As I mentioned in my review of last night’s Boot Camp show, I’ve felt that the pacing of both shows has been a little off. We saw this right from the off tonight as we were in the midst of Sharon picking her final six for her overs category. I feel that the producers are banking on everybody being up to date with the new chair twist and also that they’re aware of the performances given last night. Especially seeing as one of last night’s successful seat-holders has to give up their chair pretty swiftly.
Before that happens though we were reintroduced to bubbly single mother and white van lady Shelley Smith. Though her performance of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ was a little dodgy she has boundless enthusiasm and predictably won a seat, following a standing ovation. With four seats full you would think that Sharon would be a little pickier in her selection; but instead she chose both Katie Markham and Andrea MacKee to be in her final six. With all the seats full, Lorna Simpson had to work doubly hard but definitely came out with the fighting spirit that Nicole wanted from her girls last night. In fact Nicole felt Lorna’s performance of ‘I Want to Dance with Somebody’ was akin to a boxing match. Lorna did in fact deliver the knockout blow to Sabrina, who qualified last night, as the latter was forced to give up her seat. The final contender in Sharon’s category was Zoe Devlin, whose sublime jazz vocals mark her out from anybody else in the overs category. For me Sharon’s decision was a no-brainer and she gave Zoe a seat, but was unsure of who to remove from her team. As she asked her fellow judges, Gary suggested Joseph, which caused the West Midlands rocker to rise from his seat in anger. If I would’ve been Sharon I would’ve kicked Joseph out for bad sportsmanship, but instead he was kept on and it was ultimately Katie who lost her seat. Sharon’s final six are definitely a mixed bag but I feel that she should ultimately choose Zoe, Joseph and either Shelley or Sam as this would provide the variety that the overs category needs.
Gary’s group category got off to a flying start with Brick City, whose performance of ‘Like a Prayer’ cemented their place in the final six. But there were problems with the next act, Rough Copy, as they continued to be plagued by visa issues. Founding member Kaz realised that his visa wouldn’t be ready in time to go to Judges’ Homes and so band mates Sterling and Joe went on without him. Kaz’s departure from the group gave their version of ‘Stop Crying Your Heart’ an added bit of poignancy. There was no doubt in Gary’s mind that Rough Copy should go through and they took the second seat. Trendy boyband Kingsland continued to impress the judges with their rendition of ‘For Once in My Life’, which was dodgy in places but contained some great harmonies. Gary didn’t hesitate about putting Kingsland through as he felt they had everything they needed to go far in the competition.
Gary then gave seats to Xyra, Tenors of Rock and Code 4, meaning that there were no seats left. This meant that the newly formed girl group, Stop, Look, Listen had to work doubly hard in order to get into the final six. The group, made up of solosits Jeanette and Rielle as well as SeeSee from Dynamix; were full of emotion as they took to the stage. Even though their harmonies fell apart throughout the song, they still sounded great for a group who’d only been together for a day. It certainly seemed that Stop Look Listen were Gary’s pet project as he decided to put them into his final six. They replaced Tenors of Rock, who in my opinion belong in The Eurovision Song Contest more Than X-Factor. In their final interview with Dermot, Tenors of Rock told us that they’d sacrificed everything, which I’m guessing meant a goat and a couple of baby lambs. Finally, we saw once successful boy band Next of Kin take to the stage as they performed Take That’s ‘Rule the World’. They definitely split the judges with Louis enjoying the song while Sharon felt it was a little dated. I feel the dated comment stuck with Gary who sent Next of Kin out of the contest and back to the box factory. Next of Kin’s elimination suggested to me that Gary wanted the groups category to be full of young, vibrant talent. But I feel he’s missing a trick as I believe Next of Kin would’ve sold a ton of albums if their first record had been released around Mother’s Day.
Last up Louis Walsh had to find six young boys to take to Saint-Tropez with him, no jokes here I swear! First to audition was Sam Callahan, who told us he’d rehearsed his nuts off and this painful procedure paid off as he was a hit with the judges. Though Gary conceded that his vocals weren’t great, he felt that this didn’t matter as Sam was so likeable. After Louis briefly toyed with eliminating Sam, he finally decided to give him the first seat. He was soon joined by the brilliant Paul Akister, my only issue with him was that we had to hear ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ for a third time. Although it’s a great song, I’ve heard it far too many times this weekend and have now renamed it ‘I’d Rather Go Deaf’. The first elimination in the boys’ category was yodelling heartthrob Barclay Beales, who alienated the judges when he yodelled all over ‘Respect.’ For a moment I thought Louis might put Barclay through, he does love a novelty act after all, but it seems that even he is taking the contest seriously.
While Barclay kept his yodelling gimmick, Alejandro Fernandez Holt didn’t once sing in Spanish during his performance of ‘Little Things.’ Despite not going bilingual, Alejandro still had the girls on his side and his performance followed with plenty of screams and wolf-whistles. This was enough for Louis and Alejandro was given the third chair and was soon joined on the seats by both Ryan Mathie and Luke Friend. With one seat left Giles Potter, who got a ticking off from Gary during the arena auditions, was really under pressure to impress. I personally wasn’t blown away by any of Giles’ auditions, but his performance of ‘I Won’t Give Up’ was enough to see him through to Louis’ top six. With the seats now full, the pressure was on football coach Tom Mann to give a flawless performance. Instead he decided to sing a very pitchy rendition of ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’, which didn’t connect with either the judges or the audience. With Tom eliminated, only Nicholas McDonald was left to sing, while all the boys on the seats were secretly hoping he’d fail. Giles in particular was worried about Nicholas as they were singing the same song. Giles should’ve been worried as Nicholas’ performance was miles better than his, but ultimately it was Alejandro who had to give his seat up for Nicholas. Personally the boys’ category is the hardest to judge as you could make arguments for all six to go through to the live shows. My thoughts are that at the moment Paul and Nicholas are the two front-runners but I’m finding it really hard to choose between the other four.
Tonight’s Boot Camp episode of X-Factor was definitely an improvement on last night’s, mainly because there was a lot more cohesion in the programme. After everything was tidied up with Sharon’s group, Gary and Louis’ selections felt a lot slicker than either Nicole’s or Mrs O’s. The elimination of Next of Kin also provided the obligatory shock that the Boot Camp stage is known for. Ultimately I would say that the Final 24 are a strong group and there is an argument to made for almost every one of them to get through to the live shows.
What did you think to tonight’s Boot Camp show? Who would you put in your Top 12?
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