2. The bands still have awful names
X Factor groups are notorious for their dreadful names (2 To Go? Addictiv Ladies? One Direction? They’ll never amount to anything…) but Bekln is up there with the worst of them. Remember when you were at primary school and you performed the Shoop Shoop Song in the playground with your friends and you named your group after the initials of your gang’s names? (No, just me then, charismatic backing singer in the underrated ISAT?
Well anyway, Bekln are mostly in their twenties but still haven’t developed enough imagination to think of a different technique – their names are Baison, Emmanuel, Kadeem, Lawrence and Nathan, so Bekln is what they came up with, even though Knebl sounds far more contemporary.
Luckily, the five-piece boy band, who met in the London Community Gospel Choir, made up for it by being pretty good – their version of James Bay’s tedious Hold Back The River, a song that feels like it’s been on the radio every four minutes for the past two years, was much livelier and more fun than the original.
3. Speaking of awful names…
Silver Tone sounds like a range of hair products for men of a certain age, not a sassy urban girl band. The girls – OK, women, seeing as some of them are in their thirties – were tonight’s victims of the classic X Factor humiliation technique of “that was lame, so slope off with your tails between your legs, pull together something better and maybe, just maybe, we’ll put you through” or, as Simon Cowell put it after their delivered a lacklustre first audition of Clean Bandit’s Rather Be, “come back and show us what five gospel singers can do”.
So slope off, they did – and, indeed, their Mary Mary/Aretha Franklin mash-up was pretty good. However, if they can only really shine when they’re doing gospel, how on earth will they fare if they get to the live shows and they’re made to do big band or Madonna or the flipping Bee Gees?
4. The misery of Rock & Rose
What on earth was up with Irish boy-girl duo Rock & Rose? Did they have a bad time on Ryanair on their way over to the auditions or were they just nervous? Their glum faces weren’t explained – but the edit job sure made it look like they had a bad attitude. They spoke in monotones and had faces like thunder despite getting unanimous yesses from the judges.
Cheryl F-V in particular looked appalled by their aloofness because, of course, we’re meant to believe that auditioning successfully for X Factor is the best thing that can ever happen to a person (Steve Brookstein would probably disagree).
It’ll be interesting to see whether they do a dramatic turn-around and shimmy up to boot camp grinning like idiots, or if they’re being set up to be 2015’s bad eggs.
5. Monica’s back!
Monica Michael was one of the stand-out singers of last year’s auditions; the song she sang for her little sister reduced Cheryl Fernandez-Versini to tears. Odd, then, that it was Cheryl who crushed her dreams between her tiny, perfectly manicured fingers, and didn’t let her get past boot camp.
Thankfully Monica, a youth worker from north London, is determined and/or desperate enough to give it another shot, and it’s paid off. “You’re so great, you were speaking from the heart and you looked us literally in the eye, thank you for making me feel special, ” babbled Rita, while Cheryl told her she’d come back “stronger and better”. Nick Grimshaw even likened her to Adele and Amy Winehouse.
It would be cruel and boring to go through the faff of broadcasting another boot camp rejection for Monica, so it looks likely that she’ll at least make it to the judges’ pretend houses this time around.