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Best Performance: Tamera Foster
Worst Performance: Sam Callahan
Key Changes: 5
Nicole: “Y’all are so cool, you have that cool factor about you. I don’t want it to turn into no Glee factor no sockhop factor. Y’all know how to swag it out.”
Sharon: “I LOVE CHEESE ON EVERYTHING”
Louis: “Sharon, you kept looking at those dancers” Sharon: “YOU WERE TOO!”
The X Factor has improved tenfold already this year. Excluding the quality of the contestants, I mean. Not only have they got the best judging panel in years (all down to Sharon and Nicole, of course), they have made excellent format changes (remember the fancy chairs at Boot Camp, and the flash vote on Saturday evening?) AND they’ve started making explicit jokes about Dermot’s bulge, Sharon’s surgery and Louis’s closeted homosexuality. Well, Sharon has been making these jokes, anyway.
It was ‘80s week and opening the show was baker-turned-singer Hannah Barrett singing ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’ Hannah entered dressed like a cheap whore, in a purple leather jacket and a PVC skirt, but her vocals were pretty good. We can blame the stylist for the outfit. Hannah did lose a bit of her niche sound because of the song choice, but she got through to next week, so that’s good.
Nicholas McDonald came next representing the boys and ‘80s survivor Louis Walsh. Yes, I still guiltily fancy Nicholas, even though he’s sixteen, and even though he didn’t know who Spandau Ballet are. (I JUST LOVE HIS BIG EARS OK???) He sang ‘True’ by Spandau Ballet through a lot of dry ice and cheesy backing dancers. During the high bit he went a bit flat, but the rest of the song was pretty good. He got through.
First of the groups was Miss Dynamix, revealing that member Cece was up the duff. They included a nice VT of Gary feigning how ok he was with it. They sang ‘Jump’ by the Pointer Sisters. It was pretty average at best. It was mostly synchronised. Harmonies were few and far apart. Their dancing was off-time. Still, I think these girls have potential. We’ll see if they do a ballad next week. I think that could work quite well.
First over-25 was Sam Bailey singing ‘The Power of Love’ (no, not the good one. The Jennifer Rush one.) She was technically very good. She looked amazing, she put a lot of effort in and I think it paid off. She belted out a powerhouse note at the end, totally worthy of the ‘80s. She got glowing feedback from the judges, and sailed through to next week.
Next was professional wet dream inciter Sam Callahan, who mentioned that he was single in his VT (!!!) Moving on. He strained out a version of ‘Summer of ‘69’ and it was abysmal. He’s improved since audition, but he has numerous bad vocal habits and is probably only there because Louis thinks it’ll improve his chance of receiving fellatio. Of course, the main thing he did wrong was keeping all his clothes on. But he got through to next week. Somehow.
Manband Kingsland Road were next, singing ‘I’m Your Man’ by Wham! I can hardly fault this. The dance moves were sweet, and they really did put a lot of effort. Most importantly, the vocals were pretty fucking ace. The harmonies were spot on, and their lead vocalists are the cherry on top of some very fanciable icing. They, of course, sailed through. Gary said “There’s nobody out there like you”. No comment.
Queen of Devon Shelley Smith was next, singing one of my all-time favourite ‘80s songs ‘Alone’ by Heart. Shelley lost the flash vote on Saturday night, despite her vocally brilliant and powerful performance. She, however, later went on to sing ‘One Night Only’ in the sing-off which was *AMAZING*. She came out fighting, and a pretty damn good job she did too. She saved herself and made it through to week two.
Next up was Abi Alton. Her performance of ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ divided opinions wildly. I’ve always said that’s one song that really shouldn’t be ballad-ised, because the song just epitomises power and strength. However, I ate my words. I really fucking loved it, and I hate myself. That girl knows how to write a piano part, that’s for sure. It was very much like what you’d hear in a John Lewis Christmas advert. Not perfect, but very, very good for a first week performance.
There was a chorus of “…Who?” as Lorna Simpson came onstage. Nobody really remembered Lorna, which is probably why she got voted out on Sunday. She sang ‘So Emotional’ by Whitney Houston which was quite dull and pitchy in parts, but she did have topless dancers (which was probably the best bit of her performance.) In the sing-off, she sang ‘There You’ll Be’ by Faith Hill which was pitchy too, so luckily, she was the first X Factor casualty and was sent home.
Next was potential popstar Tamera Foster. Tamera, for me, has the full package. She probably has the best vocals in the competition. She looks a bit like Rihanna, but not a pole-dancing whore. She did THE SPLITS during her performance of ‘Ain’t Nobody’ (which was vocally fantastic) and the staging was themed a bit like Mimi’s performance of ‘Out Tonight’ in Rent. Best performance of the week, and she quite rightly sailed through to next week.
Shampoo refuser Luke Friend sang everyone’s favourite song about stalking ‘Every Breath You Take’ by The Police. It was pitchy, but he really did put all his effort in. Without the nerves, he’d probably have a really good recording voice. He got through to next week.
Closing the show was Rough Copy. They are essentially a Rough Copy of JLS. Their harmonies were very good during their R&B redo of ‘In The Air Tonight’, but I found the performance itself particularly dull. I can’t imagine them making it halfway through the contest.
Tune in on Saturday at 8:00pm for ‘Love and Heartbreak Week’ on The X Factor.