X Factor Australia: Boot Camp Episode – The Final Six

There were tears and clutching of pearls when Guy Sebastian, Mel B, Nat Bassingthwaighte and Ronan Keating made their respective culls to only six acts in each category.

Can I just say, no one should really be surprised by the results – especially if your faves failed to bring it or remember the lyrics in their boot camp challenges. You should definitely not be surprised to see all the faces you never got to know in the series get the boot. There’s a reason why show producers never bothered to feature much of them – you were never meant to be.

The boot camp chop seems straightforward enough. You’re either ready for the live shows or you’re not. All the challenges set by the judges gave us a fair indication of who was actually equipped to compete and who displayed the strongest combination of charisma, uniqueness and popstarly ability. Here’s where the reality check comes in for contestants who aren’t polished. If you’re thinking of auditioning and feel like you can get away with “growing through the competition” – you’re taking a major gamble, my friend. The obvious exception being of course, UpFront.

Have the judges got it right? Check out the final six in each category and who I reckon we’ll see in the live shows.

1) Mel B’s final six girls: send the children home.

Despite the lowered age limit in hopes of catching the next Selena Gomez or Justin Bieber, the quality of teen pop sensations here was at pained scarcity. All these infants were sent packing when they failed to turn out Mel’s song-and-dance challenge. All except one teen star – Christina Parie – who clearly had potential from the get-go.

Old Scary has copped a lot of criticism for her bitchy comments during the audition stage but we got to see a softer and vaguely nurturing side to Mama Spice this week when she delivered the news. Mel evidently believed in a lot of the girls she had to send home, but felt for one reason or another they weren’t ready to face this year’s competition. Case in action: 14-year old bespectacled warbler Medina Bergic.

Watch Old Scary deliver the verdict:


 
Here are the young divas who made it to the “home visits” round: Tyla, Jacqui, Christina, Tara-Lynn, Amy and Chantelle.

These girls are quite an eclectic mix of performers ranging from the potentially edgy like Tyla and Amy through to the pop princesses a la Christina and Chantelle, while Tara-Lynn and Jacqui represent as powerhouse vocalists. This makes sense but with only three spaces ahead, I’mma go ahead and pick the spunkiest characters in each subset – Tyla Bertolli, Christina Parie and Jacqui Newland.

I reckon these three ladies have the greatest potential to transform week in and out, deliver standout performances and connect with the audience. However, in the face of the overall competition – I don’t think Mel’s category is looking like the strongest.

2) Guy’s final six guys: you’re pressed because?

Emmanuel Kelly didn’t make it to the next round. I’m sorry, y’guys. Regardless of our sentiments and desire to see this man succeed, he flopped in his boot camp challenge. Competition in this category is especially fierce this year and frankly, if he’s struggling to learn one minute of a new song – how is he gonna fare week in and out with different songs and genres? It doesn’t instill a great deal of “live show-ready” confidence in me. I am backing Guy’s decision.

Having said that, this show has now given Emmanuel an incredible platform to launch his own music career. If he’s smart, he’ll start laying groundwork for a covers album to arrive by next Mother’s Day. Can you imagine the immensity of that if he gets coverage on Sunrise and Women’s Weekly etc.? He’ll break the fucking ARIAs.

A lot of you were also pressed to see “hood rat” Josh Brookes eliminated. To me, the intense sorrow rose from seeing Josh and Johnny Ruffo‘s star crossed bromance come to an end with one of them forced to leave the competition and watch the other carry on with half a heart. Seeing these two standing side by side, fighting the urge to cling onto each other while Guy delivers the verdict was almost enough to make me breakdown and sing Adele‘s ‘Set Fire To The Rain’.

Watch Guy announce his chosen six:


 
The boys who are through to the next level are: Johnny, Reece, Mali, Rob, Declan and Trent.

I have no problems picking the three “live show-ready” gentlemen but knowing Guy, he’s gonna be looking for three very different performers with rather different appeals. I’d like to think Reece, Trent and Johnny are definites but we’ll see if geeky-fantastic Declan and Spice boy Mali manages to outshine them with their quirkiness.

The funny thing about this series is that, I’m not normally excited for the male performers. I am intrinsically partial to female singers – y’know, the divas – but from what I’ve seen, the ladies have yet to floor it like the dudes.

3) Ronan’s final six groups: the man is a great believer.

Last year Ronan fathered and mentored fledgling rock star Altiyan Childs to become the competition winner and nation’s sweetheart that he is now. I kinda feel that this year, he’s looking for that moment again. He’s out to prove detractors wrong about a maligned act and he’s strangely chosen 18-year old tone deaf twins UpFront to make a point.

As entertaining as these girls are – seriously, their banter is what guilty pleasure reality shows are made of – I don’t think they’ve got it together as pop performers. I reckon with the right song, production and great amount of tongue-in-cheek awareness, these girls could go viral on the interwebs, but it’s not something Australia would go for in a talent competition. Not when there are so many vocally and stylistically stronger groups vying for a shot.

The groups and boys under 25 appear to be the strongest categories this year. I mean, look over at Young Men’s Society and Audio Vixen – their harmonies can’t be fucked with. It’s absolutely crucial for me to see a group that works as a solid unit like Mahogany and Luke and Joel did last year.

Watch Ronan take these groups down to just six:


 
Going through to L.A. are the following groups: UpFront, 3 Wishez, Hype, Young Men’s Society, Audio Vixen and Femme de Funk (also known as the pair who look like Mini Viva)

The polished and ready to roll acts I absolutely must have in the live shows are Young Men’s Society, Audio Vixen and 3 Wishez.Y’all know RoRo will only have room for one urban pop trio in his final set – will it be the superior 3 Wishez or new/improved Hype?

4) Nat’s final six over 25’s: real people, real cases but is this judge for real?

I feel sorry for the olds. When they build it up by saying shit like “this could truly be his last chance of having a music career”, you kinda think, ‘No, bitch. It’s not.’ This is only the beginning. If any of the memorable featured acts like Andrew Wishart the Nut Salesman or Paige Phoenix had bowed out at this point, nothing is stopping them from taking it further with the newfound exposure the show has given them. Same goes with all the rest – young or mature. Go book them gigs, go hustle and make the best of the opportunity you’ve been given. As Kween Khia would say, “Get money, bitch.”

This is traditionally the beige category, typically filled with serial balladeers and old soul rockers. Most of the six she has chosen fall comfortably into said mold, which isn’t necessarily inducing panty-wetting excitement on my part. On the plus side – five of them have already established a strong connection with the audience through their memorable “life stories” or simply likable personalities. Judging by our nation’s preference, she might be onto a winner.

Watch Nat deliver her verdict with a poker face that’s bordering on bored librarian expression:


 
Going through to the next round are the following over 25’s: Mitchell, Andrew, Marina, Pamela, Paige and Cleo.

The three acts I feel could have the best fighting chance in the live shows are Mitchell, Marina and strangely enough, the gorgeous young Cleo. I feel like Nat would wanna see a pretty young thing purveying some strummy la la material in her category. Don’t rule her out.

Home visits phase: this used to be a funhouse.

With the final six in each category decided, it’s time for each of the judges to take them to an exciting off shore location for a little taste of the glamourous popstar life.

Mel B takes her girls to Hollywood, Ronan reconvenes with his groups in L.A., Guy flies his fellas to New York while Nat meets her over 25’s in Double Island (a private island off the coast of Queensland). Over Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – we’ll see their final pre-live show mentoring and cull happen with appearances by mega star Beyoncé, Leona Lewis, Jason DeRulo, Melanie C and Luke & Benji Madden.

Shit ’bout to get real.

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