The X-Factor 2013 Live Show Two: Luke Friend takes to the sea, Abi Alton prepares for rain and Kingsland Road lose the flash vote following their mass wedding

by Matt D

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They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, if that’s so then Strictly Come Dancing has to be very flattered indeed. Because, one week after Strictly presented their Love Week, The X-Factor’s theme this week was Love and Heartbreak. As always with an X-Factor theme, it’s incredibly broad and meant that each contestant basically had their choice of any song to sing.

Sam Bailey went classic X-Factor with her song selection of ‘Make You Feel My Love’, a tune that has been performed on the show several times every year. Sam told us that she was singing to the love of her life, husband Craig, however she probably won’t love him that much when she finds out he’s spent their life savings making those ‘Support Sam’ T-Shirts. Sam’s performance itself was incredibly low-key, but I was a little bit distracted by the video screen which seemed to be adorned with egg-timers and watch batteries. Gary was the first to give feedback and told her that she gave a fantastic performance adding that he liked her use of space. Personally I agreed more with Nicole who told Sam that her performance left her lukewarm while Louis infuriated journalists everywhere by telling Sam that he’d invented the nickname ‘Screw-Bo’ for her. As always it’s best not to believe Louis Walsh as I saw the ‘Screw-Bo’ name used in the tabloids the day after Sam’s first audition. Kingsland road’s performance of Bruno Mars’ ‘Marry You’ had a lot of energy to it while the boys put their all in. However, they seemed to be re-enacting the strangest ‘mass-wedding’ in history in which all five boys were soon confronted by women wearing wedding dresses. Just to avoid confusion, each of these women wore a cap that said ‘Bride’ on it, with one rebel wearing her cap the wrong way round. While the majority of the judges praised the boys for their enthusiasm and work ethic; Nicole wondered why lead singer Matt didn’t have the confidence to sing more on his own.

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Nicole was a lot more enthusiastic about Nicholas McDonald but, judging from the opening VT package, she’d spent the afternoon in a recording studio with him ‘teaching him how to love’, make of that what you will. Just like Sam, Nicholas picked a song from The X-Factor jukebox that being Robbie Williams’ ‘She’s the One’. Though Nicholas started strong, I was soon transfixed by the group of people walking on stage who seemed like they were part of the zombie version of ‘Riverdance.’ Just to spell out the story of the song, soon a woman in white appeared and Nicholas went over to her. However, this routine seemed to infuriate Sharon who described the woman as a paedophile and was very mad at Louis for setting this up. I have to say that if Sharon were in charge of the BBC back in the 1970s then there would be no need for Operation Yewtree. Despite Sharon’s outrage, Nicholas was generally praised for his voice while Louis wheeled out one of his favourite clichés for his Scottish protégé telling him that he’s what the competition is all about.

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One of my favourite performances from last week came from Abi, however she wasn’t as on form in tonight’s show. Part of the blame can be attributed to her mentor Nicole, with whom she spent a very forced night of fun with at a bowling alley. I’m sure that Nicole was attempting to drill some fun into Abi but instead she probably ate into valuable rehearsal time. Abi came out from behind the piano this week, accompanied by dancers in pink raincoats, as she performed her interpretation of Kylie’s ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’. I’m really not sure of the correlation between pink umbrellas and the song, but one thing I did notice was that Abi was over-pronouncing the word can’t. Both Gary and Louis picked on Abi telling her that she should get back behind the piano and calling her performance a little sleepy. But Dermot rightly pointed out that if Abi was at the piano then she’d simply be told to stop hiding behind it. Shelley Smith was up next with an inconsistent rendition of ‘Single Ladies’, which inevitably led to a routine involving her chasing a lot of men around on the stage. Just like Abi’s backing dancers, Shelley wore a pink jacket which made me believe that The X-Factor stylist had acquired a job lot of them from a recent West End performance of Grease. Gary and Nicole both criticised Shelley’s campy rendition, which of course Louis loved and gave Shelley the ‘fun factor’ seal of approval.

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As most of you now know, Miss Dynamix received a bye through to the next round after pregnant band member SeSe Foster was rushed to hospital. Since the announcement, a lot of tasteless comments have been made about allowing the girl group to get through another week without doing anything. These comments were almost as tasteless as the fact that SeSe had a camera crew follow her the entire way to the ambulance. Sam Callahan was up next and had something to prove to Gary following the judges’ harsh critique of his singing abilities. Sam boldly went for a stripped back version of ‘I Won’t Give Up’ which meant that he had no dancers to hide behind. Despite not offering a memorable performance, Sam still got respect from all of the judges for his improving vocals and his positive attitude as regards the competition. But soon, everybody had forgotten about Sam as Tamera took to the stage and gave an incredible performance of ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’. Tamera was the first person to have nobody on stage bar her and she looked incredibly confident in her delivery. She even reminded Louis of lots of pop stars including former winner Leona Lewis while Gary laid on the hyperbole by calling her a superstar.

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While Luke couldn’t hope to follow Tamera, he did show an improvement via his rendition of Passenger’s ‘Let Her Go’. For some reason Luke started his performance in a boat before exiting the vessel halfway through the song. Though the producers seem to be turning Luke into a junior member of Mumford and Sons, at least he has more of an identity than he did before when he was simply known as, that boy who didn’t was his hair. Sharon described Luke as quite fabulous while Gary praised Luke’s voice but felt he lacked a certain edge. Nicole disagreed with Gary and told Luke she could see some balls creeping up, but then the Pussycat Doll does seem to have that effect on most teenage boys. Rough Copy were definitely the favourites coming into tonight’s show but for me their choice of Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want it that Way’ was a bit of a mistake. Their harmonies were a bit off and I have to say I was a bit disappointed seeing as there’s was the performance I was most looking forward to. The judges didn’t seem to notice as they all praised Rough Copy, though Nicole did tell them not to let their dancing get in the way of their vocals. Finally, Hannah talked about not liking the way she looked and lacking confidence, before launching into a brilliant performance of ‘Beautiful’. I personally didn’t think it did much for her confidence to be surrounded by a 360 degree mirror, but then the producers did make it up to her when they gave her The X-Factor special in the form of a raised platform and a choir. Finally, it was over to Gary Barlow for the last double entendre of the evening as he told Hannah she’s at her best when she bends both knees and goes for it.

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But I almost forgot, we had the second flash vote which also includes Dermot O’Leary’s speed-dating style interviews. I’m not sure who thought of this idea, but it really doesn’t do anything apart from make Dermot quite out of breath. I don’t know why Dermot can’t just speak to the judges for a few minutes before the vote has finished as this just looks ridiculous. Anyway, after more padding, it was revealed that Kingsland Road lost the flash vote and would automatically be in tomorrow night’s sing-off. The people who were the most shocked were Sam, Shelley and Sharon who were convinced it would be an ‘Over-25’ in the bottom two once again. The trio seemed to go through the five stages of grief in about ten seconds before finally accepting that Shelley was safe, until she inevitably ends up in the sing-off tomorrow night.

Once again, I feel it will be the judges who will make this series of The X-Factor as their comments were definitely the highlight of tonight’s show. I was disappointed that several of my favourite acts, such as Rough Copy and Abi, didn’t deliver as much as they did last week. But overall I can’t say I wasn’t entertained and I feel that X-Factor 2013 has finally got going.

What did you think to tonight’s X-Factor? Leave Your Comments Below.