My Family's Experience with the X Factor
I’ve written this blog post because I’ve received countless messages from people asking me what happened with the X Factor. So this is the story of what happened! I’m not the type to queue up and audition for a show like the X Factor! X Factor phoned me and invited me to audition in front of the judges in Sydney. They said they would pay for flights, accommodation, taxis and breakfast for my whole family. I crunched the numbers and realised if we paid for this trip it would cost us $5500! The kids had been saying that they would like to go on a plane, and this seemed like a FREE opportunity to take the kids on a plane, so I agreed. We’ve had no TV aerial for years, so I hadn’t watched the X Factor! I didn’t even know who the judges were apart from Guy Sebastian. I was thinking to myself, who the heck is Adam Lambert? I had never heard of him. So I Googled him! The day came when it was time to fly to Sydney. The kids were excited to finally be going on a plane and loved the ice creams and movies. We arrived in Sydney and the accommodation was nice. I had spoken to one of my mentors who had previously been signed to a massive record label, and they explained that talent has nothing to do with who gets on these shows, and to not take it personally if I didn’t get in. I kept this advice in mind.
The Interview The next morning, a shuttle bus took us to the studio. The kids knew they were going to ‘TV land’. We had to wake up at 6:30am, equivalent to 4:30am Perth time! The X Factor staff all seemed lovely. There was a lot of sitting around and waiting to be interviewed on camera. The kids were really tired and bored so we played Monopoly Empire to pass the time. When I was interviewed the camera man suggested that I needed hairspray to fix my flyaway hair. I explained that I didn’t own hairspray or a brush, so they left it!
I was asked questions and answered them, but sometimes was told to answer in a way differently to how I had answered. It almost seemed a bit scripted. Then my hubby was asked to join in the interview. Now he is NOT a words person. He rarely says I’m beautiful and doesn’t express his feelings with words. But I don’t mind at all because I understand that he shows love through actions, like building me a dream house and being hands on with the kids, which I find way more useful than nice words anyway ;) So he was basically instructed to say all of this nice stuff about me, and to me, in the interview, and it was so awkwardly forced and fake that I found it absolutely laugh-out-loud hilarious!! It was like we had signed up as actors without realising it!
The Audition Day
It was time for the auditions. We were filmed outside walking up a hill toward the audition venue, which was a sport stadium. We reached the top of the hill and were told to go back down the hill, and walk up the hill again, and to look as though we’d never walked up this hill before, and to not look at the camera. The kids were annoyed at having to walk up this hill again, because they had woken up at 4:30am Perth time and were tired and cranky. So we walked up the hill again. When we got to the top, we were told to go back down the hill, and walk up the hill AGAIN. The kids were getting really frustrated by this and were asking why we had to repetitively walk up the same hill! I just said that we had to do what the camera man said in TV land.
At the top of the hill we were introduced to the host Jason. He then asked me to act like we’d never met so he could introduce himself to me on camera. He said, ‘Hi I’m Jason (I had to Google him too!) and who have you got with you today?’ I introduced each family member. Guess what? We had to do it again. The kids were getting so frustrated by this and wondered why this Jason man kept introducing himself to us. We were filmed being introduced to Jason four times. The kids were seriously getting fed up of the repetitious filming. I explained to them that this is what TV land is really like! Not as glamorous as they imagined!
Then we were filmed waiting in the queue to go inside. Just some natural footage of the family waiting. As if on cue for the camera, Kale (8) and Elijah (3) started physically fighting each other. Dan grabbed Elijah and gave Kale a kick to make him stop attacking Elijah- on camera! Through gritted teeth I asked Dan to not kick our kids on camera- on camera! Dan's reply was, ‘I didn’t kick him; I just nudged him with my foot!’
We finally went inside. Inside we waited. For hours. Then waited for a few more hours. Luckily I had baked about three cakes and several loaves of bread the night before we left and had packed them in my suitcase in case we got hungry ;) While we were waiting, we were taken outside so we could be filmed naturally as a family. After all this waiting, the early wake time and repetitious filming, the kids were just totally over it!
Then we waited inside again while the audience were hyped up for a few hours. Finally the stage performances started. There were many talented performers and it was a pleasure to hear them. There were also rumours going around that it was rigged because apparently some contestants had already been notified that they were through before they auditioned in front of the judges. Some of us noticed a few of the contestants seemed, as my hubby would put it, ‘a few kangas short in the top paddock’! They were nice, but didn’t appear to be all there upstairs, and had been flown over and put up in a hotel for the purpose of being mocked on stage. They were devastated afterward and were sobbing, and didn’t understand why they hadn’t got through. I got this really sick feeling in my gut as people were mocked, booed and ridiculed on stage. It was revolting and sickening.
Contestants were freaking out backstage, and worrying that the judges might not approve of them. I reminded them they had made it this far, so they may as well take deep breaths and enjoy it! I personally don’t live to please others and I don’t need the approval of anyone, not even an X Factor judge! I was just there sing, because it is what I love to do. It was my turn to perform. I wasn’t nervous because I’ve been performing on stage my whole life since I was five years old- I just felt excited. No, hang on, I was told I had to wait another 10 minutes backstage, as make up artists scuttled out and touched up the judges’ already caked on make up and fixed their hair, while a producer talked to them and they all were looking at their pieces of paper- were they scripts? Who knows! ;)
Finally it was my turn to perform. I told the judges I was a mum of four, and that I used my music to fundraise for World Vision. I performed ‘Always’ by Bon Jovi. I personally felt I nailed it, because I had put hours in to practicing it. The lovely crowd clapped and cheered for me! Iggy Azalea said my voice seemed a little shaky at the start, and suggested it may be because of my nerves. My reply was ‘thank you Iggy,’ but inside I thought, ‘well that doesn’t sound right to me- I actually think I sang it perfectly, because I practiced it for hours, and I’m not even nervous!’ Guy Sebastian said, ’You’re a nice lady and you have a nice voice, but you’re not the superstar we’re looking for.’ I got a ‘no’ from all three judges. I graciously thanked them for their feedback.
I went backstage and my kids were devastated! It was disappointing because if I had got through I would have used the platform to raise more money for charity. But I still walked off the stage with a smile, grateful for the experience. As I walked backstage, the camera was in my face, and it almost seemed as if this camera guy was trying really hard to get an emotional reaction out of me, asking how I felt being rejected by the judges. I simply smiled and said I was grateful for this whole opportunity. I think he moved on after he realised he wasn’t going to get anything out of me!
Flying Home I was grateful that my kids had been exposed to the reality of TV land. They heard the rumours about the rigging, they heard about how people had been flown over to be made fun of, they heard brilliant performers, they were bored out of their brains with all the waiting, they were fed up of repetitious filming, they saw how the judges had their makeup touched up frequently and how people were crying when they didn’t make it on to the show. They say the entertainment industry is all smoke and mirrors, and on this day my country kids had seen the smoke machines with their own eyes and were disgusted!
Instantly we were on a shuttle bus to the airport. On the flight home, Elijah conveniently started vomiting on me. Ha! Air hostesses were fussing, offering tissues and vomit bags and it was actually really gross! But I can honestly say, that I was happier to be with my family on that flight home, vomit and all, than at the X Factor. Once I got home, I was contacted by other contestants who had made it to Bootcamp, telling me what a complete waste of time it was. Just more waiting around. You can read Shameem’s refreshingly honest account of it HERE. I was quietly relieved I hadn’t progressed further on.
What My Kids Think of X Factor
Thanks so much to everyone for your kind messages, comments and support. I’m so sorry to all of you who watched the show looking out for me and from what others have told me, I didn’t even make an appearance! Ha! I of course didn’t watch it because I still don’t have a TV aerial, and quite frankly, probably never will! I was secretly worried we might be labelled as the abusive country parents after Dan’s ‘foot nudging!’ I’ll leave you with some thoughts from the kids when I asked them what they thought of the X Factor:
Ash (10) “Awful- completely false and I don’t think the judges speak for themselves, I think they are just saying what they are told to say.” Kale (8) “Terrible- the whole thing is fake and they were really mean for flying people over just to make fun of them.” Jewel (6) “All we did was walk around and wait for ages.”
I’m so grateful for the experience because it made me realise even more, that I’m already living the dream with this beautiful family of mine, and that nothing in the world matters more than being there for my kids. If you have a beautiful family, believe me, you are living the dream too :)