These people were too good for the list. Seriously…
Sweet baby Moses, everyone is going nuts about X Factor. The voting public gets notoriously livid when they smell a rat, so Cheryl really stepped in some dog dirt last weekend when she ignored a handful of superstars, and decided that she’d include a trembling urchin one woman version of N-Dubz, and a godawful fame whore in her final three. Just how the desperately shy Liverpudlian lass is coping in such weird company, we dare not even imagine. With that in mind, here are the worst X Factor contestants of all time….
Roberta Howett, Series One
For the most part, the X Factor girls carry a relatively high standard. Not Roberta. Roberta, it’s fair to say, would barely make it to the end of the queue these days without a gobsmacked television producer suggesting that she bugger off home. Old fashioned, like a young female equivalent of David Sole with a film of angel tears in his eyes, even old grannies found her boring. As everyone knows, pop stars should be skeletal street criminals half singing/half rapping. Roberta wasn’t helped in any way by Sharon dressing her up like a babysitter.
Emily Nakanda, Series Four
When she first appeared onscreen, Emily seemed like such a sweet, well-mannered girl, with something of a young Joan Armatrading about her. She’d even died once, which made her an absolutely thrilling prospect. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks into the live shows, and youtube vids started cropping up, featuring this young Jekyll and Hyde threatening to cut people’s eyes out with shivs. Oh fuck.
Kimberley Southwick, Series Four
Kimberley was excitable, Kimberley worked in a pub. These two disarming facts would probably be enough to drive punters in the direction of another watering hole, even if it meant risking a pitch-black walk home down rape alley, and across stabby stabby car park. They just want a pint, Kimberley! Not another song! As things panned out, she was the twelfth favourite act, so she fell big bosoms first onto her sword after just one show.
Phillip Magee, Series Two
Going against the grain of other boys his age, Phillip just loved rock and roll music, which Louis took as a cue to declare him the “new Cliff Richard”, before handing him the words to Wind Beneath My Wings. He reacted to the inevitable mocking laughter and pointing from the audience by promising to ignore Louis from now on. Which he did. The following week he sang Johnny B Goode by Chuck Berry. It was awful. Everyone voted him off.
Scott Bruton, Series Five
Scott had the look of a lad who would threaten to stab you in the face if you glanced at him on a night bus. A boring singer, he was totally enraged when people didn’t vote for him, and after being bundled out in the third week, he presumably spent the rest of the weekend absolutely kicking the shit out of people.
Eoghan Quigg, Series Five
Ridiculously, Eoghan Quigg made it to third place. This is mainly ridiculous as he didn’t once raise his voice above a subdued whisper, sounding more like a mouse trying to sing a song to impress you from underneath a cup. Simon finally decided to combat this by sending on thousands of gospel singers and street dancers to gee things up whilst he stood hidden in the middle singing songs that only dogs could hear. He survived thanks to the hoards of demented grandmothers who thought he might be their grandson.
2 to Go, Series One
“He’s blind you idiots!” cried Louis. And, rather crass though it was, that was exactly the point with this twosome. She could see perfectly well, and he was totally blind. Like Ray Charles, only shit. He could also play piano, at one point he did a few semi-impressive toots on a saxophone to blow everyone’s minds. Had they managed to survive beyond the third week, he would presumably have produced a violin from his pocket and began leaping around like a mad fiddler, whilst his partner awkwardly danced around her handbag.
The Unconventionals, Series Three
Don’t be mislead by the name of this group, they were totally conventional. So conventional that one of them might actually be your dad. Unfortunately, the general public doesn’t like normal looking people. Pop stars should either be beautiful, or totally hideous (Joe Cocker, Celine Dion, Meatloaf etc…). Out in the first week.
Bad Lashes, Series Five
Bad Lashes made the mistake of trying to be a little bit edgier than most girl groups. Something they achieved by wearing thrilling emblazoned t-shirts, and squeezing themselves into leggings instead of cute little puffball skirts. It’s a trick that might have worked well for a cool-chick-combo like All Saints back in the olden days, but these are the 90s baby! Get with the programme. Doing Wonderwall was a mistake.
Chico Slimani, Series Two
Nothing could dent Chico’s popularity for a time. Even pictures of him dangling his goat herder’s penis in women’s faces were greeted with a comedy tut, and someone dramatically going, “that Chico is fucking crazy!”. He could do no wrong. So much so that he was even granted permission to perform one of his own songs, based on his Forsyth catchphrase: “What time is it?”. Then you clap hysterically and go: “Chico time!”. Hindsight is a glorious thing, and on restudying his work on the show, one thing became glaringly obvious – he was rubbish.
Kerry McGregor, Series Three
As you might be able to tell by the picture, she was a cheerful lady, that Kerry McGregor. You might also decipher from her surname that she was Scottish . What you might not be able to tell is that Kerry is sitting in a wheelchair, which served to inspire other people in wheelchairs to sing. So far, so brilliant. Unfortunately she wasn’t very good. She lasted three shows before Cowell and co wheeled her to the top of a steep incline and nudged her chair accidentally-on-purpose.
Daniel Evans, Series Five
Quite possibly the worst singer to ever make it to the live finals. So, how did he make it so far? Well, for two reasons really. Firstly, because every time he opened his mouth to sing, the female judges started crying. And secondly, because he dedicated every single song to his late wife. Once everyone was over the shared grieving process, he was toast. Simon hated him.
... and these kids might be worth a look
Once again, it was a hugely emotional X Factor weekend. Cheryl freaked out a bit before telling the opera boy to get off her land, Simon and Louis remained relatively stony faced throughout, and Dannii Minogue once again resembled a robot pretending to be human, as a film of salty tears sheened her electric blue eyes, but never actually fell down her replicant cheeks. Time. To die.
It was exciting stuff. Cheryl took her great looking boys on a rather eyebrow-raising trip to Morocco with Will Young, which sent local gaydars into maximum overdrive. Louis enjoyed a well earned break in a place called Lake Homo with Ronan Keating – a former pop singer with Tom Cruise intensity. Simon jetted back to LA, to be reunited with Sinita – who thought it would make for a hilarious introduction/ice breaker if she basically took all of her clothes off, and made everyone feel slightly disturbed and uncomfortable. And Dannii went to Dubai with Kylie, who now sounds a little bit like Harold Bishop when she speaks. Whilst most of the contestants chose to fill their days sitting next to garden statues, or staring thoughtfully out of windows, the girls took the opportunity to swim with dolphins! Great.
Will Young provided a looming presence in the boy’s camp, as he sat half-grinning, like a cruel professor listening sarcastically to a toddler attempting to decipher an equation. His only useful summation was to suggest that he’d consider rogering Ethan, but only if he didn’t sing. And lo, Ethan got the chop. As did the fey opera singer, and the soft spoken soul guy, Duane. Hence going through, rather surprisingly, are the creepy child star from Scotland, whom Cheryl swamped with weird cod-psychology – “… you look like you believe, but deep down, do you believe?… I believe… now you have to believe… ” – leaving us wondering whether Cruise might have notched up another one on the big Scientology bedpost. The blonde boy from the Blue Lagoon has been ushered into the fold to be ripped to shreds by Cowell – he won’t last. And Joe, the Geordie lad, who looks a bit like Cheryl Cole in drag, made it. He has something of the Gareth Gates about him. Minus the unbelievably tiresome stutter.
Over by the lake with Louis, it was an awful turn out. De-Tour – a pair of earnest northern lads, both of whom resembled the exact result of what would happen if Dermot O’Leary and Jamie Carragher mixed sperm and impregnated a customer service officer, then waited twenty years – didn’t make it. The singing HR girls shouldn’t even have bothered, and Harmony Hood can go back to folding up clothes in Topshop. Hence, through went the singing strippers, who don’t want to be known as just a bunch of strippers, which is precisely why they will keep telling you that during every interview between now and two weeks time, when they’re booted out and accept an intriguing offer to strip for Nuts/Zoo. The hideous Irish twins, who are like Bros, only really bloody awful. And Miss Frank – who are either doffing a slightly unnecessary cap to Anne Frank, or poking fun at a Chelsea midfielder – made it, and look like ones to watch. They’ve all got strong Mary J type voices, and the little gobby one can RAP. Kids love rap.
Back in Minogue HQ, things were pretty intense, as she went about casting people aside in what looked like a hotel lobby. The humiliated losers included Stacey McLean, who might be wise to give sun-beds a wide birth for a while, the jazz singer one, who totally balls’d up her lyrics, and one girl who seemed to think that winning the X Factor wouldn’t only help her career, but her entire family’s careers too. In the long term it’s probably a good thing that she didn’t make it through. Whilst those tasting the sweet champagne of success were Rachel – the half-shaven-headed soul singer – who chose to weigh down her ears with a couple of antique horse shoes. We like her. The valley girl made it, making her the most famous person in her village ahead of Rhodri the Maniac Clown. And Stacey Solomon, who will provide a better life for her child by jetting around the world, occasionally tearfully calling him on speaker-phone from inside the bogs at Movida.
And so to the most competitive category – the over-25s. The girls were always going to be dead weights, which isn’t a pun intended at the buxom one with the deceased father. They never really stood a chance. The thinner one wasn’t womanly enough to distinguish herself in the older category, whilst the larger woman must already be in line for a role in Chicago. Her work is done. So it was a battle amongst the men/boys, a battle lost by Daniel from One True Voice, which is surprising as he might just have been the best singer in the competition. Cowell’s logic was that he’d been there, done that, and should probably think about sodding off now. Hence he chose to go with Danyl, who seems to spend the majority of his song renditions ad-libbing a new, awful cover version, which he chooses to croon from one side of his mouth. Olly, who is surely destined to be featured somewhere in a Gaffney/Bowers/JLS VIP roast at Faces nightclub in Essex in the not too distant… and Jamie Afro, who looks like the kind of person who uses beads instead of doors.
As predictions go, we managed to call eight of the final twelve. Hence we shall put our neck on the line early on, and call the most successful members of each category as: Joe, Rachel, Miss Frank, and Olly.
Sweet Moses, these two got through…
It was a magnificently emotional weekend for anyone who watched the X Factor. Even Dannii Minogue started crying, which brought to mind that scene from Blade Runner, where the replicant cries during a Harrison Ford interview. In that instance, she was weeping over a butterfly or some such. In Dannii’s case, it was over the rejection of Dominic – a singing teen who so nearly made it through in 2007, and had come back this year to prove that he was ready. Really ready. Unfortunately, he now has a voice so slutty and cocksure that it suggests he’s already halfway inside before he turns on the charm. So he got the boot. As did a host of others.
The endearing old man was – as predicted – ushered out of the door as quickly as possibly. They didn’t want some grandpa around, killing the vibe. The insaniac who looked like Chico dressed up as Gary Numan didn’t make it, then thought he’d outstare Simon until he said “yes”. It didn’t work. And most surprising of all, the ASBO knife kid, the one with the dead brother, the girl living with her entire extended family in a single room in a council flat, and the autistic one who dressed like a crazed New York postal worker for his boot camp performance, all didn’t make it through. It seems that the hardened X Factor judges have tired of the endless tales of tragedy, and would now rather listen to a couple of Eraserhead-looking twins from Ireland making cocks of themselves on a weekly basis. They got through.
Of the others that made it, there was Jamie Afro from Mungo Jerry, the single mum from Essex, the sobbing Scottish boy with the hat, the mob of singing strippers, the one who used to be on Popstars: The Rivals, the boy who looks a bit like an Osmand, the blonde one from The Blue Lagoon, and Danyl, who did a really weird version of Simply Red. It’s going to be an interesting year. And with that in mind, we predict the categories to whittle down a little something like this:
Interestment Predicts: IN, Joseph McElderry, Duane Lamonte, Ethan Boroian. OUT, Daniel Fox, Lloyd Daniels, Rikki Loney
The producers have made the rather remarkable decision to put Cheryl in charge of a gaggle of horny adolescents this year, which should make the “Judges Homes” segment a mixture of emotional tears, hot flushes, and humiliatingly inappropriate erections, as the boys are told that they didn’t make it through this time. Like Rhydian a couple of years ago, there appears to be a choirboy in this group, called Daniel Fox. Only, he’s not your average choirboy. He’s got an actual hairstyle created by a professional, rather than using mum to hack around a basin with a bread knife, and he sings cool songs by rock bands like U2. It’s a trick that worked wonders with G4 and the aforementioned Rhydian – hence judges like Simon and Louis would put him through in a second. A hunch suggests, however, that he mightn’t quite float Cheryl’s turnips, so he’ll be toast. As, probably, will be the welsh blonde kid, who can’t really sing. And the lad who lost his voice at boot camp. In his case, he’s got a good voice, but he cries too much. Producers need a decent hysterical maniac for these stages, just to emphasize the crushing severity of it all, so he’s good broken dreams fodder. Hence, we’d wager on Joe from Newcastle – Donny Osmand doing Luther Vandross. Duane Lamonte, who will aim for the gap in the market left when Chris Brown decided to unleash a few fists on his girlfriend. And Ethan, the American kid, who isn’t a million miles away in type to the crooning nomark who walked away with the American Idol crown this year. Girls will think he’s hot. We all think he’s probably gay.
Interestment Predicts: IN, Stacey McClean, Rachel Adedeji, Lucie Jones. OUT, Despina Pilavakis, Stacey Solomon, Nicole Jackson
“We all really wanted Dannii!” beamed the single mum. Really? They all wanted Dannii? Even Dannii doesn’t really want Dannii. Dannii wants Kylie. Hence, if the teaser is true, Kylie shall be joining Dannii next week. It’s a sorry state of affairs for the still-faced Australian, as she now has to pull a few family strings to guarantee airtime. Should she stay for another series, she should really start attempting to befriend Beyonce as soon possible. For the most part, the girls are similar in standard this year, a mixture of poor man’s Whitney’s, and Mary J Bliges. The trick is to have a mixed bag. So the “triumph over adversity spot” should be a toss up between Lucie Jones, the Welsh girl from a miniscule village right in the middle of a valley, and Stacey Solomon – the Essex single mum. Lucie Jones wins that particular battle, as there are few valley girls who can do Whitney. But if you’re after single mums in Essex, just hurl a tennis ball into Wimpy, and you’ll hit at least eleven. Of the rest, Stacey McClean should oust Despina Pilavakis in the battle of the little brunettes with strong voices. She’s been rather under the radar, that particular Stacey, but the word is that she used to be a member of an S Club style pop group, managed by Simon Fuller. The same Simon Fuller who has a big finger in pop reality show pie. You do the maths. And Rachel Adedeji meets Nicole Jackson in a Mary J versus Winehouse style head-to-head. In these shows, raw soul beats affected jazz every time. See last year’s Laura White and Alexandra Burke if you don’t believe us.
Interestment Predicts: IN, Kandy Rain, Miss Frank, John & Edward. OUT, De-Tour, Project A, Trucolorz
Louis got the groups. Louis always gets the groups. Louis, frankly, loves groups. Plus, unfortunately, Louis appears to really like the oiky brothers who thought they’d cement their name by singing over the other auditionees with their whiny cod-American accents. Under any other judge, John & Edward‘s exit would be swift and brutal, but under Louis – no such luck. He will also probably plump for the singing strippers, Kandy Rain, in the hope that they might become a slutty homegrown version of the Pussycat Dolls. De-Tour and Project A appear to have made the final cut on default – or, indeed, de-fault – being that the dearth of decent groups is becoming ever more alarming. Whilst Trucoloz and Miss Frank are left to plug the gap as the edgier of the three groups. Miss Frank should just get through by a nose, being that they were assembled in the first place by the judges themselves. It would be a warm ego trip all round if they turned out to be half decent.
Interestment Predicts: IN, Daniel Pearce, Danyl Johnson, Olly Murs. OUT, Jamie Archer, Treyc Cohen, Nicole Lawrence
And on to the category most likely to win. It’s a strong one, hence probably why it went to Simon Cowell. He’s a man who likes to win. Plus, it’s the most likely group to throw up a surprise when they’re whittling it down to just three. Already completely discounted can be Nicole Lawrence – the massive soulstress. Her thrilling back story about her father’s dying wish being for her to win the X Factor has already been used in series’ gone by – notably by Niki Evans in series four. It won’t wash this time. Not with Cowell. Treyc can also forget it. She appears to be on the cusp of the girls and the over-25s, so would probably lose popularity points to the younger ones. Hence, it’s down to four blokes, all of whom have their appeal. Daniel Pearce has already won one of these things – Popstars: The Rivals – and they love a Lazarus story on reality shows. Danyl Johnson has already caused a stir on Youtube so could ensure a stateside interest, Olly Murs appears to fit that awful Robbie Williams template that tightens music executive trousers, and Jamie with the afro has been one of the big draws in the show so far. He will also, we predict, be the big name chop this year. Even though he made Cowell lip synch to Kings of Leon back in the early days. He deserves props for that.
Now for the grueling bit…
At last, the freak show segment of X Factor is over. It’s a very tired formula, and where once there was the shrill din of laughter at these tone-deaf fruitcakes, we’re now left with genuine concern. Some of them honestly appeared insane, meaning that the crushing humiliation in front of a cackling studio audience could easily have tipped them over the edge. In years to come, the coined expression “gone postal” could perhaps be replaced with “gone X Factor”? We shall see.
Either way, we’re now onto the second leg of the show – the bit where they all go to Boot Camp, and slowly begin to unravel. Joining the likes of Danyl, the one with the afro, and our favourite, Heshima Thompson, are a few faces from the weekend. The one to watch, according to the bookmakers, is the autistic chap, Scott, who decided to leave the house after seven lonely years to stand in front of a massive crowd, whilst singing Westlife. There may have been slightly less extravagant re-introductions, but Scott is clearly a man who likes to do things in style. He could well be the new Susan Boyle. A set of security guards did Boyz II Men, and did it well. And a girl who fancies herself as a bit of a Cheryl Cole stood weeping on stage until everyone relented and put her through. She will be treated in a far less sympathetic manner should she cock things up in the next round.
Others who impressed were Danny, or Daniel, or Dan? He was the one who used to be in One True Voice, but has now marked his departure from the band by restyling his hair, and impregnating his lover a couple of times. Apparently he’s a great guy. Two girls who looked a little bit like Leona Lewis as glanced through an empty pint glass got through. And Simon seemed very taken with a young street criminal, whom he described as “current”.
Danni Minogue is now merely a subliminal judge who flashes into shot for three nanoseconds every five minutes.
Lloyd and Lucy… in a way
While Simon sits giggling with his new best friend Cheryl, it’s easy to feel a little bit sorry for Dannii Minogue – she used to be right in the thick of things, enjoying the Cowell breath on her neck, but now there she is, right at the end, barely acknowledged by anyone. Even the most eager contestants just shrug and mouth “whatever” after her comments, good or bad. Next series should find her perched on a wooden stool at the back of the auditorium, attempting to scream her comments over the din of a live audience. Eventually she’ll leave. Or take up heroin. She may even move into whichever skip Kate Thornton has decided to call home.
This week was another fittingly formulaic treat, with an equal ratio of brain damaged morons, and sparkling talents with thrilling back stories. Lucy, for example, is from a small village in Wales, where there’s just one local village shop, a little church, a school, a nice country pub, and eighteen Starbucks. She sang Whitney Houston, and impressed absolutely everyone. There was a rugby player, who would be a big favourite with “mammies and daddies” according to Louis Walsh, who was obviously ignoring where they were, and the fact that “mammies and daddies” in Wales span the entire country from thirteen upwards. And Ashanti who sang Mary J Blige went through, even though she’s a “full time mum” by trade, which presumably means she’ll need to pack in her job and give up her child if she makes it past boot camp.
The other two stand out acts were Jade, a 17-year-old from London, who didn’t bother with the backing track, and sounded magnificent. And Lloyd from Cardiff, who looked like he’d stepped straight out of the Blue Lagoon. His hair was absolutely astonishing, blonder than a golden retriever’s nightie, and Cheryl seemed convinced that he could tighten a few female trousers. Metaphorically speaking.
Of the nutters, there was a policeman singing the Pussycat Dolls, a depressed chef whispering “Angels”, a man pretending to be MC Hammer, an amish looking weirdo singing about crisps, and a couple who had broken up because he had a massive scar on his face. We think. It was hilarious stuff.
It’s back, and it’s… erm… a bit weird
We’re into series six of the X Factor now, and the show producers have finally twigged that a touring freak show needs a cackling audience to achieve maximum humiliation and higher viewing figures. Hence episode one featured not just the four judges in a stuffy room experiencing the monotonous conveyor belt of decent singers contrasted with plucky fighters with brain damage, but behind them were around two thousand cackling maniacs booing and hissing misplaced notes, or unachievable octaves. Should this transition continue, and future editions will find the contestants wheeled onto the stage in cages, and pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables before they’ve even had a chance to sing the chorus of Hero. It has all become rather cruel, the singing competition equivalent of a man tutting all the way through a job interview to put you off.
Still, there were some highlights. Of the bad ones, the two gargantuan girls who attempted Mariah Carey had no chance. Firstly because they couldn’t sing. But secondly, because they were fat. This audience can’t stand fat people. They may as well have taken the stage to a tuba soundtrack. Also with no chance were the three London teens who hoped to prove that not all kids go around stabbing each other and robbing people. The way they butchered Umbrella suggested that they should probably consider a future in street crime. The pick of the awful ones, though, were the Irish twins with the Eraserhead haircuts, who strode out onto the stage hollering “good evening Glasgow, are you here to party?” – a strange question considering the nature of what they were doing. No, twins, Glasgow is probably here to boo you. Which they surely would have done had the identical Dubliners not been so astonishingly overconfident that even an audience of thickies and durr-brains was left in a stunned disbelieving silence. Of course, Louis made sure that they went through.
And so to the good ones, all of whom had made it through about three rounds of auditions to get this far, yet still appear shocked by their own talent when they sing. The first to wow the panel was Stacey, who loves being a single mother, because, in her words: “I can do what I want”. Which doesn’t exactly bode well for little baby Zachary, should Mummy suddenly decide to swan off for a few days, or have a series of long lie ins. But no matter. She did a sweet job on a Louis Armstrong number, which was made double impressive by the fact that her speaking voice was like listening to David Bellamy shouting over the din of a bear scratching a blackboard. She’s one to watch. As is Joseph from South Shields, who looks a bit like Donny Osmand. Duane who tried out last year, and openly came out on stage as a big Beyonce fan. And, of course, Danyl (pronounced “Daniel”) who continues the rich tradition of reality television stars with normal names with wacky spellings. He earnestly told the judges that he’s a teacher, omitting the fact that he teaches DANCE. It’s a bit like someone telling you that they’re an actor, because they read from a script at their telesales job. Still, nitpicking aside, he stole the show with a brilliant Joe Cocker version of With a Little Help from my Friends. The audience loved it, the panel loved it. The whole thing was only slightly ruined when Danyl dashed out to his waiting friends bragging about Simon giving him a standing ovation. Humility, Daniel, is the key. This unforgiving audience can’t stand a Billy Bragger.
One show in, great stuff.
Here’s Joe Cocker…