Want to go on the X Factor and do well? Well, we’re going to show you how to do just that!
This is the fourth part in the 5 part series about doing well on the X Factor. All 5 parts are written by Max Millias and can be seen here:
- Part 1: Getting on X Factor.
- Part 2: Boootcamp.
- Part 3: Live shows part 1.
- Part 4: Live shows part 2 (This part).
Be Prepared To Show You Have Versatility
When it comes to live shows there’s one thing the judges like to see more then any thing else; that you’re not just a one trick pony!
By this stage they know you’re a talented singer and you are very good at what you can do. The thing is though, they want an all round performer that can not only do just one type of song, but they can jump into different genres and still be good at what they do.
Any record label is going to prefer to work with some one that can do more then one thing over a one trick pony, this will allow them to attack different angles with their act and try new things. It will also mean that they’ll most likely have more longevity, as they would more easily be able to adapt with the times.
In order to see how versatile you and the other acts are, during the live stages there is a different theme every week. So for example one week your song choice will have to be based on a modern hit that’s in the charts right now, the next it’ll have to be based on a 80s classic. Every week the theme changes, and you’ll have to be prepared to adapt and rise to the challenge every time. If you can do this you’ve put yourself in a good position with the judges, and in turn with every one else.
In order to prepare for the different types of songs that are thrown your way, I’d advise you to start broadening your horizons to different types of music as soon as possible. Singing along to different types of songs will allow you to shape your voice in different ways and get a feeling for the way these songs are sung. Not only that, but it will allow you to feel an emotional response to these songs which you’ll most likely to use again at a later stage.
I’ll advise you open your mind to the possibility of singing different types of song and if anything welcome the challenge. You do after all want to be a pop star right? Well these activities are forcing you to become an all round better product, so take these opportunities with arms open wide!
What Happens When You Don’t Agree With A Song Choice Made By Your Mentor?
Even if you’re open to embracing versatility and trying new things, occasions may still arise where you feel a song really just isn’t for you. While both you and your mentor work together to pick a song to perform, you’ll find that at some stage your opinions may clash. So what do you do if this situation arises?
Well first of all you should make your feelings known. If you don’t speak up about any concerns you have then they won’t know or be able to do anything about it. Ideally you’ll be able to work with them to pick a more suitable song but with the same sort of style. That will hopefully make you both happier, as you get away from the song you didn’t want to do while they get the same sort of effect they were looking for.
If you disagree about the whole type of song however, coming up with a solution can be a lot hard to do. The thing is this: Your mentor is the person that’s trying to get your status up and help you win the competition. While you may not always agree with their decisions, they have got your best interest at heart and want to move your music career forward. That combined with the fact that they have years of high end music industry success behind their back, if you still can’t agree at the end you may just have to go with their decision. Just let them know that it’s not ideal for you.
If it gets to that stage, there are other things you can do to cover your back if the performance all goes wrong. One of those things is letting the other judges know that you weren’t happy with the song choice before you go on stage. Don’t inform them of this in a way where you’re stabbing your mentor in the back, as that’ll make none of the other judges want to work with you. Instead just inform them that you weren’t comfortable with working on this type of song and you wouldn’t have picked it yourself. This will give the other judges a heads up, and give yourself an excuse if the performance goes pear shaped.
Most likely after the performance, the judges will bring up the fact they know you weren’t comfortable with singing this type of song. They’ll either follow that by saying you had no need to worry as you done a great job, or that they agree with your concerns and it was a bad song choice. Either way you’re put in a good position for future weeks, as if they liked your performance you’ve found out you can do something new, but if they didn’t a lot of blame goes on the judge for the poor song selection. If the second one is the case, hopefully next time the judge will listen to you when you say you’re really not comfortable with a song choice and you won’t have to go through this situation again.
I would always say that if you aren’t fully comfortable with a track then in most cases your mentor will appreciate that and work with you to change it. You must never keep it quiet and just go along with what they say as I have seen that happen in the past and it only ends in tears for everyone.
Getting The Judges On Your Side
As with previous stages of the competition, during the live shows it’s very important to get the right judges on your side. As you go through different stages of the X Factor competition, you’ll start to notice that some judges have more influence then others. In most instances it’s best to get these influential judges to like you, but also work on being liked by as many judges as possible.
Now I’m not saying to be a suck up or anything, but what I am saying is do the general things that show you’re a nice person and appreciative of the opportunities they have giving you. For example, becoming likeable to them could be as simple as saying hi with a genuine smile on your face when you see them, or having a quick conversation with them when you get the chance.
One thing you shouldn’t do however is go over board with your effort to impress the judges. You don’t want to always hang around them like a lap dog, or be a ‘yes boy’ and agree with every thing they say. The judges usually like people who have their own opinions about their music career, but are also willing to try new things when the time is right. Show them your personality, as the more they know you, the more likely they’ll grow a soft spot in their heart for you. And this will really help if it ever comes down to you needing to survive a sing off.
How To Survive A Sing Off
Ending up in the bottom two can easily happen and can even happen to the best of them. There have been many acts that have had to survive a sing off and still gone on to win the show so if you end up in the sing off then don’t take it to heart. Just do your best to survive and make sure you don’t end up in the sing off for the next week.
As I mentioned earlier on, the sing off is a head to head between the two acts who gain the fewest votes that week.
The way this works is simple; You have one more performance and one more opportunity to show the judges why you should stay in the competition. You will be allowed to choose a song to perform for this. A good tip is to choose one of your songs best received by the judges, as this will remind them why they liked you in the first place. Not many people have realised that you can actually do this as most people assume that the song has to be a brand new performance so its important to bear this in mind. For example, if you blew away the audience with a performance a few weeks earlier then just go with the same one again for the sing off. This will definitely give you a great chance of staying in the competition.
Once both acts have performed, they’re both brought to the stage where judges vote on which one they want to keep in the competition and which one will be out. They’ll also give you feedback on why they made this choice. Generally your mentor will pick for you to stay in and the other singer’s mentor will vote for their act to stay in. After that there are two more votes which count, and you want to make them sway your way.
If you’ve been making your self likeable to the various judges as described in previous chapters, hopefully this will go some way in swaying their decision to pick you. In the end though, it all comes down to how good your performance was that they just witnessed, so make sure it’s your best performance of the competition so far!
I’ve seen people break down crying during a sing off. While this helps in terms of tugging at people’s heart strings, it doesn’t do much for making your vocals stronger. The thing is that you want to make sure this performance is pitch perfect and has something really special about it. That is the real way to survive a sing off.
Another good tip is this: Each week you should actually prepare to be in a sing off situation. While it’s never easy to be in a sing off and can be emotionally draining, if you’re already prepared to be in a sing off you’ll be able to cope with it that bit better then if it was a complete surprise to you. You’ll have that edge of being focused and up for the task in hand. You’ll also get the biggest feeling of relief and joy if you don’t have to go in to a sing off as well.
Listening To Rumours
When I worked on the show the results were always done within the same night, however since the format changed and the results are announced the next day I have heard that there has been a lot of backstage problems regarding rumours. I still have friends that work on the show and they say that there is normally rumours flying around the X-Factor house on the Sunday about who is going and thanks to Twitter and Facebook these rumours can spread very quickly. Its important not to listen to any of these rumours at all and remain focused.
Additional Live Show Advice Part 2
So you’re in the live stages of X Factor. All you can do now is perform the best you can on the show and hope for the best right? Wrong! There’s a lot more you, or at least your family and friend can do in order to make your winning the show a lot more likely. Here are the main things:
Taking Promotion Into Your Own Hands
This one is so big you wouldn’t believe it. Doing your own promotion can literally add thousands of votes for you every week, it really is that powerful. You may find it’s surprising then, that very few finalists actually do their own promotion. Certainly when I worked on the show it wasn’t that common, however these days I would say it’s essential. The power of social networking sites is actually quite scary these days and not to be underestimated.
A lot of the shows contestants feel they don’t have to do their own promotion as the X Factor bosses do a lot of promotion work for them. And while X Factor’s promotion is very good, doing your own alongside it will do nothing but boost the awareness about you specifically, and gain you some what of a cult following.
OK, so now we know that your own promotion is vital. One problem though, with your busy schedule, where are you going to find the time to do your own promotion? Well fear not, that’s when your family and friends come in to play…
Rallying Up The Troops
In all honesty, it would be impossible for you to embark on a promotional campaign at this stage of the competition. Everything you’re going to be doing will be aimed at improving your weekend performance, as well as taking part in the official X Factor awareness campaigns. So taking time out to promote yourself online or via flyering would be simply impossible. Having said that, there are ways to get around this.
What a few of the previous X Factor contestants have done with great success, is got their family and friends to go round and raise awareness for them. As I mentioned before, doing your own promotion outside of X Factor’s eye can literally mean thousands of more votes, so is well worth doing. I’m sure you’ll have people you know that are willing to help, being involved in some thing so big is always a good motivational tool for people, and the chance to maybe appear on TV because of it can get lots of people willing to help you out. There were some instances in previous years when the difference between bottom two and bottom three was literally only a hundred votes!
You may be wondering how you will round up these promotional troops. Well, it really is as easy as picking up the phone and asking for their help. You may want to start with your immediate family, as they’re most likely to want to get involved and see you do well. They can also be instrumental at raising awareness round your local area, as well as start up the online campaigns. Next up you can ask any close friends you have, as well as any people in high places you know.
When you ask these people, it’s often a good idea to suggest they try and get other people to take part also. This means once you have finished asking for help from your initial circle, you’ll still be getting more helpers as your helpers recruit more people. You may be surprised at how many people will go out of their way to help if it means being part of something like X Factor, so don’t be shy and use that to your advantage.
Offering an Incentive
While most people will do some sort of promotion for you for free, you may also want to offer an incentive for that extra bit of promotion to be done. One idea is promising a post X Factor party for any one involved in the promotion. You could hold this in a local hall, and provide party food and drinks for any one who helps with your promotional campaign. And as a special treat, you will perform for them and offer a karaoke / open mike section to the evening. You may want to include that the X Factor TV crews may also appear as there’s a good chance they’ll be following your around even after the show has finished, so this may be a big selling point for those people wanting to get their own chance at fame.
What Kind Of Promotion Should They Be Doing?
So now you know how you can round up the troops, the next thing is letting them know what types of promotion they could be doing for you. While there are many different types they could get their hands into, here are some of the easiest and most effective:
‘Social media marketing’, or in other terms ‘promoting yourself on Facebook and Twitter’. This has to be one of the easiest and most effective types of promotion people can do for you, as not only is it a pretty straight forward task for someone to carry out, it can also give you reach to people all around the world.
If you know any people that use these sites already, get them to set up a group page for you and add as many people as possible. They should also promote the existence of this page on specific X Factor sites, such as X Factor discussion forums, and in comments on other X Factor sites. If they make it clear that this is your official page run by your family, you’re bound to get a lot of people joining, interacting, and eventually voting for you to win. And best of all? All this is free to do! So get them to create both a Facebook and Twitter page, and get to creating a buzz around your name!
Handing out flyers is another effective method of promotion, and one worth doing to gain ‘real world’ presence. While it hasn’t got the reach of marketing to people via social media, it can be very good at gaining new supporters from your local area and town. As you’ll know if you’ve ever seen X Factor before, people love it when some one they’ve seen before is now on other TV. It’s almost like a stamp of approval on their town or city, so every one feels like they’re part of something bigger.
Handing out flyers can let people know that some one from their area is on one of the biggest TV shows in the world, and make it more likely they’ll tune into X Factor and vote for you to win.
One thing with flyering though, is it costs money. While not a huge amount, you can’t really expect people to pay for them out of their own pocket. You may have to give them the money for a few flyer runs, but it helps you get further in the competition it will be worth it.
Once your family or friends have the flyers, it’s advisable to give a bunch to al the people who are helping with promotion. The more people that are handing them out, the wider reach they’ll inevitably get.
Other Types Of Promotion:
While these are the two easiest and most effective types of promotion, if you have supporters willing to get imaginative then there’s also a whole other heap of things they can do. For example, they could approach local and national newspapers and give them a story about you. Nothing that will damage your reputation of course, but some kind of inside knowledge that could get you in the papers and raise awareness about your fight to win the X Factor. Similarly they could do the same with radio stations, going on shows and talking about how well you’re doing.
Another idea is to hold an X Factor night in a local town hall , or any where else you can hire. They can get the snacks in, and every one that wants to come down can come and watch you performing on a big screen. This will really promote a sense of unity, and guarantee some people will vote for you week in week out after that. Another benefit of this is that your family can make sure people vote while they’re actually there.
There are many ways people can promote you, some will have set skills they can already utilize, others can stick to the methods outlined as above. The important thing is your promotional troops get the word about you out there, by any means necessary.