‘The X Factor’ UK review: Kye Sones, Ella Henderson top first live show

We’ve waited for some time now, but finally, the first “X Factor” live show is upon us! So was it really worth the long wait? Well, both yes and no. There were some standout performances, but we also had some problems. Nicole Scherzinger still is not any better of a judge than she was in America last year, and there were a few too many ballads and not even fun.

Who was your favorite? Be sure to share some of your picks below, and read our full analysis below.

District 3 – They have dropped that terrible GMD3 name, and they now have a name that can otherwise be described as a third of District 9. Wait … does this mean they’re aliens? We have to say that their choice of “Simply the Best” felt like a good opening for the show, but we don’t really think there was anything that special with either the vocals or the arrangement that makes them any different than a modern-day 98 Degrees dressed like One Direction.

James Arthur – We put James as #2 on the rankings behind only Ella Henderson, and this performance of “Stronger” is why. He proved that not only can he make just about any song his own, but he can also take on a variety of different genres in the process. This was far more urban than some of his acoustic renditions of other songs early on in the competition. The guy is just phenomenon; he’s not only a great vocalist, but he comes on fire on the stage.

Melanie Massone – This performance showed off both the good and the bad when it comes to Melanie. The great news? She’s a phenomenal rock singer, and we’re not sure we’ve ever heard someone like her on a singing competition. The bad news? There’s really no place for her kind of music in the industry, and we don’t know how she would fare in the modern landscape.

Lucy Spraggan – This is the first time ever that a contestant has come on the show and performed an original song live, and we figure at this point, Lucy could have a full album of music already out there by the time this season is over. The problem with this song, “Mountains,” was that it was not as distinct as “Last Night” or the other song she performed on the show.

MK1 – We loved these two during the first few rounds of the show, but this was our least favorite performance at this point in the show. It just felt like there were pitch problems all over the place, that the song felt constantly on the verge of caving in, and the majority of the harmonies even felt off. We don’t really know what happened, but the energy did not really make up for some of the flaws with a pretty dull song.

Christopher Maloney – The biggest problem with Christopher’s performance is that it really could not have been more predictable if he tried. We could have picked him singing Mariah Carey’s “Hero,” and he really didn’t do anything new with the song at all. He is a great singer, but he’s just a little bit too cheesy. (Yes, we actually agree with something that came out of Nicole’s mouth.)

Union J – So far, the groups category really seems to be struggling this season. We didn’t love any of them this week, and this was by far the worse. Queen works if someone like Kitty Brucknell last season is doing it, but not for a current boy band. This song was ridiculously dated, and to make matters worse they did nothing new with it.

Jade Ellis – Jade’s new look is interesting: it’s like she is now half Britney Spears and half Rihanna with that hair! We do like it, but at the same time we have to wonder whether or not her presence on stage matches her look. We will at least say that we were pleasantly surprised by what Jade did on the stage, mostly because we were having some trouble remembering her during the competition.

Rylan Clark – There’s no question that Rylan is the worst singer in this competition, and it’s not even close. What we do at least give him some credit for, though, is for at least being entertaining. Do we want to see it again? We’re not quite sure, but we’re glad he got to live out his weird little ancient Egypt fantasy on stage. We also hope that people stop threatening the poor guy, since it’s not his fault he is through.

Kye Sones – At this point in the show, the only thought in our head was that this was the performance of the night. We have heard “Man in the Mirror” covered really more times than we can even count. What made this performance a little bit different, however, was that there was something different in both the backing track as well as the way in which he performed it. It did not feel so much as though he was just covering a Michael Jackson as he was updating it for a modern audience.

Ella Henderson – This is the reason that we ranked her #1. Louis Walsh said that she was the best female singer on the show since Leona Lewis, and we disagree. There was one or two shaky notes in here, buy Gary Barlow is right that she did a better job singing this than even he did back in the day. If we had to pick a winner at this stage in the game, she would be it.

Carolynne Poole – This is just about the last thing that we expected: a country version of a Nicki Minaj hit in “Starships.” Strangely, we kind of liked it, but we would have liked it a lot more if Carolynne had not rehearsed it into the ground. It just felt way too orchestrated and forced. She needs to relax, since otherwise she will not even enjoy what she is doing.

Jahemene Douglas – The final act of the night, Jahmene gave what was probably our third-favorite of the night behind only Kye and Ella. His take on “Imagine” was almost perfect, and with just a little bit more subtlety, it would be.

If you want to go back and look at our rankings yet again, you can do so over at the link here.

Photo: ITV

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