Monday, 28 October 2013

Top 16 Pictures

Photos all from The X Factor USA

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Top 16 for Live Shows Decided

Simon was in the middle of choosing his Groups, putting all the contenders so far on to seats. Sweet Suspense start the rest of the programme. These are three girls who were axed as single acts, Celine, Millie and Summer. Worryingly nervous start to Wishing On A Star but the crowd really liked them and they got their act together and delivered a good performance overall. Aged 14 to 17, they're fun and will make the Live Shows. They take Wild Thingz place. the two boys were cool but probably wouldn't have got far.

Mario's commentary keeps going on about the Switch and the Four Chair Challenge as if he's being paid by the number of times the new terminology gets mentioned on air. I feel like calling him up and saying that it'll all be over soon.

Next Tatum and Monique from a place called Lubbock, Texas. Good ol' Country girls. Haven't got any so far. They're fun and bouncy - quite chunky. Yellowhouse Canyon is the group name. Not sure why. I don't see them making it. Simon sends them home and the crowd isn't too happy. I think he has another idea to capture the Country vote.

Another manufactured little boy band. Some dodgy notes. Too many for my liking. The lead seemed to be the older guy and he was flat. The younger two looked as if they knew well they didn't do a good job. It's a bit sad as they'd been given some hope by being rescued from the last round. Amazingly, Simon puts this lot, Forever In Your Mind in place of Glamour. Odd.

Good News. Two nice girls. Great harmonies. They look fun and quite cute too, without being too teeny. They do Landslide which is a nice track but it is a bit boring and not good enough for any of the judges. So they have quite a quick exit.

Oh boy. Alex & Sierra do You're The One That I Want. It worked. They are so old American style, cute in an old way. Demi has them down as her favourite act in the competition. She asks about whether they's split up which is a bit silly. They're in for sure. Who goes this time? Girls United are out.

Last group is Roxxy Montana. Three sisters who have been pretty stunning so far. This was another impressive performance of the Michael Jackson track. They'll be in and they take Forever In Your Mind's spot. That makes sense and leaves Simon with a strong set.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Paulina picks the boys and Simon starts the Groups

Al Calderon tries to sing Here's My Number but that did not work at all. Oh dear. One of the first quite embarrassing auditions in this section. He's a nice chap but not someone who will go far in this competition. I expect he'll get a chair and then lose it again.

Paulina has to think about it so his chances will be slim of remaining. 'Please take a sit' she says. He may want to add his own h.

Isaiah Alston is the church choir singer. Cheerful very young chap with good tone. But the notes go wrong, As does the breathing and most of it really. Awful. Just like these programmes used to be. So far the boys are not doing well. The audience boos away at the judges' comments. No idea what they they see or heard but it can't have been what we heard. He has to go and Paulina has the courage to tell him straight and not do the seat thing.

Isaac Tauahefa starts off nice and confident but it's a bit bland. He's not very good. It's also a very very short song. Not good at all. More boos. Well done, Paulina. She sends him straight home too.

The guy with Turettes. Carlos Guevara. Maybe that helps him. He is by far the best so far. That may not be saying much but he deserves to go through anyway and will be good TV. He's through and didn't need the 'I want to be an inspiration' speech although it was good to hear and beats the 'This is all I wanna do' ones.

Stone Martin is the cute little boy with the cool name that doesn't quite match him. Well, not yet, at any rate. It probably will when he's a hunky 20 year old. That's a nice audition start. But something goes wrong with Torn. Not a good choice as it's more difficult than it seems and it's quite a relief that it lasts just a few seconds. The judges like him. Paulina is looking for a male Taylor Swift. She will take him but I'm not sure she actually wants to.

Chase Goehring is someone I don't remember. He sounds good, nicely original and current, from the clips of early auditions. He is shown driving a huge new car to arrive at the stadium. You have to wonder at how impossible that would be in UK. An odd song I don't know either but it goes OK. But no-one likes the I Wish song very much. He'll get a seat but I think his future is elsewhere. He'll want to write his own stuff.

Tim Olstad is 24 which is a bit older than the others. Quite a big bit in fact. He's a bit pasty-faced and looks like someone who was very good but who didn't make the UK Live Shows. He looks so nervous, hiding behind the microphone. Oh dear, it's The Climb. It's a mess to my ears. Some nice notes here and there but this is not someone who'll be around long or will get some big fan club. Unless he starts doing Country. Oh, hadn't thought of that. The girls like him, though. Demi and Kelly want him to stay. Paulina is dubious and that gets the boos going big time. He's better than a couple of those already sitting so she can do that. She chooses Stone Martin. That was quite a surprise. Fair enough.

Cue Stone crying. That's fair enough too, Pretty damned emotional for a 14 year old. All credit to him and I'm sure we'll see retakes of this series in years to come when he does finally get through at 16 or 17.

Carlito Olivero was one of the very first guys we saw and I reckon Paulina has a good feeling for him so he has a good start there. He was one of the best before and is one of very few to hit the right nots amongst the boys. He has to stay. Sings Spanish too, just in case he hadn't already appealed. The four guys seated look glum. they know one of them is out. Paulina takes her time. Cue speech about there being no Latinos out there. Mario gets picked up and twirled around by one delighted Carlito. So he's in and Chase goes home. The crowd didn't like that either.

Timmy Thames is just 13. Pictures of him in nappies. I suppose there's not much else they can find for someone that age. He's got a guitar on stage. The New Girl In Town may have been the title. He sings really well and is current and that sounds good. It could be a hit released just like it is. Great contender who looks cool, way beyond his ridiculous years. Demi wasn't blown away. Simon thinks it would be 'insane if he left the competition'. Paulina has a toughie. I would just put him there and swap out Tim or Al. Fairly easy now I think of it. She chooses Tim Olstad. Seems to be an unpopular decision.

Josh Levi is the last to audition for the prize of Live Shows and $4000 or more a month as well as a whole load more for those who play it well. He was brilliant in the first stage so this could mean Al's time is finally up. I don't quite see what all the fuss was about when she swapped Tim for Timmy. Paulina asks for a 'timeout' whatever that means. Now she says that she wants Tim back. Eh? That means he has to be in the Live Shows as there is no way that he can be swapped out later. Oh dear. Not a good decision. Al will have to go, surely. Or will she really screw up Timmy. No, it's Al. But someone still has to go to make way for Josh. Looks like little Timmy will ahve to return next year after all as none of the others deserve to go. Big mistake there, Paulina.

Paulina wasn't at Josh's auditions but she'll have seen the recordings which are often better. He's good all right. Demi is all over the place with admiration and that's bound to affect Paulina. Kelly calls him a superstar. He can perform as well as sing. Simon can see he's going far. Paulina reckons what he did was perfect so she'll put him in, obviously. The question is: who goes?

Poor Timmy Thames. Funny thing is I reckon he was the best of the bunch so look forward to seeing him return to this or another competition in the next year or two,

Now, after all that emotional stuff, it is almost a relief to have Simon in charge and it'll be interesting to see (a) how the groups perform, especially those we've never seen before that he's constructed, and (b) the final line up of all 16 Live Show acts. The betting starts there!

From what we've seen so far the winner will be a girl or one of the groups so these choices are important.

Girls United put on a good, together job. Well-rehearsed and presented, Lively and quite attractive. Not sure they would survive in the wild. They'll be kept for now.

Wild Thingz seem amazingly popular in the audience and certainly do something different and fun. I can't see where they fit in to the show. They could do well on their own but putting them up against some old Country crooners and some sexy girls doesn't make a great deal of sense. They take a seat for now but they'll not be there long.

Glamour are three 12 -13 year-olds, Good grief. It sounds strange to hear the lyrics about whiskey and someone missing them when they're gone but the 60s vibe is fabulous. They're not yet ready and need to go home. He puts them on the seats but I don't see any of the ones selected so far staying.

Restless Road are three guys who missed out on the boys section. It's a good move to put two really good looking guys and another not bad one in together singing Country. That's what America likes and it doesn't really exist anywhere. Neat move, Simon! Kelly is crazy for them. They'll get a seat.

Oh. That's it. We have to wait, presumably until next week now, after all.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Four Chair Challenge Pt2

Waiting a week to finish viewing what must have been recorded in one session is a bit frustrating. Demi was in the middle of choosing her Final Four and had already got all four chairs full but with plenty of good acts still to come.

Mario gets the 'big announcement' job with the overlays at the start as well as hosting the show. He's doing well.

Simone Torres doesn't have the 'look' but has a good voice and confidence on stage, This time, though, her low voice got a bit boring and her appeals to the audience to sing along were a bit naff and reminded us all of the 'wedding singer' that, actually she does. That's what Simon says too (but I genuinely did write this before he did!) Demi doesn't think she's seeing a 'star' and so Simone ought to be out but Demi adds her in and someone has to go. Because of the format, Mario says someone has to go and asks who. So the crowd are not sure whether to shout 'Yes' or 'No' in response to each name. Demi chooses Simone over Bree. That was a silly move but I expect someone else will oust Simone sooner or later anyway.

Danie Guymer sings Georgia beautifully and she has something special about her - gentle yet powerful. I like the fact that she is almost totally not made up. However, the makeover team will have a field day with her. Excellent. She just has to be in. Simone is out, having only just got in.

Rylie Brown is 16 and a bit Miss America Pageant  Girl and probably a cheerleader too. Angels is OK. A bit anthemic and not a stunning performance. Notes were a bit hit and miss too. The dress was odd and I don't see her going through. She seemed dressed and presented as someone way older than 16. As a teenager having fun she could do well but not in that style. The judges agree and she's one of the only girls not to get a seat.

If you've been following the show you'll remember the character of Rion and the Jessica Sanchez clone Ellona. Both still to come and pretty much certainties for the Live Show.

Primrose Martin is next. She wrecks Blame It On The Boogie. Terrible singing. She looked good and danced well and clearly has some talent but she's not right tonight. She is pleading and pleading and actually getting a bit annoying. I think her dad, who was in someone like KC and The Sunshine Band or a group like that, recognised that she had gone wrong too. She gets sent home.

So it's Rion, from the very first auditions if I remember correctly. Very young but sings very very maturely and with feeling you can't really figure out where she's got it from. The country number I don't know but it was fabulously done. Just brilliant. She is a huge stand out performer and can only get better and better. She has to be in and each of the four girls seated know full well that one of them has to go. The one is Ashly. Not a popular decision with the crowd, by the sound of it.

There could still be another. And I reckon everyone in the room knows that.

It looks as though this may be all we get in tonight's programme with just 15 minutes left. Or will we get the first couple of Paulina's boys? Strange, but I have already almost completely forgotten the Overs. I may well completely forget the Boys too. This year I have a feeling it will be the Groups and the Girls who steal the show.

Big build up for Ellona who looks stunning but sounds very off-key. Gravity may be that sort of song but that was not the best of starts. She ends better. I'm not sure. Eh? Simon seems to think that was one of the best vocals in that category. He must hear something different and stands up for her as Demi appears not to want to swap any of the existing four chosen. After an age she puts her in. But who will she lose? It won't be Rion, or Danie. It's Jamie, who had been there for a long time. That was tough.

Mario tells us that it's 'next week' when Paulina and Simon get to choose. Actually it'll be tomorrow here in the UK.

Friday, 11 October 2013

The Four Chair Challenge Pt 1

This is where X Factor USA separates from X Factor UK. No Judges' Houses. Whereas UK have a Six Chair thing to determine the Top 24, with 6 in each category going to Judges' Houses and then 3 to Live Shows, here the 10 get whittled down straight away to 4 in one go, with 16 making the Live Shows.

I like the idea of 16 making the Live Shows.

Victoria is the mother of 8, separated from her husband, who looks quite young and put across lots of excellent feeling in her last audition. She kicks off this heavy-emotion-laden programme very well. She is so expressive, although to a large extent brilliant song choice helped once again. If she isn't still on one of the 4 seats at the end then the others will have to be so good. So she'll get a seat to start with. Kelly confirms that.

This seat business, just as in the UK show, certainly makes good TV, bringing lots of emotion and audience reaction into the two hours.

Kristine is next and is someone I do not remember. She looks like Madonna. An interesting take on Britney's Oops I Did It Again. She seemed pretty professional to me but doesn't get much support from the girl judges. In a sense, Simon was right to have the three girls from the point of view of how the programme comes across but he is getting outnumbered by them and their slightly less knowledgeable view of the market and individuals' potential.

Jeffrey Gutt has one powerful voice. Cut last year, he may make it this year but I am now sure yet if he is getting all the notes he needs. Amazing Grace is one of those anthems that just work and he sure made it count so he'll get a seat in the Overs, making it three of the four already. Soon, someone has to be disappointed.

Next is Rachel, the dark-haired bar tender girl who is pretty strong and Country-wise which there could be a space for. She is sadly quite off key a little more often than we want her to be. I like her a lot but, despite all the high note efforts, she doesn't quite make it in my book. She is honest enough to admit that is was not so good when Demi said it was kinda rough. Mario gets more involved now, by the way. Rachel gets a seat as Kelly fills them all and now she'll have to start losing people.

Lorie Moore is the football girl. She has a good tone but this is not her night as her breathing lets her down and notes go as astray if not more so than Rachel's did. If she replaces on it won't be for long and I am not so sure she will anyway. Oh dear, Lorie does some high school speech thing and gets a space. Kristine is out.

Allison Davis is beautiful but got a 'No' from Simon originally. She has the look but she's doesn't go down well with the crowd. She tries the Lorie trick but it doesn't work. She was more 'modern' than the others so far but probably wouldn't have fared well.

Jeff Brinkmann is the one with the husky, Dylan-esque mixed with Michael Bolton, voice. He's in tune and sounds excellent. Not a winner but deserves a seat over Lorie and Rachel. He actually kicks Victoria out. I wouldn't have done that, says Simon to her as she leaves.

Santa is a nice chap. Denny Smith sings along with The Midnight Hour and does it pretty well but it is a karaoke performance and I don't see him surviving many of the Live Show rounds or have a real market to appeal to. Other than by being a pleasant granddad figure. Louis Walsh would have him in the Live Shows in a UK show but no, Kelly isn't going to substitute anyone for him. A good speech. They're all doing speeches now. But Santa has to go home. Simon asks if she is crazy but, this time, she's got it right. I am pretty sure that Simon is liking the way the programme is appealing to the crowd so much more than before.

James Kenney is up next, Another nice chap. He has the advantage of doing really well in his auditions and writing his own stuff too. He starts very wobbly. Lean On Me is another anthem of a song. He is all over the place but his Matt Damon looks will get him a seat for all that. He could be so much better as well so may be worth the risk. Demi says he killed it but I am not so sure I agree with her meaning. The others all seem to have totally got it so I can only imagine that they have different sound going on there. Looks a bit like David with the beard that one American Idol a few years back. Yup, he's in. Lorie or Jeff B have to go. It's Jeff B who only gets to sit for a few minutes.

Lillie McCloud is the act that almost everyone loves so I think we can take it that each of the four will be dreading finding out which falls at this last hurdle to make way for Lillie. It has to be Lorie, doesn't it?

Lillie is 54 and is the spitting image of Diana Ross. She must be doing tribute act work, surely. She comes on stage with the ball gown dress and sings a big number that starts with A Chair... is just a chair. I don't know the song but that's a performance we'll all remember as it simply blew every single other one out of the water!

She is obviously very much in. And Lorie is very much out. Lots of upset there. Rachel and Jeff look extremely relieved,

So that's the four Over 25s in the Live Shows. If Lillie carries on like that she could go quite a long way but I can see all four being solid and reliable.

Now it's Demi's turn with the girls. This could be very tough and I do hope she has already had a good chat with the others and basically made her mind up or it could be very confusing. Six of these girls have to go.

Bree is first. I'm Glad You Came was odd in places but she is pretty professional. Kelly doesn't think she did well. The audience didn't think much to that. Nor to Paulina agreeing with Kelly. Simon thought the voice was wrong and Demi, very smartly, recognises that Bree wouldn't stand a chance against the Overs that are selected. She could return, I think, and would be better no pleading on stage. She gets a seat. I think Demi was a bit incorrect when she said You're in my final four!

Khaya has been impressive so far. She is excellent. Far better than Bree and, of the two, she will survive for sure. At 15, great potential. Just the problem of her ability to understand just what on Earth she is singing about. Great audition. She's through, period.

Jamie Pineda ha quite a harsh spoken voice that can be tiring to listen to. Singing, she's quite sweet and she is actually right on most of the notes but it is a bit bland. As the song proceeds she does some Spanish in the hope of appealing to Paulina more. There's Ellona, though, who can also do that. Demi tells her she's in her final four, misleadingly, but Jamie gets a seat for now.

Ashly Williams looks good and auditioned brilliantly. She has the look of someone who could be a star. There's a lot of emotional stuff about her mother and you wonder about some guy in a prison somewhere watching the programme. But that's that. Back to her singing, this time she tends to rush a bit and loses some of the interpretation but then seems to lose it completely before just about bringing it back again. She's popular. She's quite good but I don't know whether she'll make it. She's really up against talent. Oh dear, Demi puts her 'in her final four' too.

That's the end of the programme and we have to wait for the next one to see who else makes it through and, of course, to learn Paulina and Simon's choices.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Last auditions and the cuts start as the Top 40 decided.

These, they tell us, are the last auditions. Listening to the first bloke that's quite a relief. Everything about him is creepy. His eyes are terrifying and he even strokes Demi's hair which did not go down well at all. Great backing track, though.

Glamour is the name of a pleasant three-girl group that does get through with lots of applause. Another three girls make up Girls United and they go down well too. Demi says they're so pretty it's stupid.

Zac Beacon has a deep voice and is one of the rarer Country guys we've heard.

Wild Thingz are a couple of slightly crazy lads who get through. Santa Clause comes on and sings Stormy Monday Blues and does it very well. He's old but can sing and is through.

Victoria is, I guess, 40 but looks 27 and is in good shape. She seems to be a single mum with 8 kids so goodness knows what the husbands or fathers didn't like about her. She sings Because Of You. You want her to be good. The top notes are a bit tough for her but there is a rawness and real emotion in what she does which makes the rough edges fine. Nice audition. All eight run on at the end and whilst I don't usually like this arranged emotional stuff I thought the way she seemed genuinely surprised when the first one almost collided into her and handled the whole thing quite endearing. I don't expect she'll get that far but well done for what she has achieved today.

Oh dear. 10 years later? That must have been on American Idol, Ah, yes, Simon remembers. The guy was absolutely pathetic then. Kelly and the girls seem to know all the words and are up and dancing and trying to get Simon up to dance too. He does not want to and I can feel for him. What is it about this rap stuff that gets to the girls in the way it does? They even give him a yes. Simon as well. Unbelievable. I guess that he knows he can easily get rid of him at the next round anyway. And, to be fair, the guy was decent enough otherwise, unlike many we've seen.

That's that for auditions. Now for some cuts.

They're looking for 10 from each and I have to type fast as they read the names out to the crowds on the stage. This is so much better than the annoying group thing they used to do. It isn't that brilliant TV, of course, but they push on through pretty quickly and it's a good reminder of who's who as well.

The 10 Girls are: 

Khaya, Bree, Jamie P, Simone T, Rion P, Danie, Rylie, Primrose M, Ellona S, Ashly W
That must have been tough as quite a few talented girls remain.

The 10 Boys are: 

Carlito O, Chase, Timmy T, isiah, Tim Olstad, Al C, Josh L, Isaac T, Carlos G, Stone M

The 10 Groups (well 7 so we can expect some manufacturing!!):

Glamour, Good News, Yellowhouse Candy, Alex & Sierra, Roxxy Montana, Wild Thingz, Girls United,

The Over 25s

Lillie McCloud, Jeff Brinkman, Rachel Potter, Kristine Murrell, Victoria C, James Kenney, Allison Davis, Denny Smith, Lorie Moore, Jeff Gutt

As suspected, three girls are brought back and three Country guys and three young boys too to make the missing three groups.

So how are the mentors going to be split?
Kelly gets the Over 25s.
Demi gets the Girls
Paulina gets the Boys
Simon gets the Groups

Everyone seems happy. The Groups and the Girls especially so but that might just be because there are lots of girls making lots of noise in both categories!

Friday, 4 October 2013

More auditions: Long Island and Denver

Mario does the lengthy intro and we have to smile at the rather sad colour text overlays on the screen, Something from the 80s!

Melanie has a voice that simply has to be Country. She is a little older than average and you hope she'll be good. Titanium was not what we expected. Nor was the rubbish voice. Move on.

I don't expect much now from the Ukraine woman. Didn't get much other than a painful ear. Lots more I cannot be bothered to mention. Finally Emery comes along and seems pretty cool and capable. Do I hear boy band? He sings pretty well and there's something there. People will like him and he could easily get a big fan following. Seems a decent guy who could work out well with a bit of training here and there.

Next a girl who will be good. You just feel that she will be. 15 year old Khaya Cohen sings a boring song and not very well. Luckily for her, Simon says so. She has a second song. Ha! This will be better! I Put A Spell On You  is a great tune and she fares a lot better all right. I think the judges were well over the top but hopefully that'll keep the girl coming. She could be entertaining.

Hilarious bit about an anteater!

Now James Kenney. The Overs are pretty sparse this year and he would be a worthwhile addition. He looks nice and sounds pretty good too. He made it to Judges' Houses in Season 1. Summertime is another really cool classic and he can do it justice. Great appreciation from the crowd. The girls certainly love him and he'll make it through again. In fact with so few good Overs so far appearing this Season he may well be on our screens longer than just to Boot Camp and Judges' Houses.

Cue cute daughters on stage to say well done to daddy. Well, wouldn't you know - that's exactly what happened.

Isaac Tauaefa is a football player who can sort of sing. Chase Goehring is much better and writes his own tracks. Alison Davis has a very short T shirt. Iasabel Requena sounds similar. Isiaiah Allston too and he's a boy. The two girls also go through.

David Gray is a bit odd. He is all romantic and we learn eventually that he is there so he can propose to the next contestant, Lauren Waguespack. Now she can sing reasonably but doesn't get through. She does get proposed to on stage in front of x million viewers, though, which can't be bad.

Tim Oldstead isn't helped by the three girls asking dumb questions of an already nervous guy. He actually sings well and does well to get over his nerves. Good singer. Deserves a break. He's up against some very tough competition here but the publicity should help him immensely even if he doesn't get much further than Boot Camp. I am constantly surprised by Demi's professionalism as she managed to build in an apology for the dumb questions and reviewed his performance really succinctly and with great grammar and continuity. She's smart.

Wesley loves Kelly. Whether that helps his singing remains to be seen. Quite an embarrassing moment when he gets all hot and bothered but eventually he moves back to the stage and there is something about his style that is quite good. To be honest, he'd be better if he wasn't so worked up but that was a good effort. Demi is so spot-on when she calls him creepy. He had better behave less creepily next.

Celine Polenghi is confident at 16. Difficult song. she didn't perform it well but the judges clearly see something special there.

Bree Randall is cute. She is confident and has a great stage presence and attitude. A lovely looking girl who can perform. Nice.

Primrose Martin purs a lot of effort into a Jesse James number and gets another set of four yesses.

Summer Reign looks cool and sings reasonably well but has lots of stage presence and glamour that will carry her through in one way or another. There are a lot of girls doing well.

Ricky Clark Jnr does the Usher look. He is also in love with Kelly but not as creepily as the previous guy. Slightly off-key but he has a good way of performing and appeals to the crowd. Simon is right about his voice and the girls also disappoint him. Looks like he was not expecting that. Kelly did a cool job comforting and guiding him. Quite impressed with that.

Lorie Moore is a professional footballer. We've had a few people from the sports world this time. She is a good singer. Not sure she has any X factor but deserves to get through as much as many who have already.

This has been a very average set of auditions and none strike me as potential winners. We'll see some in the Live Shows and perhaps they'll spring to life or find something special between now and then. Hope so.

A strange couple. Second Hand High is a duo. The girl talks a lot. The song goes well and gets quite a few people up on their feet, including Kelly. I can see that being a hit. The duo were rubbish but they can write for sure.

This week's show ends with a clever mock-up of Kelly, Demi and even Simon performing the track.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

It's Charleston and South Carolina Time

So Simon, Demi, Kelly and Paulina have another couple of gigs in search of someone to entertain us between now and Christmas.

Big, really good-looking all American boy is first up. I wonder if he's one of those 1 in 4 that believes the World was created in 7 days. Andrew Scholtz can sing in tune but he's just sort of average to listen to. Demi is spot-on in her first comments and that was brave for a 21 year old girl who must have fancied him. Simon gets him to do another number and he turns round a Good Ol' Country track and gets 4 yesses after all.

If that was set up then it was cleverly done as the guy did look temporarily at a loss when asked for a second number. That might have just been him trying to remember what he'd been told to do while the cameras weren't running just before, of course.

Blake Shankle is another hugely attractive lad but he can't sing as well as the previous guy at all and sort of mangles all the words at the end. I am sure the audience must have been signed to stay quiet as no-one made any noise at all and that can only have been in response to production team holding up 'NO NOISE' boards. He is pretty upset to get four noes,

Lucretia Harrris is dreadful. Brandy looks and sounds awful. It looks like it doesn't get any better for some time. Later, with Paulina missing through sickness, things continue.

Ellona Santiago sings Wings by Little Mix. Lots of energy and a strong, if slightly frantic, performance. She reminds me very much of Jessica Sanchez so she'll be through and may come 2nd. Ah! We learn that she's the second survivor of InTENsity to make it through - 'the one in the red jacket' that Simon had picked out in Season 1. He appeared genuinely not to remember her and I didn't either although the name did seem familiar and I must look through my reviews to see if I'll find her! You would think that that would have been prominent on the slips the judges get about the candidates.

Stone Martin is a young teen. We haven't seen many of them this year. A cute little boy that the little girls will all fall in love with. He does Little Things quite well. Cute. I think he'd be better in a year or two, though. Could be a difficult decision. No, all of them put him straight through, no messing. Great name. I feel for the poor fellow, though, as I am sure he'll be told to come back another year somewhere along the way, accompanied by tears.

Ashly Williams. Big build up. Well worth it as she performs the anthem I Will Always Love You perfectly, Not bad for a simple audition with a mic and a backing track. Very few get that track right first time from start to finish. That has to be one of the best auditions this year - and a good stand out for all three Seasons. Obviously through. Cue Hallelujah which reflects the success of Alexandra Burke on to the slightly similar-looking girl and then cue her family to run on. Bit staged but OK. This is X Factor, after all.