It’s time to face The X Factor’s fifth audition episode of 2018! Judges Simon Cowell, Louis Tomlinson, Ayda Williams and Robbie Williams are back with host Dermot O’Leary to find more great talent and potentially new Wagners/Jedwards/Rylans (ugh). I’ll be recapping it all starting at 3:25 PM EST, so join me in the comments then!
We open with a recap of the past two weeks of auditions and a preview of some of the acts we’re going to see tonight.
Boom boom clap! Queen’s We Will Rock You playing in the background as Dermot and the judges enter Wembley Arena.
Our first act is Richard Ryan and he’s extremely nervous. He loves his grandmother. He’s dressed in a suit because of her apparently. He compliments Robbie’s jacket to which Ayda says “I think you just won the X factor.” He sings I Believe in a Thing Called Love and he’s pretty great actually. And he has a lot more presence than I expected. The vocal isn’t perfect but it’s a damn hard song to sing. Robbie said he straddled the line between cocky and overconfident. Louis said he couldn’t stop watching it yet. Simon said that this is not where he should go musically. He’s a firefighter outside of this. Simon says no, the other three judges say yes. Simon says he hopes he’s proven wrong.
Giovanni Spano (Gio) is up next. He’s wearing a sleeveless shirt and Robbie asks when the last time he had a carbohydrate was – LOL. He loves rock music and wants to get some teenyboppers to rock out. The audience thinks he’s a bit cocky, because he is. He sings The Spencer Davis Group’s Gimme Some Lovin’. He’s got a decent voice. Simon says this isn’t working for him at all. Simon asks to hear the second song, which is Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls. It starts off pretty mediocre, but when he hits the chorus it gets better. There are some lights in the audience, so clearly he’s winning them over slowly. He has the type of voice I like but I can’t see him going very far. Ayda likes his voice but thought the hair flipping and dancing dated him. Louis says it felt closer to musical theater than rock and roll. Simon says the bad things he did make him interesting, thinks he’d make the competition interesting. Louis says no, but the other three all give him a yes.
Next up is Scott Wilkes, who says he’s a ladies man. He takes pride in how he looks. His shirt is half open. He wants a big career out of it. Cut to girls in the audience swooning. He admires Elvis and Robbie, loves the swing stuff. Ayda wants to swing with him. He sings Me and Mrs Jones. He’s cocky as hell. But he doesn’t have a horrible voice. He asks the audience if they want him to take his shirt off, they don’t cheer, and he does it anyway. It’s painful to watch, and Dermot makes a face backstage. The audience is laughing at him. Louis says he’s got a good voice and doesn’t need to do that. Robbie says knock it down by three and learn some humility. It’s a no.
Armstrong Martins sings in church, and he’s here with his pastor. His pastor found gold in him and multiplied it. He’s at peace and he’s happy, and he just wants to sing. He sings Breaking Free from High School Musical. And he’s playing guitar. This song was all over my house a decade ago and he certainly does something different with it. I’m not a huge fan of his voice, and parts were pretty strained, but I at least like that he took a chance. So kudos to him. Ayda and Simon stand for him first. One of the girls backstage throws her hat. I laugh. Ayda had a good feeling about him and she was right. She wants to listen to his album. Louis says what he did wasn’t easy, loved the honesty and vulnerability, says it wasn’t perfect but he didn’t care. Simon loves it when someone takes a song and flips it on its head, says the vocal wasn’t perfect, but he’ll remember it. Four yeses.
Next up is the biggest group we’ve seen on X Factor so far this year. They are the LMA choir and they’re from Liverpool. The spokesperson is the music teacher/director. They sing a new staple of singing shows, This is Me from The Greatest Showman. The lead singers of this choir are pretty good. Dermot is fist pumping backstage. It’s not perfect, some notes are pitchy and the lead guy is way weaker than the lead girl. But all four judges stand. Louis loved the chemistry, found it infectious. Simon doesn’t think the lead vocals were brilliant but the energy they brought was great. Robbie thinks they could fill a stage for two hours and keep people entertained. Ayda couldn’t wipe the smile off her face. Four yeses. I prefer choirs on BGT, but they are good I guess.
Georgia Burgess is up next. Robbie asks what she thinks she needs to win, and she gives a decent answer. She’s 20, and Robbie says she’s a baby. I feel old. She sings Who’s Loving You. Simon’s eyes open up on the first note. She’s got a killer voice. Reminds me a lot of Louisa. She scats a bit. I’m a fan. All four judges stand for her. Robbie says it was effortless, and her comfort in her own skin made them feel comfortable. Ayda says most girls her age lack identity. Louis says the effortless riffs were too much for his brain to comprehend. Simon jokes about the dramatic background music. Louis says it’s the favorite audition he’s seen so far. Four million yeses.
After some talk about tattoos between Louis and Robbie, Sephy Francisco is on stage. She’s from the Philippines. She feels that everything she does is guided by the lord. She sings The Prayer. She’s got a good voice but she’s a bit generic. And then suddenly she sings like a guy. I take back what I said about it being generic. She switches between the two sides of the duet and it’s strange to say the least. It’s a bit gimmicky honestly. But all four judges stand up. Simon says he never judged a duet in one person before. I miss the other comments because I paused the video and I have to sit through another ad (my mistake) but I assume all four judges liked it. They won’t for long though. I predict a bussing in Sephy’s near future.
Ricky John is up next. He was homeless for eight years. He was on his own from the age of 16. He met his partner and had two kids. He’s gotten his smile back. He says he’s never tried out for anything like this before. He’s going to sing A Change is Gonna Come. He’s got a great voice. At one point, he stops singing for some reason. But it’s overall a strong performance. All four judges stand for him. Louis says that he had a problem with his throat but that nobody else in the arena noticed. Robbie says his voice and personality are really strong. Simon says the point at which it almost fell apart was the part where he really liked him. Four yeses. His family joins him onstage as Grace VanderWaal plays in the background. Ayda runs up to hug the baby. I like him.
Tom Richards is the last auditioner of the day. He first auditioned back in 2010 – the same year as Louis Tomlinson. Louis remembers him. He’s been gigging at pubs, clubs, bar mitzvahs, funerals. He got to judges houses before being sent home. He’s a bit jealous of Louis. He feels like has unfinished business with the show. He jokes that Robbie Williams’ Angels is his least favorite song to sing. He then sings Let It Go by James Bay. He’s got a way better voice than Louis Tomlinson, so I’d be jealous if I were him. Simon stops him and says he didn’t like any of it. Tom then sings a song by Rag ’n’ Bone Man. It’s great, but then again I didn’t hate the first song. Tom’s got a great voice but Simon says he wouldn’t have a clue what to do with him. Simon says no. Robbie disagrees, says he enjoyed the performance and thinks that it boils down to song choice. Robbie gives him a yes. Ayda gives him a yes. Louis thought it was good but didn’t think it was authentic. He wants him to be more original. But Louis does give him a yes. I think he was afraid to say no. I would have given him a yes though.