All change at the bookies this evening as the producers manage to splice together no less than four acts with the potential to win this thing. I suppose that makes up for only seeing seven acts in total in tonight's programme.
Bella Penfold is first on our screens and is an appealing Essex girl of 19 going on 39. Her voice is low and a bit tobacco-worn but she is most likeable and a good dancer. She's one of those totally natural people who could well be difficult to manage. It's a lazy song but OK and a bit different. She's one to watch and second favourite at the time of writing. I have to say that seems a bit optimistic but lots of people must be backing her to get her odds down to about 10-1.
Lanya Matthews follows her and she's 17 going on 37, from Tottenham, as we get told a few times, and supported by a massive family. Her performance of I'm Telling You is simply magnificent. First class and, to my mind, the best audition by a long way. Another one we should see a lot more of, although her odds are nothing like as short as perhaps the more immediately identifiable Bella.
Dee Losh is from SE London and is 32 going on 22. She sings a song she's written herself. She's a teacher and you're expecting something fairly classy or musically sound. What you get is some fairly outrageous dancing and a rap that does nothing for me but will probably appeal to some. She's OK but I don't see her going far. Having said that, she'll be in the Oldies category and maybe they haven't got many yet.
Dalton Harris says he's come from Jamaica. You get the feeling he has just stepped off the plane, boat or whatever as he's pretty laid back and cool. Difficult to put an age on the fellow and I missed it - or maybe no-one mentioned it. He could be quite young but he could also be in the Oldies. I don't know. If he's in the Oldies then he could do well as this was one fine version of Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word. Nervous start and he wobbles all over the place but, strangely, that kinda endears him to the audience. Everyone loves the chap and we'll see him again. Bookies like him too as he's down at a very low 12-1.
After all this talent I guess we need some no-hoper just to keep those who only tune in to laugh happy. Someone called Ezat Azure, an obvious fan of blue tries to sing Bang Bang and is dreadful as well as weird.
Chap called Nathan comes next and he sings a song called rise Up which is quite a surprise. You don't expect him to be good but he is. Looks like the bloke in the DIY store but superb voice control and phrasing. He deserves to get through and we'll see what else he can do.
The show ends after what seem to have been as many adverts as performances with Shan. She has been a session singer, backing others and doing gigs here and there for other people and decided to have a go on her own. She's a beautiful singer. Another star in the making for sure. Well done to X Factor for still attracting people like this. Yes. Brilliant and possibly my new favourite to win the show.
'Magic', says Simon Cowell who we see congratulating her in the wings afterwards, clearly most impressed and keen to sign her up one way or another. I totally agree.
So do the bookies who now have her as a very clear favourite - and remember they'll have had some inside information about who's still in the running. She was just 2½-1 at the time of writing. Normally I'd place a bet but those odds are way to short for X Factor!! I don't think I have ever been right at this stage!