X Factor (UK) seems to have taken on a decidedly Jerry Springer-esque air, something America’s Got Talent never did, even with Jerry Springer himself as the host. In an audition for X Factor (UK) Saturday evening, two teen friends, Abby and Lisa (together known as Ablisa), took the stage to perform a duet. What transpired for the next few minutes has become a viral video, and probably would have even with the vocal assault the two young women unleashed on the judges and audience. But being vocally challenged wasn’t the only assault on decorum and sensibility captured on video. Although the judges at first seemed amused at Abby and Lisa’s antics, amusement soon turned to astonishment, scorn, and rebuke as the two were rude to the judges, engaged in vulgar displays of childish behavior, and even became violent.
Before the audition, Abby and Lisa noted how nervous they were, talked about how close they were as friends, and how they didn’t want to let each other down. But whether it was excitability, naivete, being starstruck, experiencing stage fright and/or culture shock, ill-preparedness, or simple overall ignorance, Ablisa went from bad to worse in seconds. After Abby kept telling judge Simon Cowell “I don’t know” when asked why the two were performing (this just after Lisa had admitted to calling judge Louis Walsh “old”), the audience began a rumbling, rising roar of displeasure that all but drowned out Abby’s incoherent explanation. Defensively, Lisa told the crowd, “Shut up!”
With the judges sitting in surprised silence, Abby slammed her microphone into Lisa’s chest and stormed off stage. Amid whispers of “Are they coming back?” from the judges, the two girls returned to the stage. Simon Cowell, known to American Idol and X Factor (UK) fans as one of little patience, asked if Ablisa were ready to perform. They acknowledged they were.
Then began a most horrendous (to borrow from the Simon Cowell’s descriptive thesaurus) back-and-forth, a vocal styling that just about any atonal, tone-deaf shower singer could produce (with a partner, of course). With a shout from Lisa to “Change the song!,” the audience began to jeer and roar with derision. To his credit and for the second time in the space of minutes, Cowell raised his hand to signal the crowd to quiet. He put on his best condescending look.
Lisa told the still rather loud X Factor (UK) audience and the judges, “Basically, at the end of the day, we don’t care what you guys say. We just came up here..”
She was quickly interrupted by Abby, who said, “We’re not at the end of the day. Obviously, we care what you think, but she’s being a bit over the top.”
Cowell then did what he does best — criticize with precision.
“Can I be honest with you two?” he began. “You have the worst attitude of any contestants I have ever met on any of these shows.”
The crowd roared with approval.
Simon Cowell’s statement was somewhat surprising, considering that he has been verbally abused, threatened, and had drinks thrown on him. Perhaps he meant Ablisa’s overall attitude, considering most of those contestants who went ballistic usually only did so after their auditions were criticized by the judges.
Normally, that would have been the end of it, with Abby and Lisa hearing the sound “No” four times in succession.
But it didn’t end there. As the viral video shows, Cowell went on to tell them they were “rude.” Lisa attempted to explain that the rudeness was a reaction to the audience booing. Cowell countered with Lisa telling the audience to “shut up.”
Then X Factor (UK) judge Natalie Imbruglia chimed in. “The singing was not great, girls,” she said. Lisa matter-of-factly asked, “Who are you, may I ask?” Her partner Abby simply stared at her friend in shock, her mouth agape. To her credit, Imbruglia simply laughed out loud.
Abby handed her partner her microphone and stomped away. But before she had gone too far, she turned and punched her singing partner in the face. Lisa stormed off behind her, flipping off the audience as she exited to the roar of a displeased crowd.
Offstage, Abby said she would never “do anything for her (Lisa) again.”
After discussing what they had just seen, Simon Cowell, ever the pragmatic one, told some production people to pass along to the girls that it was “four ‘Nos.'”
With all that going on, all they needed was a pole and Jerry Springer quietly moving to a safer part of the stage. Regardless, it makes for an amusing video.
The full X Factor audition (with fight) of Ablisa follows.