The opening X Factor shows last weekend were by far the most entertaining for years. Saturday night TV (and Sunday of course) back to it's very best. The return of our favourite judges, Simon and Cheryl, brought sparkle and bit of fun back to the proceedings. The talent was pretty amazing too. Step forward my favourites, Lauren Platt, Andrea Faustini...and Team Midas' Only The Young.
People of Britain, order your takeaway, get the beers in (soft drinks can be just as refreshing) pull up a chair and get ready to face the music. It's time for X Factor, week two.
First up was Ten, (yes that really is her name) who admitted openly that she has come straight to the audition after a night out partying. In Team Midas land, that would be a big no no. Vocally she was ok, but the judges agreed with me. Simon said she had 'almost thrown her talent away' and concluded that she needs to 'get her act together'. Ten must have nine lives because she still managed to squeeze through...and Ten, watch out for the lights.
Mervyn Scott was out of tune and out of time. Not your big break this time mate! Perhaps a bit of royalty would cut the cloth! Queen Christina followed complete with crowndocs time, hand made no less. British eccentricity at its best. Deary me, where is the talent.....?
Model Maria Ellinas sang Shreet, I mean Street life and even though the judges wound her up with some good natured banter, she was actually very good and was very likeable.
Swoon alert, swoon alert. US air force's Charlie Martinez from Florida had to get permission (in uniform) from The Pentagon in order to audition. The girls watching in the audition area loved him and gave him a yes, even before the judges. Sir Simon agreed and he 'flew' through.
Essex arcade worker Charlie Brown was hoping to 'slot' in to the next round and with a voice like that, it was never in doubt. Great audition Charlie. Can't wait to hear and see more of you.
Its no secret that 29 year old van driver Ben Haenow is a good friend of mine and on Team Midas. During his VT Ben said "I am a van driver from Croydon, I am obviously living the dream." Will he deliver with his version of 'Ain't no sunshine'? Not being at all biased, Ben was amazing, absolutely brilliant. One of the best vocals this show has ever heard. The judges agreed. Mel B commented, "I don't think you should move (dance), because that rhythm thing is off putting but that voice is a killer!" Cheryl agreed, "I really like the tone of your voice and that real, genuine grit. It's an authentic sound." Ben got four yeses but before he left, Simon said "I am really surprised that someone with your talent hasn't got a record deal." Hopefully that's about to change Mr Cowell.
Likeable Jake Sims brought his sister into the audition room and he did a killer version of Stevie Wonder's Superstition. Fantastic job Jake. Must say though as a talent scout, Jake would be a good fit in a boy band.
Twins Kyle and Josh, aka The Brooks were much better than I anticipated they would be. Great look, good vocals and the girls will love them. Very impressed.
Youth worker Monica Michael warmed my heart. Yes, she admitted to rebelling in her youth, but she has worked hard to overcome this time in her life with the love of music and her sister, coming out the other side to help other people. Before her audition she tells us that if she gets four yeses from the judges it would definitely inspire her to achieve what she wants to achieve in her life and make her family proud that she has changed her life around and went for her dreams. Her self penned song, 'Pretty Little Sister' is awesome, really emotional. Cheryl (and me) cried and I loved it. This is a top five track just waiting to happen. Cheryl agreed "You are super talented, you're just rough around the edges and haven't had a break yet. I loved that song and would download it tomorrow."
Next up was a montage of young male singers, Jack Walton, James Graham, Casey Johnson and Bre Musiq. The major stand outs for me were Jack and Bre. Two huge talents, with promising futures.
I was astounded that Paul Akister never made it through last year. His voice is fantastic. So glad he has come back. The minute he started singing 'Jealous Guy' (a track he dedicated to his ex girlfriend) Simon looked across at Louis, as if to say 'what were you thinking? If their is any justice, we will see Paul at the live shows. As soon as he finished singing Simon said "I think Louis you probably owe him an apology" Louis replied "No actually, Simon don't go down that road, that will not work. You don't know the guy," Simon said: "You made a mistake, admit it." Paul, for the record, I'm with Simon.
Geordie Chloe Hedley got her chance to shine in front of the queen of the north east, a certain Cheryl. Whether it was nerves or experience, it was more miss than hit and the judges sent her home.
Last up tonight was another Team Midas' pick. Her name is Lola and she is not a showgirl, she is a fishmonger. Lola Saunders is from South Shields and her biggest fans (apart from me) are her gran and grandad. She tackled Adele's 'Make you feel my love' and blew everyone away. Now, I have had the honour of backing many acts, but Lola is one of the best. Ever. As soon as she finished, Simon told her "I thought that was a fantastic audition, I love the way you controlled the song, you have lots of soul" The emotion of the audition caught up with her and Lola concluded "In everything that I do, my big supporters are Gran and Grandad, I'd just love to perform like this all the time. Obviously not cry after it" Tonight a star was born and her name is Lola Saunders.
So, after three audition shows, Team Midas consist of Only The Young, Ben Haenow and Lola Saunders.
Right, I'm off to fix those lights that Ten broke...see you tomorrow.