Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Not Yet Famous Five

With two songs each tonight each of the remaining five contestants has a chance really to show what they can do. The public, in the shape of visitors to the X Factor web site that is, have chosen one and a current recording artist has chosen the other. Having said that, I should imagine that the production team and judges will have a bit to say too.

Ben gets a song chosen by One Direction. Nice for him to have support of the current No. 1 band and he also, of course, has Simon Cowell. Come Together is the first track for him. A very weird and slightly dodgy set but a good performance and plenty of raspy stuff from Ben. A likeable chap and he didn't do anything wrong but I am not so sure he did that much that was exceptional either. The judges are really complimentary! I was pleased with the way he looked and performed but just feel there was something missing. The song itself actually doesn't go anywhere so it would be unreasonable to expect him to improve on a Beatles number but eh didn't let them down either.

Little Mix, another big X Factor success (they won in 2011), chose Clarity, not a track that I immediately recognise for Lauren. It looks and sounds like an Ariana Grande type number. I understand that it was a track by Zepp featuring Foxes. Nice and current but it was far from perfect. I still see her making it through to the last four. She is also the more likely to succeed in a Ben v Lauren final which is what, at the moment, I am predicting. That is definitely not what the bookies are predicting, though, with Fleur as a very, very clear favourite. So, logically, they also have Lauren as a similarly short odds favourite to go tomorrow.

Tulisa is someone ITV are allowed to mention again by the seems of it and she has chosen their track. Bruno Mars Just The Way You Are is a nice track that should please everyone watching. A fabulous song, really well-written. It works well for them and they put on the sort of show that makes you think that they might just steal this thing after all. If they were to do that consistently then they ought to make the final themselves. Mel disagreed and thought they'd not done well. Cheryl too criticised the way they stood and sang. Simon didn't think it worked well and reckoned a last-minute switch in routine didn't help. So much for what I thought then.

So Fleur is the new predicted winner. Emile Sande chooses a song. Fall In Love by Tina Turner is not a song she knew. Or me. I hope Emile knew what she was doing. I didn't like it much, nor the white trousers, and I didn't find it a natural performance either. However, it was accurate and more or less faultless, just a bit unexceptional. Louis loved it. Neither Mel nor Cheryl were that enthusiastic but they did recognise that she was very competent. Simon says it can't be her that goes home tomorrow.

Andrea gets Alexandra Burke's vote. That was quite surprising. Sam Smith chooses a song for him. He didn't have much to do to survive against Stevi last week but would have a tougher job against any of the others. The song is a Sia number Chandelier that even Sam says is hard to sing. I guess that that means if he does it well then that will keep him in. I found too many painful sounding and looking efforts to reach notes that were not familiar or natural for this fellow. If he'd written the song then maybe he'd have got it but I didn't think a great deal of that. I am also not at all sure that the production matched the sense of the track either. Someone missed the point. Simon says Round One to Ben.

Viewers' choices now. Lauren has a really nice modern track. At last, one that those likely to vote for her will enjoy and they need to vote too to ensure she doesn't go home as predicted. She's slowed it right down and I am hoping for the rhythm to kick in. Will it? Or will she just carry on with the nice ballad approach? That works but it isn't as satisfying as it might have been. A good job but will that keep her in? If she stays then who goes? Simon thinks that may have saved her.

Ben gets Ed Sheeran's very cool number, one of the best songs of the year. Quite easy to sing but he also needs to get the message across. Just rasping away won't work. He needs to be gentle and starts well. He continues well too with a really nice and controlled performance that must, surely, send him flying through. Nice job, Ben.

Stereo Kicks get Run. It's quite a classic and can sound fabulous. It was a good effort but I just felt there were too many and it slowed it and muffled it a bit. The main lead, Diva Kicks, was excellent and maybe should have been left to carry them all through, which I do believe he could have done. This requirement to try and feature each of their voices doesn't work for me but that pleased Mel. Cheryl was politely impressed but was secretly thinking that she'd want them up against Andrea in the bottom two. I must have missed Louis' and Simon's comments.

Luckily, Fleur knows her song. She also ditched the white trousers. A very good performance. I don't feel the song was one we'll want to dive onto YouTube to play again although she did do it justice. She certainly deserves to get through and the bookies reckon she has to be there. I would have thought she could be at risk this week but I guess I am in the minority on that one. I want to see her make it through, for sure, and Simon has it right in that she genuinely wants to be there and to sing. Nice, I still think she's at risk but hope she makes it.

Andrea closes the show. I'm actually not looking forward to watching him chew and wail his way through the huge classic and would much prefer Mariah Carey to watch. He's a nice enough chap. He decides, or someone decided, to do some of this in Italian which could well help him. Almost anyone can make this song sound impressive has it has an anthemic quality and there can be a big choir and lots of sweeping instruments in the background to make sure it sounds good. So it wasn't surprising that he gets a good reaction but if you listen carefully it wasn't that great and he certainly doesn't sound like someone I would rush out to buy. I think he could go if he's up against anyone except Lauren or Stereo Kicks. If it's one of them and the judges go to deadlock then he could well get through. Of course, he may well not be in the bottom two this week. In that case it really is anyone's guess.

All I can say is that it won't be Ben.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The viewers' choices for contestants on Saturday.

Now we have the tracks chosen by the public for each of the five finalists to sing on Saturday. They'll also have second numbers which haven't been declared yet.

So Ben gets the Ed Sheeran track. Modern, in the zone for many and it seems almost perfect for him. Expect a heavier version which could make quite an impression and should secure a Top 4 place.

Andrea gets the classic Big Ballad. It has some dreadfully difficult first notes and almost everyone I've heard attempt it wobbles around them and tries to get away with belting the later bits out when it really needs some sensitivity. The Italian hasn't shown much control so far, just big belting noises and horrid facial expressions. He got fewer votes last week than anyone, possibly including Stevi, so I'm not sure this is the track to win many people back with.

Fleur has done well so far, with a crazily wide range of tracks and delivered all of them almost faultlessly. This one is neither easy nor, I fear, likely to be as popular. She'll need a damn good second track, although we may just see her move us with this one after all.

I have no idea how Lauren will put this together on the stage but I do wish her the best of luck. It could be great and all credit to her for attempting something different. This track doesn't have to have the insistent and oh so catchy stadium synthesiser beat but if she can somehow build that in at the end it would be nice.

Tailor made for eight guys to sing their hearst out to. Great choice for them by Miss and Master Public. This did more or less won the competition for Leona in 2008 and I reckon, unless they totally cock up the notes, this will get them safely into the Top 4, possibly even avoiding a sing-off.

This is the act that came third on X Factor USA in 2012

While we're waiting for the X Factor finalists to find some tracks to cover, here is a group once called 1432 that came 3rd in X Factor USA Season 2 in 2012. Fifth Harmony have proved to be the real winners from that season.

And how they were...

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Someone had to go. Just not that act.

This week the last seven choose either a Whitney or Elton number in order to try and get through to the Top 5. Two go this weekend, one immediately at the end, another in the sing-off of the next two with the fewest votes. So out of the seven, only four acts can relax and be sure of another week. 


She did a good job of this and brought a modern look to the song, aided by her young brother. I hope this isn't setting a precedent and Stevi asks to bring on his gran or something. Nice, fairly simple but good, performance that will keep her in.

She has youth on her side and I can see her being a popular artist, singing Demi Lovato numbers. Whether she'll be around for long is so much down to who writes her songs and how effective they are at making her look appealing. She has shown strong character in the shows so far and hardly missed a note. She could win this but will need to do something a little more memorable.


He took a risk with this. Dolly Parton, who wrote it, and Whitney Houston, who made pop history with this, both had the abilty to find notes and hit them perfectly. It isn't as easy a song as everybody probably thinks and Ben did appear a bit weak and missed some important notes. He should get away with that and didn't do a karaoke version so that is to his credit. This may put him in the danger zone but there's no way he's going anywhere. He started this week as second favourite to win (behind Andrea) but I can't see where he'd sit in the charts, genre-wise. He's a nice lad and, despite being an 'Over' seems younger than Andrea anyway.

Only The Young

I would love to see them not only survive this week but win the show as they have such talent and professionalism. They are the one pop act that I can see in the charts and being popular with kids out of all of them. For some reason they don't seem to have got the judges on side in a big way yet. They put a totally new slant on The Way You Look Tonight and it was very, very good. Simon says that they are coming alive and hopes the public keep them in. So important that they do stay.


OK, to his credit, he held back on the wailing and, of course, was note perfect. I just thought it was a bit tedious and fine for cruise ships, even expensive ones. He may well get some albums out at Christmas but that really has to be all that we'll be seeing of him if he does win. He'll survive another week and I guess he's in the final whatever I say or you think.


I was joking about bringing the family on stage but Fleur has hers too. For no particular reason I can think of. She knows this song well and it shows. That was absolutely brilliant. A pleasure to hear all those notes in the right place. Well done. Not my favourite song but I admire this woman - she may have been one who could have been at risk but that must surely see her through.


What a mess. I'm Still Standing could have been all right. The guy's voice wasn't that bad but the show was weird. Cheryl, very politely, says it's time he went. Simon disclaims any responsibility for the staging with the chap in some Egyptian outfit and a lot of girls and honey, fluff and whatever. As well he might. It didn't work. he has to go but you can never know with this guy.

Stereo Kicks

I still think that name is wrong but never mind. The song just rolls along and they get through without any problems. I just thought it was a bit boring but that's the song's fault as much as theirs. That was enough to get them off the bottom tonight - well, it ought to be but we never know what'll happen.

Soon enough we will know as the act with the lowest votes will go tonight. It shouldn't be close but it might be. I just hope it is Stevi. Or maybe someone else can go and then we can be certain that Stevi will go tomorrow as he has to lose the next sing-off. Surely?

The four acts happily through must be Andrea, Ben, Fleur and Lauren. I would be surprised if it were any different. Tough choice tomorrow if Stevi goes tonight.

Oh dear, Only The Young didn't get the public vote. Such a shame. I'm not sure many people agreed with that and there'll be a riot backstage. And they're in the tour so will be well paid.

Saturday Night's All Right.

Here's the track list for tonight at the remaining 7 acts fight it out to find the Top 5. Yes, 5, as two acts go this week.

I got the Bottom Two correct last week but really did think Jay would have performed better and dismissed Stevi on Judges' votes. My calculations had Mel voting Stevi off as she'd been pretty down on him. Louis has always been a Jay supporter and, of course, Cheryl had dumped Stevi on Simon in the first place so would probably have to save him. Simon would vote for Jay to stay so that would see Stevi go home at last. However, mel changed her mind and that took it to the public vote which Stevi won. So he's still standing,..

Surely not for another week though?

Andrea Faustini - I Have Nothing

It's a powerful ballad, not often performed on the show. I can imagine it going down well with the grannies. He was weak last week and didn't sing well or in a way that I would imagine record producers would be rubbing their hands with glee at - the prospect of sales of that type of thing being comparatively insignificant. I can see him redeeming himself somewhat although I still fear he'll be wailing. Not as much as Jahwene did but enough to be annoying.

Lauren Platt - How Will I Know?

Not the best of choices. It could work if she slows it down and puts on her best voice but an average job won't work. I reckon she'll be saved come what may, though. She has 'finalist' stamped all over her contract papers now.

Only The Young - Something About The Way You Look Tonight

Nice song but it sounds like the boys will get the lead again. The girls are better. I love this group and really would like them to stay in this competition. This could be the first 'normal' track they've got to do so it is very much a make or break performance for them.

Stereo Kicks - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Not sure about this one. Pretty iconic song. They've not been getting massive votes so far but do have some appeal as we're slowly getting to know some of the characters. More so than Only The Young, actually, whose names I would struggle to recall and there are only half as many. I don't know what to predict for these guys. I feel the end is coming.

Ben Haenow - I Will Always Love You

Well, talking of iconic numbers, this is the one. Quite a brave choice and he is not someone I would have identified with the Dolly Parton original or the Whitney hit. His voice is pretty gravelly and he's got a rock edge so goodness only knows what Simon has planned for him with this. Whatever it is, though, as second favourite to win with the bookies you'll get 66-1 if you want to bet on him going tonight!

Fleur East - I'm Every Woman

So far she hasn't had one simple track to perform. They've all been tricky or very modern and a bit difficult. Once more she attempts something that you would really only expect Chaka Khan to do. In fact, I can't think of anyone else doing this at all. So she is either mad or very determined to be confident and make us sit up and take notice. I have always thought that she's a contestant who could just go any week, however well or not so well she performs. Maybe now she is beginning to show that there is a route for her through to a final. If she gets this right she'll be there.

Stevi Ritchie - I'm Still Standing

He sure is and, once again, Simon has picked probably the best possible track for him to do. He'll put his heart and soul into this and make a crap job of singing and look dreadful on the stage and we'll all wonder how his eyes have that strange shape that is a bit alien and whether he ever closes his mouth and he really should be the one to depart on Saturday night with the lowest votes. It was fairly encouraging to see that he got fewer votes last week than all the others he's up against this week and that he hasn't been pulling in vast numbers like Baloney did. It's time he went. He has to be one of the two so if he makes it off the bottom of the pile due to a poor job by one of the groups, whoever he's up against on Sunday must surely find more favour with Mel this time.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Big Band Night


Andrea starts with Summertime, a wonderful song but it needs careful handling and kept simple. His facial expressions and style didn't natch the words and I didn't like his interpretation that much. It wasn't at all bad, though, for all that, and in tune as most of what this guy does always is. He deserves to be in an X Factor but I am still not sure it should be the UK one. the ending was awful but no doubt it will impress the grannies. He'll be around for another week.

Simon also makes a comment about his expression and has some criticism too which is good to hear as Andrea has been very much shown as the winner so far.


I like Lauren and her attitude. She has been well-mentored by Cheryl and is mostly presented in a nice, pretty natural way. Smile just trundles along and, whilst she sang well and it was in tune and nice to watch, it was just 'nice' and not exactly stunning or something I want to rush out and share with everyone. Once again, Simon says it absolutely right - it was good but not fantastic. I would hope that she stays and she really ought to. She's taken a risk but I am pretty sure that there will be several with many fewer votes tomorrow evening.


Jay was pretty disappointed with his 8th placing last week and was fortunate that Paul simply didn't have the looks to match the voice. He really should outlast Stevi, at least. He starts with New York Frame Of Mind but after just two lines at most switches to New York New York in good old fashioned belt-it-out style. You sort of wait for it to return but it doesn't. That was pretty good but Louis calls it karaoke. Mel B is miserable but Cheryl is much more positive and quite complimentary. Jay was certainly a lot more 'in' with the band and interacted with them but I wasn't convinced that was memorable enough to keep him in the competition.

He should, as I said, outlast Stevi but from an entertainment point of view, and attracting people to vote for the act, I have a suspicion that Stevi will do much better and may even escape the bottom two again with 7th and 8th places being shared by Jay with someone. That makes him vulnerable. there are also two other good male acts for people to vote for so that splits things in a way that can't help Jay.

Stereo Kicks

Stereo Kicks changed their song at a very late stage indeed and presented Mack The Knife. That was great. Not my choice of a song for many different people but this was actually quite good. Everyone performed well and I was impressed. I'd like to see them stay due to that. Mel B pretends that she didn't know they had changed the day before. Nonsense. It was in all the papers. Playing with Louis about the group members' names was a bit unfair.


Ben should be the winning guy this year although that may not mean he wins overall. His song is the classic Cry Me A River which has had extra legs given it with Michael Buble's release. Comparisons, of course, are bound to be made. Ben does a good job but there is something missing. He has the voice, adds more rasp than most, but I am not sure the meaning of the words gets across as it should. For all that, nit at all bad and he vertainly beats both Jay and Andrea this week in my view. Definitely safe this week.

Only the Young

Yet another risky week as obviously Big Band Night doesn't suit them at all. They've chosen a popular little tune from Jungle Book - I Want To be Like You oo oo. They were really very professional and that was a pretty faultless performance. They danced and entertained. The first to dance so far tonight. I like them a lot and would so much like to see them survive and win this thing. However, they haven't been getting the votes so far. I can't see them getting any extra votes for this but so much hope they do get enough to get through to next week. That was a difficult routine too. Well done. Fingers crossed for them.


I don't know what to make of this. I do think it is time to go now. Simon even says of his own act that this was the worst act on X Factor! There are many worse than that was but I get the point. So, maybe this could be the week that Stevi does leave? That would be great news for the others. Louis makes the point that good acts are now falling because he is there and that's why Stevi needs to go, as Jay or even Only The Young could suffer.


Closing the show tonight is this different and impressive girl. She looks glamorous and seems to get better each week. She is trying to do a really modern track to an old style band backing. Maybe it could have worked but it needed a much stronger lead than she was able to provide. The rap was good and she gradually started to pull the performance back. Her voice just wasn't up to it. She put an awful lot into that and deserves credit for the effort. How that will gain her votes enough to survive I don't know because I feel that was well out of the typical audience zone.

People were very complimentary. It's all about the votes.

My feeling is that Jay is in trouble but that he could be up against Stevi after all and will, therefore, survive.

"Oh big Band... I thought you said big bang...." said Simon.

Here's what you can see tonight, as the songs for Big Band Night are published. Well, they are for all but Stereo Kicks who changed their mind at the last minute and I don't know what their final choice is.


Andrea Faustini - Summertime (by Ella Fitzgerald)
Fabulous song. One of the classics of all time whih is good and bad and if he still just belts out stuff without the crucial sensitivity that this song needs then he could spoil it. But he seems on a continuing roll of popularity so will probably get by whatever he does.


Lauren Platt - Smile (by Nat King Cole)
She was a little weak last week so I am hoping she comes back well with this seemingly simply but potentially powerful track. Approaching the favourite spot now with the bookies I would expect her to survive whatever happens as she'd win any sing-off vote.


Only The Young - I Wanna Be Like You (From The Jungle Book)
Generally thought to be vulnerable this week, and I am not sure another happy sing-a-long song will be enough to increase their votes enough to kick someone else out before them. If they're competent and cheerful, though, then they could survive and show that they can be original and modern next week. I still believe they are one of the most professional of all the acts this year.

Stereo Kicks - to be confirmed...
OK, we'll have to wait and see but I would say they're going to be singing off with someone again.


Ben Haenow - Cry Me A River (by Michael Buble)
Sounds like a good choice, if a little safe. Of all the guys left, he seems to be the best so far.

Fleur East - Bang Bang (byJessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj)
I like the way Fleur is staying totally up to date, with another very recent No. 1. Quite how Simon will justify sneaking this in under a Big Band them remains to be seen. "Oh big Band... I thought you said big bang...."
It's another risk - she will either win big time or lose and go home with this.

Jay James - Empire State of Mind/New York New York medley (by Alicia Keys/Frank Sinatra)
He needs a good week and this could well be exactly the right song for him. It's a super tune and gives him plenty of ooprtunity to add some character which he has shown himself to be good at. I don't see him as a winner and, if he has to go sometime, this is as likely a week as any, just because of who's singing what.

Stevi Ritchie - Mambo Number 5/ She Bangs medley (by Lou Bega/Ricky Martin)
Oh dear. Simon does have a knack of picking really good tracks for his people and I have a horrible feeling that this will be just right for him again. He could well survive. A bottom two is possible and, if that happens, he's gone but I have a feeling he'll escape again.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Top 9 Perform. Andrea wails.

An odd selection, this. It has all the signs of being a tedious programme but hopefully something will cheer it up. The idea of sitting watching very familiar songs being redone, and not always very well if not actually ruined, makes me a bit nervous even for the best acts.

First on is Paul. He has a great voice but I feel his days are numbered. That was not much fun to watch and reminded me of how good Adam Lambert was on American Idol at a similar stage. Adam, of course, is now touring with the real Queen band and doing incredibly well. I don't somehow see Paul getting that or any similar gig. He gets great feedback from the judges but I am not quite sure why.

Jay James tells us about his voice having gone. Seems to happen quite a lot. The Show Must Go On is an appropriate track, therefore. This is a risky song. He tries to do his own thing with it but I'm not sure it's that great. He is someone I would like to see move through and a nice falsetto element near the end might save him. That was not bad but it's not going to get him a contract. Talented guy.

Lauren is my prediction to win and has shown amazing maturity in dealing with everything on the show, especially Mel's comments. Now with Cheryl's undivided attention she has every chance of doing well. The MJ song is a bit boring. Too long in the lower range at the start, it was such a relief when she moved up but not as much of a relief as I had hoped. She could have done a lot better. the ending sounded as if she had forgotten the words and made it up as she went along. Pity. I am pretty sure she'll get through, though, so hopefully it won't matter a great deal.

Apparently she was also ill and that might explain a lot. Simon said that the track was 'good' but the last 20 seconds 'amazing'. Spot on.

Now my favourite act, Only The Young. They did know what they were doing last week and Blame It On The Boogie ought to be right up their street. This is pretty good. A better performance than any of the others by a long way. They seem confident and, once they get going, it turns into something really quite enjoyable. All credit to the black-haired girl who managed and led that really well. Excellent at the end.

Ben takes Simon's advice and starts with just his voice and no backing at all. It works for me and makes the words make more sense. Quite atmospheric. Usually people just dive into this track. He does eventually get into the staccato mode that everyone needs for this  but it suits him well and he certainly came across as very confident. Great job, Ben. He had better be there next week.

Stevi really is now just the 'joke act' but we must remember that he has had experience on stage in West End type shows. Oh boy. He actually makes quite a reasonable stab at Bohemian Rhapsody and you can't help but smile at this. I can definitely see him getting contracts to do this sort of thing but, please, it's not today's chart stuff and he has to go sometime. It may well not be tonight after that. You have to wish him well but I hope he is chucked out before we get too much further down the line and he takes someone deserving's place.

Stereo Kicks sing the slow MJ number. You Are Not Alone could amplify any dodgy notes but by doing a gentle harmony they get away with it. Just the one with the interesting face and hair does the solo stuff and the others are like a big backing band. That works pretty well and the crowd seem impressed. I could have fallen sleep but they might sneak through. I didn't see it but someone ran on to stage in the middle of the performance and they handled it really well. I'll have to watch the re-run of that. All credit to them, anyway. My guess is that Simon would like to see them on the X Factor Tour and tonight decides the places. So my feeling is that they'll get through. The question is: at whose expense?

Fleur has a nice MJ song. It's all about her voice this time with no performance or modern stuff involved. It's an unusual number that sounds familiar but isn't, if that makes any sense. She does it well, very well. A confident and stylish job. I hope that the voting public know the track and help her to stay and join the Tour.

Closing the show is the slightly annoying now Andrea. Somebody To love is a sort of anthem and he goes through it well enough. He'll get plenty of votes for that. I didn't like it that much but then I find it hard to deal with any Queen covers that stay close to the original. Put your own interpretation and it may work better but how anyone can compete with Freddie Mercury is beyond me and whereas some others did their own thing Andrea was doing the copy version. He did it very well but he's no album selling guy for me. Just a nice guy who sings opera style well.

Looks like Paul is in trouble tonight, maybe with Jay for company in the bottom two this week. It should be Stevi, of course.

Tonight's song list. Queen V Michael Jackson

So these are tonight's tracks in what is oddly called Queen v Michael Jackson Night. I can think of better themes but I guess it'll give a bit more room for manoevre than Abba Night or, Lord help us, Dance Band Night.

Andrea Faustini – Somebody To Love (Queen)
I am getting tired of him now and this track won't help. He'll be around next week though, whatever he sings.

Paul Akister – Don’t Stop Me Now (Queen)
Popular track that ought to go down well but he is vulnerable now and next most likely to go.

Lauren Platt – I’ll Be There (Jackson 5)
One false move and it'll tumble down around her. But she's good so she ought to be there.

Stereo Kicks – You Are Not Alone (Michael Jackson)
Powerful stuff. Could be boring though.

Only The Young – Blame It On The Boogie (Michael Jackson)
Great! No room for errors though.

Ben Haenow – Man In The Mirror (Michael Jackson)
That could work for him.

Fleur East – Will You Be There (Michael Jackson)
Good choice if it's the one I think it is. Ben might have been better.

Jay James – The Show Must Go On (Queen)
He could have chosen better, especially as he tends to change the song anyway. Risky.

Stevi Ritchie – Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
Oh good grief.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

'Fright Night' - especially for one act.

Tonight is a little riskier for everyone with the one with the lowest vote going straight home tonight. So, in some ways, going first is good as that gives longer for people to decide to vote for you.

Ben kicks off with Highway To Hell which certainly sounded quite like AC/DC. Whether that's a good thing I'm not sure but it shouldn't do him any harm. It was well performed, good notes and with confidence but just a bit bland. Once you've heard Ben yell the first few lines you've heard them all really. I'm sure he'll survive with that.

Lola has a nice song in Crazy. She has been one of the weaker performers to date. After a good start she returns a bit to a wedding singer style and belts out lines. This was a good job overall, one of her best so far, but I still feel she could be vulnerable, if not tonight then maybe tomorrow. Much depends who she's up against. Lauren will be stealing many of her votes if she does well. But some guys may save her.

Fleur was always going to have a tough job with Thriller and may have taken on a bit too much here. She started a bit too gently and, whilst she did improve a lot as it progressed, and Louis called her the 'best performer' of the competition but I do feel the vocals suffered a bit. It was not bad, though, and, whilst she may be at risk if everyone else does well, my guess is that someone will be less impressive tonight.

Jack is the first of Mel's boys and possibly the next to go if he doesn't get the message across. He has an unusual track to do that with - Leona Lewis's Bleeding Love. Again, not bad but I am not sure that was good enough for the voters. He's a nice lad and there was an odd moment when some woman comes and pretends to be a vampire while he was singing. Anyway, this is a good singer and one that Mel may have taken out of a comfort zone. I reckon his own choice would be strumming in a corner. He could be good but not doing that sort of thing. So far, I would put him in the 9th to 11th danger zone.

Jay James next. He had a good week last week, and before that too. Tonight he has a track that ought to suit him. He starts a bit too nervously. Mad World slowed even further at the start was odd but not as odd as the speeded up version that followed. Hmmm. Another risky performance but qith quite a bit of quality. Like Ben, he gets the notes right but unlike Ben, puts a totally different angle on the song. Quite weird. Will people like it? Yes, I think they'll show respect and he'll be well out of the 9-11 zone. Well, maybe not well out of it.

Andrea sings Lulu. OK. Figures. This is not very good. mel B has not done him any favours at all with some very odd gold make-up and a song that is pretty useless. He puts quite a bit into it after a while and does some uncomfortable dancing too. I think he was thinking so much about his required moves that he forgot about the song. No I didn't enjoy that but the crowd seemed to. I guess he'll be safe tonight, though. And tomorrow,

Lauren is someone who ought to make the final. She may be young but she is determined. Dark Horse is difficult. She starts very dodgily but once the song gets into its main chorus she is good. It doesn't really work well, though, and I think Cheryl should have changed the track. Tough. She could be in for some criticism but I feel confident that she is in the Top 8 which is all she needs to get through to next week. Simon is very complimentary. I had not expected that.

Paul is doing Meatloaf. There could even be some resemblance in several years' time. We're led to believe that he didn't want to do the song. It suits him well, though, so I don't see the problem. He should pick up lots of needed support from that too. It's a bit underdone. The song is not easy to do justice to, though, to be honest, and Paul just does what it says on the tin for this track. They make a lot of his not wanting to do it. Not sure why - it was the production team who showed all the problems in the background in the first place.

Only The Young perform Monster Mash. I see that they've done this before and made a good job of it on YouTube too. I like this group and they'd be my choice to win from what I've seen so far. I thought that was brilliant. A totally professional performance. Surely that must save them. Best performance of the night so far.
I do hope they get the votes they deserve for that.

Stereo Kicks do a Backstreet Boys number. They do it pretty well too. Nothing spectacular but that ought to see them safely through.

Stevi closes the show. He knows that song well and made a very good job of that too. Quite surprisingly well. I have no idea what to make of this. Maybe the audience will actually vote for him this week sufficiently to stay out of the 11 zone. He may still be in the 9-10 zone, though, but should survive the night with The Music Of The Night.

Who goes? I think the order is 1 Only The Young 2 Ben 3 Stereo Kicks 4 Paul 5 Andrea 6 Lauren 7 Lola 8 Jay 9 Fleur 10 Stevi 11 Jack

Dermot announces Lauren, Only The Young and Ben. Then Stevi! Fleur makes it and so does Paul. Two more safe: Stereo Kicks and Jay. So it's Lola, Jack and Andrea. They're not the bottom three. But one is 11th and going home. Jack. Poor guy. Didn't stand much chance. Dermot says 'See you next week' to Andrea but just 'See you tomorrow' to Lola. I have a feeling she's in the 9-10 zone.