So, before we start, here are a few things we learned about the X Factor tonight: Helicopters are very cool. Kelly Rowland is very good at reading a script. Gary Barlow is even better at being Simon Cowell than Simon Cowell. And The X Factor isn’t going anywhere.
It is very much back, and our search for the next Steve Brookstein began in London. Frankie Cocozza, an 18-year-old student, was first up. Picture the typical X Factor sob story: a single parent, failed by society’s injustices and turning to his true passion – music – in desperation, to finally get his family out of that cardboard box and into a decent home.
Only it wasn't that. This joker just wants to be famous. And rich. And, of course, sexually promiscuous. Everything a good pop star should be, I’m sure you’ll agree. He has seven girls' names tattooed on his bum. We know this because he showed us. If you already want to smack him, there is some consolation: he wasn't great at singing. But he got through, obviously. OBVIOUSLY.
'I just want people to like me' was the mantra of the next auditionee, Kitty Brucknell. This, apparently, was too difficult for her: she was pretentious, annoying… And nobody came to support her, which is probably telling. She sang “The Edge of Glory”, then gave us a nauseating, self-absorbed speech about how amazing she thought she was.
But it's incredible what you can achieve when you finally SHUT UP, and four yesses later she was on her way. She was so good, she’d already started writing autographs! You might think I'm exaggerating; I'm not. I mean she was LITERALLY already signing autographs. What a cow.
More unfortunate acts featured a screeching smurf who sang "What a Feeling" and the lovely, if squeaky, Wendy Davis, who joined the thousands of drunk people who wail "Wuthering Heights" to no one in particular on a Saturday night. Although poor Wendy wasn’t drunk, so she didn’t even have an excuse.
The next auditionee prepared for her big moment by vomiting backstage. Unconventional? Perhaps. Effective? Definitely not. Originally from Hong Kong, 50-year-old Goldie Cheung sang "Copper Bell". You know, "Copper Bell"? Us neither. It turned out the song consisted of mimicking the noise of a copper bell along to a drum machine. It was almost as good as listening to a copper bell, only admittedly much less resonant. But she got through, too! Something tells me it’s going to be a long series…
16-year-old and token redhead Janet Devlin sung "Your Song" à la Goulding, only obviously not as well. There was a sob story somewhere but unfortunately we weren't really listening; at one point she was writing poetry and I think we all know that that is a sure sign of a difficult upbringing. (We asked Twitter to tell us her story but all we got to help us out was this.)
Essex slapper Roxy Warnold (not our words, Gary's) was impressive enough to deserve her four yesses, and 18-year-old four-piece SOSO Status gave us a token turn up for the groups, the rest of which were suspiciously absent, which was a shame.
George Gerasimou, 19, was the episode's last entry, and sang (is sang the right word? NO.) Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything”. After he stormed the judges’ podium when Gary cut off the music, Tulisa accused him of anger and aggression. That's right, Tulisa, the third member of N-Dubz – the other two members being Anger and Aggression – accusing someone of an attitude problem. He eventually got escorted off after swearing a lot, calling everyone scumbags and generally make himself look a tit.
So the verdict? It was as good as it ever had been. Gary Barlow brought enough faux seriousness to the panel to make it seem credible, Kelly Rowland and Tulisa looked beautiful and had sufficient soundbites up their sleeves, and Louis was lovely and Irish as always. And how about the X Factor Make-Up room? Genius. Did these people not expect to be filmed while they burped, gurned and sprayed product on their genitals? There's an idea for a spin-off forming. Well done everyone.