UKPL member AJ, from Bishops Stortford, went to the X-Factor auditions in London. Here’s her experience.
Despite friends and family thinking we’d gone mad, my friend Sarah and I decided to audition for X-Factor. We went for the whole experience and thought we’d have a fun day and a good time. How wrong we were.
Up at 5.30am, we had been told to “dress to impress” – have you ever put full make-up on at that time of the morning?! I felt more like Shrek on a night out at the swamp than a glamour puss. We got to the Emirates Stadium in North London by 7.20am.
Despite seeing one Elvis lookalike and meeting topless model Michelle Thorne, there were few “characters” in the queue, though we did meet lots of “normal” friendly people.
By 10.30 the heat of the day had begun and we were beginning to rue our decision – there was NO atmosphere and nothing happening, apart from Ray Quinn coming along to sing “My Way”. Then one of the producers arrived and we all had to jump up and down, wave our arms and cheer “silently” several times for the links they were filming for the opening shot of the show. After a few initial takes enthusiasm was clearly beginning to wane, and after approximately 20 times of being asked to leap around maniacally people were beginning to boo and sit down. (I at this stage had spread my coat on the floor and was trying to catch a nap – all that NOISE!!) I was past caring by then that my make up had run, my hair was a sweaty, frizzy mess and I had old cigarette butts and tomato ketchup from the floor stuck to my backside! Shrek eat your heart out!
By 2pm there was general unrest and nobody had yet been let into the stadium. We talked to people who had been camping out overnight for their chance of stardom. Girls were seen in the toilets literally washing and drying their hair. People around us were changing outfits several times and hairspray and make up were in abundance!
Each of us had been given a colour coded wristband when we arrived which was purportedly to ensure that people were let into the stadium in order. However, when the doors were finally opened (after yet ANOTHER jump up and down and wave your knickers in the air film take), everyone just surged forward to get in and finally get to sit down.
Once inside the stadium, Dermot O’Leary and Fern Cotton arrived to do yet more filming. By 5pm not ONE person had been auditioned. There was a feeling of general unrest – lots of booing and some throwing of water bottles began. We had by that time been standing queuing for almost TEN HOURS.
Finally, we were told that the auditions were about to begin. Hurrah! We had spoken to people who had auditioned before who had told us that candidates were taken 10 at a time and asked to sing individually. Not this time. People began milling around the crowd, asking candidates to stand up in their seats and sing there and then in front of everybody. Although there were a few people who had badges proclaiming them to be Series Producers, many of those who were auditioning people seemed to have no connection to the show at all, other than that they worked with the film crew! Time after time people were just given a curt “No” and sent on their way.
My friend and I had by this time grown weary of the whole experience. My children were with a friend, we were hot, sweaty and feeling considerably let down.
When our turn finally came to “audition” – and I use the word in the loosest term possible, the boy who came to see us in our seats looked bored and totally unenthusiastic. He looked around whilst we sang, paid virtually no attention to us whatsoever and just ended each audition with “It’s going to be a no”.
Since neither of us had great hopes of going through in the competition this didn’t surprise us. However, there were people around us who had huge aspirations and, to my ear, massive talent. I am no talent scout and barely know my treble clef from my little toe, BUT it was the total lack of enthusiasm and off-handedness with which we were treated that stung.
Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and the other two judges appeared briefly to wave on the balcony to us and give a “pep” talk. They shouldn’t have bothered.
I am sure the show will be a huge success and I for one will be watching as I do every year. However, they should be aware that treating people as “rent a crowd” and “auditioning” them in such a shoddy and unprofessional way leaves a bad taste in the mouth.