We’re pleased to report that the ‘X Factor’ arena auditions are once again over for another year.
Aside from adding a few weeks to the series, we’re still not sure exactly why there needs to be two stages of auditions, other than it gives us a chance to get to know the hopefuls a bit better before they’re whisked off to boot camp (plus we get to hear Mel B drawl “nurrrrrrrrrrrrr” at a few more heartbroken contestants).
Here’s who made the most impact on us during Sunday night’s show…
Charlie Martinez Hernandez
Charlie’s first appearance on ‘X Factor’ was undeniably one of the highlights of the first round of this year’s auditions, particularly for viewers with a soft spot for a man in uniform, which appeared to include Mel B, who couldn’t keep her hands to herself and insisted on giving him a cuddle when he was put through to Wembley Arena by all four judges.
However, while Cheryl, Louis and Simon all fell under Charlie’s spell again (we're guessing Cheryl just liked him because his surname reminded her of her own) when he sang for the second time, Mel admitted that she’d been left cold by his audition, and he wasn’t the only one facing the wrath of Scary Spice...
Viewers were then treated to a montage of Mel telling contestants, essentially, that they were more boring than a caravan holiday with Melanie C, which more astute ‘X Factor’ fans will know could only really mean that a good singer was just around the corner, with Janet Grogan showing up to deliver the goods.
Her performance of ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ wowed the panel, and even managed to get a smile out of Mel B, who had previously spent her morning with a face like a wet weekend. An impressive feat if ever there was one.
Helen has children, you know? Two of them. They were mentioned in her introductory interview, and it took Cheryl Fernandez-Versini about four seconds to ask the hopeful how her kids were doing when she stepped foot on the stage.
The spotlight had barely reached her yet, and there she was, regaling the panel with stories of which one had a wobbly tooth and who was already growing out of their new school shoes.
Luckily, eventually the topic turned to music, and the judges unanimously put Helen through to boot camp after her incredibly impressive performance of ‘Try a Little Tenderness’, with Simon Cowell suggesting that Helen might have “swallowed someone else” to sing the song on her behalf, which we’re quite sure is against the rules.
At his last audition, returning hopeful Jake “Back To Normal After Last Year’s Judges Houses Oh Apart From That Naked Magazine Cover And Chart Show TV Flying Me All Over The World To Present For Them” Quickenden was asked to dig deep by Mel, who believed his audition wasn’t emotional enough.
Jake then came close to breaking down as he revealed to the panel that he’d lost his younger brother shortly after leaving the competition last year, and delivered a tear-jerking performance of ‘Say Something’, which, admittedly, was about the fortieth time this series we’d heard the song.
However, Jake was quick to point out to the panel that he didn’t want “pity” from the public, and didn’t want people to see his “vulnerable” side. This would be incredibly admirable, had he not immediately followed it with a stripped back Jessie J ballad about staying true to yourself in his audition...
Lola came into her first audition full of beans, winning over both viewers and the judges with her back story about her dreams of going from her local fish counter to Wembley Arena, so we were surprised to see her break down into tears as soon as she hit the stage on Sunday night.
Perhaps she was immediately regretful about her heinous choice of footwear…
Fortunately, after a pep talk from Mel B (surely the best kind of pep talk there is, we wish we had her around for days we really don’t feel like scrubbing the bathroom), Lola was able to pull herself together and complete her audition, easily bagging herself a spot at Boot Camp.
‘The X Factor’ continues on Friday, 26 September at 9pm on ITV, with episodes airing the following Saturday and Sunday as usual.