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Sunday, 26 September 2010

The X Factor - Bootcamp And Beyond

This year's X Factor has given little in terms of excitement and eye-catching auditions... Okay, so that girl punched her mate in the chops, Cher Lloyd (pictured) blew us all away with a song that I'd never heard before and "Storm" (also pictured) was told that that wasn't his name after all!

And now, as we head towards the last challenges of Boot Camp - where the wheat is well and truly sorted from the chaff - there are but a handful of stand-out contestants. There's Cher. As I've mentioned, she blew me away. She doesn't HAVE to win to become a mega-pop-star now, because really, she already is one!

She has something different. She has the X Factor in it's true guise... She's not brilliant, but give her a flashy light show, a skimpy outfit and some "buff backing dancers" and she's made. I will be very, very surprised if she doesn't sail through Boot Camp, Judge's Houses and into the live shows. And she would deserve it.

Then, there's Mary. An Irishwoman in her 50s who, she admits herself, is overweight and arthritic. But full of beans! The most fun I've seen anyone have is when she realised that the choreographed dance routine at Boot Camp was really too much for her knees to take, so proceeded to shimmy and shake her ample bosom at the judges, grinning, with a look of "oh bugger it, let's just let loose" on her face. Magic!

Then there's the aforementioned "Storm". It is his name... But Simon still refuses to acknowledge the fact... It's funny. And he's incredible. He IS a rock star. When I see him standing with the other contestants I'm reminded of the times when stars like George Michael or Barry Manilow come in to mentor... He just jumps out.

His voice is different, rocky, yet mainstream enough to pull off Abba Week. He's bound to go far, as long as they don't try to stick him in a tux and have him croon "Have You Met Miss Jones?" on Big Band Week.

And then, we have Diva Fever! Two lads who clearly love what they're doing and don't take themselves too seriously (a bit like Jedward, but with actually very good voices and impressive stage presence). They've got to get through too! Because, let's face it, apart from a handful of other impressive contestants who I've omitted - either for being too ordinary to mention or too bland to remember right now, despite their vocal talents - there aren't many other acts jumping out at all...

Apart from my favourite. Matt Cardle. Quite possibly the most unassuming of the contestants and truly a talent like no other on the show. He's a painter and decorator, by trade, living at home with his parents at 27. And if he doesn't win - if they give it to one of the countless Beiber-Clones contending this year - then something is terribly wrong with television and the British public. I've decided to include his entire Boot Camp challenge below. It's almost five minutes long, but please... have patience, watch to the end. It is beautiful. I only hope that they don't shave him and plop him into a white suit, having him sing "Picture Of You" while strutting like an uncomfortable toilet-roll.