You did it again, X Factor Australia. What started off as a mildly amusing live show line up ended in a stinking pile of controversy after a judge called out a contestant for “rude behaviour”, basically polarising any discussion to be had about the performance. It’s only the second time this has happened.
It was Amanda Grafanakis-gate all over again last night when Mitchell Callaway copped a public rebuke by Guy Sebastian for his “behaviour” and ill-treatment of some crew members. The shy tatted-up country warbler was caught off guard when Guy exposed his backstage rudeness to the nation, a “seemingly sizeable issue” that even his mentor Natalie Bassingthwaighte struggled to hose down then and there. It seems like none of the judges – apart from Guy – knew what the hell actually happened.
“You’ve got to have the right attitude to this competition… not at times be rude to crew, you really have to pull that in and rein that in because you won’t last long in this competition or this industry if you do that,” Guy advised Mitchell in what should’ve been a verdict focused on his on-stage performance not off-camera antics. [Editor’s note: y’all can watch the drama go down later in the post].
The repercussions must’ve been too much to bear as Mitchell told Nat after last night’s “rock themed” episode that he won’t be returning to the show – something he has since taken back after she revealed his grim decision on air to Kyle & Jackie O this morning. The atmosphere was tense, y’all. It honestly felt like a trip to the principal’s office and I don’t think this is the right time and place to address “behavioural issues”.
When judges attack a contestant’s character on live television with cameras rolling, I struggle to see how it can be taken as “constructive criticism” rather than a blatant attempt to destroy the person’s public favour. The voting lines were just opened, the man had delivered the best performance he’s ever done in the competition and that was the last thing on everyone’s mind. As a performer himself, I thought Guy could appreciate how public attention on an artist’s off-stage antics can detract from the music.
However, on the flip side, I’ve read discussions supporting Guy’s decision to expose Mitchell and it’s not all wrong. The X Factor is a public-voted show and a contestant’s likability is equally as important as their vocal capabilities. Therefore, voters deserve to know who they’re really voting for – and they can then decide whether Mitchell’s off-camera “rudeness” really matters in the grand scheme of things. You can’t ever really separate someone’s persona from their on air performance in a show like this. You can’t take “feelings” and impressions about the performers out of the equation.
It would seem that Guy was sparing us the details for Mitchell’s greater good because if the real tea had gone out about the 25-year old concreter “picking on” young Declan Sykes, the backlash would’ve been immense and he wouldn’t have polled favourably at all. The Daily Telegraph reports that there was a verbal and physical clash between the tatted-up man and the fair-haired teen ten years his junior after Mitchell “pricked [him] with a pin”. This is school yard stuff, y’guys.
Now that we’ve addressed the headline-grabbing issue of the night, let’s check out the other catfights and spotlight moments of this week’s live show:
1) Mel B vs Nat Bass.
Melanie Brown consistently steals the show with her acidic comments but it’s even more entertaining to see her shut down a fellow judge on live TV. It was snaps galore after Nat panned Three Wishez‘s rendition of Linkin Park‘s ‘Numb’ and Mel B sprung to their defense. Old Scary shut down Izzy with an apt, “WHATEVER” – complete with a bitch, please hand – when the ex-Rogue Trader tried to counter her praise. The ‘Word Up’ star later added that she had to “give praise where praise is due” to which Nat retorted with a snarky, “SAYS MEL B”. Oh no she di’nt.
Watch Mel B and Nat virtually reaching for each others’ necks here when reviewing Three Wishez‘s scary performance:
It has become a Feed Limmy tradition to have Mel B’s Comments of The Week, so are some other moments of brilliance:
“When I think of YMS, I think of three little cute gnomes singing R&B…” [Watch]
“You got more budget than me, ’cause I had to borrow Ronan’s bike and you got all that and smoke machines! What’s goin’ on?” – Mel B to Guy, obviously a bit of set envy. [Watch]
The beauty with Mel B is that even when she’s not rolling her eyes, you know she’s rolling her eyes.
2) Mitchell Callaway: this week’s best improved – depends on who you ask.
This is the strongest performance we’ve seen from Mitchell Callaway so far – let’s not try to shade his moment of glory here. The song and accompanying swag he was sporting actually works for the country warbler. It didn’t feel put on or mechanical like the first two live show jaunts he did. The undercurrent of angst in his stance and vocals translates extremely well, especially if you watch it back now after learning of Rude-gate.
Watch Mitchell own the classic ‘Run To Paradise’:
3) Reece Mastin: still Guy’s most bankable performer.
There was a ridiculous moment at the end of the performance where Luke Jacobz asked Reece how he feels about being consistently praised. Duh. Of course, it feels great being one of the most assured performer in the series. Does Reece Mastin have a lot to live up to? Yes. Does it look like he’ll ever let us down? No. End of story. Cut the filler chat.
Watch the kid tear up a slow burner this week with ‘Dream On’:
4) Christina Parie: still the alpha female of this competition.
She really can’t go wrong in rock week, can she? Where I have previously requested for Christina to do covers of Ashlee Simpson and things of that nature, I’m rather glad nobody listened because this week she had me stunned with a dutiful rendition of All American Rejects‘ ‘Gives You Hell’.
The thing about Christina Parie is that, she could release a recording of her X Factor performances now and it’ll be a hit. She is current, consistent and she exerts such an effortless ownership on that spunky Disney rawk sound. To be honest, she is the one thing Mel B has done right with her category.
Watch Christina blow up ‘Gives You Hell’:
5) Declan Sykes: almost owning ‘Life on Mars’.
I really wanted this work, y’guys. To borrow Delta and Brian‘s old sentiment, Declan‘s performance was “almost here” for me. I can’t imagine a more appropriate song choice to complement his tone. I mean, I’ve said it since his audition that he needs to do something more soulful and stark – like a Sia ballad or something as untouchable as Bowie‘s ‘Life on Mars’.
The song gives light and shade but it takes a very special vocalist to shine in all areas of it. Declan was bewitching through most of verse one but as the song crescendoed, we started to lose him. You hear him trying to compete with the track, almost drowning in the tide of music sweeping over. The whole thing started off with good intentions but unfortunately failed to adequately take off.
Watch Declan do ‘Life on Mars’ here – complete with a charming new look:
This week’s Power Bottom Two: Jacqui Newland and Young Men’s Society.
Time to take a hint. The Princess of Geewrong – Jacqui Newland – clocks her third consecutive week in the bottom two and this time, there really isn’t a more inferior act to send home in her place. Even if there was, dare the judges ignore the public’s blatant dislike of Jacqui? Look, dislike is a very strong word given that there really isn’t anything particularly unlikeable about the girl. The problem was initially slated as “song choice issues” but as Jacqui clocks her sixth overall performance in three weeks [Editor’s note: that’s more than anyone else in the competition], I think we’re starting to see that her lack of charisma and spark is what’s hindering her from being a standout.
I’ve liked Jacqui from the start because I believe that she’s a capable communicator of emotions when she sings but somehow, when it came to the live shows she just stumbled with hit after hit of forgettable performances. If this was the X Factor UK, someone would’ve pulled her aside and given her a life line to join a show-formed girl group already.
As for Young Men’s Society winding up in the bottom, their harmony-intensive rendition of ‘Walk This Way’ wasn’t entirely rubbish to start off with – I just think nobody glanced the voting numbers because we were all giving our eyes a break away from their fluorescent outfits. Let this be a lesson for Ronan.
With all three judges voting to send Jacqui packing – Australia, we really need to take a long hard look at ourselves and examine why for the third week running this show has dismissed a female contestant. Who run this demographic? I’d be inclined to say, girls. So would girls actually vote for their fellow females or would they rather invest SMS dough to keep the boys in the competition? You tell me.