Week two of X Factor auditions and something is certainly becoming clear this year:
- The focus is on 'the talent' rather than the judges - and even less on the crazies.
- There is tonnes of talent in Liverpool
- The show is putting in big caps - DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER
- And Kelly Rowland is emerging as the standout judge with bags of personality, natural humour and constructive criticism.
I am backing The Keys all the way to the finals. If these guys don't do well there is certainly something wrong. The guys from Liverpool, who genuinely look like a bunch of mates rather than a group, said they wanted to be as successful as Take That. They sang Aloe Blacc's I need a Dollar and wowed the judges.
Gary told them they were magnificent, Tulisa told them their harmonies were right, and they were through to bootcamp.
Johnny Robinson came on wearing his trackies and a baseball cap and blew the judges away with his rendition of Etta James' At Last. He has such a sweet voice and stood out as the Susan Boyle of the show.
One of my favourites was biscuit-factory worker Craig Colton who stunned his unsuspecting parents who were sat in the audience. They did not realise he was auditioning until he appeared on stage. Craig already won the judges and crowd over with his quick wit but his blues voice was stunning as he sang Adele's Melt My Heart To Stone.
And last of my favourites was Mancunian Misha Bryan. When the footage showed her at home and arriving on the bus the viewers had an inkling she may be pretty good - the cameras don't film just anyone arriving at auditions. She sang Aretha Franklin's R.E.S.P.E.C.T. with a bit of rapping.
Her voice was amazing, but for me it was also her confidence and attitude that made her standout as a contender and Tulisa told her she was the best audition they had seen that day.
Of course we are going to see the usual oddballs, but there are decidedly less of them being given airtime this year, which is a welcome addition. Week by week I am looking forward to seeing what talent will come through more than I have in previous years. There are plenty of people coming through who have stunning voices but not conventional popstar looks. They are real people and it is refreshing to see people who don't look like ready-made popstars unlike last year.