After a week of debate over who did and didn’t deserve to make the “X Factor” final twelve, tonight we got to see the chosen ones live on stage for the first time! The “X Factor” contestants were fired up to show the public what they can do, and most of them stepped up to the challenge.
The show began with the announcements that the four judges had each chosen a wild card act to put through. Video clips filmed earlier this week showed the judges going to the homes of the acts they selected. For Dannii, Paije Richardson, for Louis Walsh, Wanger Fiuza-Carrilho, for Simon Cowell, Diva Fever and for Cheryl Cole, Treyc Cohen. These acts joined the original final twelve on stage, bumping it up to a final sixteen.
The theme for the first live show was Number Ones – which led to some interesting choices!
First on stage for Simon Cowell were FYD. They chose to sing “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy. They certainly looked like pop stars in their “street” clothing. Their dance moves were spot on, but personally I felt that their harmonies sounded a little odd. The judges comments were mostly favourable, though Louis Walsh said he thought they were better dancers than singers!
Next up was the boys category, and the current favourite to win, Matt Cardle. He sang “When Love Takes Over” by David Guetta. His vocals were a little shaky to start, but it is a hard song to sing. The singing picked up as he went along. The worry for me was that he still hadn’t quite shaken off the awkwardness. The good news is, he is a lovable scruff and my favourite without doubt! The judges were all suitably impressed – Simon Cowell was particularly happy with his performance.
First for Louis Walsh’s category was John Adeleye singing “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey. John Adeleye has a voice like velvet. His rendition of the song was beautiful, and presented like a true performer. He gives the impression that he was born on stage which is glorious to watch. Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell clashed over whether or not the song was a “relevant” number one and both Dannii and Cheryl said he needed to make his performances a little bit more personalised to his style, but overall Adeleye had nothing but praise.
The UK’s most hated “X Factor” judge of the week Cheryl Cole’s category kicked off with Rebecca Ferguson. Singing “Teardrops” by Womack and Womack, Rebecca had her eyes open for the first time in the competition. She was undoubtedly nervous but her voice is incredible. She has a unique sound, and you could never mistake her for anyone else. Simon Cowell tipped her as one to watch!
Fame hungry Storm Lee was next to take the stage. He sang the slightly lame “We Built This City” by Starship. His new freaky hair and glittery eye make-up matched a freaky performance. A load of masked, leather clad dancers – looking a bit like bank robbers joined him on stage and distracted from Storm far more than they should have. His vocal was good but not one of his best. He has a fantastic voice but it wasn’t shown off very well. Comments from the judges agreed that his voice was good, but the crazy gimmicky-ness was too much.
Belle Amie took on “Airplanes” by B.O.B ft. Hayley Williams. They looked like they had fallen into a charity shop bargain bin and put on whatever they found in there. I felt that they picked the wrong lead vocalist for the song – she looked uncomfortable. The other girls looked more confident and their harmonies were good. Cheryl Cole was the only judge to agree with my assessment, the others were far nicer!
One of the most controversial acts, Cher Lloyd sang “Just Be Good To Me” by The SOS Band. Wearing M.C Hammer’s trousers, Cher managed to get a bit of rapping into the performance which distracted from the lame vocals which were covered by a backing track. She certainly performed it well though. The judges thought she was amazing, but frankly, it felt as though they were trying to blow away the Gamu drama and convince themselves that they made the right choice.
The first wildcard acts to perform were Diva Fever, and they are personal favourites of mine! Diva Fever sang “Sunny” by Boney M, and they were dressed in hideous pink and purple suits which were about four sizes too big. It was camp at its best – brightly coloured and utterly bizarre. They both have very good voices but it was just plain odd! Simon Cowell announced that he put Diva Fever through to the live finals because the world could use a little more fun! Nobody could doubt that they certainly brought that!
Paije Richardson was a big favourite, so seeing him back for the live shows as a wild card was a popular choice for many. He sang “Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack. At this point I began to wonder if the stylist was drunk when he/she dressed the acts this week. Thankfully, Paije has got so much soul that he could have worn anything and still been great! It may have sounded a bit vocally messy to some but he has really got it and I think he can do well. The entire judging panel was happy to see Paije and were suitably impressed with his performance.
Another controversial “X Factor” choice, Katie Waissel. She sang “We Are The Champions” – the song she messed up at her first audition. Dressed like Storm Lee’s twin sister with odd hair and a funny dress, she played piano as she sang. If she were dressed normally, it would have been an utterly dull. As it was, it was still pretty uninteresting. So much so that I found it hard to form an opinion. Simon Cowell continued to dig Cheryl Cole out of the pit she fell into this week by saying that Katie Waissel’s style is good because it’s unique and that she reminds him of Cyndi Lauper. It will be interesting to see how the audience vote!
Fondly known as “Tesco Mary”, Mary Byrne was next up singing “This Is A Man’s World” by James Brown. She might not look like a pop star but she has probably the best voice of all of the finalists. Mary Byrne is a proper singer, and she gave it her all. She commanded the stage without any theatrics, and that is hard to do. The audience reaction was phenomenal, overshadowing the judges comments!
Italian diva Nicolo Festa followed Mary, singing “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga. He looked a bit like a geek at a Christmas party, but his voice has something brilliant about it. He’s so fantastically different, but not in a contrived way. I didn’t like him at first but after this performance, I want to see much more! Simon Cowell said he thought he may be going mad because he enjoyed Nicolo’s performance, but Cheryl was not impressed.
One Direction were up next. Along with Belle Amie, they were put together after being rejected as soloists. They sang “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay and were actually far better than I was expecting. In my opinion, they haven’t quite gelled to look like a band yet but they definitely sang like a band. Once again, the judges were suitably impressed.
To be fair, Louis Walsh didn’t have much to choose from for his wild card act but Wagner would not have been my choice. He sang “She Bangs” by Ricky Martin, combined with “Love Shack” by the B52’s. Entertaining, yes. A winner? Unlikely. All the judges were a little bit speechless and agreed that it was a continuation of the craziness. I kind of think we should all vote him as the winner – maybe then Simon Cowell will see what a sham the show has become.
Aiden Grimshaw is one of the few finalists with real talent. He sang “Mad World” by Tears For Fears. He looked horribly afraid and while some might think he was getting into the spirit of the song, I was a little bit scared. However, the judges took it as acting and performance and said he was the best of the night. Well. That told me!
Treyc Cohen took the final performance singing “One” by U2. She looked incredible and sounded even better. She was a favourite of mine for the last two years but she stumbled at the judges houses rounds each time. Bringing her back as a wild card was a great choice and she owned the performance. Louis Walsh praised her for continuing to try to achieve her dream and Simon Cowell called her the best vocalist of the night – knocking Aiden down to second place.
Overall, after watching the first “X Factor” live show for two and a half hours, I feel like my brains have been sucked out after a string of such insane performances. The credibility of the show slipped after Jedward became popular last year but with this bunch, it is getting worse.
Two acts are set to leave in tomorrow night’s results show. Trying to guess who it might be would probably involve me picking names out of a hat – that’s how hard it is to call. Sadly, it is not due to them all being superb. Who would I like to see booted out? Cher Lloyd without a doubt. If the worst performers were to leave, Wagner and Diva Fever would probably be the ones to go – but you never can tell how these things will go! Watch out for the results coming at you tomorrow night!