I hadn't realised that there was enough grass in Croydon, South London, for over 200 X Factor contestants in the 186 acts who'd made it through to bootcamp. But there they all were and, on cue, most of them did the jumping up and down bit when the judges arrived in black Jaguars (Ford getting in on the UK act too!)
Once they'd settled down 32 acts learned that they were already at the end of the road which may not have been great news for them but will be a great relief to viewers as they probably shouldn't have been there in the first place. The remaining 150 odd were then split into groups and given one track to perform in Wembley later that evening. Now that was a lot better organised than the American Idol farce when everyone was told to form themselves into groups and we had to watch the ridiculous nonsense of the eventually winner wandering around for virtually the whole of rehearsal time trying to find a bunch of competitors who weren't put off by Baby Lock Then Doors which seemed to be the only song he knew last year. Here in sunny South London each group dutifully went and sat under a tree and, when not being disturbed by Olly or wasps, attempted to put together some kind of performance that might keep them on track for another week.
With only 32 acts scheduled to get to the next stage, judges' houses, though, that's one hell of a lot of people who'll be not making it. Roughly 1 act per group by my calculations. You got the impression they'd done the same sums too as the idea of a 'group' performance was pretty much forgotten by those with any sense and the big personalities just did what they felt like. Occasionally that got really embarrassing: Goldie snaking about and heading in Louis' direction, making his day but spoiling anyone else's. Plenty of other examples but, quite frankly, there's no point listing them as the whole thing is really for the judges to view how people interact and perform and all we get to see is a few seconds' worth of a few people which makes writing anything vaguely intelligent damn difficult.
Something else that is difficult to figure out as we have seen so little of them is the groups. You only had to look at the expression on Gary's face to see that Kendro survive a little longer, or it may have been Two Shoes. The Keys got some airtime and Estrelle a short burst but that was it. A lifeline was thrown to some of those who failed in the the first section - with some manufactured groups being arranged as has become traditional now. Last year's 1 Direction kept us entertained well until the final. That may give people like the previously excellent Derry a chance but hopefully not too many also-rans. The lifeline may be more for the programme's benefit this year as we've seen precious little that looks like coming close to winning so far.
All we can do is wait till tomorrow when we find out who gets through, who gets which categories and we can start to concentrate on the actual potential stars there and who can join Amelia, Misha and Kitty to challenge Frankie and Janet for the prize.