Tuesday 28 February 2017

X Factor: 7 things we've already learned from the new season

Ed Power

Ed Power

ITV has released its full schedule for The X Factor shows this year (ITV/PA)
ITV has released its full schedule for The X Factor shows this year (ITV/PA)
Lauren Murray gets off to a shaky start on the first episode of X Factor

The X Factor returned tonight, minus Louis Walsh but with new judges Rita Ora and Grim Rickshaw (is that his name? – we'll look it up later) and debutante presenters Olly Murs and Caroline Flack. What did these changes portend? Here are seven take-aways from episode one of the latest season.

1. X Factor Is Turning Into Britain's Got Talent

Back in the day, BGT had dibs on all those wacky/engaging/sociopathic try-outs. Now X Factor has extended an open invitation to eccentrics everywhere. A case in point was "Techno Susan", a barking 60-year-old whose party piece was a marrow-chilling mauling of 2 Unlimited. Her performance will haunt your dreams - especially the bit where she was invited back for the next round.


Variously referred to as "Grimmy", "Nicholas" or, in the case of Simon Cowell, ignored completely, the point of Nick Grimshaw continues to elude the Irish viewer. We gather he's a radio presenter of some stature in the UK – however, whatever his charms as a DJ, on television he was silly-haired and sputtering.


3 Rita Ora Has Come Alive

Ora was a bust as a judge – sorry, "coach" – on The Voice UK. But stepping in for Mel B on X Factor she has shed her listlessness and bears a passing resemblance to an actual human being. Behold the cheeky banter, impromptu grooving and chemistry with Cheryl. The arm-pit tattoos are a negative obviously – otherwise a respectable debut.


4 Simon Is Over Whitney Houston

When a candidate declared her intention to cover the Sainted Whitney, Cowell waggled his brows ferociously – the light entertainment equivalent of Zeus hurling lightning from Mount Olympus.


5 We Aren't Missing Louis Walsh

Walsh was almost literally part of the X Factor furniture. But he's barely departed and it's as if he was never there in the first place. We'd love to say a Louis-shaped void ruined our viewing pleasure but… it simply wasn't the case.


6 Those Four Filipino Sisters Are Going to Take Over The World

Having crossed half the globe simply to bask in the majesty of Cowell's sun-tan, sibling quartet 4th Power blew away the judges with their controlled raunch and machined-tooled Beyonce-channelling. Simon declared it one of the most impressive X Factor auditions ever. We're not disagreeing.


7 Being Olly Murs' Bro Is No Passport To Success.

New presenter Murs was reduced to a blubbing mess as an Essex pal from back in the day flopped at the auditions. Manly man-tears were shed – a reminder that even cheeky chappies have feelings. Viewers will have experienced equally strong emotions towards Murs – though this will mostly have involving fighting the urge to chuck crockery at the telly. As feared, he was supremely annoying, with an incandescent gerbil leer that cried out for someone to empty a pint over his head.

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