After the exit of boy band FYD and Nicolo Festa last week, and the near exit of Katie Waissel, the competition is already hotting up. Now there are fourteen acts left and Dannii Minogue and Simon Cowell only have three acts each. The concern in the news this week has been that Katie Waissel is being hounded by the public because they believed that Gamu should have gone through rather than Katie. Whether that means she will have an early exit from the competition remains to be seen. but it is obvious that there is a lot of bad feeling. Of course, as always, the controversy is great for Simon Cowell and his gang, with X Factor seemingly more popular than ever before.
Presenter Dermot O’Leary explained that this week’s theme was ‘musical heroes’. One of Louis Walsh’s acts, Storm Lee was up first. After a rather odd, theatrical performance last week, the pressure was on him to do well this week. Singing Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, he sounded a little off-key towards the beginning, but did pick up as the song went on. The performance was a lot less theatrical, but that had the disadvantage of showing that Storm is a good singer, but not a brilliant one. The judges’ reactions were mixed. Dannii and Louis (of course) liked him, Cheryl and Simon didn’t. Cheryl’s Treyc Cohen was up next after a brilliant performance last week. Her version of Prince’s Purple Rain was a little slow to start, but once she really started singing, she was amazing. The woman has an incredible pair of lungs and, for once, all the judges agreed. Simon called her performance incredible and stunning; as he said, she could be the dark horse of the competition.
Dannii’s act, Paije Richardson was the third performer. Singing Some People Want it All by Alicia Keys, he looked more comfortable this week and sounded great. There was something missing though and it was hard to tell exactly what it was – he just seemed a little bland. The judges, however, all loved him – Simon’s only criticism was that the dancers didn’t seem in keeping with the song, although he admitted that it wasn’t Paije’s fault. Simon’s One Direction were next, with Kelly Clarkson’s My Life Would Suck Without You. Zane messed up a couple of times, but on the whole, it was full of energy and it sounded great. For a manufactured band, they really look like a band. Louis thought Simon should have chosen a better song, but admitted they were good and Dannii and Cheryl thought they were adorable. And there is no doubt that the girls in the audience loved them.
Then it was Cher Lloyd’s turn. Perhaps the most contemporary artist of all the acts, she did a Jay-Z song that included bits of It’s a Hard Knock Life from Annie. It was a bizarre combination, but it worked really well and although she looked positively evil at times, it suited her persona. Dannii wasn’t too keen on the performance, but the other judges loved her. John Adeleye sung a song chosen by Louis – A Song For You, originally sung by Leon Russell. It was very tender and moving performance, with no messing around. He may not win the competition, probably because he hasn’t developed his personality yet, but he should go a lot further. Simon praised Louis for his choice of song – and Louis deserved it – it was an excellent choice for John.
One of Simon’s groups was up next – Diva Fever. Last week’s performance was fun, but that was really as far as it went. This week, singing a version of Boney M’s The Summer Megamix, it was sunshiney and entertaining. The two boys aren’t terrible singers either. They just feel like a real novelty act and there are much better acts in the competition. The judges seemed to like them though and even Dermot mentioned how much fun they are to have around. Shy Liverpudlian, Rebecca Ferguson sang Feeling Good, by Nina Simone, which was a perfect song choice for her voice. She has a gorgeous tone to her voice and really sent shivers down the spine. All the judges loved her and she looked amazing too. She needs to work on her confidence, but she has a real chance of winning this competition.
Blackpool’s Aiden Grimshaw, who was fantastic last week, appeared on stage singing John Lennon’s Jealous Guy. He struggled with some of the high notes, but he did manage to put his own stamp on the song and sounded very current at the same time. Louis loved him and his image, but Simon and Cheryl both thought he was shaky. It was obvious that Aiden knew they were right too. Next was the completely crazy Wagner. He really should have gone last week in many people’s opinions – but he is charming in his own way. He sang Tom Jones’ Help Yourself and once again, it was a bizarre performance. Unfortunately, his enunciation wasn’t always great. Like Diva Fever, he’s a novelty act and the judges all thought so too. Whether he will be here next week is another matter.
Controversial Katie Waissel was up next. She gave a much simpler performance than last week, singing I’d Rather Go Blind, most famously sung by Etta James. It was just her and the microphone, with no strange outfit, and it suited her much much more. She has a lovely voice and sang so passionately. This week, on that alone, she deserves to go through. All the judges loved her too. Belle Amie, the last of the groups, sang You Really Got Me, by The Kinks. Their choreography felt a bit forced, but they sounded good and it was an excellent choice of song. The judges loved them, although Dannii didn’t like the outfits. It seems there is a new fashion director this season and she’s definitely going for glam, rather than what suits the contestants.
The final two acts were Louis’ Mary Byrne and Dannii’s Matt Cardle. Mary sang Dusty Springfield’s You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. It was a lovely, pure version; there is absolutely no doubt that she has a stunning voice. Whether she has enough about her to go all the way in the competition is debatable, although the judges and the audience clearly thought she was. Matt Cardle, one of the favourites to win the competition, was the final act. Aiming to hit a very high note, the judges were worried that he wouldn’t be able to make it. Singing Bruno Mars’ Just The Way You Are (at the top of the charts in the US), he hit every note just the way he should. Louis was reminded of Bono and all the judges loved him. Hatless for once, he looked a lot smarter than usual too. He was truly amazing.
This was generally a great night – nearly all of the acts excelled themselves. The highlights were Treyc, Rachel Ferguson, Mary Byrne and Matt Cardle, but Cher Lloyd, John Adeleye and Katie Waissel weren’t far behind. Two acts will go tomorrow night and it is hard to judge exactly who that will be. However, Storm Lee, Wagner, Diva Fever and possibly Aiden Grimshaw could be in trouble.