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The X-Factor - Have you got it?

This is a brief personal account of my experiences when I went to audition for the X-Factor 2 at Newcastle on June 27th and June 29th, 2005.

If you would like to judge for yourself whether or not I have the X Factor, ahem, you can view, rate (or berate) and comment upon my video on Youtube here.

 


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June 27th

My husband Andy drove me to my audition in Newcastle, which was scheduled for 9:00am. I was expecting absolutely hoards of people to be there waiting, but in fact there only seemed to be a few hundred. Perhaps this was because I had a scheduled audition (I filled the application form in in advance and sent it off) and not an open audition (where you just turn up, wait and hope for the best.)

We queued outside for about half an hour, which wasn't too bad. The weather was nice and all the contestants were friendly. We sang to each other and there was a good atmosphere. Most of the people I chatted to were club singers, not amateurs like myself.

When we had registered at reception, we were sent to a holding area. TV Cameras were all around filming all the time. The TV producers were friendly, made us feel at ease and thanked us for attending. We participated in crowd shots shouting such memorable words as "Newcastle's got the X-Factor, yeah...............". Not being backwards in coming forwards, I made sure that I was at the front of all the crowd shots in the hope of appearing on television. I'd only been on tv once before - when I was 10 I sang a song I had written on the "Calendar Kids" show that appeared on Yorkshire Television. Austin Mitchell was the presented back in those days, however, I'm digressing...

Eventually it was my turn for the audition. Contrary to how it appears on the tv, that Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne see everybody, they in fact only see a small proportion of those who audition. You have to get through two auditions before seeing the big three - one with the production team and one with three girls who work for Simon Cowell's company (in my case anyway). So how do so many terrible singers end up in front of the big three? Well, you have to remember they are making a television programme. If we just saw good singers it would get to be a bit bland, so I think the staff must be under instructions to put through the very best, the very worst and anybody a bit out of the ordinary, just to make good viewing.

Anyway, back to my audition. I sang "Sleeping with the Light On" (originally sung by Busted) and straight away was told that I was through to the next stage. I was absolutely delighted. I think about one in eight of the auditionees got through to the next stage. I was interviewed by a researcher afterwards who said "I knew you'd get through". That made me feel a million dollars!

June 29th

Again, my lovely husband drove me up for the audition. He was supposed to be in Brussels on business but decided that some things are just more important (bless him).

There were a lot less people around on the Wednesday and we were sent in groups of 10 to wait for our second audition. I sang my best but was not put through to the next stage, to see Simon, Sharon and Louis. I was disappointed not to have got the chance to perform in front of the big three, but out of the 10 people in my holding group, none got put through to see Simon, Sharon and Louis. It does make you wonder if good singers slip through the net sometimes. However, I did give my best performance, I didn't mess up in any way at all, so I don't have anything to reproach myself for. I did ask why I wasn't going to be put through, and was told they had put through better singers. Having seen the Newcastle auditions I don't take that remark too personally, although I think perhaps they could have more accurately said "You're not the best of the best nor the worst of the worst and so fall into the category of mediocrity." However, although I'm no Whitney Houston, I do sing better than a lot of the ones that Simon, Sharon and Louis put through, so who knows what their decision would have been? (If anyone important is reading this I'm all personality and would have made great tv!)

So did you make it on television?

Yes, my strategy of appearing at the front and being as loud as possible was rewarded with about 13 seconds (total) on National Television. For those of you who are interested, you can download my entire tv performance which is only about 1.6 MB so shouldn't take too long, or just look at the stills below.

mandy
This is me. Click this image to view my (brief) appearance on tv.

Would you try again if there is another series next year?

Probably not, because I would imagine that I would get through the first stage again but not get to see Simon, Sharon and Louis. If I could get a guaranteed audition in front of the big three, I would go, even if Simon ended up being rude to me.

You don't scare me, Simon Cowell. Bring it on!

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