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05 November, 2014 3:52 PM
Published by Kevin Mc Stravock
Last week we finally saw Jake Quickenden leave after a few ropey performances, making him the first of Mel's acts to leave. This week is Halloween week so the acts are all ready to spook the judges with what they hope will be scarily good performances. But the biggest trick of all is courtesy of Simon...not only will there be a double elimination this week, one act will be leaving automatically at the end of Saturday's show! Who will leave the judges howling and who will be screaming by the end of Sunday night?
Recap and videos after the JUMP...
'Highway To Hell' by AC/DC - 8/10 - Ben has a really great rock voice, last week's performance of Aerosmith's classic track however didn't go down particularly well with the judges, well, moreso his mentor Simon who wasn't keen on him performing the song in the first place. This song is so much better, it has a lot more energy and he really grabs the performance. It's probably the best performance he has put on in the competition so far and vocally, it sounds great. As a slight downside, I did think the vocals sounded very similar to the original, partially a good thing as it's not easy to do a massive rock song like that justice but also a slight detraction from the performance because obviously it made it seem a bit karaoke. I will put that mainly down to song choice however and hope he can continue for a few more weeks at least. A solid performance by Ben.
'Crazy' by Gnarls Barkley - 6.5/10 - This performance really was a performance of two halves (albeit in a strange manner). The opening part sounded great, possibly one of the better performances she has given. The middle of the performance however was pretty poor, once the beat kicked in, Lola sort of lost it a little and ended up sounding really screechy, then she picked it up a little towards the end and delivered some quite nice, bluesy sounding vocal runs. It's frustrating as I think Lola is probably a stronger singer than Lauren but she doesn't really know how to use her voice. I kind of feel she's been thrown all sorts of songs, none of which have helped define who she is as an artist. She didn't look quite as lost on stage this week as I expected her to but I have a feeling she might struggle tonight, she gave a weaker performance last week but then I think there were much worse performers last week so unless at least two or three of the rest have real duffers, Lola could be at risk.
'Thriller' by Michael Jackson - 8.5/10 - I'm so glad Fleur was given this song for Halloween Week as when I heard it was being used, I had a horrible feeling we would hear Jay or Lauren doing one of those horrible stripped back, dreary ballad covers of it. She's excited as she gets to do the original choreography this week including the dance Michael Jackson himself does in the video. Vocally, this is probably the weakest she has sounded, the start is off and there are a few off notes here and there but then when you take into account how full on the performance is this week and how much choregraphy she is doing, she kind of gets away with it. A few years ago, when the show was still in its' early series, vocals were everything but it has become more and more obvious over the years that vocals aren't everything and Fleur for me offers the full package. The costume change and dance are absolute showstopper moments and although I agree that vocally, it could have been better, she's still leading the pack for me in terms of who is the most likely to have a career after this. I'm hoping we might see Fleur doing a more stripped back performance next week to allow her vocals to take centre stage.
'Bleeding Love' by Leona Lewis - 4/10 - The words Jack Walton and Bleeding Love shouldn't figure together in the same sentence unless the sentence is 'Jack Walton should not sing Bleeding Love'. Seriously, he's a guitar guy with a limited voice, giving him a song that even talented female singers struggle with is ridiculous. This was just painful to watch, he didn't look comfortable on stage, probably because he felt intimidated by the song choice and to be honest, it just felt like he was destined to fail from the start. Attempting to hit the high notes didn't sound good and a lot of the time his voice sounded out of tune. I do feel sort of sorry for Jack as I do think he has a good voice but the last two performances have been dreadful, mainly due to poor song choices. That said, I don't think he offers anything to the competition that we haven't seen before so I'm not sure that I feel he would be a massive loss tonight if he does inevitably go.
'Mad World' by Gary Jules - 4.5/10 - Jay was in the navy, did you know? It's quite obvious that I'm not a big fan of Jay's but I just feel that he has given quite poor performances which have been overlooked. Vocally, it was a bit flat to begin with but that's actually the reason he even got 4 points, what the hell was this arrangement? This song is supposed to be a gloomy, eery track so adding in some upbeat backing and having him jump around the stage shouting the lyrics was bizarre. Seriously, it sounded like the soundman decided halfway through to randomly throw the backing of Heaven by Emeli Sandé into the mix. I actually might have given him some praise this week if he had done the original, bar the horrific choir. Seriously, the second half of the song was just basically him shouting, I'm fed up of him giving poor performances and Cheryl being the only one to point it out. Because of the odd arrangement, I feel that the heart of this song was ripped out of it. I did actually quite like the high notes at the end though so he can have an extra half mark for that.
'Relight My Fire' by Take That - 7.5/10 - First of all, why the hell has he been painted gold and given devil horns? Secondly, why is his staging basically like they've suddenly decided that he's the novelty act this year instead of Stevi. Thirdly, Andrea sounds really good this week. I like his vocals and have to admit that they aren't as sloppy as I was expecting as I didn't think he would be able to cope with an upbeat song very well. The staging is pretty poor and he doesn't exactly do much moving but vocally, this is a pretty great performance. I don't expect that he'll do as well in the voting tonight as it wasn't quite a standout performance but he did a great job.
'Dark Horse' by Katy Perry - 6/10 - Lauren cracks a little this week during rehearsals as she struggles with some dancing which she is particularly nervous about. Cue crying and Cheryl reassuring her that she can do this. Vocally, this isn't actually particularly great, to be honest, I'm not a fan of the original song and I don't think this arrangement of it makes me like the track any more. She has some good vocal moments in the song but towards the end especially, she does some runs and high notes that sound off and I actually think it's the weakest she has sang in the entire competition. The performance also seems a bit off, the massive choreography that she was crying over turns out to be literally two seconds long and the whole performance just seems a bit dead (no pun intended). I doubt that Lauren will be in trouble this week but she's capable of much more, where's that old soul we saw in auditions?
'Bat Out Of Hell' by Meatloaf - 9/10 - Paul is suffering from a case of dodgy VT editing this week, much like Only The Young and Ben last week as most of it seems to centre around him moaning because Mel B has given him this song. I have to admit that to begin with, I thought this would be a complete car crash but it's actually by a country mile, his best performance to date. I think because I wasn't expecting much, I ended up being blown away by this performance. It sounds fresh and his bluesy voice sounds incredible on the track. The comments after the song, especially those by Simon are a little weird though and it does seem as if the producers may have it in for him because they seem to be trying to suggest to the public that Ben is a bit of a diva. I don't think voicing your concerns about a song choice means you should be villainized but hey, that's X Factor for you. By far the best all round performance tonight.
Only The Young
'Monster Mash/Crocodile Rock' by Bobby Pickett/Elton John - 8.5/10 - After landing in the bottom two last week, Louis has handed them more creative control this week and they decide to go for a song they have covered on their YouTube channel, the Monster Mash. Vocally this is a huge improvement on their sing-off last week and they seem a lot more confident on the stage but I don't like it as much as their 'Come On Eileen' performance a few weeks, mainly because I'm not a huge fan of this song. I like these guys a lot, I just wish we would be able to see a more serious side to them, maybe show a bit of an edge because I think people will get bored if they do upbeat every week and will begin to find their performances cheesy.
'Everybody' by Backstreet Boys - 7.5/10 - Stereo Kicks had their breakthrough performance last week so they're hoping to be able to build on that this week. They start off pretty well with this, good energy, pretty great vocals, even some of the weaker members sound pretty good although I wish they would stop giving Barclay and Tom solos because they're not good enough vocalists to take solo. The problem for me is that they still don't really seem to know what to do on stage, they're standing in a line again and dressing them all in the exact same outfit just causes all sorts of problems, we don't know half of their names so how is it helpful to make it even harder to identify them? A pretty good performance but I'm still not convinced that they work as such a large group.
'Music Of The Night' from The Phantom of the Opera - 5/10 - Stevi is going serious this week, he has been wanting to do this song from the first live show so Simon is finally giving him that chance. The VT also has this bizarre conversation with him and Fleur backstage where they basically make out that Chloe Jasmine, who he kissed led him on and he was in love with her *yawn*. Stevi's theatre background has already been discovered so making out that he's a Joe Bloggs isn't gonna work. Vocally, this was better than his previous performances but it was still miles off the standard of most of the rest of the competition. The thing is, this sort of style is suited for musical theatre but when you compare him to most musical theatre leads, he's nowhere near as good. I sort of hope giving a good performance might mean the novelty wears off for Stevi as he's getting tiresome and I don't know who he is now, is he really this nice, loveable guy or is he just a good actor?
1. Paul Akister
2. Fleur East
3. Only The Young
4. Ben Haenow
5. Andrea Faustini
6. Stereo Kicks
7. Lola Saunders
8. Lauren Platt
9. Stevi Ritchie
10. Jay James
11. Jack Walton
Eliminated (Saturday Night):
Eliminated (automatically on Saturday night):
This is possibly the least surprising elimination so far. Jack had a horrible song choice tonight and his vocals were really weak, he also looked incredibly uncomfortable on stage. It was pretty much a dead cert that he would go home tonight.
The fact that Stereo Kicks are here again despite a pretty good performance last night and some major producer pimping shows that something just isn't working. I expected Lola to be here after a forgettable and not fantastic performance.
Lola Saunders is singing first, taking on 'Natural Woman' by Aretha Franklin. This is the best she has sounded during the live shows by a country mile, not only is it vocally very impressive but she really seems to nail the emotion of the song and actually captures the heart and soul of the song. She is most definitely fighting for her place in the competition, this is the best performance in the sing-off we've had this year (although the bar hadn't exactly been set high.
Oh dear, Stereo Kicks are doing what they did in the last sing-off, giving the poor vocalists solos which makes the entire song sound out of tune. It's quite ironic that one of them sings 'Bad decisions, that's alright' because giving him a solo was indeed a bad decision. To give them due credit, their harmonies are pretty good but when they go solo, they sound terrible, even James who is by a country mile the best singer in the group, doesn't sound great. The rapping is just cringeworthy, don't attempt to rap unless you can actually rap which that guy can't. I doubt they'll be going tonight but based only on the sing-off. Lola deserves to be saved.
Cheryl sends Stereo Kicks home and Louis reluctantly sends Lola Saunders home. Mel B tells Stereo Kicks that this was their best performance by far, (is she actually being serious?) and sends Lola Saunders home. It's all in Simon's hands and he says that it's obvious who the best singer in the sing-off was before sending Stereo Kicks home. So we go to deadlock...
Eliminated (via deadlock):
Again it was obvious that Lola would have received less votes than the boyband aimed at teenage boys. It's a shame as Lola has a really nice voice but her lack of confidence really held her back in the live shows I'm afraid.
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