Monday, 24 September 2012

X Factor Monday - Boot Camp round-up.

Rylan Clark - worthy of a place at Judges' Houses?
So, Boot Camp is now over and we prepare ourselves for Judges' Houses.  How did it all go then?  This year's Boot Camp?  Much the same as most other years, really, in that some acts who deserved to go to Judges' Houses got there, and some who didn't were also put through.  And I think the one in particular that I'm going to flag up is Rylan Clark,  an undoubtedly entertaining Essex Boy, but did he deserve to get this far?  No.  Not really.  I mean, I'd love to hang out with him at a karaoke night or go clubbing with him, but he really isn't good enough to be a contender for the live shows.  There were other singers in that boys' category who deserved that place far more - take rock singer Joseph Whelan, for example.  I actually got just a little bit excited at the possible prospect of a "rocker" appearing on X Factor, so I was gutted when he didn't make it through to Judges' Houses.  I was really hoping they'd give him a chance.  Good to see Middlesbrough lad James Arthur there though.  Wishing him loads of luck.

Joseph Whelan - our only chance of rock appearing on X Factor, gone.
Another contestant I'm slightly wary of is Lucy Spraggan.  Now, I have no doubt that she is a very talented young singer/songwriter.  She did a good first audition, singing one of her own songs - a rare thing on X Factor - and she did the same again on Sunday night's second Boot Camp show.  On Saturday night, though, I think we had a glimpse of how this young lady may struggle when it comes to X Factor proper, so to speak.  On Saturday's first Boot Camp show, contestants were put into groups for a "sing off", and the songs they had to choose from were well known pop songs, of course.  Lucy's group chose Maroon 5's 'Move Like Jagger', I think it was.  And she really struggled.  Sorry, but I think it proved her voice has limitations.  She is excellent at what she does with her own songs and her guitar, but stand her there on a stage without her guitar, singing other peoples' songs and she just wasn't strong enough.  That's my opinion, anyway.  But I guess we'll see how she goes next weekend.  I'm interested to find out, that's for sure.

Lucy Spraggan - can she cut it singing X Factor "pop"?
As for the other girls, I've got no complaints.  Not all of them are my cup of tea but I think most of them can sing, especially sixteen year old Ella Henderson.  Her rendition of Cher's 'Believe' was actually really, really good.  She made a truly annoying song something I enjoyed listening to.  I think she really deserves a spot on the live shows after that performance.

Melanie Masson - a favourite of mine.
The Over-28's now, which used to be the Over-25's but this category seems to have mysteriously had three years added on since last year. It's the category Gary Barlow claimed was the "one he wanted" - rubbish!  Nobody ever "wants" the Over's category, which is why Louis Walsh usually gets it every year (hence his total surprise at not getting it this year!), and, let's face it, that category is probably never going to spawn a winner ever again after the Steve Brookstein debacle.  However, there are one or two contestants in that category that I'm looking forward to seeing at Judges' Houses -  Melanie Masson, because her rendition of Janis Joplin's 'Cry baby' at her first audition is still a stand-out performance for me, and Kye Sones, because, so far, I don't rate him that much, but I'm interested to see if he can turn me around.  Don't know why...

Kye Sones - for me, the jury's still out...
OK.  The groups.  I'd rather not comment at all on this lot because not one of them drew anything out of me other than a torrent of moaning and grumbling about "is this what the music industry has come to?"  I swore blind I'd never turn into my parents, whinging on about the state of modern music, but last weekend I had to face facts - I'm middle aged, and I hate every single group on X Factor.  None of them have one redeeming factor.  I'll live in hope that I'll see something special next weekend at Judges' Houses but I'm not holding me breath.  I mean, on Sunday's final Boot Camp show, when the judges couldn't decide between two boy bands for the last remaining place at Judges' Houses, they made them do a sing off against each other, and I couldn't tell the bloody difference!  They both sounded exactly the same!  In fact, when the judges were deliberating as to who to choose, I was yelling, "Just toss a frigging coin, will you?  They both sound the bloody same, does it make a difference?"  Anyway, it appears - after reading the papers today - that the group line-up at Judges' Houses has now changed since Boot Camp.  There are now five acts joining Louis Walsh in Vegas (God help him - and Vegas!).  One of the original chosen acts had to pull out and two new acts have now taken that vacant space.  Joy!

Anyway, look, I know I moan on and on about this show, but after a weekend of listening to music from the likes of the incredible Joe Bonamassa, Pink Floyd, and the Foo Fighters, I just can't help looking at the line-up of possible new talent awaiting the world and letting out a heavy - but resigned - sigh.  No matter how awful it might seem, how sad or how depressing the prospect might be, nothing can stop shows like this spawning these acts.  So I try to look at it as the entertainment show it's become, and not as a serious vehicle for finding new "global superstars", as that's when I get really depressed.  I still live in hope that, one day, we'll get a revival of some "real" music and musicians, those that are still plying their trade around the pubs and clubs because that's the only way they can make a living doing what they really want, what they really love.  Too many of these (not all) X Factor contestants seem to think it's their God given right to have the fame and fortune they so badly want.  It isn't.  You have to work hard to achieve a dream, and I'm not always sure that these kind of shows portray that. 

However, before I get cramp from standing on me soap box for too long, I
am looking forward to the live shows starting.  Saturday nights are made for curling up on the sofa and watching TV like this, and whether we like it or not, X Factor is probably here to stay for a while yet.  So, in my opinion, rather than fight it, my philosophy is if you can't beat 'em, you might as well join 'em.  And, anyway, it's now only two weeks until the start of Strictly Come Dancing!  Now that's something to really get excited about!

Oh, and just one more word on X Factor before and I go stick the kettle on for me afternoon cup of tea - Tulisa, love.  That blond hair... why???

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