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.

The Top 3 Over 25s for the Live shows

Peter Dickson's back! I might have missed him yesterday but the familiar booming intro was certainly there for Sharon's Over 25s selection time. Robbie Williams is there to help Sharon make those decisions, although, as we'll see it doesn't exactly help her make any sensible decisions.

This is an odd bunch and, quite honestly, no-one stands out at all.

Relley C has not been impressive before and has an annoying Birmingham accent, made worse by the way she speaks. She made Judges Houses a few years ago but I really don't remember her. She is still a bit wobbly and tends to look for notes rather than hitting them first time. There's not much point putting her through as I can see her going pretty soon and she does not have much gong for her. Strangely, I think she's highly likely to go through, though, as she seems to have Sharon's affection.

Christopher Peyton is next. He has a fair bit of soul and possibly some passion in his voice but he's limited in any active range. He has worked hard but, again, is neither impressive nor memorable.

Adele's Make You Feel My Love is James Wilson's choice. He is a likeable character and has a decent voice. Pleasant personality and is the first of the Over 25s that seems to mean what he's singing. Nice audition. He could be popular on the show although I'm not sure he'd sell records. Best so far, easily.

Samantha Atkinson has some unattractive tattoos which may like fine on their own or close up but do not work at all well with a strange dress that shows some but not all of them. She just looks cheap, I'm afraid, and whoever made her up for this deserves the sack. Terrible. She looked quite friendly and reasonable before. She is a powerful singer, for all that, and produces a generally accurate performance.

Saara Aalto sings Abba's The Winner Takes It All and does so beautifully. Very accurate and quite serious. In past auditions she has been a bit over the top and 'theatrical' which, whilst obviously demonstrating excellent talent, doesn't work on the British pop show. This time, however, the accent actually helped! A very nice, well balanced, audition. However, Robbie said he got bored. Sharon didn't like her in the previous auditions so I guess she must be out.

Janet Grogan returns for another attempt too. I was expecting a lot more from her, though, and this was not a brilliant audition although she has probably been the best of he girls overall.

Honey G gets the spot that Ivy Grace had to give up due to making a small mistake on a visa application. Crazy, and you'd think that the money behind the people supposedly supporting talent in this country would have sorted that out pretty easily. Anyway, they didn't, She did remind me a bit of Melanie Amaro who won the first X Factor USA in Simon's category but then promptly disappeared without trace so perhaps it was just as well. In her place we get this weird woman who always wears the same ruddy style of baseball hat that looks 1990s and her hair looks 1970s. All in all this rapper girl is a good performer but I just don't like her style or songs at all.

In a very poor lot indeed, I would choose James, Janet and Honey G. Yes, the others really were that bad! None of these is likely to go very far anyway unless someone does something amazing with song choices and all the other nine contestants screw up badly. Even then I can only think of one of the other nine acts that may be worse and even they'll get more public support!

Sharon, however, goes completely for broke and a three week wipe-out by choosing Saara, Relly C and Honey G! I am amazed that she chose Saara. The girl is definitely a superb singer but I feel she will look completely out of place on the Live Shows. Having said that I am not at all sure how Honey G will fit in either. The Birmingham lass is needed to make up the numbers.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Top 3 Girls for The Live Shows

Simon Cowell chooses the three girls to perform in the next few weeks' Live Shows on X Fcator. This is the big step - once you've made the Live Shows then even coming out at an early stage needn't be too bad. You will have had an opportunity to show your talents and maybe someone will pick you up and take you forward from there. Make it to the Top 10 (or maybe this year it could be everyone anyway) and you get a salary on the X Factor Tour around the UK, even more attention and lots of opportunities to meet people who can help as well as performing to thousands.

Obviously, winning is easier f you make the Live Shows too! But, as we've seen many times before, it is more frequently an act that comes something other than 1st that eventually wins in terms of longer-term success and recognition.

So this stage is crucial. Seven will become three.

First to perform is Sahaila. I wish she didn;t come across as so desperate to impress. She is actually very good but the introduction she always gives turns a lot of observers off. I am absolutely sure she would be an extremely competent and reliable performer, able to present any genre in whatever way the producers asked. She is professional and her version of Genie In A Bottle was faultless. However, you don't really see who she is naturally, herself, behind all the professional acting. It's difficult to be convinced that she actually means what she's singing. So I'm not so sure she'll make it. Much depends on how the others perform.

Of course, she starts in 1st place.

Kayleigh follows. She just stands and sings. She wins over Mel B and Emma, who are 'helping' Simon, easily and is a very good singer. I just don't feel she is right for this show. But I can see her getting a place because she is spot on vocally and she has that character that Sahaila didn't show -some vulnerability that makes you want to help them more. Simon doesn't think she'd sell to a young audience but the two Spice Girls seem pretty determined to get her in if they can.

I still rate her 2nd of the two we've seen.

Olivia is much more likeable than the previous two and really pretty. She reminded me of a young Britney Spears. A very short audition is all we see, occasionally really good but not always. I like her and can see her doing well. She isn't perfect but she seems more interesting than the other two and that gives her more appeal for the shows, especially if she starts to perform as she had in earlier auditions.

She takes 1st place.

Samantha is a Wild Card entry suggested by Louis. Simon had turned her down but here she is and she's the youngest at just 17 now. Simon comments on her make-up, which I also found pretty off-putting, strange dark eyes that didn't make her very appealing. He suggests she goes away and comes back again. An odd event. I am not sure really how much of that was set up for our benefit. We'll find out how she gets on later.

Caitlyn next. She has has quite an easy run so far and has been quite impressive although never particularly memorable. She is likeable and has a nice, original tome to her voice which is also accurate and she is prepared to take on difficult numbers. She forgets some words at one point but carries on and, as a result, she seemed a little desperate at the end. technically very good but I wouldn't want to watch her that often. I'm not sure sure how she'll do now.

I put her 2nd, though, as I think she'd be chosen above Sahaila.

Emily is sixth to sing. She has been to this stage before. She is brilliant, totally natural and makes an almost perfect job of Exes and Ohs. Amazingly good audition and, surely, she is the first 'must' for the Live Shows that we've seen.

So Emily takes 1st place now.

Gifty is someone who also has had an easy run through the auditions and, again, she flies through this one. she is professional and yet we get some sense that she is naturally talented and a real performer. She is quite unique, stands out amongst this group and has attitude but not too much attitude. A very good performance. Excellent all round. Another definite in my book. I place her 2nd.

Then we get Samantha back, looking very much nicer. It is almost pitch black out there now, considerably later, which makes you wonder just what has been going on. Anyway, she does a fabulous performance of Make It rain, an Ed Sheeran number, I think. The best of them all. Really good, totally natural and she blew everyone away with that. Quite a surprising turn-around.

I place her 1st now and so would choose Samantha, Emily and Gifty. That's excatly what Simon does too. Good. A very interesting and smart category. That should ensure some quality for the Live Shows when they start.

Top 3 Groups for The Live Shows

Louis has the groups and is assisted by Alysha Dixon and what appears to be a very overdressed Fleur. Everyone else is in Ibiza-wear on what looks like a hot and relaxed venue but Fleur East has this dark dress covering most of her and she just looks odd.

5AM are first to perform. They are really good. Modern, likeable and they are a band that I feel could easily make the charts today. I can't see them being easily dislodged from a potential place in the Live Shows.

Obviously they start off in 1st place and I'd expect them to stay there.

Next are Tom & Laura. They sing Up Where We belong. Nice singing but not as good as we've seen in earlier auditions and they don't seem to suit mainstream 2016 charts either. Pleasant but nothing great.

So they're 2nd for now.

Yes Lad are the Wild Card group brought back and they deserve to be here. Streets better than Tom & Laura, more relevant  and with some nice harmonies. Having said that, I d wonder whether they're not just a bit old style now. Sort of ideal for the 1990s but not 2016. They're OK. But that's is really and I wouldn't expect to see them winning this thing.

They take the 2nd slot though.

Bradley & Ottavio. Oh God. They sing Candy Man. Not as bad as I'd expected, to be fair. I do hope Louis doesn't go for the fun aspect, though, and choose them over a decent group who, in my view, are likely to survive long-term and deserve the chance this show offers more. They are better than Tom & Laura, though, in terms of an overall act for the show so they get 3rd place for now. They could, on that basis, make the Live Shows but I suspect they are at least two more bands to come who are a lot better.

Skarl3t are one. they were excellent at the last outing although we haven't seen a great deal of them so far in this series. They've been very professional so far. Their song is Hey Ya slowed down which starts well and sounds interesting. However, there are lots of bum notes, poor timing and that didn't work at all for me. I will put them in 3rd because they are definitely better than B&O but that was not impressive at all.

The Brooks are the pair of lads that have had a lot of publicity and good chat about them so far. This is their second try and they put on an excellent performance. I can see them being popular but I have to say that they're in no way exceptional. Again, just sort of OK. probably better than Yes Lad and so I put them in 2nd place, edging out Skarl3t.

Four Of Diamonds are the young girl band that have sort of sneaked up on us in this series. They are fout lovely characters, attractive too, and very likeable. Their Royals cover was superb and easily beat all the others' performances. I like them a lot and can see them doing well.

I put then 1st. So my choices are

Four Of Diamonds
The Brooks

But, of course, this is Louis Walsh. And, yes, you guessed it, he wants Bradley & Ottavio in the Live Shows. They take Four Of Diamonds place which I find really annoying but there you go. You sort of hope there'll be another Wild Card entry for the Live Shows and four Of Diamonds must deserve that chance. 

We also learn from Rylan later that the bands names have all changed! So those going through are:

Five After Midnight

The Brooks Way