Let’s face it people. This year’s Britain’s Got Talent final is pretty much The X Factor lite.
Out of the ten finalists through to the grand final, six of them are singers in some form of another. Only two have been voted for by the British public, whereas the other four were put through by the judges. I’m not planning to throw any ideas with this article, but given that Simon Cowell’s other television phenomenon is under ratings scrutiny, it wouldn’t be surprising to subtly use BGT as a vehicle to find his next singing sensation. I mean, this was the show that made Susan Boyle an overnight sensation after all.
The hot favourite is young comedian Jack Carroll, a wheelchair bound school pupil with a good eye for comedy. Good enough to make him popular with the public, and the judges table. While I don’t find Carroll laugh-out-loud funny, he certainly has the chops to become better in the coming years.
Impressionist Francine Lewis has also made the cut, with strong impressions of famous celebs such as Cheryl Cole & Katie Price. Nothing new and by no means the best on the show, but it’s good to have at least one impressionist in the final, instead of it being flat on comedic talent.
Something that also surprises me is the lack of dancing groups this year. Out of the potential ten in the semis, only one managed to squeeze a place in the grand final, that being the youngest of the lot: Pre Skool. A dance troupe full of toddlers with a remarkable talent that will instantly pull the cute and emotional strings of the voting public. Whether they have the potential to go all the way to the top is another story.
We then finally land on Attraction, a shadow theatre group who have truly brought something new to the BGT table. Unlike the other acts, Attraction offer a fresh new act to the show with its clever use of shadow puppetry, one act that the public and judges have eaten up massively.
Back to the singers, and the fact that only a handful of them really stand out as different in terms of personalities and vocal talent. Luminites are the strongest singing act in the final, in terms of personality and likability factor with the audience. But don’t rule out the younger contestants such as Arisxandra & Asandra Jezile, who both have strong support as well as vocals going into this final.
Richard & Adam can separate themselves entirely, given that they are opera singers. But I’ve preferred to mash them together in the singing category given that it is still singing, despite it being opera. That being said, they themselves have a strong chance at winning the show too, with their vocal power and correspondence with the voting public.
The final ace yet to be played is the wildcard, chosen exclusively by the judges. One hopes not to see another singer thrown in, and would opt for another dancing act, given that Pre Skool seem to be the only ones voted in by the public. There are a lot of far stronger acts in the competition that failed to make it past the semis. Acts like Jordan Hall or Youth Creation, who both pulled in strong performances, only to be let down by the judges during results.
With the final not until next Saturday, it’s a test to see whether ITV can hold interest for another seven days, and pull in some strong ratings before the dry months of summer roll in, bleeding TVs dry across the nation. With no major sporting event on, this may be ITV’s last chance before The X Factor kicks in, for some real ratings winners.
The nation’s most talked about entertainment show is back with a bang for 2013 with a new addition to the judging panel and brand new double auditions.
Rock royalty Sharon Osbourne makes a triumphant return to the show, joining Take That superstar Gary Barlow, US pop star Nicole Scherzinger and boyband manager Louis Walsh in the search for the nation’s next big singing sensation.
Outspoken and unpredictable Sharon was one of the original X Factor judges from 2004-2007 and has more than 30 years’ experience in the music industry, managing some of the biggest bands in rock.
And in the first of an exciting range of new changes for the 10th series of The X Factor, hopefuls will – for the first time ever – have to tackle two sets of auditions. First, they will face the judges eyeball to eyeball in an intimate audition room.
If they receive three or more yeses here they will then have to perform for the judges once more, this time in an arena, to prove they can also impress an audience before securing a coveted place at the next stage in the competition.
Speaking of the new series, Simon Cowell says: “Three words I never thought I’d say…. Welcome back Sharon!”
Talking about her return Sharon Osbourne says: “I couldn’t be happier about coming back for the 10th anniversary of X factor. I can’t wait to give Gary Barlow a big hug, sit next to the gorgeous Nicole, and of course throw water on dear Louis. Yay!”
Louis Walsh is longing for Simon Cowell.
The TV judge believes that the executive producer’s return to the X Factor judging panel would bring much higher ratings for the show.
The X Factor’s ratings have suffered a dip in the last two years, following Cowell’s exit in order to front the USA edition on Fox.
The show was beaten by BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday and was watched by an average of 7.6 million viewers, three million lower than the equivalent episode of 2011. However, it peaked at 10.6 million on Sunday’s results show.
“If Simon did come back, he’d have the number one show,” Walsh told The Sun.
“That’s the thing about Simon — he always wants to be number one.
“We need him in the building, he’s always fun, he keeps everybody on their toes. I wish he’d come back.”
Walsh added that Cowell has asked staff members to work harder on the show, saying: “Simon doesn’t want anybody to be complacent.”
With Union J and Jade Ellis receiving the least public votes this week, Tulisa’s act was sent home after competing in a sing-off, with three judges opting to save Louis’ group.
After Louis Walsh and Tulisa voted to save their own, Union J were saved when both Nicole and Gary chose them over the 25 year old Londoner.
Barlow gave both acts a hope that they might be on the ITV show for one more week with his comments before delivering the decisive vote. He said that he sees potential in the all boy group and although Ellis is a “phenomenal vocalist”, he didn’t think that she had the desire to win.
According to the Daily Mirror, Simon Cowell is doing everything possible to get Chris Maloney out. The pop impresario has been texting and calling Gary’s rival judges to encourage them to criticise the Liverpudlian whenever possible. Cowell is thought to believe that Maloney’s continued presence makes the show “dated and cheesy.”
The row erupted after it emerged that Chris “topped the vote” for the first two weeks of the show’s live performances. The former cruise ship singer has built up a large fanbase with over 60,000 fans on Twitter.
The Daily Mirror source added that Cowell “wants Chris out, and the fact that his mentor is Gary Barlow makes him even more desperate to get him kicked off.”
If Barlow, who has already lost two of his acts, is left with no one half-way through the competition that “would make things even sweeter for Cowell because they are at war” he concluded.
With the show down 400,000 viewers from last week and 1.4 million on heated BBC rival Strictly Come Dancing, X Factor bosses are worried that the continued hostility between judges Louis Walsh and Gary Barlow is leaving fans unimpressed.
Although there have been attempts at reconciliation, most recently when the two shook hands at the beginning of Saturday’s episode, after the two didn’t speak all week when Louis helped get rid of Gary’s act Carolynne Poole last weekend. Then this weekend with Melanie Masson losing out to Louis’ band District 3, insiders fear things can only get worse.
According to an insider, quoted in The Sun: “The fact ratings are actually down after all the publicity the row drew shows a lot of people weren’t happy. The fear is that they can’t be won back.”
If matters continue to escalate, it is believed that Simon Cowell may have to intervene before it sets the tone for the series or gets totally out of hand.
Lewis won the singing competition way back in 2006 under the watchful gaze of Cowell himself, and has gone on to experience impressive success in the UK and US.
But never one to ditch an act which he has thrust into the spotlight with no consideration for the consequences… Cowell has taken Leona back under his wing as a cameo replacement for Geri Halliwell in the second round of auditions for this year’s X Factor show.
If reports are to be believed, Ginger Spice will be back though y’all. The 39-year-old – who joined the judges for try-outs in Liverpool – is set to become a permanent fixture on the show at boot camp stage.
Throughout the initial audition weeks, confirmed panellists Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contastavlos and Louis Walsh will be joined by a number of guest judges following a failed attempt to lure Dannii Minogue back to the chair for a rumoured £1m.
It’s that time of year again, as the X Factor gears up for another year of dream-making and heart-breaking, “cool” celebrities speak out against the evil popstar-making-machine. This time it’s Graham Coxon of Blur with a Cowell-shaped Chip on his shoulder, branding The Voice and X Factor “disgraceful”.
“To get better at anything you have to practice a lot”, Coxon told The Independent.
“When I’m on my own in my front room with a guitar, there’s no one going to say to me, ‘That’s really great’ if I play some old rubbish,” he added. “I do believe in doing things right.
“Which is why The X Factor and The Voice are so disgraceful to me.”
The 90s Britpop band which carried Coxon to fame were recently honoured with an ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music” award at the Brits 2012. Since disbanding to pursue individual projects in 2003, the band members have reunited to perform at several festivals.
The 43-year-old went on to admit that his views may be a touch outdated.
“Perhaps I’m old-fashioned in that sense – that I believe you have to pay your dues. Being a musician is not something you can become overnight. It doesn’t just appear.”
Despite feeling a tad defensive over the like of Leona Lewis and Jo McElderry, it is difficult to deny that the star-making-machine has had its fair share of besmirching headlines since its inception.
The most recent – which has emerged before the show even comes to air – accuses the Saturday night talent show of fast-tracking better acts through the arduous audition process.
Reports in The Sun suggest that some singers were given a chance to “bypass the huge crowds” at open auditions. A source said: “It makes a mockery of the ordinary people. It’s unfair that they queue in the rain for hours and others get invited to cosy auditions. They’re encouraging established acts to use the show as a marketing tool.”
A spokesperson for The X-Factor attempting (and failing) to defend the show’s impeccable reputation pretty much admitted the crowd-fiddling. He/she said: “To ensure we find the best talent we have been exploring all avenues. All contestants are auditioned on merit and everyone has the same number of auditions.”
Come on though, that selective process is hardly a far cry from the cut-throat world of showbiz selection and rejection…is that such a bad thing?
Dermot O’Leary’s shoe-shuffling X Factor antics are set to continue this year, an official announcement from the X Factor camp confirmed today.
The first round of auditions are due to take place in Liverpool next Wednesday 23 May and O’Leary will be back as usual, herding hopefuls through the perilous process.
The presenter has spoken of his “delight” at a return to the show: “I just love the gig. I hope The X Factor 2012 continues to bring a sense of fun to Saturday and Sunday nights and gives the nation a show that they can laugh, cry and sometimes scream at!”
O’Leary replaced Kate Thornton as presenter of the X Factor back in 2007 and has recently slammed the BBC’s attempt at a talent show format The Voice UK, staying loya to his SiCo roots.
“The most important thing is to have fun on the shows”, he said. “And just because auditionees are a bit strange, it doesn’t mean they are not good.
“I like the fact we are about the package. I like that we get acts like Johnny Robinson who look ridiculous, but it doesn’t mean they can’t sing.”
But is he scared – not on your nelly?
“It’s good we’ve got competition and it will help us raise our game”, he puffed.
And it’s not just Dermot who has been well and truly bitten by bug, the show’s creator Simon Cowell is similarly obsessed with his grinning frontman. “Dermot has done a brilliant job for the past five years – he is Mr X Factor!”, Cowell gushed.
After almost a decade on perhaps the most iconic Saturday night entertainment show of our time, Louis Walsh fears that this year may be his last on The X Factor.
According to reports by The Sun, the Irish music manager and coiner of terrible phrases feels sure that Cowell will eject him from the panel to make room for fresh talent.
Louis said: “I can’t believe it is my ninth year on X Factor. But I really don’t know if I’ll make it to ten.
“If I work hard, I’ll get the job. If not, Simon will let me go. It’s going to be hard work this year, really hard work. Simon will be cracking the whip.
“He makes the best shows but nobody is safe to stay. If I don’t make ten years I’ll have a lot on next year anyway.”
And by “a lot on”, Walsh is referring to an attempt to manage Shane Filan’s solo career post Westlife…that should keep him very busy indeed.
Oi Louis – how about a spot on The Voice? Danny is sure to be booted out before long and they will need another token Irish judge.
But there is little chance of Louis joining The Voice as a coach if he finds himself short of work.
“No way. It’s not great TV”, he told someone else. “It’s like Fame Academy all those years ago. The best thing about it is the revolving chairs.
“I hate The Voice“, he continued exercising visible restraint. “I think everyone thought The Voice UK would be like the US version, and it’s not. It’s dull and boring.”
If you’re reading this lowly internet blog Mr Cowell, we implore you not to deprive us of Louis next year. The world would never have seen such game-changing acts as Jedward or Wagner were it not for his unfailing belief in misguided ambition.