THE third live show of this year’s X factor had the theme ‘club classics’. This proved problematic on two fronts.
The first is that several of the songs very loosely qualified as either club or classics; the second being that for a show that should on the surface have promised so much entertainment, it was the dullest show so far.
Christopher Maloney - ‘Waiting for a star to fall’
I think this week I gave up any hope of ever liking Christopher. Those who know me are aware I’m a big fan of cheesy music and performances. However even cheesy performances have a standard, and low as it may be, this fell below it.
There was nothing to like about this. The shiny suit made him look like a very dodgy car salesman. Gary points out he’s the people’s choice, ignoring the elephant in the room that he wasn’t one of Gary’s in the first place.
The staging was clichéd, his awkward attempt to dance to rhythm was dreadful, and the song choice was bizarre. I was hoping Christopher could be trained in to utilising that voice and putting on a strong performance, but three weeks in and he’s still too panto. 4/10
MK1 – ‘Crystal Waters / Tinie Tempah mashup’
Well what a tale of two halves this was. The first half was by some distance their best performance in the competition so far. The song choice was genius; it was original song choices like this that landed Little Mix the prize last year.
Then it all went horribly wrong, the latter half of this performance may well be the reason the duo have now been eliminated from the show. Charlie was very pitchy and out of key in places during the chorus.
Let’s be honest, the chances of an urban act winning the show were always slim, however they really could have had a few more weeks. If the first half of the performance had been carried on throughout, it would have easily been one of the best of the series so far. Once again this week the act going home is doing so due to poor song choice. 5/10
Jahmene Douglas – ‘Say a little prayer for you’
Firstly – classic? Yes. Club? I don’t know what clubs Jahmene heads to, or whether he travels there by time machine, but this wasn't being played in many over the weekend.
This was very ackward to watch at home. I don’t know if something on the technical side went wrong, but Jahmene seemed to miss his queue at the start of the song and was playing catch up for most of the first half of the performance.
He was also very pitchy and out of key for most of the first half, which in fairness is unlike him.
However he did manage to pull it back by the second half of the song, which was vocally very solid.
I am starting to warm to Jahmene, the vocal aerobatics are not annoying me as much as they used to – however his major downfall is still his stage presence. It’s a real worry with Jahmene, as it should be improving three weeks into the competition. 5/10
Jade Ellis – ‘Free’
The staging for Jade this week was easily some of the best we’ve seen this series, it was so professional and slick – the set, lighting and choreography were brilliant.
We had been waiting for the first ‘I’d the flu’, ‘sore throat’ ‘life threatening flesh eating bacteria’ story of the live shows and Jade provided it this week.
She was clearly struggling though, her vocals weren’t as on point as we have seen. However I was really hoping that she could up the performance to compensate for this, give us that little extra 15 or 20pc – but she didn’t .
Jade has already proved herself one of the most reliable and consistent vocalists in the series this year, so if there’s an area to work on its pushing herself to perform a little bit more during up tempo songs like this.
However all that said, she was still one of the strongest performers on a weak night. In my book she’s still one of the best this year. 7/10
James Arthur – ‘Sexy and I know it’
Gary said this was ‘the performance of the series’ – shove in the word ‘worst’ in front of that and we’d be in agreement. This was excruciating.
In fairness, vocally it was very solid. Performance wise, it was a complete mess. Half way through James looked bored, as if he didn’t want to be there.
If he looks like he doesn’t want to be there, how are we as viewers meant to get involved with the performance and engage with him? We don’t.
James is still the most disappointing act for me in the live shows by some margin. He has undeniable musical talent, but for whatever reason it isn’t being utilised. Everything just seems to sound the same with him now, and although many may disagree I fear he could be in trouble soon. 2/10
Union J – ‘When love takes over’
These guys are really what the show is all about – solidly improving their performance and vocals each week.
They are amassing a huge following on Twitter and now must be considered one of the real favourites to take the prize.
The performance was simple but effective, the camera work was solid and the boy’s vocals were good.
If there was one problem with this performance it was with the lead singer, Jaymi. He has the best vocals by some distance in the band, and indeed could quite easily be a solo singer – however his failure to find his cameras in this performance was a big detractor for me.
It’s a TV show, the cameras are your means to communicate with your audience, and therefore your voters.
I feel after a poor first week, the boys have now proved themselves as contenders, so I’m hoping next week they’ll mix it up and challenge themselves. 6/10
Rylan Clark – ‘Jennifer Lopez/Rihanna mashup’
I’ve always said Rylan’s place in this competition should never be at the expense of genuinely talented singers, and I think his run should be coming to an end soon. As of right now, I’d only place Christopher Maloney below him for the chop – although that seems unlikely.
However he does really bring the entertainment factor to the show, and on what was quite a dull show provided a real breath of fresh air.
The performance was over the top, as we have become used to, and the vocals were completely all over the place.
I’m enjoying it while it lasts, but really think another week or two is all he should stay in the competition. 5/10
Lucy Spraggan – ‘Titanium’
For me, this was by some distance the performance of the night, and indeed of the series so far. Lucy is technically the weakest female vocalist in the competition, however this isn’t ‘The Voice’, this is the ‘X Factor’, and she has that in spades.
The mixing of original verses and the chorus from the original song was a genius idea, and is something Lucy should really look at going forward.
Lucy has such a comforting, soft manner on stage – the audience feels safe with her and lets her tell us the story of the song.
The backing vocals in the chorus cleverly hid the weakness in her upper range, and besides that her vocals were flawless.
My biggest concern with Lucy has always been her longevity, however this proves that she can tackle different themes in her own way, and outshine her competitors while doing so. Performance of the night by some way, and best of the series so far. 9/10
Kye Sones – ‘Save the World’
This was it – the performance we’ve all been waiting for from Kye. The staging for this performance was absolutely stunning – the LED on the stage floor and the dramatic lighting was so atmospheric.
Kye’s vocals were bang on, he connected to his cameras incredibly well and turned in a stunning and haunting performance.
He showed us why he made it this far in the competition, something which he has failed to due thus far.
However, all that being said, he ended up in the bottom two. And it could just simply be a case that he’s missed the boat. Two below par weeks means he’s missed the opportunity to grow his original fan base. This should be a warning to James Arthur – he can’t get through on his original fan base alone.
He should get the ‘bottom two bounce’ next week, which should see him safe – but it could be too late for Kye, despite Saturday’s flawless performance. 8/10
District 3 ‘Begging’
Speaking of a ‘bottom two bounce’ – the boys from District 3 certainly upped their game this week. They deserved to be in the bottom last week, and used their bounce to full effect to lift them out of the elimination zone this week.
They are the better vocalists of the boybands, their harmonies are far tighter than Union J – in the fact that they have harmonies.
This performance was so energetic – and they did what all acts should be doing, showing they are capable of tight vocals but also putting on an entertaining show.
The cameras seemed to have focused less on Mickey, who I pointed out last week as having some very annoying facial grins.
Their critics who wrote them off after last week, myself included, have been silenced by their best performance of the series so far, and one of the best of the night. 7/10
Ella Henderson – ‘You’ve got the love’
Ah, the dance moves. Those stupid, annoying, unnecessary dance moves. What a distraction they proved to be. It’s as if someone opened the ‘backing singer dance moves 101’ book and threw a few in for Ella to show she could dance. Cause that’s what you want to see at an Ella Henderson show – her dancing.
This was Ella’s weakest performance by a great distance and for me it showed she may no longer be the runaway winner of this year’s show.
We were told she did this song to be ‘less ballady’ – but wait a minute, there’s been three live shows and she’s done one ballad. Vocally she was fine, but there was just nothing here for me. It was dull.
It's one of the things I don't understand about the X Factor, this almost cult like obsession with 'versatility'. You wouldn’t tell Celine Dion she needed to dance to show how ‘versatile’ she is. Throwing in some mediocre dance moves to try and make us think Ella can dance is just redundant.
Ella is a fantastic vocalist, and I for one am hoping we get a glimpse of that again next week. 6/10