If you are a young male with other young male friends…

The one on the left is clearly a misunderstood vampire.
The one on the left is clearly a misunderstood vampire.

…the most important element here is the hair. First, grow it as long and as curly as you can manage. If your hair is thin, you can’t be in the band. If your hair is straight, you can’t be in the band. Comb hair upwards as much as possible. We’re aiming for maximum gravity-defiance here, people, channel Something About Mary if you must. If you’re not getting stuck in ceiling fans, you’re not trying hard enough.

Then, steal your mother’s razor (if you’re old enough to shave, you can’t be in the band). Imagine you have a skull cap on. Get rid of anything that might stick out the sides. As for clothing – steal your trousers from an 8-year-old, your shirt from the sales rack at Top Shop (women’s section, obv), and you’re good to go. Make sure you never stand up entirely straight again, but bend over as if you’re experiencing menstrual cramps. Make sure your eyes convey your pain to the camera. Only one of you may smile at any one time, work it in shifts. Work it. You’re a star.

If you are a female over 25 years of age…

This category can be upsetting for participants.
This category can be upsetting for participants.

The first thing to remember here is that your actual age is no longer important. Do you know how old Sharon is? 112. Exactly. You are an OVER. Got that into your head? An OVER. If you have trouble remembering that (because you’re so fucking old) just repeat this in your head: My life is OVER. You’re not in the Girl’s category, girlfriend. There will be no colour for you. There will be no shiny things for you. Think pension schemes, support for your arches, The Archers. You are a mature woman and you will dress like one. If you mention Madonna you will be removed from the competition.

Now, strip yourself of all personal style. Oh, you wore a tropical maxi-dress to an audition, and looked fabulous? Funny. From now on you will be put in black trousers that bag around the crotch and preclude all thoughts of vaginas. Your breasts will exist only as something to thrust in the air as you sing Celine Dion. You, old lady, are here because Simon Cowell said we should have 4 categories and Pre-Pubescents was vetoed in think-tank stages. Some people have no vision. Like you, Granny. 

If you are a boy…

The one on the left is actually Louis from the past, time-traveling to WARN HIM OF HIS FATE AS AN X FACTOR JUDGE.
The one on the left is actually Louis from the past, time-traveling to WARN HIM OF HIS FATE AS AN X FACTOR JUDGE.

If you’re not white and between the ages of 14 and 17, don’t bother. Your country doesn’t need you. If you’re fat, go home. You might get as far as judges houses, but if Louis can’t get his arms around all three of his finalists at once, he’s going to lose interest. If you’re not either a. clean-cut and gorgeous, b. unwashed and charming or c. channeling Billy Elliot, turn around. We’ve got a young female audience to impress here, people.

Luckily, the ability to sing is not that important in this category. If you’ve already managed to be this age AND have no spots NOR a perpetual erection then you’ve met the brief. This does mean that what you wear is quite important, but don’t worry, it’s not complicated. There’s a simple formula. If you have gone through puberty, the answer is this: Very Tight Shirts. If you haven’t gone through puberty the answer is this: Dress Like Your Grandfather.

If you are a girl…

After this shot was taken, Nicole pushed Tamera off the balcony.
After this shot was taken, Nicole pushed Tamera off the balcony. 

You are in the trickiest category, clothes-wise. You’re going to need to have an individual style – a niche. Otherwise, girls tend to be interchangeable in the eyes of the public. Hair, eyes, teeth – come on girls, try a bit harder. Grow a tail or something.

Top Shop Fairy is a recommended look – this is the love-child of Librarian Chic and Glastonbury Puddle Stomper (or would be if Librarian Chic didn’t Always Wear A Condom). Sob Story Survivor is another good one – turn up to the audition looking just a little bit like you slept half Under A Bridge and half in a Quite Dangerous Storm, and then emerge onstage as a finalist looking like You Like Pina Coladas And Getting Caught In The Rain (even if you’re only 17). Your last option is the trickiest one – Look Like Nicole. Long hair, long limbs, Not Very Many Clothes But Still Classy Like a Cat, Motherfucker. If pulled off correctly, this look is spectacular. However, one must be extremely careful not to Look Better Than Nicole. Instant elimination. Develop a squint, Tamera. 

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