There’s certainly a lot that’s changed on “The X Factor” UK between today and when we were writing a contestant-ranking piece last week. Just look at it in these terms: We had one group eliminated, one group booted from the show for the sake of avoiding a PR nightmare, and another who was brought back in a last-minute twist. We’re sure that there was a certain part of the contestants who were glad to see Four of Diamonds back on a personal level (there’s probably a family aspect of going through this experience with other people), but at the same time we imagine they want to win. Maybe there was a time when everyone thought Brooks Way would be gone and nobody would replace them.
With a complete wild-card act in this top 11, it’s now even trickier to rank — but we’re going to do our best here! We’re basing these mostly on performance quality and perceived fan following.
11. Saara Aalto (last week: 8) – Statistically, it’s hard to put Saara any further up on the list given that she needed the sing-off to save herself. We also assumed coming into this that her popularity in Finland would translate to popularity in the UK. Not so much. Saara at least is coming off of a stellar sing-off performance, so that may help her.
10. Honey G (11) – There’s no chance Honey G makes it to the final. She’s ranked her for that more so than anything else. She was surprisingly entertaining in her first live performance, but we imagine that her appeal’s going to fade fast once we start to see her a couple of times and more talented people are going to be in danger of going home.
9. Freddy Parker (4) – We’re assuming in this that the judges’ comments hold a lot of weight among the voters for the show. Personally, we thought Freddy was one of the better performers last week, but he had a rough go of things in the critique. We’ll see what he brings this time.
8. Ryan Lawrie (9) – Ryan is the wind-up puppy dog of the competition. He’s super-energetic and you want to root for him because of how much effort he’s putting into it. We just think that out of the remaining singers on this list, he’s got the weakest overall voice.
7. Four of Diamonds (unranked) – How do you rank someone who’s yet to even perform on a live show? Our sentiment is mostly that they’ll have the story and the edit on their side, and there will be a natural curiosity for one more week to see what they do.
6. Gifty Louise (1) – What’s with the big drop for Gifty this week? To be honest, we didn’t love what she did on this past episode and felt like there were tuning issues all over the place. We do think she’s got huge pop-star upside, but there were much better performers.
5. 5 After Midnight (5) – We promise we’re STILL not ranking them here on purpose, but this does seem to be the right spot for them. They’ve got the energy and the swagger, but after their performance in the first live show, they’ve still gotta work on those vocals. That left a little bit to be desired.
4. Relley C (7) – She had a great first performance — vocally, she was probably the best of the night. Our biggest concern is whether she is as current as the top three we’ve got on the list today; if she could prove us wrong with that over the next week or two, she could easily go higher.
3. Emily Middlemas (2) – She has our personal favorite voice in the competition, and we were impressed with the power she showed on this past episode. We still think that she’s best doing more intimate singer-songwriter material with her guitar, but that proved her to be versatile and that could help her in the long run.
2. Sam Lavery (6) – Last week, Sam made Simon Cowell look very silly for ever eliminating her. She’s got a ton of talent, good stage presence, and she’s perfect for today’s market. Easily, we can see her in the final.
1. Matt Terry (3) – Great voice. What we’re actually excited to see from him the next few weeks is some more uptempo tracks, since we think he’s one of those artists who has the charm and the performing ability to go out there and impress.
Who is your favorite entering the next live show? Let us know in the attached poll!
For some other “X Factor” news, including more on Four of Diamonds’ huge return, head over to the link here! (Photo: ITV.)