Last night, Throng attended the live recording for the X Factor Results show at Fox Studios in Sydney. Both the performance show and results show are aired live for those states on eastern daylight savings time.
The audience for the show meets outside the studios at 6pm. The audience is a mix of general admission and VIP guests. VIP guests include friends and families of the contestants as well as guests of Fremantle Media, Channel Seven and others associated with the show.
Soon after 6pm, guests are progressively moved in, going through a series of holding areas. X Factor staff marshal guests to their respective areas, making sure that all seats are filled as empty seats do not look good on TV.
The usual rules of being in a TV studio apply – no smoking, no drinking, no taking photos, no recording of any form, mobile phones turned off. That doesn’t stop many from taking pictures of the stage or sitting there social networking on their phone on Facebook, Twitter or the like.
The studio itself is not that big. The stage takes up about half the space they have available, while the audience is just a few hundred people. The stage has an impressive light show – itself worth over a million dollars for sure. Those moving heads used a made by one of the industry’s top brands – Varilight – and are worth at least $15,000 each – and there are about 100 of them in total. Then there are the LED screens, the LED bars, the fog effects, and more.
Like most TV shows – whether live or pre-recorded – there is a warm up act there to keep the audience interested while nothing is happening on stage – like before the show, and during commercial breaks. At X Factor, Dave Eastgate was there to entertain – and entertain he did!
Dave, who has previously done work for So You Think You Can Dance, got on the mic and started interacting with the audience. He made comic remarks about the quality of signs people have made for their favourite acts. As you would notice from watching the X Factor on TV – some fans go to a lot of trouble for their signs – with works of art that would get them full marks in high school art. Others – not so good – a few pieces of A4 paper stuck together with sticky tape.
While Led Zeppelin was playing in the background, he hit the air guitar. He then got a child up from the audience to do the same, before asking all children to come onto the stage. Next thing you know, there’s 30 kids up there rocking to Led Zeppelin. Junior X Factor has arrived! Now there’s an idea for a show – Junior X Factor – kids 8-12. Could work! Fremantle Media – interested?
Host Luke Jacobs appears on stage just after 7pm to record promos for the nights’ show which are used both in ads on TV and as part of the videos they show throughout the show. Meanwhile – the crowd was wondering why there were only three judges chairs set at the judges table.
Maybe Guy was off to LA again? Ronan was busy? Natalie had an accident? Or Kyle was sick again. Rumours spread, questions were asked, but we were not told anything. We found out the same time everyone else did as part of the live show.
Dave egged on the crowd to give the best cheers ever for the promo recordings. He continued to entertain right until the producer called 20 seconds. Off he went, and the show started. Within the first minute after the opening sequence, we all found out that Kyle was sick. Boos from the crowd.
Luke announced what was happening on the show. Top 8 will become 7. Short Stack will perform – and – what most of the crowd were waiting for – Adam Lambert – by far the most successful act to come out of American Idol in recent years, despite not actually winning the year he was a contestant.
If you think the screaming is loud on TV, you should hear it live in the audience! By far the loudest screams were for Adam Lambert, although fans dedicated to their favourite X Factor contestants are a force to be reckoned with.
Judges are introduced, then, after a stuff up from Luke that saw him first say the judges were about to perform, then Top 10, the top 8 performed the traditional group performance show opener. After a break, Short Stack cam on to perform their hit, Planets.
Later, the top 8 were brought onto the stage to be put through the process of announcing were was safe and would therefore appear on Sunday night’s live performance show. Altiyan was announced first, then Mahogany, Luke & Joel, Sally and Andrew. Hayley, India and Mitchell were left standing as the last three – who would have to wait until after Adam Lambert performed before finding out which two would have to sing for their lives.
With Kyle not present, Mitchell was left standing on his own. Hayley signalled for him to come over and stand with herself, India and Natalie. On TV, you didn’t see Hayley invite Mitchell over – just Mitchell standing next to her.
During the break the stage was readied for Adam Lambert and his band. The glitter drum kit was rolled out, performers took their places, and, then as the show returned from the break and after the announcement by Luke, Adam Lambert’s performance began to a massive cheer. Many of the crowd were upstanding and dancing straight away. Those that were not, quickly got up by the time the chorus of “If I had You…” was reached.
Another break, more entertainment from Dave, and the stage was cleared ready for the business end of the show. The remaining three contestants were brought onto the stage with Natalie. Luke announced Hayley was safe, leaving India and Mitchell. Judges comments were along the line of being surprised, and even questioning who was voting for the show.
Mitchell performed first, and had a huge following in the crowd, there was one section in particular on their feet and screaming for him. He worked the crowd well. Then it was India’s turn. Natalie returned to her seat just in time – no doubt she had been with India prior to her performance readying her to sing for her life.
India then performed – and while there were a number of fans in the audience, they weren’t on their feet like they were for Mitchell – although Bitter Sweet Symphony is more of a put your arms up and sway song then anything else.
Judges made their choices. With Kyle absent, there was already a vote against India as Mitchell was one of his boys. Then Guy chose to send India home as well. Natalie, of course, chose Mitchell. Ronan could not decide, so he took it to dead lock and let the public’s decision determine who was to go home and who was safe.
Mitchell was announced as going home, India was safe. Confusion reigned at the judges table – as Natalie was unsure what just happened. It looked like the judges expected India to go home. Being the bottom two for the second week in a row seemed to play on India’s mind as she appeared to be expecting to be sent home. One time earlier in the show when she walked off stage, she had her head down and seemed sad.
All contestants were brought onto the stage again, and many hugs followed. Mitchell was in tears as his X Factor counterparts one by one comforted him. This continued into the Xtra Factor – which starts immediately after the X Factor finishes. Luke was there for the start of that show as well.
Seeing the contestants on stage consoling Mitchell, and knowing his X Factor dream is over is much more of an emotional moment live at the show then it is conveyed onto TV. You can feel his sadness.
As the first ad break went to air for the Xtra Factor, the audience is asked to leave.
The X Factor is a Fremantle Media production for Seven.
The X Factor – Sunday and Monday nights on Seven at 7.30pm. Encores 7TWO next day.
The Xtra Factor – After the X Factor on 7TWO.
For general admission audience tickets, go to www.xfactortv.com.au. They are usually available two weeks in advance.