One season in, Tulisa Contostavlos has proven herself to be an excellent X Factor judge–she’s tough but sweet, honest, and gives her mentees excellent advice. She is the reigning winning judge, taking “little muffins” Little Mix to the top last fall.
Tulisa is the Fergie of a multi-platinum Black Eyed Peas-esque group N-Dubz: the other members include someone named Fazer, who Tulisa dated for almost 2 years before she decided she was too famous for him, and her cousin Dappy. N-Dubz are a perfect example of the confounding taste of the UK public.
This video has 19 million views on You Tube. WHO IS WATCHING THIS CRAP??
Like US Idol judges J.Lo. and Steven Tyler, Tulisa’s star has risen since joining this X Factor. This could be because she’s dressing better.
She’s also gone out on her own and recorded an album that is going to be released this fall, just in time to promote it on The X Factor!
This video has 12 million views (I know, it’s blowing my mind too). It was filmed in Miami, where she stayed earlier this year to escape UK press coverage of her breakup with Fazer. It’s actually better than every N-Dubz song I’ve ever heard, but I like a lot of shitty pop music.
After meeting her once, Tulisa asked Jessie J to join her at bootcamp at her “mansion.” This was a clever decision, as it gave Tulisa some cred (she could have gotten Fazer to do it, because face it, he isn’t busy) and allowed Jessie J to get her feet wet on reality shows–she was a judge on The Voice UK this spring.
Every week during the live shows the judges are announced on stage. Tulisa salutes the audience with her right arm, which has The Female Boss tattooed on it. This got her in a bit of trouble with Ofcam as it was suspected that she was secretly promoting her perfume, also called The Female Boss. Thankfully this was deemed ludicrous and we were able to see this cute gesture every week.
Like Gary Barlow, Tulisa has been a judge for just one season so she has only mentored four groups. She was really excited to be given the groups by the producers, which really endeared me to her. No one ever wants the groups since a group has never won X Factor. UNTIL TULISA CAME ALONG.
This is Nu Vibe. I don’t care about them, I don’t remember any of their performances, but I wanted to put up a video anyway. Like 2 of the other groups from last season, Nu Vibe was created from solo artists.
The Risk were basically Charlie, who auditioned with a different group, with three dudes singing backup, which is why they didn’t go very far (they came in 9th). The only interesting thing that happened is that one of the members, Ashley, left because his heart wasn’t in boybanding. The Risk asked Ashford from now-gone Nu Vibe to join, probably because his name was very similar to the guy who quit.
2 Shoes were my favorite–they looked like they were having such a good time! Two ladies from Essex, one of whom, Charley (the blonde), was pregnant during the competition, 2 Shoes had such a fun, gay club vibe. They were the only group in the top four who auditioned as a group. I usually don’t put up the full videos, just the performances, but this shows how freaking cute and “emosh” these girls were about being on The X Factor. Tulisa seemed to have a connection with them, but eliminated them on the first night anyway. Nu Vibe sucked! Bad choice, lady.
They’ve actually signed to a label and have released their first single, a cover of “Turn Me On (Turn Me Out).” This video is super fun but the comments on You Tube are nasty and it has like 1/200th of the views an N-Dubz video gets.
Little Mix was formed at bootcamp from solo singers, and unlike some other created groups, the girls looked like they would be friends even though they come from different cities. Here is their audition at judge’s house, when they were called Rhythmix, complete with Jessie J adorableness.
A group has never won X Factor; furthermore, girl groups are noted for being eliminated early every season (the UK audience seems to vote for cute boys on these shows just like the US audience). Little Mix was doing pretty ok in the competition until something happened: the buzz surrounding them grew and people got excited about a group winning. Tulisa called them her “little muffins” every episode, which was charming at first but got annoying. She did an awesome job of picking songs for them and defining their image. They are friendly, non-threatening girls that even the young female audience of the X Factor wanted to befriend. Jesy was teased for being overweight–girls related to that. Here is my favorite Little Mix performance, Katy Perry’s “ET.”
The finalists performed some Alicia Keys with their mentor at the finale.
Since winning, Little Mix still hang out with Tulisa, partying & covering her #1 hit. This is different from the other relationships contestants have had with their female mentors after the show ended–it’s not competitive and the support from Tulisa is so heartwarming (gag).
Perrie has had to defend herself from One Direction fans lately as she’s dating Zayn (who previously stalked Rebecca Ferguson from X Factor until she dated him); Jesy and Jade are dating guys from 2009 Britain’s Got Talent winners Diversity, a dance troupe (!!!). Leigh-Anne dumped her boyfriend, who then ran to the tabs and told them he suspected she cheated on him with someone in One Direction or The Risk. It’s weird to see LM so famous that they’re on all the gossip sites all the time.
The only blemish on an otherwise glowing first-season record is Tulisa’s spat with Kelly Rowland over her pet Misha B’s supposed bullying. But Misha got the last laugh since her first single is awesome:
There was some kind of Tulisa sex tape earlier this year, which you can read about in this great primer on the Awl of our favorite Female Boss. I think she has generally handled herself well and the UK public seems to really like her, despite making some of the worst music I have heard in the past few years. I try to pretend her pre-solo music career doesn’t exist, and I have really been able to enjoy her first season on The X Factor. Her clothes are interesting, she gives good critiques and she has an electric personality. I can’t wait until the show returns in a few short weeks.
Next time, I am going to talk about someone with whom I have had a very conflicting reality show relationship: Nicole Scherzinger.