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..