X Factor 2011, Bootcamp: A Slap In The Face With A Glittery Kipper

Kendro got the chop, a Bret Michaels doll preened about, Kelly cried, Gary lied and Kitty lit up her nether regions like the Blackpool Illuminations...
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Last night’s X-Factor was like being slapped in the eyes by a large, glittery, shouting kipper. A frightening parade of hopeless hopefuls assembled in the Wembley Arena to sing, wail, and cry like they’d been attacked by onions. The awful ones were awful, the good ones were awful. It was GREAT.

Where to start? The elimination round was an assault on all the senses. We started with the usual dubious emotional journeys - firstly that of Misha, who is 19. ‘I’m gonna do a rap about past life experiences,’ she said, mumbling something about how she is a ‘survivor’ while wearing a batshit outfit that was equal parts Grace Jones, Cyndi Lauper and club-footed leopard.

Already it’s laughably easy to tell the people who will get through and stink up Saturday night telly until Christmas. Amelia, the 16 year old with the soul of a disappointed 44-year-old Bonnie Tyler impersonator. Samantha, an enormous Chocolate Orange with eyebrows like Charlie Chaplin. And of course Frankie Carbonarahara, a youthful human hairball with ‘Top Man’ written through him like a stick of shit rock. Then there’s Janet Devlin, the trembling Irish faun, who sang an Aerosmith song like a sparrow with acid reflux but somehow seems to elicit awe-struck gasps from everyone in the room. Useless, every single one.

Kitty proved that when it comes to Saturday night family entertainment, you can’t beat a lady with a lit-up fanny.

Still, we all know by now that at Syco HQ there’s probably been a Word file with their names on it since 2009, so who cares if it’s real or a fix? The fourth wall of theatre is broken every ten minutes to reveal yet another layer of carefully engineered artifice, featuring Gary Barlow looking pained and Kelly Rowland doing that ‘BA-DOOOOINK’ surprised face on the rare occasions she isn’t crying.

Then we have the faux drama of Tewwy, the 50 year old scaffolder and chicken in a basket entertainer. Tewwy has the bumbling, gangsterish charm of a minor character in a straight-to-video Danny Dyer film, and therefore is the salt of the earth. He distinguished himself last week with his crooning and original mic technique that looks like he’s trying to punch some angry wasps. But would he be able to handle the spotlight? (No). Did he get through? (Yes). It’s what we’ve come to expect. X-Factor is a blue throbbing barrage balloon of stagey bollocks, held aloft by wind and pish. Go with it, don’t go with it – it doesn’t care. It will go where it will. It will make a large check-out lady a legend in her own lunchtime, and turn baw-faced loons with learning difficulties into stars whether you like it or not.

Even so, this week the ones who seemed like shoo-ins for the weird wild card category went crashing out. Eunuch peg dolls Kendro were given the boot, as was mentally disturbed rocker David Wilder, who looked like a melted skeleton and was ace. But the person who embodied the Barnum-style spectacle of the X-Factor most successfully this week was Kitty Brucknell. This girl really will go far. She brought along her own personal Blackpool illuminations sewn into her leotard and deployed them when she hit the high notes. It was mesmerising -  like watching the emergency aisle lights come on as your plane crashed. Kitty proved that when it comes to Saturday night family entertainment, you can’t beat a lady with a lit-up fanny.

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