In my usual vein of being into things that are aimed at people a decade younger than me, I have very much been enjoying Orange Unsigned Act, or the indie X Factor. I didn't watch it last year, and I wish I had as it's damn good fun. I'm always put off by the collection of snidey cunts who present T4, but if you can bear to sit through two seconds of them, it's worth it for this. Oh, and another warning; the actual show is presented by fake-it-so-real-he-is-beyond-fake Alex Zane. If I can live through his guyliner in place of a personality and his brand-new topman indie gear schtick, then you can. I just like to stick my fingers in my ears until he goes away. It works reasonably well.
So, onto the judges! In Simon Cowell's role is some record company exec guy 'the money' who looks like that sweary bloke from Dead Set crossed with the new Dennis the Menace's dad. Louis Walsh is played by everyone's least favourite member of Blur; Daily-Mail-pandering cheese-enthusiast Alex James. And in Cheryl Cole's shoes, is everyone's favourite member of Kenickie (OK, I have no recollection of the other two) Lauren Laverne. Who could say a bad word about Lauren? Not me. She rocks.
The weird/ best part is some of these bands/ singers are actually very good. I particularly like spotty-but-sweet Tommy Reilly and posh, Princess Diana-a-like Bo Bruce. Today's show saw them supporting McFly! But don't hold that against them.
Toby Sebastian is the dullest of the group; he covered Corrine Bailey Rae recently, so that probably tells you all you need to know. Like a prettier James Blunt, he'd probably go far on the real X Factor. He might even win this if money-dude gets his way. Showed he had no personality whatsoever during the interviewing task. Played a song that was dull beyond belief. Losing in front of his home crowd, as someone who is VERY good at interviews once sang.
Scarlet Harlots (not to be confused with Jamie Oliver's band, the equally awfully-named Scarlet Division) are alright; they are trying DESPERATELY hard to be cool, and succeeding to a degree. The lead singer has an interesting face. They are a bit shambolic but I think that's OK. Today's song sounded a bit ska-ish. Alex Zane was nodding along, so there's the kiss of death. Haha, he of the stupidly-named kids (Geronimo, anyone?) Alex James said they needed a chorus like 'uh oh, we're in trouble' by Shampoo! Their faces were a picture. Oh my god, then Alex James said 'look at me whilst I'm talking to you!'. Rex revival!!! DO YOU LOVE ME, NICOLE? DO YA? DO YA?
This is TV gold.
Tommy Reilly went to meet Scott Mills who is apparently 'influential in music'. And the blandest man on earth. Tommy came across as self-deprecating and charming as usual. I liked the song he played, the guitar was quite Bright Eyes-ey. I like his foghorn style of singing, I like singers with imperfect voices who shout a bit (Conor, Courtney & so on). I really like that song of Tommy's with that lyric of his 'give me a call, you got a phone don't you?' It's so simple, but it just gets lodged in your brain. That's good song-writing for you.
Bo Bruce is cool; she has a great voice and a bad attitude, which is a good combination. I like the way she's a bit posh and arrogant and she doesn't play nice. She definitely has balls. Clashing swords with Lauren Laverne is a little dangerous though; especially when Lauren is voting on your career. I really liked that song Bo sang though, I thought it was pretty catchy. Lauren looked a bit miffied when Bo's friends heckled her. I don't think it was true that Bo's not as good as the others though. I think she's the second best, after Tommy.
The final act in the competition is Hip Parade. They were good in the interview. I don't like their music though. It's catchy, but kiddie rock, I think. A bit crass of them to write a song with 'radio' in the title; as we all know songs with 'radio' in the title get played on the radio lots more than songs that don't. That doesn't make them good.
It was a shame the Scarlet Harlots went. They should have ditched Toby Sebastian, but I'm glad Bo survived. For the vote-back show next week, I'd vote back in Scarlet Harlots or Klaus Says Buy The Record, mainly cos I fancied him (ahem).
PS: Alex James. Lay off the cheese, for fuck's sake, fatty.