X-Factor 2013 Episode Three: Comedy contestants Thomas Feely, Stuart Manson and Colin Stacey hog the limelight while Melanie McCabe and Jade Richards return

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Last week I was full of praise for the new look X-Factor and I really enjoyed how quick both shows felt as compared to last year’s audition rounds. However, a shorter running time is only a good thing if you’ve got the acts to fill the show and tonight’s episode really tested that theory. While the comedy contestant is a staple of The X-Factor auditions, I felt that tonight we were overun with comic turns which meant the actual talent took a backseat.

Things started well enough with mediocre stage-school sort Chloe O’Gorman making her way through Miley Cyrus’ ‘The Climb’ and getting a unanimous response from the panel. We also got a bit of unique talent in Barclay Beales who decided to yodel his way through his audition, getting Nicole all hot and bothered in the process. I personally feel that Barclay is a bit of a one-trick pony and his yodelling routine will probably get a bit tiring come week six of the live shows. The comedy then begun in the form of Thomas Feely, a part time DJ from Leeds who possessed one of the world’s most boring voices. Thomas came into the audition room armed with a laptop and some feedback forms, the latter of which he usually has punters fill out following his club nights. The laptop meanwhile was used to set up his robotic backing track for his rendition of ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ was predictively awful. Meanwhile Gary Barlow, who was in comedy mode, decided to tell Thomas what he thought of him in the form of a feedback sheet. However, if I’d had a feedback form I’d tell Simon Cowell to tone down the comedy and inform Barlow that he isn’t half as funny as he thinks he is.

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The section portion of the programme was devoted to people with menial jobs starting with 23 year old housekeeper Relley C. Relley was a little of ball of energy as soon as she entered the audition room and I predicted she’d be good before she started to sing. I found Relley to be a singer who improved as the performance progressed so by the time we reach the chorus of ‘Don’t You Worry Child’, she’d really started to come into her own. While Gary conceded that Relley was a little pitchy, he thought she was a great singer and had a great personality. Louis agreed with Gary as he told Relley that she could concentrate on her singing shouting at her ‘no more housekeeping!’ I’m assuming then it was a little awkward when Relley came to turn down Louis’ hotel room bed the next morning. Other menial labourers who succeeded in getting through to the arena shows included white van woman Shelley Smith and wheelie bin cleaner Ryan Mathie. However, this segment descended into comedy once again in the form of tree surgeon Stuart Manson, who at first came across as a plucky veteran who could really be an asset to the Overs group. It was his opening speech that gave me this impression as he described singing as his passion and something he’d love to pursue full time. But I fear Stuart will have to stay with the trees for a while as the facial expressions during his performance of ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ reminded me of a very different member of the Manson family. Not surprisingly the judges didn’t put Stuart through to the arena and described his performance as bizarre.

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The most talented performer on tonight’s show was definitely Abi Alton who performed a version of Travelling Soldier by Dixie Chicks. Abi was the sort of quirky contestant that the show loves and she definitely had the talent to match. Abi personally reminded me of Lucy Spraggan as neither has that classic X-Factor look or sound but at the same time they’re both incredibly talented. Like Lucy, Abi also has quite a strong presence on YouTube and it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if she was one of the acts that the producers invited along to audition. Oddly Louis Walsh wasn’t a big fan of Abi’s feeling that she wasn’t right for the show, however I feel this statement was just to put a question mark over whether or not Abi would get past tomorrow’s arena show. Just to counterbalance Abi’s excellent performance we had the third of tonight’s comedy trio in cab controller Colin Stacey. Like Michael before him, Colin brought in a comedy prop in the form of a photo of his cat. Colin then sung to the photo frame as he performed ‘Someone Like You’ and sped ahead of the backing track. Of the three comedy contestants tonight, Colin was the only one that made me laugh especially when Gary and Nicole sung along to the backing track at the right time. Though I did enjoy Colin’s turn, I felt his place on the show could’ve been occupied by someone with more talent.

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However, as we X-Factor viewers know sometimes talent doesn’t get you beyond judge’s homes and some contestants live by the motto – ‘there’s always next year’. Look there’s little Amy from Essex who lost out to Christopher Maloney in the wildcard vote last year and is now back belting her way through ‘Clown’. Then there’s The Dolly Rockers who nobody remembers from the 2006 series when Louis sent them home in favour of The MacDonald Brothers and Eton Road. Jade Richards, I remember her from two years ago and not so much from last year when she was hardly featured on the programme. But it’s Melanie McCabe who wins the award for comeback queen as tonight she appeared for the fourth time on the show. I’ve always liked Melanie’s voice but I feel that she’ll be let go over those who aren’t as vocally gifted but are more memorable. It’s a shame that not all of the comeback girls will make it onto the live shows but, as I said before, there’s always next year.

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Though we did have some great performances on tonight show, courtesy of Melanie and Abi in particular, I feel that it will be best remembered for the comedy characters. While performers such as Thomas, Stuart and Colin are enjoyable in small doses I felt three of them during the one show was far too much. After such a superb start, The X-Factor is already beginning to feel a little tired and I think the over-abundance of former contestants is evidence of this. Although the banter between the judges is still entertaining, we need some more talented singers as at the moment we’ve mainly got last year’s rejects and comedy contestants who sing out of tune.

What did you think to tonight’s X-Factor? Who do you think has got a chance of getting to the live shows?

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