I said I wouldn’t be able to do it, but I did it – after telling everybody that I wasn’t with it.
I am gonna be blogging this year’s UK and Australian X Factor series after all, y’guys. Yes, it’s fine. You can let the confetti rain now.
Her name is Nicole.
This year, we tune into a tighter and, perhaps, less flamboyant judging panel with Gary Barlow and Tulisa returning for their second season, while Nicole Scherzinger takes Kelendria Trene Rowland‘s place, and Louis Walsh remains a tired and irrelevant wind bag.
I salute Kelendria for the over-the-top sassiness she brought to the show last year, which complemented the graceful and sage advice she had to give.
She was entertaining as hell to watch as I felt like she was my voice on the show.
However, the stunning Nicole Scherzinger has proven more than worthy of the job – especially after repeated guest judging stints on the UK series (y’all have her to thank for forming One Direction) and of course, her brief but effective judging role in the debut US X Factor series last year.
They are not fucking around with this series.
I know it sounds corny because they say it every year, but I do think this year’s UK X Factor brings something we haven’t experienced before.
Having said that, I would happily cull it down to just seven acts right away after this week’s show. I just don’t have time for some performers.
There are some thoroughly impressive vocalists and bright ready-made artists in this year’s crop that might just change the focus of the show. You can already tell from this first live show that the shift has gone from the X Factor being just a brazen guilty pleasure program to something more legit – well, with the exception of Essex queen Rylan. But more on that later.
Gary Barlow has restored dignity to the ‘overs’ category, as you would expect. Nicole Scherzinger and Tulisa both display very varied performance styles in their boys and girls categories respectively, which is always fantastic to see.
And finally, Louis Walsh is not fucking around no more with gimmicky novelty acts. He’s got three seriously marketable young groups hitting the stage.
It’s musical heroes theme this week. Check out the best and worst of this year’s first live show performances:
James Arthur fucking ripped my heart and tear ducts a new one.
Oh my god. What the hell is wrong with me.
Bitch, you can’t be sitting here with your Sunday morning coffee one minute, all bored senseless watching the other live show performances, then suddenly burst into tears when James covers Kelly Clarkson‘s ‘Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)’.
Gurl, let me tell you. I was a mess even before he launched into the chorus.
The 22-year old’s passionate vocal delivery renders a real palpable brokenness to any lyrics he sings.
It sounds amazing on paper, this idea of him singing ‘Stronger’ – but it’s not until you hear him actually do it in his way with his own rap verse thrown in that you really get the real, raw experience.
Watch James Arthur‘s version of Kelly Clarkson‘s ‘Stronger’:
I like that he’s a bit of a diamond in the rough. This hulking giant who looks a bit awkward under the spotlight and blind without his owl glasses.
It’s magnificent to see him just pace the stage in his naturally sunken posture and just meticulously pour himself into every inch of this song. All focus was on him - without the razzle dazzle of your usual budget-blowing X Factor performance.
We have a winner.
Melanie Masson: stuff legends are made of.
This is what Nicola Roberts would look like in 10 years, right? When she’s retired from the music industry and is living comfortably in the country, selling organic fruit, veggies and hand creams at a local farmers market?
The minute Melanie turned up on stage looking like some vision from a vintage VH1 special featuring Fleetwood Mac, I wasn’t sure if I could handle it. The faux hippy ‘child of the universe’ get-up was a little too much.
Then she fucking took us to church with this rendition of The Beatles‘ ‘A Little Help From My Friends’ and it instantly dawned on me that Melanie is gonna be my favourite female performer of this series.
I know in the last two years I’ve stanned for the young divas: Rebecca Ferguson, Cher Lloyd, Little Mix, Misha B etc. but this year – as I am now officially in the ‘overs’ category myself – I am going for The Massonator.
Watch Melanie Masson belt the shit out of The Beatles:
Stylistically, I feel like Melanie would fare better on American Idol than UK X Factor. The audience across the Atlantic would overwhelmingly respond to this kind of seasoned, soulful rock goddess realness. God, I loved her tone in the opening verse. Do you think she could do Barbra?
Gary Barlow thanked Melanie for “giving the overs category dignity at last”, I fucking thank Gary Barlow for putting her on stage.
It’s so easy to forget – with all this current fixation on boy bands and feisty teen pop sensations – that there is always prime time and space for a truly formidable “older” singer like Melanie Masson.
Balls and spunk: Nicole Scherzinger remains true to classy self.
Picture this. One of the world’s hottest pop stars thinking about your testicles. That’s enough to send a grown man blushing redder than a fire truck.
Lucky Jahmene Douglas got to share that moment with the world when his mentor Nicole Scherzinger unabashedly applauded him for “finding his balls” this week, after a confident cover of John Lennon‘s ‘Imagine’.
Elsewhere, Nicole calls Lucy Spraggan ”spunky” after she made X Factor history by being the first contestant to perform an original in the live shows.
Despite what y’all might chalk down as an obvious colloquial mishap, I think Nicole really did mean to describe the performance as cum-ridden.
Thank god there are still glimpses of that insatiable nympho Scherzinger we all love and crave. This whole sweet, lady-like façade she’s been serving on X Factor has to be an act. You know she nasty as fuck.
Look at this sweet boo boo, stepping out all cute like Miss Cherie Dior and upgrading Take That‘s ‘Rule The World’ in the biggest possible fashion.
This song is not one for beginners trying their luck at a shopping mall star search, as you know. And if there was a time to get it right, it better be when young Ella Henderson is performing it in front of the songwriter Gary Barlow himself.
Watch the 16-year old bring down the house with ‘Rule The World’:
I think she’s definitely got the pipes for the job, but whether she has the X-factor? That remains to be seen.
She needs to keep surprising me with her song choices like she did when she took on Cher‘s ‘Believe’.
MK1 TKO’d the groups category.
There’s a real explosive and infectious energy when you see these two get together. I totally believe in this duo’s chemistry because in a lot of ways, it reminds me of my radio co-host Jade and I.
This week the stylishly underground hip hop duo MK1 spun a mash up of ‘Champions’ and ‘Everyone’s A Winner’ – and I was quite impressed with how on point it all was.
Even though Charlie’s vocals were a bit hit and miss and the song choice was bizarre – they carried it off in an authentic manner that screams ownership of their work. Definitely one to look out for week after week.
Watch MK1 do ‘Champions/Everyone’s A Winner’:
The library opens on Union J.
The adorable – and undoubtedly spunky – boyband Union J got fucking read to filth this week after their rendition of Queen‘s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ hit the fan like steaming, fresh diarrhoea.
Despite the name, there’s nothing unified about Union J‘s approach except for their well coordinated outfits. Why the fuck is one them singing like he’s auditioning for a West End musical while the rest awkwardly miss their mark?
There’s a special place in hell’s eternally-looping YouTube playlist for this Glee-rified arrangement with tacky female back up dancers.
Watch Union J‘s flop factor and their mentor Louis Walsh getting thrown under the bus for it:
These embryos are gonna end up like What About Tonight on our current Australian X Factor series: flushed out real quick, if they don’t tighten up their act.
It’s time to go: Carolynne Poole.
So, nobody wants to attend this boring ass Poole party of one? What a relief.
Gary Barlow can’t be serious about this 32-year old wannabe country pop princess. I know he – and the mentally sound – will defend Carolynne’s musical talents over that of the beloved Essex faggatron Rylan Clark – but really, in my mind, there was no way I could endure another week of the Cest Poole.
Carolynne‘s coma-inducing rendition of Nicki Minaj‘s ‘Starships’ takes the sash and crown for the most indulgent performance of the first live show this year.
I feel like Dolly Parton could’ve done a country version of ‘Starships’ and made it a thousand times more relevant and eventful than this beige display.
A huge party song like that calls for real energy and proper engagement with your audience. Regardless of your musical persuasion, you have to honour that, otherwise it just comes off really indulgent.
You can just tell that this bitch was living the performance for herself in her head. Everything from the clichéd poses to the pointing, and strategic tossing back of the head in front of the wind machine, felt painfully calculated.
Meanwhile, Rylan – who also failed to win the public’s voting support this week - delivered an entertaining Cleopatra wig-snatching performance of Spandau Ballet‘s ‘Gold’.
He is arguably nothing without a sizeable X Factor production budget, but I feel like with Rylan you’re at least always guaranteed an interesting spectacle. I also wanna see how pressed them haters can get over his outrageous faggitude. I absolutely love that there is a truly theatrically camp male contestant on prime time. It’s not the X Factor without a character like Rylan.