Yesterday I went behind the scenes at this year’s X Factor Boot Camp auditions, and the only way I can think to explain it is to say that it was like being caught in the middle of an excitable flash mob.
Settled in the holding room with a whole bunch of contestants, one lad started to play his guitar and suddenly half the room joined in. Acts just wandering past were absentmindedly adding in their own harmonies, others chucked in their vocals halfway through a pizza delivery and yet more began dancing around the guitarist. I think I can add ‘Extra in Glee’ to my IMDB page now. I feel trained up.
I was surprised to find so many singing. I thought they’d all be clutching mugs of hot lemon, signs hanging around their neck declaring that they’d put themselves on voice rest, nerves shredded. But they all seemed to just be having a blooming good time. The rhythm really has got them.
It’s a breath of fresh air to be out of the confines of Wembley Arena, which can feel like you’re trapped in a Roman-style colosseum when the crowd gets the hump. Out in the open an impressive stage had been erected, with the judges under their own separate gazebo a few metres away. Cowell’s son Eric was playing nearby while hosts Caroline Flack and Olly Murs were on hand to dish out the hugs. All very genteel. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures, but Grimmers has given us a sneak peek:
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of stress considering these guys have been working into the wee hours for days on end, putting together one of the biggest Saturday night shows going. The only interruptions came from planes flying overhead, Ms Flack running to the loo declaring she thought she had a bee in her shorts and one act struggling to keep her lucky surfboard upright in the wind. Yes, lucky surfboard.
Of course, there was serious reality show stuff going on. The judges weren’t sitting around having afternoon tea. We need sob stories after all. Those tears aren’t going to cry themselves. In fact, in the early hours of this morning the judges would have told the acts which of them are heading through to the knee-wobbling Six Chair Challenge (a blessing and a curse). It means the judges will soon find out which category they’re mentoring and battle will commence. Yeah, they’re friends now, but the let’s see what a bit of competition does to this shiny new panel…
The X Factor is coming to ITV soon