Now in case you didn't know already, I managed to get myself a pair of tickets from Applause Store for the Newcastle X Factor Auditions back in June. I just thought I would write a little post about what went on and how everything works behind the scenes. It really was quite an eye opener.
I don't plan on giving away any spoilers here, just so you know. I don't want to ruin anything for anyone, I just want to give you an insiders account of what happens at the audition process.
One line to sum it: What you see on TV, is exactly how it is in the arena.
When you arrive at the arena, there's is a special kind of atmosphere, a buzz in the air, we had to queue up outside in the 'audience' section, but we could see all the interviews taking place around us, you know, the ones you see on TV with Dermot, or Caroline on Xtra Factor. We saw the caravan, and the cheer leaders, we even saw one contestent arrive on a big coach with loads of friends and family supporting them, which I'll be looking out for on the main show. We didn't get to see the judges arrive though, we left just before that, but one thing I should note is that luckily for us, it was the Newcastle auditions that Nicole started her official first day of judging, very honoured, I think she picked it because she knew I was going. Swiftly moving on....
Ours were priority tickets so had allocated seats, quite near the front (actually we were about 4 rows from the front, in line with the judges and just to the left of the legendary Mr Barlow himself - not bragging at all......ok just a little bit) so needless to say we had a cracking view of everything. Including the contestants waiting in the wings to come on, so we had a bit of an idea what to expect next (not being judgemental at all........ok just a little bit) Once the arena is full and before the judges come out, you are given a bit of a brief from a very VERY funny man, Ian Royce. He explains that we WILL be filmed, and we most likely will be on TV at some point, so not to pick our noses or fall asleep, things along those lines.
One thing he also points out is that they don't allow unacceptable behaviour towards any of the contestants, at the end of the day, whether we like them or not, they've had the guts to get up on that stage and sing in front of 1000's of people. Braver than me!
Enter the Judges: We've had our brief, so it's now officially TIME, TO FACE, THE MUSIC!!!
I can't actually describe how crazy the audience genuinely goes, nothing is staged, everyone (including myself) goes insane, screaming, trying to take pictures, like crazy fangirls! It was fabulous, and very exciting, seeing them approach the 4 famous chairs we see on our screens every weekend, quite surreal actually. Cue a few make up touches, then we are ready for action.
We seen quite a few varied contestants, but like I said earlier I'm not here to spoil it for anyone, you'll see the good, or even the not so good on the TV soon enough. I will however give you a few little snippets of information. Firstly the weirdest thing I found was the crowds reactions. It was so strange, I know from experience, sitting at home on a Saturday night in my PJ's, watching some nutter totally destroy a well known song while the audience are all up dancing and cheering them on, I'm like 'WHAT are they for real', why are they encouraging him, they must've been told to do that. It's so bizzarre because it's actually real reactions, we had 2 acts that came on, couldn't sing for toffee, but because they both picked quite popular up tempo songs, and they seemed really sweet and friendly in their pre-audition chat, you find yourself on your feet, singing along and dancing, and when they finish giving them a massive cheer, you even find yourself booing at the judges when they say 'no'. I really can't explain it. I should be ashamed.............but I'm not haha!
On the flip side of that though, a really good singer comes on, sings a really good song, and everyone is just sat there, enjoying it, not really reacting at all, just clapping when they finish. Which makes it look like we didn't enjoy it. It's just odd, I really can't understand why it happens like that. I guess it's because when a good singer chooses a slow song, you kind of just like to sit and listen to it. I dont know.
I had a few moments when I welled up actually, a young girl with quite a background came on and it's not all pre-scripted. The judges talk to the contestants for quite a while trying to relax them before they sing and Tulisa got into a deep conversation with this girl, I think it genuinely does help relax them, lifts the weight off them so they can loosen up. It worked for quite a few people, this was one of them. She didn't get through but only because you could tell she wasn't ready for the fame, she had a good voice but that's not the only thing that counts, she came across quite vulnerable. It was the right decision and she agreed afterwards.
Anyhoo, in between the contestants coming and going, you are entertained by the above mentioned Roycey, absolutely hilarious. He loves to get involved with the audience and the judges, and they seem to love it too. He brings people up to get photos and meet the judges, it really was a lovely thing to be part of. I can honestly say I'd love to do it again. You get to see so much that goes on, you find yourself forgetting it's a TV show and just allowing yourself to be a part of it all.
Oooo Ooo also we saw Caroline do one of her links for Xtra Factor right in front of us, and we saw her with Kian from Westlife watching the acts. It really is all exactly how they show it on TV, obviously there's a few tweaks here and there when the lighting isn't right or the sound is off and they have to re-shoot something. But it is a TV show at the end of the day.
A few people I would say to watch out for, not saying why though: Karen from Consett, Sophie from Hartlepool, Ray from Newton Aycliffe, Fiona from Jesmond, Davey from Darlington and Naruk (not sure on spelling) from Middlesborough. All memorable, whether good or bad.
So that's pretty much it really. After the contestants finish, the judges thanked us for coming and left, so did we.
Oooooooo I almost forgot, the most important thing of all, I managed to spy out someone, someone who is known for being unknown, someone who supplies us with insider information, yes you guessed it.... #XFactorInsider. Don't worry, your secret is safe with me!
I've attached a few likkle pictures for you to see, only from my phone so not the best quality in the world. Enjoy.