Over 200,000 people applied for this year’s The X Factor, and after auditions in Birmingham, Cardiff, Dublin, Glasgow, London and Manchester, they have been whittled down to just over 200 who have made it through to Bootcamp.
Some failed to impress while others wowed…but now the fight begins!
In the first of this weekend’s Bootcamp double bill, the remaining acts head to London’s Wembley Arena where the stakes have never been higher and pushed to their limits by Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Guest Judge, Nicole Scherzinger.
Commenting on those through to Bootcamp, Simon says: “I’m going to push them so much harder this year, I mean seriously.”
Louis adds: “They’ve got nowhere to hide, the real competition starts now.”
The acts will be tested like never before, and put through their paces with vocal training and choreography as they battle it out to secure their place at Judges’ Houses. There are literally no second chances.
As the contestants arrive at Bootcamp, they start to reflect on the magnitude of what is happening to them.
Cher, who impressed the Judges at her audition, says: “I didn’t know I wanted it this bad.”
Gamu adds: “I’ve been practising so, so, so hard, but I’m really excited.”
Mary, from Ireland, can’t quite believe she’s here: “A 50-year-old woman on her way to Bootcamp; that’s fantastic.”
Parisian twins, Twem, say: “This is crazy, to be here it’s fantastic for us.”
Aiden adds: “Having a chance like this means absolutely everything.”
Tobias: “It’s a life-changing opportunity.”
Marlon: “I need this more than anything. I’m going to fight tooth and nail for this.”
Speaking as he heads to Wembley Arena, Louis has a word of warning for the acts: “To survive in this business you’ve got to be tough; they’ve got to go out there and deliver.”
So as Bootcamp commences, at end of the day half of the acts will go home.
First of all the contestants are split into their categories: Boys, Girls, Overs and Groups.
The Girls must perform Beyonce’s ‘If I Was A Boy’, the Boys Michael Jackson’s ‘Man In The Mirror’, Groups must sing ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ by Starship, and the Overs will sing ‘Poker Face’ by Lady Gaga.
Simon comments that the challenge is fairly simplistic at this point: “If you’ve got a lot of people and you’ve got limited time, this is the most brutal and effective way of just seeing who the deadwood is and who has got a bit of something different.”
Before they take to the stage, Cher says: “I’m quite nervous about singing the same song as everybody else.”
Liam adds: “I like competition, it’s good, but I’ve heard all the guys today that are in my category and they are absolutely amazing.”
First onto the stage are the Overs.
Mary says: “I really feel this is my last chance and I want to grab it with both hands.”
After listening to the performances, Simon comments: “I’ve never sat through a session like that in my life.”
And Louis adds: “There were some very strange voices.”
Next up, it’s the groups, highlights of which are Diva Fever, with Louis saying: “I loved them”, Husstle, FYD and Twem.
After hearing all the acts sing, Louis says: “I’ve got a feeling about this category, I think it could be the best year ever for Groups.”
Simon agrees and says: “I thought the groups were gong to be the worst category but I think in terms of who’s listened the most and worked the most, I think the groups have actually done well.”
It’s onto the Boys’ first performance at Bootcamp.
Paije says: “If I went home on the first day of Bootcamp I’d be devastated…it’s the number one thing in my life.”
Tobias adds: “I could be like an international superstar in a couple of years.”
However, when he takes to the stage, he struggles and asks to start again, Simon saya that’s it. Is it all over for Tobias?
Finally it’s the Girls.
Chloe turns up late and misses the first part of vocal practice and says: “Like a stupid idiot I went out last night when I got here and I haven’t even been to sleep yet. I just feel sick and can taste vodka in my mouth…I’ve got same make up on that I’ve had on since yesterday morning. I just look disgusting.”
Annastacia’s turn arrives. She says: “I just want to get out there and show the Judges that I deserve to be in the competition.”
After singing, she says: “I’m feeling a lot of pressure now.”
Then Katie takes to the stage: “I’m super worried that I’m going to forget my words and I’m freaking myself out about it.”
After singing, Katie is quite philosophical: “It’s in the lap of the gods, isn’t it?”
Now all the acts have performed, it’s time for half of them to be sent home.
Rebecca says: “I don’t want it to end here.”
So what’s next for those remaining?
Simon comments: “I see in every category a star in the making and we’ve only just begun.”
The acts then find out they are now going to be taught how to dance.
Simon’s advice is: “Be daring, be brave, be unique.”
Brian Friedman is on hand to put the acts through their dance paces.
He says: “My goal right now is to break down any guards that they have.”
Talking about introducing this element of Bootcamp, Simon says: “It’s something we’ve never done before, I’ve got no idea if it’s the right thing or wrong thing. Most of these people, they’ve never danced a step in their lives. So this is going to be difficult.”
Diva Fever say: “I know we’re not perfect but we’re going to give it 110% and do what we can. We’re fighters”
Girl band Husstle say: “Dance is a big part of our performance, so it’s ideal for us.”
Stephen adds: ”I’ve never danced in my life but it’s amazing, I absolutely love it.”
Mary says: “I have to do this, I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
Wagner says: “It’s not hard to pick up, it’s similar to karate moves.”
However, as the acts take to the stage, one is missing.
Zain, 17, is refusing to take part after struggling with the choreography.
He says: “I seriously don’t want to do it because I hate dancing. I’ve never done it before and I feel like an idiot.”
Simon goes to get him: “Zain, why aren’t you out there? You can’t just bottle it…you’ll ruin it for yourself.”
Will Zain overcome his embarrassment and take to the stage?
With the dancing over, the acts must now pick a song and be ready in 24-hours to perform it in front of the judges. And afterwards, those remaining will have secured their place at Judges’ Houses.
Louis warns: “This is your last chance, don’t mess it up.”
Performance day arrives and the acts all know that if they get it right, it could be lifechanging
Simon starts by saying: “I’m looking for ambition.”
Nicole adds: “This is, I guess, where we separate the boys from the men and the pussycats from the dolls…have fun and kick some butt!”
Ahead of her performance of Wishing On A Star, Chloe says: “I’m not happy being no-one, I want to be someone. I’m just praying that when I get on stage I can get through the first part of the song and then it’ll go alright. I just don’t feel ready to go into the biggest audition of my life.”
All Chloe can do now is hope her lack of preparation doesn’t mean the end of her dream.
Other highlights include: FYD, who say: “We want to make something of our lives.”
They sing Pack It Up by Eliza Doolittle.
Chrissie is next up. She says: “I’ve also got a passion and I feel like this is my only kind of opportunity that’s going to let me get in.
She sings The First Time Ever I saw Your Face.
Karl, 19, is next up. “I just want the lifestyle…see the world, live the dream.”
Louis is in praise of Karl: “He’s got something.”
Simon isn’t so sure. “Last time I saw him I said ‘You’re not prepared for this’ and I think the same thing again.”
Tom, 16, is next up.
He says: “Looking back this time last year, I was singing at school, the odd little karaoke now and again in front of my family…to think I’m here today in front of some of the biggest names in the music industry is a bit unreal.”
Tom sings Live and Let Die.
Will he live another day in the competition?
Now it’s decision time…