"The X Factor" U.K. episode that ITV televised on Sept. 21, 2013, featured the return of rocker Joseph Whelan, who was controversially eliminated from the show in 2012.
In 2012, Whelan was one of several contestants who were very popular with viewers but were eliminated by the judges at the show's boot camp. Many viewers on the Internet said they felt cheated that these eliminated contestants didn't make it to the Top 16 so viewers would have had a chance to vote for these contestants. Thousands of people went on the Internet to express their anger, frustration and/or disgust that certain contestants were dumped and other less talented contestants got to stay in the competition. And viewers were also outraged that Rylan Clark (who is short on singing talent and long on flamboyant antics) was kept in the competition. Clark ended up in fifth place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012.
Whelan posted this message on his Facebook page after his "X Factor" elimination was televised in 2012: "Again the most talked about person in the world on twitter...lol! Gutted, but onwards and upwards...please stick with me guys."
In 2013, he came back to audition for "The X Factor" U.K. by passionately performing Bon Jovi's "Always" and got unanimous yes votes from the show's judges (Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh).
And just like in 2012, Whelan (who is a single dad) brought his adorable son Kian to his "X Factor" audition. Lots of cute moments ensued when Kian sat on "X Factor" U.K. judge Scherzinger's lap, looked on with admiration at his dad, and jumped up and down with excitement after Whelan's successful audition.
Barlow praised Whelan by saying, "Joseph, it's a pleasure to see you back. I loved your voice last year. I think I love it more this year. I think you've got something
Osbourne added, "You're very strong. I like your conviction when you perform. I like your strength. I really enjoyed it."
Walsh said, "I'm glad you came back this year. You're what the show is all about."
Andrea Magee impressed the judges with an original song that she wrote (the song's title was not identified), and she easily sailed through to the next round by getting approval from all of the judges. Barlow told Magee: “That was a beautiful song. I thought you put it across really well. I was really hooked.”
Another standout audition came from Justin Peng, an immigrant from China, who wowed most of the judges and shattered stereotypes with his version of Whitney Houston's "I Look to You." In a pre-audition, interview, Peng confessed that he has a crush on Scherzinger. Shortly after walking into the audition room, he then have Scherzinger a rose before he began singing. Peng's singing talent and quirky personality make him one of the more memorable "X Factor" U.K. contestants this year. He got "yes" votes from all of the judges except Osbourne.
Barlow said to Peng after the performance: "I've got to be honest. I wasn't expect that at all. I think you did really, really well. I think you've got real potential. Well done."
Walsh added, "I was totally surprised when you sang the big Whitney song and you hit all the notes. I think you're good."
Scherzinger gushed, "I adore you! I was quite impressed. You've got a lovely voice. You've got vocal range, good vocal control, great little runs that were surprising that you threw in there."
Peng giggled nervously as he asked Scherzinger, "Was I jamazing?," referencing her term of affection for "X Factor" U.K. 2012 finalist Jahmene Douglas, who was mentored by Scherzinger that year.
Scherzinger replied, "You were jamazing!"
Osbourne was the only judge on the panel who expressed some reservations about Peng. Osbourne told Peng, "I think you're really good, but I think you'll have a hard time when it comes to the live shows. It's going to be a no for me."
But she was outvoted by the other judges, so Peng was put through to the next round.
After getting the good news, Peng asked Scherzinger for a kiss, and she obliged by giving him a peck on the cheek. Peng then giddily exclaimed, "I'm not going to wash my face tonight!"
Someone who is apparently not a fan of Scherzinger (at least not in 2012) is Jayson Newland, who impressed all of the judges with his version of Luther Vandross' "Never Too Much." The Daily Mirror reported in that in 2012, Newland made several misogynistic remarks on his Twitter account, including a tirade in which said about Scherzinger: “Nicole’s a bitch. All of a sudden I can’t stand Nicole again.”
Newland also made disparaging remarks about Jahmene Douglas, who came in second place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012. Scherzinger was Douglas' "X Factor" mentor. Newland tweeted, “Anyone on my timeline saying Jahmene was amazing I’m going in your mouth when I see you! I get violent with X Factor. I get really passionate about the X Factor, I turn into a hooligan, I want to go out and have a fight.”
Newland also made insulting comments about the Holocaust and his hometown of Southend. He had no comment about the tweets, but chances are he won't last long much longer on "The X Factor" now that this information has been made public.
A source told the Daily Mirror: “The tweets were made last year in the heat of the moment and in jest and weren’t meant to be taken literally. Jayson doesn’t condone violence and regrets causing any offense.”
The Daisy Chains (a female trio) were literally pulled apart after they performed the Supremes' "Stop! In the Name of Love." Just like the Supremes, one of the members was singled out as the "star" of the group and encouraged to go solo. Barlow told Daisy Chains member Hannah Sheares: "I don't think there's an easy way to say this, Hannah. I think you have the potential to go far, but on your own."
Scherzinger added: "Hannah is the strongest vocalist and she has the strongest tone. And right now she's carrying the group."
After being told off that she had to choose between continuing on "The X Factor" as a solo artist or being eliminated if she stayed with the group, Sheares said, "I feel torn, to be honest. I love the girls with all my heart, do you know what I mean?"
Barlow lectured, "You can have friends, but this is serious stuff. This is a career, this is something that could last for the rest of your life. If you really are as good friends as you're telling us, I think your two friends would understand what we're saying here, and they'd be OK with it."
In the end, Sheares decided to go solo.
It's no secret that "The X Factor" is youth-obsessed, so the Nostalgics (a 14-member group of senior citizens ages 68 to 94) were brought on the show as a novelty act. The Nostalgics sang Sylvie Dee's "Bring Me Sunshine" and it looked more like a performance you'd see at a retirement home than on "The X Factor."
Barlow is mentoring the Groups category on the show this year, and loyal "X Factor" viewers know how much he dislikes having novelty acts on the show. However, he made an exception for the Nostalgics, as he and the other judges gave "yes" votes to the Nostalgics.
Barlow gushed about the Nostalgics' performance: "I thought it was a ray of sunshine. I really did. If I am going to be brutally honest, a little bit more rehearsal is needed, but I think it was a really good audition. I loved it.”
Walsh, who jokingly pretended to join the group, told the Nostalgics: “You really made me smile and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
SPOILER ALERT: It looks like "X Factor" viewers won't get a chance to vote for the Nostalgics in the live episodes. The Sun has reported that at the second round of their auditions that took place at London's Wembley Arena, the Nostalgics turned down the chance to move forward to "X Factor" boot camp, by saying that the show's younger contestants were more deserving of their spot in the competition.
These old folks are no fools. They must have known that "The X Factor" wouldn't take them seriously in the long run, and they gracefully bowed out before they could be put up for ridicule. They know that as much as the judges might have praised the Nostalgics, "The X Factor" is still a show that focuses on young people. The only person so far over the age of 30 to win on "The X Factor" U.K. was the show's first winner, Steve Brookstein, who was 38 when he won in 2004. After having a No. 1 single in the U.K. that year, his career flamed out and he has faded back into obscurity.
Here are links to audition highlights in the episode that aired on Sept. 21, 2013: