Sunday, 11 December 2016

And the winner is...

Matt or Saara. I am predicting Matt but I have a feeling that it could change from performance to performance. Matt may well not be able to match the amazing Purple Rain, so much inspired by Nicole on stage with him at her very best. Despite having the remarkably good Adam Lambert with her, Saara marginally lost Part 1. But there is little in it and what they do tonight could easily change the outcome.

Matt starts ahead with the bookies. 11/8 on v 11/8 for Saara.

The first is Saara, re-inventing Oh So Quiet! from Bjork. She is a very talented performer too, a real entertainer, every choreographed move delivered to perfection but without loss of any emotional input. You can see that she enjoyed that and that makes a big difference.

Matt next. On his own. He's doing Sam Smith's Writing On The Wall - the Bond theme and something he does well. It suits him visually but it isn't any stronger than Saara's choice. It seems likely that it will resonate just that little bit better with voters and was enough to push him a further ahead in the betting odds.

It's now 2/1 on and 1/2.

After Madness (earlier we had Kylie) and a crazy thing from a load of also-rans it is almost time for the last ever performance. This will be the 'Winner's Single' release which I understand was written by Ed Sheeran.

No, that must be still to come. Matt sings One Day I'll Fly Away, another reprise from the series. I wonder if it is not too similar to the Sam Smith track. It's good but a bit old. It is still all to play for. No show stopper there. Good but that's all. I guess I can't forget Purple Rain with Nicole.

The odds are evening out a bit. The crowd have been impressively behind him.

Saara now. It seems that there will not be them singing the single after all. I must have got that wrong. Saara chooses Chandelier the impressive Sia song. She is good at this. That was a phenomenal performance and the best of the night. It might be enough. The votes will be close. I can't call this.

The odds are now actually exactly even, changing just in Saara's favour again after Matt had been in front since last night. I now check again after the reprise of their four tracks and it has reversed again! Matt is now ahead.

Little Mix return while we wait and entertain as they know best with some pretty sexy outfits and a Charlie Puth number about being in bed with an ex followed by their new single Touch about, well, being touched so you get the idea of what tends to be in their songwriters' minds most of the time! I do wonder how parents cope with 10 year olds singing along to this stuff. They are a great group, though, and have kept out of trouble and in the limelight for a while now. All credit to them.

So who does join them as 2016 Winner? I reckon it will be Matt. It is - and now we get to hear how he handles the Ed Sheeran number. It is. The single is a Christmas number. He pulls himself together very well and manages the plesaant Ed ditty (which suits him to a tee) extremely effectively. Nice.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The Final Pt 1. Prepare for two remarkable performances.

Big Intro with the Live show contestants doing the quite cleverly titled Shout Out To My X!

Five After Midnight

They start with the Beyonce number - cool idea - and well done. They start off at about 7-1 but I reckon they must have a lot of support and certainly get a very good crowd response. The boys were a bit drowned by the backing and other dancers which was a shame because they actually sang and performed pretty well. I would have expected that to have shortened their odds but they seem to have lengthened to 8-1. I'd place a bet but I have always reckoned on Matt winning and now suspect that Saara will take the crown.

Matt Terry

Favourite at the start to such a degree that the bookies were offering odds for the 'Winner w/o Matt Terry'. he starts at about 3-1. Five After Midnight have extended further to 9.5-1

 have to say that Nicole Scherzinger has put everything into supporting Matt. Compared to Louis wandering around with the 5AM boys her TV shots were pretty impressive - appearing in Matt's old onesie at one point too! In Bromley she was on stage with him and that was a big crowd.

He sings Take Me Home (I think) beautifully. A very, very good performance that was faultless and just the right sort of number for his fans and maybe some others who might be considering voting for Saara. There might lie the rub. Will Matt and Saara end up sharing some votes and let Five After Midnight through?

The bookies say no. He stays at 3-1 and 5AM stay at 9.5-1. Nicole asks all of England to vote for him. Dermot adds that Scotland and Wales can vote for him too. Not sure who Northern Ireland can vote for.

Dermot says The bond between yo and Nicole is something else, isn't t not really meaning to ask the question. That was quite funny! There really is quite a thing between those two. I am sure Nicole could well finish up as a partner if he were that way inclined.

That song ought to put him in the Final. I wonder who with?

Saara Aalto

She has done well, really well, with some amazingly good singing. Dermot had to go with Saara on the bus trip as Sharon had some engagement in the States. Finland looked black and white but there was a massive turnout in the capital. Dermot says he had never seen anything quite like that reception in all his years on X Factor.

She also had a go at singing to entertain the thousands. She starts at 9/4 on, Matt at 3-1 and 5AM at 8.5-1, improving slightly.

Back in Wembley, she does Everybody Wants To Rule The World. Not a song that instantly lends itself to her rang and power. An impressive set and a brave effort and she put her heart and soul into that. Remarkable. She deserves that Final place. Seriously good.

That put her further ahead, nearly 3-1 on, Matt drops to 3.4-1 and 5AM back at 11-1

We didn't get to see her fiance in Finland. Just mum and dad on a couch.

When you watch her you do feel as if you're watching something a little special. I still don't think that her 'X Factor' is what the 'X Factor' is supposed to be finding in that she is going to be a major West End Musical star, probably winning over the States and Broadway too and she'll soon be worth a fortune. I don't see her as a single or album artist other than an inevitable Christmas number and perhaps a release of one of her remarkable performances later.

Next they get to do duets. First we have Louis Tomlinson, bravely, very bravely doing a solo act without his 1D buddies. He gets a lot of love and support with an Ibiza-style number in partnership with Steve Earl on the turntables and magic mixing boxes.

Matt and 5AM are both moving out in the betting, Matt reaching 5-1 and 5AM closing slightly on him but still out at 9.5-1. Interesting. Not over yet between those two and a brilliant performance could make all the difference as Dermot reminds us - Alexandra Burke with Beyonce transformed her last minute chances.

Five After Midnight

So who are they with? The clue should be in song but I don't recognise it. They're a bit nervous. It's Clean Bandit and Louisa Johnson. So they all do Tears On My Pillow which has the very attractive Louisa sounding quite earthy. An odd mixture, to be honest. The group put on a pretty good performance but it lacked something and was all a bit muddled. The bookies were not so impressed. They are further out at 12-1

Matt Terry

Cool song. Purple Rain. This should be good. It could be the song of the Final. He is singing with Nicole. That's a surprise! She's amazing. She may well lift Matt here.

Wow! That was incredible. Nicole was fantastic but Matt stayed with her. For me that puts him back on top as it was so relevant and there is something quite touching about Nicole's role. I guess that is just Nicole being very smart indeed, genuinely smart as she clearly does care for the guy but it is him on his own in the future. One of the best X Factor moments for me.

That brought Matt back below 3-1 and sent 5AM out to 40+

Saara Aalto

OMG! She's doing Bohemian Rhapsody. Does that mean we'll see Adam Lambert? Yes! Oh boy. Is this a good evening.

Speechless. Adam does rather steal the show when he starts standing on the piano that she is simply playing. Eventually she gets some balance and is up with him and they blend beautifully. Adam is one of my all-time favourite acts - coming from my American Idol blog days.

Very, very impressive but it was the Matt and Nicole performance that won this round for me.

After that Honey G didn't get the best of receptions as the act that came 5th gets her own quite big slot. Odd. I think Emily should now get a spot to redo Creep or something. The crowd were really not at all happy about so much plugging of her new single either. Dermot handled it all well but looked a bit frustrated as she ranted on. All over eventually, though. I do not really understand why she was there at all.

Back at the bookies, Matt is down at 11-8 now, Saara at the other way round, 11-8 on and 5AM appear to have bagged the third place at nearly 50-1 now.

Listening to the short recaps, I do feel that Saara didn't quite capture the magic that she found in previous weeks. The Nicole thing will last many years I suspect and I reckon it could switch some votes.

While votes are counted we get The Weekend. I usually confuse this guy (I presume it is just the one of them) with Years And Years. Nice performance and great set. Watching him, I could imagine Matt doing that stuff.

So, who makes the Final Two? It's Saara v Matt.

I feel that is how it should be. Five after Midnight made 3rd - that's a fine finish for them and they'll get a contract for sure. In many ways they are the most likely to have chart life.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Semi Final Results

A reasonably good version of Do They Know It's Christmas? is the sing-a-long start. So much better with these remaining acts. You could almost see that as a single for the third or fourth issue of the Band Aid classic.

Looking back at the performances again, whilst I do find 5 After Midnight quite weak I am expecting them to beat Emily in the votes. They will still have to sing for the Final place, though, and the last time they ahd to that they were decidedly weak. That still wouldn't help Emily in a deadlock situation so I fear for her chances.

Zara Larrson entertains us in the meantime. Some body suit that. the lighting made it appear like one of those sheer body stockings and not a great deal else. The camera was miles away for quite a lot of her performance. Maybe the producers were worried about some of the shadows. They got pretty well told off for a raunchy performance earlier in the series by Little Mix. Not that it did Little mix any harm as the single dived in at No.1 and is probably still there for all I know. If not it will be wandering around the Top 20 for several years as most of their singles have been. They've done well and I am thinking that they may be overtaking One Direction in terms of sales and chart success soon. The boys have won over America, though, so that probably keeps them ahead.

This is the all important night for votes really as the last three get great publicity. The two safe acts are now getting announced.

Dermot reads out the names: Five After Midnight make it! Wow. That's a surprise. The other one through is Saara. So it's Matt v Emily to sing off. Oh boy. That has to mean farewell Emily. I had expected her to go but not that way.

Louis will save Matt. Sharon is the decision-maker this time and I feel she favours Matt too.

Lady Gaga is next to perform before the Matt v Emily thing. She's good. I remember her performances on previous shows, especially On The Edge. This must be her new single, the first for a while. A fabulous set sees her silhouette against the moon or, maybe the sun. As impressive as ever from this very talented young lady.

Matt goes first with a track I don't recognise. It sounds a very hard song to sing but, as always, he does a superb job of this. Extremely good. Some sign of nerves but really that isn't going to be easy to beat. In many ways, we might have expected this to have been the Final, really.

Emily does a really nice version of If These Wings Could Fly and, whilst not as obviously impressive as Matt, I still see her as the more likely to make the charts and stay there. Hers was also a faultless performance.

Louis saves Matt as I expected. Sharon praises Emily so we can guess that she'll save Matt.

I have a feeling that Emily will be getting some Syco support anyway.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

In a league of her own.

Christmas. Hmmm. A bit early for me. Tescos had some tinny Christmas tunes scratching their way through the tannoy-like speakers in the ceiling. It was a bit annoying. I do hope X Factor doesn't add to the frustration.


Matt kicks off tonight's show. Nicole's introduction includes two references to jingle balls, one complimenting Dermot on his pair. You can't help but smile. This is actually a decent foursome that are competing for the 2016 prize.

Silent Night is a pleasant start. He really does have an excellent voice and a brilliant sense of getting the right note almost naturally. I always quote Adam Lambert's abilities in this respect. Matt doesn't give you quite that necessary confidence that he will get it all right but you do expect something a bit special. This was more of an arrangement to show off his range and ability in a soft focus screen. It couldn't be faulted as a performance but I wouldn't pay to download that version. Nice start.

Simon thought it was 'nice', 'predictable' and like a sandwich without the butter. We do think alike.

Five After Midnight

There, I got the name right. Oh, what are East 17 doing on the show? It might as well have been at the start. Then I look up from the keyboard and see them dressed in snow outfits. Pretty much like the 1894 Christmas video or whenever it was. Yes. It was 1994 and yes, they wore the same clothes.

All the notes were in the right place but it never really got going or was in any way interesting.

Major crowd reaction. They loved it. Simon loved it. It just seemed like a good cover to me.


Simon's favourite Christmas song of all time is coming up, apparently. And he says that no-one has done the song on the show before so it'll be interesting to see which it is.  So This Is Christmas... it's the classic John Lennon & Yoko Ono number, coupled with War Is Over.

Talking of 'over', that lasted about 2 seconds, not even 2 minutes. It was a bit bland, to be honest. She didn't come across well and Sharon was spot on with her comment that she had hoped she would bring the lyrics across with more emotion. Nicole felt that something was missing, that it was lacklustre. Quite right too. She could do more and added her tone which would have made a big difference.

I am not sure why she got so much criticism compared to Five After Midnight, in particular, who were just as bland.

On that basis she is currently in 3rd place, though. Matt's leading and Five AM - it's hard work typing such a long ruddy name - are just ahead of Emily. In other words, at this stage, the whole thing is wide open and Saara could steam ahead if Sharon has picked the right number.


She comes across very likeably now. I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas is the one we all know but then so are all of them. Then we get All I Want For Christmas Is You. She performs well and makes a real show with this. She out-performs Mariah Carey too in my view at the end. Lots of energy and this girl has star quality. Charts? probably not but, heavens, she is good and her personality shines through. I put her at the top and think she is managing to appeal really quite widely. At this stage she will make the Final in Emily's place.

Glad to hear that 'Christmas is over' now and they return to perform something less cheesy, perhaps.

There isn't much to choose between all four so the next numbers may well decide everything with the voters merely looking at the Christmas songs as a sort of entertainment.

We learn that each act has actually topped the polls at least once during the Live Shows. That's interesting and confirms that it could be any combination of three in the Final this year.


Is she doing Creep again? No. It's Mad World. Brilliant choice. This is her to a tee. Alex Park used this on her way to win a while ago. This was good, it suited her very, very well, and will get her the compliments that she needs. It was a little different too which worked. That has restored her chances. Louis and Simon say she has won the right to be in the Final - but who do they think she will replace? I would say Five AM but they do get great support.


I would be surprised if he didn't get through. He says that this is the sort of song he would like to release as a single, so that makes it clear that he is in the same game as Emily. I don't actually recognise the song. It certainly is a difficult one to sing. He does well and it comes across very much as his single. Quite a performance - not sure where the rhythm went but that may not matter too much. He did that well. 

After rave reviews from Sharon and Louis, Simon finds it a little bland. He could be right. This has been a strange night for Matt. He ought to be in the Final and I think he should still be there. Just.

So who gets the pimp slot?

Sounds like it'll be Five AM so Saara is next. That'll help Five AM which makes it even more difficult to choose as, so far, they are the ones I would say will fall at the final hurdle. OK, there'll be more hurdles but making the Final is the key really. You always remember the three that make it. Amelia Lily anyone? I always remember he looking so much like a winner that year.


This is the song that she started with at the auditions. Chandelier is tough. What Saara does with it is just absolutely superb. This is quite extraordinary. It is almost unfair on the others - or on her, depending upon which way you look at this. She is in a league of her own. In a way, it's not an X Factor league but I almost want her to win now. Fantastic performance. Truly world class. We'll definitely see her name in lights and billed on shows for years to come.

Louis has now said that everybody should vote for each of the three acts so far! His own act is still to come.

Five After Midnight

That's a tough act to follow. I had thought they would get the advantage of being the last act but now I feel that whatever they do won't match that so they may, instead, suffer. I couldn't call this week as it stands at the moment. I feel it's between them and Emily to be 4th this year. Which depends on more than the next song but what voters remember and just how strong the groups support really is.

Signed Sealed And Delivered is a good old Stevie Wonder classic but is it that great? It is solid and most of them sing OK. Some weak spots and I don't think these guys are winners but they do have a good chance of getting through.

I think it'll be Emily who goes. It will be close, whatever the case. On past votes then it may be that the support isn't there with the voters. They aren't interesting enough. But I do think Saara and Matt are definitely through.

As it will be a sing off between two, and I do believe one of those two will be Five AM, then who knows? Perhaps they'll come 3rd but actually still not make it against one of the others in a sing-off..

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Semi Final acts decided.

Saara, Matt and Emily make it straight through to the semi finals next week. That's the Top 4. Almost as good as winning really. I wasn't sure about Emily but when I heard her second song again it was impressive and clearly must have gone down well with the voters.

So it is 5AM v Honey G in the Bottom Two. I cannot imagine that Honey G will survive against the group, who were actually really good this week. It is her time to go and the competition can settle in to something a bit more predictable, although I doubt that anyone would have predicted Saara making it. She has been that good, though. 

I still go for the Matt v Emily final but all four will do well in this market. For longevity I suspect that Saara will be the ultimate winner and I can see 5AM lasting too. Matt will, I fear, disappear first after a slightly drab album and Emily will manage a couple of years but mostly on the sidelines.

I may, of course, be completely wrong. We'll see! First, however, Honey G needs to go home so we can move on.

Nice to see Clean Bandit, co-operating this time with Sean Paul rapping and Anne-Marie singing. Currently No.1, it helps the show stay relevant to have people like these. I had to smile when Dermot didn't quite get it right when he was talking about acts they had previously collaborated with and who they might consider now. With last year's winner at No.1 not long ago it had some importance too! 'So who would you choose out of this year's contestants?' asks Dermot, who then, a bit bizarrely, tries to answer his own question: 'I say Honey, you say...'

'...Saara." said the girl quickly. "We like Saara."

That was embarrassing for Dermot.

So it's sing-off time.

Honey G first. After watching the last act, despite the band's preference for Saara, I have to say that Honey G does seem to have more current relevance than I had realised. It still sounds a bit dated to me and, however hard she tries, she hasn't got the rhythm and control of many rap acts that I have heard. It's all a bit dated. I have also heard enough of "I say Honey, you say G."

That was all a bit ordinary and quite uninspiring.

5 After Midnight have a good chance, But what a dreadful start. Awful. Each of the three tries to sing but fail miserably. My God, they hardly deserve to stay if that is how they'll perform in future. At least Honey G won't disappoint her fans. they improve slightly as they sing together but that version of 1D's Beautiful hardly deserved their being saved.

It could, therefore, go to a public vote as I can see one of Nicole or Simon choosing Honey G. Nicole keeps 5AM. Simon also saves 5 After Midnight. I think that's right, although the group had better improve their less rehearsed tracks! They will, presumably, have plenty of time to get it right for next week. They need to.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Louis Loves Week.

Quite what Louis Loves really means I have no idea. Basically, I reckon the five remaining acts could choose anything they wish. That's fair enough at this stage too. But we can smile at the Irish dancing and the effort made to bring reference to him each time.


Matt starts off this week. He is following a remarkably successful week, singing Secret Love, a Little Mix number. You have to admire how Simon earns money even from Nicole's acts. It's a difficult song - technically as well as because many people will know it and four girls can cover each other's mistakes which one guy can't!

He is superb, all the way through. Just one slip with a high note but I don't think that will have any effect at all on his chances. He will be very hard to beat. Knowing that Ed Sheeran has written the winner's song this year which is likely to suit Matt.

Nicole's lipstick is ridiculously dark and I don't find that at all attractive. Puts years on her. Strange.


Abba's The Winner Takes It All is one super song, one of my own favourites of all time. So she had better do it well! A beautiful, soaring voice is as impressive as ever but she does not look so good in whatever Sharon has dressed her. Her capacity to launch a note is amazing. Very, very good in many respects. I think the performance did lose the sensitivity of the original. Apart from that, she had what Simon said was a 'moment'. Louis says that could have been one of the best vocal performances ever on X Factor. Note that Nicole also, quite emotional, put her as the winner of X Factor 2016. Remember that she is Matt's mentor!

Certainly, deserving all the praise, Saara is very, very impressive and looking like the big unexpected surprise of the series this year.

Honey G

A weird intro with her mother on a piano. Oh well. MC Hammer's Can't Touch This is a nice commercial number and not the heaviest of rap numbers around. In fact it sounds really old-fashioned now. She's confident and it rumbled along well enough but, really, after the first two, it sounds like it's her time to go. Or maybe the group will keep her in.

Some guys invaded the stage and, for reasons best known to themselves, tried to show that they can touch this, or that. All we saw was Simon quickly spring to action while Louis and the others kept the judge commentary going, after a fashion. the camera stayed on them but we could tell something wasn't right and Dermot was silent, presumably wrestling someone to the ground. There is usually some ugly bald head bouncers pretty close to Simon. No doubt we'll eventually discover who did what.

Anyway, a good commercial choice by Honey G.

5 After Midnight

I still call them 5AM. They have Uptown Funk which can't help but go down well. That might have suited Honey G actually, now I think about it. This worked wonders for Fleur East last year and it should help get this group into the semifinal. That was a neat performance, very together and it gave each of the three guys the chance to show what they can do. That was just the sort of stuff that the group should be doing. It was a bit of a copy but I can't see how they could do much else with that classic.

Sharon sees them in the final. Some fine acts would need to fail if she's right. It is possible but much depends on the public vote again as I suspect they'll be in 4th or 5th position.


Toxic is the Britney Spears number. Emily puts a very different slant on it. I don't think it worked, however well she sang. She is very confident but she neither looked nor sounded like a winner this time. At the moment, I have to say that she may finish up in the Bottom Two. There is another song to come, apparently, so that will be quite a relief. She could well be a star, and she would make a great job of an Ed Sheeran winner's song if she gets to the Final to try it. But she has to get there.

So far Matt and Saara share the Top 2 places. 5AM might just make 3, leaving Honey G v Emily in the sing-off. Much depends on the second songs, though. They'll also be the ones that the voters are more likely to remember and act upon, or not, as the case may be.


Sia's I'm Alive is a current classic and Sia does it amazingly well. Matt tries hard but can't match her on this one. Good effort but I might not have suggested he attempt that. Not bad at all but something wasn't right. He lost a few points there to Saara.

5 After Midnight

Now this a 2016 track and a half. Mashing up Sorry with goodness knows from Drake what else the backing track was excellent and the group do a super job vocally on top. That makes them definitely contenders for the Final and lifts them to 2nd place at the moment, overtaking Matt, just.

Honey G

She says this will be 'hardcore'. Let's see. Push It is more 1980s. She does it well, for all that. Then, just as she was entertaining well, the pace and atmosphere changes completely to what I think she said was a Black Beatles number, whoever they are. Interesting but I can't see that appealing so much. She included the mannequin challenge currently all over the place too. She does seem clever, choosing the songs rather than Sharon. She has to stand a chance, although I still place her 4th.


She so much needs this one to go well. I do see this as a 'make or break' song. It could be that important as her opponents have done so damn well this week. She has been top in my charts for many weeks and seemed a natural to make the Final. Now, she is at risk of leaving. With Saara closing the show and you can guess how dramatic that could be, there is a danger of Emily getting lost between the opportunism of Honey G and the Show Stopping Saara's sheer brilliance, if not actually X factor type of brilliance.

Simon says she will take a big risk. The song is Rag & Bone Man's Human. I don't know it and I suspect many others won't. Wow, that was good. I did recognise it. Louis says that it is a recent release but hasn't yet made it. Maybe her version will do. That was excellent and she covered a whole range of emotions with it. When she sang more strongly she was excellent.

I hope it pays off for her. It was very genuine and, as we discovered, she sort of changed it as she went.

I feel that puts her on a par with Matt in 3rd place so far. She is unlikely to have overtaken 5AM in the public votes, though, so perhaps it will stay as her v Honey G to sing off.


Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend was extraordinary. A real West End performance. Cheesy and I really don't know what it was doing there. She was very good to do all the performance things that I cannot imagine anyone else succeeding with. It was a bit bizarre.

That might not mean she finishes at the Top and I don't know who does after that. For sheer talent I guess she has to stand out. Matt 2nd. 5AM 3rd and Emily 4th, Honey G 5th.

What that means is anyone's guess.

It is another chance for Honey G to be eased out of the series before it gets difficult.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

And then there were five. Opportunity missed.

If you had just turned on the TV to watch X Factor you might have wondered why the sing-a-long comprised people aged about 12! It was the School Of Rock West End show people doing a good job.

Dermot takes some time to tell us that it will be Christmas next week. No it won't. The theme of the tracks to be performed will be Christmas. That's almost as bad. Let's hope someone does Fairytale of New York or A Spaceman Came Travelling.

I am hoping that this is the week that Honey G goes. Hers was a more tedious performance this week. It ought to be her or Ryan as I can't imagine any of the other four not getting plenty of support.

Craig David has a particularly boring song to bring him back to the stage after many years. His voice is still unique though but that was a very ordinary number that we will not remember for long.

So, who makes the Final Five?

Saara (once again absolutely delighted!!)

So, yes, it is Honey G v Ryan. That'll be interesting. Will Simon and Louis agree and drop Honey G? I doubt it. It may well be down to the public vote and that, I am guessing will keep Honey G in.

Alicia Keys gets a spot next to promote her new single which is a lot better than Craig David's. She's quite the star. She gets a big burst of applause when she says contestants should just be themselves and not try to copy someone else.

I find the Talk Talk adverts really quite annoying. Whatever that app is that puts effects on people's faces or heads is just a bad sign of the times. It reminds me of the really bad fashion in the 1970s. readers from other countries will, I hope, be spared them.

Ryan does a very good of a number that, I think, is an Ed Sheeran number buy maybe not. Was it Lego House? I should know but I couldn't remember. It was a gentle number. he seemed way too quiet at the start and it sort of picked up but never really went anywhere. I liked it a lot but don't if it will be enough.

Honey G did something that may be called Get Your Freak On and something else I have no idea about. Didn't like that at all. As Dermot said, that was the most surreal sing-off they've ever had! This would be a chance to get rid of Honey G.

Simon first. I was not expecting that as he is one of the people that could save Ryan. He saves Honey G. Obviously Sharon saves Honey G. Nicole saves Ryan. It comes down to Louis. He saves Honey G too. Oh well. Simon's vote was the surprise there. I reckon he'd have sent it to deadlock if he had been asked last.

Anyway, Ryan was unlikely to get a great deal further.

Seems that I was wrong about the theme thing. All the public vote did was add 'Christmas' to the possibilities. It's actually 'Louis Loves'. No idea what that means! Nor has anyone else, inlcuding Louis.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Some classy performances from the Top 6.

Movie Night. Basically that means  someone will choose a song and then do a quick search to find out which film it might have been played in.

Ryan starts the show. He's chosen Jailhouse Rock. Now that's a good song. He has the right voice for this and it's a great cover. That is all, though, however good, it doesn't show much of Ryan other than that he can sing an Elvis number pretty damn well. Full marks for the performance. It ought to go down well.

Louis is complimentary but says that Matt is better. I am not so sure that Ryan hasn't closed the gap on the lead. Simon agrees that that was his best performance. He looked better tonight and that should even things out a bit. Simon wonders what the real reason is for Louis' preference for Matt. That was a bit naughty. Has anything been published that I've missed?



The Commitments Try A Little Tenderness is another great classic and it suits them nicely. They add some rap to it which works and brings it away from a cover and firmly into 2016 possible chart territory. That's quite interesting. They get a bit overtaken by the backing at times but that should see them through. I would find it hard to choose between them and Ryan this week. Add their performance talent and rave reviews and I'll have to put them above Ryan.



She is doing the Titanic classic. My Heart Will Go On. A fabulous purity in her voice and the notes are just so good, every time. This was a marvellous version and really well-staged by whoever does that sort of thing. I would say that Saara Aalto is the best singer that has been on the whole series. It's not chart stuff and is, like Ryan's performance, a cover but, my goodness she is so good. I actually don't mind about the chart thing. I would like her to stay and hopefully the producers can spend a bit of their budget to bring her family over from Finland for the next few weeks too. Whilst she is definitely the best singer this year, and I would like her to make the Final Four, I do feel that would be about as far as she needs to go. Her career is not as a chart act.



He is doing Writing On The Wall which was one of the less inspiring Bond film themes. Sam Smith made it particularly boring. Matt looks the part for sure - very well-presented. And he really does make a good job of the song. In fact I would say that was considerably better than the original. Well done. He matches Saara in many respects, talent-wise. After a poor week last week that should take him through to the Top Five easily. Excellent.


Honey G

I don't know what you think but I've had enough of the Honey G thing now. From what I gather she is genuinely hard-working and believes so much in what she does but I just look and listen and think No, that's not what I want to see winning and being all over the radio waves this Christmas.

Basically, whatever she sings, raps or delivers, it's time to go. At the moment, the most likely end is a sing-off between her and Ryan and I do hope that the judges use the opportunity to move her out.

I presume that was Gettin' Jiggy With It and maybe a few other numbers thrown in. It was OK. Good production and confidence abounding. The crowd likes her. It did repeat a bit though.



Quite a good set of tracks this evening that will make it difficult to predict. So Emily needs to keep up the very high standard to avoid an early drop-out a la Ella Henderson.

It Must Have Been Love is a risky choice. She slows it right down and stamps her style firmly on this. It works but will the public like it? You are watching and hoping she'll just let go a bit but she stays in reserved, restrained mood throughout. Very nice. I hope so much that she gets support and gets through.

I don't know where to rank her. In some ways I preferred Matt and Saara but that was possibly the one most likely to hit the top of the charts.


Sunday, 13 November 2016

Just 6 through. Simon loses one of the best.

The sing-a-long this week was an interesting performance of Rise Up with just Saara, Sam , Emily, Matt and one of 5AM to the fore. Mainly Saara, to be honest. The others were sort of in the background.

Safe tonight should be Saara and Sam. I'd predicted Ryan and Emily in trouble but I am wondering whether Emily's fans are sufficient to knock someone else into the Bottom Two. It ought to be Honey G and this week will be a good indication of whether she has real support out there or not. Beating someone like Matt or 5AM - on Disco Night - now that would say something.

Another fear is that Sam fails again to connect and falls in with Ryan. That she'd survive but, horror or horrors, it's her and Emily singing off. Now that would be the worst outcome of all. This reminds me a bit of the week when James Arthur was in the sing-off with Ella.

All will be revealed in a few minutes when a very tedious ex-lead singer of Wanted finishes his very boring new single. That is something no-one will remember in years to come. Nathan Sykes. Not a name to remember.

Dermot tells us that the two acts at the top of the voting had never been at the top before. I am guessing that one is Honey G. The other might be 5AM or Saara? We won't know for a while but, whatever the case, it bodes ill for someone we would expect to have flown through to the Top 6. It really is Ryan going home. I cannot see any other feasible outcome unless by some strange affair he gets 5th place.

Honey G.
So it is either one of the girls and Ryan as I had suspected or the disaster of the two girls against each other.

Olly Murs and Christmas adverts have to entertain us for about 15 minutes first.

So who is the 5th lucky safe one?


So it's Sam v Ryan.

Sam is first to sing. After Simon's ridiculous choice of Gloria Gaynor yesterday, she needs a good song this evening. No More Drama is one strong song that she handles pretty well. It wasn't perfect. She seemed nervous and I wasn't as convinced as I hoped I'd be.

Ryan picks a better known song in Stars. He does a good job of this too. It isn't as obvious as I'd expected.

It's in Louis and Sharon's hands. I reckon it will be the public vote.

Louis saves Sam. Sharon takes it to deadlock.

Sam got the fewest votes. That was a surprise. I thought she has been consistently good. Ryan has been consistently average. But there you go. Disappointing. I saw her as a potential winner.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Dull old Disco from most of the Top 7

Disco night. That'll suit some more than others. I don't see Sam or Emily as Disco girls in their natural performance style and yet it could be refreshing to see them coming alive. I just hope that it isn't just 70s Disco which was annoying at times.

Cue Sister Sledge. Good grief. They're either very brave or need the money. I guess they couldn't get all the Bee Gees. That's still an improvement on the compulsory sing-and-dance thing that they get the contestants to do.

From here on there is no saving of one of the Bottom Three. So whoever comes 6th and 7th in the public vote will have to sing again. We don't yet know whether Ryan was 6th, 7th or 8th but he may have been 8th but got rescued, dropping a possible 6th place 4D out of the competition. Having said that, it might have reflected the actual votes. We'll see later.

Saara starts on a podium in silver wear and looking decidedly odd. Enough Is Enough is brilliantly sung and performed. This girl is very, very good. You can rely upon her to hit exactly the notes you want and just a few days rehearsal produce a genuinely first class show. I was very impressed with that. A cover, yes, but a fabulous one at that. She deserves a deal from someone. Whatever the outcome in this competition, she is such a fine performer who needs to be snapped up by Andrew Lloyd Webber or someone.


I hope Finland don't choose her for Eurovision.

A strange group of dancers with huge judge-image heads dance behind Dermot as he tries to get us to concentrate on what is coming next.

Sam is singing I Will Survive. That has to be the ultimate 70s tedium disco song. Simon has obviously decided to emphasise her only being 17. It is still an old woman's song now, though. It could appeal to the voters. I don't know. She sings really well but it loses its disco beat completely. Not a bad thing necessarily but she may need some luck to carry on. I like her a lot and still thing she'd make a deserving winner but I am not sure that will work for her.


Ryan does Play That Funky Music White Boy which sounds like Stevie Wonder's Very Superstitious for a while. I don't like either song anyway and that didn't do anything for me. He did it well but it just seemed a bit strange. I have no idea where he'll finish up with that.


5AM really should be in their element. They're a dance group, they sing up tempo stuff and this ought to be a very smooth run through to the Top 6 for them. They could do a Stylistics number or something by Michael Jackson. Yes, Boogie Wonderland is about as 70s Disco as it gets. I am thinking Earth Wind & Fire but I'm not sure. It is one of those classics that you just hear without bothering about who sung it. They do a good karaoke version which is all you can expect o really need I suppose.

For all that, it just seemed a bit flat and predictable to me. The audience liked it so I reckon it probably went down better on stage than on the small screen. That is by far the best audience reaction for anything for a long time.

I'll put them above Ryan but I preferred Sam and Saara even if the audience had them at #1.


Matt has not yet opened or closed a show I don't think. I am pretty sure Honey G and Emily have, though, so one of them will get a second bit of advantage this week. I guess Matt has been coming top of the polls so far and so the producers don't think he'll suffer. I also don't see him getting a standing ovation for a 70s Disco number.

He starts outside. Well, Little Mix did that and got to No. 1 that week so maybe it's not as odd as it seems. I think the track was You Got The Best Of My Love. So he got to show off some fine falsetto and it all went to plan. Lots of applause for a difficult song to sing. It was OK. Nothing spectacular.


With Emily next, Honey G gets the pimp slot. Emily is another that could struggle with a disco number or do something remarkable with it. She has had several memorable performances so far this series and you could make a nice album from her tracks alone that would sell very well.

Wishing On A Star starts a little nervously which is not like her. You sort of hope it'll speed up quickly so she doesn't get int more trouble. The beat sets in but it is quite slow and that makes it a bit dull. In fact, that was dire. Very disappointing. She could well hit the Bottom Two with that, which will be bad news for whoever she shares the sing-off with. No. Not good.


Honey G puts on yet another impressively grand performance, based on Staying Alive  although only the backing singers sing that. She raps away in her own way and that was pretty damn professional. Not my sort of enjoyment but she'll get plenty of votes I think. She gives it 100% as Simon pointed out and I do wonder now that she might do really well. As a track that was pretty much rubbish and I will forget it by next week but I suspect she will get through easily to the Top 6.


So I see Saara, Sam and Honey G flying through.

5Am and Matt should be safe with a bit of luck.

Ryan and Emily are in trouble. Well, Ryan is.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Seven left.

Dermot announces that all 8 acts are on the X Factor tour which is good news for them as that guarantees some income for a while and also enables each of them to present themselves to industry scouts.

Four of Diamonds, in particular, will appreciate that, I feel, as they are likely to go soon but will definitely benefit from more rehearsal and the experience the tour will bring.

A bland sing-a-long. Very bland indeed Keep Movin'. Why do the producers stuff these people into these annoying intro songs?

Emeli Sande performed her current single Breathing Under Water. There is a talent there that all the acts can admire.

Results time:

Matt | Emily | Sam should be safe

Ryan | Honey G | Saara I had needing help from the voters

5AM and 4D in trouble.

So I was wrong!! 5AM are the first to be declared safe, followed by Ryan. Emily. Honey G. Not all the crowd approve of that choice. Matt is the last straight through.

Sam, 4D and Saara are in need of rescuing by the public. I would imagine Sam will win that leaving Saara and 4D in the sing-off which I feel will be 50-50 and, on the voting figures, Saara might just make it through but this is really anyone's guess between those two. Should Sam be in the sing-off then she'll definitely stay.

While we wait Robbie Williams performs a new track. Tremendous backdrop display!

Yes, Sam makes it through.

4D do their usual trick of not starting very strongly but building up as the song moves on. The blonde stood out as exceptional this time but it was not an impressive performance overall.

In complete contrast Saara is completely in control and her tone is perfect. This is a tremendous track and she really is good. This happens when she has to get through she can pull out such amazing performances. That was excellent and really there should be no doubt as to who goes through. It depends on Simon and Nicole.

Nicole saves Saara. Simon saves Saara too. That does make sense. I don't feel too bad as 4D really hadn't ever found their way here. They do make the Tour, though. so that's great for them and probably about all they could expect from this year's series. Saara actually looked like one of Simon's girls on stage tonight. She could be a serious contender if she continues to sing that well.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Boys and Girls Make The Top 8.

I quite like the way the show really does get on with things this series.

First up is Matt with Wham's I'm Your Man. You can really only ever just cover this but Matt is still entertaining. Competent but not much personality comes through. Something was missing and it was just a little bit karaoke.

He should, nevertheless, be safe. I had him finishing 3rd.

Sam sings The Girls Aloud version of Stand By Me. She always starts songs well and is looking fabulous. It is easy to forget now just how young she is. The choir drown her out at times - even with her powerful voice and tone that often cuts through so well. It was a little boring. I loved it but what will the voters think? Perhaps the emotional element will tip it in her favour.

I rated her 1st overall.

Honey G next. Once again there is quite a lot of publicity for Honey G's mother. It does seem a bit out of balance but never mind. Honey G performs Jump which I remember as a Van Halen number. This performance will please whoever is supporting her. I believe she's been 3rd or 4th in most voting so far so there is every chance that she'll stay now. The judges liked that performance a lot and so did the audience. The App audience, however, clearly didn't, whatever that may indicate. Simon is very complimentary and says 'backstage she is one of the nicest contestants we've had on the show.' Nice.

My placing puts her 5th tonight and probably safe.

Ryan needs a break. He obviously has some support but there but needs more to vote first time around. A lot depends on tonight's performance. It's the classic Beatles' Twist And Shout. It's a good song and suits him well. The middle bit is a bit strange and it takes him a while to start moving around. This is not a track you can stand still too. Dancing is essential. He does start moving around eventually and it's not a bad performance at all - he looked like a band front man. I enjoyed that more than Matt's performance and rank Ryan higher at 2nd,

4 of Diamonds sing Hold On. They are also vulnerable this week. They are nicely in tune and it's a pretty harmony. Very gentle and comes to life a bit more nearer the end. They are good but maybe not good enough. Sorry girls. I like them a lot but just don't see them making it big in the charts on present showing.

They end of 7th tonight.

Saara gets The Sound Of The Underground. This is an odd choice but she succeeds in making it interesting and quite a show. I did not understand the Japanese connection at all and, as Simon pointed out, she is already bizarre so adding bizarre on top is a bit like multiplying -1 by -1: you get +1 which isn't much extra.

The range seemed too low for most of the time too but it was a cool track and her ending is superb. Some will be impressed by this. She certainly will get snapped up by a producer for the West End, whatever happens here.


Emily sings 1D's What Makes You Beautiful. It is recognisably Emily's very cut-back style which is all very good but this time I feel it doesn't work as well or do the song the justice it deserves. Very different but maybe just a little boring. She is very competent and I am sure she will float through.


Say You'll Be There is a Spice Girls number. I am not at all sure about 5AM's version. Although they do get lots of credit from the judges and noisy support from the audience, I don't get it. They can sing and perform well but they were drifting at times and several uncertain notes spoiled things. Maybe I missed something but I rank them the bottom tonight.

So, safe are Sam, Emily and Matt.

Needing some help from the fans are Ruan, Saara and Honey G

At risk, the two groups 4 of Diamonds and 5AM.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Gifty goes as Ryan gets saved for the third time.

So, safe this week, should be:

Emily | Sam | Matt
Needing some luck with the voters:
5AM | Gifty | Honey G
At risk:
Saara | Ryan | 4 of Diamonds

Listening again, I would love to add Saara to those in the safe section but I just don't know. She was really good as a performer.

Louisa Johnson, looking extremely good, and very modern, performed her single. Lasy year's winner was a good choice. Although we haven't seen that much of her she has gradually built a space for herself in the industry. There are better potential stars in this year's bag of contestants, though.

The results: 

5AM | Emily | Matt | Sam | Saara | Honey G

So the public will get to choose to save one of Gifty, Ryan or 4 of Diamonds

Ryan has been saved in previous weeks, last time beating 4 of Diamonds so I think they're in trouble. Against Gifty, they would go. However, I reckon Gifty will be saved and 4 of Diamonds may just scrape through against Ryan.

Bruno Mars did a great job keep us entertained in the meantime, while people were deciding who to save.

Ryan is saved again. So it is Gifty v 4 of Diamonds.

Gifty chooses another passionate but not well-known song. It's a strong performance and it will take some beating. There is just something that seems to prevent her connecting with the audience, though, and she doesn't come across as well as she might on screen.

4 of Diamonds put on another good effort. Each is clearly trying very hard but that doesn't come across as nicely as the somewhat more tuneful Gifty. They're good and I reckon they get the popular vote. This time it's for Nicole and Gifty to decide. Nicole votes to keep 4 of Diamonds. Sharon takes her time. Louis wants her to keep the girls. She agrees and Gifty is sent home. 4 of Diamonds are saved. Gifty does not look at all pleased. This could be a few minutes that the producers will want to get through pretty quickly. Sharon is heard on the re-run saying how good Gifty was each time. That must make it more difficult. She does not look at all happy but holds it in.

I got that wrong but now I can see that there is something about Gifty that simply doesn't appeal so much as the four girls. I think it is true that, of the two, 4 of Diamonds, with some clever marketing could do better than Gifty in the pop market.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Fright Night For the Top 9.

It's Fright night so there's make-up and scary-looking people everywhere. The songs are likely to be a bit predictable too so t's probably a good idea to get this stage out of the way sooner rather than later. As it happens, just about all the acts manage to bring their own individuality to the show - all credit due to them, with not one bad performance tonight.


You can absolutely rely on this girl to perform well. This was not particularly memorable but precise and entertaining. She could do well with her own shows. Not amazingly well but, maybe with a good writer, she'd hit the charts as she is quite current.

I'm In Love With A Monster is what I am guessing the title is. Neither Louis nor Sharon know the song but that shows up their knowledge rather than any comment on Gifty's talents. It was a Fifth Harmony song, by the way.



Looks like they're starting with the two acts who can be relied upon to keep viewers rather than risking people wandering back to Strictly. Actually, I am sure most people will record this and watch it slightly delayed.

I Put A Spell On You is a great number. If everyone chose tracks as good as this then having a theme wouldn't be such a bad idea. (It is a bad idea still because the idea is to find an act who can steal the charts and also have a go at making it across the Pond too, rather than entertain in a set genre for one week at a time, switching in and out of what they like doing best).

Going back to Matt, though, this was really very good indeed. He should have had  four standing ovations for that. Everything about that performance was first class. Maybe not a chart hit but I can see him getting some great stuff written for him that would hit the charts. He'll make the final.


I do like the di di ra la la bit stripped from Whigfield that we get in the intervals.

5AM Five After Midnight

Thriller is, of course, a natural for these guys. They can sing the song and dance the dance. Good harmonies and well presented. That looked pretty faultless but it didn't sound as strong as it ought to have done. Not at all bad but I would like more depth and less tinny stuff. It seemed to go down well, though, and they may have played safe but that's understandable. For sheer quality and the fact that voters will remember that, I reckon they'll make it through to next week and I'll rate then above Gifty this week.


Honey G

Men In Black works really well for this girl. She is the 'comedy avt' this year but I have to say that she is getting better each week and this time she looked and sounded very professional. Not my style but it will be popular. Tremendous stage show. Impressive week for her. She may well survive another week or two yet after all! She clearly has been working hard. It would be a shame if she went this week, although I would have to place her 4th out of 4 so far.



Another make-over this week and it suits him better, a rougher image. Rock Your Body is normally a big heavy number and this is a bit light in places but he tries to make it meaningful. Not a bad effort but, because the others have done so well so far, I feel that he will still struggle. As Louis says, that was his best performance so far but I don't know how much support he'll get. It was odd hearing Sharon, who had championed Nicholas Macdonald, saying Ryan had been a bit wet in previous weeks. Still vulnerable, though.



Super start to Total Eclipse Of The Heart. Her voice suits this sort of song well. Crazy range in the song and she manages. Just. That was impressive. Her voice is amazing. Instantly recordable. Find her a writer now. She probably just pipped Matt again.



Lady Gaga's Bad Romance sounds good. She puts on a great show, much to the credit too of the guy planning it all in the background but seriously she is excellent on stage. This could have been her own show again and that is very much to be appreciated. Where that will place her in the hearts of the voters here I do not know. I don't know whether she'll survive but she will be remembered and I do expect someone will take her on and give her a contract to do something in a show somewhere.


Four of Diamonds

Ghost is an odd choice. You almost wonder if Louis chose it because it had the word Ghost in it. The start is not good at all but once they get going it works quite well. I fear that it will not have worked well enough, though. That was not a great example of what they could do. Pity. They will be at risk this weekend. They may survive but they'll need some luck, and probably another good sing-off track.



Closing the show is another genuine contender this year. It's a good slot because people tend to remember the last one and a good performance here can garner more votes than it might have done in the middle of the show. Odd but that's just how things work. Both Sam and Matt can be beaten still. I can't imagine her failing and falling into the Bottom Three - she is Top 5 material.

This is amazing. It is Creep, the classic track that some people just excel at. This is different with a very slow and carefully phrased track that is not at all simple. It would display each and every fault but Emily makes none. Wonderful. She takes #1 spot this week for me.


So, safe this week, should be:

Emily | Sam | Matt

Needing some luck with the voters:

5AM | Gifty | Honey G

At risk:

Saara | Ryan | 4 of Diamonds

Monday, 24 October 2016

Four Of Diamonds make the Top 9

Despite its age, this show never ceases to surprise me. This week, after the now intriguing little excerpt from Whigfield's Saturday Night that we get before and during breaks in the show every week, the name of Busted is announced and on come some of the guys we used to know as Busted and McFly looking considerably older. That was actually the first vaguely entertaining 'sing-a-long' as the ten contestants joined them on stage.

We also get Shawn Mendes doing a classy version of his new single. That made me wonder whatever happened to Ben Haenow. He needs a good writer.

Then it is straight into the announcement of who gets through to the Top 9.

The delight on Saara's face when she hears her name is great to see. I had reckoned that she deserved to stay but had not thought she would have had more public votes than, at least, Ryan, Relley C and Four of Diamonds, placing her at least in 7th place.

On Diva Night, Relley C appearing in the Bottom Three was unexpected, although I have not been impressed with her ability to hit the right notes so far. Ryan was the only act I had expected to be in major trouble this week and he gets saved by the new 'second' public vote so must be relieved to be the most popular of those three.

The sing-off, therefore, is between Four of Diamonds and Relley C. I am thinking that, after Simon's remarks yesterday, he would favour Relley C and that Nicole would too so she would be the most likely to survive.

However, Relley C's singing really is not very good. So many poor notes that trail off in I Can't Make You Love Me. If the judges say how wonderful that was then they must surely just be being nice. Sorry, that was wobbly and not something I would want to listen to again.

Four of Diamonds are not at all well dressed. I don't know who suggested those combinations but they are awful. They are four attractive girls but one white affair makes the wearer look wide, like when you get the screen ratio wrong on an old film. Another has some loose black bits hanging down that ought to show a long bare leg but just look strange and not at all sexy either. The other two are not a great deal better. Basically they all look a bit desperate and that theme continues when they start singing. Who Are You Today is, I think, the title. Not a common track and not one you'd expect to be chosen for an important sing-off. Once they get going, though, they're a lot better and the harmonies begin to impress. The notes are good and it becomes a smarter performance with some excellent and quite impressive bits by a couple of the girls in particular. They were definitely a lot better than Relley C but whether that will have been enough to change Nicole or Simon is not clear.

It is. Both Nicole and Simon join Louis is saving the group and they live to fight another day. Fright week next week. Oh dear. Lots of annoying make-up and forced song choices. I do wish they'd just settle down to getting acts to do what they reckon they're best at and would be likely to be doing in future.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Top 10 Perform. Simon's Girls 1,2, 3.

Those who think X Factor is a pointless show or that the acts appearing are pretty useless might care to note that this weekend sees X Factor acts at #1 and #2 in the UK Top 100. Olly Murs and Fifth Harmony (an X Factor USA finalist) have another five entries between them.

Look at the album charts and Rebecca Ferguson is at #7, Little Mix at #30, Fifth Harmony 61 and James Arthur #71.

Dermot wants to 'dance with somebody' and does his now traditional turn at the start and then we get Nicole singing as an intro. It's Diva Week so that makes some sense - and so much better than the group 'Sing-a-long'. Well done, producers. It's not often I say that.


With a guitar, although he doesn't do a great deal with it. Rolling In The Deep is a pretty much over-done track at the best of times and it and Ryan seem to be opposites. He is no 'Diva' anyway but he does sing this very well. It's not his week and this will not really help him. I feel he's unlucky and may be at risk but he is going to go sooner or later.

Sharon is embarrassing again as she says he's 17. He's 20.


Great start. Not a song I know. She looks attractive with the long, blonde hair. This is a tricky track to get right but she gets every note in place and, with no cover available in the backing, that's important. She is very good and deserved the standing ovation from all four judges at the end. She should fly through this week. That'll take some beating.

Five After Midnight

They choose an odd one - Valerie as in The Zutons but I suppose it is Amy Winehouse who adds the 'Diva' tag so they can use it. For all that, this is not that great. They put on a super performance and all credit to them for that but it was all a bit like a cartoon. Not at all something I want to hear again and I'm not sure they'll be doing that well on the downloads this week. They were the bookies' second favourite at the start of tonight's show but I suspect they may drop after that. Simon says he didn't like that but they ought to survive.


A major song for this young girl. Michael Jackson's Earth Song is full of potential mistakes and places to go wrong. It's a big risk but she takes it on and does very well. Very powerful and she gets a decent length too. Super voice, edgy and interesting. In places I feel she tried a bit too hard but that ought to see her through.


He starts as the bookies' favourite. He has a super voice and seems very professional so I expect him to sail through. He sings another Michael Jackson number, I'll Be There.  It's OK, but he does bring in some crazy falsetto stuff which I could probably have done without. It was better as a strong pop song. In places he tries way too hard and actually misses the key quite badly. Not a good ending. Not a memorable performance either. I expected a lot better.

The judges gave him rave reviews, however. He ought to be fine.

Honey G

John Legend says that her challenge every week is 'topping yourself'. OK. Let's hope she doesn't do that.

Here goes a strange 'Diva' track: Ice Ice Baby. She does it better than JEdward did. Actually a good solid performance. Switch to Under Pressure for no particular reason then back to rapping and the regular 'Ice Ice Baby' lyric. Well, that was OK. That could see her through. It was a good performance, even though I don't go for this at all and really would not want to see her get too much further. But that was more interesting than several acts tonight.

Relley C

She has been suffering from a sore throat so we're expecting her to have trouble but then I am sure the team will have got her organised and adjusted the song so that she can avoid the impossible notes. Her song is Natural Woman which is OK. Her voice must be better as she hits some loud and high notes out there. Not a bad performance but a bit bit messy in places. Good for tonight, I suppose. I still see her going fairly soon and she may be in the bottom three this week.

So far, no-one has really done anything we'll remember.


A completely different version of Whitney's How Will I Know? Very nice and she is making herself very hard to beat and certainly standing out against the others this week. Brilliant. Best of the night so far. Note perfect and delightful simplicity that says 'quality'. I take back the comment about nothing being memorable!

Louis says John Lewis should choose that as their Christmas Advert track!

Four Of Diamonds

Hoping that these girls do well again. Now that they have had time to settle a bit more. Lady Marmalade is a good start. Bang Bang is also a good sign of what they can do. Stylish for sure and no question that they can all sing. That was near perfect and not at all easy. It seemed to finish a bit soon but OK. Great choice and super performance. They could do a Fifth Harmony here.


What can this girl do? It ought to be her week as she is the best outright ballad singer in the competition. So what will she perform and how will the British voters take it? Even before she starts I see her in the Bottom Three - and that is a shame but probably true. She may find herself in yet another sing-off and the judges may simply decide that they cannot really support an act that can't get the public's support. It sounds terribly unfair to judge her even before she has sung but it would require something extraordinary to change people's likes and dislikes out there in voting land.

It's The Iceland Bork's It's So Quiet. Oh dear, that's a pity. It won't get her the votes she needs. A very good performance but just not what the show needs. All credit to her but I think that may see her going home.

She is a star, for sure. It's the West End she should be on. She could do well there. Great reviews from the panel. They are all full of praise and that's right.

Here, though, is how I predict the phone vote will go:

Safe and sound

Gifty Louise

Relying on getting the votes in

Four of Diamonds
Honey G
Relley C

Bottom three

Five After Midnight

Monday, 17 October 2016

Saara makes the Top Ten

The bottom three from the public vote overnight are Saara, Freddy and Ryan. No big surprises there. I had expected Honey G might be one of them but it does look like she is getting the benefit of all the extra publicity.

Ryan is the contestant placed 9th in the vote so gets to fight again in Week 3, leaving Freddy and Saara to try and save their places.

Freddy's song is one I don't recognise at first. I think it's called Stay and, after a nervous start, it works quite well for him. He manages to get across some good emotional expression and displays a better range than before too. You get the feeling that it ought to be enough.

Saara goes next and is introduced by Sharon as 'the songbird from abroad'. Then there's a gap as no-one seems quite sure what to make of that. Louis adds 'from Finland' as a sort of effort to make it seem more polite but the damage has been done. Awful stuff from this woman who is making quite a few embarrassing goofs.

The song is a beautiful version of Run and it caps Leona Lewis's release. Really good and there is no sign of the desperation that crept in to her last number. Every note is perfect and the whole feeling you get from this performance is that here is a girl who could genuinely entertain a stadium full of doubtful people and have them admiring her talents before the first song has ended. Nevertheless, you do wonder where she fits in the charts today. Indeed, both acts seem destined for the West End and where they would certainly do extremely well. Of the two, though, Saara is by far the better, by a long way.

It is the judges' choice, though, and we know that it will be down to Simon and Lewis to decide. I am expecting Saara to go as I predict Louis to follow up on his 'No-one likes you' comment last night and send Saara home and Simon will let the public decide. It doesn't quite work out that way. Louis actually sends Freddy home. So Simon could save him by sending Saara home - still the public choice but the other wat round. Simon does so but there's another surprise: Freddy is the one who came 11th and so is out. The public have, after all, started to warm to the Finland girl.

There is a lot of disappointment around and a certain sense of shock as most people really had liked Freddy and expected him to get through and maybe somehow start to improve performance-wise. I felt a bit sorry for him but also for Saara who didn't get the credit she deserved for another remarkable performance. She must have been feeling pretty hard done-by to be around the bottom of the votes again but no-one really seemed to celebrate her success, all being consumed by sympathy for poor Freddy.

Next week we learn will be Diva Week, which ought to be a week when Saara can keep out of the bottom but this is an odd mix of contestants. We have three very good girls who are unlikely to be kicked out just yet, one boy who is almost guaranteed to reach the final and one who is probably going to go soon, one very professional and one very inexperienced group and three very different, and not expected to last long, over 25s. It was good to see Four of Diamonds get through. Theirs had not been a particularly brilliant performance but with such short notice and amid all the excitement of being brought back in to Week 2 of the Live Shows, something never achieved by any act before and a risky move for the producers too, I felt it would have been really cruel to kick them out immediately afterwards. They do need to improve for Week 3, though, and try to rise above Ryan and maybe Honey G and even Relley C who ought to do well in Week 3 but has shown poor skills so far.

Could there be a girlfriend - boyfriend sign of next week? Ryan v Emily is on the cards.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Live Shows Week 2: Four of Diamonds get another chance and Sam says Hello.

Week 2 of the Live Shows and, with Brooks Way, whose name doesn't even get mentioned, now seemingly permanently dropped, someone in the production team has seen sense and brought back Four of Diamonds, the girl group who really should have made it through in place of the two thin tinfoil boys. This is excellent news. They must be so pleased but, with so little notice they do face the risk of being a 'one week only' act.

Louis remarks 'I've only got two groups and they're going nowhere'. You may need to read that several times and it still doesn't quite sound right. But then little of what Louis says at times makes sense these days. The fact is that it will be tough for Four of Diamonds to compete as the Judges Houses round was recorded some month or so ago and all the others have had a great deal of coaching and time to settle down, get used to the stage, the venue and even simple things like living arrangements. The four girls have had just four days.

It's Motown Week and in the compulsory sing-a-long Relley C gets virtually the whole show to herself with the camera following her and effectively ignoring most of the rest completely.

Ain't No Mountain High Enough
 A poor start, quite weak. It's sort of OK in the middle but Freddy is simply not coming across as strongly as he needs to. He has no range t speak of, his notes drop off at the end and that was a very average performance which I think will make him vulnerable again - and I haven't even heard the other ten performances yet!

Stop In The Name Of Love
She needs a good performance to re-establish herself after a slight wobble at the start last week. This is a great very slowed down version of the Supremes' hit with some really nice production that suits her very well. She looks good too. Full marks to the Make-over team for this. An excellent performance. That would sell as a single.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Not the most inspiring of Motown songs. Matt is a brilliant singer and performer, though, an does a good job with average material. He is note perfect and has some style. This guy is good. He knows what he is doing and I can see him being a finalist, several weeks on.

Relley C
Ain't No Sunshine
This week suits her well but, despite her making a good effort, her wrong notes are all the more annoying in this number. She improves a bit as she gets into the song and, maybe feels more relaxed, finishing much stronger. She's a lot better than Freddy and may manage to survive this week.

What a brilliant start. Easily the best so far. It's the familiar track from The Commodores (or was it just Lionel on his own?) Fabulous. How she brought in the 'I love you' phrase made this a remarkable and memorable performance indeed. Sam is also benefitting from the Make-over crew's efforts, looking very pretty this week. Was this actually a Motown track? Probably. Doesn't really matter anyway. The best performance of the night.

Five After Midnight
Get Ready / Reach Out
Not satisfied with just one song, 5AM, not to be confused with SAM, are well in their element this week. The switch saved this from being a bit bland. These guys are superb. Very professional, all rehearsed and presented really well. Just a totally natural group that you can imagine taking the JLS spot next year. They're very competent and are going to be around for many weeks yet. The crowd reaction is marvellous and points to them heading for a final too. The ending is a bit odd.

He's got his work cut out following those two acts. He is looking very different - gone is the floppy lump of curly hair and he is now smart and combed. This is a bit ordinary. Good - the notes, style are fine but something is missing. He sort of fades into the background. There are too many people around him and that detracts from what he is actually singing. Overall it wasn't bad at all but he may be at risk.

Honey G
I'm Coming Out
I am a bit concerned about all the extra publicity that she is getting. It does seem a bit unfair to the other acts. But then I suppose it is all part of her act. The song is just a backing track, sung by someone else. She does a rap of some sort that is neither here nor there in my view. It's getting boring now but I have to say that I am a little impressed by her self-publicity and how she manages to get the H to the O line in every song so far. I have no idea how the public will vote. She seems both very popular indeed - to the point of possibly even topping voting figures and maybe going all the way in this competition but also being panned and dropped at a fairly early stage by an older voting audience not fond of rap.

Gifty Louise
Rockin' Robin
Of all the tracks this girl could have chosen in the vast Motown catalogue, this is not one I would have recommended at all. I'm also not sure why she starts on a swing. A rough, raucous start but then she settles down and it's all sort of OK. She is professional, should be safe this week but that was a wasted opportunity to impress everyone.

River Deep, Mountain High
A fabulous version. Saara is dressed as a Country Girl with frilly chamois leather which doesn't quite match the period but she does look pretty good for all that. The performance is very strong and very impressive again. She has a sort of show girl style and could be brilliant in a West End stage show. So professional and usually gets all the notes where they should be. One or two missed this week but I felt she was making a bit too much effort this time and it finished up as good but unexceptional.  Maybe she'll be in the bottom three again.

Louis says that the public don't want her. That may be true but it sounded a bit cruel, to be honest.

Four Of Diamonds
You Keep Me Hanging On
Remember these girls have almost literally just been thrown in to this competition and here they are closing the show. That may be quite a good move by the production team as it tends to make them the most immediately remembered and least likely to be voted off. Unless, of course, they are really bad. They're not. They are a little bland but there are signs they could be both entertaining and potentially a useful pop band. The false ending was designed to show that they can sing, have great harmonies but it didn't quite work as, although they were note perfect, the crowd had started to applaud already. I do hope they survive and get a chance to settle down like the others have had.

So, my Bottom Three would be:

Honey G

Maybe at risk:

Four Of Diamonds

Should be safe:
Gifty Louise
Relley C

Easily through to week 3

Monday, 10 October 2016

Week 1 Results: The Top Ten

I worry slightly when Dermot announces the 'traditional' sing-a-long introduction to the Sunday show. This really does spoil every effort that might have been made to support individual acts and promote them as viable chart performers. Seeing this year's batch descending, or in one or two cases, ascending to some average party song and dance number designed to ensure that everyone gets even camera time and with lyrics that won't upset anyone is depressing.

Actually, Saara got by far the most noticeable spot, the rest blending into the tedious nonsense that is this element. She was very good and even seemed to care a bit.

Anyway, that ended soon enough. No songs get a full length rendition unless it's a guest. Usually that will be mimed to a backing track too although I did get the impression that poor old James Arthur was genuinely doing is thing. He has struck lucky, finding that his Mumford-type style fits nicely in the current genre that is popular. He is now riding high in the charts after we had all thought he was done for. I could have done without the plug for a mental health charity that he adds at the end of his chat with Dermot and the judges. It may be a decent cause but that just looked dumb. The guy's famous enough at the moment to plug stuff properly in chat shows, radio interviews and magazines. I am sure that most acts have got a favourite charity but if they all started plugging them every time they saw a camera we'd soon get not only bored but a bit confused as to which we should give our donations to.

The make-over teams have been hard at work and made a reasonable job of everyone which is quite a relief as they have gone badly wrong in the past. I am not sure about the shaved stripes for Emily but no-one looked out of place this year. I suppose they still have time. And there's not a great deal you can do with Honey G anyway.

So, it's time to see who made it through to Week 2. Dermot fires through the list this time. With eight to announce I guess he had to. With Brooks Way not even getting a mention this time and, I presume, they have been dropped from the show, I was thinking the producers might have given everyone a second shot but, no, there's a 'Bottom Three' as usual. What is described as 'new' is that one act gets saved by the public vote. It is slightly different in that we get to vote again at that time for which of those three lives to sing another week. Before it was basically a delayed 'who gets through' announcement based on the main vote.

The three in competition are Freddy, Saara and Bratavio. That seems about right to me. I can't remember now what I had predicted but f I didn't predict these three then I should have done. Freddy did not come across very strongly and, however good looking he may be, that will not be enough at this stage. Saara was good but the Finnish thing will never help her and Bratavio just deserve to go anyway.

Freddy is the one saved, which seems right and there is a sing off between Saara and Bratavio.

Saara is quite remarkably good. Amazing, in fact, as she soars through the extremely difficult SIA's I'm Alive and that was pretty damn impressive. Very classy. I am not at all sure that she is someone that is for the UK market but she really does deserve to stay after that. It would really be quite wrong for the other pair to be the ones sending her home.

Yazz's The Only Way Is Up is actually not that bad. Camp and a bit dodgy and definitely out of tune in places but it is quite fun. Totally opposite to Saara. No class, no notes to speak of but you can see their appeal to some sectors of the crazy UK pop sales market. My guess is that a 50-50 vote between the judges would see them through with a higher public vote.

Louis, of course, votes for his act, although I did wonder for a moment whether he might change his mind in view of the amazingly good reviews that Saara had got, some describing her performance as the best sing-off in the whole 14 years of this show. Sharon sends the boys home. Nicole, who gave Saara the Wild Card, sends the boys home so it's up to Simon. I sit there hoping that he really will do the right thing. He does, and backs it up by saying that that was the easiest decision he'd had to make. So Saara will be back next week and she and Freddy will surely have to find a way to attract more votes.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Three mad judges and a missing act. Simon and Nicole's acts take the top four places.

It seems far to assume that three quarters of the panel were either drunk or slightly bonkers this evening. It was like they had forgotten that this was a Live Show. Luckily, most of the contestants didn't.

Yes, here are the Live Shows at last. All the contestants get equal attention and something approaching a full song. With a few exceptions we've really only had a few sections of performances really. No more wild cards. Pity. Although who knows what might happen as it seems that Brooks Way were suspended from tonight's performance at quite late notice. We weren't given a reason but it didn't take long to find out that one of the brothers is said to have been abusive towards an ex-girlfriend way back in January. Talk of innocent until proven guilty. It seems that they'll either get an automatic pass to Week 2, which seems a little unfair, or they'll get kicked out, which is also unfair unless there is proof of something bad happening.

I say bring back Four Of Diamonds.

Dermot gets six girls to dance with at the outset. I use the word 'dance' loosely. One great presenter, though. Welcome back.

The theme for Week 1 is 'Express Yourself'. A good idea as that enables each act to choose something that they can start off really well with. Is till disagree about chucking people out at these early stages, even those I dislike. It has to take a few weeks to get established and, indeed, to build a bit of a fan base and I feel it can be unfair to kick someone out on the basis of one performance. But that's the way it is.

5 After Midnight

First on are the three lads in this very impressive group. They sing Can't Stop The Feeling, a good, current track. They can dance and perform well but were a bit disorganised at times. Great vocals once they settled down and they get a great audience reception.

Sam Lavery

Nice stripped back Impossible. Nicely done. This is a strong performer who can bring some strong character to what she does. All the notes were in the right place. Not an easy track either. Excellent.


Sharon can't remember who put her in as a Wild Card (it was Louis) and goes on to say that she is from Norway. Chaos.

The Finnish lady has great English and you could almost have guessed she would sing Let It Go from Frozen. This week is probably her best chance to impress with a track like this as she may not get such an opportunity until Abba week. A super, confident start but she is wearing an oddly designed an distracting dress. Ignore that and you'll gather that she is well-trained and hits the notes well but it is a risky song, very difficult and what may actually be correct doesn't necessarily sound right. I respect this lady but don't think she'll last very long.

Ryan Lawrie

Another Wild Card. Nice version of the 1D Perfect. He started a bit quietly and tends to blend in too much with the background track which sounded pretty much like the 1D record! He needs work to strengthen some parts but when he does give it his all he does well. Sharon is embarrassing again, asking him to say 'Och the noo' which, she asserts, is what all Scots say.

It's like she has just wandered in from some shopping nearby and sat down and you wonder whether she has actually seen any of the acts before.

Gifty Louise

I was expecting good things from this girl. She has been very professional all the way through, with confidence in what she does. This was brilliant. That's My Girl I later discovered is the new release from Fifth Harmony (an act Simon Cowell took on board after coming 3rd on X Factor USA a few years ago). Not one note or step out of time and she just ruled the stage. Very impressive indeed. Well done. Simon remarks that the song isn't yet released here. Reminds me of Fleur East's marvellous version of the then unknown Uptown Funk.

Relley C

I have never been too sure about this one. Praise You seems more in tune than most of her earlier efforts and it does suit her but I still find her tuning and timing a bit out. She seems a bit desperate at times but this was by no means bad at all. She'll last longer than some others, no doubt.

Matt Terry

You Don't Own Me is a very good number for him. A great performance. He definitely has the X Factor and I am sure that the audience aren't the only ones who'll be backing him for a long period to come. Nicole is really OTT with her praise which is almost embarrassing! Nice job anyway.

Freddy Parker

He gets his song changed at 48 hours notice. He's now at the piano singing Killing Me Softly quite well. Then he gets up and it kinda goes wrong. There are quite a few la-la-las which make me wonder whether he had forgotten the words. He is quite confident and knows what he's doing so he can get away with that anyway. Very likeable and seems popular too with the audience. I agree with Simon's comment that he would have been better staying behind the piano as that had a classier, more believable feel to what he was doing.


Oh dear. Boom Boom Boom followed by Barbie Girl. All in a giant Dolly Mixture box. Awful. The singing wasn't quite as bad as I had expected but still the whole thing is pretty dreadful. They don't have any personality which all the previous Louis weird acts seemed to have in spades.


Another last minute switch - this time she just has 24 hours to get round Closer a big hit at the moment by Chainsmokers. This is a very likeable girl and she does well. A bit weak at the start and she just doesn't look as though the makeover team had much money left in the budget for her. It wasn't perfect and in places just didn't work but, despite that, she was impressive and had better survive.

Honey G

I had expected something marginally better than Bratavio. Actually, although I dislike the genre, that was a good performance and quite entertaining. She surely can't go on with the I say Honey, you say G thing forever, Good fun. Actually quite smart and good luck to her having some fun while it lasts.

So, with Brooks Way, and assuming they don't get eliminated and hence save one of these from going home, my ranking would be:

1 Gifty Louise
2 Matt Terry
3 Sam Lavery
4 Ryan Lawrie
5 5 After Midnight
6 Emily Middlemas
7 Freddy Parker
8 Relley C
9 Saara Aalto
10 Honey G
11 Bratavio

As things stand, tomorrow one f these goes home. My guess is Saara.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Top 3 Boys for the Live Shows.

It is a real relief to get away from the Over 25s and on to the last category to be decided. Nicole gives the Boys something to remember by emerging from the sea to greet them in some sort of James Bond Comic reprise. She is certainly considerably more watchable than Sharon, Simon or Louis. And the talent in this category is clear. Based on previous auditions, any of these seven could make it.

Ryan is first and is someone we hardly know at all. Simon appears to have put him through as a Wild Card after he failed to make it in a boy band earlier. We didn't see any of that. Maybe we will if he makes the Live Shows. His tone seems to be the same all the way through his song. He's cool in a slightly retro way but remains 'current' somehow. A competent performance and the guy knows what he's doing.

Niall has been one of the very best so far. He sings Two Become One which is an odd choice. It sort of worked but only just sort of worked. He has a good range, although he seems nervous and this was not as good as he has been in previous stages. He would be an interesting choice although his image isn't great. I would still say he has to be one of the three.

Freddie certainly does have the image. Looks very good but doesn't sing that well. Not bad, just not as good as the others. He could be appealing on tv but I don't see him making it against this year's competition in this group. Nicole thinks he's the best 'artist' and so maybe it'll be a close decision. On balance, I give him the performance edge over Ryan.

Nate sings Summertime. Wanders a lot around the classic. He may find he has appeal but needs to be careful and just concentrate on singing which he does well. It's a very short audition but I feel the show needs someone like him.

James tries to sing Ain't No Mountain High Enough but it goes wrong. He is nowhere near as good as he had been previously. Very surprising and disappointing for him. He has to be out, I feel.

Christian is, again, very emotional in his performance and has a quite unique tone. He expresses lyrics tremendously well and deserves a spot. My only worry is that he might be a one-trick pony and fail to deliver on the wider range that the show expects. Definitely Top 3, though.

Matt Terry is one good looking chap. Add a really nice personality and you have a winner here. He sings She's Outta My Life which is a brilliant choice. Natural and just one great performance. He is a dead cert for the Live Shows and a potential winner indeed.

I would choose Matt, Christian and Niall and expect to get all three to the last six.

Ok, so I am right about Matt, and Nicole seems to be in love with him already. Her other two choices, though, are surprising. She takes Freddie, who I don't think will last very long (although longer than the Over 25s!) and new boy on the block Ryan. Now that's a risk. She and Simon must know something that we don't about that lad.