So we’re getting to that point in The X-Factor where the field is slimming down and almost every performance is buffered by an advert break. With this years’ acts not being the most exciting the show has ever seen, it appears as if it’s up to host Dermot O’Leary to make the programme a little bit more uplifting. Thankfully, the last couple of weeks have seen the return of Dermot’s dancing and tonight we saw him partake in a little bit of silliness when he danced along to the latest You Tube sensation ‘The Fox’. However, once Dermot had finished doing his thing, we got back to the overly-serious business of crowning this year’s X-Factor champion.
First up tonight was last week’s survivor Hannah Barrett, who decided to sing I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, a song that really described her time in the contest so far. Their appeared to be a sort of psychedelic trumpet motif to Hannah’s performance as we saw images of the instruments projected onto the screen behind her while she also wore said image on her T-Shirt. I personally felt Hannah acted a lot happier this week and her interaction with the audience made her come across as a much more accessible artist. Sharon agreed with this assertion telling Hannah it was great to see her enjoying her performance while Louis concurred, feeling that Hannah had come back to life. However, it seemed as if Nicole really didn’t understand the terms and conditions of the voting as she claimed she was going to call in and save Hannah this week. After Sam Bailey’s visit from Michael Bolton last week, Luke followed suit in this episode by welcoming a visit from Seal. Though Seal was mainly there to talk about Luke’s ‘Kiss from a Rose’ rendition, the floppy-haired one was more interest in discussing this week’s performance of ‘Your Song’. Though not at his contest-best, Luke’s Elton John number was a lot better than his Big Band Disaster last week. While Luke’s singing wasn’t a problem, I wasn’t a big fan of the staging of the performance which saw him on a faux home video with a random model, a video that was then projected on the screen behind him. Sharon and Nicole both described Luke’s style as organic while the latter also compared Luke’s singing style to his hair as in both contain a lot of grit and dirt, didn’t she see him have it washed a couple of weeks ago?
After several weeks of upbeat tunes, Sam Bailey was back at her most comfortable – belting out more sedate numbers. Her performance of ‘Something’, was a classy affair and saw her dressed in a nice black number while accompanied by a string quartet and standing on an illuminated staircase. The big debate that raged between the judges was whether or not Sam could sell records with Gary and Louis believing she could, feeling that it didn’t matter that she was a woman over thirty. While Nicole did agree with her male counterparts, she felt that Sam’s version of ‘Something’ wouldn’t be included on said album. However Sharon claimed that Sam’s album would contain all new songs, a fact that I don’t agree with as I see Bailey’s first album being a mother’s day compilation of big power ballads. It’s fair to say Rough Copy have been on a roll recently and it seemed as if nothing could derail their momentum. That is until Gary decided that they should sing a Coldplay song, which was the musical equivalent of throwing water over Rough Copy’s hot streak. To be fair to the trio they coped well with the up-tempo middle section of the song as they turned more into a hip-hop number. But I felt they struggled with the opening of ‘Viva La Vida’, where they were accompanied by the string quartet who received their second showing of the evening. While Louis and Sharon praised the boys, Nicole felt their performance was a little bit vanilla and wasn’t as magical as previous weeks have been. I’m honestly predicting now that in the next show Nicole will come out with the line – last week was vanilla but this week is pure chocolate.
At this stage of the competition, I’m unsure of what could be done to improve Sam Callahan’s chances of progression. But I’m definitely sure that having Sam bring his guitar on stage and sing at the same time was a mistake with the phrase running before you can walk springing to mind. Indeed, Sam completely messed up the opening chords of George Michael’s ‘Faith’ and it really impacted on the rest of the performance. Sam soon dropped the guitar as the stage started to be engulfed by a multitude of dancers and the song took almost a 1950s vibe. Finally, Sam stood atop a number of large speakers and performed a crowd dive onto a group of incredibly brave dancers. Despite all of his showmanship, I personally couldn’t take my eyes off Sam’s eyebrows which he’d had shaped or trimmed or something and the effect of this made his face look incredibly funny. Strangely none of the judges brought up Sam’s new look and instead most of them described him as a ‘fighter’ though they’re probably just thinking about his boxing performance a couple of weeks ago. Even Gary delivered a few backhanded compliments which made me believe that the judges are now trying to give Sam praise in an attempt not to attract any sympathy voting towards him.
At her first arena audition, Tamera forgot the words to a Whitney Houston number and tonight she slipped up again during her rendition of ‘Diamonds are Forever’. It’s forgivable to an extent as, at only sixteen, Tamera has never heard the song before but she didn’t cover up her slip-up that well. Meanwhile the performance itself was a little underwhelming though Tamera’s cube did return while the stage was also briefly taken over by an unneeded street dance routine. The comments for Tamera were generally positive though Gary told her that she really wanted her to steal the show, something that hadn’t happened just yet. I’d tend to agree with Gary and, though she’s a competent singer, Tamera isn’t really doing anything for me and she’s now lost her place as the favourite to win the series. Tonight’s episode ended with Nicholas singing Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’, a completely inappropriate song for someone as young as Nick. If you didn’t know, Nicholas is ‘Only Sixteen’ and therefore has never had his heart broken. His age was embellished by his outfit, which seemed to have been purchased at Gap Kids, while the string quartet were wheeled out once again as somebody obviously wanted to get their moneys’ worth from the musicians. I personally felt that Nicholas’ lack of connection with the lyrics made the performance appear a tad insincere and Gary agreed telling Nicholas that he wanted to see more individuality from him. But Nicole was entranced by her ‘Nicky Blue Eyes’ once again and heaped plenty of positive praise onto the teenager. However, I find Nicole’s remarks to Nicholas somewhat inappropriate as it often feels like she’s flirting with a boy who’s almost half her age.
Though this series of The X-Factor has some great singers, as well as Sam Callahan, I have to say that the majority of them are just quite dull. Aside from Dermot’s opening dance and the laughs I got courtesy of Sam’s eyebrows, there wasn’t much to keep me entertained tonight. With the news that The X-Factor has been renewed for another three years, I really feel that this format needs refreshing fast if it’s going to hold on to its audience.
What did you think to tonight’s X-Factor? Who did the best?
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