X Factor 2012: Audition review and Bootcamp Preview – let us refresh your memory!
By:- Barry Clarke (Northern Ireland). Catch up with Barry on Twitter at @URBANMUSIC999
X Factor 2012 has firmly begun and as we reached the climax of the auditions over the weekend, we now have a clear indication of who the real frontrunners are, along with those who may get an early cut at bootcamp. However the ITV show is full of surprises, and early favourites could crumble at the later stages, which could lead to a shocking exit. In this article, I will be reviewing each individual category before the bootcamp round has even begun. This review will be based firmly on personal taste, not a backstory but on the musicianship and artistry of the acts singing infront of the stage. This review is coming from the eyes of a music lover, and television viewer and not a journalist. So I will be reviewing the Girls (16-28) Boys (16-28), Over 28’s and The Groups.
THE GIRLS (16-28)
The Girls category is the most successful category in terms of solo hits and album sales boosted mainly by Leona Lewis, however Alexandra Burke has also had major success on the singles and albums charts since her win in 2008, which was when the last girl triumphed on the show. This means it has been 4 years since a girl has won X Factor, meaning whoever mentors the girls will need to make sure that the correct 3 are chosen to ensure success. The music market at the moment is incredibly hard to break for female acts, due to the fact there are so many leading female soloists. Therefore it is important that the judges look for the most unique girls, and those who can stand against the Pink’s, Beyonce’s, Rita Ora’s and Rihanna’s in the industry. Perhaps something new and fresh?.
Ella Henderson:- This audition was simply stunning, it told a great story, from the beginning, middle and end. I believed every single word that Ella said, and I felt the lyrics which is very important for an artist to do. She to me showcases the new direction X Factor is trying to take, to become more focused on the artist, those who will become credible after the show. She showed maturity beyond her years, her voice hasn’t a massive range, but what she has is the ability to tell and also sell a story through her own lyrics. With the correct guidance I believe she could become a great find for X Factor because her song-writing abilities are brilliant. It will be exciting to see how she copes under the bootcamp pressure.
Lucy Spraggan:- With over 10 million views on youtube already who couldn’t talk about Lucy Spraggan. She is an incredibly unique artist, which has never been seen on X Factor before. I was aware of Lucy long before her audition and downloaded her EP. I think she stands out from the usual X Factor type of singers, and has her own individuality. Lucy is a fantastic songwriter, her witty and clever lyrics are so fresh, and by mixing them with a simple melody showcases Lucy as a fantastic find on X Factor. It will be interesting to see how Lucy copes with singing cover songs on the show, as she seems to know exactly what type of artist she is already. Her main agenda for each performance should be to bring her own style to each song, but do enough to make each song different without sounding the same. At the moment there are very few people in the charts doing her style and that;s exciting.
Melanie McCabe:- Melanie seems to becoming part of the X Factor furniture, this is her third time returning to the X Factor. It is very hard to critique Melanie’s singing voice, it is so strong and powerful, every lyric is measured to perfection, she is a real singer, sings from the belly as you hear some people say. Each song she sings, is given the same amount of importance as the previous. Technically Melanie would probably be the best singer in her category, she has a massive range. My only concern with Melanie is will she be able to bring the emotional aspect to each performance, the soul and passion, so many other artists are able to bring. Her performances are stunning to listen to, but they leave me a little cold in the connection front. However bootcamp will tell how much Melanie really wants this, and how far she can delve to secure her dreams.
Tasha Pyne:- As I previously said I will not always pick the most obvious girls to talk about however out of the montages Tasha really stood out for me. She sang Skinny Love by Bon Iver, but did the Birdy cover version. Her voice wasn’t the most powerful, but her tone was stunning. At 17 I believe she has a lot of potential. Now there are rumours circulating that there were a few groups formed at bootcamp, and possibly Tasha will be part of them. Who Knows?? However what I do know is that Tasha’s voice is really wonderful to listen to, she really delved deep into the lyrics and her love of the song was told throughout her performance.
Sharon Rose:- This is one of the few soul diva’s which have been shown on the show this year. Her song choice was slightly predictable, which was At Last by Etta James, however I really didn’t care when I heard her interpretation of the song. Her vocals are really incredible and that is real soul music right there. She could out sing the majority of the acts on the show. Out of all the girls I have seen on the show, I would say that Sharon has the most control over her voice, she knows when to rein it in and when to exploit her power, and that to me shows a fantastic singer. Her performance was great.
Amy Mottram:- 16 Years of age, just 16, she has a brilliant gift, I think she really just needs a lot of guidance to help her develop into an artist. She has the voice to go really far in the competition. She got lost in the song and performed it really well, the depth to her voice is fantastic, and I was glad to see that she knows exactly what type of song suits her voice, because young teenagers can sometimes struggle to find their identity. Amy now just needs to work on controlling her voice and bring more of her to the song, as I believe her audition was slightly gimmicky in the style of Adele, however as Louis said she has the soul inside her. With that soul I believe Amy will be able to bring more of herself to each of the song and show her as an artist.
Jade Ellis:- This to me was one of my highlights of the auditions, and for me she could be the dark horse of the competition. What I loved was that they focused slightly on her backstory but it was primarily her vocals that took centre stage. She took a major risk taking on Maverick Sabre, however from the first note, her distinct vocals really stood out for me. She sang with a reggae/rnb tone which was really pleasant to listen to. With the right songs I think she could be brilliant, she reminds me of elements which Lauryn Hill had on her voice. Her vocal delivery was really relaxed which I loved she didn’t push it, she lot the lyrics do the talking. One to watch out for in my opinion.
Jade Collins:- Jade seems such a lovely young girl, with a great personality. I think her voice is very good, however there is work needed, She has a great pop friendly voice and I can see her being a popstar in the future. At the moment her vocals need a little more work, she needs some time to mature, however I saw enough to see that she has A LOT of potential. I see her actually being the lead singer of a girl band, where I think she could feed of the other girls energy. I hope she gains more confidence from bootcamp, because I can see her progressing on the show, at the moment her voice just needs to gain a little more individuality.
Extra Information:- There are several other girls I would advise you to keep a look out for during bootcamp, as I believe some of these girls could join Tasha in a girl group or a mixed group. They are:-
Okay so these are the girls which I believe will stand a chance of being successful throughout bootcamp and possibly further i.e. Judges houses and the Live Shows. That leaves me to do one last thing, tell you my top 4 picks for who to look out for during bootcamp. These are the acts which I think could make headlines and give noteworthy performances, but only time will tell. My picks are:-
THE BOYS (16-28)
Well the boys have been the most successful category in X Factor history, maybe not so much post X Factor but during the show most years a boy has made at least the final, It has been won by Shayne Ward, Leon Jackson, Joe McElderry and Matt Cardle. Some of those names you will remember others you may not.. The reason the boys may have struggled is due to their material and also the type of artist there were. Maybe X Factor voters this season will learn to vote clearly on the vocal talent of the performer and their artistry and not just on looks and personality. Only time will tell, and it will depend on the male acts that have auditioned.
Jahmene Douglas:- All I can say is WHAT A VOICE! In my opinion he is probably one of if not the greatest male vocalist to go on X Factor. His range is quite simply stunning, when he goes into his vibrato it simply sends shivers up my spine. He has such a distinct voice also, when his song would come onto the radio I would know exactly who he is. I think a male contestant like him is really needed for the show this year, as there hasn’t been a soul singer in the male category for a LONG time. We need artists like him, to show that X Factor can still find incredibly talented individuals. There is no male artist out in the charts like him at the moment. He has a great future ahead of him. He would be a great asset to the boys category.
Curtis Golden:- This is again another individual who really has his own style. Isn’t this the type of artist’s we really want to see on X Factor, those who can take a song and flip it and make it into his own. Curtis is definitely a quirky character but by having his own individuality it makes him really stand out for me. I actually would look forward to hearing what he can do to make the song different, as he has this signature style. My only concern with Curtis is that awkwardness on a stage, could he transform his insecurities and when performing say on a live show, bring the television audience into his world. One thing which I have upmost respect for his how Curtis took a real risk, as I know when I hear a sing we will be hearing Curtis’ take on it.
James Arthur:- This to me is what X Factor this year should be all about, and that is real musicians. This guy to me is a real musician, I felt that song, from the bottom of my heart. I am not a massive fan Tulisa’s version however this guy completely envisioned the song’s lyrics and made them into his life story. The self-penned rap in the middle of this song, was genius, and probably James is one of my favourite contestants that has been on stage. He went onto that stage, and I knew from the beginning of that performance, he was there for one thing, the music, he cared about the music. The show needs an act like him, he seems so focused on his music, his sound, image is on the money, he is a musician, not a singer, not many people like him have ever auditioned for X Factor. One word to describe him-Originality.
Jake Quickenden:- Jake wasn’t my favourite audition from the boy’s category however I saw that he really had a real element of charisma on the stage. Use Somebody has become another song which may be used to much on shows like X Factor, and that prevented Jake from really showcasing who he is from an artistic level. However the reason I included him in my list is because of the one main thing which is needed, and that’s a beautiful voice. He had a lovely tone to his voice, which is incredibly radio friendly, I would love to actually see him take on more folk, blues songs, because he has a certain uniqueness to his voice. To progress further in the competition, I think Jake needs to take more risks, and perform a song which maybe he necessarily wouldn’t be associated with, this will allow him to stand out more.
Joseph Whelan:- It has been such a long time since we have had a guy with a rock voice, yes we had Jamie Archer in 2009 however I believed Jamie was a little more karaoke. With Joseph I think he may actually be able to think outside the box, and take songs from different genres and themes and really bring his own edge to the performance. What impressed me with the most with Joseph is how he was able to use the various different sides to his voice, the various pitches he was able to use was brilliant. He wasn’t just able to delve into the rock edge of his voice, but he was also able to sing the lower part’s incredible well. He technically has a brilliant voice. Him and Jahmene would probably have the best range in the boy’s category, keep an eye on this guy he could have a real journey on the show.
Matt Defreitas:- I am still asking myself the question why wasn’t Matt’s audition shown fully! I think he was fantastic he had such a great image, and his voice was brilliant. These guys I pick as my wildcard acts like Taylor, Sharon and Tasha are usually those I could see possibly being put into a group, however with Matt I think he has the talent to stand alone and be a really successful artist. His audition was brilliant from the 40 seconds we got to see of it. I believe 2 possible things will happen, Matt will either be put into a new type of band, a band that plays instrument’s, or he will have a breakout moment at bootcamp. Only time will tell.
Adam Burridge and Starboy Natahn:- The reason I am mentioning these two in same part is because they are under the same video segment. Adam did a brilliant interpretation of Titanium and his voice was brilliant, he has quite a blues/rock quality to his voice, and he made the song sound his own, with the guitar he actually reminds me a little of James Michael from last year. It would be nice to see how Adam interprets other songs also. Nathan performed let’s get it on, and he brought a lot of soul/rnb to the stage. We haven’t seen many soul/rnb acts who are males get through to the live shows on X Factor, maybe Nathan could change that. He also seems to have a lot of stage presence and can control the audience, for me he could be what you call a triple threat. Definitely one to watch.
Robbie Hance:- Great Voice, Check, Musician, Check, Nice Personality, Check, this guy has everything which is needed to become a massive star throughout the world. He is a real find through the X Factor, I think his voice is very unique, and again we haven’t really seen an act like him on X Factor before. He isn’t the normal popstar that X Factor searches for, he to me is a real musician who is all about the music and X Factor needs someone like Robbie to really move the show forward. Straight away I could see myself buying his music, and that is the sign for me that X Factor has found someone special, I hope he is able to work through his current problems and use X Factor as a launch pad to greater things.
Extra Information:- There are several other guys I would advise you to keep a look out for during bootcamp, as I believe these guys could potentially join a boyband or mixed group.
Okay so these are the boys which I believe will stand a chance of being successful throughout bootcamp and possibly further i.e. Judges houses and the Live Shows. That leaves me to do one last thing, tell you my top 4 picks for who to look out for during bootcamp. These are the acts which I think could make headlines and give noteworthy performances, but only time will tell. My picks are:-
The Over’s is the most difficult category to mentor which the judges have led us to believe in recent years, or maybe it is just because the right people have been overlooked, in exchange for tabloid grabbing wannabes. The only winner in the over’s category came way back in 2004 when Steve Brookstein won, remember him ? However this year the over’s category has been gaining more headlines, and the talent is expected to be better this year, well it couldn’t have really got any worse. The best year in terms off over’s was probably in 2009 where Simon got Olly Murs to the final. Is it now time for an Over 28 to win the X Factor? Only time will tell.
Kye Sones:- I think Kye is a brilliant addition to the Over 28 category he is very different from what we usually see in the category. He is incredibly current, and he picked a fantastic mash up for his first audition. I think this is the reason why I can personally see Kye progressing quite far in the competition. With mixing a Swedish house mafia song, with a Rita Ora song he has opened the doors for a younger audience. That has been the problem with the Over’s category, finding acts which both the younger and older voters can vote in. He has a wonderful voice, he ha s a real depth to his voice, and is really listenable. He is fresh, with the correct direction, and mentoring I believe he could be in the show for quite some time.
Melanie Masson:- What a singer! I remember when this audition came on I was completely blown away with her voice. She is incredibly! I think she is probably the best singer the Over’s category has had probably since Ruth Lorenzo in 2008. The sheer Power and emotion she showcased in that performance was breath-taking. She is a real performer and you can see the previous experience she has had performing, it really showed in how she was able to control the audience. We have never really had a female singer like her before on X Factor, that real old school, rocker. I think seeing Melanie on stage would be like watching a real show, she could really control the stage with her voice. I look forward to see what else she can bring to the competition.
Christopher Maloney:- I haven’t heard a guy like Christopher sing like that on X Factor before, he sang with so much passion, like he was looking for acceptance. He would most defiantly appeal to the older audience on X Factor, I think his vocal range is brilliant and if the show was judged entirely on singing I believe Christopher could go far. It’s all about finding those songs which he can relate to lyrically. There are just two things that worry me about Christopher, that is how he will appeal to the voting demographic, can he get both the young and old to vote for him. And the other thing is, will he be able to show versatility in his performance and singing style. If he can combat these two areas, I can see Christopher going far in the competition.
Tammy Cartwright:- Tammy’s grandpa was very quickly taking centre stage but then Tammy decided to quickly take her performance up a notch. Tammy is one of those big voiced diva’s which many love. And I actually love she decided to mix Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce’s version of One Night Only together. This allowed her to both show her incredible vocal range but also her performance quality. She has massive vocals, and could easily out sing many contestants, she is brilliant and I hope she begins to really feel like she has a shot at winning the show because with the right songs I think she could be brilliant. It’s all about making her sound like a recording artist and moving her away from more of the pleasurable karaoke tracks.
Hayley Evetts:- Hayley is one of my wildcard picks to progress far in the competition. Many may say why have her as a wildcard, her voice is amazing. Yes It is great however she was on Xtra Factor so the priority for Hayley might not be massive. However what this performance showed to me was that she still has a massive range, and that she can tackle the biggest songs. Her voice at times though in that performance became slightly harsh and pitchy when going for her upper register however she has that likeability and the sense of being an underdog and fighting back to the top. If Hayley has that self-belief to fight one and gives a great bootcamp performance she could potentially take a place of one of the other’s in her category.
Rick Moorhouse:- This would be my other wildcard pick for the Over 28’s category, as we know with X Factor people at bootcamp and judges houses can just pop out from nowhere and I believe Ricj could be that person. He has a strong voice, and I know the 40 second clip didn’t show lots of his performance, but I believe it showed enough to show that he has a nice pop rock voice, and has a lot of stage presence, he has the type of voice which could be adaptable to the many genres and themes which X Factor acts are required to go through which leads me to believe we will see more of Rick.
Carolynne Poole:- AMAZING! That is the one word I think of while writing this. Carolynne’s voice is stunning, she such great pitch, and her range is brilliant. It was an angelic performance, and she totally related to the song and its lyrics. She just made the Over’s category even more exciting, and as I have always said the over’s need to appeal to both the older and younger audience, and I fully believe that an act like Carolynne can do that. She seems like totally a different person from last year and as the judges said she seems to have the confidence that she can win the competition. I fully believe that Carolynne can get to the Live shows this year, it all depends can she consistently give performances like her audition. Only time will tell but at the moment she is a major front runner.
Okay so these are the overs which I believe will stand a chance of being successful throughout bootcamp and possibly further i.e. Judges houses and the Live Shows. That leaves me to do one last thing, tell you my top 4 picks for who to look out for during bootcamp. These are the acts which I think could make headlines and give noteworthy performances, but only time will tell. My picks are:-
So last year X Factor finally broke, not only the girl group curse but also the curse of no band winning the X Factor, as Little Mix took the title. Now probably the groups face the toughest battle, to stay in contention on the title since groups like Little Mix and One Direction are ruling the charts. Is there any need for another girlband or boyband??. What I have noticed this year is that there have been more trio’s and mixed groups on the show, both which we haven’t seen before so maybe that’s the type of acts the judges are looking for.
Time’s Red:- This is the type of band I have been waiting for on X Factor 3 individuals with variety. We have the lead singer, who can also play the guitar, a male who can harmonise and then the beat boxer who adds a bit of edge to the group. It is brilliant to see this type of group audition, as X Factor is just used to singing boybands and girlbands. They could really take a song and make it their own, and it should keep the audience interested in seeing what they will do it next. What I look forward to seeing from these guys as bootcamp progresses is a bit more interaction as a group in terms to more harmonising and the second singer getting more parts. However they have the originality which will allow them to progress in the competition.
GMD3:- Another trio of guys, this time around I think that the guys didn’t has much of an impact, most probably due to their song choice which was a little unimaginative. However what they do have as a group and what needs to be looked for is chemistry. They seem to be a good unit, however they need to ensure that they fully understand firstly who the main singer is and also the direction they want to go in musically. There harmonies were great but the solo’s leave a lot to be desired. However all they need is that one song for them to make a statement, and possibly bootcamp will be where that happens. I think that they could be a good trio but they just needs to stick to what they are best at, and too me is pop records. However they do have potential and at the moment that’s what the judges are looking for.
MK1:- Okay im for judging these acts as a duo and not as a trio as their third member has left the band. As a duo they have it! Charlie has a really nice voice, and the rapper adds that extra element to the group. I think they are also a great creative duo they have a real sense of who they are which is great, and their image is terrific. They seemed to have been used to being a trio for a long time so it will be interesting to see how they work as a duo and how the group dynamic changes. If they continue to really show their originality through the arrangements of each song, then I think they could do incredibly well.
Rough Copy:- These guys really surprised me, I think they have everything which is needed to make a successful band. They seem to be a really good unit and all have individual personalities. There harmonies were also brilliant, what I loved most from them was how they controlled the audience they kept them all entertained. I do think that they need to work more on their individual vocals more however I think that as a group they work incredibly well together, it’s all about now progressing from that first audition and becoming better.
Mitsotu:- These guys even though they weren’t shown for a full audition really grabbed my attention, and the main reason for that was due to their legitimacy as a group. There harmonies were fantastic some of the best I have heard from in the groups category, and their styling was on point. It was nice just to hear them as one and not as individuals. However if shown at bootcamp I would now like to see more of each of them, just so the viewers can gain an indication of who each of them members are.
Duke:- These guys are incredibly exciting, like I believe they could go very far in the competition, X Factor has NEVER seen a group like these guys before. They are fresh, current and extremely enthralling to watch. If they released a record now it would be like anything that is currently out there and that is what the X Factor should be about finding that group or individual which is different from what we are currently listening to in the charts. I believe if these guys are given a good edit from bootcamp they could potentially gain a massive following, they are so unique. These are one of the groups you have to look out for, and due to their short edit are one of my wildcard to go far in the competition
Mia and The Moon:- My other wildcard of having a shot at causing a shock at bootcamp could be Mia and The Moon, these guys are like and indie pop duo, who have a real aura about them. When they sang with their guitars and harmonized together so well I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Again they are different from what we have previously seen on X Factor. We haven’t seen any duo’s with an indie folk quality to their voice, and I believe they could bring variety into the groups category, mixing it up with the various urban, and pop acts which are currently frontrunners.
Okay so these are the groups which I believe will stand a chance of being successful throughout bootcamp and possibly further i.e. Judges houses and the Live Shows. That leaves me to do one last thing, tell you my top 4 picks for who to look out for during bootcamp. These are the acts which I think could make headlines and give noteworthy performances, but only time will tell. My picks are:-
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