My XFactor Weekend

XFactor isn’t usually a TV show that I watch, but when your friends are on it, you tend to make a special exception. So when I got a call last week from my buddy Ryan asking me if I wanted a ticket to watch him perform in the first week of the live shows so obviously, I had to sort out my travel that night.

On Friday night, I packed a bag and travelled from Edinburgh to London with my friend Hollie and arrived at London Victoria at 9am – She was incredibly excited, I don’t know if you can tell.

After a solid nap, a meaty Domino’s pizza and a bottle of wine, I still felt something was missing to make me feel my usual 100% self. In Scotland, we use a certain orange-coloured liquid called Irn-Bru. A beverage that has it’s own unique flavour packed full of sugar that gives you that kick that cures hangovers and gives you energy for the rest of the day.

Sadly, I have never spotted any of the ginger stuff on my travels to England. However, while I was waiting to get picked up I decided to pop into a little shop at Golder’s Green for some chewing gum. I glanced at the fridge and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A can of Barr’s products. Cherryade, Limeade, Coca-Cola, and even the classic Irn-Bru!

After I consumed my can of diabetes and Ryan’s brother and uncle picked us up in the car we headed to venue armed with these sexy T-shirts

 

and wristbands!

The boys (Hollie included) found our seats and the audience was told from this point on we weren’t allowed to have our phones or any other sort of recording device during the show so basically, they’re no images. However, you did miss a hilarious viewing of a bunch of Glasgow lads, trying to speak to an English upper-class family aka Honey G’s family. They did not understand a single word any of us said. It took about 10 times of rephrasing “We’re fae Glesga in Scoatland” to “We are from Glasgow in Scotland” at half the speed it originally got said. You genuinely had to be there. Just like you had to be there for Ryan’s amazing performance…

and Emily’s amazing performance…

 

Two incredible performances by my favourite couple, it made me so proud to be sitting there watching them perform on one of the biggest platforms being judged by Simon Cowell & co. Apart from Ryan and Emily, the one person who blew me away with their performance was Matt Terry. His falsetto in Grace’s You Don’t Own Me was incredible!

After The X factor, the stage turned into the setting for Xtra Factor and Matt & Rylan weirdly impressed me as a double act. Wasn’t really a fan of Matt Edmondson and not really a fan of Rylan but the 2 of them together was actually quite enjoyable. If The X Factor gets another season , I should expect to see those 2 back again on Xtra Factor duties.

Family & friends got escorted through into a big hall so they could meet with everyone. We only got about 1 hour to hang out. Imagine the situation of 6 people meeting 1 close friend/family who they haven’t seen for a few weeks, in a room with Honey G, a bar and only one hour to spare and ask all the questions they want to ask. There is genuinely not enough hours in the day.

We chatted, we laughed, we drank and we took some pictures…

 

I mean those pictures are fine and dandy. However, I had met Ryan & Emily before. I had spent many a time in their presence… I had never met Honey G before. I couldn’t ask for a picture, could I? Nah, I mean what am I? A super fan? I mean it would take someone with literally no shame to walk right up to Honey G, give her a high 5 and ask if they could grab a picture together…

… Woops…

Sunday arrived and the nerves were kicking in, firstly there was an issue with leaving our luggage at Victoria also I found out my ticket from London to Edinburgh was at 10.30pm. I would have to run right after XFactor at 9pm from Wembley to Victoria and also pick up my bags as well. The worst thing was knowing I couldn’t wait about and say hi to Ryan and Emily again after the show.

After a cheeky Chiquitos and a beer at Leicester Square we headed to Wembley, we got seated right behind Saara Aalto’s family and girlfriend and again us Glaswegians try and make friends wherever we go but trying to speak to Finnish people in a broad Glaswegian accent is incredibly difficult but that did not deter us from creating new friendships and by the end of the show we were BBFL’s.

The show started all fun and games with the contestants cover of Fleur East’s “Sax” and James Arthur performing his new single “Say You Won’t Let Go” and all was well until Dermot announce that the votes were in.

To make it this stage is incredible, each contestant has battled their way to the stage seeing out tens of thousands of people along the way BUT that all apparently becomes irrelevant if you’re the first person out in the live shows. In these shows, no one knows how things are going to turn out, who’s voted, how many have voted etc and my worst fear was either Ryan or Emily going out in the first week which is on a par with career suicide. When you reach the live shows of XFactor you become a reality TV star, rather than an actual artist

When you reach the live shows of XFactor your label becomes “Reality TV star”  rather than “musician” and to go out in week 1 you’ve not become popular enough to carve a career out of being a TV personality and any sort of hope for a music career is pretty much lessened with the title of “XFactor flop”. That is a title that is near enough impossible to shake.

The amount of fear you feel while waiting on the votes coming through watching it on your tv is unreal;y. However, actually being there live in the studio the fear is intensified by 100. Hearing the names being read out and seeing the list shorten down while your friends still stand there waiting is unreal. The tension is in the air around the family & friends section. Then when you hear Dermot say “RYAN!” all the boys stood up and cheered as if it  was a football match. Emily got announced and again we’re all up cheering and by then we could all finally relax.  Bratavio and Saara Aalto ended up in the bottom 2 and at that point, all us Scots teamed up with our new Finnish buddies and cheered for Saara. It was a beautiful moment.

9pm came, Xfactor had finished and Bratavio had been kicked out but I had to run to the tube. However, security wouldn’t let me leave until the judges had left. On Xtra Factor, Rylan & Matt take live calls from the public for the judges and I couldn’t leave till that had happened and the judges had left. Stress levels were through the roof. However, security realised I was in a rush and managed to get someone to escort me out and I ran and got 2 tubes, an Uber – and a stitch.

However, I made it to Victoria with 5 minutes remaining and made it home several hours later and that was my XFactor journey! If you are a fan of Ryan and Emily, make sure you vote using these details! 

Jay Carrington

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