It’s All About the Movies on This Week’s X-Factor


Hello dear friends and welcome to my recap for Movies Week. What a night! The X Factor has done itself proud. Well, maybe not, but at least it was better than ‘80s Week.

Cheryl looked particularly glamourous tonight in an Oscar-worthy dress and a lovely updo. Mel looked like she’d bought a pair of nylon jammies from Tesco.

Darling Dermot came out to announce that voting had opened, and would remain so for 24 hours. So much for encouraging people to vote after the performances.

There are only 12 acts left…who will be going home tomorrow? I’m biting my nails just thinking about it.

Cheryl’s Girls

Lauren Platt (“Let It Go” by Demi Lovato)

I really do not like this song, but I shouldn’t let that cloud my judgement, so I won’t. Lauren had a Skype conversation with the adorable Demi, how sweet of her to call. I’ve liked Demi ever since her guest spot on Glee, and she seems like the nicest girl.

Lauren’s voice was perfect of course, clear as a bell. However the chorus did sound a bit dodgy, and it was all bit uncomfortable after that.

Mel said the “first part” of the song was safe, and Simon said that it had a “killer ending”. Wait, what about the middle?

Lola Saunders (“When You Believe” by Mariah Carey)

I thought this song was a bad idea when we got the spoilers yesterday. I was right. As wonderful as Lola’s voice is, she wobbled quite a bit with this.

The judges put it down to a lack of confidence, which is a huge shame, because Lola is my favourite singer in the competition. It would be awful if she got voted off because she didn’t believe in herself.

Mel’s Boys

Paul Akister (“Try A Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding)

I tried to pay attention during Paul’s performance, as he’s such a sweet guy, but it was so very dull. He sung well enough but there was no gusto to the song, and I couldn’t wait for it to end.

Simon said that it was an improvement on last week, which had been boring. Okay then. Cheryl then piped up with the first heteronormative comment of the night, that Paul “obviously enjoyed the girls”. I’m assuming she meant the dancers and not the female audience members. Who knows.

Andrea Faustini (“Listen” by Beyoncé)

Andrea always wear fabulous outfits, although I am lamenting the absence of the pug shirts. I’m hoping they’ll appear in the final (which he’ll be in of course).

The audience was screaming after Andrea’s performance, which was note-perfect as always. Even Lulu was very excited. I am very tired of Andrea signing slow songs but I have to admit, the boy can sing, and everybody seems to love him. I’ll even go so far as to say that I think he’s going to win.

Tonight, Simon called him a “little Italian teddy bear”. Sweet.

Jake Quickenden (“She’s Like The Wind” by Patrick Swayze)

I knew Jake was conceited (or “up himself” as we say here) but this is ridiculous. While the other acts were rehearsing, Jake was posing nude for Cosmo. Priorities, dear.

I love Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze and this song, and I was looking forward to Jake’s performance. Oh, how wrong I was.

It was the most boring, tuneless dirge I’ve heard for a while. Poor Jake attempted a falsetto and failed miserably, he was off key for a good part of the song and was more interested in pouting for the camera than singing well. He lacked depth, emotion, and the ability to keep in tune.

Simon actually said that he doubted Jake would be there next week, but that if he was he should “get better at singing”. Well duh. People are going to think this is a singing contest if you keep saying things like that, Simon.

Jack Walton (“Eye Of The Tiger” by Survivor)

Adorable Jack looked very fetching tonight dressed in black, and I liked his performance. Although his version of this head-banging classic lacked the thumping beat of the original, it was still lots of fun. The performance had a lot of energy and Jack put his own spin on it, and it worked. I thought so anyway.

The judges disagreed (well they would wouldn’t they). Also, Mel told Jack that if he made it through to next week, there “needs to be a discussion”. Ooh.

“What about?” asked darling Dermot. Mel was annoyingly evasive. “There were changes…not made by me”.

Jack, are you rebelling? Good for you.

Lulu’s Groups

Only The Young (“Boom Clap” by Charlie XCX)

The behind-the-scenes video showed the quartet arguing over the song choice; never a good sign. Apparently they didn’t have time to rehearse, again. That excuse is getting boring. Much like them.

The brunette lady who sang the opening lines was hopelessly off key, as was the blonde who sang the second verse. I’m probably the only person in the universe who hasn’t seen The Fault In Our Stars, so I wasn’t partaking in the “feels” that other people seemed to be enjoying.

The performance was boring, and when it was over the group were visibly relieved. I can understand why.

Simon said what everyone was thinking, “the lead vocals were out of tune, you’ve got to have more than 24 hours to prepare”. You think?

Stereo Kicks (“Let It Be/Hey Jude” by The Beatles)

After last week’s performance by the lads there was a clip of Lulu saying that he didn’t want an eight-piece band. Naturally, this didn’t go down well with Stereo Kicks. Their whole BTS video this week was Lulu frantically apologising and the boys saying they didn’t like him anymore. Oops.

However, the boys have been listening to the other judges as well, as they decided to take Mel’s advice and sing a Capella (or “acca pello” as they called it) for at least the first part of their song. Their performance wasn’t horrific, which was surprising.

Mel thought they were great, as she could hear “all the voices”, and Lulu was suitably soporific. Simon then threw a spanner in the works; he told Stereo Kicks that if they wanted to leave Lulu, he would mentor them.

Watch out for drama next week folks, it’s a comin’!

Simon’s Over 25s

Fleur East (“Lady Marmalade” by Pink, Mya, Christina Aguilera and Lil Kim)

As always, Fleur’s song fit her perfectly and she put on a great performance. I especially liked the rap bit in the middle (apparently rap “break” is the correct term, according to Twitter).

The judges said the usual platitudes about how she was already a recording artist and versatile and an all-rounder. I love Fleur, I really do, but tonight I felt like the whole thing was just…blah. I can’t put my finger on what has changed, but it makes me uneasy. I really don’t want her to leave.

Ben Haenow (“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith)

This was the song I was most intrigued by, I was looking forward to seeing how Ben would interpret it. I wasn’t disappointed, it was fantastic. Ben’s gravelly voice was perfect, he made constant eye contact with the audience (well he looked straight into the camera anyway) and there was just enough emotion in his performance; it wasn’t melodramatic at all.

Apparently Simon had originally chosen “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” which would’ve been awful; that poor song has been done to death on The X Factor.  It was Ben who chose the Aerosmith tune, and Simon disagreed. Of course he did.

“That was the wrong song for you…it didn’t make you standout” Simon whined. Well, I disagree, and I’m willing to bet that quite a few of the great British public do too. So there.

Jay James (“Skyfall” by Adele)

Oh Lord. My eyes started rolling as soon as Jay’s name was called. We got five minutes of how much he missed his wife and daughter, and clips of said child talking and squealing. Some people may think it’s adorable, I think it’s a cynical move by Simon to garner votes and paint Jay as the wonderful family man. He may well be, but it has nothing to do with this competition.

I was surprised that Jay hadn’t mentioned his military background, as that’s his go-to sympathy vote. Then it happened. According to Jay, his experience in the Navy has prepared him to be “super determined” for the competition. Okay then. Also, he’s singing a James Bond theme song, and Bond was in the Navy too. “We’re the same!” he squeaked. No, I said. No.

Jay’s performance of this dull, boring dirge was dull and boring. My dogs enjoyed it though, they ran to the television when he attempted the high notes. Their poor ears.

Stevi Ritchie (“Footloose” by Kenny Loggins)

Okay, I must be missing something. Darling Dermot called Stevi a “man-God”. Simon said he was a “sex machine”. I just…I can’t figure out if they’re that dense that they think it’s amusing, or if they really mean it. Either, way, they’ve got some issues.

Apologies to Stevi (or not) but he has got to be the most sexually frustrated middle-aged man out there. During rehearsals he thought it was funny that he was distracted by the dancers (although it would help if they weren’t dressed in next to nothing) and he again made comments about them onstage. You could cut the sexism with a knife.

He also offered to take Simon out on the town in Colchester. Heaven help them both.

Lulu was the sole voice of sanity on the panel, saying “it’s time to go home”. Lulu, it was time for Stevi to go home after his first audition.

That was it for the night, and what a mixed bag it was. You know, it’s 2014; we shouldn’t still be seeing ridiculous men jumping about on stage leering at women doing their job. It’s demeaning for both the women and the man, who’s obviously not there for his vocal capabilities. This is a singing contest after all, not somewhere to enable sexism which should’ve died out years ago. Sigh.

One of the best things about the evening was seeing Marvin from JLS and his wife Rochelle (she sings too) in the audience. Marv was a good boy and said he liked Lulu’s groups, especially “OTY”. Bless.

Tomorrow night only one act will be sent home, and I think it will be between Only The Young and Jake. Sadly, I think we’ve got Stevi for a while yet.

So, until tomorrow dear readers, I will see you with my recap of the elimination show. You can’t wait? Me neither!

Sara Hunter Smith