Friday, 27 September 2013

Hollywood, Charleston auditions produce some new favorites

Hollywood. LA. This set of auditions starts with glamour, glitz and girls that look as if they should be on TV shows.

Two sisters kick the show off. I had a feeling they were going to be not so good but I hadn't expected them to be that bad. Cats wailing. No-one applauds. They're pleasant enough girls but simply can't sing.

Josh Levi has lots of charisma and sounds great. At 14. He could be so popular - and he can certainly perform and hit the right notes. Excellent. The judges love him and we'll be seeing plenty more of this young fellow. Far better than Astro and whoever made it through as a member of InTENsity one year and then came back as a solo but whose name escapes me. Arin.

Drama Drama. Five smart-looking girls. That was not so good, though. Another group that looked good but sounded old was Forever Young. Another group actually sounded very good with an older Drifters-style lead singer but we only get the briefest glimpse. I liked them! But Simon puts them all down as old fashioned and the word gets out before the next group take the stage.

Three guys. AKNU, I think. They look old fashioned and sing Valerie which didn't seem a good start (Simon hates the song) but... can they dance! Wow. The crowd absolutely love them. They are so together - as often only brothers can be. Seriously, they are damn good. I have to agree with Simon - theirs is one of those auditions that you look forward to watching again. Carly Rose Sonenclar, Drew Ryniewicz and Janet Devlin have been some that have had a similar immediate impact. And, yes, there could be a Motown revival that guys like this might lead. Perhaps Simon will just give them an album deal and forget the competition as they're kinda out of place here.

Paulina returns for the next part of the show. They're in Charleston, I think. Seems more Country than LA! Brandie Love is the first up. She seems confident and cheery. One very noisy piano seems to drown her out and some heavy-handed Elton wannabee ruins the track completely. I _think_ she's pretty good and very watchable too (unlike many!) but the sound is not right for us TV viewers. Perhaps it's OK in the studio there as the audience and judges seem well content. I like this girl. I don't think we've had someone in this style yet. In fact, there's been no Tate at all so far or Willy or anyone vaguely Country. That will have to change, of course. Maybe we'll see them tonight.

Milly Thrasher. Great looks and voice. Nice personality from the few seconds we get to see. Timmy Thames looks cute with his long locks and bright attitude. He flies through as do a few others I can't catch the names of. This place definitely has a completely different 'look' to the LA scene.

Vincent. Long Island guy comes with some big ugly guys. He cannot sing at all. This could get nasty, If he wasn't tough on the street before then he's going to have to be when he goes back.

Carlos Guevara is cute and wears a woolly hat. He's got Turrets syndrome and that gives him a nervous thing. If he can sing he'll be through as he ticks all the sympathy boxes. He actually does really well and deserves to be through. He'll be a contender, for sure, wait and see. You read it here nearly first.

Cue lots of people organised to jump all over him after he gets 4 yesses. Come on production team - that was a little bit too manufactured!

Chloe J and CJ next. Chloe is big. Hilarious intro as we learn why the guy isn't dating the girl. I fear for this pair. Rightly so as the big one gets going. CJ's not so bad actually. I like the backing track. There's a highly cringe-worthy scene where the big one gets all over Simon. I had to look away.

Malie Delgado comes from Alaska. Nice girl. Good singer, I think. We get two seconds. She's through. Lots more through

Colton Pack is from West Virginia. I knew a girl from West Virginia and think I saw her in the clip. He'd better be good with the whole of the village watching in the wings. He sings something called Hick Town. Well, that'll be him on the show then as we've not seen any other Country singer who is also a beach lifeguard. He is fine. A bit boring but he'll be reliable and good TV.

Back to California it seems. No Simon. Danny Guymer is an old looking 15. She is very clever. House Of The Rising Sun. Excellent. Interesting girl who feels her music and is just naturally talented. And clever. Fabulous.

Jeffrey Adam Gutt is back. Simon says to Kelly that he was good and should have made the finals. The little unshaven bit looks odd, as does the massive tattoo on his arm and there is something unsettling about his look generally. In another Production Team wonder, the judges don't like the track he did and Simon is disappointed, asks if he has another track to demonstrate. So he does Creep and does it pretty well. And gets through, of course. I think we knew he was going to get through. Cue cute little boy to run on stage.

Every older male singer needs a cute little kid to run on stage.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Auditions Week 2 Pt 1

Huge crowds in Denver. Unfortunately they pick someone dreadful to start with. Simon's wearing glasses. Don't think I've seen them before. The useless girl appeared not to know who he was. I find that pretty hard to believe - probably some production team idea. Surely no-one will have queued in that massive crowd and not had some discussion or watched some stream of the show and heard about Mr Cowell. Oh well.

Another awful chap follows. No Scotty this boy. A classic Miss America next but she's no good either. More acts follow and still the awful stuff comes. By now, a lot of viewers must have turned off!

Rylie Brown is 15. You kinda know she'll be good. She forgets the words and is exceptionally nervous for a while then, much to everyone's relief, pulls it back and does well. Bags of applause and, at last, someone reasonable. She does whine a bit but is worth hearing again and we'll see how she gets on. I think most of the compliments were due to how poor all the rest had been.

Jeffrey's rugged and anyone with a Doggy Day Care business is likely to do well with Kelly. He's a mature, gruff-voiced fellow who sounds like the chap who used to have a pony tail / mullet and who's name escapes me now. That's the only trouble - he seems a little old fashioned. Great voice, though and nice personality and I can see him doing well. He also did a good Joe Cocker impression now I think of it.

Jocelyn is an annoying woman. You hope she's bad. Attitude. Yuk. Simon actually walks her off the stage which was quite a nice touch really. A bit set up, I feel, though.

Rachel Potter sounds interesting. A fabulous audition with a performance of Queen's Somebody To Love that was new and excellent. I think we will be seeing a lot more of her for quite some time. That set a standard for others to try to meet.

Next is an annoying guy Jorge Pena who wants to serenade the ladies and does get painfully over the top with his banter. To be fair he's better than the Spanish chap on Idol and the Chinese fellow who made the Live Shows last year. The audience was strangely quiet after he'd finished and that was a bit odd. He does get through but I don't see him getting far with one of the girls as a mentor. Or Simon, for that matter. He called Demi 'Woman' which got him into trouble but actually it wasn't as bad as it may sound now - one of those remarks that are almost impossible to justify afterwards but, if you were there at the time and heard it in full context, it was OK. It will probably haunt him forever, though.

Simone gets a big cheer. Must be local. Funny little thing, isn't she? says Simon to Demi as Simone gets read to start. He had previously asked her if her parents were happily married which was quite bizarre but no-one commented on that. The girl seemed a lot older than 19 and sang Mustang Sally like a 40 year old. Quite well and very confidently. Easy listening. I'd put her through but I don't see her as a star. The crowd go mad for her which is so nice to see. I'm guessing this is another day as they all say that hers was the best audition of the day. Not so sure about that.

Now, back to the abnormal. Russell is a bit weird. hey try to stop the music but it carries on and so does old Russ. It must have been pretty obvious but he takes his warbling all the way through. The judges are pretty kind. Demi thinks that Simon would sound like Russell. Kelly gets the microphone and we nearly get to hear Simon sing. He would need a massive amount of courage to go for that but the way the girls are setting him up he'd almost be better off going with it, albeit briefly!

Adverts interrupt the flow. Probably designed that way. He gets away with a warble. That will never be aired he says.

This is a long show. 90 minutes in and still going. Next up three sisters from Detroit Roxxy Montana who haven't told their parents they are here. They better have done by now because we'll be seeing more of them soon and probably live too!

A little screechy for my taste. Simon thinks Temperance (great names!) has the strongest voice and gets them to do another track. Quite impressive and a natural blend there. Simon says that, apart from the groups he's put together, they're potentially the best group there's been. Not so sure about that either. I am disappointed to see him going down the 'best there's been...' route.

Al Calderone is a cheerful boy with a hunky supportive Mr America dad who looks like he ought to be carrying a rugby ball or a baseball bat maybe. He sings Sarah Smile and does it quite well with a great smile of his own. He'll get through. Lots of charisma but I don't rate his singing that highly. He's been put right up high with all those compliments but I have a feeling there'll be tears at Bootcamp or, even more emotionally, Judges' Houses perhaps.

Denise Weeks says she sings in the suburbs. I think that should have been subways. We were all expecting her to be brilliant. She was very nervous. Simon asks her to sing without the backing track. What a difference. Hmmm. Another planned affair? Oh well. She was quite good and, of course, goes through.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Season 3 Starts! Week 1 Review Pt1

The X Factor 2013 Season 3 - Premiere
Simon Cowelland and Demi Lovato are joined by two new judges, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio as we get Season 3 under way. Melanie Amaro and Tate Stevens may have had some impressive contracts as winners in Seasons 1 and 2 but we haven't seen much of either in the UK Will this be the year when USA picks someone who can break here like so many of ours have done there? Let's see.

Carlito Olivero is first on screen singing “Stay” byRihanna. The producers certainly found a confident and likeable person to start with - although how many had been on before him we'll never know.

Sally Hessnice follows. Oh dear. This is dreadful and you have to wonder what the point is in showing this. It's one of the things that does annoy me but I suppose there is a mass of viewers who even prefer the amusing bits. What worries me is the power of those viewers later when it comes to deciding who survives. But that's another matter.

As if that wasn't enough, we now get a pile of rubbish. And people wonder why the ratings weren't so good? Big mistake putting the rubbish on at such an early stage.

Lillie McCloud rescues the show with an excellent performance of“Alabaster Box” by CeCe Winans. Now that was mature and very professional. She'll be around for a while. At 54, but looking nothing like that old, and with a Diana Ross smile, hair and overall look, she could be very popular indeed. Like Simon, I had not heard that song before. Demi wants to bet all her money on that girl and wants the over 25s!

I can see her making the Live Shows all right but I'm not so sure how she'd handle the more modern stuff. Thereagain, neither Tate nor Melanie did so perhaps it doesn't matter!

Alex and Sierra do “Toxic” by Brittney Spears. They do look a bit like clean, God-fearing people who believe the Earth is flat or, at least, was actually made in seven days. Performing, though, they are really good - the girl's voice is fabulous and the guy matches her superbly. Their transformation of the song is quite remarkable and makes so much sense now. Great. It may be that that is all they can do like that but it'll be fun to find out.

Rion Paige sings the wonderful “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood. Big build up for this quirky girl. Well deserved - she was genuinely excellent. Spot on performance and the judges were very impressed. This girl will surely be around for a long time this series.

Great first instalment. Hope they can keep that standard up.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Friday 8pm ITV2

At last! We should get a chance to catch up with the auditions for Series 3. If all goes well, we should be just a day or two behind the States once the series gets going properly.

Otherwise I shall have to watch it on-line somehow.