Saturday, October 01, 2011

X Factor USA Auditions End. Next Stop Boot, Trainer and Stiletto Camp.

This was a long, long show. It dragged and seemed to have more dreadful rubbish than the others that had gone before. In the UK about 200 acts made it to Boot Camp. I've counted about 40 getting through to Boot Camp USA so far. I'm also struggling to figure out just how all those huge masses of people we saw waiting in line outside various venues got whittled down to what can't have been more than 50 on the stage in front of the judges each day with just 20 at most actually making it to our screens in each place. Someone must know how that works. Some major culling must have happened somewhere. There's also a load we haven't seen much of at all. Anyway, tonight we found another dozen acts and two or three who'll be in the Live Shows.

New Jersey

Kicked off with a little rapper called Brian. Brian? He'll need to change that to something more rebellious and give Michael Caine back his glasses. Great performance by this talented 14 year old lad but don't tell me that wasn't rehearsed as he went straight in to his track without being asked the usual silly questions they have written down. Quite how he'll fit in with the others in the live rounds I don't know, and I just don't see how he'll cope with the Let's Sing Abba Songs or Elvis week with Bono or Tony Christie mentoring them. To save Paula having to translate the rap for Simon every week I reckon LA Reid should just give the boy a deal now and leave the rest to get on with things.

Kelly cuts hair in a nursing home. I don't know why we needed to know that but it was interesting that the one line we did hear in her song from Hallelujah included 'cuts hair' - is this SYCO doing a subconscious promotion? Maybe I'll get a sudden craving to go out and buy some scissors or shampoo. That one line was good though and the all-American girl who surely has to have been a cheerleader once upon a time gets through easily.

Simon has some doubts about a chap called Aaron who looked about 30 years older than he probably was. He gets through to Boot Camp too and maybe he'll surprise us all but I shall not hold my breath. Unless they find some more Over 30s, Paula and Nicole will have to put themselves in the category to make up the numbers. Even then, Nicole will probably have trouble deciding whether to put herself through.

Three more reasonable sounding or looking acts get through in a few glimpses which simply weren't worth showing and then we did get a longer look at Liliana Rose. She says she sings in a cubicle. Good voice and if she gets the sort of makeover X Factor does tend to do in later rounds then I can see people liking her. Not sure whether they'd vote though.

There was a cringe-worthy moment with Andy who hadn't ever had a girlfriend and had brought his mum with him. Why do we need to see this poor chap? Move on.

An idiot follows and, thankfully, quickly goes off again and then we get the hilarious Clarissa audition. "People scream when I sing at karaoke," she announced before she started. Then she does start and we find out why. It's clearly to get her off the ruddy stage but she must have thought they loved her and Simon has trouble controlling himself.

More wastes of time and space and then Cari Fletcher attempts Heart's Alone. Very unsure at the start and I really didn't hear whatever LA Reid, Nicole and Paula heard to be so enthusiastic about. Had they forgotten some of the earlier auditions where they'd danced, applauded and raved about people in previous weeks? This very pretty girl wouldn't stand a chance against some of them. Simon seems to talk sense and is probably the first person ever to call the girl boring and, in so far as she hasn't got much chance of getting past Boot Camp, a No would have been reasonable. Just in case she suddenly gets her nerves sorted and totally wows people, though, he plays it safe and agrees with the others with a Yes. As I said, she was very beautiful.

I might find myself calling the next act Ad Nauseam but I had better start by being fair. They're Ausem. Don't ask. That would have been enough for me to tell them to go home. They do a sort of Glee excerpt badly. The young lad, Austin, could be a contender on his own. Not sure about the girl. With some good mentoring and a lot of practice, though, I can see them getting piles of teenage votes if they do make the Group category - and they'll be pretty unique there too from what we've seen to date. "For God's sake, give them a Yes or a No," suggests Simon as Nicole struggles to make a decision. "Yes or bloody no!" he shouts. Reasonable question and I am sure I would have done the same thing as the silly woman seems to need someone to replace her batteries or something. I just really do hope that wasn't some rehearsed thing to spice up an otherwise ailing show tonight.

Oh, yes, they got through. Paula was going to say Yes anyway so they could have completely ignored Nicole but there you go. Nicole is not exactly setting the panel alight so far. LA Reid has settled in and established a stance, a stare and an iconic neck dance already.

Other places they missed before

In the middle of the show we suddenly get the truck window man Steve again. Those shots only serve to make me wonder how many takes they did with what I guess must have been another truck alongside with a camera dangling out of its window. Steve doesn't strike me as someone who remembers lines easily.

The next hour seems to be a round-up of whoever we might not have seen in other places which makes you wonder whether they'd expected more talent than they actually found when first planning the audition shows.

One was well worth watching, though. Tora. Full of life. She builds race cars and looks cute. She soon had LA doing the neck dance that looks like becoming a standard feature of the shows and the rest of us trying to figure out what she has tattooed on her cheek. She clearly thoroughly enjoyed a great performance. A bit rough when stretching to higher notes but she sure has something special and would be a super addition to the Live Shows which she stands an excellent chance of reaching, if only because the producers can relax and know they have someone who won't make a cock-up. Haley springs to mind from last season's Idol. I wish her well and hope the papers don't dig up anything from her past.

More rubbish follows - not the best of evenings so far - and then four guys calling themselves the Stereo Hoggs do an uninspiring and instantly forgettable number but still get through. I guess they're low in the Group department numbers. And they need some competition for Ad Nauseam in the Live Shows or SYCO won't get so much phone vote revenue.

Brinnan brings up the standard a bit and seems to appeal to Simon who probably hopes to see a younger version of himself in the chap. The girls just like the way he looks and giggle their Yes votes. He'll be OK as long as the songs he's given stay within one octave. But all credit to him for taking a risk with his own song.

Paige Elizabeth is great and wants to take out Justin Bieber and not for an evening meal either. We only get a fraction of her performance but she's a contender. She gets followed by a rush of ten second acts that I can't keep up with but one did stand out and that was Nick Dean. Good name, good looks and his own track Walk Away gets the 14 year old into the kids' slot safely.

More crap. Oh please end my pain! We get a dreadful two minutes of one fool who I'm sure is added in just in an attempt to entertain us but unfortunately it is just bad TV and I'm amazed that no-one realised that when putting tonight's show together. Go away. This is rubbish and there's 20 minutes still to go. I'm tempted to watch some old recordings of American Idol instead or put a Leonard Cohen cassette on to cheer me up. It would have to be a cassette so I can get a nice load of hiss in the background to get that stupid number song out of my head.

Finally we get to what they say is the final contestant and she really is just that - and a Final contender at that, I reckon. Jazzlyn we will hear a lot more about. She will have had far more than 500 hits on her single previous YouTube video by now as her audition was one of the best of the series so far. I guess that's why they left it to the end. Not a track to everyone's taste but I like the fact that she's different. At just 16 she is something else and if she can keep her nerve in Boot Camp she'll be there for many more weeks. Nice girl too. Either she really does lose herself in her music or the initial walk-on nerves were an act and, as Simon says in an aside, "We've been worked" is what some might believe.

So that's it. The mad period of the raunchy, the rough, the ridiculous and really good is over. Boot Camp follows when whoever got through fight for just 32 places. We've obviously not been shown more than a glimpse of some and unless I dozed off, I can only recall five Groups that we've actually seen that stand a vague chance. The Over 30s are thin on the ground too and only just enough for some debate over the eight to go to Judges' Houses. In contrast, we have seen eight kids who deserve to go through as well as another eight older boys or girls. That's where we are also going to see a whole new bunch of people and some major weeping and wailing - the Judges' Houses section will be an emotional drain of an evening in a damp October, folks. It's hard enough to watch grown men cry but this time we'll have 14-year-old kids blubbing and, unless he's hiding some human abilities extremely well, I just don't see truck window man Steve comforting some heart-broken 16 year old girl making comfortable television.

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