Back home from XF8 auditions in Bologna! I already wrote a quick update about Sunday. The level of contestants wasn’t good on Sunday and the judges didn’t have the same energy or mood they seemed to had on Saturday. I had a great spot on Sunday though (a bit on the side behind the judges so could see the stage well) and I enjoyed watching how everything happened. On Monday I went to the middle of the front row even I knew it wasn’t an ideal spot (I even had empty seats next to me) as I was sitting directly behind Mika’s back and therefore couldn’t see the stage/contestants or his face when he turned to talk with the audience. It was still not boring at all, I love observing and being allowed – with a permission and a good reason – to watch him working. I luxuriously had a personal translator (thank you Sarik!) next to me translating all the most important parts and it was really entertaining to listen to each contestant and watch the judges commenting and doing their show (on Monday all of them showing good mood and energy, joking and chatting a lot).

The level of the auditions on Monday was considerably better than on Sunday. The judges gave 4 x yes many times – can’t even count how many – a part of the times as an encouragement (pretty sure many of those contestants will be out during the next phase) but several times deserved. I think we heard the winner for the season (if not the winner at least someone who deserves to win) and possibly a couple of other suitable candidates for the finals. Well we never know how the production makes these contestants look/how the Italian television audience votes. The material is very different compared to The Voice and not homogenous at all. Personally I don’t like it how XF gives a spotlight to some really poor singers just to make the show more colorful – it’s always embarrassing to watch – but on the other hand the judges can find some gems who otherwise could be lost during too many pre-auditions.

Even the level was generally good on Monday some poor singers/”unique cases” were left for the end of the recording night and the judge team was already over-tired and not really patient and even though both me and my personal translator were tired as well (meaning I missed a lot of comments) I could still understand that the judges didn’t filter their words or reactions like they usually do and with a bad cutting/taking comments out of the context some moments can be made look bad. I hope it doesn’t happen as I know the television audience is not understanding, people simply can’t feel the same tiredness or the puzzlement some performances can cause at late night after hours and hours of recording. Well we’ll see that, too.

The judge team had a great energy indeed, not sure if it was because the contestants were better than day before or because they had decided to put up a great show. They were joking and taking a lot of contact with the audience (chatting, showing their facial expressions and asking people to shout their opinion or to make more noise). In the beginning they came to stage looking super stylish: Mika wearing an incredibly elegant suit, Victoria in her pretty dress, Fedez wearing a jacket with his funny pants and Morgan in his light, more relaxed suit. After a couple of hours Fedez was already in his t-shirt and I was watching Mika and Morgan (their backsides to be exact), the first one one in his perfectly fitting, slim suit every hair on it’s place and the latter one in his already wrinkled suit with totally messy hair (messed on purpose Leningrad Cowboys style).

At some point Victoria (I think it was her idea, not sure as I was distracted atm) joked about Mika doing an audition and the audience went wild and Mika just had to leave his chair and walk to the stage and he joked about doing an audition and suddenly started to sing – not jokingly but seriously – and did a good snippet of Happy Ending a cappella!! Sarik and I hugged each other as soon as we realized he is going to sing and again when it turned out to be Happy Ending and I did a bossy gesture with my hand demanding people around me to be quiet and it was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. So beautiful. When he stopped the audience went wild again. I think he was a bit nervous for real but it went well and I loved him for doing it and Victoria for demanding it and was happy about my first row center spot. Totally worth traveling to Bologna. As I already told the end of the night was a bit weird and I couldn’t help but laughing at Morgan and his comments (impossible to explain, let’s just call them very unexpected). At this point I couldn’t understand Mika even translated.

After the show everyone disappeared so quickly I had no possibility to say good bye. I was extremely happy that I wasn’t alone (was with Sarik) as finding a taxi turned out to be practically impossible (we called 4-5 taxi companies) and we got one only after more than an hour of waiting and several calls to my hotel (I was bossy with them as well and made them believe they are responsible of my safety in an area like that after 2AM). It was good to be in Italy again and I was pleased with my trip. Today was simply perfect after finally hearing the new Mika song Boum-Boum-Boum. I’m so relieved to have him back. I can’t even describe my happiness. My heart feels finally light again, this was worth every month of waiting. I adore the “screaming” part, it makes the song more special than I expected.

Just a few words about the auditions in Bologna on Sunday (June 8th).

I really like the new judge team! Morgan is still there so there will definitely be enough drama during the season – we already saw a taste – but still more down-to-earth casting compared to last year, imo. People seem to like young Fedez more than they expected in advance and why not, he seems a nice and correct guy. I liked how he behaved with one of the contestants (can’t obviously give any spoilers, it will probably be on television later). Mika is giving him a lot of attention, hahah Morgan must feel jealous already!

The contestants for Sunday were generally poor level, imo, but liked one boy and going to follow him later in the competition. One girl was genuinely interesting and can go far. Mika said no to her though and I hope he won’t let her go like happened with Roberta last time. Similar thoughts about an interesting group on Sunday. All of them still in the competition and will see them later again. Some contestants were there only to give color to the show (looking silly, talking too much, arguing), must say I don’t like this part of the concept. I hope the level is better for Monday’s auditions.

None of the judges was especially chatty on Sunday until the later hour when everyone was tired already/focusing wasn’t so easy any more. I heard the atmosphere was different night before and that Mika and Morgan were joking a lot and talking with the audience. Most of the people are in the audience for Mika and he is totally the star but still humble as usual. He didn’t much chat with the audience but still obviously paid attention and for example went to a disabled girl with a poster for him as soon as noticed her and took a pic with her (needless to say how much I love him always doing little gestures like that).

The new single Boum-Boum-Boum will be published in two days. Some fans were singing the chorus part and Mika gave a tiny sneak peek to the song! He didn’t even turn around and it was just a few words in French but still fun and made us all happy and smiling! He also explained the meaning of the boumboums with suitable moves so it should be clear to everyone now!

Italian discussion are easier for me to follow compared to French (I can at least understand key words here and there) but I naturally totally miss jokes and every possible off topic comment so a huge thank you for translating to my Italian friends once again! So good to see all familiar people again. It’s very hot in Bologna but I’m trying to enjoy the sun, I can do it only rarely at home.