Film & Telly READ Thoughts Uncategorized

The Golden Age of X Factor

The one place Johnson and co can't stop us gathering is down memory lane so let's take a trip there! Leah talks us through some truly iconic moments from the golden era of The X Factor.

For me personally, The Golden Era of The X Factor falls somewhere between 2008 – 2011. When Alexandra Burke, Joe McElderry, Matt Cardle and Little Mix wore the most coveted talent show crown. Back when The X Factor was averaging 14 – 17 million viewers for a finale, the nation was hooked.

I have quite the selection for your consideration today. You’ve gotta take the rough with the smooth, i’ve offered you a variety pack of auditions and performances. The good, the bad and eye watering. And yes I do feel guilty having a giggle at some of these performer’s expense and I can only justify it by saying I genuinely have a lot of love for these legends because they have brought me infinite joy over the years. It’s all love I promise!


I’m not pulling any punches *ahem* with this first one, I’m starting off strong because Ablisa deserve their moment in the sun. This particular audition is like a bottomless well of joy that i dip in to on some of my darkest Lockdown days. I’ve lost count of how many times i’ve heard this unforgettable rendition of Shane Ward’s That’s My Goal. At this point I know the audition word for word. My personal favourite moment? “Who are you?” (4.53) not so innocently posed by Lisa. (A valid question if you ask me, Natalia Imbruglia you’re radiant but like… who are you?).

Ella Henderson

This is the kind of clip I watch when i want to feel something deep in the pit of my tummy. That thing usually being pure unadulterated jealousy. The way Ella Henderson takes on a vocal roller coaster is just stunning beyond belief. Miss Girl performed Minnie Riperton’s Loving You flawlessly on the second week of the live shows at the tender age of 16. 16!!! Feel free to skip to 1.55 for that high note. The only thing that makes this whole thing sweeter is knowing that Ella Henderson goes on to top the charts give us a whole bag of pop bangers. Good for you Ella!

Bun ‘nd Cheese

Time for a comic interlude from three icons. Would it be lazy of me to say that Bun nd Cheese are the UK’s answer to Destiny’s Child? Perhaps. From the moment they enthusiastically introduced themselves as a Jamaican household’s favourite my ears pricked up. Sadly the vocals didn’t quite deliver according to the judges. Me? I loved it, the lack luster swaying, the mismatched outfits, the casual chatting throughout the performance. Chef’s kiss honey! Given that the top comment on this video is ‘They are the greatest X Factor trolls in historyi can’t help but think that they were having our pants the whole time. To be honest I kind of love the idea of Bun ‘nd Cheese having the last laugh in all this.

Little Mix

Can we talk about the moment we realised the Little Mix (formerly known as Rhythmix) did not come to play? I can’t lie to you I’m a tad alarmed to return to this clip and feel so offended at the wardrobe choices. I remember thinking ‘yes queens, damn right girls can wear bow ties too and looking chic as hell while doing so!’ The vocals thankfully aged far better than the monochrome ensembles. Look at them go! And look at the pride in The Female Boss herself Tulisa’s eyes. Little did we know that these superstars would go on to be the biggest girl band in history. That really is what we call… growth.

Alexandra Burke

You knew we had to end here right? You must have known that this was the moment I would save ’til last. There’s not a massive amount to say apart from if you can get through this without shedding a tear then you are a stronger woman than I. Alexandra Burke’s nervous energy radiates through the screen so beautifully and you know what? She did the nation proud, she held her own head to head with actual Beyoncé. Sensational scenes, now pass me the tissues please.

Honestly I could talk about this all day every day. Maybe a part two will be necessary, but for now I must give an honourable mention to some of my favourite auduitions and performances; One Direction – Viva La Vida, Ashwin – King Of The Road , Ariel Burdett the holistic vocal coach, Matt Cardle and Rihanna – Unfaithful and who could forget the precious angel Gamu Nhengu – Walking On Sunshine.

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