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Auditions: The Horrors and Diamonds in the Rough

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As with movies or new television shows, I want everything I'm about to watch to be good. I've moved past the point where I find bad auditions amusing. They're only fun if someone is cleverly mocking them (Wipeout style) or they're in on the joke and more campy than just terrible.


  • Reece Bibby... massive meh
  • Blonde Electric... not terrible enough to be fun. They weren't that bad. They just have no edge whatsoever making it a terrible song choice.
  • Charlie Jones... I don't like pop vocals where they direct the sound to the back of their throats. It sounds super whiny to me. Also something about his voice immediately reminded me of Luke Friend which is not a good thing.
  • Lauren Platt... I find that girls with big voices don't impress anymore because they always end up lacking that real rich, full sound that comes with maturity and also vocal training/experience. It just ends up sounding like they're mimicking older singers and their vocals sound oddly hollow. However, I like her so far.
  • Ben Quinlan... the vocals were too milquetoast for me and also a bit flat. It also weirds me out when people's accents disappear when they sing.
  • Jale Antor... very under-rehearsed. Not really worth critiquing. Also, Simon such an asshole sometimes. Love it. So much better than Gary Barlow.
  • Jay James... not really nailing the right pitch or singing out. He's not a great singer and he needs a lot of coaching. But with the backstory I knew they'd let him through. He reminds me of the other guy... I think he said he was a rock singer, who tried out twice and whose vocals just sounded really strained.
  • Shayden Willis... Oy. There is a long list of "original song" people. This was no Pants on the Ground.
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  • Carol Trevarthan... I was thinking we'd just get a nice older lady with a thin voice in a bad Tina Turner wig. And then she started disrobing. 

Amy Connolly... It wasn't perfect. It was a little breathy and forced in places and I think the pitch was veering all over the place but the first few acts softened me up so yeah. This was fine given the competition. Still waiting for a wow. Also, I had to look up what musical this song was from. GHOST? OY.

Steve Callegari... Why would you sit there for hours to audition like that?

Chloe O'Gorman... Those eyebrows though. Also you don't sing "literally 24 hours a day." It's unpolished but she's the best one I've seen at this point.

Chloe Jasmine... Another Chloe! Also, two first names. That's always fun. I'm not super into white singers singing jazz and soul. Peggy Lee is the one exception I can think of off the top of my head. This felt awkward to me, like some weird mimicry that wasn't successful. It was also a little flat. I don't think it was awful but a lot of it felt like an affectation and she definitely needs training to sing in her own voice. "Authentic" is the last word I'd use to describe her. She also gives me a bit of a Katie Waissel vibe for some reason. This is what you get when you get four judges who don't know what authentic jazz and soul should sound like.

GCB... I didn't think it was that bad. Not great. But they've certainly let worse people through.

Andrea Faustini... Some small issues but given the competition so far, he's fantastic. It'll be interesting how he handles other songs because you can hide some roughness and some vocal breaks with this song that you can't if you sing a ballad. Anyway, he's 100% not winning.

Stevie Ritchi... Don't hate me. I like Dance With Me Tonight and Troublemaker. I think they're fun. His voice wasn't terrible but the audition was a trainwreck. It made me laugh though.

Kitten and the Hip... What kind of a name is that? She's pretty. It seems like more of a Britain's Got Talent act than an X Factor act. They sounded alright but not remarkable. I was expecting more Cher Lloyd and she was not that. I don't really see her surviving even to judges houses unless she bursts out with an amazing vocal.

Overload... Far from the worst boy band I've seen on a reality singing competition. I'm still a Union J girl. I haven't kept up with them but they're my favorite boy band out of the show.

Concept... They're an older boy band, they're good, and I like them. Therefore, they will not make it to lives.

Only the Young... They dress like hipsters but they sound like a prepackaged act to be marketed to teens and tweens like Jump5 or S Club 7. As they are now, they're not my thing but they sound good.

Oceane Guyot... It started off OK. Then it got a little crazy. A bit too... Shakira. Still the high notes make me want to see what she'd sound like with a vocal coach. I think she had potential.

Arize... Hate the name. They sound good but they need a bit more power.

Jan Cichorz... I think it was a bit of a mess but he had potential. He sang it like someone who didn't know or care what the words were. But it wasn't actually flat or sharp or breathy or any of the whole host of other things that usually bother me about auditions.

Linzi Martin... Not terrible but shouty and the pitch goes all over the place at the ends of phrases. Not terrible. Not remarkable. They've let through worse people with sad backstories or silly gimmicks.

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  • Lola Saunders: She's good. Not amazing. Relatively pretty, footage of her at her job, and a solid song choice. Before she opened her mouth I knew they were going to let her through. But I'm not convinced that she's really special yet and this song might have helped her hide bad breath control.

Maria Ellinas: I wonder if they'll show her actual audition. Mean of Simon to bother her about her pronunciation. I couldn't judge her singing based on that clip.

Jasmin Walia: What in the hell is Towie? Anyway, I thought she was OK. She's clearly not tone deaf and she can basically hit all the notes but she needs coaching and even then her voice may never be remarkable. I think if they didn't know she was from a reality show they might have put her through given the mediocrity of this season so far. If only she had a sick relative.

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  • Ten Senah: Her voice was a little rough and she seems to have a bit of trouble holding notes but she had life. I think she has potential.

Christina Brodie: So you're going on X Factor and you think the perfect song choice is going to come from The Magic Flute? If you're going to do something crazy like that you've got to be amazing and she was no Diana Damrau. 

Maria Ellinas: I'm glad she got through. Maybe I'll see if she can sing next time.

Charlie Martinez: It's going to be hard to top Landry Fields. He was cute but he kind of talked his way through the song. What happened to holding notes, people???

Charlie Brown: It was fine. Mediocre. I don't like blue-eyed soul to begin with and he wasn't very impressive. Nothing compared to the original record. Can we stop rewarding people for fake affectations?

Ben Haenow: Not amazing but competent. Good compared to the others.

Jake Sims: Not bad. But again, what is with the inability to hold notes?

Monica Michael: I don't know if it could be a number 1 but I enjoyed it. I think she has a good voice and while the rhymes were a little simple and cliched the songwriting was very competent. Also, Mel B used the word "versatality." What?

Chloe Hedley: She's not pitch perfect and added to that she's sliding around a bit. She also didn't have the power for a song like that.

The Brooks: They sounded fine but I've gotten to the point where I have a very low tolerance for young voices.

Paul Akister: Oh God, another one. He's pretty good. I like that he holds notes. I knew he seemed familiar.

James Graham: He's good. Another one who holds notes. But "soulful R&B"? Maybe if we're talking about Robin Thicke. 

Jack Walton: He's good. As I said, I have a low tolerance for young voices and he has a slight whine to his voice so he'll probably never be a favorite of mine but he's good.

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  • Casey Johnson: I like him. I only heard about 20 seconds of his singing in the online clip but he has a warm, natural singing voice. Effortless.

Bre Musiq: Hard to tell. Sounds rather unpolished. But it was a smart song choice.

Dean Baily: His voice was very flat and mediocre but he had a nice body. Like an action figure.

Starlight: What? 

Kerrianne Covell: She doesn't really have the weight to her voice that this song needs and she was a little rough but I liked her. She could be good with coaching.

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This is exhausting. Do we always get so many auditions at once? Anyway, to get on with it...

  • Geoff Mull: So many original songs this time. He's not bad. He doesn't have as far to go as some of the others as far as technique is concerned. 
  • Lauren Lovejoy: She's very... loud. I need to hear her sing something else because it mostly sounds like she's talking.
  • Stevie Tennet: Pretty good. Pleasant. Not an amazing audition but it showed off what he can do.
  • Raign: I honestly didn't think her audition was that bad. No levels (just loud) and a bit shaky in spots but otherwise perfectly fine. Based on that audition I would have put her through to see what she'd do with another song. I think she sounded weaker coming back to do her original song. It was weirder. You know it had that Shakira, Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, Lykke Li, Ellie Goulding kind of thing that made me feel like she wouldn't be a good fit on a traditional singing competition. If you have unusual vocals, you want to be more a Florence Welch who is a bit off but has her technique down. Florence sings flawlessly. But she is lucky that Simon has the Over 25's and Cheryl has the Girls. 
  • Janet Grogan: Good but some of those notes were rough. That first "me"? Whew. No. Promising though.
  • Emily Middlemas: Very pretty, pleasant vocal. But making a song your own isn't the same as completely changing the melody. Look, I'm not saying she's Abi Alton. I'm saying I can't do Abi Alton again. I just can't.
  • Lizzy Pattinson: She didn't really hold all the notes but I liked it. Warm, bright vocal. Maybe not amazing but she has promise and she's competing with the Over 25's so she's got a shot.
  • Michael Rice: Not terrible but he's not Whitney. It's very rough. It's not impressive just because you're a guy singing a song made popular by a female vocalist. You still have to sing well.
  • Jake Quickenden: Throwing away the ends of phrases but otherwise I thought the first song was OK. The second audition was better. Still a little rough but he definitely has potential.
  • Kayleigh Manners: It was pretty. But what else can she do? She's going to get chewed up if she can't produce a powerful vocal.
  • Pow Pow Girls: Very bright and happy. The vocals weren't atrocious but they weren't amazing either. I couldn't hear anyone who would stand out as a soloist. Also, there a lot of them. I don't know how popular they'd be but yeah, why not put them through? They always run out of groups as the competition goes on.
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Time for Arena auditions!


James Graham: He's not the best singer I've ever heard but it was pleasant. Nice, warm tone. He's not the most charismatic or exciting performer on the show. Do we have another Aiden Grimshaw?

The Courtesans: I couldn't really tell what her vocals were like with all the talking and weirdness in their original song. Hearing them on a song I know... well, she's no Rob Brydon. For the most part it's on key but she's definitely not good enough to be a professional singer. They might have had a better shot as a novelty act on BGT.

Rebecca Jones: It was pretty. It's hard to judge a vocal like this because you can hide a lot with this kind of song choice and those vocal affectations.

Charlie Brown: Yeah, nope.

Paul Akister: I think his version of soul might rely more on those falsetto notes than the nice warm, low notes. I like both but yeah, he's good. He just has to stay likable. He could go far if he can get votes.

Lauren Platt: She didn't really transform the song but it was different enough that I didn't have to worry about comparing it to Whitney. It was pretty and age appropriate. I still hear some issues. She's not totally a little girl with a big voice. You can hear the lack of that rich, warm sound and all those straight tones and just a slight hollowness to the vocal. I do like her. I just think we could find someone better and she's picking the wrong songs. She's picking songs like she's baby Christina Aguilera.

Amy Connolley: What is with people going for the Whitney Houston songs? It wasn't terrible but she wasn't in the pocket for a good chunk of it and it didn't end up being a wow. You could hear her not totally landing notes and in the end it paled next to Whitney (and even some covers).

The Joys: They're very musical theatre... in the bad way. Cruise ship. Bubblegum pop. I'm not sure if their blend is great. They're not terrible but they lack polish and I have no idea who their audience would be.

Andrea Faustini: Big song. I don't love blue-eyed soul and the video cut it off before he had to hit any of the big notes so it was a meh for me. 

Stevi Ritchie: It was a little rough but then it's a hard song to sing. He definitely can sing but I couldn't tell if he was struggling because of the demands of the song or because he couldn't hit the notes properly. The dancing made me laugh. I can't help it. I like him. He can be this year's Rylan or Johnny Robinson. But remember, there can only be one.

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Andrea Faustini: OK, full audition posted today. It's lacking that full rich sound I was looking for. He's good but I'm a little concerned that it's more style over skill. How is he going to do when he has more restrictions on his song choices? I can already hear issues now. I think he's got a bit of a Susan Boyle feel good vibe now.

Rouge Kiss: The opening riff was weird. It was almost not a real riff. Also, why are they trying to rap? No. Stop it. The hook which was basically the only part they had to sing also sounded rough. I was amused by the random high note, though.

Overload: They sound better when they sing together. Some of those solos... whew. Also, they are so baby One Direction. If they get to the lives I hope they change up their look. I know they wrote this song but they might as well be covering a One Direction song for all the personality and originality it shows. It'll take me another performance or two to figure out who the talented one in the group is. There's always one. 

Stevi Ritchie: Full audition today. He can clearly carry a tune. He doesn't have the strongest voice though. You could hear it from the beginning. He couldn't give the notes the power and punch they needed before he starting running around and dancing. But I do like him. I vote for him as our novelty/audience favorite act this year.

Kayleigh Manners: I know it's an actual song but I've only ever heard it during the opening credits for House so I found it hilarious when they started playing it during the audition clip they posted online. She can carry a tune but it's not just a lack of confidence issue. I don't know if she has powerful vocals. You cannot be Diana Ross on a show like this. Singer-songwriters with weak voices like hers make it by performing their own material. She didn't any crazy notes. She doesn't have a super unique voice. There was no power. I don't know what they see in her.

Jay James: God, his vocals were whiny and nasal. It was much better than the first audition but I could never listen to his music if he continued to sing like this.

One Heart: Yes, I used to like S Club 7 and watch their TV show. No, I did not enjoy this performance.


I hope they have a lot of clips from bootcamp and judges' houses aside from the performances because right now I'm finding it difficult to find someone to root for.

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More Arena auditions!


Chloe Jasmine: It started off pretty well but as it went on it became clear that she has issues. She was going flat and her voice was just exposed as weak and not that remarkable. It's all vocal affectation and not proper singing. She yelps and bellows the song. Monroe wasn't the best singer but let's not insult her. If Chloe were much older and not as attractive she'd be one of the joke contestants. Katie Waissel. Katie Waissel.

Fleur East: I don't know if her voice is amazing but it's good and she seems to want to be more of a "performer" anyway. Of course, this might not be the best strategy since the park and barkers generally do better than dance acts. I think they can work with her voice but if she makes it to lives I see them making all the wrong decisions and letting her get eliminated early. Oh, I've played this game before.

Raign: What is with people doing the same song they auditioned with? I think her song sounds like an imitation of that Ellie Goulding/Lykke Li style but she needs a Florence Welch voice to make that work and she doesn't have one. Cheryl is acting like she's Kitty Brucknell but aside from the first audition, she doesn't seem that bad. So she cares more about what Simon thinks than what the others do. So what?

Emily Middlemas: I found this to be an irritating youtube cover. The vocals weren't great and the arrangement didn't add anything. I think it detracted by removing any poignancy.

Stephanie Nala: Not awful. Not remarkable. Thin voice with a bunch of issues that need to be worked on.

Kerrianne Covell: The song choice wasn't great. She fit her voice to it well. It reminded me of a lot of late 90's/early 2000's vocals but it also felt dated and I don't think it showed off her vocals that well. She's the most exciting one I've seen so far today.

Michelle Lawson: Oh, good. I was worried we weren't going to hear this song this season. NOT. I don't think she had the power or the full, rich tone you need for a song like this but it wasn't awful. They edited the clip like she was awful.

Scarlett Quinn: It wasn't perfect but it was leaps and bounds ahead of her first audition. I really was not expecting this. Her runs could be smoother and cleaner and she didn't quite pull off the power and charisma of Xtina but I was impressed by how she improved so quickly.

Ben Haenow: Oh, good. This song. He's good but I find his style super irritating. And since he's hitting all the notes they're not going to fix it when they start coaching him. So yeah. I guess I'm not going to be a fan of his. God, some of those vowels are just so grating.

Barclay Beales: Meh. But he's cute.

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Ten Senah: There are people who don't like Jessie J. I'm looking at you, Girls in Hoodies podcast. I don't get those people. I think she has a killer voice and this is one of those songs where she really lets loose. The editing of the clip they posted on youtube was really choppy but still, I don't think Jessie has anything to worry about.

Janet Grogan: It wasn't perfect but it was a solid audition. Also, I'm definitely seeing why Simon took the Over-25's.

Charlie Jones: I feel like I've said this before but doing your take on something is not making it a completely different song. I can't sing Sara Bareilles' Brave to the tune of Lady Gaga's Born This Way and just be like, well, that's my interpretation, man. Also, the vocals were super weak.

Helen Fulthorpe: Yeah, I don't like blue-eyed soul even when it's a woman singing. I do think she has a good voice and she reminded me a little of the redheaded nun in Sister Act. I don't think this is her genre but I'd be interested to see what she could do with other songs. There was just no fullness to the vocal. 

Tom Mann: He did a very of the whiny tenor thing which is one of the reasons I generally don't like tenors and he was cracking and sliding all over the place. But it was totally that 90s/early 2000's sound so I think the song choice really worked in his favor.

Jake Sims: Meh. I don't get it. 

Jordan Morris: Pretty. Not perfect but fine. 

Jake Quickenden: He's not Jessie J either. And he's got a bit of that whiny tenor thing. But other than that, it was OK. I don't think it got to a point where it felt impressive or special.

Leah Kennedy: I do not understand people picking big songs and then not bringing it. Did you think I wanted to hear you sing this song not as well? Also, I'm not sure what's airing in the UK but I feel like we're seeing a lot of people in the arenas who weren't in the auditions in the rooms.

Lola Saunders: A little bothered by her changing "uninspired" to "inspired." Look, this isn't the best version of this song I've ever heard and I heard quite a bit of strain in her vocal. But with the pack this year, she's a strong contestant in the Girls group.

Dean Bailey: I do not know this song but I can still tell the pitch is all over the place. The wrong places. I wish they'd put more Xtra Factor fun up on the youtube channel.

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