The X Factor Goes Live! Who Wowed The Judges This Week?

Credit: ITV
Credit: ITV


Hello dear friends and welcome to the first The X Factor recap for the live shows! Each of the judges have picked their three contestants and we’ll see them all sing tonight; then two will get voted off by the public tomorrow. Yes, a double elimination! Ooh.

Who do you want to be sent home? Are you going to vote? Don’t forget you can do it free via the app, too.

As well as the 12 handpicked contestants, there are four “wildcards”. These are acts who made it through to judges’ houses but just missed out of a top spot. Each judge gets a wildcard decided by the other judges.

Wait, isn’t that rather a dramatic way of doing things? You betcha. It is The X Factor, after all.

Darling Dermot will be on the show full time from now on (gasp) but sadly he didn’t dance tonight; just sauntered on stage like he owned the place. Which he does, really. “Tonight, we go live!” he squealed, and the festivities began.

The theme for tonight’s show was “Number Ones”. So here, just for you, is my list of each group and their acts. I can’t believe the live finals are already here – where did the summer go?


Cheryl’s Girls

Chloe Jasmine (sang “Toxic” by Britney Spears)

Surprise surprise, Chloe’s version of “Toxic” was jazzy. It was slow and old-fashioned because, apparently, that’s all that she can sing.

Chloe was shown in the pre-performance VT complaining about the press, and wondering why they didn’t like her. After her song, she told Mel it was good that “I can glam up Wembley”.

See, Chloe, this is why the press (and the public) don’t like you; because you come across as arrogant and narcissistic. It’s kind of obvious, darling.


Stephanie Nala (sang “Everything I Own” by Bread)

I loved Steph’s quirky version of this classic, although most of the judges didn’t.  Cheryl tried to defend her by saying it was one of the biggest Shazam songs, but I don’t think the others knew what that meant.

Stephanie looked adorable, and clearly had fun performing; it was a joy to watch. I think her voice is a little restrictive though, I don’t know how she’ll do on ballad week or whatever it’s called. I hope she makes it through.


Lauren Platt (sang “Happy” by Pharrell Williams)

I loved Lauren and what she did with this song, it was perfect. The arrangement made it sound almost ethereal, very much like Coldplay I thought, but with less angst.

Lauren was confident and poised onstage (she celebrated her 17th birthday with a large cake from Cheryl), and she was adorably dressed. Everybody loved her version, and I can’t wait to see what she’s going to sing next week.


Lola Saunders wildcard (sang “Stay” by Sam Smith)

Words cannot express my joy when Lola was announced as the wildcard. It was like Christmas in October; well, for today anyway.

Lola looked divine in a formal yet risqué gown, and her version of this modern classic was absolutely perfect. She was a little nervous to begin with but it all disappeared as she sang, and she reminded me a lot of Leona Lewis. Her voice is at once sweet yet bold, love it.

Simon, he of the chest-high trousers and plastic teeth, dared to criticise her appearance; Mel and Lulu joined in. Whatever guys, you can try to disguise your jealousy at Lola’s awesomeness but it just won’t work.


Mel’s Boys

Paul Akister (sang “Ghost” by Ella Henderson)

Paul was first onstage which is always nerve-wracking. He handled it well though, bless him. “I just want people to get to know me,” he opined backstage. “…just a big cuddly bear”. Ooh Paul, Andrea is a bear too! Sweet.

Ella Henderson’s voice is so distinctive that any artist covering a song of hers is asking for trouble. Paul got off to a shaky start and sounded very karaoke but, as the song went on, he changed up the timing a little and made it his own. He was great.

Mel even said to him, “you are a God to me”. Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but nice sentiment, dear.


Andrea Faustini (sang “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson)

Someone needs to have a quiet word with Andrea; he needs to start wearing pug shirts again and he needs to do it now.

I’m a little bored with Andrea and his ballads but, of course, his wonderful voice was amazing. I listened to, rather than watched the performance; I’ve seen it all before I’m afraid. Mel really needs to give him something up-tempo before everyone else gets bored and votes him off.


Jake Quickenden (sang “She’s The One” by Robbie Williams)

Well, Jake’s ego has finally caught up with his Twitter fanbase. The arrogance was dripping off him. His performance was okay, but all the judges could say about him was “the girls are going to love you”, “this was for the ladies” and “people are going to be drawn to you”.

Guys, you do know this is a singing competition, right?


Jack Walton wildcard (sang “Only Girl (In The World)” by Rihanna)

Beautiful, moody, wonderful, taciturn Jack is back and I couldn’t be happier. He sang an amazing version of the Rihanna hit, accompanying himself on guitar. The arrangement of the song was fantastic, and he sounded so much better than Rihanna (but then so does my mother, to be fair).

According to Simon, he got a hateful text from a certain Louis Tomlinson, lambasting the show after Jack was sent home. Ooh. I can hear the fangirls on Tumblr getting their shipping wheels in motion as I write.

The judges and the audience loved Jack (as did I, obviously) so I’m sure he’ll be around for a while longer, the dear boy.


Lulu’s Groups

Blonde Electra (sang “Kids In America” by Kim Wilde)

I’ve just about recovered enough from the horror that was this performance to write about it. Dressed up like demented acid-ridden oompa loompas, the sisters tried their best but ended up sounding frightful and looking ridiculous. I have never seen that many colours together, ever.

The judges loved it of course; it was “different” and “fun”. I thought it was appalling.


Only The Young (sang “Jailhouse Rock/Twist And Shout” by Elvis Presley/The Top Notes)

I don’t know why this sweet quartet chose to sing such an old-fashioned mash-up, but hey I’m just here to watch. They tried really hard to do well, bless them, and they were reasonably fun to watch.

Mel, tactful as ever, told them they could do better. I hope they pay heed to that if they’re back next week.


Overload Generation wildcard (sang “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry)

I used to like Overload, really I did, and I wanted them back as a wildcard. However, when they added the “Generation” to their name it seems they took away the talent as well.

Their cover of this bouncy little pop song was hideous; the harmonies were non-existent and whilst one lad sang the others stood on stage swaying a bit. Oh dear.

Simon, in a very convoluted way told them they’d never be as good as One Direction (duh) and called one of them gormless. Well said.


Stereokicks (sang “Roar” by Katy Perry)

The New Boy Band finally have a name, and isn’t it silly? Their performance was good but not great, their harmonies were pleasant but, yet again, they’re no 1D (yes I am really going to compare every boy band to them, sorry).

Cheryl made a comment to Lulu about raiding the entire Katy Perry catalogue for the groups. Well Cheryl, if it’s good enough for Glee than it’s good enough for Lulu.

Speaking of Glee, please note that any act who covers a song sung by Kurt Hummel, aka the incredibly talented and very cute Chris Colfer, will always be second best. Sorry, but those are the rules.


Simon’s Over 25s

Fleur East (sang “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor)

This song is one of my favourites at the moment, and I had been looking forward to seeing what Fleur would do with it. I wasn’t disappointed.

Her voice was a bit shaky at first, and she didn’t change anything at all, but I really enjoyed her performance. “You made Simon cool”, said Mel. Boo.


Ben Haenow (sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel)

For some reason Ben thinks he needs to always dress like a builder; whatever the song, wherever he’s singing it. Builders are fine, but the look doesn’t quite go with this gentle, poignant song.

Ben’s voice did though, which was good, but he was very dramatic with his facial expressions and it became distracting. Simon said that he “prayed for an artist like you”. Mel said he was “boring”. Quite.


Jay James (sang “Changing” by Sigma/Paloma Faith)

I didn’t know that The X Factor hair people were borrowing ideas from Glee’s Blaine Anderson? Jay’s quiff was slicked back so much it looked like you could land a plane on it.

“It’s like being in military training again” he said of performing. Yes, don’t forget to remind us that you were in the Navy and, oh here it comes, the tinkling sob story music. Sigh.

Jay said this song was different to any he’d done before but I still thought it was a tuneless dirge. When Simon called him the “British Adam Levine”, I rolled my eyes so hard that they still hurt.


Stevi Ritchie wildcard (sang “La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin)

There are no words.


So the first live show of The X Factor is over. As usual, some acts disappointed and some actually horrified. A few were surprisingly nice.

Sunday’s programme will see a performance by Pharrell Williams (he must have a new single out) and the elimination of two – yes two – contestants. Not sure how the singoff will work this year, we will just have to wait and see.

Until tomorrow then dear friends; oh and if anyone knows how I can get “All About That Bass” out of my head before then, please let me know.

Sara Hunter Smith