‘The X Factor’ UK review: Luke Friend has best night; Tamera Foster, Rough Copy also solid

Luke Friend -Welcome to the Luke Friend show! At least this is what tonight’s “X Factor” UK show felt like at times. There were some great numbers from the remaining five contestants, though also a couple of surprising missteps. While you consider that three out of the remaining five artists have been in the bottom two before, we are really confused as to what the British public are going to do.

While we’ll be clear that Luke was the best of the night, we’re going to rank the performances tonight by round. The contestants performed a song picked by themselves / their mentors, while they also had to sing one that was voted on by the British public. With one R. Kelly exception, we feel like they mostly did a pretty great job.

Round One

5. Sam Bailey, “How Will I Know” – Good vocal, but this was the biggest misstep of Sam’s entire run on the show. The arrangement and the dancers were just so dated and cheesy; it’s the first time all season that we really weren’t able to take Sam seriously as a singer. Her past resume should be enough for her to stay, but this may hurt her long-term game a little bit.

4. Nicholas McDonald, “Just the Way You Are” – Who thought that the worst thing that Nicholas and Louis Walsh could do was slow down the song? This did not need to be a ballad that was this slow and dreary. Quite frankly, we were bored watching it.

3. Tamera Foster, “We Found Love” – In some ways, we feel the same way about this one. The middle section of the song was fine, but Tamera (who has been compared to Rihanna at times) needs to let loose and have more fun. Doing the entire song uptempo would have really been the right choice if she wants to be taken seriously the rest of the way in this competition.

2. Rough Copy, “Every Little Step / She’s Got That Vibe” – Were the vocals a little rough at times? Sure, but this was still vintage Rough Copy. Great dancing, and a fun overall performance that they felt genuinely committed to more than the three singers listed above them.

1. Luke Friend, “Skinny Love” – Next to Nicholas, this was the simplest performance. It was just him and a guitar, strumming out the melody of this Bon Iver song. Anything that allows Luke to really focus on allowing his style to come through with worthwhile.

Round 2

5. Nicholas McDonald, “Greatest Day” – Going into tonight, we felt like he was a likely contender for the top two. Now, we’d say that he is a likely contender for the bottom two. There is just nothing that was altogether interesting about this performance just from the standpoint of creativity. We see Nicholas having a good future covering standards, but we don’t see him as a guy who really has his own songs to perform.

4. Tamera Foster, “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” – This probably would have been the #2 song if it was in the first block, but most of the other performances this time were much better. We really do believe that Tamera is a great singer, but we don’t believe in her as an artist. We just can’t connect to her story, and that (while unfair) makes it hard to really rank her high.

3. Rough Copy, “I Believe I Can Fly” – Oh boy. Why the public deprived us of “End of the Road” here was a complete and total shame. This was about as good of a performance as a performance of this R. Kelly song can be. It’s just a cheesy song that no giant choir or white outfits can really fix.

2. Sam Bailey, “Clown” – A big improvement from the first number, and much more in her performance wheelhouse. Sam is an artist that we fully believe, and even though we don’t always feel like she really makes songs her own, she has that sort of power that she doesn’t need to.

1. Luke Friend, “I Will Wait” – This was Luke’s best night by a mile, as it had two great song choices, great performances, and also some enthusiasm and artistry. We’ve said all along that he would be great as a frontman for a band at the end of this, and we imagine that this song more or less proves it.

Photo: ITV



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