie because they're watching the bloody X Factor and yeah she's good but there's something deeply average about her. Like a quite tasty porridge. No one would buy an album by porridge.

Jade Richards, the gravel-voiced Scot, struggled a little this time out. After wow-ing judges with her song-singing just one night previous, she delivered practically the same performance only to received a very withering reception from the judges. Gary Barlow bemoaned the fact that her songs didn't seem to 'go anywhere' despite the fact that he's made million hocking Marks & Spencer's dross that has less edge to it than an unpeeled satsuma. Despite the criticism, everyone admitted that Jade had a set of pipes on her and sent her through to Boot Camp (where hopefully they'll confiscate her AWFUL extensions).

Other performers included yodelling Barclay who said he was gonna perform a yodel-version of One Direction but actually started singing the 1D track only to change his mind and go back to that grating yodel-song he did before. Why even bother with the pretence, man? Just say: "I am hear to yodel and yodel only" and then wobble away to your heart's content. The terrible-titled 'Euphoria Girls' were up to. Never before have a gaggle of seventeen year old girls wearing barely any clothing been so painful to watch. They high-kicked and danced a little, like a school talent-show if the school uniform was disco shorts and sports bras. Awful.

Then there was also that Shelley Smith character Peter Kay is playing now who completely negated her non-inconsiderable talent by being infuriatingly annoying and thrusting herself at a barely conscious cameraman. Hopefully if we just ignore her she'll go away.

Overall I was extremely disappointed by the show. The standard is so low (especially when compared to the insanely-talented conveyor belt they have over on the American show) that anything over average gets called "the next Alexandra Burke" or other words to less damning effect. I'd love it if the show was filled with genuinely brilliant singers or even just likeable characters but, unless they're storing them up for later in the show, we've just not had anything close to it.

Looks like this show's for Saturday nights only.