‘The X Factor’ UK review: Luke Friend, Joseph Whelan, Giles Potter take on judges’ houses

The latest news -This is “The X Factor” … and this is judges’ houses. It is the lifestyles of the rich and the famous minus Robin Leech and that Good Charlotte song, and it’s an opportunity to see what artists decide to entertain us with in this lovely little setting, and which ones decide to bore us to sleep with yet another drippy ballad that shows they will probably not have much of a successful career after this show.

This is only the first part of a two-night event; the show will return tomorrow with some more from this stage in the game, and it is then that we will hopefully have an opportunity to see what the full lineup of 12 is for the live shows.

The Overs – Sharon Osbourne and Robbie Williams

According to British television, Los Angeles is the land of convertibles and dogs wearing sunglasses. Sharon is also the only judge to actually bring the contestants to her real home, which is completely ridiculous and almost exactly what you would expect. The only thing more ridiculous was Robbie Williams introducing himself like he was Rapunzel, looking down at the other contestants.

Sam Bailey, “I Have Nothing” – Let’s go ahead and get Sam out of the way who is a lock to be in the next round. Sharon is of course going to pick the woman that has taken Britain by storm! Unfortunately, we know all of the words to this song because of how much we’ve heard it on singing competitions. Robbie’s got a point in that she hardly has the personality to match the voice. A shame, really, since that voice is like a rocket. We don’t know who she will sing for, but that’s not the concern right now with the level of competition left. That’s more the worry when we get to the top 6.

Lorna Simpson, “If I Were a Boy” – Too much in the lower register early on, and another song that has been pummeled into the ground thanks to the show. But Lorna can sing! It’s too bad that we have no clue who she is, save for this pretty-funny story about her neighbor handing her an application for the show when she heard her singing through a wall. Who knew a nosy neighbor could actually be a good thing?

Shelley Smith, “Girl on Fire” – Seriously, are the women this year relegated to just ten songs in which to choose from and almost all of them ballads? The entire Alicia Keys songbook needs to be retired, and STAT. There’s a big personality here, and she is a pretty good singer … but it’s cabaret. There is nothing about Shelley that is going to sell a ton of records, but she could be a great part of a musical theater production. Someone needs to point her in that direction: It’s a great career.

Zoe Devline, “Fix You” – Usually, this song is relegated mostly for post-audition packages for people with sob stories. She did not have hardly any screentime, which is code for “going home.” There’s just not enough here that voters will gravitate to.

Andrea Magee, “High and Dry” – We really wanted to like Andrea. She brought a flute to the audition! She’s the only one of these five women that actually sang something different and Radiohead is awesome! Then, there was that horrendous last note, which is the sort of thing that could make animals pass out.

Joseph Whelan, “I’ll Stand By You” – Bringing it for the boys in this group is Joseph, a guy who was gutted to leave the competition last year. He really wanted to be Rod Stewart with this performance; it’s not perfect, but it was fun to listen to and Joseph will get votes in the live round.

Prediction – Personally, we would take Joseph, Sam, and Andrea (bad note include) just based on the combination of energy and personality.

The results – You could have filled up one of Sharon’s massive swimming pools with all of the tears here. The guy who may have actually kept it together the best was Joseph, and he was sent home. Joseph, Lorna, and Sam all advanced, which is a little bit of a surprise. Joseph probably had a better shot in the live rounds then at least two of them long-term … but Sam is the only one with a shot at winning this.

The Boys – Louis Walsh, Nicole Appleton, Shane Filan, and Westlife

Did Louis think about the classic ‘Saturday Night Live” skit “I’m On a Boat!” when trying to get that introduction in St. Tropez? What was the point of that? The singing wasn’t done there, and we were instead brought back to the house and introduced to what we’re guessing is the posse Louis rolls with regularly.

Luke Friend, “Cannonball” – It’s nice to see that Luke hasn’t washed his hair. Hair aside, the performance and the personality here is original. He’s not the best singer out there, but he’s reminiscent of a better version of the oh-so controversial Frankie Cocozza. Let’s hope for a better ending here.

Sam Callahan, “We Are Young” – Sam sang the narcissistic version of the song, since he seemed to be convinced that the lyric was “I set the world on fire” rather than “let’s set the world on fire.” Very good singer, but is he really all that likable? Compared to Paul Akister, Giles Potter, or Luke, there’s nothing that stands out here.

Paul Akister, “I’d Rather Go Blind” – We picture Paul’s voice coming out of a guy working the late-night shift at a ghostly New Orleans bar, with this awesome jazz band backing him up. The personality is the problem here, since he has the exuberance of Craig Colton and the personality of the quiet guy in science class. A better singer probably than everyone else here, but that is not enough.

Giles Potter, “You’re Beautiful” – Giles is a good kid, has a fun personality, and can hit some good notes. But James Blunt? At 16? The thing about James is that when he wrote this song, the feeling was that he had legitimately gone through enough to sing this song; Giles doesn’t know anything about heartache on that level. He was our favorite audition of the whole season, but he’s better with another year under his belt.

Ryan Mathie, “Just Give Me a Reason” – Inventive song choice by Ryan here, but for whatever reason the show decided to edit most of Ryan’s performance with him talking about how this was one of those crazy opportunities that he will never get again. Why haven’t these people ever considered just trying out again? This is so irritating to see people suddenly act like this is the only opportunity they’ll ever have. EVER.

Nicholas McDonald, “If You’re Not the One” – A little weird on the phrasing early on, but Nicholas recovered rather nicely with the notes at the end. The second-best singer of this group usually, but he should never use that falsetto again. Super-flat on some of those notes; we’d still put him through based on the past performances, but he nearly blew it at the end.

Prediction – Luke is a lock to us, and then we’d go along with Nicholas and also Paul in hopes that he picks up a personality over the next few weeks.

Results – The only real favorite here was Nicholas, and this is a category that we genuinely felt like anything could happen with. Luke Friend was the right choice, as was Nicholas McDonald. But Sam Callahan? Maybe there is something here that the ladies will like, but getting rid of someone in Paul who does have “so much soul” (to use one of Louis’ favorite phrases) does feel a tad bit odd.

Did you did this week’s edition, or find it long-winded and rather annoying? Click here if you want to see some more scoop from the show, and bookmark it: We’ll have our review of tomorrow’s show there, and that also happens to be where we will have our contestant rankings and more the rest of this season.

Photo: ITV

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