The premiere of “The X Factor” UK is upon us, and suffice it to say that it’s different. We’ve got new hosts, new judges, and even a new announcer. The only things that are similar to last year’s show are the theme music, the set, Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Virsini, and contestants.
Before we get to our obligatory look at the contestants, let’s talk about some of what surrounded them. First of all, who wrote the copy for the introduction? We found it odd that while new judge Nick Grimshaw was described by his occupation, the comments about Rita Ora and Cheryl were based entirely on their physical appearance. Aren’t we above this at this point? The judges and hosts Olly Murs and Caroline Flack were fine but not spectacular; our biggest critique is that we only had seven notable acts who performed over 90 minutes. (By “notable,” we mean halfway-decent performers who got more than a few seconds of screen time.)
Lauren Murray – We previewed Lauren going into this episode, and we do feel like she’s got ballad-singer vibes, even if she did sing a relatively more upbeat song tonight. Her talent is immense, and the one thing she really needs to work on here is finding more current material to go out there and perform.
Jennifer Phillips – One of the things we really do like about what the show is doing is really looking at the contestants’ song lists and steering them away from typical audition songs. Thanks to Simon and Nick Grimshaw for this! “Shackles” was fun, reasonably current, and proved that she can TAKE ALL OF US TO CHURCH.
Tom Davies – He claims that he wants to be the “male Cheryl,” and he may be the first person we’ve ever seen audition with backup dancers also in his arsenal. He was decent; he didn’t blow us away, but at least he really tried to push something.
Tom Bleasby – Tom has a viral history thanks to a certain Jessie J song, which is why he has more than 40,000 followers on social media. We’re not sure if there is something he still needs to do in terms of showing off his star potential, but he’s got a very good, soulful voice.
4th Power – Probably one of the best group auditions we’ve ever seen on the show. There are times when they need to dial back the big notes, but this was a perfect showcase of just how much talent these four from the Philippines have. If they work hard and perfect the choreography, they could be in this competition a long time.
Jon Goodey – Jon’s not a bad singer; he’s really one of those middle-of-the-road guys who wouldn’t have been shown were it not for him being bros with Olly Murs. He probably could be a star, but he’ll need to write his own songs. He’s the only person we’ve written about tonight who has gone through.
Louisa Johnson – She’s got the look, the style, and the pipes. We thought she’d do something a little more current, but as far as solo acts go she’s the best of the night. We’re not going to say anyone comes close to beating 4th Power when it comes to winner potential.
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