X Factor Australia: Auditions Episode Four

You hate to admit it but you’re hooked on the X Factor and you’re already staying longer than you thought you would.

Round of applause for the show producers because this year, X Factor Australia is actually standing up stronger than ever before powered by a well-edited mix of “controversy”, shock factor and some well decent contestants. They’ve just wrapped the first week, airing four of the six audition episodes, and now I’m just antsy for the boot camp phase already.

I am completely ready to roll out the red carpet and squeal for our guest mentors, which this year include: Her Holiness Ms Beyoncé (featuring Guy Sebastian), Darren Hayes (assisting Nat Bassingthwaighte), Melanie C (supporting Mel B), Joel and Benji Madden (with Ronan Keating), Wynter Gordon (Guy), Jason DeRulo (Nat), The Veronicas and Leona Lewis.

But before that kicks in on Wednesday and Thursday, there’s two more audition episodes left to find your X Factor champ and I for one am gagging to see if this show’s got any more engaging life stories left in the bag to keep viewers glued. I mean, is there any gas left in the tank? In the space of four nights, the series has already floored us with heart-warming stories about a disabled man blossoming from a hard life, a school teacher who battled breast cancer while she was pregnant, and last night’s big reveal: the empowering story of a transsexual man coming into his own.

In between the aforementioned genuine and truly touching stories, the series also dropped some headline-grabbing non-news controversies like splitting up mother/daughter duo Majestic who – by the way – got coverage on Today Tonight, Andrea ‘Storm’ Kaden and of course, the viral sensation that is Luke O’Dell.

How does the madness stack up for the fourth audition episode? Let’s find out.

1) Zaachariaha, a voice fashioned for Tracy Chapman’s hits.

Every now and then on these talent shows, we stumble on a truly unique voice that calls out to you like a siren in the lagoon. Zaachariaha Fielding – who really need not buy any more vowels before the SMS lines open – was such a revelation with that soulful vocal tone that was clearly made for covering Tracy Chapman.

Contrary to what Preggers Spice said about Zaach not pushing himself to do a “bigger song”, I don’t think it always has to be a wailing match. Just because you have a huge range don’t mean you gotta belt it all the time. Great vocalists like Tina Arena and Vanessa Amorosi have built their careers on monumental key changes but they all eventually learn to tone that shit down because frankly, you can overkill it.

I thought Zaach’s audition with ‘Talkin’ Bout A Revolution’ was so on point because it was so effortless. Watch his soulful performance here:

 

The stunned reaction I got in my living room when Zaach sang was so strikingly similar to that of the night our family heard Guy Sebastian audition on Idol. Who knows? The Lims are known for our flawless track record of talent spotting. We’re still stanning for Cosima DeVito wherever she is right now.

2) B is for Bitch, Please.

No loser escapes the judging eye of Mel B. There’s no way around it. Sometimes you just gotta call out a deluded queen and if it so happens to be in front of thousands on TV, so be it. I’m sorry, boo. If your lips are saying “I’m a model” and I don’t see no model material, I’m gonna have to ask you a few questions – so please step outside the vanity ride for a minute.

One of the best reads of the series so far came when Old Scary asked Antonio, who claimed he was a model, whether he did it for “catalogue or personal” use. To which he answered, “a bit of both”. Mmph! Just as I thought.

Later in the show she blasted a contestant’s awful audition with, “That was so bad that my waters nearly broke!”. We must also pay tribute to the time she laughed and just shook her head when ‘Introvert Extrovert’ sensation Luke O’Dell confirmed that he’s had singing lessons for 10 years. Dead.

3) Straight Up – who’s gonna keep these two in line?

The idea of a rap/sung duo that looks this fit, sounds this polished and conveys such great natural chemistry – damn, you just wanna dial up Denis Handlin and have him come down to the stage and sign them on the spot.

Straight Up – consisting of vocalist Jade and rapper/entertainer Nas – know that their style of urban pop is absolutely right on the money right now. When they stepped on stage to do their mash up of ‘Boom Boom Pow/ Satisfaction’ last night, it didn’t feel like an audition. It looked like a proper performance and industry showcase, even. There is nothing amateur or gimmicky about it. You can tell that they’re dedicated to their art but they’re also entertainers through and through, from the backstage to the front.

Watch Straight Up nail it on X Factor:

 

No surprise that these guys were a hit with our generation, instantly becoming a major trending topic on Twitter much like early contestants Emmanuel Kelly and ‘Introvert Extrovert’ star Luke O’Dell.

4) Paige Phoenix – Australia, meet your first transsexual rock star.

It was bold of Paige to open up and share his story with the country about transitioning from female to male and coming into his own. It’s definitely a topic that will spark a lot of discussion in living rooms across the country and will probably follow him on to subsequent interviews etc. The burden that comes with this would no doubt be intense under the media spotlight. I mean, whether he likes it or not, Paige is now inadvertently a spokesperson for the trans community. Something I would be very proud of if I were in his shoes.

However, the beautiful thing about the situation is that – story aside, he’s still a very capable rock performer. That stunning light and shade in his raspy voice absolutely shines through the INXS classic ‘Never Tear Us Apart’.

Watch his story and performance:

 

Who’s getting what.

I think now is a good a time as any to begin hearing your ideas on which judge might get what category. Here’s how it will go down in the Feed Limmy books:

Guy Sebastian – Over 25s
Mel B – Groups
Ronan Keating – Boys
Natalie Bassingthwaighte – Girls

I am not a betting man for many reasons – mainly because I have the luck of a billion black cats waltzing under ladders while admiring their reflection in broken mirrors. However, I feel like I got this one in the bag, boys.

Check out the final two audition episodes on Monday and Tuesday before the categories and respective judges are revealed on Wednesday.

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8 Comments

  1. Love the Mel B commentary – I need more of this, I love getting my fix of Mel B, but there’s no way I’d watch it online or download. The paper bag guy from the “rap duo” you mention looks overdone with the muscles, but it’s like an expensive car you’d never buy – you’d still want a long, fast test-drive just so you can take pictures and show your friends….. or something!

    • That’s exactly how I feel. The first thing all the boys say is, ‘look at them man tittays’! Mel seems a bit hit and miss on this show, sometimes her commentary’s hilarious and other times it’s just dismissive and predictable. A stark contrast from Geri’s guest judge stint where she just lectured every contestant LOL!

  2. I’m really enjoying the show this year. Last year I really only watched it because I am a huge Guy fan. This year I think the mix of judges is much better. Mel B is streets ahead of Kyle, who really tried to dominate the show last year. His ego was massive and really he had no place as a mentor on a talent show. It was all about him and not the talent under his care. I really felt sorry for the boys in his group. Natalie Bassingthwaighte has way more personality than Natalie Imbruglia as well. Imbruglia was so bland last year she really annoyed me. I was glad to see her get the chop.

    I am way more interested in the contestants this year too. I can’t even remember any really touching moments in the auditions last year or any contestants who really grabbed my attention. If there were any they have already disappeared from my memory. One thing I don’t like is how they bounce around from one audition to another. One minute they are in Sydney, the next in Brisbane. It’s a little disorientating. Another thing I wish is that Guy had not gone with that Gnomeo/Smurf outfit. He is an amazing looking guy and that outfit really does him no justice at all. I kind of cringe everytime it appears. My guess for who has who is

    Mel B – Under 25 Girls
    Ronan – Groups
    Natalie – Over 25’s
    Guy – Under 25 Boys.

    • You reckon they’d give Mel the girls? I think there’s a good chance of that happening. I mean, to me, the girls category’s the most fun! I personally think there’s more room for visual creativity with female performers. I totally agree re: Nat Bass > Nat Imbruglia. See, I’m an Imbruglia fan and I wanted so much for her to shine in the series but I think she came off a little too harsh and unlikeable. Perhaps her competitive streak just got the better of her. I think she was so focused on getting her girls through every week (by picking the most predictable karaoke tunes) that she neglected her part to be a likable and engaging TV personality. She might’ve been an adequate mentor but as a TV personality – she really wasn’t cutting it.

  3. Yep. Natalie was fine as a mentor, but her personality just didn’t shine through. And she was way too defensive of her own charges. The look on her face when any of the other judges criticised them was painful. The dagger looks she gave. She came across a little bitchy to tell the truth. And I was really surprised she didn’t use X Factor to promote her musical career, even knocking back a duet on Ronan’s album. Maybe her last album not doing very well has made her a little nervy about releasing any more music for a while.

    And I reckon Mel will get the girls as I am sure that’s what she wants, and the producers are likely to give her what she wants as she is a very big drawcard this year. I wonder what Kyle thinks of the fantastic ratings X is getting atm. He was so up himself he told the press that Channel 7 would not go ahead with it this year because he didn’t want to be a judge. I really think he thought he carried the show last year, and yet it looks like he may have been one of the reasons it didn’t rate well. Bet he was hoping it would be a ratings disaster this year to prove what a loss he was to the show. LOL

    • Well Kyle’s ego has always been out of control and it’s so predictable of him to say things of that nature to the press. See, to me – he lacked what Natalie had and what Natalie needed, he had. She needed the “personality” and he needed to put in the effort as a mentor. I found Kyle to be kinda amusing actually and that’s only because he spoke what most of us thought! Personally, I don’t like to watch bitchy judges. I think that’s very old school – very old school Simon Cowell, in fact. I mean, no one’s in on the act any more. Look at the UK series – everyone’s past it. Just be dignified, give constructive criticism and realness.

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