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..