You can find my original X Factor predictions here. I obviously won't comment on all of them as they don't all apply to the Room Auditions and we've all got lives to lead.

PREDICTION: The middle 8 leading into the chorus of Ghost by Ella Henderson will be played at least once every episode.
REALITY: Yes. One thing I failed to predict was the usage of Crazy Stupid Love, which is odd as I would have felt that was better buried and forgotten about by everyone concerned. 

PREDICTION: Many, many people will audition singing All of Me by John Legend. 
REALITY: Two for one here from returnee Jake Quickenden. First he cracked out All of Me; halfway through he was criticised by Mel for not singing the song like he meant it (which is a bit rich coming from someone who can count "zig-a-zig-ah" as the most famous lyric of her career but there you go). The judges then dragged out a story from Jake about his brother who died and in a almost admiringly brazen turn of events Mel instructed Jack to exploit this story in order to perform better next time.

Jake then went on to sing Say Something, which I can't believe I missed out on as an obvious audition staple but every bloke with a gravelly voice, a guitar and some kind of memorable story of pain was knocking it out left right and centre. That song will be sung at the lives at some point, mark my words. Of course, he got through. 

PREDICTION: Many, many, many people will audition singing Money On My Mind by Sam Smith (aka Basic on my Basic by Basic Smith).
REALITY: I should have realised Simon Cowell was never likely to support a song with the lyrics "When I signed my deal/I felt pressure/Don't wanna see the numbers/I wanna see heaven" let alone "I'm not a puppet/I will work against your strings." I expect he probably arranged for anyone auditioning with it to be ejected by trapdoor.

PREDICTION: Mel B will be, to quote Taylor Swift, casually cruel in the name of being honest - being "upfront" is her thing but it will just end up in her needlessly hurting loads of people's feelings and it not being very funny or useful. 
REALITY: Time to eat my words as Mel hasn't been like this at all. Mel's main USP so far appears to be"I'M FROM LEEDS AND ANYONE ELSE FROM LEEDS IS BRILLIANT" but I think her and Cheryl seem to have pretty good chemistry and she looks great. I do have high hopes for her come the lives. 

PREDICTION: Cheryl Cole using Sia as her mate at judges' houses will be skin-crawling levels of awkward.
REALITY: It might not be judges' houses yet but Cheryl has already criticised 'Raign' for claiming Sia didn't have a hit until last year. She's clearly been doing her homework. Perhaps it won't be that awkward after all.
Let's all just have a little bit of a listen to Breathe Me as it's amazing.

PREDICTION: There will be at least two novelty acts. One of them will kind of have talent but will be a bit "out there", the other one will just be shit. 

The older I get the more I realise that 98% of people, whatever they are like, are inherently predictable. Whether you can trust them to be nice to you, or whether you can trust them to not really care about your weekend but ask you about it anyway, or whether you can trust them to cancel your plans, or whatever, most people will just go through life doing whatever it is you expect them to do. As a general rule, no one is more predictable than someone who thinks they are really interesting. 

However, this only goes to show there are another 2% of people out there, who to the bone are utterly terrifying. Raign is one of them. This may have been a car crash in some ways but it was also solid gold TV. 

Raign surely is one of the best 'characters' the X Factor has found in years and I will be very surprised if she doesn't make it to the live shows. I can see the trajectory now: three bottom twos, in her second she'll be kept against a viewer favourite. 

For what it's worth, I'm with Cheryl. Her second song was good, but she didn't sing it that well. More importantly people shouldn't be able to get away with being that unprofessional. All I hope is that no one on the X Factor crosses Raign personally as I imagine they'll probably live to regret it.

PREDICTION: Unfortunately, johnlewisification of pop songs will still be a thing.
REALITY: Perhaps because of the absence of Barlow (which I am still only just about daring to believe), this no longer appears to be very popular anymore. In fact, this is probably the best example, and I actually really liked this. 

PREDICTION: Simon will reference the fact he created the biggest boyband in the world fortnightly at an absolute MINIMUM. 
REALITY: Less than ten seconds into his first appearance in the first episode.

Overall? I know we're only one stage down, but I'm enjoying X Factor so far this year. This is certainly the best the auditions have been for many years. The only first audition I've ever really loved is Cher Lloyd's and no one has yet to match up, but you never know, in the arena auditions someone might change my mind. 

The judging panel works well; Simon and Cheryl have always had great chemistry and keep things feeling classic, whereas Mel B interacts well with the other judges and keeps things feeling fresh. So far there hasn't been that much focus on taking the piss out of bad contestants. I've seen no acts yet that I really love and am initially backing for a win, but I've seen a good few I really like and I'm especially excited for the girls' category. 

I've appreciated the change in structure making the room auditions and the live arena auditions into different stages. Beforehand I didn't appreciate seeing the same acts twice in one weekend. This feels a lot more linear and natural. 

The only part of X Factor this year that I've so far not really enjoyed is this: 

The strange decision to have this end a Sunday night show, complete with the gushing VT about Linzi's sad life and how all she wanted was to be a popstar again, really led everyone to believe that this would be good. But it just wasn't. I found this difficult and upsetting to watch and could barely look at the screen. However, it served its purpose: it reminded all of us how much any of these popstars have to lose. 

Let's see how everyone gets on this weekend then, eh?

PS the decision to air X Factor on Fridays, Saturdays AND Sundays is bizarre. Not even I have that much time. 

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