‘The X Factor’ UK review: Union J, James Arthur overtake guilty pleasures week

The X Factor JudgesIt’s guilty pleasures week on “The X Factor” UK, or as Rylan Clark calls it, Saturday. The whole category seemed perfect for him, but yet the guy actually seemed like the weakest link of the entire group by a mile here (even though Ella Henderson has what we thought was an absolutely horrible arrangement of a classic song).

As always, we’re going to have our snap judgments of all of the performances below. Want to share your thoughts? All you have to do is vote in the poll below, and you can also see how we ranked the contestants before the night in our official rankings here.

Union J – For almost this entire performance, we were sitting here begging the boys to get off of their elevated platform and actually have a good time. Thankfully, they did so at the end of what was a sensational version of everyone’s guilty pleasure song from the past year: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” This was probably their best vocal performance of the whole competition, and we actually have to give (gasp!) Nicole Scherzinger credit for a really good critique here on the group’s staging, and for avoiding the obvious “get off the box” pun that she would have made just about every other week. Why didn’t she do this in America last week?

Ella Henderson – Let’s start out by saying the Ella’s vocals were incredible as always. Now, we have to get a little controversial with this slowed-down version of “You’re the One I Want” from “Grease”: it was a terrible arrangement. The whole point of this song is that it is fun, and it makes you want to get up and dance; this wanted to make us go to sleep. In making this song into a dreary ballad, you sapped the soul of both it and of Ella completely out of the song. Bad move, Tuilsa … or is it? The judges really liked it, and this may just be an issue of personal opinion.

James Arthur – We like how the “James Arthur concert” analogy was used a couple of weeks ago, and this was good to describe this take on “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” It was not necessarily his most memorable performance of the competition, but it really just felt so sweet. The thing about James is that he feels like a complete artist, who can do uptempo songs, ballads, raps, and rock music. Gary Barlow is right that this guy should win the competition, at least if there is justice in the world.

Rylan Clark – We love how Gary Barlow keeps coming up with new horrible things to say about Rylan every week . The best compliment to give the guy is that he is someone who we are excited to see based on what sort of ridiculous set design he has going; but then when he starts singing, we quickly want to put on the earplugs. He’s just not built to win a singing competition. The best part of this performance was the critique, mostly because Rylan said that he would love to lip-sync his performances and Gary nearly punched him in the face.

Christopher Maloney – Does anyone else think that Christopher’s “A Whole New World” from the Disney World package was actually his best vocal of the whole season? If this guy was actually popular in 1988, he’d probably be a star on the same level as Rick Springfield; he’s cheesy, pretty fun, and you can’t deny his voice. Plus, he totally picked the biggest guilty pleasure song out there in “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

Jahmene Douglas – Jahmene’s performance is something that we are a little on the fence about. The idea here is that you are supposed to make your guilty pleasure song at least somewhat hip, and this felt very dated, even to a Christopher Maloney level. Should he still be a finalist, though? Definitely, and we can’t see any way in which he and James are not the last two singers standing at the end of the season.

Photo: ITV


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