Sunday, 21 October 2018

Live Shows; Week 1

Sixteen acts. that's quite a lot to fit in, especially as we'll see all of them with reasonably full-length tracks as opposed to the one-liners we've had to put up with for quite a few so far.

Dermot has his proper job back now.


A good choice for a reliable and impressive first act. WHAM for 2018 perhaps?! It's a song about chewing gum which they've written themselves. That's cool but, whilst the song's OK it's not great. But this pair for a major contender. Robbie says they're the bookies' favourite. Not sure about that but they're certainly in the running.


You have to feel happy that he's made it this far. Now I was worried that he might crack up but he did very well. Actually an excellent job of We've Got Issues. I can see him getting support and can't imagine him being 16th this week. Everyone likes him although he isn't going to win.


The old-style guy who is only 37. He really seems a lot older. Peter Dickinson introduces him as 'Anthony Russell'! Oh dear. Bit of a balls-up and he gets to restart. The song's Hero. All a bit cruise ship. He does have a strong voice and accurate notes and is an excellent singer but he's not a contender for this year's winner. Nice chap but he'll go soon enough.


Looking very good - someone for whom the makeover has worked well and she seems much older than a mere 16. Fake Love is the song and it's a confident performance. In complete contrast to Danny, she's modern and is a pop star more or less ready to go. Nice personality and this girl should do well. She just needs to be more than ordinary as she is up against some cool acts this year.


Stylish lady. But she's not one of the cool ones I was talking about. The song Clarity? was not great and seemed to suit a West End stage better than this one. She struggled quite a bit which surprised me as she is one of the most experienced here. Quite average.


I'm expecting something good from this guy. He may not be cool but he is good and, unlike the others who are not cool but good, he has a remarkable talent and comes across well in this sort of show. He has bags of big show experience, having represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest. Admittedly he didn't do very well but that was a poor song. He certainly can manage the huge venue and I see him making it this time. He had a slow build and it was great but missing something. He really ought to be safe but he'll need to impress more with his choice of tracks next time.


Merging Beautiful with some rap style delivery is going to be her trademark. She's good at this sort of thing. It's current and should keep her around for a while. She is a confident performer and a good personality who is going to make it, I'm sure. Maybe not win but she'll be there next week for sure.


Story Of My Life is his song. Nice job. He starts with his own rap and that switches smoothly into the more familiar refrain. That's original and quite powerful. A brave effort but weak in places and I'm not sure how the voters will go for that. Simon says that he and Bella are his favourites. 


He is in the Bat Out Of Hell musical and does eight shows a week so this guy is one experienced fellow in that respect. You almost wonder why he needs to be on this show as he clearly is well-established and the success of that show provides fame and, I should think, opportunity. He is excellent with a brilliant performance, basically showing most of the others how to do it. Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting was super. I don't know how voters will take to him, though, as he doesn't look so good on the big screen and isn't immediately likeable. I hope he gets to be around a bit longer. Robbie says he wants to perform with him. That's quite a compliment.

United Vibe

A new name. Previous Vibe 5. Neither are great but I don't think it will matter a great deal. I reckon they were fortunate to get here. Slow Hands is a track that seems a bit of a 1D copy. They seem OK but nothing special so far. Nice enough looking lads and some can sing well but they lack any 'X Factor'.


This girl has been my favourite to win. She does Imagine. Now that's a big song. Wow! That's the big moment we've been waiting for on this show. Superb. Her voice control, pitch, performance - all were 100%. Very good indeed and she is surely a real star.


Another person with his own number. I thought it was called Jubilant but then I realised it was Jiggle It which kinda loses some of my enthusiasm. It's all good fun and the discos will like this in the summer. He's a great performer too and you tend to want to see him do well but I do feel he can't last that long.


She's a bit less orange now. Does Natural Woman. A good performance, excellent voice and she's been dressed and presented well. Nice job but I don't see her as much of a future star. She's likeable now but it is all a bit karaoke for me. Simon says he thought she was a bit of a pub singer! Bearing in mind she's actually one of his four that is very surprising! I feel her days are strictly numbered. She's made it to the Live Shows but that's it now.

LMA Choir

The Circle Of Life is a good number for this mass of people. It's all very good stuff. Nice presentation and performances. I just don't think they will get very much further.

Acacia & Aliyah

Not A Star any more. Finesse is the Bruno Mars number. I'm not sure if that was a great song choice but they gave it their all. They're so young but do look great on stage and work well together. Very smart and 'in' for 2018. Almost the most 'in' act that there is this year. Everyone was waiting for some more 'street' type stuff, though, which didn't come and that might disappoint the voters. They may just scrape through this week but need a big improvement next time.


This is the show closer and a nice spot to get. Interesting. He was one of the best in the auditions and tries Life On Mars tonight. Beautifully done and not easy. Very good vocals indeed. He was one of the best for sure. Super contender who ought to be around for many weeks yet.

We learn that two will go tomorrow night. One being the act with the lowest public vote and the other being the loser in a sing-off between the other two in the bottom three.

I see Danny and United Vibe in the most trouble but also suspect we may see Janice, Gio, LMA and Acacia & Aliyah in the bottom six. I can't really call it at this stage but, if pressed will say Janice and Acacia & Aliyah to go.

Can you believe it? Ola and Amstrong go, the panel saving Janice.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Judges' Houses: The Boys and The Overs

Louis T watches the boys perform with Niall Rogers and Liam.


This guy is brilliant. He has to get through. Very good, totally natural and he looks good too. A star in the making here and the sort of act that X Factor seems to be good at attracting, regardless of the criticism that some of the other contenders tend to justify.


Another strong contender so far. His interesting and challenging version of the Friends theme is pretty brave. A good effort but I'm not sure it was that great an idea. He may deserve a place but it will depend on how the others do in this pretty talented group.


One Night Only. Nicely done. An excellent performance which showed his vocal skills well and he kept the showgirl out of things which I think was a good idea. He has a very genuinely enthusiastic and likeable personality but I can see that he could soon get on our nerves as he is a bit one-dimensional and the trans things soon wears off. He really is not attractive to watch on a big screen either. He's confident so might get through as he helps ITV meet diversity and all that and could be relied upon to perform well.

J Sol

Not so good. Nice enough but this was not up to the standard of the other three so far. I think he will be one of the two who don't make it.


Everyone seems to be rooting for this guy this year. He has a great story and has had super support from Louis. there is a lot of real soul in his voice and he pours emotion into the song. He's not perfect but, almost a capella, that was a super job. The observers reassure him about a bum note. He thinks he's out. No. He'll make it.

We have to wait overnight for the last act.


Nothing Compares 2 U. This is really excellent. A copy of Sinead's single in a way, perhaps, but very well done and absolutely note-perfect. I do wonder where he fits in nowadays. If all he does is this type of track then he will get a little predictable perhaps as the show goes on. He could be a good runner-up rather than a winner and I do see him selling a lot. We do need to recall that he was Ireland's entry in Eurovision too and has had some pretty big gigs so far already.

I was expecting Louis to choose Brendan, Dalton, Anthony and Thomas but he goes for Armstrong. That's a good choice and would be my preferred four boys too. They'll all do pretty well.

Next we get the last category finalised as Ayda, with Robbie in the background, chooses the four Overs acts. She has Leona Lewis and the great Adam Lambert to help her.

I do find the level of talent, or stardom, in this category very lacking this year. I gess it has been like this most years but at least we don't have Louis Walsh making it a great deal worse! Several acts that he would have had in the Live Shows have already, mercifully, disappeared!


This cool guy from far away is great. He's happy and fun, putting on a super performance that seems just delightful to watch and is at the same time professional. I really don't think they should have been put on the grass to do this, though. It just looks odd and not idea for anyone who naturally wants to dance around. He stands out amongst this lot and I hope he gets through.


She has looked the part from day one. She is always nicely presented and does her own song. It has some good bits with some passion there but she gets hoarse in places and is not that great. However, she deserves a place amongst this lot. The song itself wasn't well-structured. She seems a bit needy but I see her making the Live Shows.


He does When A Man Loves A Woman but I feel the occasion has got the better of him. He seems a little lost and just not exuding much personality a all. He had been better in the earlier auditions. He shows his big voice and passion but it is all a bit on the surface. He is quite off-key too and not enjoyable to listen to after a few lines. He was clearly disappointed himself and knew that he could do better. I cannot believe, though, that, having flowen everyone out there, they don't get several performances to do. I wouldn't mind betting that we get shown this and not some better ones.


A nice confident start as she goes straight in and maintains it really well. I like her performance. Very nice and likaeable. I hope she gets through as she des emotion well and seems a reliable contender who could grow as the competition goes on.


This is a strange fellow and coms across as a bit aggressive when compared to the others. Use Somebody is a good track for him and he does it justice. He is very professional and you can see he has acquired stage skills, working well with the backing singers. He has good West End stage experience and is strong and eager. He has to have a good chance in this group but I am not sure he looks that great on the big screen. He seems to be a different person each time and I am not sure he'll be that liked.


Every series has someone like Danny. He seems so much older than 37. He lives in Benidorm which really should exclude him from the start as he just exudes 70s. He sings Somewhere Over The Rainbow and I can imagine him in some club at 3am doing this to the oldies remaining. He is actually surprisingly good most of the time and sounds great. You just don't want to watch him very much. I have a feeling he will get through.

My choice would be Louise, Ola, Janice and Danny.

Ayda chooses both Gio and Danny and sends Louise home. Pity.

Anyway we now have the Top 16!

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Judges' houses: The Groups

The show continues and, with Robbie Williams selecting his four groups, we will know half the acts for the Live Shows by the end of this edition.

I thought it would be a pretty straightforward choice. But I was wrong.

LMA Choir

Almost everyone says at some point that, whilst there are some good individual singers in this big mass of people, we never really get to know them or to see them shine. At best, we see someone for a few seconds and, no matter, how good the choir's interpretation of a song may be, it is still a sort of distant bit of entertainment and not anything we can feel connected to. Their Hold Back The River is good enough but it just seemed to be a group of individuals singing and left me feeling nothing great at all. BGT material, really.

A* or maybe A Star

The two youngsters. Back To Life starts as a bit boring but then they bring it to life and take the track in a completely new direction. The girls are too young to call 'hot' as Robbie or maybe Dermot wanted to say but stopped as we are now in an era where I can't even write that without getting sent abuse. They look good and you'd certainly not guess they were merely 14 and 15! They are current and very together and their audition went down very well. I can see them succeeding whatever happens but they should make the Live Shows.

Panda & Burgandy

Ain't No Mountain High Enough started way off key. This was all very old-style and not really that good. They seemed to be two separate acts. It got a bit more solid and they can each perform but really they are fortunate to have got this far. This has to be the end of the road, despite a possible 'TV' appeal of the pair.

Vibe 5

They look very good but didn't do at all well as a group singing.They have five very different voices and the nasal, high stuff was not great. Some harmonies worked and they seem likeable, not that we really got much character coming through. There is no obvious lead or style or, for that matter, market for an average white boy band. I'm not at all sure they're worth pursuing any further.

Sweet Sense

They do 1D's History and it's an OK sort of audition but lacking anything we'll remember. They're good together and have much more personality than the boys. I can recall previous Judges' Houses, especially at Simon's House with the girls on X Factor USA, when some real class performances were put together and they stay in one's mind, even for acts who didn't do a great deal afterwards. Drew Rienowicz, and I may have got her last name a little wrong, for which I apologise to her now, for example, was absolutely stunning. I expected so much more from these girls.


Now here is a good group. These two guys are brilliant and will surely fly through to the Live Shows. They sang their own number - I think that could be a first for Judges' Houses - which was London Girls and that was a sure-fire hit. Far superior to every other act there by a huge margin. They could well win the whole thing.

My votes go to Misunderstood, A Star, Sweet Sense and LMA.

Robbie chooses Vibe 5 instead of Sweet Sense. Oh well. They'll go pretty early unless the intervening weeks gets them serious coaching and performance advice.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Judges' Houses: the Girls

At last, X Factor begins to show some quality production and decent performances. This was a very fine show and quite remarkable from the very start when we learn just who Simon Cowell has managed to assemble at his home abroad.

Just to mention a few, we see Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest from American Idol! Dionne Warwick is there, she may be getting on but she's still some celebrity. Paul Anka! Adam Lambert, Leona Lewis. Many more I don't know the names for plus producers and people who have a lot of influence and knowledge but may not be well-known faces to us. We even see Sinitta!

This array of celebrity and singers and sheer buying power did not deter the six girls at all. Naturally they were pretty impressed and amazed to be singing in front of rather more than just Simon on a couch with Louis.

An excellent start from this 16 year old. A super first audition proper. Not the simplest of songs to perform, I expected her to crumble but she seemed confident. Young and likeable. Maybe a little bland and will she prove to be memorable? Certainly good, whatever the case.

Her spoken voice was a bit nervous and she looked strange in red trousers that were too short but I guess would have been 'fashion'. a strange song too. I didn't like it but several in the crowd showed respect for her doing it. A good response indeed.

My favourite to date for the whole show by quite a margin. She does 'get Back' but it's not the Beatles' song but her own, written just recently. Wow. That's a risk at this stage. It was very good, though, and she got that moment almost. very competent. You could hear some people tell Simon that he has to keep her. I agree.

She couldn't get a visa so was performing over a video link from London and I got the impression it had been recorded. She performs an inspired version of California Dreaming and I love it. She is definitely the best of all the Filipinos we've had on this competition. I could see her being a star in future and filling concert halls. It was a simple audition and worth the gamble perhaps.

She's modern and a bit different to all the other entries. The song - supporting a lesbian theme I think - meant a lot to her and she permed it well. It's all OK, edgy and she's unpredictable. The assembled Gods like her a lot.

Scarlett is last up. She sings a song that Dionne Warwick wrote. Difficult. She strats low in er register but eventualy gets into it and gets a standing ovation. That's impressive. I wouldn't have chosen her but that should see her safely through.

I would choose Shan, Maria and Molly, maybe Bella.

It's Shan | Molly | Scarlett | Bella who go through. That seems fair enough.

Dermot O'Leary gives and gets one hell of a lot of hugs in that week!

The 6 Chair Challenge Pt. 2

Louis finishes the selection for the Boys category with the final three entrants, starting with Thomas Pound in the guise of Lady Something or other Wild. He seemed off-key too much  and the switching between one character and the other seems pointless to me. I don't particularly like either although I can see he is a good performer. He gets a seat. Someone goes, I can't recall who.

JSol gives a fine, more traditional X Factor performance and that gets him a seat and someone else goes.

The last act is Dalton. He is possibly the best of all of them and, of course gets a seat. Initially Louis says he wants Thomas Pound to go. That doesn't go down well and the guy has a hissy fit and throws his toys out of the pram as if he had some kind of entitlement to go through. It begins to look staged again. Louis relents and asks JSol and Thomas to sing off for the last place. They both do very well and so Louis now asks Tommy with the guitar to go. Stupid. That guy may not have been great but he would have lasted in the pop world better than the Pound bloke.

So the Boys are Anthony | Amstrong | Dalton Thomas | Brendan | JSol

Next Robbie chooses the groups.

LMA Choir. Lots of people on the stage. More like a BGT act. We get about one line of their effort. it's OK, some of the choir seem very accomplished but they do get lost in the morass. Good standard overall but just not X Factor in my view.

The Squirrels are new to me. They do a sad version of River Deep Mountain High. They get a seat but they'll get kicked out soon enough.

AT Ty we did see before and they're an odd family sort of group. This time they were not at all good. again, they get a seat but I doubt they'll make Judges' Houses.

Tres Amice we saw before too and they do a nice job, although how we're supposed to get a clue based on the line or two we hear I don't know. They're a bit average, to be honest, and not that entertaining. G4 were far better.

Harry & Danny. Another new one on me. two decent enough lads but seriously lacking in charisma. They also get a seat just because there is one .

Lost Tiger are, I think, identical twins. Tight, pretty good but I can't imagine them going far as they are rather forgettable. Once again, we get precious little to go by and they get a seat anyway because there is one left.

Sweet Sense are a manufactured girl band from various entrants. they look and sound good. Lively and the first happy people since the choir. Now they are an obvious seat and get one with someone going away.

The Hewitts are an odd couple. they're off-key and painful to look at and listen to. Individually they might be OK but together it didn't work. they get a seat somehow but soon lose it.

Acacia & Alliyah aka A Star. 15 and 14 but such impressive confidence. Great and they kinda bring the show alive after it really had started to sag. We get a lot more than we did with the others but Robbie still gets booed when he stops them for some reason. He says he wants to hear Bang Bang which they did before. they do this and it's just like they'd rehearsed all this. I expect they did! Obvious seats and they get the Golden Ticket! Simon says he'll sign them whatever happens.

Misunderstood are Geoff and Stephan who have been together 9 years. Quite a contrast to the previous girls but they come up with a great original track called Ghetto Style. Excellent, a good one. They have a good stage presence too. They ought to go far. I don't remember them from before.

Vibe 5 are a manufactured boy band made by the judges. Nice looking lads but no sparkle or X Factor. Better than several on seats so they deserve one at least. But i don't see them making it.

Panda & Burgandy are back and all I can say is Good Lord above. An amusing act but that's all. they still get AT Ty's seat. neither would make the Live Shows in my book.

So it's LMA Choir | Sweet Sense | Acacia & Alliyah | Misunderstood | Vibe 5 | Panda & Burgandy who are through.

Monday, 1 October 2018

The 6 Chair Challenge Pt 1.

In a messy couple of shows the Girls and Overs were decided, as well as some of the Boys but we were left hanging at the end with one or to places still to be filled for the Boys. We have also not yet seen any groups at all!

I should warn readers now that this post contains the completed list of Boys as well as the Groups! I have changed the text colour of those who have yet to be shown on TV but these could be visible if you highlighted the text or, possibly, if your display system created an effect that overrides my colour.

Simon struggled - or, at least, appeared to struggle but I cannot believe that he had not actually decided who to take through to Judges Houses. So it was all a bit staged for my liking.

Ayda was pretty efficient and Louis fairly straightforward so far.

One new addition to the show is a sort of Golden X that sends an act straight through to Judges Houses. It looked a bit strained in how it was used in that the judge had to get up and move to hit the button. They had contrived reasons for doing so which really gave the game away.

So far it looks like pretty sensible decisions are being taken although many youngsters haven't made it that I had expected to. Shan still stands out for me amongst the Girls, Brendan amongst the Boys. None of the Overs seem really that great so far and the groups have been conspicuous by their absence!

Oh well. We're getting there slowly.


Bella Penfold (Golden X)
Mollie Scott
Georgia Burgess
Maria Laroco
Scarlett Lee


Ricky John (Golden X)
Danny Tetley
Giovanni Spano
Janice Robinson
Louise Setara
Olatunji Yearwood


Dalton Harris
Thomas Pound
Brendan Murray (GOLDEN X)
Armstrong Martins
Anthony Russell


VibeFive – Manufactured group
Sweet Sense – Manufactured group
LMA Choir
Burgundy Williams & Panda Ross