"The X Factor" U.K. episode that ITV televised on Sept. 1, 2013 featured the audition of Tamera Foster, a contestant who made tabloid headlines even before the audition was shown on TV. That's because, as previously reported, Foster (who is 16) had a Twitter account where she made so not-so-veiled hints that she smokes marijuana and possibly PCP, according to the Daily Mirror.
It was already leaked in the media that Foster got very enthusiastic "yes" votes from all four "X Factor" U.K. judges (Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh) with her performance of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing." What wasn't widely reported but was shown on TV was that she made huge blunders by forgetting the song's lyrics multiple times. Not only that, but she was allowed to ask for a "time out" in her audition to go backstage and get help from her entourage of family members and friends in remembering the lyrics.
Apparently, the show's judges and producers are so hell-bent on declaring Foster a star before she's even sold any music that they made these concessions for her.
Would they have been this lenient with a contestant who doesn't fit into "The X Factor's" youth-obsessed marketing strategy? In other words, would Foster have gotten all these chances to start over in her audition if she weren't an attractive 16-year-old? Not likely. But this is showbiz. And it's a reality that being young and attractive allows people to make more excuses and do more favors for the young and attractive, which is why the judges kept saying that Foster has "potential" when they bent over backwards to praise her.
As far as "X Factor" auditions go, Foster's audition certainly didn't merit her being called a "star," as Scherzinger prematurely described Foster after hearing Foster perform just one song with erratic poise/stage presence. Only time will tell if Foster really does become a big star or if she's just another Beyoncé wannabe. For now, it's pretty obvious the judges have decided that Foster will be in the show's Top 12 this year, unless something happens like she gets busted for drugs.
Here are the gushing compliments that the judges heaped on Foster after her performance:
Barlow said about her audition: "It was by no means perfect, but what we see here right now is potential beyond belief. That was captivating and mesmerizing."
Osbourne gushed, "You take my breath away ... You were amazing!"
Scherzinger commented, "You're still young. You have a lot to work on, because a lot of it is a little out of control ... but you have a gift and talent. You're a star!"
Walsh said, "I've been doing this 10 years. I don't think I've seen anyone with the potential you have, and that includes Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke, everybody. If you get your act together, you are the best. You are incredible!"
Considering the latest albums from former "X Factor" U.K. winners Lewis and Burke have flopped, Walsh's praise is misguided at best.
It wouldn't be "The X Factor" auditions without bad performances and "crazy" contestants. Fil Henley, who seems to be stuck in 1980s hair metal hell, was downright annoying with his table-jumping, glass-throwing antics during his performance of his original song "That's Metal (To My Ears)." (In real life, Henley also performs under the stage name Wings of Pegasus.) He's not the first "X Factor" contestant to try to "shock" the audience, but his performance was just outdated and tired. Longtime "X Factor" viewers have seen this type of desperate audition many times before, and it's just all become so dull and repetitive.
Everyone knows that Simon Cowell isn't going to sign campy retro acts to his record company, so Henley's audition was just filler to get viewers to laugh at this contestant. Really, the best Henley can hope to do in any sort of entertainment career is if he's cast in a West End version of "This Is Spinal Tap." And that's about as likely to happen as a Spinal Tap drummer living a long life.
Here are clips from the other auditions shown in this episode, which featured the auditions moving from a private room to an arena that was open to the public