Monday, 14 December 2015

X Factor Voting Figures

X Factor 2015 voting figures and percentages

Week 1

Louisa Johnson - 15.9%
4th Impact - 11.2%
Anton Stephans -10.7%
Monica Michael - 9.1%
Ché Chesterman - 8.7%
Lauren Murray - 8.4%
Reggie 'N' Bollie - 7.4%
Seann Miley Moore -7.3%
Mason Noise - 6.1%
Max Stone - 5.8%
Alien Uncovered - 4.8%
Kiera Weathers - 3.4%
Bupsi - 1.2%

Week 2

Louisa Johnson - 15.3%
Reggie 'N' Bollie - 13.0%
Ché Chesterman - 12.5%
Lauren Murray - 11.2%
4th Impact - 9.0%
Max Stone - 8.5%
Anton Stephans - 7.5%
Monica Michael - 6.3%
Mason Noise - 6.1%
Seann Miley Moore - 5.5%
Kiera Weathers - 5.1%

Week 3

Louisa Johnson - 16.4%
Lauren Murray -14.1%
Ché Chesterman - 14.0%
4th Impact - 13.2%
Reggie 'N' Bollie - 13.0%
Mason Noise - 9.8%
Anton Stephans - 8.0%
Monica Michael - 6.1%
Max Stone - 5.4%

Week 4

Reggie 'N' Bollie - 21.6%
Louisa Johnson - 21.5%
Lauren Murray - 14.8%
4th Impact - 13.8%
Ché Chesterman - 12.8%
Anton Stephans - 12.3%
Mason Noise - 3.2% (left after Saturday freeze)

Week 5

Ché Chesterman - 22.2%
Reggie 'N' Bollie - 22.1%
Louisa Johnson - 21.1%
Lauren Murray - 18.4%
4th Impact - 16.2%

Semi Final

Louisa Johnson - 31.5%
Reggie 'n' Bollie - 27.0%
Ché Chesterman - 20.9%
Lauren Murray - 20.6%

Final Part 1

Louisa Johnson - 44.5%
Reggie 'n' Bollie - 35.2%
Che Chesterman - 20.3%


Louisa Johnson - 53.9%
Reggie 'n' Bollie - 38.9%
Che Chesterman - 7.2% (left after Saturday freeze)

Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Final

The end of another series. Despite all the criticism, these shows do discover talent. Someone a little bit special each year who will last a bit longer than the one hit Christmas single is brought to our attention. It has often been someone other than the winner but this year I have a feeling that either act in the Final could be around for a while. Louisa, certainly, could produce some great stuff if she gets given the best writers. Reggie & Bollie have a quite different audience and I may cringe when I hear them over the speakers at some teen party in a few years' time but I am pretty sure they will get a contract to do piles of the fun stuff they're making their own.

Louisa is very good and is the one I would prefer to wear the X Factor crown, if only to demonstrate to the critics how good a winner can be.

Down Town is the slightly embarrassing sing-a-long for all the Live Show contestants this year. Seann put on a good show. Lauren made herself heard but most of the others, including Reggie & Bollie, didn't exactly shine.

Coldplay can be guaranteed to provide a good performance and their quite hypnotic single Adventure came across well. I'm not quite sure why they needed four gorillas dancing on a hot stage as well but this is X Factor after all. Caroline might need to practice her interview technique as her chat with Coldplay's Chris Martin was pathetic to watch. She and Olly have been pretty good, not as cool as Dermot O'Leary but they had a certain sparkle that helped you forgive them the occasional cock-up.

First of the finalists to perform tonight is Reggie & Bollie with their highly popular You're Beautiful mixed up with Move It. I say 'mixed up' but actually they sort of stop one song and start another. The crowd is incredibly noisy and Simon has great trouble being heard. He reckons that they could win, based on the amazing reaction that they produce. That was the longest applause that anyone has had. People really do like these guys. I am beginning to wish I had put a bet on them.

Louisa next. Her song is It's A Man's World. She does this so well. The judges manage to speak above the crowd a little more quickly but not a great deal more quickly. They are extremely complimentary too. Simon declares that she really is the best they have had on the show. That is saying something. Louisa is handling all the compliments and the whole thing remarkably well for a 17-year-old.

So what new song will each act be bringing? There is such a difference between them that it is actually quite difficult to compare them sensibly.

First, though, are One Direction. Their SYCO contract must insist that they perform at least x times in each series! A new song from them. It could be called How Many Nights but if it isn't then you'll figure out what it should be. The four lads sound just as good as the five used to. Zahn always seemed to be slightly behind everyone - you should check out what I wrote when they were contestants in 2010!

After a slightly odd set of video thanks from people hoping they'd be back soon from their year 'break' starting any time soon, possibly tonight by the seems of it, they get a second song from the album. History was not the most inspiring track but it grew after a while and certainly pleased the audience. Yes, I am pretty sure that that was their 'last' performance.

The winner's single time. Surely they can't both have the same song. No. that would be silly. I am guessing they'll get something suitable. Reggie & Bollie first again with Forever Young which seems an odd choice. It starts nicely - almost gospel-like and reminded me of Paul Simon's Graceland. then a choir joins in and they start bouncing a bit more. They are dreadfully out of tune, unfortunately, but maybe the choir and backing will hide that more as the track progresses. It's no big thing but pleasant enough. I just hope that the actual single - should they win - is better tuned. Great act but I don't think now that they should win. Coming second is fine for them. That's probably a whole lot better than they might have imagined so #2 would be perfectly cool. Kids on the stage and tears from Cheryl may still get them those extra votes, of course.

No break, straight on to Louisa. This is the big one. She does also have Forever Young. That ought to be very much to her advantage and she starts gently and, notably, in tune. She'll need a big build up, though, and needs to do something a bit special with this. At last some soaring and she gets the choir too. Only the one crouch at first but then we get several in succession which really do add to the way she manages to put emotion across. Not at all bad. Again, I can imagine the single will be a touch better but she is so good live anyway. She 'owned' tonight, according to Simon and turned a good song into a great song. She gets a small person on stage too - her little sister - which balances the other act nicely.

Everyone is terribly complimentary and I think we can take it that, all the hype aside, as a pretty good indication that she'll be releasing some good music before long. SYCO will sign her whatever happens.

Adele has been away for a while on X Factor and I think she will have cost a fortune but worth it. Funny, watching her I could easily imagine Louisa doing as well. If she can write songs as well, or get someone to help, she will be up there with the best too. It would have been nice to hear something other than Adele's Hello. I know it's her big hit at the moment but we have all heard it several times a day and, as good as it is, there would have been a nice opportunity to give us something a little different. She also seems to laugh at the end and, when talking to Olly says that she felt like giggling all the way through. That isn't really what you expect to hear from someone who is supposed to be so good at interpreting lyrics, particularly ones she has written herself and which are pretty deep and not in the least funny. By all means joke later but not, dear, while your singing, OK. She supported Lauren. I can see why. Sometimes Adele can be a bit tiresome.

Louisa wins! Great result. After all these weeks of being so composed she is genuinely in tears. And who will forget Reggie & Bollie? They'll be fine.

One thing I noticed is how professionally she managed the almost impossible task of singing her Final song again. just a few seconds in and she was back in control and performing even better than first time. that was impressive in many ways. Rita is on stage with her and she actually does look as if she can hardly believe how well Louisa is doing. Eventually, of course, all the other Live Show acts arrive and run on to surround her but even then she doesn't give up and manages to make the last note. Quite how I have no idea. Nice girl. Looking forward to seeing more of her in years to come.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Two acts join Adele, One Direction and Coldplay in the Final

The three finalists come in from the aisles through the audience. Some dancers follow them, carrying letters - just in case we've forgotten their names. Ché gets three, Reggie & Bollie get three (RNB) but Louisa gets six. There's a sign to start with. Luckily, they stay in the right order and nothing embarrassing gets spelled to the several thousand present and few million watching.

Ché seems a bit breathless and whoever dressed him ought to be fired. Louisa is very fired already and, once she hits the stage, she is putting on the sort of show I would have expected her to reserve for the last song. Impressive. Reggie & Bollie do what Reggie & Bollie do and all's well with the world. A nice final tomorrow would be Louisa and Reggie & Bollie. Ché has a good voice but I just don't see him as a big name at concerts and on future TV shows. The other two could well be there, as will be lots of acts from old X Factor series over this weekend.

Ché is first to perform. We see him on the bus and visiting Essex. Now there he may have an advantage, Essex people being good supporters generally, happy to plug away with the tablets and phones and, as a young chap there will be a decent girlie vote for him. He seems to have got rid of a silly three quarter length shirt which he had on when he first appeared. That'll help. Valerie is a good track for him, cheerful and bright and comparatively stress free to perform so that has to have given him a good start. Neither Simon nor I understood the hamburgers on the stage. He makes the point that he looked nervous and does start off the least favoured to win. Having said that, how often have the bookies been proven wrong!!

I haven't placed a bet this year, mainly because the odds on Louisa have been so short since day one. I should have put something on Reggie & Bollie getting this far if I could have found a bookie offering odds for that.

Reggie & Bollie spend time in Newcastle and they have got a pretty widespread support across the nation. Cheryl is also a popular mentor and she'll gather a few extra votes for them. I can see them winning, just because they exude so much fun and they really do entertain every time. they may not have a few schools to bank votess from but I still see them doing well.

I suppose one day they might run out of tracks they can mash together effectively but they should manage to last a couple more. They have a bit of a random thing going this time. No idea what the track(s) are called - it's all a bit mad and the dancers seem to have absolutely nothing to do with anything but they're all having fun so who cares? You have to hand it to these guys - so professional and the crowd really do love them. Compared to the reception for Ché this is impressive.

Simon says it was a weird mash up - like a strawberry and liver mix! That reaction could be a sign that they could win. Rita says they were a bit 'cruise ship' and I can see that too. It was one of those performances that you may well see again and again but after a few years not necessarily remember who did it.

A lot hangs on what Louisa does to start with. she needs to get people voting and not just assuming that, as the shortest odds-ever favourite, she is just going to win whatever happens. She will need those votes and with Reggie & Bollie pulling theirs in big time she is not at all guaranteed to beat them, or Ché for that matter. We can all remember Ella not even making the Top 5 and One Direction lost out to Matt Cardle and Rebecca Ferguson.

Now it is Louisa's turn. I had forgotten that she is also from Essex so will amost certainly pinch a large number of Ché's votes from that part of the world. I Believe I Can Fly is a pretty tedious number. Not the best of starts, in my view, but Louisa throws so much at it, treating it like a final song again, that you have to sit up and take notice. Sometimes I wish she would be a bit gentler and maybe rise more gradually towards the loud bits but she gets very good reviews. The audience didn't quite match the R & B set but it certainly made an impression. She has an ability to put a huge amount of emotion into everything she does. That is quite special and, controlled, she could become quite a successful British #1 act.

Talking of #1 acts, Leona Lewis is next, with last year's winner Ben Haenow. Ben hasn't had the best of years with little activity since winning. His duet with Leona is a bit laboured. She finishes that and then decides that the audience deserve something better and starts her classic Run. Fabulous and Ben helps out quite nicely. That really did show the impact of a quality song, though. Simon will be pleased as he'll still get some money from that, even though Leona left SYCO and hasn't been particularly quiet about that either.

That was an introduction to the round in which they each sing with someone a bit special. So who will Ché get to sing with? Nice song The First Cut Is The Deepest. Hmm. Could it be Rod Stewart? Yup, The 70 year-old is still going strong. The problem with someone like Rod is that comparison's can go wrong for you and, whilst Ché has a great tone, Rod really steals the stage from him, even when he is not exactly giving it his all. And there lies quite an important difference - Rod doesn't need to give it his all. He can pick up a decent cheque for just a bit of crooning. Ché needed to do a bit more, I feel. Nice though it was, it may not have made lots of people open up the apps and vote.

Reggie & Bollie still have the middle slot. So who will they get? I thought they had someone called Tina - at least that's what was on the hat - but it's Craig David who eventually appears. the first half was great and had everyone grooving but the Craig David bit sort of put them in the shade and it was also a complete shift of gear and tempo. Ah - the Tina guy was called Fuse and he flew in from Ghana so must be someone they knew as well. All good stuff but I am not so sure that the Craig bit worked as well as the other guy.

Louisa gets the good last slot again. I'm Not Living Without You is a good song. She is singing with her mentor, Rita. Apart from Rita's much flashier dress, there isn't much to choose between them. They clearly get on really well and that comes across well. A bit shouty for my taste but I do like this girl and she really does deserve to get through to the final and get some more of what she enjoys so much. She is a natural on stage and Rita says that there have only ever been two people who have made that impression on stage and that is Leona and Louisa.

She might have included Little Mix and One Direction but maybe she was just thinking of solo acts. In fact, Little Mix are on next with Fleur East, last year's runner up but possibly the more successful from that series. They start with Fleur doing Black Magic then Little Mix do Sax. All good fun and quite a lot of flesh on show. Cool. And hot.

After a bit of a cock-up on the VT front, they eventually get the reprise tapes in order and there's a quick look at the three acts again. My guess is that, based on audience feedback, Ché will get the 3rd place this year.

Rod does his Stay With Me Tonight hit and adds a quick plug for Ché in his chat with Caroline. Luckily there's a break between then and when the results are announced so they can move him off stage just in case it isn't Reggie & Bollie that get sent home.

In the final is Louisa! Now for the other one through. It's Reggie & Bollie. Well done to them. So that's it for Ché. Good result. Should be a fun final.

You have to go back to 2008 for the last girl winner, Alexandria Burke and 2011 for Amelia Lily as the last girl finalist when Little Mix were the last group in a Final. They also won, of course. It could be close tomorrow.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Three boys and one girl in the Final.

Olly will have made Reggie & Bollie worry with his comment that later tonight there will be more judges than comtestants. He may not have intended to refer to the number of people but it could have been an inadvertent comment after seeing the results, or the votes so far.

Louisa must surely be through but which of the others join her I would find difficult to predict.

The sing-a-long had me fooled for a minute. I hadn't been listening to the Olly and Caroline introduction and just remembered that Sia would be performing tonight. Famous for not showing her face in videos I've seen so far, I was wondering whether we would see what she looked like and then I looked up and saw this attractve straight-haired blonde girl singing and looking and sounding very professional. I actually though that must be Sia until it dawned on me that the track was Happy and it was Louisa there, later joined by the others.

Che did a good few lines and got the most in the song. In fact I was thinking he should have done that as one of his Saturday numbers as it suited his voice very well. Lauren made quite a strong impression with by far the strongest voice with an interesting edge to it compared to the less effective Louisa on this occasion. The Reggie & Bollie participation was more or less as you'd expect and the usual fun. So they all are very much in the running still based on that and who knows what the votes will reveal. To date, unlike many other years, there has not been an obvious granny vote, possibly helped by the introduction of free votes via the app which I would expect to favour the younger viewers.

Sia maintained her cover with a strange wig and hairpiece. Quite a stunning set with a digital box beneath her containing a female dancer in flesh coloured body stocking. I think the title will be Alive or something like that. I had expected her to simply head into the background but she stuck around when the stage lights went back on and chatted with Olly, still aloft the high shelf. Very strong production, reminiscent of Lady Gaga.

Before her, Jason Darulo had put on a good show too. The series does attract some good international names and I have no doubt that there will be some impressive acts appearing next week in the Final too.

OK. That's it. One act will fall at this last hurdle. After this it doesn't matter a great deal. Even coming 4th can be good. Reggie & Bollie are through with Louisa. Excellent. So Che sings off against Lauren for the third spot. That'll be Cheryl and Simon effectively deciding. I'd expect Simon to choose Che and Cheryl to do so too but they may leave it to the votes, as has been the case almost throughout the series.

Lauren starts in tears but they soon disappear and she does a great version of the extremely well-chosen Fight Song. Brilliant choice, well-performed and that might even see her through. Very effective indeed. It was as if she had saved that up all this time especially for this important battle.

Che will have to come out with something very special to beat that. With Bridge Over Troubled Water he stands a chance. I didn't feel he did enough with that, though. He certainly didn't seem to fight as hard. He may have won the public vote. Cheryl chooses to save Che. Simon saves Lauren to let the votes decide.

Lauren loses. Che makes it through. You have to wonder how much the newspapers might have influenced that.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Top 4 Perform

Some papers have been trying to put Lauren down and it seems she had a modest contract some time ago and got a few plays of a single on Radio 1 Xtra. Like we going to be worried about that. Reggie & Bollie have had huge success in Africa and 4th Impact certainly were well-known in the Philipines and probably had some deals going on somewhere.

Tell Me Honestly is the first track from Reggie & Bollie, introduced by a far more attractive Cheryl than she was last week. It reminded me so much of something which will dawn on me sometime this evening. Ah, got it: Only You. Seemed the same song. This was a much gentler groove from the pair, almost quiet in comparison to what they normally do. Everyone says that we should be ready for their second song and I'm sure that Cheryl, who has managed them really well so far, will come up with something excellent to keep them in to the Final.

Lauren switches at the last moment to the Jess Glynne Take me Home number which is in the charts at the moment and so very current but that can also be a risk as Jess is such a good singer and everyone knows her version. Lauren struggles with the lower register stuff like so many singers do but tries to make up for that by putting lots into the rest of the song. She can certainly belt out tracks and gets most of the notes right. So far, though, I have never really rated her as a contender to win. That was probably going to get more votes than Reggie & Bollie. Simon remarks that she was a bit panicky and screechy. Spot on, it was like she was trying a bit too hard.

Neither will have people rushing to YouTube to play them again.

Third on stage is Che Chesterton. 'Certainly nothing wrong with the voice', says Lionel Ritchie who is the mentor for everyone this week. He sort of implied that Che's look and demeanour weren't competition winning. He does Would I Lie To You. It's accurate but they might just as well have played Charles & Eddie's original. Very 1980s, or even 1970s. A decent enough job but really not inspiring. Cruise ship. He gets good reviews, though, with the panel putting him firmly on top so far.

Last semi finalist is the very pretty Louisa. First the competition - the prize being Simon Cowell's F Type Jaguar which I would really like. The £50000 would come in handy too. I seldom enter these competitions but I have to admit to falling for that one. OK, back to the music. She is singing The Power Of Love which has been overdone by an awful lot of people already. Ah, it's the Frankie Goes To Hollywood version! That's good. And it is good. A bit screechy at the end as she tries almost too hard to impress. It worked well and the set was smart too, not taking attention away from her. It was still a bit 'old' and missed a bit of the emotion that the original had. However, I would say she definitely comes first out of those four performances and may have stolen votes from Lauren in the process.

Second round. Che Chesterton does Love Is A Losing Game, the Amy Winehouse song that should be popular, although I would identify it more with Lauren. It is also a bit 'old' again. This guy can be trusted to hit the right notes and to put some sort of emotion into it. he just looks like a contestant to me, not a future star. For example, I can't see him taking the stage in the States and doing much across The Pond. He'll sell a few albums but they may well just be recycled stuff done reasonably well for the grannies. It was good - and nice and simple, to his credit, in an evening of trying too hard generally. Nice. It ought to see him through but Simon saw it as ordinary and a bit karaoke. I don't get all the emotion that Nick and Cheryl seemed to be exhibiting. Maybe they'll be sad to see him go.

Louisa next, with It's A Man's World but which she says she'll be bringing Girl Power to. Not sure that's a good idea but all will be revealed shortly. It's a big song and very appealing. A great set again. Well done Rita and advisors. Now that was a great performance. She really did seem to be thoroughly comfortable up there, totally taking over the stage and produced possibly the best performance of the series this year. All the judges give her great reviews and hope that voters don't forget to vote, thinking that she'll be safe. Sure, she so much should be in the Final.

Whilst Louisa put Che very much in the shade, she now has to let the other two acts interfere with our memories and, possibly, although it would be hard, to steal the limelight and a few wavering votes. I can see Reggie & Bollie doing well. Che's future will, I think, depend almost entirely on how Lauren does.

Lauren gets the first shot. Running is a much more modern song for her - a Beyonce / Naughty Boy number that is well-written and also suits her pretty well. I detected some bum notes, though, and it was so much less, audibly as well as visually than Louisa's that she is clearly struggling now. It is going to be her or Che taking the third spot in the Final next week and I honestly don't know if she'll get it. She ought to, as she is slightly more up-to-date and likely to improve enough to represent us well in the lower regions of the charts, but she is not a winner.

Last, winding up the show in what I hope will be some style is Reggie & Bollie. For all Louisa's expertise and style, I still see these guys with a good chance of winning this year. With a mash-up of The Chiili Peppers' I've Got A Feeling and I Like To Move It the pair put on a good show all right. Not bad at all. Not quite as smart as I had expected. Louisa still walks away with the crown for this week but the crowd love these guys. They did sound a bit like and friends and that's not a bad thing. All the panel say that they need to be in the Final. So I wonder which of the other three acts they would drop?!

I think it will be farewell Che.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

This is the Top 4

In a tough week when those you might have thought might falter did brilliantly and those you expected to sail through looked vulnerable I have simply no idea who will go. That's also what Simon says at the start.

Not a bad sing-a-long of Michael Jackson's Earth Song if you just listened, with star contributions this time from Lauren and one of the 4th Impact girls but watching them all in white doing some choreograph thing was a bit worrying. Each has their own style but none suited that style.

Anyway, that soon passed and there are more recaps, including several glimpses of Cheryl in possibly the worst make-up I've seen her wear. Someone really needs to tell attractive women when they are making themselves unattractive.

Carrie Underwood, in complete contrast, looked stunning. Her track was not that great but then some of her past songs have been so good that it is difficult to match them and she is always on top form anyway. It's good to see this American Idol winner from many years ago doing so fabulously well which really does help justify these shows' existence. You should be able to see my comments on her progress though auditions and the Live American Idol shows fro links on this blog as I remember writing all those years ago - in possibly my first series of blogging. I do recall being delighted that she won but it wasn't at al obvious in the early weeks but she found something special and a sort of confidence midway through.

An impressive performance by Rita Ora next, with Sigma backing and what looked like the whole ruddy audience dancing on stage around her. I have to say she outshone the normally majestic Carrie Underwood.

It must now be time for one to go. As the sole male act left, I would expect the large tranche of female voters to keep him in, although he was probably the least by way of potential star material this week. Assuming he stays then it has to be one of the girls. In any other week then that would mean bye bye Lauren but this time, mainly due to poor choices and ill health, I do feel Louisa is vulnerable. It would be a shame but I am confident we'd still see her in the charts.

Wow. the first two acts read out as safe are Che and Louisa! Joined by Reggie & Bollie, that put 4th Impact and Lauren battling it out for 4th place. So Cheryl votes for 4th Impact, Rita for Lauren and that leaves it in the hands of Simon and Nick. I reckon they will both give the 4th place to 4th Impact unless they mess up wildly in the sing-off. I also think that if they do go to deadlock then Lauren would have come 5th in the public vote.

4th Impact go first with a pretty dramatic version of something like I'm Not Going Anywhere. It was a bit desperate in places but all credit for the effort made. In contrast, Lauren does A Vision Of love and just seems to take it all in her stride as if she were singing in the shower. Quite a talent, this girl and Rita points out that she had the highest sales on iTunes for the previous day's songs. She was good but it was neither one thing nor the other. So I would still stick with 4th Impact to stay.

Oh. Nick chooses to save Lauren. I thought he would choose 4th Impact after seeing him interview them on his programme. Simon balances that, though. So who got the fewest votes? 4th Impact. That was a surprise, as they'd been tipped to win and had been fascinating and very modern. However, there had been some doubts about how they interpreted some lyrics, English not being their natural language, and you do wonder a little bit about whether there might have been some helicopter mum pushing them all the time and not exactly allowing them much fun outside the show. Lauren will be a creditable semi finalist in a pretty fair competition. Reggie & Bollie will be pleased too to have had such great voters' support and not just the audience applause.

It is now open for Louisa to take the crown if she can pull something special out of the bag.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Top 5 perform. The Groups excel.

Tonight five perform and tomorrow just four will remain in what they'll call the Semi Final with, unbelievably soon, the Final in only a fortnight's time. Presumably there'll be three in the Final on Saturday and two left on Sunday.

Plenty of jokes about Simon's Overs all being sent home. He didn't choose terribly well, to be honest, and none struck me as having much chance either. He will rank the acts 1 - 5 after they've all done their first song so that'll be interesting.

Louisa Johnson

She has a cheery Justin Bieber song to do first. She needs something a little lighter and less shouty. The bandanna looks cool on her. She is a bit of a makeover team's dream. The song is a bit of s stretch for her in the key she chose. I am also not so sure her Twitter fans are necessarily her voting fans. So, whilst it was a good performance, it wasn't a winning performance or one that we'll be rushing to view again on YouTube. We learn that she isn't feeling well and that might explain why she seemed to struggle a bit. I think she'll find it lucky to have a second song this week.

4th Impact

The Jackson Five ballad I'll Be There is a potentially excellent choice that should widen their appeal if they do it well. Wow, that was quite impressive! I wasn't expecting much more than a pleasant bit of harmony but they covered a massive range and gave the song a very smart personality. I had them at risk this week but surely not after that excellent performance.

The four dresses were a bit like old carpet but I can't criticise anything else at all. Poor Louisa will be worrying now.

Reggie & Bollie

I have no idea what that was all about! It looked fun and the audience reaction is fantastic. It must be some new thing that I haven't heard about but, clearly, this Whip Dance or whatever it is called is very popular amongst the kiddies and that worked so well for them. They could definitely win this thing, despite the very nice 4th Impact performance and the gorgeous Louisa.

Lauren Murray

Difficult following that. Lauren says she has never heard of Kygo, the band doing the song she has to perform as the viewers' choice. It's called Firestone so we'll find out in due course what she does with it. It is a fairly typical number but with a strong edge that suits her. She does well but it isn't very memorable and seems a little bland after the groups. She's also probably glad she has a second song. The camera is off her for a long time after she ends. Not sure why. Simon was not impressed. Nick sort of agrees but reckons she can sing anything anyway. Not bad but it won'r have gained her any extra votes.

Che Chesterton

He gets given Hello which is the current massive Adele hit. All he can reasonably do is do a karaoke version, as there is no obvious alternative that he could put together in a matter of days. He sings very well indeed, possibly the best of all the acts tonight or, at least, matches the best of 4th Impact. He slipped up but I hadn't noticed and so well done for a good job done there. He should be safe so far but is was a little predictable. Simon comments that he just looked like he's come in from work and he is right that respect - Che doesn't have much 'star' factor which may account partly for his coming 5th or 6th last week. He will also need a second song after all.

Simon ranks them. 1. Reggie & Bollie, 2 Louisa Johnson, 3 4th Impact, 4 Lauren Murray, 5 Che Chesterton.

I'd have put 4th Impact 2nd and Lauren 3rd with Louisa 4th. But that doesn't mean a great deal. It will be so much about the second song and the extent to which Louisa's voice holds out.

4th Impact

Nicely done. They start as dolls in boxes and produce a modern version of Rich Girl and something else which goes down well with everyone. They are so reliable and really natural professionals, bound to succeed.

Che Chesterton

Try A Little Tenderness is a superb song and I had Che down as a certain safe act this week with the two songs chosen. However, he struggled a bit with Adele and this one isn't easy. Once he got going, though, he did well. It was too short - the original has a lot more that this shorten version misses. SO he has rescued himself a bit but with the other acts all doing so well I don't know how much difference he's made. He gets great reviews for this.

Lauren Murray

You Don't Own Me is perfect for Lauren. Excellent performance of that. That might have saved her too. It's getting difficult to see who could go. It ought to be one of Lauren or Che but they've both done very well to rescue themselves with their second songs.

Reggie & Bollie

Another great party song performance. You can just see the album in the shops already - Let's Party With Reggie & Bollie. They haven't put a foot wrong. Very good. Not my sort of tunes but they have to be close to winning this thing now. Credit to Cheryl who has managed both groups impeccably with great songs and staging for both.

Louisa Johnson

She really needs this to be something special if she isn't to make an unexpectedly early exit. Not feeling well will not help either so if she does pull this off she will be extremely relieved and that will also be a good indication of where she might stand in a Final.

Her interpretation of a Labrinthe song Jealous is really very good and may actually be enough. so much depends on how many fans she has accumulated so far compared to Che and Lauren. She might just have the edge. Simon says that she is potentially one of the best the show has ever had. Nice. That's saying a lot. I do hope she stays. She does have the better chance in future than Lauren or Che in my view. She could be our latest British female star. I am not sure now that she'll win as the Reggie & Bollie boys are virtually unstoppable now and even 4th Impact look like being in the Final too.

Louisa will be the one we see in years to come, however.

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Top 5 tracks for Saturday's show

Here are the tracks the Top 5 acts will be performing tomorrow.

Lauren Murray

Jukebox song: Firestone – Kygo ft Conrad Sewell
Second song: You Don't Own Me - Grace ft. G-Eazy

Louisa Johnson

Jukebox song: Love Yourself – Justin Bieber
Second song: Jealous - Labrinth

4th Impact

Jukebox song: I’ll Be There – Jackson 5
Second song: Fancy - Iggy Azalea / Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani

Reggie n Bollie

Jukebox song: Silentó - Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)
Second song: Taio Cruz - Dynamite

Che Chesterman

Jukebox song: Hello – Adele
Second song: Otis Redding - Try A Little Tenderness

Just on the basis of the songs chosen, Che has got to make the Top 4. Reggie & Bollie and 4th Impact are likely to entertain and impress again so it may be one of the girls that goes. My guess would be Lauren but, on paper, Louisa has the trickiest songs to get across.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Top 5 already

The usual mad and hurriedly rehearsed sing-a-long starts the show and you just look at Anton and wonder what he's doing there. Reggie & Bollie seem to be able to entertain with whatever anyone throws at them. 4th Impact look good and I would like to see them make it through so that there might be a chance to see them with more individual performances as so far I've only seen this mass of four similar females with the occasional 'Let's Go!' added for good measure. I do think they could be vulnerable, though, but it's Anton who should go.

A lot of viewers will be wondering who on Earth Nathan Sykes is. One time member of The Wanted, that's who and he has a new single Over And Over that needs promoting. Decent job of a number he wrote himself.

Next Olly Murs switches from presenter to performer. He has been one of the more successful X Factor products with some very commercial singles and excellent sales. His latest, Kiss Me Like You Mean It could do with some more lyrics than the title.

Results time. Ché and Anton are the bottom two. That should make the decision easier for the panel, with a tearful farewell to Anton.

Super version of Some People by Ché must have secured his place in the Top 5. A similarly powerful and great track from Anton would justify his getting saved but that is probably be his best shot. He's on the tour, though, and wasn't going to win so that's cool. Yes, it is goodbye to Anton.

Quite a powerful final 5. Two good groups that we'll definitely see more of whatever happens, two girls and Ché. On a good day for any of these acts it could be anyone who steals the No.1 spot.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

The Top 7 Perform. One more goes tonight, another tomorrow.

So here we go again. Another twist? One act to go tonight. Gosh. Does that mean another tomorrow as well? Yup, two go again and we're down to just five in no time. I am really not sure this is such a good idea. It's always good to see the back of some of the less than inspiring - and downright dreadful - acts but this year none fall into that category now.

Here are what they'll be doing in 'Love & Hate' week.

The Boys
Ché Chesterman: Yesterday - The Beatles
Mason Noise: Jealous - Nick Jonas

The Girls
Lauren Murray: We Belong Together - Mariah Carey
Louisa Johnson: Let It Go - James Bay

The Overs
Anton Stephans: One Sweet Day - Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men

The Groups
Reggie 'N' Bollie: Dangerous Love / Shut Up And Dance - Fuse ODG / Walk The Moon
4th Impact: Ain't No Other Man - Christina Aguilera

That doesn't really tell us much, nothing standing out but I would say that Ché is on to a good thing as long as he doesn't wail too much. Likely to struggle must be Mason and, now we know that he isn't top of the polls any more, Anton. I am also not sure about 4th Impact's choice this week.

Ché Chesterton

He kicks off the proceedings as it happens. Same words and the backing track follows Paul & John's idea but Ché puts a very different slant on the tune. It is barely recognisable. That is a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it makes it a brand new song and really is no cover. Bad because it was a bit boring. He'll be safe, I'm sure, anyway.

Anton Stephans

Odd start. He is such an experienced singer that I am sure he can't be singing the wrong notes or even the wrong key but, my goodness, it certainly sounds wrong. Once he gets going we sort of adjust to the different key and accept it I suppose. Well, a bit. It's all a bit heavy and really only just the last couple of lines belted out in fine style that we'll remember. I didn't like that at all and I couldn't see that in the charts or, as Nick said, I wouldn't expect him to sell records.

He gets upset when he thinks Nick calls him fake. Nick didn't. Anton missed the point but never mind. He just got all emotional and maybe the song means something to him. Disagreement on the panel about whether they 'get' Anton or not. All a bit strange and it may all help him get the sympathy votes from the old folk out there. However, as he is technically 7th in the voting and only 1st to 5th are through he will have to improve his chances by leap-frogging two acts tonight! That might not be easy.

4th Impact

Sticking with the highly choreographed and wilder type of performance still, they make a fine job of the Christina number. Is is memorable? No. Did they put lots into that and do it faultlessly? Yes. Would it sell? I think so and I can imagine them on stage doing regular gigs. Simon says they should bring out their individual selves more and I agree as they're just kinds there and, whilst excellent, not something you'd remember.

They do deserve to stay as I have them Top 3 but I am starting to wonder how much support they'll get from the people that vote. Enough to make at least 6th which should keep them in until tomorrow at least!

Lauren Murray

I always worry about Mariah Carey songs. They're a bit anthemic and need something a bit special to make them count. Lauren does try to make this modern and sort fo succeeds apart from a couple of dodgy notes. It really does just start and stop, though and i don't see millions downloading that as they did her previous song. She is reliable and has a cool personality. The panel love her too. Nick says he bought her track last week. Don't think he'll buy this week's. I'd put her in the top six and so she ought to survive until tomorrow too.

Mason Noise

This is a track I don't know. Some very scantily clad girls didn't make the pre-watershed camera shot choices but he put on a professional show. Unlike some of the acts, I can imagine him on Radio 1 for a few numbers but not in the Top Ten. I do think he's vulnerable this week and he feels like a 6th place to me. I reckon he will be sharing that with Anton but which goes is anyone's guess. There is something missing in his stage performance - conviction or desire perhaps. He is a wannabe rebel but not really making the Rebel grade. That name doesn't help at all. He might make a cool deejay.

Louisa Johnson

Love this girl. Nice James Bay song, a bit better known than some of her competitors' choices. She does have a tendency to go full blast too soon and that means she is belting it out all the way through when perhaps some light and shade would have been a better idea. That sort of messed up this track for me but she seemed to get bags of support, especially from Cheryl. Simon reckoned that was the 'moment' that each show has. Well done, Louisa, but I expect more. Hopefully, she'll have plenty more chances to show what she can do. It would certainly be a mistake if she didn't make it.

Reggie & Bollie

Well, that was just great. Shut Up And Dance With Me must have been a perfect choice by Cheryl. They just stole the show and everyone loves them. The vocals were 'iffy' as Simon pointed out but he also went on to say that he reckons they'll be in the Final. I agree. They are so popular and whilst I know they're not exactly unique and I don't know how original they'll be, they will have lots and lots of appeal to kids and people of all ages. They could win. They certainly won'y be going home tonight or tomorrow.

In summary, Ché hasn't done himself any favours by rewriting a Beatles track. Anton is going down. 4th Impact and Lauren are standing still. Mason got a bit dented tonight. Louisa and Reggie & Bollie will share the Top 2 positions. I can't see Anton surviving.

Amusing stuff when Ed Sheeran and Rudimental do Lay It All On Me and the confetti machine goes mad and no-one can see anything much at all as the whole stage and most of the studio gets buried under piles of coloured bits of paper! Good fun but possibly a bit more intense than anyone actually intended!

And so to the act leaving straightaway... farewell Mason.

Monday, 16 November 2015

The Top 7 and who get a place on the X Factor Tour

It is another double elimination this week so we're choosing the Top 7, not the Top 8. Gosh. That's 6 gone in a few minutes' time. I have said before in several feedback sessions for this programme that it should be the other way round - all the acts should stay for longer and become better established, not just themselves on the stage, but also with the public. Then, if the series has to be limited to a few weeks of Live Shows, it should be later that the multiple eliminations occur.

Oh well, never mind. This week let's see who could vulnerable. Mason Noise and Max Stone would be my first two to go after fairly dismal performances but I am aware that they do have plenty of female fans out there who tend to vote more than blokes do and so might tend to keep the boys in.

All three girls did really well. However, there is quite a lot of crossover between their fan bases and that could mean support gets split and, oddly, makes each one, even Louisa, vulnerable.

Che is safe this week and is predicted to be a finalist.

Reggie & Bollie are the second act I feel confident about. They'll be through. 4th Impact ought to be around for a long time but I just have a feeling that, however hard they work, there isn't a connection with the voters and they have dropped a little in my predictions of who might make the final. They really should be Top 7, though.

That leaves Anton. Oh dear, good old Anton. Rumour has it that he is topping the polls which is bad news. A very likeable chap but I fear that the old ladies are voting him back just as they have had such an influence on previous years' middle of the road older entrants. So it looks like he'll be around in the Top 7.

All in all, it is pretty open at the moment!

The show starts with yet another sing-a-long and they all wreck an otherwise great track. Interestingly, Louisa shines and has a clear lead role while Monica is unsteady with the notes and Anton wobbles around quite a bit.

Jess Glynne is getting lots of publicity for this year's Children In Need number and, presumably, her new album. She has had a good first year, being in the charts almost every week in some shape or another, either as writer, singer or being featured on another.

This is a particularly important week as the survivors will get to do the X Factor Tour. They get paid well for that and, of course, have a whole load more opportunities to develop a fan base and some all important industry connections. As we've seen so often before, and tonight's guest act One Direction and host Olly Murs illustrate brilliantly, you don't need to win this show to do really, really well.

One Direction put on a great live version of their current hit Perfect and, once again, it's a well-written number for the fans. It does tend to come alive more when Harry Styles sings, though. The others are all excellent singers but never quite come to life as he does.

Making it through in places 1-6 are Mason (wow! surprise #!), Lauren, Che, Reggie & Bollie, Louisa and 4th Impact (Phew!)

So 6th, 7th and 8th are Anton, Monica and Max. That seems to be the end of Anton as the poll leader if, indeed, those rumours were true anyway. In 8th place, and leaving straightaway is Max. He really didn't stand much chance but has done well to make it this far and benefitted immensely from the makeover team and some publicity.

Monica v Anton. I'd prefer Monica to make it through. Her song isn't that impressive, though. She tries and most of it is good but the lower register parts wobble badly and she is up against someone who will pour our everything in his performance with years of experience to draw on.

Anton sings If You Don't Know Me By Now which we'll probably find that he sang backing on the original. A very good performance and if the panel vote for the best 'singer' tonight then they'll pick him. Nick chooses Anton for that very reason. Rita, naturally, chooses Monica. Cheryl chooses Monica and with Simon choosing Anton it will be deadlock again and it will be the person who got the fewest votes who goes.

Surviving to live another day will be Anton. Olly messed up by announcing that she was going before the vote was handed to him! Bit embarrassing. Then Anton and Monica stood in front of Caroline which made for an odd view but Caroline gets the words out eventually. I guess that will help both Lauren and louisa's chances quite a bit.

And I think Anton will be a worthy member of the X Factor Tour which would, otherwise, be a bit short of men.

Mason must be quite surprised again! At least 6th place so far.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

The Top 9 perform

We now get to choose the Top 8. Having got the Top 9 hopelessly wrong I have no idea what will happen tonight. Sean Miley Moore really should not be sitting at home watching this. It could have been his night with most of a film production on stage as well as a song to entertain us. That isn't to be, though, so let's see what the others can do.

Mason Noise

With Men In Black he seems to be on pretty safe ground. He knows the track well and presents it all very professionally. I just don't know if it was particularly special. Nice job but 'nice' may not be enough. The judges are very complimentary. To be honest, I am surprised he is there at all so from here on every week is a bonus for him. I do think that may have mostly rid him of the problems that have surrounded him since his Judges' House round outburst.

Max Stone

Someone else who is probably a surprise still to be here is Max. Perhaps this week we'll see a bit more of the real bloke rather than the packaged version. he does have some support out there in voting land, having escaped the bottom three twice now. I have no idea what the title of the track is. Movie Night can see all sorts of tracks included! I think it is Sectret Garden, a Bruce Springstein number. He does a cool job with this and matches Mason in my view. His supporters will like this and so it will be to his credit if he does survive rather than others doing badly. Best week so far for him but no guarantees for either of these guys.

Cheryl owns up to not knowing the movie or the song! That made me feel a bit better.

Louisa Johnson

Currently (and I can't see this changing) my favourite. Everybody's Free is a difficult ballad and Louisa is just there for the first half, on her own, slowly building up the lines. Pretty good but a lot better when the choir and orchestra come in and help lift the song. It could have been a bit boring but I am sure she was professional and competent enough to get through to whatever they throw at us next. She is adorable and is trying hard.

Lots of good compliments from the judges and Simon is in very gracious and generous mood. Louisa's mum is very attractive too, incidentally.

Monica Michael

I really did think she was gone last week. What Is Love should be a good choice for her and suit her voice and range. She is missing notes from the start, though, and seems nervous. The clothes and general appearance, however, are a great improvement on last week. The second half of her perfromance, however, is first class. It was as if a switch were turned and you felt you could be watching Adele. A good vocal, indeed.

We also learn that she changed that at the last moment - this morning - out of respect for the poor people suffering in Paris this weekend. So to deliver a virtually unrehearsed song individually in such a good way by the end is something she deserves votes for. I reckon that should see her through. It is difficult, though, as it is easy to drop into the bottom three when there are so few left.

Reggie & Bollie

I actually look forward to their performance each week. They are sort of guaranteed professional. They did Who Let The Dogs Out and almost brought the house down. Great stuff. they should sail through, even if it was a bit of a cover.

Anton Stephans

I am not looking forward to this. At least he's not doing the other 'Bodyguard' song by Whitney Houston. In a curious black and white set, with just his blue jacket coloured, Anton bashes out Don't Walk Away From Me or If I Don't Have You I can never remember which is the title. It was OK but not something I want to hear again. He seems popular in voting land from previous voting figures but this week may have a tougher job as, so far, no-one has done any worse.

4th Impact

These girls work so hard. We Work It Out or something is a crazy number that Cheryl dug out of some film and goodness knows how they remembered everything they had to do. Simon and Nick both said they were perfect and I think they had to put that together at short notice too. Selina was a bit unwell. I am not sure what went on before but Cheryl said they could have used a pre-recorded tape as some have had to do in the past series but the girls had insisted on doing it all live. Quite why that came up I don't know but all credit to them and if they don't get votes for the performance then they certainly should for professionalism.

They're going places for sure.

Lauren Murray

Another very late change. One Last Time is a classic movie song with a 90s feel. It suits her well and Lauren is one of those rare singers who can belt something out without shouting as so many do. I don't know how many people will be inclined to pick up the phone or use their app for her this week but she has no more reason to be in the bottom three than just bad luck that 6 were better this week.

Although she is very different to Monica, it is likely to be the case that one will ahve to go before long.

Tonight has been a good advertisement for the show, with each act genuinely worthy of being here.

Che Chesterman

Closing the show tonight, Che sings the classic When A Man Loves A Woman. This is pretty safe and ought to suit his voice as he has the range and tone that are just right for this. It is also a number that noone wants to hear messed up and he can be very reliable in terms of hitting the right notes,

I didn't find it that great, though, but a bit stodgy and lacking any real impact. Good, and something he could have brought out in a set at a concert but it seemed a bit lazy for a Top 8 survival song. I suppose he feels confident that he'll be safely Top 6 and so not in the bottom three anyway.

Very difficult predicting this week but I'll try Mason, Max and Anton in the bottom three.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Top 9

I was going to type 'Top 10' but it seems no-one listened to my suggestions for an extended life for those who make the Live Shows and instead we have the accelerated version with 4 leaving in the first two weeks.

Listening to the audience cheers, it would be two of 4th Impact, Kiera and Mason going home. Let's hope that they were just a bit slow with clapping 4th Impact who really ought to be safe, although they were not as impressive this week as they have been before. The other two, however, could be vulnerable, although my bet was Monica and Mason with Anton and Max around the bottom three too.

The sing-a-long was the usual tiresome couple of minutes and something appropriate for Remembrance Sunday.

In complete contrast Fleur East returns and, having brought Uptown Funk to the nation's attention last year in a pretty spectacular way, she now brings us Sax or something similar which sounds like another number by the same writers and should do well for her. It'll be interesting to see how she fares against Ben Haenow who beat her to the top spot last year and hasn't been heard of since but who is bound to launch a single and album through the show at some point.

Ceelo Green I have always found a disturbing character but I have to admit that he has an excellent set of songs to his credit. If he writes them himself then he has some talent indeed. He doesn't exactly help my impression of his worrying image by appearing to be dressed solely in bright flowers or a strange sort of carpet. Good track though, provided you didn't actually watch and I felt sorry for all those people who have invested in wall sized televisions as the dancing chrysanthemums would have been unbearably large.

So, results time. No doubt this will be dragged out over several advert breaks but here's the short version:

Safe are 4th Impact (I did have momentary doubts), Max (he'll be very relieved and even surprised), Louisa (her going would have been a resignation issue), Reggie & Bollie (the main stars this week had to be back), Monica (oh dear, not even bottom three), Che (of course), Lauren (OK) and it had better be Seann who gets the last safe place. No. Good Lord. Anton gets it which puts, Mason, Kiera and Seann in the bottom three. Wow. Didn't expect Seann there. I can only imagine he finished 9th and won't be the one kicked out straightaway.

My guess is that Mason got the 11th position and it'll be Kiera v Seann which Seann will win whatever Kiera does. It's actually Kiera in 11th place but Seann will beat Mason so the result will be the same. That'll still be a big shock for Seann and just shows how the voting public aren't over fond of his style.

Now Mason puts on a remarkably good performance with To the End Of The Road as his 'save me' song and all credit to him for that which, actually, would normally take some beating. Seann, though, if anyone, is the one who ought to be able to do so. He sang I'm Singing This Song For You very beautifully. Neither should be going this week but that's the way the voting goes.

As I said before, the acts should all have longer to get established with the audience, judges and voters. Simon and Cheryl save Seann. Rita saves Mason. Nick has to choose between the two guys and decides not to go for either by choosing to say he'd send Seann home and so going to deadlock. The contestant with the fewest votes of the two was...

... Seann. So he goes. Mason survives after all. I was very wrong there. My prediction of a possible winner has gone that quickly.

That was dramatic. I can only assume voters really didn't like the cross dressing. There can be no other reason.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Top 11 Perform

One thing that was clear from last week was that there are no obvious lame acts this year and they're all capable of entertaining us. However, very few have that X factor that is needed to break through and capture respect and, perhaps, hearts and become a leading UK act for more than a Christmas single.

4th Impact

They're doing something with Sound Of The Underground and mashed up with The Clapping Song. A huge amount of work must have gone into that and that is something that you can rely upon these four girls to do. A mad mix of music and the girls having some fun. I could have done without the guys dancing in the background but they were a good way to open the show. Maybe not a track we'll want to play again a great deal but I'd expect to see them in the final three.

Mason Noise

That name is irritating but I'll have to get over that. His track is Footsteps, a great late 80s number that was one of my favourites. He doesn't do a great deal with it, though, and there are long gaps that don't work for me. He's in tune and quite powerful but I don't know how popular that will be. The audience like him and we'll just have to see how good the others are.

Anton Stephans

A very bizarre performance from Anton mixing All About The Bass with Bang Bang. Weird. He didn't seem that comfortable either. So much going on in the background too, with girls wearing speakers. He managed to get through it and that is to his credit as a professional. Simon chose the tracks and wanted to show that Anton could do something different but I didn't see much advantage in doing that. So, at the moment, Anton is at risk with Mason but it is early days.

Kiera Weathers

I do hope she gets a good track. Return Of The Mac she looks like she is happy to do. I don't know what she mixed it with but Rita certainly came up trumps with excellent taste in colours and setting. Great dancing too, this time it all worked well and I would say she moves to the top of the tree this week so far with that. Nice job. Simon didn't seem to like it but Nick was very positive.

Che Chesterton

A really nice, slowed-down version of the Supreme's You Can't Hurry Love and not mashed up with something either. That worked very well. That's what the others should have done. That puts Che at the top this week so far. Very enthusiastic response from the judges too.

Louisa Johnson

This girl is good, looks good and sounds good. She takes on Michael Jackson's Billy Jean. Nice. She didn't need to move a great deal as she just held the song really well. Having said that when she did move she was very cool. It worked well. Very talented indeed. Yet another change at the top as Louisa takes over from Che this week. She just looks the part and I am pretty sure she makes the final three and has to stand a good chance of taking the prize this year.

It's still Anton and Mason at the bottom in my view.

Seann Miley Moore

Another future star in the making. Unless he trips up somewhere along the line, he will be someone we really don't forget and will often say that this is where he found fame. California Dreaming is a great number and perfect for adaptation. he doesn't need to do much and stays fairly straight, as it were, just happens to perform in a Japanese gown for some reason. Nice job. perfect vocally and enchanting as ever visually. Well done Seann. On par with Che, probably more the star, to be honest. Very professional and how the others can compete I don't know. He is very safe.

Monica Michaels

With the classic Beyonce number, Monica slowed that right down and it was quite good but she appears busting out of a nice dress and it was a bit karaoke. She's got a good voice but I don't feel she's someone that will be around long. Maybe she drops below Mason with that, and that puts her in the danger zone with Anton.

Max Stone

This is someone that we don't really know how to take. He has the beautiful Somewhere Over The Rainbow and does that to a sort of reggae ukulele backing. It's quite nice and switches to What A Wonderful World pretty effectively. I've heard something similar somewhere but that doesn't detract from the excellence with which Max put this across. He needed a good performance and that was a good performance. I actually liked that better than Che's, so that put him third or fourth this week and out of the danger zone. It is an odd week, though, and I am not sure how much support he'll get from the voters out there.

Reggie & Bollie

Mixing What Makes You Beautiful with The Cheerleader Song  ought to be good if they get things right on stage live. They sure did! Great reaction from the crowd and the judges. Biggest cheers of the night by a mile. slightly embarrassing to see Nick daddy dancing with Rita and Cheryl. Seems to me that they've stolen the show this week from that reaction. Nice. In the cooler light of later on I am not so sure it was that brilliant but they should be safe enough for another week.

Lauren Murray

Her choice is Hold Back The River and that's not a song you can do a lot with other than play it fairly straight. That's what she does and it is enough of a change to hear a girl sing it. Lauren has a powerful voice too which more than matches the song and she pulls off a decent job with this. Not spectacular but good and it ought to see her through.

So it's Anton, Monica and Mason competing for the sing-off tomorrow. I may, of course, be completely wrong.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

The Top 11

We learn that two will be leaving tonight. I always feel that the contestants need longer to get their potential supporters on board than just a week or even two weeks and would have no ejections until week 3 or thereabouts. However, if the first two to go are not favourites of mine then I shall not moan about them going!

The sing-a-long is a 1D song Perfect and, as always, you get to see who is comfortable, who stands out and who merges into the background. Louisa almost took it over at times but fair dues to Kiera who defended her style well. Mason looked just plain embarrassed and really I felt for him. Most just looked a bit silly.

I have no real idea how the votes will go but I would imagine Bupsi is a definite to go now but I don't know who'll join her. It won't be Seann, Alien Uncovered, 4th Impact, Louisa or Lauren. That leaves Max, who I feel will make it through, Anton, who won't go yet, Mason, Che, Kiera, Bollie and Reggie or whatever they're called and Monica. Having just brought her back, I can't see the producers letting Monica suffer by going first whatever the votes amount to. Mason is a bit vulnerable but Che is less comfortable-looking on the stage, however good his voice may be. The Ghana pair are fun but, like Kiera, didn't come across as well as they ought to have done. I give them a slight edge over Kiera this week. So, if I am anywhere near right, Che and Kiera may be singing off for 11th place and a chance to improve their lot next week.

Little Mix put on a super show with a genuinely live performance of their latest single mixed up with Black Magic. Four years on and they are proving to be one of the biggest X Factor successes now. Four good singers.

Ellie Goulding follows. They're getting some impressive acts on this show. Her digital backdrop to her performance is fascinating and she is very watchable anyway. Add a few copies and you can't take your eyes off the screen!

Che, Reggie & Bollie are the first two announced as safe! That shows how poor my predictions were! Louisa and Seann are safely through. God, it would have been crazy if they hadn't made it. Max makes it. I did get that right. Lauren, Anton and Mason are safe. 4th Impact and Monica complete the Top 10.

Leaving in 13th place is Bupsi, as I had imagined. 12th is between Kiera, my prediction, and Alien Uncovered. I am surprised to see Alien Uncovered there but this often happens in the first weeks, groups having more trouble identifying with anyone in voting land and Alien, in particular, have lots of members and, whilst some look pretty cool and sound very good, I don't really think I'd recognise them in the street whereas I would the others. 4th Impact have actually done a great job in getting themselves into our psyche, helped by the producers to no small extent, but also with their bubbly personalities. Kiera may well pull a good solo out of the bag - she is perfectly capable of doing that and survive but, before they start I would expect her to be the one leaving.

Alien's song was Pressure and, boy, did they put a lot into that! A nice performance and very modern, today. Very cool. In complete contrast, Kiera does REM's Everybody Hurts. I don't think she could have come up with a better effort to stay in the show. Very good. How could they vote her off? But then, Alien deserve to stay too. It'll be between Simon and Nick and I feel that they will save one each, leaving it to public votes. I fear Kiera will still go, though.

No, both Nick and Simon decide to save Kiera. She's safe and will be back next week. Alien Uncovered should not be going home before Reggie & Bollie or several others. I suspect Cheryl could have done a lot with them. Never mind. That's X Factor for you.

The Top 12

Did Olly say 'just 13 acts remain'? Is there an extra one that has somehow scraped in or did Olly simply get it wrong?

This is the first of what I call the real shows, when we get a decent length performance (still not long enough in my view but better than most auditions).

It seems that Monica Michael has been brought back so Olly was right about 13. So that makes four girls.


Rita starts off with the raven-haired Lauren. She sings I'm Every Woman which is quite a big, potentially screechy song. She really has benefitted from the make-over team's work too, with less tan and a less aggressive look than she had engineered for herself. Lauren has a great personality and is a nice, solid act to start off this show. She is confident, which Cheryl compliments her for being. Very good. Not someone I expect to win but she ought to survive with that to perform another week.


Adele's Someone Like You should work well for him. He is a nice enough chap and has sung well all the way through but is a bit weird, as Simon himself mentions. He is several hundred percent better to look at with excellent work by the makeover team. He purs a reggae slant on the track and I am not sure how well that well that works. Not bad but I don't know how he will go down in voting land. Another super vocal, though, and the show is off to a good start, compared to many previous years. I just don't think he'll make it very far. Whether he makes the Top 11 is down to how the others perform.

Alien Uncovered

They are really 2015. Their own choice is Do It Like A Dude and manage to avoid the swear words, just. An excellent performance and they seem very together with this number, no-one coming out as an individual yet but very convincing as a cool new group on the UK scene. Seriously good and, provided the voters are young and dude enough, they'll be straight through this week. It all depends on whether Radio 1 listeners are watching and voting. They look good and sound good. Another fine act deserving their place.


I was impressed by this girl at the start of auditions. Crying For No Reason could be the title. It's not a track I recognise but it suits her. It was just a little forced compared to the acts that have gone before. She is good but that may not have got her many extra supporters tonight. Perhaps there is our first vulnerable act. I think she was nervous and Simon says that she needs to do better than that. Generally the judges are saying the same thing - the song didn't do much for her. Let's hope, for her sake, there are some dodgier ones on their way tonight as I would have been certain that she is Top 10 material.


An experienced performer, and he is an impressive singer too, we expect a lot from Anton and see him as a dead cert to get through the first few weeks. He should appeal to the fairly substantial older vote out there. It is another song that I don't immediately recognise because it is such an odd beginning and good ness knows why he chose that one. To Dance With My Father Again is the track. I remember it now. A tough one but he builds it up professionally and the audience should like that. Again, I don't see him as a major act other than for Christmas albums for the old folks, but he's solid and a decent chap worthy of his place. He'll stick around.


The first of Nick's Boys and, whilst he is a very good singer, virtually pitch perfect across a huge range, he is up against two even better entertainers in the Boys team. He puts on a very good performance and looks smart but it is just a bit boring and I am watching him thinking 'who will buy this?' or 'who will want to go to his concert?' He's a decent chap, no worries there, but he just doesn't strike me as a star in the making. He should do well if someone gives him some cool numbers and markets him effectively but whether he gets that far in this competition I can't tell. He shouldn't be but might be vulnerable, despite a great song.

Mason Noise

He needs to get the crowd back onside after some previous events and this will be a telling week for Mason with the stupid name. He is very, very good, though and his version of Justin Bieber's Sorry is as good as you can get. He is a modern act and, like Alien Uncovered, is refreshing to have in the competition. I don't know how popular that will prove. I also wonder how sensible it is to keep going on about the past. All down to the public. If he gets through this then he should be safe for a while as he is very talented and knows how to put on a good show. He may have a Louis Hamilton thing going for him. Thereagain, Louis is doing damn well.

Reggie & Bollie

The Ghana duo should entertain us well and, like Anton, have bags of experience on stage so all should be well there for them. They are a likeable couple and I can see them getting a good fan base. They're doing It Wasn't Me which is the great Shaggy number everyone will know. They really shouldn't fail with this one! Well, it was OK. I thought it was a bit laboured and not as fun as I was expecting. perhaps there was too much going on on the stage but they just seems a bit bland. I wasn't expecting that. However, the audience liked them a lot by the sound of the applause. They're modern too. I think they're safe this week. Not as safe as I had thought. But they'll get more votes than Kiera and Che.


So far I haven't seen an act that I can actually see winning this thing. Louisa is one of my Top 3 so I am expecting good things and to see a clear gap between her and some of the others, especially those that look vulnerable. These first few weeks can be scary times for the best talent as they can easily drop out just because they chose a poor song, didn't do that well on the night and simply don't get remembered, and hence don't get the votes, like some lesser acts may do. So she needs a good song choice and to look impressive on that stage.

She gets God Only Knows which she doesn't actually know! Oh boy. That's quite a surprise choice. She looks great on stage - a very classy set. This is a superb version. I was worried but this could easily be a single and I suspect that the YouTube downloads will be massive as soon as it becomes available. Marvellous. This girl has firmly established herself at the top so far. That was just what was needed. Fabulous, especially as she didn't even know the song a few days ago. Like her.

Louisa v 4th Impact v Seann is the way this year's going! I might even go so far as to say it'll end in that order too.


She gets a song by Marvin Gaye that she doesn't know. Nor do I and I thought I knew most of his stuff. Anyway, she does as best as she can with it and it's a decent enough performance but just a bot boring and rather forgettable. Pity. I think she could have had a much better track to perform. She also looks quite old and I am not sure how she'll attract votes. So far, I'd make her the least favourite to stay in the competition. She is vulnerable and it all depends on who is voting.

4th Impact

A wonderful ready-made group of four fun sisters who can sing and dance and entertain us with just a few hours' notice. They didn't have long to rehearse, having changed the number at the last minute, but seemed to know exactly what is required. Very together and very talented. Modern too, which makes life difficult for Alien but they should both be around for a while yet. 4th Impact really must stay for many more weeks yet. I have them as potential winners.


Well, they've brought her back. I feel that her picture here says it all. She is probably a nice girl and she can certainly sing well. I just wonder about how likeable she may be and how much she'll appeal to the public. She gets an excellent song choice in a moody Ed Sheeran number, Make It Rain. Very effective and that will be enough to keep her on board next week without any trouble. A very good vocal indeed, actually. Muh better than Kiera this time, and on par with Lauren. Nice job. Just get a better image now.


Here is the performer of the series. So far, everything Seann has touched has turned to gold and whatever happens in this competition I can see him doing extremely well. The guy has made it already and, barring something going awry in the Live Shows, Seann will be in the last three in December, with a host of videos which people will be watching over and again.

What a brilliant rendition of Life On Mars. Truly excellent. Not only was this a fascinating performance but he hit all the right, and not simple, notes perfectly. He is very special and, to a large extent, could probably have put the staging and everything together himself. However, it is a good sign that he can also interpret others' ideas so effectively. Another potential winner. No-one can really match his professionalism and performance but I suppose he will still have a limited appeal in comparison to others.

A good first week.

I predict that Kiera, Reggie & Bollie and Che are vulnerable but it will be Bupsi who goes.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Nick and Rita settle on the Top Girls and Boys

Nick reveals his choice of three Boys. It was dragged out so much, including two ad breaks.

Mason | Che | Seann

They certainly ramped up the pressure on that one, although my guess is that Seann was his natural first choice and most of that was all about entertainment. All three are good and will contribute to some good Live Shows. i don't see any going quickly.

In contrast, watching Simon with his three Overs reminded me of how silly Louis used to look with his Oldies, most of whom tended to go pretty quickly but some not as quickly as we might have liked.

Rita took the Girls to Los Angeles, the best gig of them all.  This is a good group this year but there are two who stand out for me: Louisa and Keira.

Havva is first up. She is a cheerful little thing, quite modern but she sounded as if she was struggling with the high notes in this audition. Her broken tone is fairly attractive but she just seems a bit amateur and in need of some training which could mean she'd struggle. Looks like she may not make it.

Monica Michael I don't like. Her hair style and big earrings are so annoying which, I know, have nothing to do with how she sings but it just puts me off. I feel she is here because of last year. She sings her own song about her brother which is quite a risk and may not have helped her chances, no matter how good it may be. It wasn't, to be honest. She isn't a songwriter. She sings well and has an interesting tone but I am not sure she'd be that popular. The story about her brother is sad but I wouldn't want her through just on that basis.

Chloe Paige is nicer all round. her slow version of Erasure's A Little Respect was great. Some crazy notes and the whole thing was virtually a capella and so impressive. I loved that and she did well but I am not sure Rita and Meghan Trainer will pick her. Pity, but I think she's not wanted.

Kiera has been consistently marvellous as the auditions and matched Whitney very well before. This was not so good this time but I am pretty sure she has Rita's vote anyway. It's odd how Chloe got put down and Kiera got put up.

Louisa is probably the prettiest contestant and has been the bookies' favourite for a while. She also does Respect but very different - the Aretha version is the one that comes through strongly. Quite a remarkable performance and easily beating the others into several cocked hats. Nice job. She's in. No question.

Lauren could get a place. It's her or Monica. I'd give it to her anyway. A good voice and nice personality and someone who I think could be relied on to perform well on Live Shows. That was a far better performance than Monica's and second best of the Girls by quite a margin.

So I'd pick Louisa, Chloe and Kiera but I think Rita will pick Louisa, Lauren and Monica.

If she drags it out as long as Nick did for the boys then it'll be a while.

She chooses:

Louisa | Lauren | Kiera

Well chosen! I did fear that Monica would have been put through because of the back story but I like the three Rita has gone for and they'll put on an excellent show, lasting well.

So that's it. We have the Top 12 for Live Shows.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Groups and Overs decided. Six out of Twelve for the Live Shows.

Olly and Caroline in Dermott's spot on the stage as we start a live show in which recordings of the acts at Judges' houses will be played and then tomorrow the six in each category will be narrowed down to three.

During the introductions you get the feeling that some people have already written themselves off but I doubt that anyone knows really.

They are all much better presented than they were at auditions so have benefitted from the make-over team's efforts.

First are the groups with their new names.

4th Impact are the first to perform in Rome. It's a slow number in complete contrast to their previous antics. It does show how together they can be and they blend pretty well. they took a chance with that but I reckon it paid off as that was very professionally done.

Alien Uncovered have a dramatic look, everyone different. They do a sexy number and move and harmonise really well. they have certainly upped their game and that was impressive, matching 4th Impact.

Melody Stone seem nice enough ladies and sing well but I don't see then getting through after seeing the other two female groups they are competing with. All good stuff but, as Jess Glynne said at the time, it isn't clear where they'd fit in. Good, but not stand-out and even f they got through they wouldn't do a great deal from there.

Bekln Mile are five lads who blend well. Very good singers but this performance wasn't that great. In fact it was something I wanted to turn down and not bother listening to. I don't know why but it just didn't work for me and, despite a decent end, I think they could be at risk.

Reggie & Bollie have always struck me as a professional act and their hits in Africa stand them in good stead, with a good catalogue to choose from. they do a great version of Twist And Shout, more or less perfect Maybe just a little 1990s though. Great fun. I'd be happy to see them through and I reckon they deserve a place in preference to Melody Stone and Bekln Mile. The only thing might be the fact that they've had previous success and contracts.

New Kings Order harmonise beautifully and, even with one guy down without much of a voice, they made a super job of a great song choice. Nice job. So difficult to choose between them and Reggie & Bollie but they reaily are in the Top 4. Jess isn't sure and Cheryl and Jess refer to them as borderline cheesy! I would guess that Cheryl will choose 4th Impact, Alien Uncovered and New Kings Order. She might be persuaded to take Reggie & Ollie (which I'd prefer).

I thought they'd decide tomorrow but it looks like Cheryl gets to choose now. Each group says their own thing. I could do without that bit as she will have already made her mind up. Alien get lots of cheers, so do Bekln Mile. 4th Impact don't get do many, strangely enough. Reggie & Bollie get a few cheers but not so many. Difficult to tell really from that.

So, she chooses:

4th Impact | Alien Uncovered | Reggie & Bollie

Great. That would have been my choice too. All three will provide good entertainment.

Next it's Simon's turn. He really hasn't got much to choose from. Jennifer is by far and away the best singer / performer but the camera doesn't like her much. She will be a certainty, though, unless she does something very odd this evening. Anton is so tv friendly in contrast - and he can also sing - and I feel he'll get a spot. After that it really is anyone's guess. Ebru is probably my choice from the auditions. Kerri-Anne is attractive and may be his choice if she performs particularly well. Bupsi is a bit wild and, whilst experienced on stage, she's a bit past it for this competition, or, should be. Max Stone has a good voice and may still surprise us. So there are spaces left for everyone.

Jennifer performs a 1D song in front of Louis Tomlinson from 1D. It was a strange choice and I am not sure it worked that well. She sounded a bit strained at times and, whilst looking quite a bit better, the cropped hair and chunky skirt don't do much for me. I still think she'll get through.

Ebru chooses a difficult song that takes a while to get going but once she's in the song she's good. She's pretty passionate and seemed to be putting everything into that performance to try and impress Simon and, ultimately, us.

Bupsi has definitely got the confidence to match the Live Shows and I reckon Simon likes her as an individual. Bupsi enjoys her act and knows what she's doing. A bit cabaret perhaps?

Max Stone puts on a good show with his guitar, gravelly voice and his version of Gangsters' Paradise. He certainly went for it but he still looks a bit dead. It's the eyes. I still can't see him doing a great deal in the Live Shows and Simon wonders whether he has the charisma to keep the public entertained and last more than the first week. Of the four we've seen then I really can't rate him in the Top 3 as an X Factor performer and I do feel that more entertaining people. and possibly more likely to score hit records, are still to come which would almost certainly push him out even if we did 'give him a chair' now.

Kerrie-Anne looks very good and she can sing. She sprts very high heels and seems very comfortable doing an otherwise uninspiring version of The Best Of My Love. Simon thinks she's old-fashioned and he has a point. She really should get a spot but I am not sure.

Someone who really must is Anton. he does the Carpenters' track so well. He'd fit well on the shows.

I have a feeling Simon will pick Jennifer, Bupsi and Anton. I would like to see Kerrie Anne in there and Ebru getting a chance, dropping Jennifer and Bupsi so his choice and mine are rather different. Only Max is out on both our lists. Maybe.

Jennifer is one of those people who wear very, very large earrings. Max gets a big cheer. Could that make all the difference after all!? A tough choice indeed.

So, Simon chooses:

Bupsi | Anton | Max!

That was quite a surprise but it makes some sense. Kerrie Anne and Ebru could well have been lost when viewed against the girls in Rita's team whereas the two he has chosen do stand out and will entertain. I can actually imagine Anton going a long way. Jennifer could have held her own as a singer but I doubt that she would have proved very popular and, to be honest, her performance wasn't as good as the previous ones had been. Max is someone who, with some assistance from the makeover team, could stand his ground against Nick's Boys, for a few weeks, at least.

In a very long programme tonight, probably spread over three days when they show it in the States, we now get to see who Nick chooses too.

You kinda feel sorry for the Boys as they get taken to a chilly house of average size in England somewhere.

Seann Miley Moore is first up and sings This Woman's Work, a Kate Bush song. He is amazing in how he can perform and sing across a huge range and remain in tune. He is a definite in my book and a potential winner. He is quite different and that was a truly excellent audition. I can't see him not making it through.

Simon Lynch is not an autimatic shoe-in for the Live Shows. A good singer but maybe a bit last decade. A likeable guy and someone who could be relied upon but, unless the others screw up, I feel this is as far as he'll get this year.

Mason Noise is back. I would change his name. He has performed well at previous auditions although we didn't get much at the last stage. Nick recognises his talent and he is modern, too, which is a good thing in this category. I can see him getting through. His performance was almost flawless, extremely good and definite competition for Seann in some ways. Mark Ronson will like him too which will influence Nick and ensure he gets through.

That leaves just one place.

Ben Clark is unlikely to get it, despite having a cool voice and plenty of mood and emotion. A nice chap, but unlucky this year to be up against such other talent.

Che Chesterton has a super range and, like Ben, would be a natural Live Show entrant in a normal year. I Don't Know Much is a nice song and he does well, although he doesn't seem to try as hard as he has before. This was a bit boring as I had expected it to soar far more than it did. He put more in towards the end but I am not totally sure it was as great as we'd expected.

Josh Daniels does Taylor Swift! Interesting. I like this fellow and I feel he'd get a lot of public support too. he can sing well, maybe not as extreme as the others but he has a pop mould almost ready-made and can do the falsetto as well as most if he has to. I'd give him the third place but I feel he won't get it.

Nick's turn to choose. I'd expect Seann, Mason and Che to be his three. He may choose Ben in place of Che. I'd take a chance on Josh.

His choice gets made tomorrow.