And so, the Syco juggernaut did continue to thunder around the nation, hoovering up undiscovered talent wherever it did go. It was a more comfortable show last night, following week one’s series-opener, which introduced us to the new judges and gave us a hint of their personalities.
Lest we forget, Gary Barlow is the new Mr Bad Guy, vehemently criticising anyone who dares to look at him without spewing a bona fide chart hit out of their stupid mouths. My hope was that in week two he’d ramp it up some more and pull out a couple of AK-47s from under the desk before filleting a hopeless teenage boy/girl duo.
Then there was chav-rap goddess Tulisa. Against type, she neither smoked crack nor gave birth during week one – if she didn’t up her game this week, she’d no doubt be winched out of her seat and replaced by a deranged Cheryl Cole, surely pacing up and down in the wings, clamouring for any excuse to get herself back among the 20-week Saturday night shit-fest.
Finally there was Kevin Rowland – HE’S certainly changed since the last Dexys Midnight Runners album.
This bedsit-dweller had ‘raging mentalist’ written all over him but against all the odds, he played a blinder.
But never mind that – the barrage of bilge kicked off in London, with an unlikely contender for the big prize. 45-year-old Johnny Robinson came across as an awful blend of Graham Norton, Lee Nelson and Barry George – a fey, slightly creepy loner done up in a tracksuit and baseball cap.
This bedsit-dweller had ‘raging mentalist’ written all over him but against all the odds, he played a blinder. Four 'yes' votes for his version of At Last. This bloke's got a big future ahead of him. Fame, fortune, and probably some kind of grim sexual assault charge await. It’s already beyond tragic.
Rather than the tried-and-trusted formula of laughing at deluded nutjobs who can’t sing for shite, this year, the crackpots are mostly fairly talented. In a way, that’s worse because it means we’ve potentially got massive SuBo-esque carnage ahead of us if one of them makes it big.
Like Burger King worker Derry, a young man armed with a powerful obsession with Kelly Rowland. It was almost as if he’d heard she was going to be an X Factor judge and had trained himself to be good at singing in order to get near her. “Kelly, I used to wank over your videos” he didn’t tell the Destiny’s Child star. “Last time was AN HOUR AGO”.
Somehow, Kelly was flattered by Derry’s full-on attentions even when he moved in for a cuddle, but as @brokenbottleboy noted on Twitter, “She says he's cute now but when he's rooting through her bins it's creepy. Isn't the world confusing?” Shortly afterwards, Kelly changed her top. Perhaps Derry left a special souvenir on it.
Mischa, a barnstorming voice and a sob story all rolled into one. Quick, someone check her visa – we don’t want another Gamu on our hands!
Onwards to Liverpool, where the legacy of The Beatles STILL looms large, and with Gary Barlow revealing that his mum is a “full Scouser”, as opposed to Mersey-fleeing part Scousers, like the fucking Beatles. Great sense of humour though, the Scousers. Unless you're hauling the piss out of them. Then it's different.
Liverpool’s newest hero, biscuit factory worker Craig, sported a moptop but as @elgriff pointed out on Twitter, he looked more like a young Ron Dixon (one for the teenagers there). Like Usain Bolt strolling through a 100 metre heat, Craig opted to only sing out of one side of his mouth, immediately securing the hearts and minds of the nation’s stroke victims. Imagine how great he’ll be when he goes ‘full-mouth’ in the later stages. With his ample frame and lowly job, he's quite possibly this year's Tesco Mary. Say goodbye to the biscuit factory fatso!
Thankfully there was time for some deluded and atonal minor lunacy next, courtesy of The Duos, who were, erm, a duo. A married couple, they kind of deserve each other, bound together forever in a world where they both believe that they’re the 21st century’s Womack & Womack. They're THROUGH… and straight into the 33-36 year old Fucking Shite category.
Next came clean-cut ready-made boy band The Keys with a pitch-perfect, slightly-too-good-to-be-true audition. One member of the panel may have had a MEGARECTION at this point. For legal reasons, I can’t speculate as to which one it might have been. And while we’re on a legal tip, I’m not trying to suggest that The Keys were specifically groomed for this show, but I’d have been more impressed if they could have successfully named each other after their song.
But the producers saved the best for last. Say hello to Mischa, a barnstorming voice and a sob story all rolled into one. Quick, someone check her visa – we don’t want another Gamu on our hands!
Sobbing her eyes out as she revealed that she’d been raised by her grandma after her mum and dad bailed out for reasons unknown, the pre-song build-up was so powerfully moving that if Mischa had turned out to have a voice like a dying whale, the UK would probably have thrown itself into another week of rioting. Inevitably, she didn’t and she’s the new hot favourite. But I don't like her - she's a fucking show off and I’m not keen on the grandma either.
All in all, it was an unsatisfying night. There were too many ad breaks and too few eye-spinning wackjobs with zero talent. Looks like the lunatics are taking over the asylum…
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