Bootcamp was done, the bit where they all leg it around Simon Cowell’s pool in LA was over, and this weekend it was time to get on with the serious bit: the X Factor 2014 live shows.
And it wasn’t bad.
Well, not all of it. Overload Generation served as a great example of how having ironic pretend glasses without glass in them is not the same as having a good voice, and were rightly voted off, and with them went Kitty Brucknell and Katie Waissel, who had come back pretending to be sisters and named themselves Blonde Electra.
We know it’s you, Waissel, whatever colour you paint your eyebrows.
But even Blonde Electra were quite good, and in the rest of the finalists there were exciting flashes of talent.
Lauren Platt made me get a bit Louis Walsh and want to shout about her age (seriously, at 17 I deemed my greatest achievement being able to get served in a nightclub) and though their performances at the weekend weren’t their strongest, I’m still championing my early favourites, Paul and Lola.
But then Andrea Faustini came on, and it was like… well, it was like I’d been nibbling on a Tesco prawn for the duration of the show and Gordon Ramsay had just come in and cooked me a lobster.
Oh Gordon, WHAT A LOBSTER.
I didn’t even realise that that prawn was quite average until you brought me that lobster.
Andrea doesn’t need to flash his chest, surround himself with dancers wearing hotpants, or to pull a Diana Vickers and take his shoes off (getting his feet awfully dusty in the process, no? I bet Steph’s still in the shower).
In fact Andrea could walk straight out of bed over to the X Factor stage and sing about the dream he’d just had with robots in it, and you know that it would still be sublime.
No-one would care that he was in his M&S slippers; we’d be so busy staring at his face contorting with emotion that we wouldn’t even notice.
Bookies have slashed Andrea’s odds to 6/4, meaning that even though he’s surrounded by talented people, X Factor 2014 has become, even at this early stage, a one-horse race.
That might be a problem for X Factor producers – and for Mel B – who have to work out where he goes from here. It might be a problem even for Andrea, who potentially faces the issue of not having a ‘journey’ to go on, because he’s already waiting for everyone else at the finish line. It’s happened before: just ask Ella Henderson.
But only the coming weeks (so many of them…) will figure all of that out. In the meantime, the people that Andrea provides absolutely no problems for are us the viewers, who can look forward to our weekly sob, our weekly goosebumps, and our weekly amazement at just how talented that lovely Italian man really is.