I can’t say it was too hard but I managed to call out 10 out of the 12 acts that were cherry picked to hit the live shows.
The competition is fiercer this year on X Factor Australia but judging by the folks put through, I think we’re gonna be well entertained by bankable contestants who have the potential to deliver a mix of quirky and mainstream-appealing performances. It’s all down to the song choices now and how original the arrangements can be because Lord Beysus knows that it was the prosaic karaoke snooze fest of last year’s series that bored me to tears.
Despite my general cosy satisfaction with the choice of final 12 acts, there were a few major upsets with this cull that even I struggled to justify. Once again, the lovable Guy Sebastian threw himself under the bus – this time for controversially putting Johnny Ruffo through over the more polished heart throb Trent Bell, who had to endure his second X Factor premature rejection. You and I will have a word about this later down the post. Deep breaths, ladies.
competition favourite Up Front tragically missed out on representing Ronan‘s category in the live shows. It’s a good thing RoRo came to his senses after Rupaul offered this comforting word of wisdom because the tran ma is never wrong. But to be real, the tone-deaf Melbourne twins have given this series some of the most unforgettable quotes yet and I hope somebody signs them up to a Steph McIntosh-style reality series that follows the making of their pop debut. They just look so fucking Myspace – it’s cringe but almost the right kind of cringe.
In the midst of all the nerve, tears and guest star judges golf clapping we endured for the last three nights – there was one highlight that shone brighter than the entire competition and history of talent show appearances put together: Beyoncé. Her grace, genuine enthusiasm and astute observation of each under 25 boy’s performance just cancelled everything else that was happening in the world at that minute. I am still rewatching that bit where Guy brought her out and without fail, every single time her face shows up I start howling, crying and shaking like it’s the biggest muhfuggin’ shock in the world. How is she having this effect on me?
Check out other highlights of the judges house eps and, of course, some much valued thoughts on the final three acts in each category.
Mel’s girls: Christina, Jacqui and Tyla.
These three had it coming from the start. Don’t act like you didn’t know. Christina Parie‘s she-just-being-Miley vibe was too good to pass up, Jacqui Newland was technically on point vocally and in front of the camera so there was no faulting her, and Tyla Bertolli – a Mel B fave from the get-go was always gonna be the wild card contender. It’s kinda hard to call out which of these girls will be the last one standing because a lot of my favouring will depend on how fierce they can turn it out week after week.
Watch Old Scary deliver Tyla‘s verdict in that show-stealing mumu. Nat Bass, Nat Imbruglia and Mammii Dannii could never compete with whatever maxi dress get up they had on in their respective island resort scenes:
These three are all strong pop vocalists in their own right, however void of any real distinguishing quirk. It’ll be interesting to see how Mel B‘s accentuates their personalities to help them stand out from the pack because as much as she likes to think she’s got something to teach these ladies in the vocal department – she’s best sticking to what she knows.
Old Scary copped a snarky side eye from me when she told Jacqui last night that she’ll need to teach her how to vocally sustain week in and out without straining her voice. I’m sorry, Ms Brown, I’mma let chu finish but Jacqui has played more gigs than you have in the last three years. I think she’ll be right.
Guy’s guys: Johnny, Reece and Declan.
There’s a big ass storm cloud gathering over this section. I can feel it, y’all.
Guy‘s decision to send Johnny Ruffo through ahead of the similarly delicious Trent Bell had every girl aged between 12 and 18 clutching their chests and sobbing last night. It is painfully unfair for Trent, who was denied of live show glory for the second year running. And you guys know it’s totally against the convention of feel good Aussie TV to send home the underdog too, right? I don’t think Guy has caught on to that notion just yet, judging by his elimination of faves like Emmanuel Kelly.
While Trent is the more experienced performer and vocally superior one of the two, I think I’d rather watch Johnny grow through the competition. It’s amazing how quickly he turned me around after that irksome initial audition where he overcompensated with some slick dancing. Also, while we’re on Team Johnny – y’all need to consider the mix of vocalists and styles Guy needs in the live shows. Reece can hold down the rock genre like no other, Declan‘s giving enchanting indie realness and Johnny‘s swag and tones can carry a decent pop/R&B track. Are we a little less pressed now?
Check out Beysus‘s new fave Declan when he received his verdict from Guy:
“Coming from Fitzroy, you’re lucky to see one neon light in a souvlaki store down Brunswick Street and you come here and there’s so much to look at!” – the 15-year old white haired kid taking in New York city. Bless.
Nat’s over 25’s: Mitchell, Cleo and Andrew.
Everybody kinda gave me the Kanye shrug when I said Cleo Howman‘s a real contender for the live shows but what did I tell you? Nat would go for the sweet girl with a pretty voice primed for strummy la la goodness. Tatted-up teddy Mitchell Callaway and power belter Andrew Wishart were obvious choices but someone who I felt was also equally deserving was Marina Davis, the soul mama who missed her chance of pop stardom due to breeding commitments.
Mama Marina may not be a young diva any more but she could still sing the house down on everyone in this competition. I only kinda came to a lightbulb moment when she warbled Aretha‘s ‘Natural Woman’, which by the way, suited her voice to a tee unlike her audition song ‘Listen’. The reality is, I can see Nat achieving better results with these three and the sound they inherently possess than she could with Marina. How marketable is a female soul singer in Australia, really? Let’s be painfully real about it.
Watch my fave Mitchell Callaway receive his life-changing verdict from an emotional Izzy. You can spot the exact moment where Nat decided that it’s no longer fun to lead a teary grown man on any further [Editor’s note: Okay fine, losers – that tentative look up and down at the 5:04 mark]
Ronan’s groups: 3 Wishez, Young Men Society and Audio Vixen.
What you’re seeing here are three groups that have consistently powered through with A-grade harmonies and clever arrangements. Out of all the final 12 contestants, 3 Wishez and Young Men’s Society were the only acts to come through with their own “mash up” and unique take on popular songs. Why aren’t there more people thinking outside the box like that? You know I get wet for those who demonstrate popstarly excellence.
Watch Young Men’s Society receive their verdict from Ronan and consequently become the first of many contestants to pick up Luke Jacobz in a fit of ecstasy. I personally would’ve gone for a booty squeeze but that’s just me.
Where Guy had his hard crunch with boy heart throbs Johnny vs Trent, Ronan had to pick between two similarly styled trios: 3 Wishez and Hype, the latter also being a return auditionee. To be technical, Hype had the stronger rapper and more distinct vocalists but as a package they just weren’t as polished as 3 Wishez. It’s devastating for the fellas to be turned away again but y’all can see that they just weren’t as bankable as the other trio. The problem for RoRo now is how he’s gonna distinguish material fit for Young Men’s Society and 3 Wishez who both excel at urban-flavoured compositions.
What was X Factor pre-Beyoncé Giselle Knowles? ‘Cause I don’t think it mattered.
I would’ve dropped to my knees sobbing like a bloody hot mess if I had been there. You absolutely cannot pull a stunt like that on a queen. What? Having Queen Bey herself be in the same room as me, much less hug me and look me in the eye? I would’ve never survived that episode. You’d see footage of me handcuffed to a stretcher leaving the building in a crying/shaking fit.
A true Bey fan would’ve seen this coming, though. First sign of smoke was when Kim Burse, Frank Gatson Jr. and Jenke (Bey’s A-Team) walked in the room. Any stan would’ve seen that and rang the alarm on everyone’s ass. I would’ve been crying just to have them watch me.
But unlike so many superstar guest judges we see year in and out on these X Factor placements, Bey is surprisingly engaging and observant of the contestants placed before her (on a screen because, really, a woman who runs the world has no time to sit around while y’all do this live).
Watch Beysus‘s show defining appearance as a guest judge in Guy‘s category and how she took the time to give the fellas a little pep talk after reviewing their performances:
“Thank y’all for coming to New Yawk City! Is there anything you wanna ask me or say?” *flatlines*
Classic Up Front Moments.
Less we forget.
“We feel privileged to perform at The Viper Room because people have worked so long to get here and well, really, we just got off a plane and caught a bus here!” – Up Front is not rubbing shit in at all.
“Looking around here, it is nothing like Hoppers Crossing. They don’t understand when I say ‘Maccas’!” – Up Front on L.A. life.
“Do I think you can win X Factor?” – Ronan being typically musing for cliff hanger purposes.
“Are we meant to answer that?” – Up Front not getting it.
Take one last look as we bid Australia’s answer to Jedward goodbye:
It’s show time, bitchez. And as Rupaul would say, “Don’t fuck it up!”
Here’s where things can go either way for me. Some acts will turn it out and take it to the next level each week while others are gonna bore me real fast. Last year’s first live show episode was actually the best of the series because the contestants got to pick their own songs so, no pressure or anything for Monday’s debut.
The live shows will also be when you see the judges’ true competitive streak flare out and at its worst, the defensiveness can prove to be unwatchable. Side eyes Natalie Imbruglia. We’ll see who keeps it classy and constructive, and who’ll rear their ugly head to tear down every contestant that’s not their own.