If there’s one thing The X-Factor excels at its shameless self-promotion. The trailers for this year’s series have focused on the fact that the singing competition has turned ten and has highlighted all of the hits that the programme has produced. Tonight’s episode went a step further by having the last six contestants in this year’s show singing songs made famous by the programme’s winners and runners-up. The fact that five of these six songs were cover versions to begin with was hardly brought up and instead The X-Factor took credit for all of these songs being hits.
After Olly Murs had performed his latest song, the contest got started as Nicholas took the stage. Nicholas was singing ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus, famously covered by series six winner Joe McElderry who failed to get the Christmas Number One instead losing to Rage Against the Machine. Joe was on hand to give Nicholas advice, maybe on how to win Popstar to Operastar, and ended his mentoring session by telling Nicholas he reminded him of a young Joe. Not letting that comment put him off, Nicholas took to the stage wearing a blue jacket and a colourful shirt which made me think he looked like a junior version of Doctor Who. Nicholas was given an X-Factor special for his performance as stood on a platform and was later accompanied by a choir. While Nicholas was his usual reliable self, I’ve never been a big fan of the song and felt it did a disservice for the young Scot to sing it. The judges didn’t seem to mind though with Gary telling Nicholas he’d delivered another great performance while Nicole felt the performance saw Nicholas become more of an individual. It transpired that Nicholas had also had a birthday this week which means that he’s no longer ‘only sixteen years old’.
Next up to get some useful advice was Hannah Barrett as Alexandra Burke took some time out from her busy schedule to visit with the former bakery employee. Hannah was singing ‘Hallelujah’ and Alexandra’s advice was basically to ‘make the song her own.’ Hannah was given very simple staging but I found it incredibly effective and I felt this was her most mature performance so far. The judges seemingly agreed; with Louis telling Hannah that she’d delivered a very emotional interpretation of the song and Sharon adding that it was great to see Hannah grow and progress every week. Meanwhile, in the only montage of the night, we got to see some of Louis’ best work and Gary’s reminiscing about being chased around the arena by Goldie Cheung. Indeed, the anniversary wasn’t given as much time as it possibly should have been though we did have appearances from the usual rabble such as Chico and Rylan.
Up next was Luke, whose week started off well with a tweet from Adele. Though he was singing ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, Luke didn’t get a visit from the One Direction boys and instead Shane Ward popped in to give Luke some advice. Shane’s words of wisdom were basically to make the song his own and not to copy the 1D boys. Luke took Shane’s teachings on and reverted to giving all of his songs a sort of Mumford and Sons vibe. Meanwhile, in his velvet jacket and flowery shirt, Luke seemed to have raided James May’s wardrobe. Sharon praised the way that Luke had come into his own now and given the song a slightly naughty edge. Gary told Luke that he was in an individual lane of his own while Nicole told him she barely recognised the song, which I think was a compliment. I have to say that, after two weeks of mediocre performances, Luke was back tonight and I have to say I feel he’s a true contender.
Rough Copy’s performance of the night was a cover of En Vogue’s ‘Don’t Let Go’ which Little Mix covered on the show. I personally felt this was a little bit of a cop out as I’m sure Dermot said that these had to be hits from the bands, but despite this I thought Rough Copy did the song justice. Before the performance, they had an incredibly awkward meeting with Little Mix who told them to make the song their own. Shockingly, Rough Copy ditched the tabards this week in favour of vests, ammo and ski goggles. I have to say that their whole get-up reminded me of 1992 era East 17 however I found their backing dancers fairly off-putting. But I do feel that Rough Copy were back to their best during this performance and the song suited their style. As I predicted last week, Nicole told the boys they’d gone from vanilla to hot chocolate and caramel. With all of this talk of ice cream I feel that Nicole should bring out her own brand of frozen goods entitled ‘Scherzylicious.’ In fact the only negative comments came from Sharon who bizarrely criticised the song and made me think that she had some sort of feud going on with En Vogue.
Up next was Tamera, who seemed desperate to put the events of last week behind with her take on James Arthur’s impossible. Obviously with him being exhausted and all, Arthur couldn’t be Tamera’s mentor here so instead we saw Olly Murs pulling double duty. Olly basically told Tamera to forget what had happened and just deliver a stunning vocal tonight. However, this didn’t happen and Tamera messed up almost instantly but I felt she recovered well and delivered another assured performance. What did puzzle me about the performance though was the inclusion of a guitarist on stage as the backing track didn’t seem to include any guitar at all. Tamera’s performance ended with a bang as pyros started going off behind her, either that or the electrical systems in the arena had started to explode. Despite Tamera’s admirable recovery, Louis wasn’t going to let her get away with it and chastised her for forgetting her lines once again. With everybody stepping up their game, I do feel Tamera is in trouble this week and I do believe that she may end up in the bottom two.
Somebody who definitely won’t be in the bottom two, especially if you believe a certain tabloid newspaper, is Sam Bailey. As Sam was covering ‘Bleeding Love’, Leona Lewis travelled to meet the former prison guard however I felt this was a little bit of a step down from Michael Bolton. Leona’s incredibly original advice was for Sam not to do a cover version and instead ‘make the song her own’. I personally wasn’t sure want to make of Sam’s staging as she stood on a raised platform looking like the Red Queen while four backing singers flapped around in flowing blue robes. The performance was given an epic quality with the inclusion of a wind machine which made Sam look more like a star. While I know everybody loves Sam Bailey, for me I still don’t see her as a credible artist and the majority of her performances come across as a little bit cabaret. As ever, the judges were full of praise for Sam with Gary describing her as a modern day diva and Nicole saying that she really felt Sam captured the essence of the lyrics.
Overall, I found the X-Factor’s tenth anniversary show a little underwhelming and felt there should’ve been more montages celebrating the good, the bad and the ugly of the show’s past. On the plus side, the majority of the performances had some merit and at least tonight we may get more of a celebration courtesy of JLS and One Direction.
What did you think to tonight’s X-Factor? Did you enjoy the show?
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