X Factor – Judges Houses Part 1– ‘Gay Porn and George Michael’

I’m home now, living the life of a small town gal once again in lovely little Scarborough. Everybody’s asking me questions, questions, questions, ‘did you get through then? You did didn’t you, I can tell by your face’, ‘what face? I’ve never even met you, you don’t know my face’. No but really, it was nice that people would be so charmingly interested and supportive of my whimsical adventures, some more than others I may add but that’s always the way in small towns, there’s always someone who’s got something bitchy to say, but don’t worry kids, I got my wits about me, and I can bitchy-rest-face like Janice Dickinson after a Botox hit (or so I’ve been told).

 

So its August, it’s been two weeks since Bootcamp and I’m very busy trying my best not to scream ‘I’m going to Judges Houses mother f**kers!’ every time I’m around, well, anyone, when I finally receive the email with a date. August 26th 2010 I’m to be at the Talkback Thames offices in London with a suitcase. ‘You will have an hour vocal on Thursday and Friday at 4pm. Pack enough clothes for Judges Houses as you may not go home before you leave but I will confirm that tomorrow.’ I had a strange moment of head blank before I absolutely buzzed my tits off with adrenaline and all the wonderful happy hormones our brains are good for. However, to piss on my happy little bonfire I still couldn’t actually tell anyone, so I had myself an internal celebratory party for one. I enjoyed the company.

 

Before our magical trip away, Geneva my newly founded band member had kindly organised for all four of us to visit her family home in France, where we could ‘bond’. Basically to give us half the chance of not performing like a Kerry Katona fuelled Atomic Kitten. We genuinely had a lot of fun, we got drunk, slumbered like prom queens, revelled in the attention the locals kindly but confusingly gave us due to Geneva’s parents flaunting us around their restaurant like super proud fandem.

 

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We spent approximately three of those days trying to come up with a bloody band name, and if you didn’t know, it is not easy. We humoured Geneva’s parents with their typically girl-band-focused suggestions and by the end of it I was so exhausted I was ready to be called the bloody ‘Four Dickheads. We attempted it again and stumbled across ‘Belle Amie’, a French meaning for ‘beautiful friends’. We were in France, we were kind of friends and semi-beautiful after some slap. Seemed perfect. Then, oh wait of course it’s also a porn site, why wouldn’t it be. Well ‘Bel Ami’ is, a very graphic gay porn site. But that means that some of the gay community will have already heard of Belle Amie no matter the context, the young girls will think its cute and girlie, parents will think its innocently appropriate and hopefully some sort of embarrassing incident will happen when the production team research whether or not we’re allowed to keep our name. Even more perfect. And sure enough a member of production called us soon after, we could practically hear her red face through the phone. She’s in the office researching our chosen name when up pops lots and lots of gay porn all over her computer screen. Job done. Plus we were allowed to keep the name. Thank F**k.

 

Unfortunately it was up to us to choose our Judges Houses song. I say unfortunately because this also took a ridiculous amount of time that could have been spent either eating or sitting in the hot tub. People must never give girls open choices; things do not get done. We tried a few songs and even recorded some of them. We were surprised to find out that our voices actually blended well, we all had different strengths and weaknesses and together it actually worked. We had to choose a number of songs to pass on to the production team as suggestions, they involved some Hayley Williams, Beyonce, probably Rihanna, Fleetwood Mac and between us we had quite the song knowledge, Esther was into R&B, Rebecca loved her Pop, Geneva liked classic pop/band stuff and I liked Drum & Bass/Dance as well as the collective of everything else. This opened up the ideas surrounding our image, what kind of band we wanted to be and how we would actually get people to like us. Because as we all know before Little Mix girl bands never did well on X Factor. But we had some dream like hope; we were all so obviously different with relatively strong images. For instance Esther was a Jamaican/Caucasian, young and gorgeous girl from South East London, who loved R&B, she had that cool, chilled essence of Cassie about her. Rebecca was a glamorous 40’s pin-up looking Irish girl with a strong, powerful voice, she had the Pink think going on and Geneva was Philippine/Caucasian with bohemian style, sweet toned and very musical. I was the blonde Northern one, who loved 80’s fashion and spent most of my life at raves. We were a good team. Surely someone will like us? Please, someone.

 

Geneva was very much the leader at this point, being at her house kind of made that difficult to disagree with but at the same time I did find it quite comforting that I could be lazier. Although I grew to like Geneva I did always have some unsolicited and at the time seemingly undeserved reservations about her. Maybe it was just me being a bit of a dick. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was so I put it to the back of my mind. But all of the girls were amazing singers and all gorgeous, and I felt as though we had a mutual sense of relief that we all actually did quite like each other, (we were very much in that ‘we don’t know each other enough to show our true colours yet’ stage) and the chances of that happening after being randomly thrown together were expectedly slim. I had already developed a bond with Rebecca during Bootcamp and that was apparent so naturally a strong relationship grew between Geneva and Esther who also had a lot in common.

 

A week later we arrived at the offices in London feeling confident and happy about our ‘bonding time’ to be met by all of the other contestants in the group category. I think the boys (1D) had spent time at Harry’s family home doing the same thing as us but hadn’t told us their band name yet. We all did a lot of conspiring about who our judge might be, where we might be going, the general consensus was that as long as we didn’t get Louis and weren’t going to Ireland it didn’t really matter.

 

Each group had their turn with the vocal coach over the two days there, during our time it was proposed that we sing ‘Faith’ by George Michael. This was not one of our suggestions. As good and classic as the song is we were initially quite panicky about it being an older song. We wanted to be able to appeal to the younger viewers, for people to think that we were relatively cool and we thought that meant singing a song from the last decade at least. The vocal coach and production team asked us to bear with them and gave us our parts. We went through it and actually we were pleasantly surprised, not to buzz off ourselves too much but it suited all of our voices well, we harmonised like pros and knew that the song would give us the chance to be original with it. We were happy and the X Factor team gave us great feedback increasingly our near non-existent confidence.

 

We then went into choreography where the performance aspect was added to our song. Again it all went surprisingly well considering that none of us were dancers and were all somewhat physically awkward. Everything felt good and right and we were starting to believe our hope of impressing whichever judge we would be performing too in the coming days. It all kind of seemed too good to be true.

 

Next we were loaded onto a coach and taken to a hotel near a London airport. All of us (contestants) were ridiculously hyper and already showing the signs of rebellious and spoilt popstars, it was difficult to not get caught up in the whole ‘we’re kind of special’ element as a bunch of young and easily influenced hopefuls. The good thing was that the crew liked us girls and we made an extra conscious effort to always show our appreciation to them, whether it be a runner, or a camera man, you see people forget the crew’s importance and how that can actually influence how successful you become from a reality show.

 

We hung out in each other’s rooms again attempting to predict the next few days. At one stage myself and Rebecca were in Niall’s room with either Liam or Zayn, he was trying to guess who out of us and them would go through to the live shows. He predicted that because the other girl group ‘Hustle’ who were ‘really good’ would ‘definitely be chosen’, we (Belle Amie) wouldn’t be picked. And we also wouldn’t be picked because they (1D) would be, and they wouldn’t put both put-together bands through. I challenged Niall’s theory and certainty about being successful and he said quote ‘why wouldn’t they put us through, we are like 5 Justin Bieber’s’. Now obviously at the time I was like you confident little shit (in a little brother kind of way), but it was only the other day they were described as exactly that on some E! 1D special. I’d grown quite close to Niall so I was admittedly taken back slightly by the sudden emergence of competitive rivalry, and was maybe unnecessarily upset in him not believing in us more. But then it was a game and maybe he was just being objective rather than personal. It was interesting to feel the competition really begin and with that there was bound to be some shift in relationship dynamics. I just didn’t necessarily like it.

 

This is where Niall also told us their official band name was ‘One Direction’, now honestly I laughed out loud, not in a mean way, but without the success and fame attached to it the name was pretty lame. It had ‘thought about it in 10 seconds and picked the first thing that came to our heads’ written all over it. Typical boys. But then really give me back those hours I wasted on aimlessly making up shit band names any day. In the end band names mean jack all.

 

I hardly slept that night, I felt 7 again waiting to get up for Disneyland. We were taken to the airport still clueless about where we were going. We were asked to gather around to be filmed opening an envelope informing us of our destination. However we had already kind of guessed it from the departures board. Naughty us.

 

Marbella’.

 

Buzzing it’s not Ireland! We screamed a lot. Now any judge could be in Marbella so we still literally had no clue. A lot of us were hoping for Simon or Cheryl, but that was inevitable, Simon for the power and success and Chez to stare at and touch, obviously. Interviews happened, more waiting happened, and then we were off!

 

Who the eff is going to be our judge…

 

(To Be Continued)

 

Peace and Love x

 

 

 

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