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Best Performance: Tamera Foster
Worst Performance: Sam Callahan
Key Changes: 2
Gary: “Listen to Michael Bublé. He’s the laziest singer out there.”
Nicole: [On avoiding commenting on the vocals] “Err… The suspenders are working for you, sweetpea.”
Scoobedy ba ba boww be daggedy shooby dooby da da dowww it was BIG BAND WEEK on The X Factor. This is one of my favourite theme weeks, and not just because I have the hots for Frank Sinatra. I sat excitedly as Dermot began the show with a ‘triple pow’, my evening sullen only because I was not the one giving Dermot a triple pow.
First up to swing was the ever charismatic Abi Alton, performing ‘That’s Life’, made famous by the timelessly sexy Frank Sinatra. (Yes, I really do fancy him.) Abi’s pianoless performances are usually pretty average, and this, I’m afraid, was no exception. Abi’s strange Gabrielle Aplin-y tone did suit the song, but the power just wasn’t there. The last note was exceptionally flat. The fact that she performed in the death spot (first) along with her mopey vocals led her to the bottom two. Oh dear.
Second up in the swingathon was (my now favourite) contestant Sam Bailey, singing and swinging ‘New York, New York’. I was concerned at the beginning that Sam’s awkward swaying and clicking made the whole thing a bit drunk-Aunt-doing-community-cabaret (that is, of course, if ‘community cabaret’ is a thing, which I sincerely hope it is) but when she got to the THESE LITTLE TOWN BLUUUUWOOOOOOEEEES bit, my faith was restored. That lady has LUNGS. GOOD ONES. It was by far the best performance of the night, and it is the first year I genuinely hope an Over-25 wins the show.
My future hug victim Nicholas McDonald came next, spaffing out yet another great performance – “and he’s only sixteen”. He sang ‘Dream A Little Dream Of Me’, which, naturally, should have been retitled ‘Dream A Wet Dream Of Me’ in Nicholas’s case. Yes, alright, it was another slow performance, but the boy nails them. What can I say? It was classy, the whole thing was Gatsby themed, and he’s got a really good bloody voice.
Surprisingly good (like really, how did he get so good?) cabbage patch kid Luke Friend dressed like a charming teen pimp did a quite good version of ‘Moondance’ by Van Morrison. The best bit was his terrible scatting. People from Devon shouldn’t scat. It wasn’t perfect, and it was far from the best performance, but it wasn’t terrible, and our Friend Luke made it through another week.
Vocal rest enthusiast Hannah Barrett performed (or rather, ‘regurgitated her vocal chords to’) ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World’ by James Brown. I’m beginning to get a distaste for Hannah. She started out so well in auditions, but since week one she’s been getting shoutier and shoutier and quite frankly I’m not surprised she needs so much bloody ‘vocal rest’ if she’s going to shout instead of sing. She’s getting a bit slur-y, nasal and what on Earth was that Miley Cyrus tongue thing at the end? Louis said she ‘sang her heart out’. She probably did. It’s probably sitting there blocking up her throat. It sounds like she’s trying to choke something out, anyway. I’m very much understanding of why Hannah was in the bottom two this week.
Last group standing Rough Copy sang Ray Charles’s ‘Hit The Road Jack’. This was a fab performance. Their harmonies were spot on this week. They didn’t just swing, they SWANG. The choreography was charming, they showed off a really decent range, and did a really embarrassing off-time Busted jump at the end. Watch and learn, Miss Dynamix.
Tamera was given the best song by far this week, ‘Cry Me A River’ by Ella Fitzgerald. I really enjoyed Tamera showing off some sass this week. Also, technically speaking, I think she ended performance on a major 7, which was pretty jazz-tastic and a great finish. We also got another “…And she’s only sixteen!” Fabulous.
I don’t know what to say about Sam Callahan anymore, and neither did Gary, as he refused to critique him. I thought Gary’s refusal of critique was a little childish (since he’s paid a buttload to give criticism) but I do understand that criticising is futile with someone as hopeless as Sam. In this scoobedy-sha-sha-shit performance of ‘Ain’t That A Kick In The Head’ (which, frankly, felt more like an electric drill to my balls), Sam burdened us with an abundance of false ‘WOO’s, fake laughs, and some terrible “I’m holding my stomach because I’m a real singer” moments. Someone who can sing so clearly through their nose should surely be entering Britain’s Got Talent, rather than The X Factor. His time must be coming to an end soon… Right? RIGHT??
So Sunday arrived, and Abi Alton and Hannah Barrett found themselves flailing into the bottom two, and they sang Ed Sheeran’s ‘Lego House’ and Miley Cyrus’s ‘Wrecking Ball’, respectively. Ironically, this was Abi’s best performance, away from a piano. If only she’d performed this well on the Saturday show. It was a really nice acoustic version of the original, actually, and I’m a little bit disappointed to see Abi go. Let’s recap with her best performance. I was hoping Hannah would go, as I think she’s probably given all she can on the show so far. She also didn’t get naked and start riding around on a wrecking ball, which disappointed us all. Even Greg James managed to do that. Her singing was actually wildly better too, in this performance. Maybe she’ll surprise me, but I think Hannah’s time to go is coming soon.
Tune in to The X Factor on Saturday for ‘The Great British Songbook’ week.