Ian's Story

factor X contestant and boy band member


6. Bootcamp rewrite 1/04/2017

Chapter 6 ‘Bootcamp’

  ‘Factor X’ boy bands were not real bands as we in Terry’s band knew. They were really only singers who sang songs and sort of danced.  Paul, Mike, James, Conner and myself could all sing as well as play musical instruments. Unfortunately, Terry who’s band it was, couldn’t sing that well, leaving the rest of us with a big dilemma. How could we ditch Terry without breaking up the band?

   OMG! It felt so strange performing without Terry being there with us. I hadn’t realised how much I would miss him. He was the cement which held us together as a band. But Terry had always said the show must go on whatever our feeling might be, so we played. The church hall was packed. Terry’s parents had wanted everyone associated with the band to be there. I hadn’t realised until now he was a few years older than any of us in the band. It was only three weeks since his accident and subsequent death. As we played, I could see my mum and dad circulating the room talking to the other band members’ parents.

   Apparently they were initially talking about getting up a petition to do something about the roads black spot where Terry was hit by a lorry whilst riding his bicycle. It then turned to honouring Terry’s life by backing his band ‘T Five’ attempt at getting through to the ‘Factor X’ TV live performances. Conner took over Terry’s roll of getting the band ready for ‘Bootcamp’. At first all the boys except me felt naked without their musical instruments to hide behind. Slowly, we began, with the help from a professional dance choreographer, to get our act together. So some ten weeks later after continuous singing and dancing we thought we were ready for the two-day 'Factor X' ‘Bootcamp’. Little did we realise there would be over thirty bands to compete against. Also, unfairly, two of the bands ‘Hot Stuff and ‘Power House’ were put together by Steven Ward and the rest of the judges from the best of the solo singers who hadn’t quite made the final line up from last month’s ‘Bootcamp’.


   I soon figured out the whole purpose of the boot camp was to whittle down the bands by eliminating those boys who didn’t appeal to the show’s target audience. This was mainly teenage girls who would vote by phone in large numbers earning the TV Company who got a percentage of each phone call, lots of money.

   Looking around at the other bands, it struck me that ‘Hot Stuff’ and ‘Power House’ not only had good singers but each of the boys had something that identified them as individuals. This I pointed out to the other members of the band. Everybody agreed that our problem was although we all were at the right age, all not bad looking compared with those other boys, maybe even sexy, but we all looked alike. When Josh phoned I explained the situation. His immediately unhelpful suggestion was that I remove my underpants, which certainly would mark me out as an individual. After he stopped laughing his next suggestion was to gel style our hair differently, which wasn’t a bad idea. Thankfully, Mike had some gel wax with him and knew how to use it. After the next elimination we were told off for changing our hair styles but were allowed to keep them that way.

   Unfortunate this meant we had to get our photos retaken. Thankfully with Josh’s help, we were able to submit a new set of replacement photos for our band ’T Five’ before our next elimination performance.

   By the end of the first day our band plus nine others had survived to fight it out on the following day. Conner acting as the band’s spokesperson was not happy. He had learnt that our band would compete against ‘Power House’ one of Steven Wards made up bands, first thing in the morning. So naturally he called a rehearsal for that evening where it was decided, that now we had new individual hair styles we would change to the alternative song and dance routine we had practised many time before. In the morning Conner got approval for our change of song.

   Off stage we watched ‘Power House’ perform first and oh boy to me they really looked good. Conner made us have a group hug and told us, “This is it, all or nothing,” and as we broke from the hug he said, “Let’s do it.”

   To my utter surprise and amazement, the judges were standing and clapping when we finished. They thought we were on fire and told us that our performance was the best they’d ever seen at a ‘Bootcamp’ before.


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