Who gave the best performance on tonight’s “X Factor” UK live show? We’ll start this article by pointing out that almost without question, Sam Bailey completely owned the stage every second that she was on it. She set the bar really high for the rest of the contestants, and for the rest of 80’s night, the challenge was trying to rise to that same level of jaw-dropping awesomeness.
Want to know who was the first victim of the dreaded new “flash vote” twist? That is something that we’ll have for you really soon, but first we have a blow-by-blow account of everything that transpired with the contestants, and we’ll try our best to not reference Dermot O’Leary’s pants beyond this paragraph. The judges were so obsesses with these things that we’re almost sure that there is a phone number out there to vote for them to advance to the next round.
Hannah Barrett, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” – Given that Hannah is one of the favorites to go far this season, seeing her get that lead-off spot is a little surprising. This song was not that exciting, which is weird to say about anything that Tina Turner does since her energy is on another planet. Her vocals were perfectly on point, and that helps to make up for a little bit of a low energy level. She’s already on vocal rest, and that is a reason to be afraid as to whether or not she’ll last for the entire season.
Nicholas McDonald, “I Know This Much Is True” – We cannot give Nicholas any grief given that we don’t really even know who Spandau Ballet is, and we were alive during the eighties. (That’s not to say that this song was new to us.) For a guy that we ranked as our favorite to win it all going into the night, this was hit-or-miss. A few great notes, and also one that was so out-of-tune that it wouldn’t even fit into one of the eighties more “experimental” tracks.
Miss Dynamix, “Jump” – We understand that there have been headlines about Sese Foster’s pregnancy, and that could give them a little more attention and respect for Sese in particular, as she tries to do this whole show while having a baby on the way, but the performance itself here was not that amazing. There was not a ton of personality here, it was sloppy, and the vocals were not as good as the praise they were getting. The first act of the night in a spot of trouble. Also, who noticed the little dig that Nicole Scherzinger got in here at “Glee”?
Sam Bailey, “The Power of Love” – First of all, Sam wins the makeover contestant. Sharon Osbourne and the entire team did a great job getting her ready for this show. In addition to the staging and the lights being perfect for her performance, the vocals were incredible. There was no sort of letdown here brought on by some much-hyped contestant caving in under the pesky British press. Sam could be the rare Over with a real chance of winning the competition, and also deserving it.
Sam Callahan, “Summer of ’69” – We feel for anyone who has to perform after Sam, and this performance was actually reminiscent of one of those performances by your favorite star on a results show where you watch it, and then say “that’s it?” at the very end. Sam’s got an awesome stage presence, but he really needs to make sure that his enunciation of the lyrics is better. There were at least a few lines in this performance that came across as mumbles.
Kingland Road, “I’m Your Man” – Remember Wham? It was Take That before Take That took off! These guys are almost Take That today, to borrow from Gary Barlow and everyone else who has uttered this cliched phrase over the past two weeks. Nobody’s a singer that is going to shatter a window, but they’ve got a lot going for them: Very good vocals, a great stage presence, and that factor that makes the women all dial their voting phone number a la zombies. They will be around for quite a while still.
Shelley Smith, “Alone” – Even with this theme, the show still finds a way to perform tired singing-competition songs. Heart has probably made enough royalties on this song over years from this show and others that they all have 5 new houses. Shelley’s voice is fantastic without question, but the problem she has is just that she’s just inherently campy. Like Gary, we’re not trying to be a Grumpy McGrumpyFace, but she would probably be better suited for musical theater than pop super-stardom. There’s a lot of great work there, and hopefully this show gets her into that arena.
Abi Alton, “Livin’ on a Prayer” – A great song choice, and we don’t just say that as an unabashed Bon Jovi fan. There will be a time for her to mix it up beyond the slow piano ballad, but you want to start the live shows with what you’re good at. The only two suggestions that we’d have for Abi is to work on her tuning a little bit when she goes to a more hushed vocal tone, and to also keep track of her facial expressions. There was perhaps a little too much smiling during the performance. We’re not going to give her too much credit for the arrangement since that’s been done before.
Lorna Simpson, “So Emotional” – This was definitely the right strategy for Lorna: Come out and perform something that has some personality to it! Don’t sing just another drippy ballad. The only thing that was dripping here was the sweat off of some of the guys. What makes us worry here is that nobody knew who she was before tonight, so she has to hope that there is some sort of new fanbase that clung to her like plastic wrap.
Tamera Foster, “Ain’t Nobody Loves Me Better” – While we’ve had our fair share of complaints about Tamera right now thanks to her personality not really being that exciting, and her forgetting her lyrics earlier this season, but there’s no denying that she has the best chance of being an actual pop star after the show. She’s young enough, has the look, and has the potential with the voice. It wasn’t the best vocals ever, but it was easily enough to take herself to the next level.
Luke Friend, “Every Breath You Take” – First of all, it’s starting to get to where Luke really needs to wash that hair. He’s starting to look like an angry scientist after witnessing one too many bad chemical reactions. The voice on him is distinct, and we like that so much that we really don’t care too much about the fact that it’s not exactly the strongest in the competition. We’d much prefer Luke to a good four or five other acts that we’ll forget about in a week.
Rough Copy, “In the Air Tonight” – The group closed the show with a performance of a Phil Collins hit, and had a particularly interesting amount of pressure on them, given that Kaz wasn’t even with the band the last time that we see saw them. Did they still find a way to kill it? You better believe that they did! There was so much to love from this, from the harmonies to the way in which the guys owned the stage. This seriously felt like a professional performance, and they were ready to get a record deal and start performing. Well done, indeed.
Who did you love tonight? Vote in the handy poll below, and click on the link here if you want to see where we ranked the contestants leading to tonight’s show. Also Click here to see the full results from tonight.