1. The new formatting made moments like this even more awkward.
J Star Valentine’s version of what he called “”Hallelujah” by Alexandra Burke” gave the series its first genuinely facepalm audition.
2. The biggest success of the night was the return of Sharon Osbourne.
Mrs O’s judging panel comeback is one of the most symbolic moves in the tenth series of the talent juggernaut. She was back to sprinkle some light entertainment sparkle to proceedings. She did this in style, not really taking anything seriously and losing it completely when a young hopeful sang the line about “messing his pants” from Busted’s “Air Hostess”. The other judges couldn’t really get a look-in, although Nicole Scherzinger did reveal that she “likes balls”.
3. Which means we might be seeing a little less of this.
The runaway success of One Direction had pushed The X Factor into a more credible, A&R based process. The reign of Tulisa Contostavlos gave the world Little Mix, already on their way to becoming a female 1D. But the decline in viewing figures in recent years suggested that the mainstream viewer was becoming alienated. This year’s series is seeing a return to basics.
4. Though there were still some boyband types.
Like Alejandro Fernandez-Holt, who wooed the crowd with a bilingual version of ‘Hero’.
5. Fil Henley made an attempt to be the “rock candidate”.
But his version of “Let Me Entertain You” was the cheesiest audition of the night. He was eventually waved through with the instruction to roughen up his act, which did not look likely.
7. People were still allowed to perform original songs.
Last year’s innovation, that led to the rise of Lucy Spraggan, has been kept on. This allowed Luke Britnell, an adorable young Justin Bieber tribute artist, the chance to perform his composition ‘Think Positive’, a cheesy but good-hearted acoustic number which charmed the judges.
8. Unfortunately when Luke left the originals behind, he didn’t fare so well.
Learning the hard way not to mix acoustic guitars and Get Lucky.
9. The sob stories remained intact.
17-year-old Hannah Barrett arrived with a tragic back-story. Her father, who raised her on soul music, died two years ago, and a fractious relationship with her mother has seen her thrown out of home and living in a charitable housing project for young people. But her cracked, soulful performance of Emelie Sande’s “Read All About It” proved the highlight of week one, putting a passionate new twist on the most overplayed song of last year.
10. As did the ‘wobbly’ bits.
Tamera Foster had auditioned as part of a duo, but was asked to come back solo. She wobbled, and blanked on the words. But through the support of her family, and the crowd, she rallied.
11. Which meant we got to see Gary singing along to Whitney Houston.
12. Some Twitter users tired of the sob story narrative, leading to this.
13. As well as this.
14. But as ever, it was the performances that came from nowhere that stole the show.
35-year-old prison officer Sam Bailey thought she was too old for the process and looks like she struggles with self-esteem. So as is X Factor tradition, her performance of Beyonce’s “Listen” gave the judges their “where did that come from?” moment.