We meet briefly the four Wild Cards as Jack & Joel, Talia, Alisah and Leon get another chance. We are also told about a change to the procedure whereby one act will be sent home out from the Girls or Boys categories on the Saturday show and another from the Overs or Groups on Sunday's show. This will be based entirely on the public vote during the evening, as will the candidates for a prize, this week a trip to see and meet Pink in New York.
This means we, and the acts, will get to know who is the most popular each week. That could be interesting. Tough on those who get chucked out so early. I have always maintained that the first dismissals should be deferred so that everyone gets a chance to settle and the viewers get a chance to know them. After that then, if there is a time pressure, several can be deleted at once but I have always thought the first week dismissals to be cruel and unfair, even though there are some rubbish acts that may deserve to go. Occasionally, however, a good act will mess up or simply not get appreciated as quickly as someone else.
The theme for the first two evenings is Express Yourself which, basically, just lets the acts choose whatever they like. I rather suspect that will be the case throughout.
So here goes.
Rai-ElleThis youngster gets the honour of kicking ff proceedings and does a pretty confident job of that too. She is quite likeable. A bit wobbly to start with but soon gets in the groove. No fear. Goes off-key and wobbles again in the middle but recovers a bit. She's not bad but she's going to go before long, I suspect.
Dermot mentions Towcester as a venue for the First prize! Not sure where that came from but thanks for the link, Dermot.
I've heard he has a nice movie-star girlfriend. That may put off the girls who might otherwise have voted purely for the way he looks. He is a very good singer, a real professional with a Bryan Adams style of sorts at times. Excellent performance and he really should have some appeal.
HollyI'm not sure how here 'Yorkshire lad' image will come across to voters as she is a bit confusing, image-wise, quite hard at times and then also way older than her 16 years too. This is a brilliant start for her, though. And she looks good. A difficult song and she comes across very professionally indeed. A really good performance. She should be safe.
LeonA bit of an unknown so far. A weaker start than Spencer but still pretty good and nicely in tune and he moved around well, noticeably appealing more to younger fans than Spencer. Quite a surprise, in fact, and overall he was very good.
AlisahA roller-coaster ride this has been for her, even allowing for the production team's editing of her progress so far. Her performance is theatrical again - just like a West End girl. She is good, very emotional but with super control and finishes well after recovering from one missed note. It was a big number. Nice girl. Laughing a lot as Dermot tries to interview her. That will make her have even more appeal, I'm sure as she does seem very natural. However, this is the Disney Girl, not an X Factor winner.
SamThis guy has come back from nowhere to make the Live Shows courtesy of Louis. He's retro but very good. A bit odd in this competition and sounds a bit the same all the way though but a good effort. An interesting guy, seems relaxed and could be popular and definitely competition for Leon.
GraceAnother own song! How many has this girl got? You'd think this would be quite a risk for first night but all credit to her. I am not sure the make-over has worked well for her. The song is nice and very well-performed indeed. She is good on the big stage. Nice job.
LloydGood solid performance but he comes across as rather boring to me. All very smooth but I just don't think he's X Factor material.
I rate the Boys:
and the Girls:
In a brutal ending, Spencer is the surprise first exit. I wonder whether the US connection simply didn't work well.
No.1 tonight was Grace.
In Part 2 it is the Groups and the Overs. Alisha replaces Simon this evening as someone needs to introduce the Groups, his category, and speak for them.
The CutKelvinsThis super trio starts the show and it is a marvellous start with What About Us. The girl, Shereen, is very attractive and so professional, really at home on the big stage. Great performance, genuine stars. Good to see the two boys also playing their part this time too. I like this band and hope they'll be around for a good time. Potential winners.
KevinAN unusual song. Slow, bluesy but it does develop with a lot of passion and that helps to show off his really very good voice and lovely personality. Nice job. Faultless performance number two in this edition.
TaliaExtremely long legs. Sings a slow version of Id's You Don't Know You're Beautiful. Not that great. Nervous at the start and not in as great control as I'd like to see at this stage. Notes a bit wrong and inclined to shout too. I'm not sure she'll make it.
Nice couple of lads, back as Wild Cards, and they immediately remind us just how bad last year's Ottavia were. These two are talented and come across very well. People will like them. Cheerful and energetic. Nice performance and one is a very good singer too. Good work. They'll get through.
Jack & Joel
MattEarthy voice. Quite good and in tune with some energy and a good attempt at some drama. Bit of the Bruce Springstein about him perhaps. Not spectacular, though. A better image than Talia s he's safe while she's there.
Sean & Conor priceThe younger lad seemed very nervous tonight and nothing like as in-tune as he has been before. The performance improved a bit as they settled and it was quite interesting but not a great song and a big risk at this stage. I'm not sure how much support they'll get with that start. A London grammar song is a great idea and nicely current but will enough voters get it? They may struggle.
Tracy LeanneSomething of a dark horse, this girl. A very good performance. Maybe a bit dated but I can see she'll have a lot of appeal in the Amy Winehouse-type sector. She'll survive and may well do very well.
Another original song. Very good and very commercial as well. Well done. A good presentation and each member has a way to come across well. Lots of energy and all very current which puts Sean & Conor Price in the danger zone.Amazingly good response from the audience too.
1 Kevin | 2 Tracy Leanne | 3 Matt | 4 Talia
1 The Cutkelvins | 2 Rak-Su | 3 Jack & Joel | 4 Sean & Conor Price
It looks like Talia shoul;d be the one to go home and, yes, that's the way it goes.
Rak-Su get the #1 spot in the public vote. So it is for them to sing again with Grace to decide who gets the trip to see and meet Pink.
Grace does a remarkably good performance of her own song Too Young. An absolutely lovely performance. That's a hit single, for sure.
Rak-Su redo the track they finished just a short while ago. That's also very good and also original and another hit in the making.
I find this 'Prize Fight' thing necessary, though, and a bit odd as well as unbalanced. Don't really see the point. It's great to hear to best acts again and all credit to the team for getting that on the menu but this stupid 'Prize Fight' is pathetic and just sad ITV again.
I would send them all over to the States or simply see who actually wants it. It was obvious that Grace was a big Pink fan and sort of matched the prize best. I don't know who Rak-Su follow but doubt it would be Pink so they'd not be so bothered other than having a great holiday. It comes a quite a relief and definitely the fairest result, then, to learn that it is, indeed, Grace who gets the trip. Whether that was really just on the public vote during 5 minutes we shall probably never know.
A very, very long programme that also included Stomrzy's quite impressive new single, a quite religious affair featuring Labyrinth.