As we’re in series nine of The X-Factor now things have started to become a bit repetitive so I’m loving these guest judges as at least it’s keeping things a little bit fresh. Even when their incredibly dull, step forward Rita Ora, I still like to see a fresh face every audition and when someone like Mel B actually makes an impact you wonder why they went with charisma vacuum Nicole Scherzinger to be the permanent fourth judge. Mel was back this week but our primary guest judge was Geri Halliwell who long term X-Factor fans will remember also filled in for Danii Minogue back in 2010 and really was a trifle bland. Since then it seems she’s gone incredibly insane, possibly something to do with dating Russell Brand, as she arrived at the Liverpool auditions hanging out the back of a car shouting through a megaphone. The producers seem to want to set up a rivalry between Gary and Geri due to the fact they were both in 1990s pop groups however they were never competition for each other because as Gary says Take That set the blue print while Spice Girls simply copied it. Though at least this showed Gary recognised Geri while Louis had no clue who she is and this has to be evidence that he’s gone slightly senile and possibly has finally gone round the bend after years of enduring the likes of Jedward and Wagner.
Last week I also complained about the lack of groups but in the early going of this episode, and due to the fact that Geri was on the panel, we had a lot of groups going for that girl power element. The IT girls were up first who seemed to me to be a hipster group that were entirely designed by Top Shop, but then so were last year’s winners Little Mix, and who had a small fixation on Geri to the extent that they sung Stop! possibly one of the least remembered Spice Girls hits. While Geri was a fan Gary didn’t like them and The It Girls were sent packing while the pair also argued about girl groups Sorority and Voxe. Thankfully there was one band that everybody like a well-sculpted male trio called Times Red, not sure about that name though, who got the ultimate Louis Walsh complement when one of their number was compared to a young Richard Gere. They made their way through a beatbox version of Rehab which wasn’t perfect but was fresh enough to earn them a spot at boot camp.
The next section saw a return to Manchester and Mel B as we saw a fresh crop of teenagers singing their hearts out starting with 16 year old Megan O’Neil whose family were that sure she’d get through that they’d already made T-Shirts with her face on then we had perma-tanned Tasha who put performances on for her horses though they weren’t that bothered she was still unanimously praised by the judges and also went through. Then there was young butcher Kian who didn’t have much luck with the ladies, possibly due to the mince in his fingernails, but had more luck with the judges as they enjoyed his cocksure performance of Come Together. This though was all a preamble to reintroduce 18 year old Melanie McCabe somebody Tulisa seemed to remember but none of the rest of us remembered that she got through to Judge’s Houses last year before being sent packing by Kelly Rowland. She said in her opening VT that she couldn’t watch the episode where she got eliminated but I’m guessing that was probably because she had an issue with the ever annoying ITVPlayer. Predictably Melanie completely entranced everyone with her rendition of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ even reducing Louis Walsh to tears but then again so did Gamu and whatever happened to her? Though Melanie’s story has been told on the main show the arguably stronger singer Jade Richards, who also made it to Judge’s Houses last year, was relegated to an appearance on The Xtra Factor so it’s really easy to see who out of those two will progress further in the contest.
Back in Liverpool with Geri where she had to endure some awful acts including a lad who came onto the stage wearing sunglasses before acting his way through ‘Fight for This Love’ and a group called Little and Large, a tall man and a small girl, who looked like they’d be the ideal novelty act for Louis to have in his category presuming he gets the groups again this year. We were then introduced to a lovely Asian in a day-glo green hoodie named Jason who was on the show not to sing but to profess his love for Tulisa, who I do think he has a shot with as she’s single at the moment, though creepily he thinks about her in the shower. As Jason came on he was carrying a rose which he didn’t have with him before and then started to mispronounce his lady love’s name, calling her Tulisha and in the process sounding a bit like Goldmember, but it was something that she was oddly charmed by and gave him a kiss before he started to perform. I personally believed he’d be awesome but on Whitney Houston’s ‘I Have Nothing’ he did brilliantly hitting most of the notes including the tricky higher ones and earning the respect of his beloved Tulisha who stood up for him during the performance. Though Jason may not have been the best singer in the world he was endearing and he had Louis’ favourite attribute the good old ‘likeability factor.’
Our final montage was one of nervous acts, who had brilliantly alliterative names such as Daizy Dance and Simon Smith, whose anxiety caused them to fluff their performances which the judges didn’t take too kindly to. All of the acts in this montage were told to go away and work on their confidence issues which were made even harder when they were all rejected in front of a live audience. This led us to 34 year old Christopher Maloney somebody else who was nervous but as he was here with his beloved nan, who was his inspiration, he definitely wasn’t going to be awful and was probably already on his way to Boot Camp. Christopher looked overwhelmed as he stared at the size of the stadium recounting us with the tale that he was going to apply five years ago but ripped up the form ironically if he had gone to an audition five years ago he would’ve been performing in a small room rather than in front of a massive crowd. His performance of Bette Midler’s The Rose, which to add extra poignancy was also played at his grandfather’s funeral, got a standing ovation which was slightly tainted by Geri not rising in formation with the other three judges. This was the right way to end the show with another strong performer showing us that it’s mostly about the singing though a good sob story always helps to sweeten the deal.
Overall a good show tonight with four memorable turns from Melanie, Jason, Times Red and Christopher all of whom were able to showcase what The X-Factor should be about. To me though the night was stolen by the frantic Ms. Halliwell who seemed to mainly annoy both her on-screen colleagues and the audience at home though for me she at least showed some spirit which is more than I can say about the dreaded Nicole.
What did you think to tonight’s X-Factor? Who were your favourite acts? Leave Your Comments Below.