On Wednesday, July 15, I got to attend a taping of X Factor UK Auditions in London at Wembley Arena. I had a great time, and I have lots of tidbits to share about the experience.
First, the show ran quite late. I arrived to pick up my tickets at 2 PM, and didn’t get into the arena until 8:30 PM. I had to leave early at 11:30 PM in order to catch the subway, but they weren’t even done at that time.
Second, lots of things are faked for TV. From the crowds behind contestants being interviewed outside (really just audience members waiting for tickets) to some reactions in the arena (they even told us to “act shocked” as they filmed it).
But most importantly, I got some impressions of the new judging panel and some great talent.
And I have to say, I’m extremely excited for this upcoming season after seeing the panel in action. Nick Grimshaw was probably my favorite judge. He had great critiques (with some good zingers), he was brutally honest, and he seemed like he was invested. Such an amazing step up from Louis Walsh, I wonder why it took this long to sack him. Rita Ora was great too. She reminded me of Tulisa, maybe it was just her accent but maybe it was her attitude. Cheryl (Fernandez-Versini)and Simon (Cowell) are Cheryl and Simon. You either love them or hate them, and I lean towards loving them. The chemistry seems great.
I saw some bad auditions, but thankfully none of them made it through. I also saw an Olly Murslookalike, and soundalike. He made it through with 3 yeses, but I can’t see him making it any further than bootcamp. He was good, but he was too much like Olly. Simon wouldn’t stop comparing, and even brought Olly (who was hosting by himself last night) on stage to stand next to him.
But as far as the actual talent is concerned, I saw two acts that I think will make live shows. There was a guy who got the nickname Miley, as he loves Miley Cyrus. He was very flamboyant-wearing a mesh top and some interesting shorts, and feathers too I think. He reminded me of Adam Lambert, and not just because he sang Queen’s “The Show Must Go On.” He got extremely positive critiques from the judges, after all four of them stood up for him (along with the rest of the arena). Rita cried, she loved his passion. I was just happy that he could sing and wasn’t going to be ridiculed. Simon called him a star, and if he keeps performing like he did in this audition, I think I’ll agree with that.
The other act I saw was a gospel choir with 5 young women. They apparently screwed up earlier that day but Simon told them to come back for the night show and I honestly couldn’t believe they didn’t already make it. All five could really sing, two were particularly amazing. The judges were positive. I was expecting a standing O, but they didn’t get one.
Overall, despite the long wait, it was a great experience.