“The X Factor” UK arrived today at what is typically its most-hated stage in bootcamp, and we can at least say that it was marginally better this year. Thanks to the new six-chair challenge that drew a bridge between the top 50 stage and judges’ houses, we at least got a chance to see the focus on a smaller group of contestants, and something that felt a little bit more natural to what the show should be.
The first round – Thankfully, almost no time was spent here on something that we honestly care next to nothing about. It’s just too impossible to get to know anyone in this format. Stephanie Woods was the tragic exit here, given that she was someone who Sharon loved to the point that she teared up after her first audition. Sharon even fought for her tooth and nail here, begging Nicole to change her mind.
The six-chair challenge – This is where things get interesting. The remaining contestants all performed to impress their individual judge mentoring their group, and the best ones were put into six chairs. As the round came to a close, there were situations where the judges had to basically kick people out to put people in. Dramatic, no? Note that we’re only going to talk below about the singers that actually play a role in the outcome. (The singers with slashes through their names were originally seated, but removed later.)
The Girls (Nicole Scherzinger)
Karen Harden – Who came up with this jazzy rendition of “We Are Young”? Pretty sweet. The voice is strange, but alluring. Not someone we know very well. Lydia Lucy – Easily, a better voice than Karen. A little nasally at times, but there’s so much power and range here, not to mention confidence. She really feels like someone who can sing pop music.
Tamera Foster – We said in the preview that Tamera showed a ton of talent in her performance, but we still don’t necessarily think that she is going to be a future winner of the show.
Relley C – The audience loved housekeeper Relley, and understandably so. She’s got a great performance quality, and her look is just so different and refreshing than what we are accustomed to.
Jade Richards – Remember her? Surely you do. She’s been on this show and “The Voice” over the years, and has a great rock voice and distinctive look.
Sheena McHugh – This was the biggest shocker of the night, as Sheena was originally told no after her stellar “The One That Got Away” performance, but Nicole changed her mind.
Hannah Barrett – This is where things get a little bit more interesting. Hannah’s a huge talent, and someone we would have replaced either Tamera or Karen with. She’s going to go very deep into this competition. She replaced Sheena, which isn’t a shock given that Nicole barely put her in.
Abi Alton – The thing about Abi is that there are better singers in this competition, but she has a little of that quirky “I’m an artist” quality that makes her stand out. There was no doubt she was going to get a chair, but who to replace? Lydia? Seriously? To us, this was a mistake.
Melanie McCabe – She has to hold the title among this group for the contestant with the most auditions on the show, and she is great. But a star? We worry if there is a reason why she has been turned away so many times. Her replacing Karen was little surprise, given that we have no idea still who Karen was this season.
The Overs (Sharon Osbourne)
Sam Bailey – This was a no-brainer. We knew that she was going to be in the judges’ house from her first audition. Heck, she is someone who could make it into the top five this season, even if she has more experience that the show is letting on.
Sabrina Rumike – We don’t remember her at all, but for the time being she at least has herself a chair for the next round alongside Sam.
Joseph Whelan – “Iris” is a completely overdone song on these shows, but this was beyond awesome. The best guy in the Overs category this year, and he’s got a mentor who understands rock music better than anyone else.
What did you think about this “X Factor” twist tonight? Click here if you want to read some more news related to the show, and we’ll be back with another episode tomorrow.