@thexfactor #Cardiff Auditions 2011

Right if you’re anything to do with X Factor and your reading this, don’t worry I won’t do any spoilers from today’s auditions in Cardiff (29th June) – I might hint a little, but that’s as far as it goes. If I think I’ve gone too far, I’ll edit it – your secrets are safe with me (yes, I know, I’m on the radio and I keep secrets, mad huh!)

My day started at 515am, well before the alarm needless to say – not sure how that happened, but it did. Made my way to Cardiff and go there for 715am to queue round with about 200 odd people who were already there. By the way, for reason which I won’t go into, can someone from Queen Street railway station sort out the toilets and actually have soap there – thanks 😉

X Factor Cardiff 2011

The queue built up over the next few hours. Dermot popped out for the usual precord links (I presume it was for this, because I couldn’t really see much). I took a pic with my phone as I hadn’t taken my camera (we were told not to so I was a good boy). Ultimately I could’ve taken my camera

X Factor Cardiff 2011 - Dermot

and could’ve gotten a few good shots but as you can see they weren’t great! Just before 10am, a certain Olly Murs popped out. I’ve since found out he’s co-presenting the Xtra factor with Caroline Flack (should be sooo much better than it was with her from Blue Peter last season 😉 ). Again I took a few shots of Olly…s head and back…

Then into the arena. Now bearing in mind I’ve seen Katy Perry, Kylie, Lady Gaga & Manics in this very same venue, today it was going to be a haunt for the weird & wonderful world of the X Factor juggarnaut. I’ve called it a juggernaut as now I’ve seen it close up, it’s amazing to watch. Outside for example they had four “studios” to film the contestant talking head things, also had the swooping crane which I was disappointed that it wasn’t used for a “Cardiff’s got the X Factor… yehhhh” crowd shot. if by the way this is used during the series, I’ll be gutted because I wanted to do the crossed x arms thing. But everything you see on the final edit is very slick and so it should be as they’ve been doing it for 8 years now – time they got it right? 😉

The judges. So no Cheryl, Dannii OR Simon (although he’s coming back for the final at Wembley apparently). How would the new crew fair? Louis is just Louis and after the events of the past 7 days or so, it was good to see him be his usual “quirky” self. How I didn’t shout “Potatttooo” is another thing. So he’s the only original judge. Both him and Gary were very good. I’ve read reports how Gary had been the badboy of the panel, but from what I saw, the people with a lot to prove were Tulisa & Kelly. It just seemed when a certain type of singer came on they were comparing them to previous people they’ve seen – as in “If we put you through you’re not going to be good enough against X”. The boys played fair and judged each person on their individual performance.

Now I’m not going to spoil anything and tell you who exactly performed (mainly because I can’t remember..it was a long hot day and I’ve still got a bad cold 😉 ). I will say though 4 of the performances stood out, and of those four, only two got a standing ovation. Now depending on what makes it to the final cut and the order they place it in (the reason they do 4 audition sessions is to make sure they get decent main bits – judges coming in, leaving that kind of thing). So if they do 4 sessions across 2 days, and each session has about 18 auditionees – that’s 72 possible acts to edit down. Now whether they make it or not to the main show or the ITV2 show I don’t know but I can say this much. Watch for these possibles;

A former serial auditionee who loves Louis
The Meatloaf fan
And the maths teacher.

See what I’ve done there? I’ve not given the game away at all… 😉

Privately I will be more open – if you wanna know and you know me, just ask – but publicly I’ll never tell 🙂

Other things I noticed, Olly & Caroline Flack did a lot of pieces to camera whilst some of the acts were performing, and if this article is to be believed, then yes they do flirt a lot!  If you do so happen to be at one of the other auditions you’ll come across Ian Royce. He’s the guy holding things together whilst there’s downtime on the set (it’s a fully functioning studio, so yes, set is correct). He’s also the warmup guy. Follow him on Twitter, he’s very entertaining, plus you can get cwtches from the judges… ALTHOUGH, only it seems if your female. Sexist? Nah.

In all, I entered the “Motorplan Arena” (CIA! 😉 ) at 1015, and left at about 315. Long day? Oh yes! Worth it? Hell yes!

I’m not a huge XFactor fan, I can’t deny to watching it, but have never voted. After today, I’ll be more interested in the process, but still won’t vote. I might be a Poptart, but even I have my limits 😉

REVIEW: @footlooseuktour @thecentre #Cardiff

First off, before I go anywhere with this review/blog I’d just like it known I’ve never seen Footloose the film. I know it starred Kevin Bacon back in 1984 and had some idea of the plot but that’s as far as my experience of it went. In fact, on one school trip they started playing the video of the film on the bus, but it was switched off about 15 minutes in after they realised it was a 15, and we were 13 or 14. My school = #fail! 🙂

So aside from not really knowing the film, I knew the main songs from the film – Bonnie Tyler’s Holding out for a hero (also used in Short Circuit 2), Deniece Williams’ Let’s hear it for the boy, and of course the mainstay of any half decent Saturday night DJ – Kenny Loggins and the title track, Footloose.

So what has this little backstory got to do with the current tour of Footloose heading around the UK? Well, I just needed you to realise that this blog would be as impartial as anyone could be. Okay, so what if this is only the second musical I’ve now seen (first one – We Will Rock You, which I went to twice!), so okay, my knowledge of musical theatre maybe lacking, but I know a good music and a good night out when I see one.

From the very start (which I’ll not mention here [SPOILERS]) through to each scene, the acoustics of the Donald Gordon Theatre were spot on for the mix. I’ve always been one for the technical aspects of any production (yes, I’m a geek, and proud) and it was faultless as you’d expect. If I have to turn to the actual performance, that too can’t be praised enough. As with films, you expect yourself to be immersed in the story and you in turn fall for the characters and want them to succeed, it’s the same with musical theatre. Okay, so there are the “baddies” and obviously you don’t want THEM to succeed, but you get my drift. A good story teller will make you believe in anything, and as I’ve said I’ve never seen the film, so whether it happens in the film as it did on stage, I’m not to know. It’s a positive thing I believe because now I can make my own mind up whether what I’ve seen tonight will be better than what was put onto film back in 1984 (and is also being remade and out later this year!).

So if this was a review, and not just a blog post, how would I rate what I’ve seen? Out of 10, probably a 9. I’m not being paid to say these words either but if you want really good night out  you won’t go far wrong with Footloose. For the ladies there’s firemen and semi naked guys…for the blokes there’s fit women… and also for other blokes there’s firemen and seminaked guys…. 😉

If you’re still not sure here’s the actual synopsis from the website

FOOTLOOSE explodes onto the stage with classic 80s anthems including Holding Out For A Hero, Almost Paradise, Let’s Hear It For The Boy, and of course the title track, Footloose.

Life in small-town Bomont is peaceful until City boy, Ren, arrives. Breaking every taboo, Ren brings dance back to the heart of a town held back by the memory of a tragedy.

Based on the hit 80s movie (which launched the careers of Kevin Bacon, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jon Lithgow), FOOTLOOSE has become a stage musical phenomenon. From Broadway to the West End and touring across the UK, there is just no stopping the music.

It’s simple pure 80’s style power pop for the new millennium – and it just works really well!

Footloose is on at Wales Millennium Centre until Saturday 11th June, then heads to Bristol’s Hippodrome