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.