Even More Random Thoughts on ‘The X Factor’ (plus a little bit on ‘Fame Academy’)

This has been another one of those months where, for various reasons, I haven’t been able to commit to doing a decent blog post, but I want to try and maintain posting at least something every month, so I just have to do a filler one with random thoughts on a reality TV franchise. This one is also something of a sequel to the last time I did one about The X Factor, and it’s mostly info on what they’ve done since, but it also includes some on the mostly forgotten defunct Noughties reality TV series Fame Academy too.

In April this year Rachel Adedeiji joined the cast of Hollyoaks playing Lisa Loveday. I’m pleased to see Rachel Adedeiji back on our screens, I always thought she was one of the better contestants in series 6. She wears a wig to play Lisa Loveday, and I’m not sure if it was intentional, but the hairstyle is very like series 11 contestant Fleur East!

Rachel Adedeiji’s public vote polling on The X Factor is notable in that she ended up in the bottom 2 for 3 weeks in the month she was there, but the one week she escaped it she actually topped the vote! It is still a fairly exclusive club to top the vote on The X Factor.  

It’s not known who topped the vote in the first 4 series, but obviously the eventual winners did (Steve Brookstein, Shayne Ward, Leona Lewis, Leon Jackson). Apparently Maria Lawson from series 2 did one week as well, but not sure if this has been confirmed. Since series 5 they have released the voting figures, so we know who topped the vote during those years. Eoghan Quigg (yes, strange but true. Even more bizarre, he was top of the vote 6 weeks out of 10 weeks!), Diana Vickers, JLS, Alexandra Burke, Danyl Johnson, Stacey Solomon, Rachel Adedeji, Joe McElderry, Mary Byrne, Matt Cardle, Janet Devlin, Amelia Lily, Little Mix, Christopher Maloney, James Arthur, Sam Bailey, Nicholas McDonald, Andrea Faustini, Ben Haenow, Louisa Johnson, Reggie n Bollie.

Though it looks like performance in the televote doesn’t mean much for their chances in the pop charts afterwards. As said above, in series 5 Eggnogg Quigg topped the vote nearly every week, but the other vote toppers Diana Vickers, JLS and winner Alexandra Burke all did better in the charts.

You don’t even have to top the vote at all! Olly Murs never did. I’m not much of a fan of his, but he’s one of the more successful contestants to come out of this series, and not only did he never top the vote, in week 7 he finished last place in the vote…and was in a sing-off with Jedward! Yes, in that week he got fewer votes than Jedward and if it had gone to deadlock, he would have been eliminated.

Series 7 was the one One Direction were from, and they finished 3rd overall and were 3rd and 4th most weeks. Rebecca Ferguson and Cher Lloyd from that series did OK in the charts for a bit as well. But which contestants were top of the televote in that series? Mary Byrne and Matt Cardle.

Ella Henderson from series 9 never came top of the vote either, and she went in week 7 in deadlock against eventual winner James Arthur but with the exception of Rylan‘s TV presenter success, she’s done the best.

James Arthur has made a bit of a comeback though, after being dropped by Syco he’s signed a new record deal and had a number 2 hit [Edit – and the day after I posted this, it climbed to number 1!] with ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’, which personally I think is very boring and turgid. But it sounds a bit like something Ed Sheeran would write and give to One Direction, so I can see why it was a hit. Much as I’m not keen on the song I have to sort of admire it for including the line “I held your hair back when you were throwing up”.

Jahméne Douglas from series 9 was second in the televote EVERY SINGLE WEEK! To Christopher Maloney until his vote started to fall and James Arthur leapfrogged both of them. But still, 2nd place every single vote. Jahméne Douglas should join Art Garfunkel, John Oates, Jim Messina and Lisa Simpson to perform their number 2 hit ‘Born Runner Up’.

Lloyd Daniels from series 6 and Wagner from series 7 were on This Morning together. It was a bit of a random combination really. They weren’t from the same series and they weren’t the same type of contestant.

Wagner apparently now makes a living doing personalised messages via his Facebook page, singing ‘Happy Birthday’, sending “Congratulations on your new job” sorts of messages and performing ‘Sex Bomb’. To be honest, I wouldn’t have thought that there would still be demand for an X Factor novelty contestant from 6 years after his series was on, so you know what, good for him.

Lloyd Daniels seems like a lovely guy, and he’s following the path of many a former X Factor contestant and has gone into musical theatre. He’s played Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which also featured Over The Rainbow winner Danielle Hope as the Narrator.

Series 6 X Factor winner Joe McElderry has played Joseph as well, so that means that two of the Boys category from that series have gone on to play the same part!

Apparently Kitty Brucknell from series 8 has tried to represent Switzerland and Moldova in Eurovision and she now lives in L.A. Why do neither of these things surprise me?

Do you know what my favourite story about The X Factor is? It’s not one of the scandalous ones or the secretive ones. It’s all those stories about how Simon Cowell‘s dressing room is so much bigger and more elaboarate than everyone else’s. It reminds me of diva hell goddess Glory in Buffy The Vampire Slayer living in a luxurious palatial apartment with her human host Ben’s bedsit next door, or a bit in a Red Dwarf spin-off book where Cat suggests that they remodel the whole ship to be just his giant walk-in wardrobe with a “tent for everyone else” outside.

I didn’t watch Fame Academy, but I heard the stuff some of their contestants released when it made the pop charts, and on the whole they were pretty good!

Series 2 winner Alex Parks released the quite Annie Lennox-ish ballad ‘Maybe That’s What It Takes’.

I loved ‘I Can’t Break Down’ by series one runner-up Sinead Quinn. I actually bought her album!

‘Keep Me A Secret’ by Ainslie Henderson  was very good as well. Apparently he’s making animated films now and won a BAFTA.

‘Bring It On’ by Alistair Griffin was quite nice as well. The most recent things I’ve seem him do are Leeds sport related, such as a track called ‘The Road’ with Kimberley Walsh from Girls Aloud for the 2014 Tour de France starting in Leeds and the track ‘Heroes’ for rugby league club the Leeds Rhinos.

Of course, James Fox did Eurovision in 2004. To link things back to The X Factor, Carolynne Poole was in series 2 of Fame Academy (then known as Carolynne Good) and would go on to lose out to Rylan in the first elimination of X Factor series 9.

Oddly, the thing I most remember about series 1 Fame Academy winner David Sneddon is a possible reference to him on ‘Lemon/Lime’ by Richard X featuring Deborah Evans-Strickland from the Richard X Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1 compilation album. (Probably not a reference to the TV series of the same name we’ve been talking about, as the album predates it by a year). Anyway, on ‘Lemon/Lime’, there is a lyric which goes “Armageddon, David Sne[BEEP]”.

The contestant who did the best out of Fame Academy was Lemar, who has a great voice, the best from what I’ve heard from the Fame Academy lot, and finished 3rd in series 1. He went on to have lots of hits, the most well known probably being ‘If There’s Any Justice’.

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