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Monday, 10 May 2010

Thoroughly wet Milly... my X-factor experience!

My saintly friend and I were up and out the door by 6.30 am and on our way to the Excel Centre for this season's X-factor auditions. As a singer it is an ordeal I felt I should go through once!

Sunday morning tubes are bad at the best of times, and then of course we had numerous track closures to avoid. Lukewarm tea in hand, we had to dodge the increasingly heavy rainfall, sans umbrella. Not fun. After our trek on the DLR line (basically a little railway train) we arrived at the Excel centre, and were greeted by crowds of thousands, all huddled together under a sea of brollies. Our spirits were lifted by the excitement of it all, although this euphoria faded as we got wetter and wetter. Soon even our makeshift plastic bag hats were blown away and I can honestly say I have never been as cold in my entire life. We waited from 8 am til 11.30 outside, screaming occasionally for a nearby Dermot O'Leary. We befriended a lovely group of music theatre graduates in front of us in the queue - they kindly donated an umbrella to us.

Inside it was almost as cold, although hot food was available here. Thank God. The sheer quantity of applicants became evident as we sat inside. There was certainly a buzz, and soon enough people began gently humming and running through their songs. I have to say I was slightly disappointed at the lack of freaks; at this stage everyone looks surprisingly normal! Around 2.30 we were taken through to the arena, a huge hall where thousands of hopefuls sat, armed with their X-factor stickers, I was number 197,058! The auditions were happening at the front of the hall in 18 small cubicles. Those who were successful came bounding out with a yellow slip of paper - this meant they were through to the next round. Now the freaks appeared. Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela look-a-likes both came out with yellow slips! The familiar screams and tears filled the massive auditorium, the more athletic victors came out doing back flips and air punches (hugely embarrassing!)

Eventually, at 6 pm (ten hours after arriving) I got my turn. I waited in line and went into my allotted cubicle, still a little damp. I was singing Songbird, best known from Eva Cassidy's rendition. I stood in front of two female producers and was allowed to sing my whole song, which apparently is quite unusual. I wasn't nervous, but felt a mixture of relief and exhaustion. Unfortunately the verdict was a no; I wasn't going through to the next round. My lovely friend was waiting for me at the other side, prepared for my failure and saying all the right things. We gathered our things and began the trek home, smiling at the prospect of a hot bath. Despite the result it really was an unforgettably hilarious experience and a day I will never forget!!

Check out x-factor here:


  1. In my experience Milly, these situations always end on a high as long as you choose to perform the Michael Jackson or Nelson Mandela look-a-like routine rather than sing a lovely song. Unlucky though.

  2. Thanks Burt. Yes I think you're right, unfortunately I only realised it halfway through the queue when it was too late to run back and get my best celeb outfit!

  3. That saintly friend was me!!!!! great pic! J'adore!!!