X-Factor Judge’s Homes Show One: The final 25 sing for survival while some old faces, such as Cheryl Cole & Sharon Osbourne, return

by Matt D

So we’ve made it through auditions and last week’s never-ending boot-camp stage, and now finally we’re one step from the live finals as we journey to Judge’s Homes (not houses). Yes it’s a globe-trotting adventure as we first head to St. Lucia where the girls were waiting by the sea for a boat to come by and reveal to them that Tulisa was going to be their mentor, which resulted in the usual bouts of hysteria. And Tinie Tempah was going to be helping out, which he started by giving a rousing speech where he said there was room for only one or two more incredible female artists in the UK which I basically read as ‘sorry girls, there’s too many of you.’

The groups landed in Las Vegas where outside Caesar’s Palace, Louis got out of a car, inevitably receiving the least spectacular entrance of any of the four judges, he then introduced the always-manic Sharon Osbourne as his co-mentor at this stage of the contest. In Dubai, or just ‘Dubs’ if you’re Rylan Clark, Nicole Scherzinger also got to come in on a boat before Ne-Yo arrived to help her out. Meanwhile Gary stayed in London but did get a lovely stately home to hear his finalists as well as an entrance in a helicopter. Like Louis he’d drafted in somebody with X-Factor experience as he introduced Cheryl Cole who obviously was taking a bit of time off from shooting all of those L’oreal commercials.

The groups were up first as Louis explained that Rough Copy had some ‘complications’, which I believe were visa related, meaning that Times Red got a second chance, as did Triple J who’ve now added a fourth member so are currently calling themselves Union J. Times Red were up first, and seemingly desperate to impress, went all out with their mash-up of Ain’t No Sunshine and Let’s Get it Started with Louis and Sharon’s rehearsed comments being that it will ‘take a lot of work to find out who they really are’, whatever that means. Little really is known about Mitsotu however they revealed here that they were once backing dancers and they tried their best by singing ‘Hey Ya’ but I think this will be their final performance as Louis mentioned he didn’t think they were right. MK1 reminded us about poor old Will before doing a seated performance, as one of them had a football injury, which I think made them a little more subdued than normal.

The newly-named Union J introduced new member George Shelley who failed to make it through as a soloist but can play the guitar. To be fair, I quite enjoyed the first of the two cut-price One Directions we were given tonight as they sung an almost unrecognisable version of the extremely irritating ‘Call Me Maybe’. The scouse siblings Poisonous Twin and the man mountains from Duke didn’t get much time to shine though I’ve still got a feeling the former may scrape through as Louis does have a penchant for siblings while he also described Duke as ‘something we’ve not had on The X-Factor before’ probably meaning that they won’t get any further in the contest. The second One Direction tribute act were GMD3, who must be miffed that Union J are back after beating them in that sing-off, who performed an incredibly corny harmony-ridden rendition of ‘God Bless the Broken Road’ which Sharon described as a delight. As we saw Louis and Sharon argue over who to put through, as he told her the show has changed a lot since she was there I was thinking no it hasn’t, we got the usual arty shots of the groups waiting nervously saying that this was ‘the biggest opportunity of their lives.’ Based on what I saw I’d say Times Red, Union J and GMD3 would get through however I’m guessing only one of the two boy bands will go through leaving a possible space for MK1 or God forbid Poisonous Twin. Sharon herself was great here definitely displaying more charisma than any of the other three guest stars for me she’d easily get back on the judging panel next year if the rumours of her wanting a return are correct.

Certainly that is if she’s replacing Nicole Scherzinger on the panel, as she came across as a total charisma-vacuum here, with the only quality of any act she mentioned being their tone. James Arthur, who seems to be playing the misunderstood geek role now, was in first describing the journey as a fairytale before crooning his way through ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’. The ever insightful Ne-You said that his performance seemed ‘real’ with Nicole adding that ‘there’s something in that voice’. Ne-Yo went onto to say that Nathan’s ‘look how cool I am’ attitude would take away from the fact he’s a good singer, while Adam Burridge’s rendition of Abba’s SOS was the best audition Nicole at ever seen from him while both were also complemented on their tone.

Jake was up next hoping that he’d get through so his terminally ill brother will have something to live for before giving an above average rendition of Back for Good. The ludicrous Rylan decided to get serious, which in his world seemed to translate into wearing the same outfit Kylie wore in the ‘Can’t Get You Out of my Head’ video, and singing a Rihanna song. Sure his vocals were better than they have been, but when he inevitably gets through to live shows he will become the joke of the entire contest despite denying that he’s in it for a laugh. Finally, we had the always-nervous Jahmene who was ready with a soundbite or two including telling us that the X-Factor is helping him to grow and that he needs this before actually pulling it out of the bag with a fairly polished version of ‘Titanium’. After another scintillating decision session between Nicole and Ne-Yo she’d picked her final three and based on what was we’ve heard I would have to say they’ll be Jake, Rylan and either James or Jahmene.

Over in St. Lucia, it seemed that the heat had got to Tulisa who thought she’d actually been part of The Great British Bake-Off in 2011 telling us that ‘my muffins one last year’. She was hoping for two straight wins while it seemed it was too hot for Tinie Tempah, who I thought had fallen asleep as least once during the performances. Young mum Jade Ellis, who wanted security for her daughter and a place where she felt safe, then delivered an assured performance of ‘Stand by Me’ that seemed to go down well with both Tulisa and Tinie. Amy Mottram, who I’m sure has been told to mention she’s from Essex as many times as possible, delivered a lot of soul in her performance of ‘Read All About It’. We then heard shortened performances from the awfully talented Leanne Robinson and Jade Collins who was described as having a raw talent. Despite both being good, I’ve got a feeling neither are making it through due to the fact not as much time has been devoted to telling their stories.

Lucy Spraggan, who to me looks much older than her 20 years, told her about her interesting CV that included being a magician and a tour guide in a cave before oddly deciding to put her own spin on ‘I Will Always Love You’ which it seemed Tinie Tempah really wasn’t a fan of. Finally everybody’s favourite Ella Henderson ran off the usual list of clichés, such as how nerve-wracking an experience she was having and how important it all was to her, before knocking it out of the park once again when she sung Jason Mraz’s ‘I Won’t Give Up.’ Based on the performances Ella’s through along while Lucy will probably join her and the third spot will either go to Jade Ellis or Amy.

Last to feature in tonight’s show were the Overs, kicking off with Carolynne Poole who once again told us about her nightmare year, which included being eliminated at this stage in 2011 by Louis Walsh who obviously thought more of Goldie Cheung and Jonjo Kerr than he did her, before performing a very old fashioned song in Ronan Keating’s ‘When You Say Nothing at All’. Nicola Marie already thought she was fighting a losing battle as Gary gave her a ‘no’ in her auditions, but she kept it restrained during her performance of ‘Tragedy’ though I’m guessing she had a dance routine all ready before she found out she’d have to before for Barlow.

Brad Shackleton, who I don’t remember seeing on the show up to now, bought his own style to ‘The Final Countdown’ while one of my favourites Melanie Masson gave an almost unrecognisable rendition of Paul Young’s ‘Every Time You Go Away’. Singing chimney sweep Kye Somes seemed confident making his way through Maroon 5’s ‘Payphone’ until he struggled with the top note, however as he’s by far the most marketable of the group, I don’t see it mattering very much. Christopher Maloney finished the show yet again, I’m surprised we didn’t see him in a nervous state like we have in every stage of the contest, this time singing ‘All Out of Love’ however for me, I find him very cruise ship despite Gary being really enthusiastic about him. As they were selecting the final three Cheryl was reminding Gary that he had to deliver the bad news and I hope he reminded her that he’ll be on TV a lot more than she’ll be for the rest of the year. For me the final three in the ‘Overs’ category should be Kye, Carolynne and Melanie though I suspect that Christopher will be in there somewhere.

Tonight, we will learn who has made the final twelve, so expect tears from both judges and contestants as well as one judge claim ‘I don’t know if I’ve made the right decision there.’ But as a show, the Judge’s Homes was fairly formulaic with only the off kilter antics of Sharon Osbourne providing any sort of highlight, and I do hope that she’ll make another appearance at some point next year as The X-Factor panel is crying out for some type of character.

Did you enjoy tonight’s show? Who do you think should make the final 12? Leave Your Comments Below.