On “The X Factor” U.K. episode that ITV1 televised on September 9, 2012, two of the contestants did some things that you wouldn’t see on the U.S. version of the show: One jumped up on the judges’ table, and the other dry humped two of the four judges. And these two contestants got very different results in their auditions.
I’ve been to several “X Factor” U.S. auditions, and security is tight enough that if any contestants tried to do any dry humping of judges or jumping on the judges’ table, they would not only be stopped by security guards but they would also probably thrown out of the auditions. Security measures are obviously different in the U.K., where police don’t carry guns and “X Factor” contestants get away with doing a lot more on TV.
But back to the “table jumper and the “dry humper.”
First, the table jumper: 18-year-old Eddy String, a rock star wannabe, performed the Strokes’ “Last Night.” Many times during the audition, String (who confessed that his real name is Ed Wilkinson) came across as gawky poser who talks too much, but he had enough humor that he managed to charm the judges and much of the audience. During his performance, he jumped up on the table, pumped his fist in the air, ran into the crowd, hugged a bunch of screaming girls, and ran back on stage. His singing was totally off-key, but the judges (Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostvalos and Louis Walsh) and guest judge Leona Lewis were so entertained by String that he got unanimous “yes” votes. The show obviously wants another Frankie Cocozza this year.
(Click here to watch Eddy String’s audition.)
On the opposite end of the spectrum was the dry humper: 33-year-old Lorna Bliss, a Britney Spears impersonator, who auditioned wearing a neon light-green thong bikini that was only half-modestly covered by a white fishnet body suit. She performed Spears’ “Till the End of the World.” Bliss admitted in her pre-audition interview that she wanted to do anything to become famous, so it wasn’t too surprising that during her audition, she slithered down the stage steps doing some stripper moves, and then she proceeded to go over to the judges’ table and dry hump Walsh and Contostavlos. Bliss skipped over judge Nicole Scherzinger and headed over to Barlow, but he literally ran away from Bliss before she had a chance to manhandle him. She chased him around the arena but eventually gave up and went back to her bump-and-grind act. She also made sure the cameras got plenty of shots of her near-naked bottom. Needless to say, the judges were not impressed (Walsh and Contostavlos basically called Bliss a desperate wannabe), and Bliss got “no” votes from all of the judges.
(Click here to watch Lorna Bliss’ audition.)
Amy Mottram is a 16-year-old who looks and sounds like a 26-year-old. She sang Adele’s “One and Only” pretty close to perfection. Naturally, she got unanimous “yes” votes.
(Click here to watch Amy Mottram’s audition.)
“The X Factor” U.K. so far hasn’t shown many groups this year, but this episode featured two of the groups that likely made it to the “judges’ houses” phase of the competition:
MK1 is a hip-hop act that performed a mash-up of Tinie Tempah’s “Written in the Stars” and Professor Green featuring Emeli Sandé’s “Read All About It.” Unfortunately for the group, MK1 had to make a gut-wrenching decision when the judges basically said that the oldest member of the trio (a nerdy-looking 27-year-old named Will) was the weak link because his vocals were sub-par, and that MK1 wouldn’t be put through to the next round unless he was dropped from the group. So after a quick group huddle, they decided that the other members of MK1 (a 19-year-old tomboyish female named Charlie and a 24-year-old rapper named Sim) would continue as a duo, and Will would leave the MK1. The microphones picked up that Will (whom Barlow said looked like an accountant who wandered on stage) asked to remain a full partner, and still wanted his 33 percent of MK1’s future earnings. If the members of MK1 ever make it big, they better have good lawyers.
(Click here to watch MK1’s audition.)
GMD3, a male trio ages 17 to 19, made many young girls in the audience scream and swoon when performing a harmonious version of Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You” that was almost as good as the original. Given the resurgence of boy bands (led by “The X Factor” U.K.’s One Direction), it seems pretty obvious that GMD3 will be one of the groups that makes it to the live shows. GMD3’s stage presence needs a little polish, but the vocals are good enough and the group members are cute enough that GMD3 will likely get a record deal, no matter where they end up on “The X Factor” U.K.
(Click here to watch GMD3’s audition.)
Even though the talent on this year’s “X Factor” U.K. is much better than it was last year at this time, ratings for the show have been on a steep decline. The episode that aired on September 8, 2012, had just 9 million U.K. viewers.
Viewers have complained that the show’s new audition format that devotes less time to performances and more time to interviews and back stories of contestants.’
Even with the decrease in ratings, “The X Factor” U.K. is still the highest-rated TV show in the U.K.
Maybe ratings will improve once the live shows begin and have guest performances from star artists.
September 13, 2012 update: According to the Daily Mirror, former MK1 member Will Baker is working with Justin Edwards (also known as aspiring rapper MC Ultra), the ex-boyfriend of Contostavlos who leaked a sex video that they made when she was 19. Contostavlos sued Edwards over it, the lawsuit was later settled out of court, and Edwards made a public apology for leaking the video. A spokesperson for “The X Factor” U.K. told the Daily Mirror that Baker working with Edwards has nothing to do with how Contostavlos evaluated MK1, since she was unaware at the time that Edwards and Baker even knew each other.