Sunday, October 02, 2011

Honking Box Preview: The X Factor

So the Judges Houses stage is over, and all the conventions are in place: ropey stock footage covertly promoting airlines; a million utterances of 'this means everything'; waterfalls of snot; and helpers who aren't so much helpful as headline-generating. So what are we left with? Well, while the new judging line-up has given the show a much-needed shake-up, the rather embarrassing crop of finalists has swung the show's credibility right back the other way. There are a few gems, it must be said, but for the most part, you'll be crying out for the return of Wagner...

The Groups, mentored by Tulisa
The poor ol’ groups get a fair bit of stick about being perennially awful, but in fairness to them, they’re very rarely actual groups, mostly resentful soloists thrown together by hapless producers. This year is no exception, with Tulisa presiding over the back-and-forth Sugababes-style personnel nightmare. No doubt she’ll try to apply some sort of ‘urban’ ‘edge’ to each of them, but it’ll take more than a clumsy rap to paper over this shower of uselessness:

The Risk
What’s their deal, then?
You know the story: boy meets producer, producer thinks boy is good but not ‘Eoghan Quigg good’ or ‘Lloyd Daniels good’ so chucks him in a group with some other boys deemed semi-rubbish. A last-minute rejig also saw the talented one from The Keys plucked from his bandmates and shoehorned in here. Mmmm, organic.
Pigeonhole: The niche carved out by/for Futureproof, way back in the Godawful series four.
Most likely to sing: Hoobastank’s The Reason hasn’t been massacred on The X Factor yet. Maybe The Risk are the ones to butcher it?
Probable position: 10th. A cut-and-shut job can only last so long before imploding.

Two Shoes
What’s their deal, then?
Gobby orange duo, presumably well-spoken and well-educated, but sprayed and bleached and lobotomised into a first-class ticket aboard the deplorable The Only Way Is Essex bandwagon. Not bad singers, but annoying as hell. Fun fact! One of them’s preggers.
Pigeonhole: ‘Zany’ duo with the Marmite factor – like Jedward, except they can sing. And they’re not odious, talent-absent fuckwits.
Most likely to sing: A mash-up of When I Grow Up by the Alleycat Trolls, and Wham’s Club Tropicana.
Probable position: 8th. They’ll be in the sing-off with Kitty, who’d survive a nuclear explosion.

What’s their deal, then?
Girl group compiled from two other girl groups compiled from failed soloists. Even the Human Centipede was put together more gracefully than this lot. Also, one looks like her skull is sideways on its axis, making her face wider than it is long.
Pigeonhole: The dreadful Belle Amie. The even more dreadful Hope. This doesn’t bode well.
Most likely to sing: We R Who We R by Ke$ha. Badly.
Probable position: Girl group. 16th. Inevitable.

Nu Vibe
What’s their deal, then?
And yet ANOTHER patchwork group completes Tulisa’s line-up. This one features that scally kid that can’t hold a note, the one that looks like the Cowardly Lion, and some others no-one would miss if they suddenly vanished. *slow clap*
Pigeonhole: These ones are clearly for the teenyboppers, a la One Direction.
Most likely to sing: They’re YOUNG ‘n’ URBAN! Lookit, a whole three members are non-white! Inevitably, something by Taio Cruz. Cue Louis: you’re like a little Jackson 5!
Probable position: 15th. One Direction and JLS have this market covered, thanks.

The Over 25s, mentored by Louis Walsh
Ah, good ol’ Louis. Does he actually know he’s there as the comedy judge, or does he think we actually take him seriously? When he’s not lumbered with the ham-fisted groups, he’s gifted the Overs category, which is less and less about mature, experienced vocalists worthy of a second chance, and more a parade of tone-deaf, mentally ill, watch-through-your-fingers monstrosities. Observe:

Kitty Brucknell
What’s her deal, then?
Dramatic, fame-hungry, serial-reality-show-courting, loathsome caricature of humankind. Awful voice to boot, with every note sounding as though it’s being expunged mid-vomit. Looks and talks like a post-apocalyptic hooker from a Joss Whedon pilot. Needs a good slap.
Pigeonhole: Katie Weasel squared.
Most likely to sing: An electro-squelch take on Cabaret.
Probable position: 5th. The very second it’s out of the judges’ hands, this trainwreck is out of there.

Johnny Robinson
What’s his deal, then?
Mincey, high-pitched, unemployed article of irrelevance, Johnny takes the baton from Goldie as this year’s REALLY FUNNY contestant. A sort of undernourished John Inman for the digital age, except without any of the charisma, wit or likeability.
Pigeonhole: He’s old, in X Factor terms at least, and he’s shit. Thus: Chico.
Most likely to sing: The most toe-curlingly atrocious Vogue you’ve ever witnessed.
Probable position: 14th. A joke that’ll get very old very quick.

Jonjo Kerr
What’s his deal, then?
A family man who’s served in Afghanistan, making him an actual deity as far as The Sun is concerned. Expect them to give away free England flags with Jonjo’s face on them (collect tokens and redeem at your nearest Sports Direct).
Pigeonhole: We’ve not had an ACTUAL HERO reach the live finals before. However, we have had average singers with a backstory – remember Verity Keays, or Kerry McGregor? No?
Most likely to sing: Hero by Enrique Iglesias. Voting line meltdown.
Probable position: 6th, losing out to Kitty, followed by a wave of UK-wide riots in protest.

Sami Brookes
What’s her deal, then?
Bellowing barmaid who Louis will struggle to introduce without saying “Big voice, big personality”. A last-minute replacement for Goldie, Sami’s got some impressive pipes on her, though no doubt the Sunday papers will shorten her stint with tales of ‘ZOMG she iz a reel-life LEZBEAN!’
Pigeonhole: The plus-size bellowing Over, a la Brenda, Beverley, Niki, Tesco Mary.
Most likely to sing: Can’t Fight The Moonlight by LeAnn Rimes. About as contemporary as Louis gets.
Probable position: 7th. A wonky week will see her in the bottom two with Kitty. Guess who stays?

The Boys, mentored by Gary Barlow
Last year saw a spike in the normally-dreary Boys category, courtesy of Dannii Minogue at the helm, and Paije, Nicolo and eventual winner Matt leading the charge. This year, however, is business as usual, with four largely bland entries – and yet, oddly, it appeared to be the most sought-after category as far as the judges were concerned. Winning out was Gary Barlow, who’ll no doubt have them sat at pianos, shunning choreography and slowly podging up.

Frankie Cocozza
What’s his deal, then?
Cocky, intensely dislikeable, reedy-voiced brat who’s HAD SOME SEX WITH SOME GIRLS. As far as USPs go, it’s a pretty weak one. Mind you, looking at his contemporaries in the boys category, the “with girls” part might actually be exclusive to Frankie. Also: cunt.
Pigeonhole: On the surface, he’s the Olly Murs lad-about-town character. But while Kitty might be the obvious choice for filling Katie Weasel’s rhinestoned platforms, Frankie also ticks the contrived box with ease.
Most likely to sing: The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars. Cos our Frankie’s a REGULAR GUY, innit?!
Probable position: 11th. They’ll want to keep him in longer, but will sacrifice him to keep Kitty.

Craig Colton
What’s his deal, then?
Likeable Scouse chubster with a towering vocal. It seems, thus far, the producers have done all they can to make him into some sort of He-Adele, but frankly, one of her is more than enough.
Pigeonhole: Fun, chunky and in possession of a more-than-respectable voice, he’ll be staying in the exclusive Paije Richardson Suite.
Most likely to sing: Someone Like You. Duhh.
Probable position: That voice combined with the Merseyside vote will help him come at least 2nd.

Marcus Collins
What’s his deal, then?
High-camp former Eton Road member (post-live shows, we must add), Marcus has turned his back on the lucrative world of performing to precisely no-one to go it alone. Impressive voice, but perhaps a tad too, shall we say, Glee for the X Factor audience. Yes, Glee, that'll do. That’s the way to express what we mean without it being libellous.
Pigeonhole: Camp Crooner, like Rikki Loney, without the devil-brows. Or Rapey Aiden, without the murderous tendencies.
Most likely to sing: Something by Mika. *shudder*
Probable position: 12th. He’ll be chopped in favour of Brucknell too.

James Michael
What’s his deal, then?
Permanently-hatted singer and guitarist who’s picked up very little in the way of screentime. Won’t go in his favour, but then, the fact his musical style lends itself more to Tube stations or university halls of residence will be an even bigger hindrance.
Pigeonhole: Serious musician, a la Matt Cardle. He’s probably been to Camden and everything!
Most likely to sing: Cannonball by Damien Rice. Already given an airing this series by that useless Welsh maths teacher that got sent packing, and we all know how much this show likes to recycle.
Probable position: 13th at a push. He’ll also be cut when up against Kitty.

The Girls, mentored by Kelly Rowland
Easily the best judge this year – in terms of professionalism, creativity, and all-round entertainment – it’s therefore justified that Kelly is awarded the best category. It’s unclear which of the girls in particular they’re pimping for the win, but it’s safe to assume they’ll be making up a hefty portion of the Top 5. It must be noted that it’s monumentally disappointing to have not had a big dramatic Return of the Gamu, but hey.

Amelia Lily
What’s her deal, then? Some sort of Christina Aguilera/Margi Clarke hybrid, who’s apparently only 16. Hmmm. That said, her voice is the selling point, gale-force chops that should see her through the live shows with ease.
Pigeonhole: Pretty. Can sing. It’s a big pigeonhole.
Most likely to sing: The Voice Within by Slaguilera, though hopefully she’ll do a better job than the woman herself when slaughtering Beautiful in last year’s final.
Probable position: Top 3, perhaps even winner, assuming Kelly gets it right.

Sophie Habibis
What’s her deal, then? Another one who’s had sod-all in the way of screentime, but what little we’ve seen has been of a high quality. A mighty vocal could give her a fair run, even if most of the viewing audience will think she’s a failed auditionee who snuck in the side entrance.
Pigeonhole: The annual quite good, mildly quirky female; the role Stacey Solomon or Ruth Lorenzo filled better. Most likely to sing: Umbrella. It’s been a while since they wheeled that one out.
Probable position: 9th – she'll poodle along nicely until she faces Kitty in the sing-off.

Janet Devlin
What’s her deal, then?
Wispy, timid Northern Irish songbird guaranteed to do well on the back of the local vote. And while she’s a sweet wee thing, she does sound rather like Julie Walters doing the ancient waitress character.
Pigeonhole: Diana Vickers 2.0 (claw TBC).
Most likely to sing: She’ll rinse the entire Ellie Goulding back catalogue, then move on to Nothing Compares 2 U for the moneyshot.
Probable position: Top 3 with Craig and Amelia, but her sheep-like vocal will have gotten pretty tiresome by then.

Misha Bryan
What’s her deal, then?
Mancunian purveyor of big vocals and atrocious Mr Whippy weaves. Did a sterling job of Survivor by Destiny’s Child at Boot Camp, and probably has the most artistry out of all the girls. But we know how far a girl with her own brain gets on these shows, eh?
Pigeonhole: She sings! She raps! She’s a bit Graziella out of Miss Frank, before they Miss Franked her! But also, a bit Cher Lloyd. *takes step back*
Most likely to sing: Something by BeyoncĂ©. But she’ll MAKE IT HER OWN.
Probable position: 4th. She deserves 1st, but since when have X Factor viewers embraced the new?

Tune in next week for the first live show with another SO-CALLED! BIG! TWIST! We won’t be liveblogging it, unfortunately – partly due to a prior social engagement, and partly due to the fact it’s two and a half hours long, and St John’s Ambulance would need to be on standby. Those of you who’ll be watching live without the aid of a fast-forward option? Good luck...

No comments:

Creative Commons Licence
The Sloppy Dog by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.