This season kicks off with a brief word from creator Simon Cowell, then bang, we’re straight into the first act, a 14 year old singer.
Not a word from host Luke Jacobz, no introduction of new judges, not even an explanation for the absence of Natalie Basingthwaighte. Nope, it’s left to Jai Waetford and his guitar to win us over. Thankfully he fills the brief with his sweet tones, and soon we have our first standing ovation for the season.
Just as Jack Vidgen proved a powerhouse for Australia’s Got Talent, it already feels like Seven is anointing its next star -especially when we hear about Jai’s life living with a single parent. Be warned, there’s a truckload of tear-jerker backstories this year.
Joining the panel this year is Dannii Minogue who, despite her messy first outfit, is a strong addition to the line-up. Then there is Redfoo, a gaudy, frenetic American whose credentials will likely be lost on many viewers. Aside from acknowledging his LMFAO hits, the first episode doesn’t do much to sell his credibility and his contribution as judge seems to be more about being a wildcard than offering constructive criticism. I’m not even sure if there is glass in those super-spectacles.
But the show is all about finding talent, and there’s no shortage of potential vocalists here.
Most of the acts are in their teens, the eldest I can recall being a 30 year old Texan-born singer. The kids have the edge in the first episode, either as solo acts or trios. One Korean-born singer dares to sing Mariah Carey’s Hero and blows everybody away. It’s the nearest the first episode comes to a Susan Boyle “didn’t expect that voice from you” act.
Only a handful of car-crash singers appear, including a few Psy Gangnam Style-wannabes and a very energetic young Enrique Iglesias fan.
The auditions have been filmed around a heavily-pregnant Natalie Bassingthwaighte, which barely rates a mention, and some panels include 3 instead of 4 judges. It’s a bit unclear if the acts still need 3 “yes” votes to qualify for Boot Camp.
Host Luke Jacobz is relegated to hovering in the wings with excited family members.
Annoyingly, the back stories come at us from all quarters: there’s the foster kid, the father of an autistic boy, the girl whose father died 8 years ago -it’s as if anybody who is adjusted and happy is incapable of also holding a tune.
But talent shows are a tried and true genre and The X Factor delivers in the entertainment stakes if hopeful young performers are your thing.
The X Factor airs 7:30pm Monday – Wednesday on Seven.