‘The X Factor’ UK review: Luke Friend, Rough Copy, and Sam Bailey should be finalists

Sam Bailey -Tonight’s episode of “The X Factor” UK brought us only four contestants, but we have to be honest here and say that not every performance may have necessarily been worthy of this point in the competition. There were some disappointments in here, and we blame some of that on the the song selections by producers. Beyonce and Elton John have a ton of a great songs, but why not open the field so that contestants can sing whatever they want? We had some great moments last year around this time thanks to that.

We are going to rank the performances as always below, but we’ll be doing it from a somewhat different perspective than usual. We’ll be breaking them down into the two different groups and then sharing what worked, and then what could use a little fan support to get to the next level.

Beyonce songs

4. Nicholas McDonald, “Halo” – Not a good time for Nicholas to have his worst performance of the entire series. He sounded choked up and out of tune for half of it, and we don’t like how he dropped certain parts of the chorus. This is just a song that he’s not emotionally able to handle yet, and it showed. The only thing entertaining here was seeing Nicole Scherzinger desperate to not hurt his feelings because he has a crush on her.

3. Rough Copy, “Survivor” – This performance just didn’t feel like Rough Copy for most of it. Instead, we had them dressed in some sort of weird Bermuda shorts, performing a song that probably sounded much better in the studio than it did on TV. It actually felt like there were a few technical issues here.

2. Luke Friend, “Best Thing I Never Had” – Luke knows that he is coming into this performance in trouble. He’s been in the bottom two more than anyone else, and he also had to perform something this week where he really doesn’t have any musical similarity to Beyonce at all. If there was ever a week Luke was going to fail, this would be it. It wasn’t his best performance, but this isn’t really that great of a song compared to some of Beyonce’s others.

1. Sam Bailey, “If I Were a Boy” – This song is so overdone that it’s annoying to hear it. Just think for a second that this song has been done multiple times on singing shows in the past year alone. The nice thing here was that Sam decided to actually keep it at a rather steady pace rather than making it into some sort of funeral dirge. Plus, she may have hit the highest note that we’ve ever heard on this show near the end of it. She made us love this even if we hate the song.

Elton John Songs

4. Nicholas McDonald, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” – A significant step over his first performance, and proof that he is not completely falling apart. Even with that being said, we’d still eliminate Nicholas before the top three. The other three artists just seem further along in actually establishing their identity as artists, and will lead to them having more successful careers. What Nicholas really needs to do is spend a couple of years traveling and performing before starting work on an album.

3. Luke Friend, “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” – This isn’t the Elton song that we would have chosen for Luke. There’s not a lot of a melody here, and that’s going to hurt the voting going into the final round. He’s already got enough to worry about going a little earlier in the show than some of the other contenders. Vocally, though, we give him credit for doing far more with this song than we ever would have imagined.

2. Rough Copy, “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” – These guys can really put on the charm when doing these emotional ballads, and despite once again getting a song that is not easy to do, they really pulled if off here. We’re not sold on them making the finale just yet based on them being in the bottom before, but they’ve got a good shot.

1. Sam Bailey, “Candle in the Wind” – This is probably the hardest song in the entire Elton catalog to do, mostly because it has that deep emotional attachment. There’s almost no way to hear this song and keep your emotions in check, and you don’t want to look like you’re exploiting it. Sam did it justice, mostly because she really dialed it back and decided to turn it into a small, beautiful moment rather than an opportunity to show off her huge voice.

All in all, yet another good night for the show; it wasn’t perfect, but we do probably have a good battle between all of the remaining male contestants to get into the finale. Sam seems to be a lock right now. Grade: B.

Photo: ITV



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