YouTube sensations, second chances and the real contenders of our generation – this is what X Factor Australia has been serving for the last two nights.
After making an impact nationwide with family-friendly characters and heartstring-tugging stories, last night’s audition reel turned to exposing some of the finest and shadiest of the teen to early 20s category. I find the biggest challenge with assessing contestants now lie in discerning genuine star quality from the superficial fame whoring. Let’s face it – you wouldn’t audition for X Factor if you didn’t have the slightest desire to be famous or gain exposure for your music. Otherwise, you might as well just upload tracks on Soundcloud and play it for your own satisfaction.
But what I’m talking about here is finding a talent with genuine love for singing and music, not someone who just sees the music industry as an accessible entry level to becoming famous. I think the integrity of the show would be extremely compromised if the judges mistake confident fame-whoredom for the mystical “X factor”.
Having said that, not the slightest smear of bullshit’s gonna escape the audience. They will call you out if you’re faking your age, if you’re deluded, and especially, if the judges aren’t seeing through that. The last two nights have been a test of gut instinct for all of us.
Find out which contestants earn the Feed Limmy snap of approval and who’s getting served the bitch, please hand:
1) ‘Introvert Extrovert’ is slaying your faves.
My position on Luke O’Dell and his now-viral internet smash single ‘Introvert Extrovert’ will surprise some of you. Y’all are probably expecting for me to read a queen to filth but no, I actually admire what this young man has accomplished in the space of five minutes on telly.
The 18-year old Perth YouTube sensation’s audition might’ve been a hot mess but you gotta give kudos to him for flogging his original material ‘Introvert Extrovert’ on stage. Y’all can see the judges were clearly living for it, especially Nat Bassingthwaighte who did not hesitate to channel her inner drag diva from behind the panel, hair flipping and miming ostentatiously to the hook. It wasn’t long before Luke’s single ‘Introvert Extrovert’ shut down the Twittosphere and became a top trending topic.
Watch Luke O’Dell‘s audition and arena premiere of ‘Introvert Extrovert’:
Young Luke is bringing joy into millions of homes around Australia with his stage ferocity and incessantly catchy hook. Better yet, he has scored unprecedented exposure for his YouTube channel and iTunes releases, earning rave reviews on Twitter, including one from DJ Havana Brown. Gurl, you better get dat money! And for all them haters calling him and ‘Introvert Extrovert’ out as being the worst thing they’ve ever seen on TV – mate, you’re not being very original. Besides, he didn’t get through so there really is no reason to act pressed.
In fact, I refuse to entertain discussions of why ‘Introvert Extrovert’ is such a bad song because that shit is irrelevant. Good or bad music – it’s all subjective anyway. If the song has connected with you or brought you entertainment, then it’s done its job. People get so caught up with the notion of “artistic credibility” and clamour for any opportunity to demonstrate their music snobbery, but really, y’all are missing the point here. Music is about enjoyment – it can be fun, it can be trashy. It doesn’t all have to sound like Adele. Some music are classic and timeless like fine wine, others are a bit like bubblegum. You really can have both and enjoy them as they are.
Last time I checked on iTunes, ‘Introvert Extrovert’ was risen to #68 on the main singles chart, overtaking major label new releases The Potbelleez‘s ‘Midnight Midnight’ and Demi Levato‘s ‘Skyscraper’. Damn, gurl. I’mma have to send you some flowers.
2) Not your favourite Spice.
RoRo is almost certainly off Mel B‘s Christmas card list now after blatantly asking a contestant who his favourite Spice Girl was. I don’t care how certain or uncertain you are of the answer, you never subject a Spice Girl and a Spice Girl fan to such an appalling and confrontational question, especially when they’re in the same room breathing the same air.
Sam, the 17-year old Cher-adoring warbler from Adelaide, was called out with the biggest challenge a queen could face: having to tell a living, breathing Spice Girl to her face that she’s not your fave. This hurt my soul to watch, even though I would’ve also answered truthfully and picked another Spice memaw if I was asked. It shakes me to the core to think that as Spice Girls fans, we run the risk of outsiders ruining a perfect and rare encounter with our idol just because some douche wants to take a piss like that.
You could always lie, of course. Then how do you face your friends back home who know damn well that Geri or Victoria was always your fave? On top of that, by lying about Mel B being your fave – it could prompt further problematic questions like, “what’s your favourite Mel B solo single?” I will not be made the fool, boo. [Editor’s note: Limmy’s favourite Mel B track is ‘Tell Me’. He’s also planning to audition next year with that song.]
3) Trent Bell 2.0
I’ve often wondered if the judges are prompted off camera about returning auditionees before they point and gasp, “I recognise this face!” Bitch, was it ticked on the application form – “Yes. I have previously auditioned for the X Factor and flopped”? Having said that, I was surprised that it was me gasping, “I recognise this [fuckable] face!” when Trent Bell graced the audition stage.
The spunky lad made it to boot camp last year only to be turned away by Kyle Sandilands at the final hurdle before the live shows. That has got to suck but really, there was only room for one pretty boy in Kyle’s category last year and he decided that Mitchell Smith would take the spot.
The new and improved Trent Bell functions like a well-oiled pop idol – billion dollar smile, great energy on stage and top notch vocals to boot. Watch his confident 2011 audition here:
I think he’s more than equipped for the live shows this year. One can only hope he makes it further in this round. I know if it were up to the public, they’d put him through already. We love the sentiment that he picked himself up, set some goals and made it back stronger than ever. It’s all makings of a very good Diane Warren ballad.
4) Nat Bass giving good face.
On every X Factor panel, there’s always that one judge you look to first for an instant facial expression that says it all. Last year, Natalie Imbruglia had the greatest hits in that department. [Editor’s note: this moment with India Rose is an eternal fave.] This series, we’re looking to Nat Bassingthwaighte for a wide range of expressions, including squeals.
Apart from the unbelievably animated reaction to Luke O’Dell‘s ‘Introvert Extrovert’ [top picture], Nat served some quality shade when she said to Andrea Storm Kaden, “I wanna hear this voice that everyone’s getting on YouTube for.” You gotta admit, there was a slight snarl in there [see bottom picture]. Oh Izzy!
4) Something shady about Andrea ‘Storm’ Kaden.
Here’s my read on the situation. And let me just put it out there that I’m not completely sold on Andrea but I’m not writing her off just yet. We’re dealing with another YouTube sensation here, albeit one with more vocal finesse than Luke O’Dell, except this one didn’t leave me with a very good impression.
The 15-year old had me throwing a side eye when she gave us the impression that all she wants to do is become famous. We might need a little attitude adjustment here, especially after hearing her argue with the judges, insisting to perform Katy Perry‘s ‘Firework’ for the second time after she screeched her way through the incredibly challenging hook.
Nat praised Andrea’s “fight” but gurl, is this someone you can see yourself mentoring through the competition? Does she come across as someone the public will get behind? All I can say is, thank gawd she got a second chance and thank gawd she chose another song because I think she’s got a decent marketable voice.
Watch Andrea’s hit and miss audition here:
The girl just turned 15 and she’s already got over 100,000 YouTube views – you gotta understand that all this online success and prominence doesn’t come without a fight. I’m showing a compassionate side here that y’all might not necessarily wanna engage with, but really, consider how hard it is to grow and develop as an artist in the public eye. You’re bound to make mistakes, post bad recordings and shit covers along the way but that’s the only way you can learn.
The biggest challenge with Andrea Storm Kaden might just be learning where her strengths are and develop a willingness to let go and grow in this competition. She’s had a lot of money pumped into developing her pop career and she’s got a lot of online support, but is she mentally prepared for the next level?
5) Jacqui Newland, rock chick extraordinaire.
The Geelong-native cover band singer looks like that gorgeous girl next door you’d trust your purse with. Her audition song choice of AC/DC‘s ‘Highway to Hell’ may seem a little out of the norm but it was 100% dynamite – especially if you clock her range and amazing vocal control, serving grit and softer tones. This girl could go far with that incredibly versatile voice. In a sense, she is somewhat like India Rose Madderom of last year’s series. I can imagine Jacqui going effortlessly from acoustic bar-stool performances to rock week, then belt out some soul.
Watch Ms Jacqui tear it up on stage with this A+ audition:
Ladies and gentlemen, hang tight for the last X Factor Australia audition ep tonight. Get ready to pack your bags because you’re going to Sydney! [Said in Oprah voice]