I know, I'm still being a fangirl.
Last night I was in the X Factor audience. Massive thanks to my friend, who I know will want to stay anonymous, for finding me a spare ticket! After going to the Milan auditions back in June it was great to see the progress some of my favourite contestants had made.
X Factor in Italy is on every Thursday night, and on Sky Uno. This year it's being held in a purpose made tented theatre in the east of the city, in the Lambrate area. It holds 1,200 people, but only 250 tickets are put on sale every week for the Italian public to buy. And we have to buy them. The tickets cost 28 euro, and are put on sale every Monday at midday for the show on the following Thursday. And with only 250 tickets and such high demand they're pretty much impossible to buy.
The show's an epic three hours long, starting at 9.10pm, and it's followed straightaway by Xtra Factor which goes on for another hour - so when I walked into the arena last night I knew I was in for the long haul! It went a lot quicker than I imagined though, and I enjoyed it more than I expected to!
This week was 'Hell Factor', and my inner Dante geek was very happy about all the Inferno references. It had been given that name due to the fact that there were two eliminations instead of just one, and unfortunately one of my favourites got voted off. Roberta was one of the most memorable contestants from the Milanese auditions for me, partly because of her slightly unfortunate surname... Another one of Mika's girls, Gaia - who killed it at Milan with her performance of Mina's Brava - escaped being voted off after ending up in the bottom two of the second group of contestants.
I was particularly impressed with Michele, for someone so young the kid has an amazing voice. Ape Escape are fantastic, and they bring a touch of originality to the competition. I loved Fabio's performance too, another singer who had impressed me back in June.
During the show I couldn't help but think back to my very first experience with X Factor Italy, over four years ago. That was when Mika was a mere guest, and now he was a judge. Back then I hadn't even been in Italy for a year. I didn't know who the judges were, and I didn't recognise the Italian songs the contestants were performing. This time I knew too well who the judges were - also back in July - and I knew every single song that was performed. The fact that the audience was applauding everything was perfectly normal, and I felt quite at home in my surroundings.
Mika is doing a brilliant job. His Italian gets better and better, but it's only normal that he makes a few mistakes (a couple that come to mind from last night were a couple of incorrect conjugations of the verbs sapere and essere - both of which are awful irregular verbs). The audience went wild when he took his place at the judges' table at the beginning of the show, much to my delight. I'm still amazed that this country has taken to a foreigner so much.
We left the arena to find that it was absolutely pouring down with rain, and quickly jumped in the car to go home. By the time I crawled into bed it was around 1.30!